A Spy Called James: The True Story of James Lafayette, Revolutionary War Double Agent

James was a slave in Virginia when the American Revolution began. Wanting to earn his freedom while helping the new country, he volunteered for the Revolutionary Army, with the promise of his freedom at the war’s end—if the Americans were victorious. He was assigned to work for the young and brilliant French commander who was…
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Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave Ona Judge

In traditional biographies of the Washingtons, the subject of slavery rarely comes up, or, if it does, it is given a paragraph or perhaps a chapter to explain the “peculiar institution” as it related to the first First Family. There is nothing like a personal story—a slave’s personal and true story—to get a deeper perspective…
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Westmoreland County’s African American History

Westmoreland County’s African American history dates back to the 17th century. During the earliest years, both slaves from Africa and white indentured servants were imported to the Northern Neck (the land between the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers) to work on farms and plantations, with African slaves becoming more prevalent over time.  17th Century – The…
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Fredericksburg in Revolutionary Days, Part I

William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine (William and Mary Quarterly) Volume XXVII, No. 2. October 1918. pp. 73-95. Parts II and III may also be read online.  FREDERICKSBURG IN REVOLUTIONARY DAYS PART I. In a charming diary kept by him while under indentures to Colonel William Daingerfield, of Belvideira (a plantation on the river about seven miles below Fredericksburg) John Harrower a clever Scotchman…
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Fredericksburg in Revolutionary Days: Part II

"Fredericksburg in Revolutionary Days: Part II" The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 27, No. 3 (Jan., 1919), pp. 164-175. Parts I and III are also available to read online. In November, 1775, Harrower tells us of a muster of the minute men of the district, composed of the counties of Spotsylvania, Caroline, King George, and Stafford, which was held…
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Fredericksburg in Revolutionary Days: Part III

Source: The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 27, No. 4 (Apr., 1919), pp. 248-257.  Parts I and II may also be read online.  FREDERICKSBURG IN REVOLUTIONARY DAYS (Concluded) PART III. We come now to the record of one of the most important of Virginia's institutions for the prosecution of the war: the manufactory of small arms established by ordinance of the Convention of July…
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The Good Doctor Was a Spy: The Lively Times of Robert Wellford

One of Fredericksburg's leading citizens was either a patriot or a traitor, depending on whether you favored coats of Tory red or Revolutionary blue. Robert Welford, who went on to become a distinguished doctor in Fredericksburg as well as President Washington's choice for Surgeon General, began life April 23, 1753, in the town of Ware…
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African-American History of Stafford, Virginia

Colonial Times Africans first arrived in the Virginia colony in 1619 as indentured servants. In the late 1600s, slaves were brought into the sparsely settled Rappahannock Valley, primarily to serve as agricultural laborers. As the colony grew, Falmouth and Fredericksburg, situated on the Rappahannock River at the limits of inland navigation, became important seaports. Seagoing…
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