Fall 2008 | Volume 58, Issue 5
Archaeologists for the George Washington Foundation have found the site of George Washington’s boyhood home on a bluff overlooking the Rappahannock River near Fredericksburg, Virginia. While historians have long believed that Ferry Farm, a 113-acre National Historic Landmark site, encompassed Washington’s home, the exact location had not been determined until archaeologists uncovered stone-lined cellars, two root cellars, remains of two chimneys, and thousands of artifacts, including bone wig curlers and toothbrush handles, pieces of ceiling, 18th-century pottery, and parts of a tea service that may have belonged to George’s mother, Mary Ball Washington.
Six-year-old George moved here with his family in 1738 so that his father, Augustine, could reduce his commute to Accokeek Creek Iron Furnace. The excavations suggest that the house was a fairly substantial one-and-a-half-story residence, not the rude cottage of popular imagination. Little evidence survives from Washington’s early years, but if the future first president did chop down a cherry tree, it would have grown on the bluff overlooking the Rappahannock.