Colonel Charles Washington

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Colonel Charles Washington

Birthplace: Hunting Creek, Stafford, Virginia
Death: September 16, 1799 (61)
Happy Retreat, Charles Town, Jefferson, West Virginia, United States
Place of Burial: Charles Town, Jefferson, West Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Augustine Washington, Sr. and Mary Washington
Husband of Mildred Washington
Father of Lizzie Ransome; George Augustine Washington; Frances Ann Thornton Peyton; Captain Samuel T Washington and Mildred Gregory Hammond
Brother of George Washington, 1st President of the United States; Elizabeth 'Betty' Lewis; Colonel Samuel Washington; John Augustine Washington and Mildred Washington
Half brother of Butler Washington; Lawrence Washington; Colonel Augustine Washington, II and Jane Washington

Managed by: Private User
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About Colonel Charles Washington

Patriot - DAR

Charles WASHINGTON was born on 2 May 1738 in Little Hunting Creek, Stafford (now Fairfax) County, Virginia, son of Augustine WASHINGTON and Mary BALL.1

Charles married Mildred THORNTON, daughter of Col. Francis THORNTON III and Frances GREGORY, in October 1757 in Virginia.2 In 1757, nineteen-year-old Charles had proposed to Mildred, his cousin. This caused some turmoil in both families.

Mildred's father Francis was deceased, and her mother requested some written assurance of her daughter's future well being from the head of the Washington family. This was 25-year-old George Washington, then residing in Mount Vernon, who viewed her request for a written contract as an aspersion on his "principles of conduct."

Fielding Lewis, now his brother-in-law, worked out an accommodation with John Thornton which satisfied both families. Thornton, Mildred's uncle became his niece's legal guardian. The wedding was then allowed to proceed.

In 1760 Charles built a home in Fredericksburg, Virginia that was later to become The Rising Sun Tavern. The tavern at 1306 Caroline Street was the only one in Fredericksburg at the time and served as a meeting place for such Revolutionary War figures as Patrick Henry and the Lees. Charles had purchased the property from Fielding's older brother, Warner Lewis, late of Gloucester County. The house on Caroline Street, where Charles lived until moving away in 1780, was the scene of visits from many friends and relatives, including his mother and George and Martha Washington.

While not as well-known as his famous brother, Charles led an active life and was involved in civic affairs. He was a magistrate in Stafford County, Virginia before the Revolutionary War, and he joined brothers Samuel and John Augustine in being some of the first signers of the "Leetown Resolve" in 1766. This was a response by residents of Westmoreland County, Virginia in protest to the British Stamp Act. By signing this Resolve, these men established themselves as serious participants in the resistance to the British Crown, which developed ten years later into the Revolutionary War.

Charles saw military service on 21 September 1780 when he served as Lt. Colonel and colonel of the Spotsylvania County, Virginia militia during the Revolutionary War. He was comissary of the Caroline County Militia 1775-76.

Charles Town, West Virginia was founded in 1786 by an act of the Virginia Legislature on land provided by Charles Washington. Charles had already made a name for himself as a signer of the "Westmoreland Resolution" in 1766 and as colonel in the Virginia militia. His brother, George Washington, had surveyed the land there in 1748 and liked it so much that he urged Lawrence Washington, his half-brother and the owner of Mount Vernon, to purchase land in the area. In 1750, an 18-year-old George Washington invested his earnings as a surveyor in 500 acres of farmland on Bullskin Run, two miles southwest of Charles Town, later enlarging his holding to some 2,300 acres. When Lawrence Washington died in 1752 he willed Mount Vernon to George and the land upon which Charles Town would be built to his 14-year-old half-brother, Charles.

In the fall of 1780 a 42-year-old Charles moved his family from Fredericksburg to what would become Charles Town and built a home he named "Happy Retreat". George Washington was a frequent guest. In 1786, on 80 acres of his adjoining land, Charles laid out the town-- naming the streets himself, some after close relatives-- and expressed the wish to donate the four corner lots at the center of town for the use of the community. Today, his mansion at the end of Blakely Street is in private hands. Recently, the graves of Charles and Mildred Washington were found on the grounds. One of the buildings on Charles Town's public square is the famous Jefferson County Courthouse, site of two notorious treason trials, John Brown in 1859 and William Blizzard of Blair Mountain fame in 1921.

George Washington mentions in his diary staying at Happy Retreat at least two times. Also Gen. Daniel  Morgan, hero of the Battle of Cowpens in the Revolution, met here with Gen. Washington during one of his visits.3 

Charles WASHINGTON was named an heir in the will of George WASHINGTON dated on 9 July 1799 in Mt. Vernon. One of the provisions of the will was, "To my brother, Charles Washington, I give and bequeath the gold headed cane left to me by Doctr [Ben] Franklin in his will. I add nothing to it because of the ample provision I made for his issue."4

Charles WASHINGTON left a will dated 25 July 1799 in Charlestown, West Virginia. To wife Mildred certain slaves, and after her death to Samuel Washington. The will was proven 23 Sep 1799.

Charles WASHINGTON died on 16 September 1799 in Charles Town, Jefferson County, Virginia (now West Virginia), at age 61.

  • Children of Charles WASHINGTON and Mildred THORNTON
  • George Augustine WASHINGTON b. 1758, d. c 1793
  • Frances Ann WASHINGTON+ b. 4 Jun 1763, d. Feb 1815
  • Samuel WASHINGTON b. c 1765
  • Mildred WASHINGTON b. c 1777


  • [S158] Augustine Washington family Bible.
  • [S504] United Daughters of the American Revolution, DAR Lineage Book, Miss Mary Randolph Ball, No. 44, page 36-38.
  • [S633] Charles Town Walking Tour.
  • [S700] "The Papers of George Washington", George Washington's Will.

DAR Ancestor #: A121948 (see attached document)

Charles Washington (May 2, 1738 – September 16, 1799) was the youngest brother of United States President George Washington. He was a son of Augustine Washington and his second wife, Mary Ball Washington.


Charles was born at Hunting Creek in Stafford County, Virginia (now Fairfax County). He married Mildred Thornton, daughter of Colonel Francis Thornton and Frances Gregory in 1757.[1] They had four children and resided in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He arrived in present Jefferson County, West Virginia, between April and October 1780 and founded Charles Town. There he erected a house, Happy Retreat, the same year. In 1786, on 80 acres (323,750 m²) of his adjoining land, Charles laid out the streets of Charles Town, naming many of them after his brothers and one after his wife, Mildred. He donated the four corner lots at the intersection of George and Washington Streets for public buildings of the town and county, provided the town become the seat of the county upon its separation from Berkeley County. Jefferson County was formed in 1801 as Charles anticipated. The county court house stands on one of these lots.[2] Charles died sometime between July and September, 1799, only a short while before the death of his brother, George. The grave sites of Charles and Mildred are near Evitts Run and have recently been located and surrounded by a stone wall.



  1. George A. WASHINGTON b: 1763

2. Samuel WASHINGTON b: 1765
3. Frances WASHINGTON b: 1763
4. Mildred WASHINGTON b: 1777

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Colonel Charles Washington's Timeline

May 2, 1738
Hunting Creek, Stafford, Virginia
June 4, 1763
Stafford County, Virginia, British Colonial America
Happy Retreat Place, Virginia, British Colonial America
Westmoreland Co, VA
October 2, 1772
Fredericksburg, Virginia, United States
September 16, 1799
Age 61
Happy Retreat, Charles Town, Jefferson, West Virginia, United States
September 1799
Age 61
Charles Washington Family Graveyard, Charles Town, Jefferson, West Virginia, United States