Ferdinando Fairfax

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About Ferdinando Fairfax


Ferdinando Fairfax (born in 1766 at Shannon Hill, Jefferson County, Virginia (now West Virginia); died on 24 September 1820 at Mount Eagle, Fairfax County, Virginia) was a Virginia landowner and member of the prominent Fairfax family.


He was the son of Bryan Fairfax and Elizabeth Cary, sister of Sally Fairfax. George Washington and Martha Washington who traveled to Towlston Grange after his birth to stand as his godparents. Ferdinando was also the heir to George William Fairfax.

He was a justice of the peace for Jefferson County, Virginia and was, at the same time, the largest slave owner in the County.

From the 1770s to 1780s, several people developed plans as possible ways of abolishing slavery. Fairfax offered his "practicable scheme" for resolving this enduring dilemma when he developed his “Plan for Liberating the Negroes within the United States” in 1790. All of these plans were similar in that they wanted the abolition of slaves to be gradual, they wanted the government to compensate the slave owners for the lost property, and they wanted to colonize the freed slaves in a separate place from the white society.

He later squandered his inheritance on visionary schemes and squatters lawsuits.

Ferdinando married his first cousin Elizabeth Blair Cary, daughter of Wilson Miles Cary and Sarah Blair. The couple had children: George William Fairfax (born November 5, 1797), who married Isabella McNeil; Wilson Miles Cary Fairfax, who married Lucy Griffeth; Farinda Fairfax, who married Perrin Washington; Mary Fairfax who married Rev. Samuel Hagins, Sally Fairfax; Ferdinando Fairfax II, who married Mary Jett; Christiana Fairfax, who married Thomas Ragland; William Henry Fairfax; Thomas Fairfax; Archibald Blair Fairfax.

Donald McNeill Fairfax was his grandson.

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Ferdinando Fairfax's Timeline

Jefferson Co., Virginia, United States
November 5, 1797
Age 31
Jefferson, VA, USA
Age 32
Age 34
Jefferson Co., W.V.
Age 37
Age 43
September 24, 1820
Age 54