STOP #05

1200 Charles Street

George Washington purchased this residence for his mother Mary Ball Washington in 1772. The original three-room cottage was built in 1759, making the house one of the oldest surviving structures in Fredericksburg. Mary Ball Washington was born in 1708 and orphaned at a young age. In 1731, Mary Ball married Augustine Washington with whom she had six children.  A single mother following the death of her husband, Mary Washington raised her children while supervising the family’s plantation Ferry Farm.  

By the early 1770s, the management of Ferry Farm was becoming too much for Mary to continue by herself, and she moved to her Fredericksburg residence in spring 1772. Mary resided in the house until her death in 1789 from breast cancer. While living in Fredericksburg, Mary witnessed the American Revolution and the establishment of a new nation, including her oldest son’s elevation to the presidency. Notable visitors included George and Martha Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette.  

In 1890, the Mary Washington House was saved from being relocated to Chicago, Illinois, as part of the World’s Columbian Exposition. In 1900, it was opened to the public as a museum. Now maintained by the Washington Heritage Museums, visitors learn about the life and era of Mary Washington. Museum highlights include Mary Washington’s teapot, best dressing glass, and book of meditation. The museum store is stocked with locally made items including jams, jellies, books about Mary Washington and the American Revolution, and unique souvenirs.   

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