Frederick County, Va. Sept. 8, 1766. p. Vellum, 8 x 14 1/4 inches, official seal present. Some soiling. Wear along folds, with minor loss of a few letters. Docketed on verso. About very good. Item #WRCAM50029
An official document recording a contract to rent land to one Isaac Foster by Thomas Fairfax, the Sixth Lord Fairfax and proprietor of the Northern Neck of Virginia. In the document, Fairfax agrees to rent 326 acres of land in Frederick County to Isaac Foster, the boundaries of which are described therein. Fairfax retains rights to part of the natural resources of the land, including "a full third of all lead, copper, tin, coals, iron mine and iron ore that shall be found thereon." Thomas Lord Fairfax (1693-1781), a baron in the Scottish peerage, inherited a domain of over 5,000,000 acres through his Culpepper ancestors. His vast proprietorship in the Northern Neck of Virginia, which encompassed the areas between the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers and westward, had been managed by Robert "King" Carter, but when Fairfax learned how rich Carter had become on his death in 1732, he decided to move to Virginia and manage his estates himself. He soon became the richest man in Virginia. The ANB notes that "...in Frederick County Lord Fairfax worked at managing his farms, granting vacant land, and collecting quitrents from Chesapeake Bay to the Appalachian Mountains. As lord of the manor he was magistrate in every county within the proprietorship and occasionally sat with their courts. He helped found the towns of Winchester and Alexandria and backed a Potomac River canal. During the Seven Years' War, he commanded Virginia's militia on the northern frontier. Since the Northern Neck encompassed only part of the Old Dominion's territory, his role in the colony's government was unofficial, but he exerted influence through discreet patronage of Northern Neck gentry." A very old man when the Revolution broke out, he was unmolested personally despite being a devout Loyalist. He died in 1781 at the age of 88. His estates, however, had been confiscated in 1779. His heirs received only a comparatively minor settlement from the British government. An interesting colonial document relating to lands in northern Virginia, typical of Fairfax's transactions as a proprietor.