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Historic Preservation Spotlight

Did you know that Prince William County was founded this month 292 years ago?

On March, 25, 1731, the Virginia House of Burgesses created a new county named in honor of Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland. The original County included modern day Prince William, Fauquier, Loudoun, Fairfax and Arlington Counties as well as the Cities of Manassas, Manassas Park, Alexandria, Falls Church and Fairfax. We truly are the birthplace of Northern Virginia! Prince William was the third and youngest son of King George II and was the Duke of Cumberland from 1726 onward. He is best remembered for his role in putting down the Jacobite Rising at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, which made him immensely popular throughout Britain, but despite his triumph at Culloden, he had a largely unsuccessful military career. Following the Convention of Klosterzeven in 1757 ending the British involvement in the Seven Year’s War, he never again held active military command and switched his attentions to politics and horse racing.

The exact legislation read:

"An Act for erecting a new County on the Heads of Stafford and King George Counties.

I. WHEREAS divers and sundry inconveniences attend the upper inhabitants of the said counties, by reason of their great distance from their respective court-houses, and other places, usually appointed for public meetings: Be it therefore enacted, by the Lieut. Governor, Council, and Burgesses, of this present General Assembly, and it is hereby enacted, by the authority of the same, That from and immediately after the twenty fifth day of March, one thousand seven hundred and thirty one, all the land, on the heads of the said counties, above Chopawansick Creek, on Potomack river, and Deep run, on Rappahannock river, and a south- west line to be made, from the head of the north branch of the said creek, to the head of the said Deep run, be divided and exempt from the said counties, and from all dependences, offices, and charges, for, or in respect thereof; and also discharged from all duties whatsoever, relating to the same; and be made a distinct county, and shall be called, & known by the name of Prince William county. And for the due administration of justice, Be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, and it is hereby enacted, That after the time aforesaid, a court, for the said county of Prince William, be constantly held by the justices thereof, upon the third Wednesday in every month, in such manner, as by the laws of this country, is provided, and shall be, by their commission, directed. And whereas, the said counties have considerable claims from the public for killing of wolves, Be it also enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That each of the said counties respectively, shall contribute their proportions of the said claims, to the inhabitants taken out of the said counties, into the county of Prince William, according to their number of tithables."

We annually commemorate the founding of Prince William County with the Prince William/Manassas History Symposium every March. Make sure to join us on Saturday, March 25th to learn about various topics of Prince William County history and the release of the annual Prince William History Journal.

View Winter Historic Perspectives Newsletter

Winter 2023 Contents:

  • Who Were They?
  • Collections Corner
  • Image Spotlight
  • History Corner
  • HPD News
  • Foundation Update

March Program Highlights

Visit Prince William County Historic Preservation website for updates regarding hours of operation and upcoming programs.

Ben Lomond Historic Site, Rippon Lodge Historic Site and Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre are open for self-guided tours Friday-Monday 10am-4pm with guided tours offered at 11am and 2pm.

March 18

Cooking a Traditional St. Patrick's Day Meal

Many 19th century Prince William County citizens traced their roots to Ireland. The meals they prepared reflected their Irish ancestry. Participants will be able to prepare and taste traditional Irish dishes in the historic slave quarter at Ben Lomond. Please wear appropriate shoes and clothing for the weather. Advanced registration required at

Ben Lomond Historic Site

10321 Sudley Manor Dr.

Manassas, VA


March 23

Prince William Historic Preservation Lecture Series: Rise of a Region: A Developmental History of Northern Virginia

7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.; free, $5 suggested donation.

Learn how the built environment of Northern Virginia developed into the places we live, work, and entertain in today. Andrew Painter has researched and written articles examining the region’s land development history.

Old Manassas Courthouse

9248 Lee Ave.

Manassas, VA


March 25

“Historic Communities of Change” The Eighth Annual Prince William/Manassas History Symposium

8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; $10 per person

Prince William County has many different layers to its history, and many individuals have shaped its complex past. Come learn about some of the early pioneers in County history at the Eighth Annual Prince William/Manassas History Symposium: “Historic Community of Change.” Topics covered in lectures will include Parson Weems, George Carr Round, and railroads of Prince William County, among others. The Fifth issue of the “Journal of Prince William History” will be released at the symposium and will be on sale for the special one-day price of $5. More Info & Register

Old Manassas Courthouse

9248 Lee Ave.

Manassas, VA


March 25

Scrambled Egg Hunts at Brentsville Courthouse

10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m.; $30 per egg hunt.

Enjoy a unique spin on an egg hunt at Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre! Peter Rabbit has created trouble again at Brentsville by taking all the candy and toys in our eggs and replacing them with tasks and riddles. He won’t give back the goods unless we solve the puzzle! Due to his mischievous nature, Peter made challenges specifically tailored for each family who dares to try and solve them. He would like to include everyone and make it a fair and fun challenge for all! Can you find the all the eggs he hid to get all the clues and solve his puzzle?

Egg hunt areas are divided by family groups of six or less, with a time limit of 30 minutes for each egg hunt. Once your puzzle is complete, turn it in to receive a gift basket for the family to take home filled with treats, prizes, and more. For families who need special or individual assistance, please contact Veronica Laughman, ADA Coordinator, 703-792-8066 before March 25th so staff may be able to make accommodations for your family. Advanced registration is required at

Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre

12229 Bristow Rd.

Bristow, VA


March 25

Rippon Lodge Garden Day Prep

10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Volunteers welcome, ages 13 and older; free.

What does it take to plant a historic garden? Come gain some hands-on experience as staff and volunteers work on preparing the vegetable garden for 2023. Tools provide, however, bringing your own gloves and hand tools is encouraged. Advanced registration at

Rippon Lodge Historic Site

15520 Blackburn Rd.

Woodbridge, VA


We are adding new historical content every day to our social media accounts ranging from virtual tours of county historical sites, interesting pieces of local and national history, and fun quiz questions and activities.

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