World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Fairfax Stone

Fairfax Stone Historical Monument State Park
West Virginia State Park
Fairfax Stone
Country United States
State West Virginia
Counties Grant, Preston, Tucker
Elevation 3,169 ft (965.9 m)
Coordinates 11|42|N|79|29|15|W|type:landmark_region:US-WV name=


Area 4 acres (1.6 ha)
Established 1957 [1]
 - Dedicated October 5, 1957 [1]
Owner West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
Nearest city Thomas, West Virginia
Location of Fairfax Stone Historical Monument State Park in West Virginia
Website: West Virginia State Parks & Forests

Fairfax Stone Historical Monument State Park is a West Virginia state park commemorating the Fairfax Stone, a surveyor's marker and boundary stone at the source of the North Branch of the Potomac River in West Virginia. The original stone was placed on October 23, 1746[2] to settle a boundary dispute between Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron and the English Privy Council concerning the Northern Neck of Virginia. It determined the proprietorship and boundaries of a large tract of mostly unsurveyed land in the English colonies of Maryland and Virginia.



Fairfax Stone Historical Monument, part of a four-acre West Virginia state park, is six miles north of Thomas, West Virginia. There are no facilities.


Fairfax Stone


The exact boundaries of the "Northern Neck Land Grant" (later called the "Fairfax Grant") had been undetermined since it was first contrived in 1649 by the then-exiled King Charles II. John Savage and his survey party had located the site of the source of the North Branch of the Potomac River (the northern boundary of the tract) in 1736, but had made no attempt to establish the western boundaries.[3] A 1746 survey by Colonel Peter Jefferson (Thomas Jefferson's father) and Thomas Lewis resulted in both the placement of the Fairfax Stone as well as the establishment of a line of demarcation known as the "Fairfax Line", extending from the Stone to the south-east and ending at the source of the Rappahannock River,[4] a distance of 77 miles (124 km).[5]

The North Branch of the Potomac River initially heads west from its source at the Fairfax Stone before curving north and then generally flowing east toward Chesapeake Bay. For this reason, the Stone is only a county corner of West Virginia counties rather than part of the state's border with Maryland, an issue that was only resolved when the Supreme Court ruled against Maryland in 1910 in determining that Maryland would only go westward up the Potomac far enough to meet a point where a line north from the Fairfax Stone would cross that branch of the Potomac.[6] Until the ruling, the boundary of Maryland was indeterminate. West Virginia counties—Tucker County and Preston County— share the boundary marked by the Fairfax Stone (West Virginia having seceded from Virginia during the American Civil War).

Fate of the original stone

The original Fairfax Stone, in accordance with common surveying practices of the era, was most likely simply a natural, unmarked rock selected from among the outcroppings in the area. Legal boundary disputes between Maryland and Virginia caused the latter to relocate the stone in 1833 after the site had been lost to memory.[7] The stone was still intact in 1859 when one Lieutenant Melcher found it again and reran the "Fairfax Line" on behalf of the two states. The Stone was gone by 1909, however, having been carried away by vandals.[7] There have been six Fairfax Stones, one replacing the next because of weather or graffiti. The current stone is a six-ton rock with a flat face, on which is inlaid a historical inscription of the stone's significance. Next to it is the 1910 stone.[8] The present Fairfax Stone was dedicated on October 5, 1957.[9]

See also


External links

  • History of the Fairfax Line from
  • Proceedings of the Council of Maryland, 1753-1761 from the Maryland State Archives
  • "US SCt Deakins Line Stone 33, 1910, Maryland - West Virginia" from

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.