The Resource Agency history of the Virginia Northern Neck Land Office
- Agency history of the Virginia Northern Neck Land Office
- The records of the Northern Neck Land Office are now part of the Virginia Land Office. Agency history record describes the history and functions of the Virginia Land Office (Search Virginia Land Office as author).
- Biographical or historical data
- Larger and older than any of the Council grants was the one in that area between the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers known as the Northern Neck. In 1649 the exiled King Charles II gave that unsettled region to seven of his loyal supporters. Charles's grant to these men was upheld following his return to the throne and renewed in 1669 as a twenty-one year lease. The lease, however, excluded three of the seven original grantees. When the heir of one of the excluded discovered the omission, he protested on his own and his uncle's behalf, and when the lease was signed in 1671, six names were included. Over the next decade, John, Lord Culpeper, one of those who had been excluded, purchased the shares of four of the six lessees and, in 1688, the final grant to the Northern Neck was issued to Thomas, Lord Culpeper. His daughter's marriage to Thomas, Lord Fairfax, in 1690, introduced the family whose name became synonymous with the region.
- The first grant was issued by the agents of the proprietor in 1690. To obtain land in the Northern Neck persons purchased warrants which specified the exact location of the land desired. A warrant was taken to a surveyor, and the land desired was surveyed. The plat and any accompanying papers were returned to the proprietor's office from which, if no discrepancy existed and no conflicting claim was presented, a grant was issued. The survey was filed and the grant recorded before delivery. Unlike the colonial Land Office, the Northern Neck Land Office did not annually destroy plats.
- The Northern Neck Proprietary, consisting of 5,282,000 acres, continued to operate during the Revolutionary War. As Lord Fairfax, due to his residence in the colony since 1735, was not considered an alien, no effort was made to seize his landholdings. After his death in 1781, the office was closed. Since his heirs were British subjects, a decision was made to gain control of his lands and the taxes due on them. For the next thirty years, the ownership of the proprietary was in dispute. Fairfax family interest was terminated in 1808 when the last surviving heir sold his title to his remaining manor to a syndicate. A number of court cases were instituted, the last of which was decided by the United State Supreme Court in 1816.
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