This is the story of Orange GroveYou are standing on land that was owned by the same family for over 200 years, from colonial days to the beginning of Lake of the Woods.
Alexander Spotswood, Lt. Gov. of the Colony of Virginia 1710 - 1722, obtained patent to the "Alexandria" tract in 1728. It contained 28,000 acres along the south shore of the Rapidan, including Lake of the Woods. Alexander requested his heirs to hold the land.
His son, Col. John Spotswood inherited his father's property and established his seat at Newport, a 2800 acre farm 4 miles south of Fredericksburg. Col. John Spotswood died at the young age of 31. His sister Katie and her husband Col. Bernard Moore became guardians to John's sons, Alexander and John, and a trustee of the estate.
His youngest son, Capt. John Spotswood fought in the Revolutionary War at Brandywine and Germantown. He was severely wounded and taken prisoner. By personal intervention of General Washington, he was released and returned to the Fredericksburg area.
Capt. John SpotswoodFounded Orange Grove plantation in the Wilderness, Virginia, part of his father's and grandfather's land.
1790s - Orange Grove was one of the prominent residences in Orange County. While there is no surviving description of the mansion, it is known that John was noted for his hospitality, and his home was a favorite stopping place for Orange County gentleman, going to Fredericksburg on business or for pleasure.
1782 - The Orange County census lists John as head of household for 8 white and 40 black.
1787 - Gentlemen Judge of the Orange County Court.
John Spotswood, Jr.Capt. John Spotswood died in 1800 leaving all his land in Orange County to his son John, Jr.
1816 - John Jr. did not follow his great-grandfather's advice to hold the land. John advertised for sale, "My saw-mill tract of land, situated on the lower end of Orange County, containing about 1200 acres."
1825 - His daughter Mary's wedding was held at the house
1826 - Gold was discovered in this area of Orange County. For three years John Spotswood, Jr. received $3,000 income from the mines.
1833 - John divided his land between sons Richard and John Rowzie. He gave John Rowzie the 500 acres parcel called "Orange Grove."
1835 - John died at his residence on April 13. His wife, Mary Goode Spotswood, retained her rights to Orange Grove until March 1846.
John Rowzie Spotswood1799 - Born and lived at Orange Grove for 90 years.
1826 - Married Lelia M. Allison; they had nine children
1852 - Gentleman Judge of the Orange Co. Court
Orange Grove during the Civil War
May. 1863 ~ Battle of ChancellorsvilleDuring the Battle of Chancellorsville, very near where Stonewall Jackson was wounded, although not a soldier and about 65-years-old, John Rowzie Spotswood was taken there to Washington City, and lodged in Carroll Prison.
One of J.R. Spotswood's sons, J.R. Jr., was captured at Orange Grove on May 2, 1863. He was in the 9th VA Cavalry recovering from illness at home. "He was captured on his father's farm, near the Wilderness, having stood the fire of some ten to fifteen shot from the invaders before surrendering." He died the following month.
November 1863 ~ Mine Run CampaignAlso spoken of as the battle of Locust Grove, of Paynes Tavern and of Orange Grove.
General Meade crossed Germanna Ford and established his headquarters near the Spotswood farm.
May 1864 ~ Battle of the WildernessDuring the Battle of the Wilderness, the Spotswood farm was sketched by Alfred Waud from a point of view of approximately our Veteran's Dam.