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John Augustine Washington III and descendants papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 2018-SC-097

Scope and Contents

This collection contains correspondence, legal documents, financial records, and other documents related to John Augustine Washington III and his son Lawrence, as well as his granddaughters Anne and Patty. The bulk of the correspondence series are letters sent to John Augustine Washington III 1840-1860. They deal with family affairs and the management of various family plantations, including Mount Vernon. The late-nineteenth and twentieth century papers are divided into subject files, largely related to the gift and sale of Washington family relics owned by John Augustine’s descendants.


  • Majority of material found within 1771 - 1994


Biographical / Historical

Washington, John Augustine, III (1821-1861): (Taken from the Digital Encyclopedia entry by Matthew Costello, George Washington’s Mount Vernon website) John Augustine Washington III was the great-grand nephew of George Washington and the last private owner of Mount Vernon. The fourth of five children, he was born on May 3, 1821 to John Augustine Washington II and Jane Charlotte Blackburn Washington. John Augustine spent his young childhood at his parents’ Blakeley plantation near present day Charles Town, West Virginia, but after the deaths of Bushrod Washington and his wife Julia in 1829, the Mount Vernon estate became the possession of Bushrod’s nephew, John Augustine Washington II. As the son of a wealthy Virginia planter, John Augustine enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle at Mount Vernon, developing interests in politics, hunting, and agriculture. After John Augustine Washington II passed away in June 1832, the estate was left to his widow Jane Charlotte, who vowed to maintain the estate to the best of her ability without involving her children’s inheritances. While John Augustine Washington III preferred his more aristocratic pastimes, Jane insisted that he attend college after his father’s death. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1840, returning to Mount Vernon in September 1841 with a proposition to manage the estate for his mother. She agreed, loaning him twenty-two slaves and contracting his employment for five hundred dollars per year for seven years. As the oldest living male heir, John Augustine Washington III positioned himself to take possession of Mount Vernon from his mother. While she did not pass away until 1855, she gave John Augustine the proverbial keys to the kingdom, granting him full autonomy to run the plantation as he saw fit.
Washington, Lawrence (1854-1920): Lawrence Washington was the fifth child and eldest son of John Augustine Washington III and Eleanor Love Selden Washington. He was born at Mount Vernon on January 14, 1854. He married Frances Willis Lackland on June 14, 1876, and the couple had twelve children, including Anne Madison and Patty Willis Washington, who inherited a large collection of Washington relics from their father.


4.25 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection is organized in the following series and subseries. Except where noted, materials are arranged chronologically, with undated materials listed last.

Series 1. Correspondence - arranged alphabetically by creator’s last name, then chronologically, with undated materials listed last.
Subseries 1.1. Letters from Hannah Lee Washington Alexander
Subseries 1.2. Letters from Judith B. Alexander
Subseries 1.3. Letters from William Fontaine Alexander
Subseries 1.4. Letters from Robert Beverley
Subseries 1.5. Letters from George Mason
Series 2. Legal Documents
Series 3. Financial Records
Series 4. Subject Files
Subseries 4.1. Braddock Sash
Subseries 4.2. Chapman Portrait of the Family of Mrs. John Augustine Washington
Subseries 4.3. Christ Church, Alexandria
Subseries 4.4. Dismal Swamp Land Company
Subseries 4.5. Genealogical Notes
Subseries 4.6. The George Washington Masonic National Memorial Association
Subseries 4.7. Lawrence Washington (1854-1920)
Subseries 4.8. Louis XVI Engraving
Subseries 4.9. Newspaper Clippings
Subseries 4.10. Portrait of Lawrence Washington
Subseries 4.11. Swords of George Washington
Subseries 4.12. Typescript Documents
Subseries 4.13. Washington Descendants
Series 5. Prints and Photographic Materials
The John Augustine Washington III and Descendants Papers, 1771-1994
In Progress
Katherine Hoarn, Special Collections Librarian
May 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections at the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington Repository

PO Box 3600
Mount Vernon VA 22121