Jane Charlotte Blackburn Washington and John Augustine Washington III correspondence
Scope and Contents
The bulk of this collection is made up of letters from Jane Charlotte Washington to her son, John Augustine Washington III. Also included are letters to Eleanor Love Selden Washington, a few letters to or from John Augustine Washington III to various individuals, several letters from George Mason of Hollin Hall (1797-1870) to John Augustine Washington III, letters by Lackland and Alexander family members (relatives of the Washingtons) and three receipts. The subject matter of most letters is family or personal affairs and Mount Vernon business with some discussion of the enslaved people owned by the Washingtons. Inclusive dates are 1837 to 1861.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research during scheduled appointments. Researchers must complete the Washington Library’s Special Collections and Archives Registration Form before access is provided. The library reserves the right to restrict access to certain items for preservation purposes.
Biographical / Historical
Jane Charlotte Blackburn was born on August 23, 1786 at Rippon Lodge, Prince William, Virginia to Major Richard Scott Blackburn and Judith Blackburn. She married John Augustine Washington II and had five children, three of whom lived to adulthood – Anna Maria Thomasina Washington Alexander, John Augustine Washington III, and Richard Scott Blackburn Thomas. The couple lived at Blakely plantation near Charles Town, West Virginia, until the death of Bushrod Washington in 1829, who left the property of Mount Vernon to John Augustine Washington II in his will. When her husband died in 1832, Jane Charlotte Washington inherited Mount Vernon and vowed to maintain the estate to the best of her ability. She insisted her oldest son, John Augustine Washington III, attend college to better prepare him to someday manage the family’s properties. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1840 and a year later began overseeing all business at Mount Vernon for his mother. Jane Charlotte Washington died in 1855 and is buried at Mount Vernon with her husband.
John Augustine Washington was the great-grandnephew of George Washington and the last Washington to own Mount Vernon before its sale to the Mount Vernon Ladies Association (MVLA). He was born on May 3, 1821 to John Augustine Washington II and Jane Charlotte Blackburn Washington. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1840, and returned to Mount Vernon to manage the declining estate with his widowed mother’s permission. In 1843, he married Eleanor Love Selden with whom he had seven children. He sold 200 acres of Mount Vernon to the MVLA in 1858 for $200,000, and he and his family moved to Waveland plantation in Fauquier County, Virginia in 1860. He served as aide-de-camp to General Robert E. Lee, but was shot by a bushwhacker and died one week later on September 13, 1861.
5.7 Linear Feet (4 manuscript boxes)
Language of Materials
Arranged chronologically with undated material at the end of the collection.
- Jane Charlotte Blackburn Washington and John Augustine Washington III correspondence
- Rebecca Baird, Archivist, and Candace Cowan, library volunteer
- February 2022
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description