Prior to the Revolutionary War period in the United States, George Washington was a close friend of Lord Fairfax who may well be described as Washington’s primary source of culture and refinement. Fairfax owned a large amount of land in Northern Virginia, and over time he let parcels go to patrons for noble purposes.

In the 1770s about 1775 to be more precise, a farm of 500 acres in size was allotted for the Glebe House. The Glebe was for the parsonage of the Anglican church for Fairfax Parish. Since the Anglican church was the Church of England and since the Revolutionary War was underway, there was probably some pressure away from that branch.

However, not far away in Falls Church, Virginia, there was another church, also in the Fairfax domain, and that church would give to the colonial settlement its name. George Mason and George Washington would be vestmentarians at Falls Church which James Christopher Wren would design and build. “The Glebe, built in 1815, is a historic house with an octagon-shaped wing that is located at 4527 17th St., North in Arlington, Virginia. It served as the glebe house of Fairfax Parish, Virginia. On February 23, 1972, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.[1] It is also preserved by the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust with a conservation easement.”

When I first moved to Arlington, Virginia about 10 years ago, this building was the home of the National Genealogical Society, and that seemed fitting. Then, they moved away because the facility is too small for operations of that size.

When the facility was in limbo, the public could walk on the grounds to look around. Today, it is more of a fortress behind a fence and it is posted as “private.” That is too bad.

The location of The Glebe is atop a hill that is somewhat parallel with a hill to the west that is Hall’s Hill. Hall was a freed slave in the Civil War, among the first in the area to gain freedom by virtue of being close to where Federal Soldiers patrolled against Confederates who were right next door in Falls Church.

Another old church is in the neighborhood that lies between The Glebe and Falls Church, and that is Mt. Olivet, now a Methodist Church. Mt. Olivet is famous for having been a place used to care for wounded soldiers in the Civil War and where some unknown soldiers from the first battle at Manassas are buried. A marker was just installed last year to honor the fallen Confederates.

Also, this is where the lady whose idea it was to create Memorial Day is buried next to her sister. Sue Landon Vaughan (nee Adams) is a descendent of John Adams.

“On March 12, 1855, John B. Brown and his wife Cornelia, and William Marcy and his wife Ann, resolved an ownership dispute over the church site property by each deeding that property in trust for a Methodist Protestant Church meetinghouse and burial ground. George C. Wunder, the owner of a nearby farm, made the first contribution to the church building fund in the amount of one hundred dollars (equivalent to more than eight thousand dollars today).

The cornerstone for the first building, a two story structure approximately 35 feet by 50 feet in size, was laid in 1855 and the building was completed in 1860, the year before the American Civil War began. In the summer of 1861, Union soldiers retreating from the First Battle of Bull Run encamped near the church and commandeered it for use as a hospital and then a stable.”