Image courtesy of Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Meeting Notes: March 20, 2024

The March 20, 2024, meeting was held in the Westhampton Room, Heilman Dining Center, at the University of Richmond. Meeting attendance continues to grow towards pre-pandemic numbers.

Bill Welch announced the membership’s selection of Wilton House Museum, Richmond, Virginia, as AART-R’s 2023 Preservation Partner. Dr Joseph Rizzo, executive director of Wilton House Museum, was presented with a donation to continue their preservation work.

Charles McDaniel was the presenter for the evening. He is chairman of Hilldrup Moving and Storage Corporation, a University of Richmond graduate and owner of the Sentry Box House. He and his family have restored the Sentry Box and currently reside there. Sentry Box is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Weedon built the Sentry Box House in about 1786 and named it to reflect an aspect of his military career. The property overlooks the Rappahannock River in the historic district of Fredericksburg and has a terraced lawn that extends to the river and provides a view across the river toward Ferry Farm in Stafford County.

Mr. McDaniel’s presentation included the topics: Brigadier General George Weedon’s life, the Sentry Box House, Weedon’s family, neighbors and friends in Fredericksburg, the importance of Fredericksburg as the third most populated town in the Colony of Virginia, Fredericksburg’s importance as a transportation hub of roads and waterways, and nearby industries such as the Hunter Iron Works at Falmouth.

George Weedon’s military experience began during the French and Indian War while serving with George Washington and Hugh Mercer. After the French and Indian War ended in 1763, Weedon returned to Fredericksburg and married Catharine Gordon. Hugh Mercer married Catharine’s sister, Isabella. The Gordon family owned a popular tavern known as "Mrs. Gordon’s Tavern" which Weedon began managing. The tavern became the social center of Fredericksburg's wealthy planter class and became a meeting place for Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Hugh Mercer, George Mason, John Marshall, Richard Henry Lee, Gustavus Browne Wallace, William Woodford, George Washington, and other well-known patriots.

Weedon re-entered military service into the Virginia militia and rose to the rank of Continental Army brigadier general. In consequence of a question of General William Woodford’s supremacy of rank, Weedon retired from service shortly after the battle of Germantown. Not having resigned, he resumed command of a brigade in 1780. During the siege of Yorktown, Weedon led the Virginia militia at Gloucester Point. Seizing that strategic position located directly across from Yorktown, on the opposite bank of the York River. Weedon prevented Cornwallis' escape across the York River thus sealing the fate of Cornwallis. This forced Cornwallis’ surrender of all the British forces, effectively ending America's war for independence October 19, 1781.

Mr. McDaniel spoke about generals who lived in the Fredericksburg area; among them were Brigadier General George Weedon, General George Washington, Brigadier General Hugh Mercer, Brigadier General John Minor, and Brigadier General William Woodford. In presenting, he included the famous lineage of the Mercer family (General George S. Patton, Jr., and songwriter Johnny Mercer).

Weedon contributed significantly to the success of the Revolutionary War and played an active role in the beginnings of post-war government and commerce in Fredericksburg.

The McDaniels have agreed to include The Sentry Box House on the Historic Garden Week Fredericksburg Tour.

Further information is available at the following links:

 Biography of George Weedon

Sentry Box House History

Sentry Box Fredericksburg

Sentry Box National Register of Historic Places

Hugh Mercer's Fredericksburg

Mercer Family's Military Lineage


Fred Sorrell


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