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                                                                                                                (Courtesy of the Maryland Historical Society) 


Richard Blackburn, a carpenter by trade from Ripon, England, built Rippon Lodge around 1747 on the banks of Neabsco Creek, on a tract bounded by the Potomac River, and along the Kings Highway, a colonial-era north-south roadway. The modest wood frame houseoriginally four rooms and an upstairs loft, and roughly 34 x 31 feet was situated strategically for the ease of moving goods to market at the Port of Dumfries. A lucrative trade in tobacco and other goods made Blackburn, who also owned other properties, a wealthy Virginia gentleman rather quickly. Upon Richard’s death in 1757, his son, Thomas, inherited his father’s home and properties. Thomas Blackburn followed in his father’s footsteps by serving in public office. He also was a Lt. Colonel in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and entertained George Washington at Rippon Lodge on several occassions. Thomas made additions to the house in 1800, adding a grand staircase and additional rooms on the first floor. His daughter, Nancy, and her husband, Bushrod Washington (George Washington’s nephew), inherited Rippon Lodge in 1808. This painting by Benjamin Latrobe depicts the plantation circa 1798. Today's house is the one on the right.