Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

091-0008 Fortsville

Photo credit: Elizabeth Lipford/DHR, 2021

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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 06/02/1970

NRHP Listing Date 09/15/1970

NRHP Reference Number 70000828

Fortsville was the home of John Young Mason (1799-1859), who served in Congress and held the offices of U.S. secretary of the navy, attorney general, and minister to France. He helped draw up the 1854 Ostend Manifesto, which stated the necessity for the United States to take possession of Cuba. The early 19th-century house apparently was built by Mason’s father-in-law, Lewis Fort. John Young Mason and his wife, Mary Ann Fort, made Fortsville their home following their marriage in 1821. The three-part composition is a local interpretation of the Palladian format favored by more architecturally literate Virginians in the early 19th century. Fortsville has a larger scale and finer detailing than most of this type. Its sophistication is emphasized by the starkness of its setting in the flat fields that surround this property, located on the boundary of Sussex and Southampton counties. Fortsville stood neglected for many years but has since been restored.

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Updated: July 1, 2021