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Thomas Fairfax Fairfax of Cameron, 6th Baron

Fairfax of Cameron, Thomas Fairfax, 6th Baron, 1693–1781, proprietor of the Northern Neck of Virginia, b. England. He inherited the Northern Neck, comprising the land between the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers, through his mother from his grandfather, the 2d Baron Culpeper, colonial governor of Virginia. Virginia disputed the extent of his grant, and both parties had surveys made, Fairfax journeying (1735–37) to the colony for that purpose. In 1745 the British privy council, in return for certain concessions made by Fairfax, confirmed his claim in full (a minimum of 5,282,000 acres/2,137,500 hectares), and two years later he returned to Virginia to live permanently. He spent several years with his cousin and former agent, Col. William Fairfax, the patron of the youthful George Washington, at "Belvoir" on the Potomac before moving (1752) to the Shenandoah valley, where he built "Greenway Court," near Winchester. Although a Loyalist in sentiment (he was the only resident peer in the colonies), he went unharmed during the American Revolution. The state of Virginia canceled the proprietorship in 1785.

See biography by S. E. Brown (1965).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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