"THIS INDENTURE made the 14thday of June in the Ninth Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George II, of Great Brittain, France and Ireland King of all, Anno Domini 1735 Between Alexander Spotswood Esq., on the one part, and Charles Dewitt planter on the other part, WITNESSETH......." so begins our story. Recorded with that lease is a survey of 100 acres with a drawing of a house in Orange County. It was part of the 40,000 acres patented by Alexander Spotswood and called the Spotsylvania Tract along the "Rappidanne" river. The lease was to Dewitt and his wife "during the natural life and lives of the longest liver of them" paying on December 5 of every year "one ear of Indian Corn" for four years and then "Six hundred pounds weight of good, sound mearchantable Top Tobacco clear of ground leaves and trash" every year thereafter. We will never know who built the oldest portion of this house but it clearly stood in 1735 and is one of the oldest residences, if not the oldest, in Orange County.
By deeds of 1761 and 1771, William Chisholm bought the land from Spotswood's Estate later selling it James Gordon in 1799. The farm sold several more times before it landed in the hands of the J.Ashby Hansborough family in 1926 where it remained for the next fifty years.
The earliest portion of the house is the low, story-and-a-half frame section to the East. It is two rooms deep with a loft above. The two first level rooms have corner fireplaces, a distinctive Tidewater influence, both served by a single chimney on the gable-end wall. There is a warming cupboard built above one of the fireplaces. The western portion of the house was built by William Roach about 1839. It features a center-hall entry, parlor, English basement and two loft rooms. The English basement has 2' thick stone walls and retains the kitchen pit used for the storage of food. Oral tradition has it here was hidden whiskey and children during the Civil War. Today, the house is beaded weatherboard siding capped with a standing-seam metal roof. There is hand-stenciled wainscotting, heart pine floors and beaded ceiling joists. Ceiling height is 10' on the entry level.
In the 1930's, Ashby Hansbourough added the kitchen, dining and informal entry to the south of the older sections preserving the original woodwork for this generation. This splendid little manor has undergone extensive restoration over the last 15 years and requires no effort to begin use as a private retreat or permanent residence. Here, too, is a log-cabin guest quarters with bedroom, stone fireplace, full bath and private deck overlooking Mountain Run. A lovely kitchen garden features an 18th century cabin as storage space. The stable is nearby with fenced paddocks, waterers and run-in-sheds. There are 6+ miles of ATV and/or horseback riding trails on the farm. A billiard building and equipment shed complete the improvements.
The Property fronts 6,133' on the south bank of the Rapidan with elevations ranging from 150' to 360'. There is an ATV/horse bridge across broad Mountain Run and there is frontage on Mine Run, both of which empty into the Rapidan at Windsor. There are about 90 acres in fertile bottomland, 15 acres in pasture with the balance in mature forest. Farm equipment (most dating from 2006-2008 in excellent order) is conveyed with the farm.
The Va. Department of Game and Inland Fisheries describes fishing access along this portion of the Rapidan as "primitive", meaning difficult, with canoe access miles apart. The reward is a Rapidan where the water is "clear, swift, and dominant substrates are bedrock, boulder and cobble providing perfect habitat for smallmouth bass.....". With the removal of Embrey Dam, shad and striped bass now seasonally migrate upstream beyond Fredericksburg and could ascend to Windsor.
Devil's Knob, the highest elevation at Windsor, was one of the Confederate observation posts during the Civil War. From here Robert E. Lee's Lieutenants witnessed Ulysses S. Grant amass an army of 122,00 soldiers across the River in Culpeper. Shortly after Midnight on May, 4, 1864 Grant's Army crossed the Rapidan just downstream at Germanna to meet Lee's troops of nearly100,000 and the Battle of the Wilderness began.
Windsor is for sale with 300 acres for $1,650,000 or with 404 acres for $1,950,000