Submitted by FHMaster on Sun, 12/18/2016 - 13:04

Rippon Lodge is one of the oldest houses remaining in Prince William CountyVirginia. Built around 1747 by Richard Blackburn (1705-1757) as the main residence and headquarters of his agricultural forced labor camp, it lies on high ground overlooking Neabsco Creek at the south end of what is now the unincorporated town of Woodbridge at 15520 Blackburn Road. The house takes its name from Richard Blackburn's birthplace, the small city of Ripon in North YorkshireEngland.

The plantation house is located along a remnant of the original Kings Highway (now known as the "Washington–Rochambeau Revolutionary Route" ); this vital roadway connected the 13 original colonies, stretching from Newport, Rhode Island to Charleston, South Carolina, playing a vital role in the American Revolutionary War. It was along this road that colonial troops marched to defeat the British at Yorktown.

Originally a tobacco plantation, the land holdings stretched from Neabsco Creek westward to near what is now I-95 and amounted to about 21,000 acres (85 km²). The property featured its own port on Neabsco Creek and is close to the town of Dumfries, a once-important colonial seaport.

Built by Richard Blackburn with the profits of forced labor, the house was passed to his son, Col. Thomas Blackburn. It was sold around 1820 to the Atkinson family who lived there for about 100 years.

In 1923 the property was sold again. The buyers were from Washington, D.C., an assistant to the Attorney General and his wife, Mr. Wade H. and Mrs. Dessie Ellis. Mr. Ellis both renovated and preserved the property. Sometime after buying Rippon Lodge, he discovered that he was a descendant of Richard Blackburn, but it is not clear at what point during his tenure this became known and how much it influenced the preservation efforts. After Wade Ellis' death, Mrs. Ellis sold the house to another Blackburn family member, Admiral Richard Blackburn Black, an Arctic explorer and compatriot of Admiral Byrd. Admiral Black's daughter inherited the house in 1989 and sold it to Prince William County in 2000.

Prince William County has restored the house and maintains the surrounding 42 acres (170,000 m2) of property. Rippon Lodge is open to the public from May through October on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 4pm.

Rippon Lodge Today.JPG


Woodbridge, Virginia
38°36′51.3576″N 77°16′38.4234″W
Richard Blackburn
NRHP Ref Number