George Hume (May 30, 1698 — 1760)
George Hume (sometimes spelled Home but always pronounced Hume) was born in May 30, 1698, in Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, to a family of privilege. Berwickshire is in eastern Scotland, just south of Edinburgh.
This is Wedderburn Castle, Scotland, which served for about 600 years as the family home of the Home/Hume family.
Anyway, George got in trouble, was deported and then wound up teaching the future first president of the United States.
But, that’s going a little too fast. Let’s back up a bit.
George, and his father (Sir George Hume) and his brother Francis took part in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715 to support the exiled Scottish King James III in his efforts to take the throne to Scotland away from King George I. When the Scots were defeated by the English, the Humes were stripped of their power and made to pay for supporting the losing side.
George's uncle, Sir Francis Hume was banished to the colonies in 1715, where he died a few years later. After capture by English, George was originally scheduled to be executed, but the sentence was changed to "transportation to Virginia," a euphemism for sending convict labor to the colonies. George served two years in prison and then joined his uncle in Virginia in 1721.
George Hume arrived later in Virginia in 1721 (at the age of 23) after his freedom had purchased by Capt. Dandridge, an ancestor of Martha Washington. Hume was discouraged at first, writing home,
I find there is nothing to get here without recommendation. Tho mine was good yet it did me no manner of service for just as I came into ye country ye Gov. lost his place . . . .
George's cousin was the Colonial Governor Alexander Spottswood in Williamsburg. Governor Spottswood had been sent to the colonies as a sentence for an uprising against Queen Anne, but had remained loyal to the Crown during the 1715 uprising. George Hume was placed under his care.
George had studied mathematics in Scotland, and so was sent to the College of William and Mary and was accredited by it as a surveyor. In 1723, George was appointed as a royal surveyor.
In 1727, George began surveying land that is now the city of Fredericksburg, Spotslyvania County. On August 13, 1728, George made the first survey of the town of Fredricksburg when he laid out the 64 original lots.”
As with many people on the frontier, George wore more than just one hat. He was not only a surveyor, he also served as a lieutenant in the Colonial Troops of Spottsylvania County under Captain William Bledsoe. He produced his commission before the Court of His Majesty Hon'l. Justices for the county as directed by law. Captain William Bledsoe and his officers James Williams and George Hume took their oaths on September 2, 1729. The inventory of his estate mentioned the sword he carried in that capacity.
The public records show us that George had a difficult time with a Spotsylvania County man named Elisha Perkins. Spotsylvania County records show that Perkins filed at least two actions for trespass against George. The records do not show the details of those actions (except to show that they were continued from court session to court session for several years in the early to mid 1730s), but it is not hard to imagine a frontier surveyor crossing the land of others, whether purposefully or not.
But the legal connections did not end there. Perkins was charged at one time in the early 1730s with assaulting George. Perkins was not a stranger to legal conflict and served time for at least one other infraction.
George had another involvement with the legal system during that same period. Spotsylvania records show that he was the foreman of a jury in a civil action for damages claimed by Patrick Welsh Pit against William Dickeson. The case probably drew George’s full interest, since Pit claimed trespass and assault against Dickeson. One expects that the similar pending claims against George might have been on his mind. The jury, though, on August 2, 1732, found in favor of the plaintiff and awarded him forty shillings sterling, plus attorney fees and costs.
On September 12-13, 1735 , George bought from Charles Steward, a planter also of Spotslyvania for twenty pounds sterling
390 acres on the north side of the meander run and by the mouth of a small branch, a corner to Henry Field’s oaks on the branch of a Mountain Run line of a pattent formerly granted to Francis Kirtlet.
In October 1735, George recorded a deed to a 929-acre Spotsylvania County property division near Frederickburg. This particular division helped form the framework for many of Frederickburg’s 19th century neighborhoods.
On March 26, 1742, in a deed “Proved by George Home,” Richard Nall recorded a deed from Pierce Cordie conveying land in Orange County, Virginia. (Orange County was formed from Spottsylvania County in 1734.)
Frederick County, Virginia was formed in 1838 from Orange County. Due to the unsettled state of the region, it was not until November 11, 1743, that Sir William Gooch, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, appointed various county officials, including George Hume as the first county surveyor.
In the late 1740s, George surveyed a 276-acre parcel of land in Orange County (now Rappahannock County), Virginia. He hired brothers Robert and Philemon Deatherage as chain carriers for him.
George had a connection to the most famous surveyor in our country’s history, George Washington. Washington began learning surveying at the age of thirteen, by running lines at his father’s home and at neighboring plantations. Later, three men gave him more formal instruction. Of these, George Hume with whom the future president worked from 1748 through 1750 (when Washington was 16 through 18 and George was 50 through 52), is the one credited with teaching him the finer points of surveying.
One tract the two surveyed was of a peninsula on the east side of the Rapidan River, which is the southern branch of the Rappahannock, nine miles above its confluence with the northern branch and 13 miles above the site of Governor Spotswood's iron furnace. In 1749, at the age of 17, George Washington received his first commission as surveyor for Culpeper County. Washington then officially established the Rapidan River as the boundary dividing the counties of Orange and Culpeper.
One genealogy recounts part of the Hume/Washington relationship this way:
George Washington was, from his sixteenth to his eighteenth year, under the tutorage of George Hume, and from him learned the business of surveying. Washington and one of the older sons of George Hume (William, probably) were born the same year, reared in the same village, and were taught by the same instructor, Mr. Williams. When Lord Thomas Fairfax, Baron Cameron, came to Virginia to take possession of his estates, he found there a claimant to all lands between the north and south branches of the Rappahannock River. The King claimed that the north branch, Fairfax that the south branch, of this river was the boundry of the Culpeper grant (Fairfax was the grandson of Lord Culpeper). Lord Fairfax had enough power in England to demand a Board of Arbitration to set the matter right. The King allowed this, and therefore appointed one Abercrombie, of Georgia. Fairfax appointed eighteen-year-old friend George Washington to represent him. George Washington now influenced Abercrombie to accept his former teacher of surveying, George Hume, as the third arbiter of the Fairfax estates.
Since hand drawn surveys were recorded as parts of deeds in the 1700s, the work of many surveyors has survived to today. Below is a deed containing a survey prepared by George Washington.
He was appointed a Crown surveyor in 1751. Simultaneously with his surveying work, Hume was busy acquiring property. To the end of his life in 1760, he worked as a surveyor at a time when being a surveyor meant being on a permanent "camping trip."
For many years he had wanted to give up "taking long tedious journeys where we are obliged to go perhaps several months without seeing a house, and living altogether on wilde meat . . . ." But he persisted in the trade, doing excellent work.
He lived in several locations but the last one was near Oak Park in present day Madison County, Virginia.
George died in Culpeper County in 1760, between April 2, 1760 when he wrote to his brother Patrick, and June 19, 1760 when administration of his estate was ordered by the Culpeper County Court. His estate was administered by his oldest son George. On February 15, 1773, his final settlement was signed by the other five sons, Francis, John, William, James and Charles.
A plaque located the right side of the narthax in the St. George Episcopal Church Cemetery in Fredericksburg honors George. It reads:
In Memory of George Hume second but only son with issue of Sir George Hume
of Wedderburn, Baronet
Born at Wedderburn Castle, Scotland 1698
Died in Culpeper County, Virginia 1760
Served in his father's command in the Rising for King James VIII & III 1715.
Captured at Preston, England, imprisoned in the Marshall sea but permitted to
come to Virginia, 1721.
Officer of the colonial militia, 1729, Crown Surveyor for Spotsylvania, Orange
and Frederick counties. From him, George Washington learned surveying.
By Act of the General Assembly, he Laid out the Town of Fredericksburg, 1727.
Vestryman of this parish, and, in 1733, Planned the Church.
His son, Captain Francis Hume, was an original member of the Society of the
Cincinnati in the state of Virginia instituted in Fredericksburg, 1783.