Washington Bottom Farm
Washington Bottom Farm (also known as Ridgedale, Ridge Dale, and as the George W. Washington House and Farm) is a 19th century Greek Revival plantation house and farm on a plateau overlooking the South Branch Potomac River north of Romney, West Virginia, United States. The populated area adjacent to Washington Bottom Farm is known as Ridgedale. The farm is connected to West Virginia Route 28 via Washington Road (West Virginia Secondary Route 28/3). Washington Bottom Farm, constructed in 1835, was the residence of gentleman farmer George William Washington, a descendant of a brother of George Washington. The farm is currently the private residence of Robert and Loretta Brinker.

The main residence at Washington Bottom Farm is a high-style Greek Revival structure. The three-story brick house stands on a brick foundation an has an L-shaped plan. The house has a hip roof with a central square cupola and a widow's walk. The cupola has a window on each side with a 4 over 4 double-hung sash, and brackets under the roof edge. On the roof are four chimneys, one at each corner with a slightly flared edge of corbels at the top, and a recessed panel in the center face. The front, or south elevation, has a center hipped wooden porch with steps. The porch has a spindled handrail, wooden posts and deck, and small brackets under the eave. The main entrance is centered with a single transom and has a Greek Revival feature of a wide trim piece over the doorway. The house has five bays on each floor. The windows on the house are all double-hung sash except for the third floor which has small lozenge windows of three vertical lights in the frieze section. With stone sills and brick lintels. The first floor windows are 6/9 sash and reach to the floor in the front two rooms. The second floor windows are 6/6 sash. There is damage to the brick at the southwest corner of the home around the front window. The residence's west elevation is divided into two sections with the front portion of the house and the rear ell. Each section has three bays on each floor with 6/6 sash windows on the first and second floor and lozenge windows on third floor of the front section. The rear ell is slightly set back from the facade and has a shed porch on the first floor with wooden posts. A lower level door leads into a basement room, and the first floor door leads into the kitchen. As of 2001, the basement windows were covered with plywood. The north side of the ell is a blank brick wall with a single lower level entrance that is presently covered. The north side of the house has two 6/6 sash windows. The east façade of the house has the front portion to the left with a small center porch which matches the details on the front porch with wooden posts and a spindled handrail. There are small brackets under the eave and lattice partially covers the area under the porch. The porch is accessed from the two 6/9 sash windows form the front room, which reach to the floor. Above these openings are two 6/9 sash windows and lozenge windows at the third floor or attic level. The right side of the house is recessed back for the rear ell which has a two-story porch. The porch was enclosed in the 1940s with glass windows. The wooden floor and porch stairs remain in their original condition. The interior of the residence has good integrity with original wooden floors, wooden trim, a wide center hall with curved stairs, high ceilings, and six panel doors, some of which have graining. The trim on the second floor is simpler with narrow closets in the bedrooms having been added after 1939. The doorways on this floor have transoms opening into the hallway. A bathroom was added to the end of the porch and over the front hallway. The attic area has lower ceilings which angle and the low lozenge windows and rough wooden floor. A narrow dog-leg stairway leads to the cupola and a door opens out to the widow's walk. A dog-leg stairway also connects to two floors of the rear porch and has been blocked to the lower level.


Fort Williams
The land on which Washington Bottom Farm is located can be traced back to Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, as can many of the large tracts in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. It was surveyed around 1749 by George Washington. The farm was first settled in 1725 by Peter Peters. On the parcel was located Fort Williams, established as a settler's fort in 1756 by Richard Williams. Williams and his family were living on the plantation of his father-in-law Peter Peters on the South Branch Potomac River in 1755 at the time of a Native American attack. Williams built his fort, Fort Williams, after he arrived home from Native American captivity, in the spring of 1756. From documentation, it appears to have been a settlers fort, although militia were stationed there at times during the course of the French and Indian War. In the spring of 1758, troops were temporarily stationed at the fort, probably under the order of Captain Thomas Wagoner, of the Virginia Regiment who was authorized by General George Washington to man any settler forts which were in need of support. No archaeological evidence has been discovered for the fort which is documented by deeds.

George W. Washington
George W. Washington (1809”“1876) was the son of Edward Washington, a descendant of a brother of President of the United States George Washington, and was born near Pohick Church in Fairfax County, Virginia. He was well-educated and highly respected. He married Sarah (Sally) A. Wright (1811”“1886) on 19 February 1830. She was the daughter of John Wright and his wife Rebecca Lockhart of Loudoun County, Virginia and the granddaughter of Major Robert Lockhart, a native of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania where he served on the Committee of Public Safety in the American Revolution and was also a major in the county militia. Sarah Wright was born at "Wheatland" near Leesburg on 22 April 1811. She was educated at the Moravian Academy in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Major Robert Lockhart, her grandfather, devised Ridgedale and 700 acres (2.8 km 2) to Sarah, her brother, and sister in 1817. This land came into the ownership of George and Sarah after their marriage. Establishment of Ridgedale The couple moved to the Ridgedale and constructed the single pen log cabin around 1832 where they lived until the spacious Greek Revival main house was completed. As their family and resources grew, they added to the farm and constructed the main house in 1835. They had a number of children: Edward, John W., Rebecca, Esther (also known as Etta and Ettie), John, Betty, George, Robert, and Sallie. Son John W. died when less than two years old, and the second John died during the American Civil War, as did brother Edward. George W. Washington's agricultural practices included raising beef cattle, sheep, and pigs. He owned many horses, including two registered Percheron mares. Most of his horses were purchased in England and brought to the farm. He grew corn, hay, soybeans, oats, wheat, and flax. He sold cured and fresh pork, along with corn, wool, and vegetables for farm income. The earliest standing farm outbuilding was constructed around 1850. If earlier log barns existed, their sites are unknown. A newspaper account from 1907 tells of the loss by fire of an "immense basement barn." It is the following year that new silos were added to two other existing barns. Washington kept a daily journal which provides a few glimpses into life on the farm. He owned approximately 300 sheep, often bought and sold cattle and horses, and owned a team of oxen and mules. He tells of chopping ice from the river in January 1868 and storing it in the icehouse. The bottom land behind the house, which totaled over 200 acres (0.81 km 2), was planted in hay and corn. The field in front of the house was called "the little meadow." Corn is still grown today in the bottom land, and timothy-grass is still grown and harvested in the meadow. Washington speaks of the ridge, known as Middle Ridge ( geologically a continuation of Mill Creek Mountain), which was used to pasture his cattle and sheep. This section is no longer part of the farm. Corn was also grown and harvested from a high water island in the South Branch Potomac River known simply as "the island." It totals approximately 30 acres (120,000 m 2), and although still reachable by equipment, it is no longer farmed. Washington also kept bulls on a feed lot, near the barn area. This lot was used for feeding the dairy cattle into the 1950s by the Brinker family. Slavery George W. Washington and his family owned 16 slaves in 1850, but only one is listed on the 1860 census. Washington had inherited seven slaves in his father Edward's will dated 8 April 1813: Jesse, Duke, Reuben, Ella, Letty Seals, Jemima Seals, and Alfred. William Bias, one of the Washington family's slaves, and his wife Ann, took the surname Washington and were conveyed by Susan Blue Parsons 2 acres (8,100 m 2) from Wappocomo plantation on 7 November 1874. William and Ann Washington's home, known as Washington Place, was one of the first residences in Hampshire County built by freed slaves. William Washington later acquired other properties on the hills north of Romney along what is now West Virginia Route 28 and became the first African-American land developer in the state of West Virginia. One of his subdivisions is the "Blacks Hill" neighborhood of Romney, adjacent to the Washington Place homestead. American Civil War "Camp Washington" Ridgedale was the scene of activity during the American Civil War. Companies of cavalry camped in the yard, which they dubbed "Camp Washington." The Washington family hid Confederate soldiers in the house. Early in Summer 1861, Confederate General Turner Ashby and his command occupied a position on the South Branch Potomac River "upon the estate of Col. George Washington." According to Washington family tradition, General Ashby had his headquarters at or near Ridgedale. As a compliment to George W. Washington, Ashby named his headquarters "Camp Washington." His brother, Captain Richard Ashby, was carried on a litter to the Washington home at Ridgedale after he was mortally wounded at the Battle of Kelley's Island on 28 June 1861. Another account places Captain Ashby's mortal wounding by a bayonet thrust at a battle with Union forces at Dans Run along the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad on 26 June 1861. He was placed in a room associated with Ridgedale's ballroom and died there after about a week. He was cared for until he died on 3 July 1861. At his request, he was supposedly buried under an oak tree at the Indian Mound Cemetery in Romney. After the war, he was reinterred with his brother Turner Ashby at Stonewall Cemetery in Winchester, Virginia in 1866. Their grave is marked "The Brothers Ashby." George W. Washington kept a journal of the happenings of this period, which has preserved valuable information concerning the period of the American Civil War in Hampshire County. Washington's sons, Edward and John, both joined the Hampshire Guards before the American Civil War began, and left for Harpers Ferry in May 1861. John was killed in the Battle of Cold Harbor the following year. His son Edward was wounded in the Battle of Antietam and acted as a courier for Generals Stonewall Jackson and Jubal Anderson Early and later took part in the capture of General George Crook and Benjamin Franklin Kelley when he acted as a guide for the McNeill's Rangers. Two of Edward's sisters, Rebecca and Etta, were sent from Hampshire County to carry a message to General Jackson, then stationed near Winchester, that the Union forces were in possession of Romney. They rode horseback for their entire journey and carried the message under the saddle. Southern Methodist support Washington was an early supporter of the Southern Methodists in Hampshire County, of which he alludes to in his 1868 journal. He was one of the trustees who purchased land in 1851 in the town of Springfield in order to construct a church building for the Methodist Episcopal Church South, after Methodists split into northern and southern factions in 1846. Washington states that he and his family had not been able to attend the Springfield Methodist Church while it was in the process of being repaired after the American Civil War.

Robert M. Washington
George W. Washington died on 6 February 1876 and his will was proved four days later. His wife Sally died in 1886. They are buried at Indian Mound Cemetery in Lot 78 in Romney. The farm continued in son Robert's hands when he purchased it in January 1879 from the other heirs and devisees of his father. Those signing the conveyance were the following: his mother Sally; Edward Washington and his wife Susan; James B. Rees and wife Rebecca (Washington); Ettie Washington; George W. Washington and wife Ann E.; John J. Inskeep and wife Bettie Washington; and Sallie G. Washington. Robert retained ownership of the farm until his death in 1930. Approximately 500 acres (2.0 km 2) of the farm were sold in 1936 by Washington's heirs to the Brinker brothers of Cumberland, Maryland. Baltimore and Ohio Railroad The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad built a line near the farm in 1883. This line served the communities from Green Spring, West Virginia to Petersburg. The railroad had a siding on the farm to drop supplies as needed, such as fencing and other materials. This was in place until 1930. The South Branch Valley Railroad continues to operate on the old Baltimore and Ohio line near Washington Bottom Farm.

Brinker family
Brothers Fred, George, and Joseph Brinker had owned a machinery dealership in Cumberland. They converted the horse barn into a dairy barn and began to operate a dairy business in 1940. In 1943, Fred's son Charles W. and wife Dorothy and two children moved from Baltimore, Maryland to Springfield, West Virginia, to help operate the dairy farm. In 1950, they purchased a half interest, and after the accidental farm-related death of Fred Brinker, they acquired the remaining interest in the farm from family members. Charles and Dorothy Brinker lived at the farm for fifty years and operated the dairy with the help of their four children: Fred, Maryann, Robert, and Terry. Washington Bottom Farm is currently owned by Robert C. Brinker and his wife, Loretta. With their sons, Matthew and Michael, the farm was expanded in fall 2001, and the dairy was returned to operation. A milking parlor was installed in the original horse barn to handle 400 head of Holstein cattle. The main crops harvested are corn and hay to support the herd. Although the farm once had 700 acres (2.8 km 2), it now has a total of 251.6 acres (1.018 km 2) associated with the early residence and farm buildings. Ridgedale has undergone an extensive restoration project funded from both the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the United States Department of the Interior through the National Park Service.

A small mound, possibly an Indian mound, is to the east of the house.