Lord Fairfax at the time of his arrival was the only resident peer in America. He arrived in upper Machodoc Creek of Westmoreland County in 1735 to inspect and protect his vast five million acre proprietary. After several years he returned to England but came back to Virginia permanently in 1747, settling temporarily at Belvoir, in Fairfax County.
In 1748, Lord Fairfax met 16 year old George Washington who was visiting his brother at Mt. Vernon, the adjoining plantation. Impressed with young George, Fairfax employed him to survey his lands west of the Blue Ridge.
Lawrence Washington, George’s older brother, and owner of Mt. Vernon was married to Anne Fairfax, daughter of William Fairfax of Belvoir and cousin of Lord Fairfax.
Anne’s brother George William Fairfax was married to Sally Cary. She was an attractive woman a few years older than George Washington. As a young man, George thought he was in love with her. For years they tenderly corresponded.
Lord Fairfax probably could be called the father of English style fox hunting in America. While living at “Belvoir” he introduced George Washington to the sport and George became a passionate lover of fox hunting for the remainder of his life. As teacher and pupil, Lord Fairfax and George Washington became friends, in fact Fairfax became George’s mentor, advisor, employer, and perhaps a father figure. The Fairfax family’s wealth, power, and social standing greatly impressed George Washington and his life thereafter was influenced by this association.