Colonial Settlement John Mercer

John Mercer

John Mercer (1704-1768)—immigrated to America in 1720 from Dublin, Ireland, settling first in Maryland, then in Virginia. He soon became a prominent entrepreneur, attorney, and landowner. John arrived in Stafford around 1725 and almost single-handedly rebuilt the failed town of Marlborough. On the site he built houses, a racetrack, distillery, warehouses, and a windmill for grinding grain. Until very recent times, Marlborough Point was known as Windmill Point. Mercer also built an enormous brick home which disappeared sometime after his death. Here, also, were the courthouse, jail, several ordinaries (taverns/hotels), a ferry across Potomac Creek to King George County, and another ferry across the Potomac River to Maryland (on which Mercer transported his race horses to Maryland tracks). Mercer was extremely outspoken on many subjects, especially on independence from England. He practiced law and argued cases in the Dumfries and Stafford courts, but his ill-tempered tirades resulted in his being barred from the Prince William court. From at least 1748 until at least 1766 he served as a justice in Stafford County. Mercer owned one of the two largest personal libraries in colonial Virginia.