National Expansion & Reform Anna Maria Sarah Goldsborough Fitzhugh

Anna Maria Sarah Goldsborough Fitzhugh

A remarkable Stafford figure during and after the Civil War was Mrs. William Henry Fitzhugh, Anna Maria Sarah Goldsborough Fitzhugh. A daughter of Maryland governor Charles Goldsborough, she was Fitzhugh’s wife (1814) and widow (1830). Childless, Anna Maria took an active interest in supporting the Lee family and other relatives and friends. Robert E. Lee respected her opinions as, from at least the 1840s, he wrote to her on serious subjects. During the Civil War, she managed her vast holdings from “Ravensworth,” in Fairfax, allowing the family of Robert E. Lee to “refugee” there from Alexandria. She also allowed the Whitings to occupy her Stafford property, “Richland,” during the war. After the war, she made “Richland” available to the family of Sydney Smith Lee. Robert Carter Lee described her:

…a very smart woman, Anna Maria Sarah Goldsborough Fitzhugh had never had much faith in Confederate currency. Before the war began, she transferred most of her considerable funds to Baltimore banks. Unlike so many Southerners who lost their property when they were unable to pay taxes on it, she had retained all of hers, including Richland. When she insisted that we move to that plantation forty miles south of Washington in Stafford County, we gladly accepted. (Ardyce Kinsley)

Particularly solicitous of General Fitzhugh Lee, her godson and namesake, she bequeathed “Richland” to him when she died in April, 1874. Anna Maria was buried at “Ravensworth,” but in 1957 her remains were moved to Fairfax County’s Pohick Church.

Anna Maria Fitzhugh