Prince William County’s Most Famous Patriot Remembered

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Provided by Col. William Grayson Chapter Sons of the American Revolution

March 12 marks the 230th anniversary of the death of Prince William County’s most famous patriot, Col. William Grayson.

William Grayson (1740 – March 12, 1790) was a soldier, lawyer, and statesman. Grayson practiced law in Prince William County. He is frequently mentioned as a guest at Mount Vernon, and as a hunting companion of George Washington. At the outbreak of the American Revolution, Grayson served as a captain of the local militia. He left the Virginia forces to become an aide-de-camp to General Washington. He later took command of one of the sixteen regiments of the Continental Army. After a bloody battle at Monmouth, New Jersey that virtually destroyed his entire regiment, Grayson went on to serve on the Board of War. After the war, Grayson served as a member of the Continental Congress, and was later one of Virginia’s first two Senators.

Grayson died in Dumfries on March 12, 1790, the first member of the United States Congress to die in office. He was interred in the Grayson family vault in Woodbridge on a hill overlooking Marumsco Creek. The family burial vault was originally located on a one thousand acre plantation. Now less than five acres remain undeveloped. The burial vault, now sitting in the midst of a Woodbridge residential neighborhood, was encased in concrete in the early 1900s by the Daughters of the American Revolution and has recently been repaired and made accessible to the public. The Reverend Spence Grayson, a “fighting parson” of the Revolution and lifelong friend of George Washington, is also buried in the vault.

The Colonel William Grayson Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution serves Prince William County and western Fairfax County. The chapter periodically stages events to honor William Grayson and other patriot ancestors. Membership in the Sons of the American Revolution is open to the lineal descendant of a Revolutionary War soldier, sailor or patriot. This includes persons who not only fought in the military or militia, but who also may have provided supplies, medical aid, signed oaths of Faith and Fidelity and similar acts. Contact the chapter’s registrar Michael Blythe mblythe@comcast.net for help in applying for membership.

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