In 1748, Lord Thomas, the fifth Earl of Fairfax, engaged a young surveyor by the name of George Washington to survey some land, in order to lease it, in the northern part of Virginia. Washington began then to survey farms in the Lost River Valley. The first settlers in the valley decided to build forts to protect themselves from Native Americans whom they thought were hostile, so they built three forts. Steven Ruddle built the second of the three forts which is the stone section of this house and better known as Ruddle’s Fort.
In the early part of the 19th century, Jeremiah Inskeep built the brick part of the home. Sometime after that, a passage way was built connecting the old stone Fort and brick section of the home. The top of the Fort was then used as slave quarters. The back frame section was added, making eleven rooms. The house was built for stability and practicality. The rafters in the attic have Roman Numerals carved on them and are joined by wooden pegs. The rafters would’ve most likely been put together on the ground and hoisted up to the roof hence the need for the Roman numerals. The entrance doors are designed to withstand attacks. Fireplaces were used in the fort and brick section for cooking and heating. All of the bricks used in the construction of the house were made in the fields located behind the property.
During the Civil War, in the event of a Union Raid, Confederate soldiers could escape up a hidden staircase and remain between the first and second story of the brick section. Valuables could’ve been hidden there as well. The walls in the large central upstairs bedroom revealed a message possibly from a soldier saying how he missed his beloved’s blue eyes. The door facing in the main hall is still marked where a mini ball came through the back door.
There is a wealth of history permeating the house and land. Arrow head collections have been gathered in the fields and in the yard around Ruddle’s Fort. There are signatures written in the mortar of the house dating as early as the early 19th century. The history and the profound presence of this home beckons us to remember the sacrifice that made it possible for this country to be a country firmly rooted in values that support freedom and morality.
There is an abundant spring that feeds into the property. There is an ice house adjacent to the house where people could keep their perishables cool. Since 1980, the house has been the home of the Mullin Family. The land surrounding the home remains a working farm. The Mullin family have chosen
to say farewell to this amazing historic home and allow another fortunate person or persons to buy this home, which truly is a hallmark of American history. It is an historic gem that holds many untold stories, secrets, and possibilities.
Open Curtesy of Sarah Ludwig
Directions: 1815 State Route 259 Baker. From Lost River on Route 259, go North 6 miles and the property is on the right.