Search billions of records on

The "Free State" of Fauquier has nothing to do with Maryland. The Marshalls acquired the Fairfax leases in Leeds Parish. As was customary in the 1700s, leases were made for a period of multiple lives, often two or three lives. This meant that the leasor took possession and paid the rent, and that was followed by his son and possibly grandson. Meanwhile, we had a war and Lord Fairfax was actually on the American side. His descendents weren't. Their Virginia land holdings would have reverted to the American government. John Marshall and his brother stepped in and bought the leases. The Marshalls offered to sell the land to the original lessors for pennies, but were met with strong resistance. After generations of living there, the occupants thought they actually owned the land. Of course they didn't pay any taxes because there was no record of purchase. The newspapers called them "freeloaders" living in a "free state". The area became somewhat lawless and few lawmen wanted to go there :-) Jim Ball