Custis Tenement Historical Report, Block 13-1 Building 26A Lot 355Originally entitled: "Custis-Maupin House (Block 13 - Lot 355)"

Mary A. Stephenson


Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library Research Report Series - 1266

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library

Williamsburg, Virginia



  • The property known as "Custis-Maupin House", is located on the southside of Duke of Gloucester Street about opposite to Bruton parish Church. (See: Tyler's adaptation of the College Map (1791?) Illustration #1, Appendix)
  • From 1714 to 1950 -pp. 1-14
  • pp. 14-17
  • Illustration #1 - Maps Illustration #2 - Williamsburg Land Tax Records Illustration #3 - Account of Humphrey Harwood Illustration #4 - Biographical notes on Custis family

Block 13 Lot 355


The property known as "Custis-Maupin House" lies on the southside of Duke of Gloucester Street about opposite to Bruton Parish Church. (See: Tyler's adaptation of the College Map (1791?), Illustration #1, Appendix)


On the sixth day of August 1714 the feoffees or trustees for the city of Williamsburg granted unto "John Custis1 of the County of York Gent", the following lots in the city:

" ...Have granted, bargained sold demised and to farm letter unto the said John Custis - his Heirs or Assigns three certain Lotts of ground in the said City of Williamsburgh designed in the Plott of the said City by these figures 353,354 and 355 - with all and singular the past-urage, Woods and Waters,...To Have and to hold the said granted premises and every part thereof with the Appurtenances unto the said John Custis - his Executors Administrators and Assigns for and during the terme and time of one whole year from the day of the date of these presents and fully to be compleated and ended. Yielding and praying to the said Feoffees or Trustees the yearly Rent of one grain of Indian Corn to be paid on the tenth day of October yearly if it be demanded; - To the intent that the said John Custis - may be in quiet and peaceable possession of the premisses, and that by vertue hereof and the Statute for transferring uses[?] into possession he may be the better enabled to [accept a?] Release of the Re[vers?]ion and in [trust?]ance thereof [to?] him and his Heirs forever...John Clayton Signed Sealed and delivered At a Court held for James City County the 9th day of August 1714 Wil Robertson John Clayton and William Robertson Gent two of the Trustees for the Land appropriated for building the City of Williamsburg Came into Court presented and acknowledged this their Lease unto John Custis Gent & it is admitted to Record Teste Wil Robertson Ces. Cur." (Copied from original deed, library archives, William and Mary College)

According to the act of 1705 directing the building of the City of
2 Williamsburg, the owner of a lot must build a house of given dimensions within twenty-four months or the property reverts to the trustees. Hence Custis must have built on the property by 1717 in order to hold his interest in it.

On April 18, 1717 Custis in a letter to Colonel Philip Ludwell relates at great length an altercation with Governor Spotswood. A house or "tenement" of Custis is mentioned as unfinished at this date:

"Yours I reced concerning my forbidding the Governor to cutt my Wood, and if you please to give me leave. Shall faithfully tell you the whole matter, I happened to be at the Governors, and he was pleased to ask my consent, to cut down some trees that grew on my Land to make an opening. I think he called it a vista, and told me would cut nothing but what was fitt for the fire, and for that he would pay as much as any one gave for firewood, to please his honour, I told him he might if he pleased cutt such Trees down, Some time after I happened to dine with him, and he then told me there was a Swamp that did belong to me in which grew a great deale of wood, and allidged it would never be of much Service to me, by reason I could not come at it with a Cart without goeing through his pasture, (but that was a mistake) however he told me as before if I would give him leave, he would cut nothing but Scruby Trees that was fitt for nothing but the fire and words to that effect, and would likewise pay me for that, I was loth to deny his Honour and so I gave him leave. As to the Clearing his vista he cut down all before him such a wideness as he thought fitt; amongst which there was two very good oak Timber Trees, that my Tenent had reserved to cover my Tenement, and came to the people Jasta [?] as they had cutt them down, or in some small time after, and begged them not to cutt them into firewood, till, she saw me, for she should be half ruind for boards if they destroyed those Trees, they so uncivill that the very next morning early they cut them into firewood; as for my Swamp it is all cut down, good and bad as far as they went, till I stopt them, it a great deale of pitey such Stately ash Timber shoud be destroyed for the fires, A Wheelwright would have given Considerably for the Timber for felloes for Wheels, besides it would have (served?) my Tenement for many Years..." (Custis Mss, Virginia Historical Society)

The "vista" cut was to the rear of the Palace. It could not have been towards the south through to Duke of Gloucester Street and Custis'swhy not? property. Mention of "a swamp" in the description above quoted, clears up this point.

The tenement of Custis's then in the process of completion is interpreted to be the house on lot 355 as it is hardly possible that Custis would be building more than one tenement house in the city in one year.


John Custis was still the owner of the property in 1746. In May 1746 Custis leased the lot with houses thereon to John Wheatley:

"May 24, 1746. John Wheatley's Lease for three years. Know all men by these Presents that I John Custis of the City of Williamsburg do lease let and to farm let, unto John Wheatly of the same City for the fullterm of three years, fully to bee compleated and entred. from the date of these Presents, one lot of grounds, on the Duke of Gloucester Street, and all the houses and appurtenances on the said lot of grounds, it being the Corner lot facing the Governor's House, for which lot of ground houses and appurtenances the said John Wheatly doth oblige himself, his heirs, Executors, Administrators, to pay unto the said John Custis, his heirs or assigns the full sum of sixteen pounds Curt. money of Virginia annually, during the whole term and time of three years above mentioned, but the payments are to bee made every Quarter of A year, (viz) four pounds every quarter of a year; and when the above three years are expired, the said John Wheatly doth oblige himself, leave all the houses, floors, walls, windows and all other appurtenances whatever belonging or anyways appertaining to the said Tenement, as hole and in good repair as the [?] from time to time and at all times the said Wheatly doth oblige himself...faithfully to do and perform, and the same to leave, at the expiration of this lease, and continually to keep the Chimneys clean swept for fear of fire; and the said John Wheatly doth firmly oblige himself,...not to lease or let the said lot of ground, or any of the houses or any part of them on any pretense whatever to any person or persons whatever without the leave, approbation or consent of the said Custis first had and obtaind; and if it shall to happen that the yearly rent of any part thereof shall bee behind hand and unpaid upon any of the times of payment, that then it shall and may bee lawfull for the said John Custis his heirs &c. to distrain and carry away, so much of the goods and chattles of the said John Wheatly as shall pay and satisfy the above rent, and the said John Custis may return on the above premises as if this lease had never been made. IN WITNESS whereof the parties to these presents have inter-changably set their hands and seals this twenty-fourth day of May 1746. JOHN WHEATLEY" (seal) (copied from Ms loaned by Mrs. Hunter Debutts) Research Department Files

In the above lease Custis refers to the property as his "Tenement." Custis also locates the tenement on the Duke of Gloucester Street"...being the Corner lot facing the Governor's House." Custis was a careful landlord. In the contract Wheatley must promise "to leave all the houses, floors, walls, windows and all other appurtenances whatever belonging or anyways appertaining to the said Tenement, as hole and in good repair as the [?] keep the Chimneys clean swept for fear of fire..."


Little is known of John Wheatley. In 1751, Wheatley had slaves baptized in Bruton Parish. (The Record of Bruton Parish Church by William A. R. Goodwin, Richmond, 1941, p. 158) In 1752 Mr. Wheatley's is mentioned as "opposite to the Church in Williamsburg":

"March 5, 1752. The Subscriber, Taylor, from Edinburgh, living at Mr. WHEATLEY'S, opposite to the Church in Williamsburg, Makes all sorts of Mens wearing Apparel, after the best and newest Fashions; where all Gentlemen, or others, that will favour him with their Custom, may depend on being faithfully and expeditiously serv'd, by Their humble Servant, John Didip." (Virginia Gazette, March 5, 1752, Hunter, ed.)

Several references to a"Mr. Wheatly" appear in the Diary of John Blair of Williamsburg which would indicate that Wheatly was a carpenter:

"[September 28, 1751]-...Went wth Taliafo, Wheatly & Taylor to Govr Taliafo agrd wth Wheatly & made out an invoice." "[September 27, 1751] - Mr. Taliafo here; viewd Wheatly's sash work." "[January 25, 1751] - Wheatly shewd me that he had finishd Mr. Skelton's work, but Skelton* took no care of it."

Other references to John Wheatley seem to indicate that he had a rooming-house:

"Tuesday,November 20th, 1753. ... An Account of John Wheately, against the Public, for Lodging and Dieting of Indians, was presented to the House and received." (Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1752-1755 1756-1758, McIlwaine, ed., Richmond 1909, p. 128) "FridayMay 13th, 1757. ... Resolved, That the said John Wheatley ought to be paid by the Public the Sum of £31, 16s. for dieting the tributary Indians, in his Account mentioned, being at the Rate of one Shilling a Day for each Indian; and the further Sum of nine Pounds two Shillings and one Penny three Farthings for Rum found for the said Indians: and that the Rest of his Account, amounting to seven Pounds eighteen Shillings and six Pence, be rejected..." (Ibid, pp 464-465) 5

At the death of John Custis (1749) his son, Daniel Parke Custis, came into ownership of the Williamsburg property. Daniel Parke Custis lived only a few years thereafter. His death occurred in 1757. In this year his estate was being settled by his widow, Martha Custis. Among the items under "Cr" is one: "Rents of Jno Wheatley...£19.11"; and under "Dr" is "Repairs of a house pd Jno Wheatley by rect.....£4.9.-" (Custis Mss Papers, Virginia Historical Society, photostat in Research Department) These items would indicate that Wheatley had continued to rent from the Custis family as late as 1757.

Also, in 1757, it seems that Peter Scott,1 a cabinet-maker, was renting from the Custis estate: "1757 Rent of Peter Scott....£12" (Ibid) Scott, was renting a small shop "near the Church" which is interpreted to be a part of the Custis property. Basis for this statement lies in an advertisement of Scott's in the Virginia Gazette of September 12, 1755:

"Peter Scott, advertises 2 lots on the Back Street, near Col Custis's on which there is a good Dwelling House, containg Six Rooms and Closets...likewise will be sold, at the Subscriber's Shop near the Church, sundry Pieces of Cabinet Work, of Mahogony and Walnut, consisting of Desks, Book-Cases, Tables of various Sorts, Tools, and some Materials. Six Months Credit will be given to those that purchase above the Value of Fifty Shillings...Peter Scott."

As both Wheatley and Scott were renting property from Custis in 1757, it seems more than likely that Wheatley had continued to rent the corner tenement (lot 355) and Scott either rented a part of this house or rented a house on the adjoining lot (354). No further mention of Wheatley appears in the records after 1757. However, there is evidence that Scott rented a Custis lot "opposite to the Church" until his death in 1775:2

6 "Wmsburg, Jany. 26, 1776.
[Letter of Edmund Randolph to George Washington, Cambridge Mass]

About 5 Days since, Mr. Custis's Tenement, where Scot lived, opposite to the Church, was burnt to the ground, by the Negligence of some of the Soldiers, who had been quartered there. The Wind, being due South, the out-House escaped the Flames. The Difficulty of saving the Church became thereby very great. The Country are surely answerable for this Damage, as it accrued in their Service.
Edmund Randolph" (Emmet Collection #1135, New York Public Library, copy in Research Department) "Mr. Peter Scott's old house in this City, which he had rented and lived in for 43 years, was burnt down last Sunday Night, by accident." (Virginia Gazette, Purdie, ed., January 26, 1776)

From the above quoted letter we learn that Scott's house known as "Mr. Custis's Tenement....opposite to the Church, was burnt to the ground" in January 1776.1 From the Virginia Gazette of January 1776, we note that "Mr. Peter Scott's old house in this City, which he had rented and lived in for 43 years, was burnt down last Sunday Night." As Wheatley had leased a "Tenement" from Custis in 1746 "being the Corner lot facing the Governor's House", and in all probability was renting the same property in 1757-, it seems reasonable to assume that Scott was renting another lot from Custis (probably #354). Both lots #355 and #354 are approximately "opposite to the Church." In order for Custis to hold the three lots deeded to him in 1714, it would be necessary to comply with the Act of 1705 and erect three houses of usual size on the three lots, or one house of larger dimensions to hold two lots.

In 1778 General Washington and Martha, his wife (widow of Daniel Parke Custis), gave full release to her son, John Parke Custis, of all dower rights in all the plantations, including Queen's Creek, the grist mill, and the lots in Williamsburg and Jamestown, in return for an annual payment to them by young Custis of £525, or $2100 silver money Virginia currency. (See: The Writings of George Washington, XIII, p. 56)


Signd seald & deliverd in yr

Presence of

John Powell

Thomas Wade

[endorsed on back page:

Aug. 24, 1745

Nov 4th for 1 qrt Rent Jno Custis

Aug 24 1746

Nov 4th 1 Qrs Rent Jno Custis

Feby 24 1746 Recd 4th for 1 Qrs Rent

May 24: 1747 Recd 4th for A Qrs Rent

March ye 7: 1750/1

Then received of Mr John Wheatley L20 *- on Account of his Rent

17 April 1751 Then received of Colo John Spotswood L10:0:0 Current Money on account of Mr John Wheatley for Rent"


"I promise to pay Daniel Parke Custis or Order on Demd Eight Pounds Twelve shills & 8 1/2 d for Value Recd Witness my hand this 14th day of December 1752 being the Ballance of the last years rent due the 24th of May 1752.

John Wheatley"1


The Frenchman's Map of Williamsburg (1782) shows a house situated on the northeast section of what appears to be lot #355. This house is located near the street and nearly opposite to the Church. (See: Architect's drawing from the Frenchman's Map, Illustration #1) On the lot west of the above described corner lot, the Frenchman's Map shows no house. The fire of 1776 which burned Peter Scott's house to the ground, may explain the absence of a house on that lot (#354).

The College Map (1791?) gives "Dixon" on the corner lot (355) and the lot to the south. The Bucktrout Map (1803) gives the same description. No numbers appear on either map as a designation for the above noted lot, though the lot to the west is marked "354 Greenhow". (See: Tyler's adaptation of the College Map, Illustration #1. A copy of the Bucktrout Map can be found in the Research Department.)

A study of the land tax records from 1782 into the early nineteenth century has cleared the title to the property from this time on. The "Dixon" whose name appeared on the College Map was Beverley Dickson,1 Williamsburg merchant.
8 Dickson evidently acquired the property after 1778.1 No records have been discovered indicating that Dickson came into the property via the Custis family though it is highly probable that such was the case. The Williamsburg land tax records list Dickson thus:

"1782---Beverley Dickson......2 lots.....£8" (Illustration #2, complete tax records from photostats Research Department)

The property of Beverley Dickson is given as a western boundary of the property of Robert Greenhow (lots 159-160) in 1801.2 (Mutual Assurance policy #493, copy in Research Department) This fact establishes Dickson on lot 355 beyond a doubt.

In the period 1784-1786 Humphrey Harwood, Williamsburg builder and brick mason, made a series of changes and repairs to the property of Beverley Dickson. Harwood, in 1784, made such changes as "repairing plastering", "whitewashing 4 Rooms, 2 passages & 1 Closet", seting up a Grate", "laying Harth", "repairing larthing & plastering", "whitewashing Office", "repairing underpinning" &c. In 1785 Harwood made such repairs as "repairing Steps", "repairing plastering in the Carpenter's [shop]", "whitewashing 1 Room, & 2 passages". The latter part of 1785 the ledger of Harwood shows "To 9 bushel of lime ... & repairing plastering & plastering porch", "underpinning" &c. (See: Illustration #3 for complete copy of Dickson's account with Harwood)

The nature of the changes indicates that Dickson was repairing a house. Also, one should keep in mind mention of an "Office" and a "Carpenter's shop" (perhaps separate buildings). (See: architectural report of Ragland 1931) The valuation changes in the land tax records in 1786 from £8 to £8. (illustration
9 #2 Williamsburg Land Tax Records, copy from Virginia State Archives) Such changes would indicate that repairs to a building had been done in this period.

Robert Hunter, a young merchant of London, in his travel journal tells of a visit to Williamsburg. Hunter lists "Mr. Beverley Dixion as among the principal people that reside here." (Quebec to Carolina in 1785-1786 (February 26,1786) p.233)

In 1931 an archaeological study was made of the lot [355]. Foundations were uncovered of a colonial house exactly on the site as given by the Frenchman's Map (1782). The house was the usual 6 feet from the street with outside chimneys at the east and west.1 (See: Architectural Report of H. R. Shurtleff, March 3, 1931, copy Research Department)

Dickson continued to hold the two lots in the city from 1782 to 1787 (time of his death). The estate is charged with the two lots until 1805. (Illustration #2) In 1786 the personal property tax for Williamsburg gives "B. Dickson" as owner of "9 slaves, 2 cattle, 4 horses and 4 wheels" and Charlotte Dickson (his mother) is listed with "3 slaves and 1 cattle." Beverley Dickson's widow, Mary Dickson, held personal property in the city from 1788 to 1794. (See: copy of tax Research Department)

In 1806 Robert Greenhow (Mutual Policy #644) gives Peter Rob Deneufville as a western boundary.

"Peter Robert Deneufville was a son of Robert deNeufville, notary royal in the District of Boulogne sur mer, France, and Marie Jean Cote, was born May 13, 1763, and came to Virginia, with his brother Jean Augustine deNeufville, at the time of LaFayette's second visit to America. They were near relatives of DeNeufville who aided William Lee in negotiating with the Dutch. He married Miss Julia Travis, but died without issue January 7, 1802." (William & Mary Quarterly, VI, p. 59)

The Deneufville family held the Williamsburg property according to the land tax records from 1805 to 1837 when Wade Mountfortt came into possession. (Illustration #2 for chain to title in detail) The succession among the Deneufvilles
10 went thus: "1805: R. Peter Deneufville...1 lot [via] Dixon...$50; 1810 Auge Denneufville via Denneufville...1 lot...$100; 1820 John A. Deneufville...1 lot... buildings $1800, lot & buildings $2000; and 1835 Robert J. Deneufville...1 lot... buildings $1800, lot & buildings $2000 via John A. Deneufville Sr." (Ibid

Several insurance policies of Robert Greenhow give the location of the Deneufville property thus: "1806 Robert Greenhow...buildings on the main street occupied by myself situated between the lotts of Peter Robert Deneufville and the Market Square..." (Mutual Assurance Society #644 revaluation of #493, copy in Research Department) Also, 1811 Robert Greenhow...buildings now occupied by himself and Edward Cheminant...situated on the main and two other streets between the lots of Deneufville on the West and Repiton on the east..." (Ibid, #1082 revaluation of #644)

Unfortunately, there are no insurance policies which bear directly of this property. After Wade Mountfortt became the owner in 1837, the boundary and location is given by insurance policies of adjoining property. In 1839 "Albert G. Southall is situated on the main street in Williamsburg on the North, a back street on the South on David Masons lot East and Mountfortts lot West..." (Mutual Assurance Society Policy #11,016 revaluation of #7588) When Mountfortt came into the property, the land tax valuation remained the same as for the Deneufville family, namely: "$1800 buildings; $2000 lot & buildings".

Mountfortt's deed to John M. Maupin dated July 17, 1838, mentions a consideration of nine hundred dollars and the following stipulations:

"...hath granted bargained and the said John M. Maupin his heirs and assigns forever, his houses and Lot in the City of Williamsburg nearly opposite the church and bounded on the north by the main street, on the east by a continuation of the Palace street now closed and leased by the corporation of the said City of Williamsburg to William Edloe, on the south by a back street and on the west by a lot formerly the property of Robert Greenhow lately purchased by Benjamin E. Bucktrout, and now belonging to William Edloe, being the same houses and Lot conveyed by the said Robert J. Deneufville and Sarah his wife, to the said Wade Mountfortt by their Deed bearing Date on the ninth Day of August in the year of our Lord on Thousand eight hundred and Thirty seven...together with all and singular the houses, buildings and improvements thereon..." (Ms Deed, Research Department) 11

A letter of this period seems to bear directly on the property secured by Maupin, and the changes made by the new owner:

"April 4, 1840
...Mr. Maupin has built a handsome house on the site of an old ruinous building opposite the lower corner of the Churchyard..."
(Letter to Mrs. Elizabeth Bryan, Hickory Fork, Gloucester County, Virginia from B. T. Williamsburg - Bryan Mss, Research Department)

From the deed of July 17, 1838, one sees that there were houses on the lot. On April 4, 1840 the site for the new house was on that "of an old ruinous building." The locations in each record are identical and beyond question the site of the "Custis-Maupin Tenement" (present name). It seems strange that Maupin's property in 1839 is listed on the land books under the same valuations ($1800 buildings; $2000 lot & buildings) as carried by Deneufville in 1835, and Mountfortt in 1837. Yet, in 1840 the location of this property is described as that "of an old ruinous building."

In June 1846 Maupin contracted with David Cowles, Williamsburg carpenter, to erect a two-story wing of wood to his dwelling-house. Cowles' contract follows:

"June 17, 1846 I will erect a Two Story Wing To Be of Wood To Mr. Jno. M. Maupins House Extending out Thirty Six Feet in Length. By Eighteen Feet in Width. The First Story to wit. To Be Nine Feet Pitch in the Clear. A Partition Runing a cross Said Wing To Form a Passage and a Room. The Passage to Have a Partition Runing From North to South and half of the Remaining Space To Be Divided By another Partition So that There will Be Formed Two Small Rooms Seven and a half Feet Square. There will Be one window and Three Doors Leading From the Passage, with one outter Door - There will be two Flights of Steps, one Leading From Passage To Dining Room in the Basement of His Present House. The Other Leading To the Second Storry. There will Be one Chimney Run at the End of The wing. There will Be two Clossetts one on Either Side of the Chimney - One To Be Finished For a ward Robe and the other with a Stationary washstand...The Clossetts to have a window of Eight Lights 10 by 12...The Chamber Below to have two Eighteen Lights Window 10 by 12 Glass, and the Two Small Rooms to have one window in Each of them to correspond with those in Chamber...The uper Story to Be as Follows To Have one Partition...Running a cross to Divide the Room from Passage with two clossetts Finished as those Below. The Room above to have the same quantity of windows as the room Below - The Passage to have two windows Fronting Each other, The Window on the Back of old House to Be altered and a Door To Be inserted in The Place So that there will
12 Be a connection of Both Houses - the Building is to be Completed turn Key & Receiv. my money with the Exception of Painting - also there will Be two arches sprund & completed in the uptown room of old house on Both sides of Be well Finished, the Stairs to Be Taken Down and Floor & Plastering to Be mended - all complete, the whole to Be Done of Good & suitable timber and in a workman Like Manner For the Sum of -
The Windows & Doors to Be cased with single ocatsen [?]
The Blinds to Be morticed of Best Timber
The Flooring to Be of Second quality Flooring
The Weatherboarding to show Two thirds heart
The Shingles to Be a Fair article
The Doors to be a neat Barell Single worked Door
The Brick work & Plastering to Be Done of Good materials and Done
well - all of which I Promise to Do on my Part.
It is agreed between us - David Cowles and John M. Maupins as follows:- The said David Cowles agrees to erect the addition aggreeably to the annexed bill for the said Jno M. Maupin for the sum of Eight hundred Dollars and agrees to finish the Same Complt by the first of November 1846 so That this Jno M. Maupin family may have the use of it. The Painting which in the annexed bill is excepted. The said Cowles agrees to include in the bill without extra charge. If there is any thing necessary to make a complete finish left out, or not mentioned in this bill the said Cowles binds himself to furnish what may be necessary without additional charge to said Maupin, Given under our hand & Seal this 17 June 1846. David S. Cowles (seal) Jno M. Maupin (seal)

A Bill For a House 36 by 18
Framing - all complete$150.00
2000 Feet of Flooring 3 1/270.00
7000 Shingles 15/17.50
2400 Feet Weatherboarding 2d48.001200 Feet of Sheathing 1 1/218.00
Plank for window Sash Blinds Window Frames and Casings45.00
Materials For Steps Chimney Pieces wash board clossitts &c35.00
Locks Hinges & Screws20.00
Glass Putty and Nails25.00
Brick work & Plastering150.00
48 Sq Framing 6/48.00
14 Sq Flooring 3/42.00
12 Sq Shingling 6/12.00
18 Sq weatherboarding 9/27.00
13 windows - complete Blinds Frames Casings & Sash 8104.00
9 Doors complete Frames casings complete 5.0045.00
2 mantle Pieces 3.006.00
240 Feet wash board 49.60
Plain cornice15.00
Runing 2 Flights steps30.00
4 Clossitts complete12.00
2 arches complete $16.0032.00
Taking the Present stairs away - and Repairing the
Plastering and Floor20.00



(Ms June 17, 1846, Research Department)

In 1854 Catherine Maupin (widow of John M Maupin) is charged with "1 lot, buildings valued at $2500; lot & buildings valued at $3000 Formerly charged to J. M. Maupin's Est." (Williamsburg Land Tax Records, copy in Illustration #2) Mrs. Maupin was holding the property at the same valuation in 1861, the last date of the land tax records now in existence.

The will of Catherine M. Maupin was dated April 16, 1879 and was admitted to record on June 9, 1879. The property was disposed of thus.

"Item 4. I give to my son, Samuel J. Maupin for and during his natural life, the building in my yard known as the office, with a lot of land commencing on the Main Street of Williamsburg in line with my dwelling house and extending on the same line to my garden fence, and at his death, I give and devise said house and lot to my grandchildren them living and to their heirs forever. Item 5. I give to my son, Jesse C. Maupin for and during his natural life my dwelling house and all the residue of my lot of land in Williamsburg not embraced in the lot given to my son Samuel J. Maupin for and during his natural life. Item 6. At the death of my son Jesse C. Maupin, I give and devise the real estate given to him for and during his natural life to my grandchildren then living and to their heirs forever." (Williamsburg and James City County Court Records, Will Book I, p. 313)

In 1921, by deed, Jennie Burrows and Harry Burrows, her husband; Kate Whitley and Tafton Whitley, her husband; Ruby Saunders and E. D. Saunders, her husband; Pearl Young and H. H. Young, her husband; conveyed to Florence Maupin and Lucile Maupin; "lot of land fronting 35 feet on Duke of Gloucester Street and running back between King Street and a line parallel therewith to Francis Street, and being part of the property devised to the grantors together with the grantees as the grandchildren of Catherine M. Maupin, by her will shown in item 1 supra. General Warranty, Nominal Consideration." (Recorded July 7, 1922 Deed Book 9, p.399) By deed 1928, February 28, Florence Maupin, single, and Lucile Maupin, single, conveyed to Edward B. Saunders, the same lot of land described in the preceding paragraph to this abstract." (Recorded March 3, 1928, Deed Book 12, p. 358)


By deed dated March 2, 1928 the above named heirs conveyed to William A. R. Goodwin, "the same tract of land described in the caption to this abstract...This deed reserves a life estate to each of the six Maupin sisters who are the grantors,..." (Recorded March 4, 1928, Deed Book 12, p. 36)

On June 14, 1929 W. A. R. Goodwin and wife conveyed to Williamsburg Holding Corporation the above described property subject to life right of heirs. In April 1939 the property came into the possession of Colonial Williamsburg Incorporated. (Deed Book 2, Item 1, folder 1282 B)

Mr. John S. Charles in his "Recollections of Williamsburg" during the period of the Civil War comments on the present Maupin House:

"The Maupin house, next on this block has changed but little in its exterior appearance since the writer first saw it. This lot had, up to a few years ago, a neat picket fence enclosing an attractive flower garden. King street was, as now, the eastern boundary of this big lot which extended back to Francis street. In the back yard were two frame one-and-one-half story buildings facing to the north. The one near King street was used as a servants' quarters and the other as a dormitory for students. There was also on the lot, as there was on nearly every other lot in the city, a smoke house, which served as a place for the storing of heavy groceries, as well as for the smoking of meat, which in those days was done by nearly every housekeeper." (copy of "Recollections", Research Department)
^ 1 Biographical notes on John Custis found in Illustration #4 Appendix.
^ *James Skelton was appointed contractor for the building of the second Capitol in Williamsburg. (William & Mary Quarterly, VII & VIII for extracts Diary of John Blair)
^ 1 Wheatley and Peter Scott seem to have had some mutual problem (possibly a building job.) John Blair was greatly interested in the building of the Second Capitol. His notes in the Diary (1751) indicate this. Among the items is this one: "... Spoke to Wheatly & Scot abt Govr L. Burwl." (Diary of John Blair, March 23, 1751 - copy William & Mary Quarterly VII, 137)
^ 2 "Mr. PETER SCOTT, [died] in the 8lst year of his age; upwards of 40 years a common councl man of this corporation." (Virginia Gazette, Purdie, ed., December 1, 1775)
^ 1 In the Custis Papers are two items indicating that Scott continued to rent from the Custis family: "1769 Decr 11 Recd of Mr Peter Scott...for ye Yr 1769... £10.-.-" "1771 A Memorandum of the tennants in the Estate of Colo Custis and the amounts of the Rents in Williamsburgh...Peter Scott....£10.0.-"
^ 1. M-1084-1 Lee Family Papers, Virginia Historical Society,
^ 1 Beverley Dickson was the son of Nicholas Dickson and Charlotte Dickson. The father owned property in Yorktown. In June 1768 Nicholas Dickson advertised his house for sale or rent as he intended going to England. (Virginia Gazette, 2 June 1768, Purdie & Dixon, eds.) His death was reported in England in April 1770: "Nicholas Dickson, Yorktown, Virginia, but late of Bristoll. Administration 20 April 1770 to Charlotte, the relict. Admon Act Book 1770." (Virginia Magazine History, XVI, 70) In December 1770, "B. Dickson and mother are returning to Va. after a visit to London. Have purchased goods from haberdasher and a jeweler… She [Mrs. Dickson] is setting up her son in the haberdashery business-has taken two rooms in the Brick House [present Vest house] and ordered goods from Norton." (Letter to Norton, Dec. 29, 1770, Savage-Norton Letters, Brock Boxes 18 & 19, Huntington Library) Dickson rented a part of the Vest house for use as a store from 1770 - Beverley Dickson married Polly Saunders of Williamsburg on November 1776. (Virginia Gazette, Nov. 1, 1776, Purdie & Dixon, eds) Dickson was appointed Naval Officer for the Upper District of James River in 1777, and clothier for the land and marine troops of Virginia in 1779. (Ibid, Jan. 17, 1777); and Calendar of Virginia State Papers, IV, 69) Dickson died in September 1787. (Virginia Gazette & Weekly Advertiser, September 6, 1787, Nicolson, ed.)
^ 1. On October 10, 1778 John Parke Custis gained "full consent" from Washington "to the Sale of the Lands which I hold in right of Dower in a Tract in the County of York, to a Grist Mill thereon. To Lotts in the City of Williamsburg, and others in James Town..." (The Writings of George Washington, XIII, 56-59)
^ 2. On July 27, 1801 Robert Grennhow writing to Mr. Ash, agent of the Mutual Assurance Society, regarding his property [houses on lots 159 & 160] said: "...The main Street is nearly 100 feet wide, to the west 70 or 80 feet separates me from the next buildings..." (photostat, Research Department) The buildings cited as 70 or 80 feet west were the houses on Beverley Dickson's lot.
^ 1. Up to the present time (January 1950) no archaeological digging has been done on lot 354 to the west of lot 355. Until this project is done there can be no final statement as tto Custis' property on the three lots (355, 354, & 353)


The earliest record of lot 355 appears in a deed to John Custis in 1714 when the trustees of Williamsburg granted him this lot along with 353 and 354. In April 1717, Custis in describing the vista cut by the Governor across his land (behind the Palace) mentions his "Tenement" then in the process of building, and states that his tenant had reserved certain oak trees on premises which would be used as timber to "cover my Tenement." In the light of later records, it is evident that Custis was referring to the house or tenement being built on lot 355. In 1746 John Wheatley leased this lot from Custis for a three-year term. The property was described thus: "...on the Duke of Gloucester Street,
15 and all the houses and appurtenance on the said lot of grounds, it being the Corner lot facing the Governor's House,..."Wheatley, probably kept a rooming-house. After the death of Daniel Parke Custis in 1757, who inherited the property from his father, John Custis, the widow Martha Custis (later wife of George Washington), settled the estate. Items were charged for "Rent" against John Wheatley, and "Repairs of a house pd Jno Wheatley..." Also items were charged against Peter Scott, a cabinet-maker, who rented from the Custis family: "1757 Rent of Peter Scott..." Scott advertised in September 1755 that he would have for sale "at the Subscriber's Shop near the Church, sundry Pieces of Cabinet Work..." It is possible that Scott lived in a house on lot 354 and used the shop either on lot 355 or 354. (As no archaeological excavations have been made on lot 354 as yet, it is impossible to know what buildings were on this lot.) At any rate, Wheatley occupied the corner tenement of Custis and Scott occupied "Mr. Custis's Tenement...opposite to the Church" in the latter part of 1775. Early in 1776 the Tenement in which Scott lived "was burnt to the ground." The Virginia Gazette noted that "Mr. Peter Scott's old house in this City, which he had rented and lived in for 43 years, was burnt down last Sunday Night, by accident." Scott may have rented lot 354 from Custis as this lot is also "nearly opposite to the Church." By 1778 John Parke Custis, son of Daniel Parke Custis, came into full possession of his Williamsburg property. The College Map (1791?) shows "Dixon" on this lot and on the lot to the south. The Bucktrout Map (1803) gives the same description. No numbers appear on either map. From 1782 the chain to title seems clear. Beverley Dickson was owner from ca 1782 to 1805 when R. Peter Deneufville came into possession. The Deneufville family held the property from 1805 to 1835 at which time Wade Nountfortt is noted as owner. During the Dickson and Deneufville ownerships
16 certain changes and repairs were made to the houses. Humphrey Harwood, Williamsburg carpenter and builder, repaired and refinished a house for Dickson, and changes were made to an "Office" and a "Carpenter's" [shop]. This shop may have been the one in which Peter Scott had worked for so long. From 1839 to 1928 the property has been in the ownership of the Maupin family. John M. Maupin acquired it via Wade Mountfortt in 1839; Catherine Maupin, widow, held it until her death in 1854; and various heirs have held the property until 1928 when it was sold to W. A. R. Goodwin representing the Rockefeller interests for restoring Williamsburg. In 1939 the property came into the full possession of Colonial Williamsburg, Incorporated.

In 1931 an archaeological study was made of the lot. Foundations were uncovered of a colonial house exactly on the site as given by the Frenchman's Map. The house stood the usual 6 feet from the street with outside chimneys at east and west. There was evidence also, of nineteenth century additions to the older house. This bears out the contract of 1846 in which John M. Maupin bargained with David Cowles, Williamsburg carpenter, to "erec a Two Story Wing To Be of Wood. . . .Extending out Thirty Six Feet in Length. By Eighteen Feet in Width. . ."

Mr. John S. Charles in his "Recollections of Williamsburg" during the Civil War period noted that "The Maupin house, next on this block has changed but little in its exterior appearance since the writer first saw it. . . King street was, as now, the eastern boundary of this big lot which extended back to Francis street. In the back yard were two frame one-and-one-half story buildings facing to the north. The one near King street was used as a servant's quarters and the other as a dormitory for students. There was also on the lot, as there was on nearly every other lot in the city, a smoke house, which served as a place for the storing of heavy groceries, as well as for the smoking of meat, which in those days was done by nearly every housekeeper."


In 1928 the Maupin heirs conveyed to W. A. R. Goodwin representing Williamsburg Restoration, and in 1929 Dr. Goodwin conveyed the property to Colonial Williamsburg, Incorporated.

Mary A. Stephenson

Department of Research

(Report prepared by

Mary A. Stephenson,

General Assistant

January 1950


Illustration #1 Custis-Maupin House


Illustration #2 Custis-Maupin House Block 13 Lot [255]

Williamsburg Land Tax Records
"1782 - Beverley Dickson2 lots£8
1785 - Beverley Dickson2 lots£8
1786 - Beverley Dickson2 lots£18
1789 - Beverley Dicksons Est2 lots£12
1798 - Beverley Dicksons Est2 lots$40
1804 - Beverly Dixon Estate2 lots & 1/4$63 [The 1/4 lot came via Charlotte Dixon's estate]
1805 - R. Peter Deneufville Dixon
1 lot$50
1806 - R. Peter Deneufville1 lot$70
1807 - R. Peter Deneufville1 lot$100
1810 - Auge Deneufville via Deneufville
[sometimes written "John Aug. Deneufville"]1lot$100
1820 - John A. Deneufville1 lotbuildings $1800; lot & buildings $2000
1835 - Robert J. Deneufville1 lotbuildings $1800; lot & buildings $2000
John A. Deneufville Sr
1837 - Wade Mountfortt1 lotbuildings $1800; lot & buildings $2000
via Robert J. Deneufville
1839 - John M. Maupin1 lotbuildings $1800; lot & buildings $2000
via Wade Mountfortt
1853 - John M. Maupin Est1 lotbuildings $1800; lot & buildings $200
1854 - Catherine M. Maupin1 lotbuildings $2500; lot & buildings $3000
Formerly charged to J. M. Maupin's Est.
1861 - Catherine M. Maupin1 lotbuildings $2500; lot & buildings $3000

Illustration #3 Custis-Maupin House


Mr Beverly Dickson Dr
August 7To 8 bushels of lime at 1/. & repairing plastering 6/.£ 14 -
To Hair 7d 1/2 - & whitwashing to Rooms, 2 passages, & 1 closset [?]1. 7. 7 1/2
To 1/4 Bushl of Whitwash 2/6 - & 110 bricks 3/45.10
To seting up a Grate 7/6 - & turning 3 Arches 4/612. -
To 1 1/2 days labour 3/9 & laying a Harth 2/66.3
10To 8 bushs of lime 8/. & 106 bricks at 2/9 & 2 1/2 days labour a 2/6 17. 9
To hair 1/. repairing Larthing & plastering 10/.11. -
To laying a Harth 2/6 & contracting Chimney 3/66. -
To 128 Larths 2/.2. -
19To 4 bushells of lime a 1/. & 25 larths at 1/9 Pr C O & hair 6d5. -
To larthing & plastering closset 5/. & labourers work 2/.7. -
To whitwashing Office, 4/64. 6
3To 5 bushs of lime 5/. & repairing underpining, & [?] Steps 9/.14. -
To 1 1/2 days labour a 2/6 - & 250 bricks a 3/.14. 3
£ 7. 4.22

(Harwood Ledger B, p. 68)

Mr Beverly Dickson Dr
1785 th
June 27To 26 bushels of lime a 1/. & 220 larthes a 1/6£ 1. 9. 3 1/2
To hair 1/9 & 45 bricks a 3/. Pr Cent -3. 2 1/2
To repairing plastering 24/. & labours work 7/61.11. 6
To repairing Steps 2/62. 6
30To repairing plastering in the Carpenter's -8. 6
July 2To whitewashing 1 Room, & 2 passages a 4/613. 6
To 1/2 bushel Whitewash 1/. & labour, work 2/.3. -
1786 15To Repairing plastering &C £ 5. 2. 3 1/2 10. 6
Octob 11To 9 bushels of lime 9/. & repairing plastering in Store & House 7/616. 6
To mending a Grate 2/6 - & labours work 3/.5. 6
May 15To 4 bushels of lime 4/. & 150 Bricks 4/68.6
To repairing Kitchen Chimney 12/.12. -
18To 5 bushels of lime 5/. 150 Bricks 4/6 & 250 larthes a 1/3 12. 7 1/2
To larthing & plastering porch 5/. -5.
To underpining do 5/. & 1 1/2 days labr 3/9 £ 3. 8.10 1/28. 9£ 3. 8.10 1/2

E. Excepted by

W. H. Exor

Illustration #4 Custis-Maupin House

Brothers of the Spade by E. G. Swem (Worcester, Mass., 1949)

pp. 27-33

"John Custis, the correspondent of Peter Collinson, known as "John Custis of Williamsburg," was born in Northampton County in August, 1678, the son of John of Wilsonia and Mary Michael. It is now known that he used the fund devised by his grandfather for his education in England;....In the Memoir of G. W. P. Custis, by Mrs. R. E. Lee, printed in the Recollections of George Washington, by G. W. P. Custis, there is a letter from Daniel Parke II (page 16) to the father, John Custis of Wilsonia, in regard to the marriage of Parke's daughter Frances to the son John Custis...John Custis and Frances Parke were married in August, 1705. The other child of Daniel Parke II, a daughter, Lucy, married William Byrd II, 1706. Frances was born in 1687...In the Secret Diary of William Byrd,1710-1712, edited by Dr. Louis B. Wright and Miss Marion Tingling, published in 1941, there are frequent mentions of John Custis, his wife Frances and the Queen's Creek plantation, where the Byrds always visited on their trips to Williamsburg. There were four children born to John and Frances, two of them, a son and a daughter, died young and were buried beside their great-grandfather, the Major General, at Arlington, for so the inscription of the tomb indicates. The two that lived were Daniel Parke Custis (1711-1757) and a daughter, Frances Parke Custis, whose date of death was 1744;...When John's father, John of Wilsonia, died in 1714, he left the son much additional land. His plantations were on the Eastern Shore and in York, New Kent and King William Counties, the total number of acres being about fifteen thousand...He was one of the wealthiest men of his time in Virginia. The married life of John and Frances was most unhappy, as was that of the sister Lucy and William Byrd...Frances died March 14, 1715...In 1725 or 1726 John's portrait was painted by one of the traveling painters who occasionally visited Williamsburg. This shows him with the left hand holding a thin, bound volume, with the title, "On the tulip" lettered on the fore edge; there is a picture of a tulip in the lower right-hand corner of the canvas. The portrait is marked "aetat 45." This and the portrait of Daniel Parke Custis were hanging at Arlington House on the Potomac when Mrs. R. E. Lee wrote the Memoir of her father G. W. P. Custis. Both portraits have been reproduced in the volume by William Welsh Harrison, entitled the Harrison, Waples and Allied Families,1910. The original portraits of John Custis, of Frances Parke Custis, his wife, of Daniel Parke Custis, his son, of Martha Dandridge Custis, his daughter-in-law, and of John Parke Custis and Martha Custis as children, his grandchildren, are in the possession of Washington and Lee University...He [John Custis] was a member of the House of Burgesses from Northampton County in the session of October 23, 1705, and a member representing the College of William and Mary in 1718...John was appointed to the Council June 2, 1727, and served in that exclusive and powerful political group until a short time before his death in 1749...The will is dated November 14, 1749...His will was proved at a court held for James City County April 9, 1750. The records of that court and of the General Court being destroyed, there is no official copy of the will, of the report of the executor, and accompanying papers in Virginia. Owing to some of his property being in England, the will was filed in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, and was proved November 19, 1753. There is an abstract in Henry F. Waters' Genealogical Gleanings in England, Boston, 1901, Vol. I, pp. 393,394. The will is of unusual importance on account of its bearing upon the career of George Washington, into whose hands fell the settlement
of the intestate estates of John's son, Daniel Parke Custis, and grandchildren, John Parke Custis, and Martha Parke Custis...he left the whole of his estate to his son Daniel Parke Custis, and made him the sole executor...He directed that he be buried at Arlington in Northampton County, and on the tombstone to be erected an inscription was to be placed, which has made him highly conspicuous in the annals of Virginia. This inscription bears the statement that he was "aged 71 years, and yet lived but seven years, which was the space of time he kept a bachelor's house on the Eastern Shore of Virginia."

Custis-Maupin Illustration #6

Inventory of Thomas Crease

430 Crease's Apprs:)

In Obedience to the Worshipful Court of York we whose Names are under Subscribed being first Sworn have appraised the Slaves and Personal Estate of Thomas Crease decd in Current Money this 27th day of January 1757.

1Negro Man Slave named Tom £20 - 1 Negro Wench Moll £15£35.-.-
1Negro Wench Sarah £40 - 1 Negro boy Anthony £1858.-.-
1Negro Girl Sarah £12 - 1 Negro Child Patty £618.0.0
1Corner Cupboard 12/6 3 Prints 5/. 23 dos bottles 46/.3.3.6
2Carboys hold 3 & 4 gallons 7/. 2 Juggs hold Do 7/.0.14.-
1Scrutore 40/. 1 Chest of Drawers 20/. 1 Pine Table 10/.3.10.-
1large Bible 15/. 12 Pamphlets 1/0.16.-
2Books called the Instruction for the Indians0.2.6
1Do Christian Concolations0.2.6
1Do Practical Discourses of future Judgment0.2.6
1Do short Introduction of the Lords Supper0.1.3
1Do Immortality of the Soul0.2.6
1large Prayer Book 4/. 1 book Companion for the
Festivals 7/.0.11.-
2Pewter tea pots 10 Cups & Saucers0.10.-
1Slopbowl 1 Punch bowl 1 Milkpot0.15.-
1Tea spoon Boat & Glass Ware 9/. 2 Sugar dishes 2/.0.11.-
1large Cannister 1 Cheese toaster 1 Tea Kettle0.7.6
1Chocolate Pot 1 brown Mug 6/. 1 brass Candlestick & Snuffers 2/60.8.6
2small looking Glasses 9/. 1 Silver Watch £55.9.-
2Silver Cans £4.12/ - 6 Tea Spoons 2 Table Do 1 pair SugarTongs 27/. 1 Snuff box 5/.6.4.
1Field bedstead bedstaff hide & cord 1 Bed bolster
2 Pillows 1 pr Blankets & sheets 1 Quilt Counterpane &
1Bedstead hide & Cord 1 Bed bolster & Pillows 3 blankets
1 Sheet & Counterpanes £8 6 Napkins 1 bolster Cover 1/
1fire Shovel tongs & fender0.7.6
2baskets back gammon Table & Lumber0.7.6
1Trunk & bearers 5/. 1 Warning pan 1 Trunk 3 Boxes 9/60.14.6
1large Close Stool Chair 30/. 6 Chairs lots Elbow Do 43/.3.13.-
his Wearing Cloaths9.10.-
1pr Gold Sleeve buttons & Silver Shoe buckles1.-.-


W Dickenson

J Davenport

Wm Green

Returned into York County Court the 21st day of March 1757 and Ordered to be recorded.


Thos Everard Ck: Cur:"

[York County Records, Wills, Inventories, Book XX (1746-59), p. 430,


[Reel 24, Virginia State Library]

Will of Thomas Crease

Crease, Thomas - Gardener - Will

Williamsburgh, Va.

February 26, 1756.

I do give and bequeath to my brother Mr. Thomas Hornsby of the city of Williamsburgh and Margaret, his wife, the sum of 200 pounds current money of Virginia....

I do give and bequeath to my good friend Mr. Hugh Orr of city of Williamsburgh and Catherine, his wife, 200 pounds current money of Virginia.... 2 silver tumblers and my silver watch to them for their proper use and behoof.

The balance of my estate of what sort or kind so ever I give and bequeath to be equally divided between the said Thomas Hornsby and Hugh Orr.

Thomas Hornsby and Hugh Orr - executors


January 17, 1757.

(York County Records, Wills, Inventories, Book XX, p. 414.)