History of Presqu’Isle

 


 
French for “almost an island”, Presqu’Isle was initially comprised of 16,000 acres at the confluence of the Hazel and Rappahannock Rivers. Having acquired this land from Robert Beverly of Blandfield, Daniel Grinnan—a prominent Fredericksburg magistrate—completed the resplendent brick manor house in 1815, along with a number of brick dependencies. At the time, brick houses were so rare that it was said people for miles around came to marvel at Presqu’Isle. Judge Grinnan never lived at Presqu’Isle, but instead appointed his brother-in-law as overseer of the plantation.
 
Upon Judge Grinnan’s death in 1845, the plantation was sold to the Major family, who safeguarded the property through the Civil War. Presqu’Isle served as headquarters for Union General Emory Upton during the winter encampment of 1863/64, and though the estate witnessed severe fighting very near its borders, it was not caught in the crosshairs.
 
Since passing from the Major family in 1909, Presqu’Isle has known six owners. Fortunately through those transitions, the manor house has retained much of its original detail and charm. While many of the plantation’s original ancillary structures have disappeared and the plat has been whittled down, the 35-acre historic core—with manor house, grounds, two slave quarters, blacksmith shop, spring house—remains much as it was in the 19th century, as one of the region’s finest estates.