Wilton, an impressive example of Colonial American architecture and celebrated for its fully paneled interiors, was built c. 1753 for William Randolph Ill and his wife Anne Carter Harrison Randolph, both members of politically active families. This centerpiece of their 2,000 acre tobacco and wheat plantation was constructed by both free and enslaved masons and carpenters. William Randolph Ill died in 1761, leaving the management of Wilton to his widow.
Anne Randolph was active in the "Association for the Non Importation of English Goods" and offered hospitality to several important revolutionaries, George Washington stayed here after attending the Second Virginia Convention in March of 1775 where he heard Patrick Henry's stirring speech ending in "Give me liberty or give me death." The Marquis de LaFayette and nine hundred troops made their headquarters at Wilton before advancing to victory at Yorktown. The Randolph's son, Peyton Randolph, served in the Continental Army as an aide-de-camp to Lafayette.
When the house was threatened with demolition by encroaching industrial development, The National Society of The Colonial Dames of American in the Commonwealth of Virginia purchased the house and had it carefully moved and restored at its current location in 1934. Wilton House Museum welcomes the public and provides educational programs and events.
George Washington And Wilton
George Washington's March 1775 journal entry reads:
"Where, how, or with whom, my time is spent.
March 25. Returnd to the Convention in Richmond.
Dined at Galts & went to Mrs. Randolphs of Wilton.
26. Stay'd at Wilton all day.
27. Returnd to Richmond. Dined at Mr. Richd. Adam's
28. Left Richmond. Dined at Hanover Ct Ho & Lodged at Roys at the Boiling Green."
(upper left) Anne Randolph
(lower left) Peyton Randolph
(upper right) Wilton at its original location in the early 20th century.
(lower right) George Washington journal entry, 1775, Courtesy of the Library of Congress.