George Mason and his first wife, Ann Eilbeck Mason, began this burial ground in 1772. At that time, wealthy Virginians preferred to be buried at home instead of the local parish church. Multiple generations of women, men, and children—both enslaved and free—lived and died at Gunston Hall and many were buried here.
In 1922, a small group reclaimed the overgrown area by planting the cedar trees and building the brick wall around a few surviving headstones. These early preservationists hoped to protect the old markers from future damage, including the original box tomb of Ann Eilbeck Mason. The volunteers guessed the original layout of the cemetery.
Today, we know a lot more. Gunston Hall learned this graveyard covers 13,200 square-feet to the north and west by using three scientific technologies:
-ground penetrating radar,
-electromagnetic conductivity, and
These scanning techniques located at least 23 other adults inside the enclosure and more than 70 outside. However, this scan did not detect two infant gravesites, which appear in historic documents.
Where Is George Mason Buried?
Mason ordered a pair of matching limestone tombs from England for himself and his first wife, Ann.
He installed his wife's at this
new family burial ground after her death on March 9, 1773, while his own tomb stayed in storage in Alexandria. When George Mason died on October 7, 1792, the stone box had disappeared. It was never brought to Gunston Hall. Today. Mason's tomb is an exact copy of his wife's, made in 1960.
Who Else Is Buried Here?
Further research may reveal the identities or occupations of these once forgotten individuals.
All Gunston Hall residents lived through the same life experiences of birth, mourning, marriage, and re-marriage. How did enslaved people at Gunston Hall commemorate their dead? Were enslaved people buried in this area, near Mason family members? We do not know.