North Hill Estate

note: It has been widely reported that "North Hill" was built by Joh. David Castleman, son of Andreas, this is not true. The builder of the original house on the hill is lost in antiquity.

The chronology of the home as listed in Volume IV, "Annals of Clarke County, VA." has the house being sold in 1774 by the George Mercer's estate to James Warner. He sold it in 1786 to Edward Snickers who operated a ferry across the Shenandoah a few hundred yards north of the estate (note: Snickers Ferry was later purchased by David Castleman and relocated near North Hill). When he passed the estate was left to his son William Snickers who sold it to Thomas Stribling Jr. in 1805. In 1807 it was bought by Charles "King" Carter as a wedding gift to his son Charles Carter Jr. who married Elizabeth Lewis, daughter of Col. Fielding Lewis whose second wife was Betty Washington, sister of George Washington.

Elizabeth "Betsy" Lewis-Carter lived there until her death (1830). She and her three children who died there at North Hill, including Sarah Carter who was the second wife of John Peyton (son of Sir John and Francis Cooke Peyton); Elizabeth Washington Carter and Edward Carter (he may have been Charles Edward Carter born 1796, or Edward Frederick Carter born 1807 -1814) are interred in the little cemetery there on the front lawn burying ground.

George Washington and Fielding Lewis as executors of the estate sold it to John Dalrymple Orr in 1813 who sold it to the partnership of David D. Castleman Jr. and his partner Charles McCormick in 1818. David eventually bought out his partner, built onto the home much of it's present look and North Hill remained in the Castleman Family for the next one hundred plus years.

David left the estate to his nephews James Castleman and William Castleman Jr. in 1831. The estate was divided with James retaining the house and surrounding area. James Castleman in his will 1869 conveyed it to Col. Charles McCormick Castleman. Charles McCormick Castleman estate conveyed it to Maurice F. Castleman in 1917 who operated the estate as a Bed & Breakfst type Resort untill selling it to Lily A. Livingston in 1935.)


"North Hill" estate in Frederick Co., VA, lies in the center of one of our nations greatest historical areas. Situated in the Blue Ridge mountains only 50 or so miles from our nations capital. It stands on a high hill at an elevation of about 1000 ft above sea level, a quarter of a mile from Castleman's Ferry crossing of the historical Shenandoah River. The view is spectacular, in sight are many famous landmarks of the birth of our nation, Greenway Court, the home of Lord Fairfax, Mount Weather (one of the first weather stations), Oak Hill (home of president James Madison) and the home of that famous John Marshall of Virginia. During both the Revolutionary and Civil wars, artillery batteries were placed on the hill to protect the crossing of the river and the pass on the other side.

In ancient times the hill and surrounding area was a Indian hunting and camping area and over the years many axes, spears, arrow heads and other memorabilia have been unearthed there. It is claimed that the ghost of an Indian Maiden that was buried there still walks the grounds at night.

Twenty miles northeast is Harper's Ferry, where John Brown was captured after his raid on the United States Arsenal, a few miles nearer is Charles Town where he was tried and hanged. Fifteen miles to the west is the town of Winchester site of historical Fort Loudoun and where at the Episcopal Church cemetery repose the remains of Thomas Lord Fairfax, founder of the Virginia Colonies.

During the Civil War Winchester became known as the "Northern Gate" of the Confederacy as the little town changed hands more than eighty times as the rival forces advanced or retreated. From Winchester, General Sheridan dashed on his famous ride to Cedar Creek.

As early as 1748, a road from Winchester to Alexandria was a popular route for settlers between these two thriving towns. The road followed the natural contours of the land to the Shenandoah River where a ferry carried the wagons across the water. If the ferry had a name at all at that time I suppose it would have been the Williams Ferry as that was the name of the pass through the hills on the western side of the river, the pass was called Williams Gap, later to be renamed Snicker's Gap. This crossing of the river was a slow process and wagons would "stack up" to wait, sometimes for days, at the ferry landing. The little community that gragually grew out of this congregation became known as North Hill after the house up on the hill.


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