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Happy Retreat History

From Inside Happy Retreat – History at its Best

From Inside Happy Retreat – History at its Best

Coming Home to Happy Retreat I am starting a “Coming Home” Series, featuring stories from families who once lived at Happy Retreat. With available research we are going to try and recognize residents all the way back to the Charles ... read more

History of the Octagon Building and Recent Progress

History of the Octagon Building and Recent Progress

A Short History of the Octagon Building We believe the octagon building dates to the late 18th Century and to the time of Charles Washington’s ownership of Happy Retreat. This significant building is the only one of its kind of that ... read more

George Washington letter discussing death of his brother Charles is part of Jefferson County Museum collection
Octagon House at Happy Retreat

Octagon House at Happy Retreat

We have moved the Octagon House to its new location. We are not finished but we are getting there. It will be placed on a newly constructed foundation. We also have our newly restored Smoke House/Stone Kitchen/Enslaved Quarters open. ... read more

History at its Best: The Charles Washington Family

History at its Best: The Charles Washington Family

Last year, we engaged the firm Landmarks SGA to develop a master plan for both the Happy Retreat house and grounds (Landmarks SGA also managed the beautiful restoration of Charles Washington Hall in downtown Charles Town). The concept ... read more

History at its best: “Keeping it in the Family Series”

History at its best: “Keeping it in the Family Series”

By Marjorie Gaestel, Happy Retreat Historian And the beat goes on, the heartbeat that is. The Friends of Happy Retreat are happy to introduce you to a new Happy Retreat ancestor, Jesse David Washington. Jesse David Washington, son of ... read more

The Ownership of Happy Retreat by the Hammond Family, 1800-1837

The Ownership of Happy Retreat by the Hammond Family, 1800-1837

As detailed in previous issues of our newsletter, Charles and Mildred Washington were forced by poverty and ill health to deed their interest in Happy Retreat, consisting of the house, outbuildings and about 800 acres, to their son ... read more

Historic Letter from Frances Bassett Washington to Martha Washington (March 1793)

Historic Letter from Frances Bassett Washington to Martha Washington (March 1793)

Introduction: HISTORY AT IT’S BEST FROM INSIDE HAPPY RETREAT, by Marjorie Gaestel Those that know me know that one of my favorite Happy Retreat subjects is the portrait of the lovely Frances Bassett Washington that hangs in one of our ... read more

Historic Sewing Machine Donated to Happy Retreat

Historic Sewing Machine Donated to Happy Retreat

Friends of Happy Retreat is appreciating a personal donation given to us by a descendant of Charles and Mildred Washington. This sewing machine belonged to Francis Washington, Jr. and his wife Lucy Walters Washington and their daughter read more

Another History at its Best

Another History at its Best

A little trivia about Happy Retreat. Hello from inside Happy Retreat on Her 240th Birthday My favorite thing to do as the historian of Happy Retreat is look behind Happy Retreat’s walls, under her floorboards, in closets, read long ... read more