In 1736 the far western boundary of the immense Fairfax land grant (the Northern Neck Proprietary) was surveyed for the first time. These lands were granted by the British King George II, and encompassed everything between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers, making up much of the boundary of northern Virginia (and present day West Virginia). In 1746, a survey crew marked the far western extent of this land grant, at the source of the Potomac River, which is where the Fairfax Stone was set. From the beginning, though, officials in Maryland objected to this border, and would contest it for the next 150 years, until the Supreme Court settled the issue in 1910. Here is the story:
The spot the original land surveyors for Lord Fairfax thought was the source, or headspring of the Potomac River is still marked and today is maintained as the Fairfax Stone Historical Monument State Park, in West Virginia. It can be accessed from County Route 9, three and a half miles north of Thomas, W. Va. on Route 219.
In 1910 the Supreme Court finally made a ruling on the lawsuit between Maryland and West Virginia, ruling in favor of West Virginia and settling the disputed border. The Deakins Line was upheld as the legal boundary line between Maryland and West Virginia. Commissioners, including William McCullough Brown (who had surveyed the Potomac Stone line) for Maryland, were ordered to officially survey the Deakins Line and place monuments along it to mark the border. Below is a photo from that survey.
For more information on the Fairfax Stone Historical Monument State Park, visit: http://www.wvstateparks.com/Brochures/Fairfax_Stone.pdf
A special thank you to Don Teter, Dave Ingram, and the West Virginia Surveyors Historical Society who made this story possible.