James Bloxham was an English farmer hired by George Washington via his friend, George William Fairfax of Belvoir Plantation. Bloxham worked at Mount Vernon between April of 1786 through 1790. In addition, Bloxham's family was brought over from England in 1787 to live at Mount Vernon.
Before arriving in America, Bloxham had worked for William Peacey of North Leach, in Gloucestershire. Peacey was considered a leading gentleman farmer in Britain, and Bloxham was brought to Mount Vernon to impart the skills that he had assimilated in William Peacey's employment.1
Washington hired Bloxham to suggest improvement for Mount Vernon's farms and livestock, purchase farm supplies, keep accounts, and carry out directions for the management of the farms. In return, Washington agreed to pay Bloxham fifty guineas a year and supply him with a house and provisions. Initially Bloxham was dissatisfied with his post and disillusioned with Virginia farming methods. However, in 1788 Washington reported that Bloxham and his family "appear to be contented with the country."2
At the start of 1789, Bloxham was in charge of French's plantation and Ferry plantation. French's plantation, fronting on Dogue Run west of Mount Vernon, consisted of land leased by George Washington in 1786 from Penelope Manley French and a section of land purchased in the same year from the executors of her brother Harrison Manley. Ferry plantation, fronting on Dogue Run and the Potomac, was made up of several parcels of land, including two hundred acres along Dogue Run purchased from John Posey in 1769, a six-acre strip along the Potomac purchased from Posey in 1770, and 200 acres purchased in 1770 from John West. The area was called "United Plantations" or "Ferry & French's" until 1793 when George Washington renamed it "Union Farm, or Plantation."3
1. The Papers of George Washington, Confederation Series, Vol. 4, 88n.
2. "William Peacey (or Peacy) to Edmund Rack, 24 December 1785," The Papers of George Washington, Confederation Series, Vol. 3, 520n-521n.