The Original "Oak Hill" Farm House
The history of Franklin Farm, also known as "Oak Hill Farm" begins somewhere in the 18th century. The year the house on Oak Hill Farm was constructed has not been identified. There is speculation that the home was built in the 1700s. "The land known as Oakhill" first shows in the 1798 Land Tax Rolls of Fairfax County as a 213-215 acre tract that William Lane acquired from John Turberville.
The area originally was part of Prince William County, then became part of Loudoun County, and is now part of Fairfax County. Before 1798, this area was part of Loudoun County for 40 years (1757-1797). The Loudoun County Tax Roll for that time frame is copied on microfilm at the Fairfax County Library and the ink is faded and all but illegible on the film. The original tax rolls, located at the State Historical Library in Richmond, need to be investigated to see whether a house was part of the assessment.
During the 1798-1818 time period, the taxable property valuation does not indicate a house was added. However, the dates of 1805 and 1806 on the tombstones behind the Franklin House suggest that house was there at that time. The property was first identified as "Oak Hill Farm" in the Land Tax Rolls of 1814.
The home on "Oak Hill Farm" was bequeathed to Sarah Lane Rowles by her father, William Lane, Sr. She was given the home as a wedding gift when she married Benjamin Higgs in 1816. Before buying the land, the likelihood is that William Lane or his father, James Lane, first leased it from the Turberville family.
The land remained in the Lane-Higgs family until Benjamin Higgs, son of Sarah Lane and Benjamin Higgs, Sr., died in 1917. At the time of Benjamin Higg's death, the Oak Hill Farm contained 233 acres. In 1917, the continuity of ownership of Oak Hill Farm, dating from the late 18th century, came to an end.
Franklin Farm, owned by Mr. and Mrs. James B. Franklin, covered an area of Fairfax County first patented in the first half of the 18th century and settled in the second half of that century. The Franklins started with 100 acres that went with the house in 1937. By 1979, they had accumulated 827 acres, making it the largest dairy farm in Fairfax County.
Today Franklin Farm has 1777 homes, a commercial shopping center, churches, schools, a community center, a Fairfax County Park (ball fields), trails, and many other recreation spots on 850 acres. The community is a collection of 27 smaller neighborhoods that are bound together by a covenant and government as put forth in the Franklin Farm Foundation Disclosure. The streets are named after many of the original owners or related to dairy farming. The Franklin home and its barn and silo have been incorporated into the community. They are located at the corner of West Ox Road and Dower House Drive.