After serving several years in servitude as a military prisoner, Beall earned the right to 50 acres of land and was freed from his obligations as a servant. Beall's fortunes would change dramatically. Over time the amount of land which he owned increased substantially - into many thousands of acres. Describing himself as a 'planter', he owned many tobacco plantations - reputedly naming one of them 'Largo' - as well a mill and a foundry. After the colony became a royal province, Beall rose to become Chief Military Officer of Calvert County. He was one of the most influential men in the settling of the District of Columbia and its surrounding area, and the protection of the colonists from the Indians. Ninian Beall championed immigration from Scotland and became the recognised leader of the Scottish settlers in the area.
According to the 1980 East Fife Mail article...
"In 1703 he was granted "Beall's Levels", a 225 acre tract covering the heart of present downtown Washington, nearly all the White House grounds, the Ellipse....all Pennsylvania Avenue from Third Street to the Treasury Building, with several blocks on each side. Unable to read the future, Beall never cared much for this tract....When a succession of tobacco crops had exhausted its fertility, Beall's Levels was sold."
The States of Maryland and Virginia would later play a major role in establishing the Capital City in its present location. George Washington, a native of Virginia, selected the site of the Capital and the District of Columbia. Maryland and Virginia granted land on each side of the Potomac River. Although Washington as it is now was not laid out until several decades after Ninian Beall's death, he once owned what would become downtown Washington, including the grounds of the White House (which was built 1792-1800).
In the next post - more on Ninian Beall himself.