Thomas Tracey was a native of Dublin, Ireland who had been hired in 1783 to tutor the Custis children, the grandchildren of Martha Washington, and Tracy was a frequent guest at Mount Vernon. he also tutored members of the Stuart family as well. In 1811, Tracy purchased 362 acres of land for $13,000 (A staggering sum) in what is now called Virginia Hills, a neighborhood in Eastern Fairfax County. Tracy called his estate Mount Erin. He died on August 5, 1821, having willed the estate to his nephew, James, a sign painter of Dublin, Ireland, under the condition that James become a U.S. citizen. James, then 56 years old, migrated to this country in 1822 to claim his inheritance and lived on the property for eight years until his death on June 8, 1830. The land went to his wife, who rented out most of it but due to a huge debt and troubles by a bad second marriage which ended in divorce in 1842, she sold 166 acres to pay debts and heavily mortgaged the remainder. Of the 166 acres, 50 were sold to William Mershon in 1842 for $637.50 for the Old Mount Vernon Race Course. Included in the sale were the use of the well and the road.
In 1848, Maria Tracy sold the remaining 196 acres to Absalom Remington for $2025 and moved to Petersburg, Virginia. Remington died under suspicious circumstances in December 1849 - what looked like a poisoning by his wife, Catherine, but was never proved – and the property passed to his six children with dower interest being held by Catherine.