William Clifton (c.1704-c.1770) was descended from an English Roman Catholic family, several branches of which began leaving England for Maryland and Virginia in the mid-seventeenth century. William left England in the early eighteenth century and settled in Truro Parish, Va., where he was living in 1739 when he bought 500 acres of the Neck land from his brother-in-law George Brent (d. 1778) of Stafford County, Virginia. By 1760 Clifton’s land was a plantation of about 1,806 acres in Clifton’s Neck, which lay on the east side of Little Hunting Creek, facing the Potomac River, across which Clifton ran a ferry often used by GW.
Clifton experienced financial difficulties, and in 1760 he came to GW with a proposal to sell for £1,600 Virginia currency his 1806–acre tract of land in the Neck and a 555–acre tract in the forks of Little Hunting Creek which he had bought from his brother-in-law Henry Brent (1709–1769) but reserving the 500–acre farm where his own house was located. Clifton promised to sell the lands to GW unless he should find he was bound by previous commitments. GW offered Clifton £1,700 in Virginia currency for all his lands in the Neck including his home farm as well as the Brent tract. Clifton accepted the offer on condition that his wife Elizabeth Brent Clifton would consent to sell her dower rights in the land. On 26 Feb. 1760 Clifton and GW agreed that GW would pay Clifton £1,150 sterling for the 1,806 acres in the Neck which would include Clifton’s home farm but not the 555–acre Brent tract. Clifton was to have the use of his home farm for twelve months, and he was to procure a free and clear conveyance of all the lands from a group of Marylanders to whom the land was mortgaged. Clifton had previously mortgaged to others his land on Clifton's Neck and elsewhere, the issue eventually was dealt with in court. A court in Williamsburg appointed commissioners to arrange for the sale of Clifton’s lands at public auction, which took place in the spring of 1760. GW’s offer of £1,210 sterling for the 1,806–acre tract was the high bid at the sale in Alexandria on 20 May. However, the settlement was not accepted by all parties. Clifton refused to vacate the land until 1762, and it was not until 1791 that Charles Carroll of Carrollton and Mary Carroll Digges, widow of Ignatius Digges, gave GW a clear title to the land.