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birthplace of Thomas Jefferson

In 1736, Peter Jefferson acquired 200 acres of land from his friend William Randolph, in exchange for "Henry Weatherbourn's biggest bowl of Arrack punch." The property deed, with an additional 200 acres, was confirmed in 1741, and Jefferson moved his family into a house on the property soon after. Named after a parish in London, Shadwell soon became a thriving plantation. Thomas Jefferson was the third child of Peter and Jane Randolph Jefferson to be born at Shadwell, in 1743; the Jeffersons eventually had a total of ten children.

Peter Jefferson died on April 13, 1764, leaving the bulk of his lands, including Shadwell, to Thomas. Thomas lived on the estate until the house burned to the ground in 1770, after which he moved to his Monticello estate. Although another house was built at Shadwell, Jefferson never lived at the plantation again. He did, however, continue to operate it, through overseers, as part of his "agricultural empire" until 1813, when he deeded it as a gift to his grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph.

Randolph was forced to sell Shadwell (and most of Jefferson's other properties) to satisfy debts after Jeffersons' death in 1826, and the only reminder of its existence is a historical marker on Virginia Route 250 about three miles east of Charlottesville, Virginia.

Shadwell historical marker

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The Robinson Library >> Thomas Jefferson

This page was last updated on August 30, 2018.