Thursday, June 24, 2004

James Madison's Montpelier Home Page

James Madison's Montpelier Home Page Virginia residence where Madison spent much of his life. Includes a look at the home's history and landscaping.

From the site:

In 1723 Ambrose Madison purchased 4,675 acres of land on the Virginia frontier, in an area that would later be known as Orange County. He wanted to start a tobacco plantation on this land, so he sent a handful of slaves to begin the long process of clearing the land, building a house, and building the other necessary fences, barns, and outbuildings. Ambrose, his wife Frances, and their children moved to their new plantation (which they called Mount Pleasant) in 1732. Soon after this Ambrose passed away, apparently the victim of poisoning.

Frances ran the plantation until her oldest son, James Madison, was old enough to take over. James was an excellent farmer and businessman, and the plantation turned a good profit. In 1749 James married Nelly Conway, who in 1751 gave birth to James Madison, Jr., the future president. Around 1755 the Madisons began construction on a new home which was completed in approximately 1760.

James Madison, Jr. was nine years old when his family moved into the new home which began as a simple eight room, brick house. Over the years it has gone through many changes. The first came in 1797 when James returned from Philadelphia with his new bride, Dolley. The house was too small to share with his parents, so a thirty-foot, four-room addition was added. A second front door was added, and for a short time the home was actually a duplex.

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