Peter Jefferson's Shadwell

When the first settlers arrived in the piedmont region of Virginia they came with legal documents laying claim to large tracts of land. Men such as Dr. Thomas Walker and Peter Jefferson who were leading men of Albemarle, built mansions demonstrating their wealth and power to visitors and travelers.

Peter Jefferson’s Shadwell was built in 1737 and named after the London parish in which his wife Jane Jefferson was born. His estate consisted of 1,000 acres and he acquired an additional 400 acres from his good friend and neighbor William Randolph who received a bowl of Henry Weatherbourne’s arrack punch for the trade (Rawlings 9). The book The Albemarle of Other Days by Mary Rawlings provides a description of Jefferson’s estate:

Shadwell was a farm-house of a story and a half in height, and had the four spacious ground rooms and hall, with garret columns above, common in these structures two hundred years since. It also had the usual huge outside massive chimneys, planted against each gable like Gothic buttresses, but massive enough, had been their use, to support the walls of the cathedral, instead of those a low wooden cottage. In that house was born Thomas Jefferson (Rawlings 10).

Shadwell was located on the highway and was frequented by many visitors who received the old Virginia hospitality (Rawlings 10). The site of Peter Jefferson’s Shadwell is located a few miles east of Charlottesville on modern day 250 East and is denoted by a Virginia historical marker.

shadwellsign.jpg (46807 bytes)(Photo taken by Bryan Maxwell)


Deed for the Shadwell Estate between William Randolph and Peter Jefferson

By deed dated May 18, 1736 William Randolph Jun. Esq. of the County of Goochland conveyed to Peter Jefferson, Gen’t. of the County of Goochland, in consideration of “Henry Weatherborne’s biggest bowl of Arrack punch to him delivered,” one certain tract or parcel of land containing two hundred acres, situate, lying and being on the north side of the North Anna in the parrish of St. James in the County of Goochland aforesaid and is bounded as followeth, to-wit:
Beginning at a corner black oak on the north side of the hive, thence north 23 degrees west 102 poles; thence north 64 degrees west 116 poles on the said line to a double hickory on the River shore the Sandy falls; thence down the river according to its meanders 332 pols to the beginning, and contains by estimation 200 acres be the same more or less.
Together with all houses, orchards, gardens, fences, woods, ways, waters, water courses and all other appurtenances to the same belonging or in any wise appertaining and all the state, right, title use, property, interests, claim and demand whatsoever, of the said William Randolph.

This deed provides:
That William Randolph, his heirs, shall and will at any time within the space of 7 years next after the date of the these presents at the reasonable request of the cost and charges in the law of said Peter Jefferson, his heirs and assigns, make, do and execute all such further and other deeds of conveyance necessary in the law for the better and more perfect assuring of the above granted land and premises in appurtenances.

Properly Executed, Acknowledged, Ceritified and Recorded May 18, 1736 in [?], p. 222 of the Clerk’s Office of Goochland County.

Abstracts of Title to Shadwell Properties, 1735-1945, Accession #5087, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.


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