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Title: Historical Guide to Old Charlottesville
Author: Rawlings, Mary
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                            HISTORICAL GUIDE
                         TO OLD CHARLOTTESVILLE
                      With Mention of Its Statues
                       and of Albemarle’s Shrines

                              Compiled by
                             Mary Rawlings
                         Honorary President of
                The Albemarle County Historical Society

                             Copyright 1958
                  Mary Rawlings and Velora C. Thomson
                       CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA


  ALBEMARLE COUNTY COURT HOUSE                                          2
      TARLETON AND JACK JOUETT.                                         3
      PRESENT COURT HOUSE BUILDING                                      4
      JEFFERSON’S WILL                                                  5
      COURT HOUSE VOTING                                                5
      JOHN S. MOSBY.                                                    6
  BUILDINGS ON THE SQUARE                                               7
      TOWN HALL                                                         7
      SWAN TAVERN                                                       7
      SLAVE TRADE                                                       8
      VILLAGE LIBRARY                                                   9
      SWISS WATCH-MAKER                                                 9
      EAGLE TAVERN                                                      9
      “SATAN’S THUMB”                                                  10
  CIVIL WAR PERIOD                                                     11
      SHERIDAN’S RAID                                                  11
      ESCAPE FROM GALLOWS                                              12
  MILITARY OCCUPATION                                                  13
  ALBEMARLE’S SHRINES                                                  16
      MONTICELLO                                                       16
      ASH LAWN                                                         16
      BUILDING OF ASH LAWN                                             18
      SALE OF ASH LAWN                                                 18
      BOXWOOD GARDEN AND STATUE                                        19
      THE MICHIE TAVERN                                                20
  CHARLOTTESVILLE’S STATUES                                            22
      LEWIS AND CLARK STATUE                                           22
      LOCATION OF STATUE                                               22
      MERIWETHER LEWIS                                                 22
      WILLIAM CLARK                                                    23
      LOUISIANA PURCHASE.                                              23
      STONEWALL JACKSON STATUE                                         24
      GEORGE ROGERS CLARK STATUE                                       26
      LEE STATUE                                                       27
      MINIATURE MODEL OF LEE                                           29
      ENVOI                                                            30

[Illustration: COURT SQUARE
Floyd Johnson    _Courtesy of Alb. Co. Hist. Soc._]

[Illustration: Albemarle County Courthouse. Built 1803.    _J. Rawlings

                          ALBEMARLE’S SHRINES

Upon the forming of the County of Albemarle in 1745, its boundaries
included what are now Buckingham, Amherst, Nelson, and Fluvanna
Counties, with parts of Appomattox and Campbell—the Blue Ridge being the
Western line. The county seat was then placed in Scottsville on the
James, but with final boundary adjustments in 1761 it was felt necessary
to remove the court house to a more central site. Thus Charlottesville
was not a town of natural growth, but a political creation. It was
formed by Act of Assembly, November 5th, 1761, to take effect January
1st, 1762. The name was bestowed in honor of Princess Charlotte, bride
of George III.

The Court House Square was owned by the County, and adjoined the town on
the North. A court house was erected promptly, but for some years town
growth was slow, and as late as 1779 the village was said to contain
only about a dozen houses. In 1835 it consisted of “about 200 handsome
and comfortable dwellings, generally of brick, 4 houses of worship, 3
large hotels, 1 tavern, 2 book stores, 2 druggist stores, and about 20
mercantile establishments.”

The court house and its environs now constitute Old Charlottesville, and
some account of the locality will be found in the ensuing pages.

                      ALBEMARLE COUNTY COURT HOUSE

The first Charlottesville Court House, built in 1762, was of wood, and
reproduced that of Henrico County; the cost 375 pounds, ten shillings.
It stood near the site of the Confederate statue and faced down
Court—now Fifth—Street.

In that small structure both Jefferson and Monroe, as fledgling lawyers,
practiced that profession. Both were youthful magistrates—although
public life early broke this tie for both of them. There are no records
of Mr. Jefferson’s sitting on the bench, although he did take
depositions. Mr. Monroe sat regularly for six months in 1799, just
previous to becoming Governor.

                       TARLETON AND JACK JOUETT.

As the Revolutionary War drew to its end the little building knew a
brief notoriety. Before the threat of Cornwallis, Governor Jefferson and
the Legislature refugeed, May 24, 1781, to re-convene in
Charlottesville. The Legislature met in the Court House, the overflow
occupying the Swan Tavern across the street. Cornwallis dispatched in
pursuit his “hunting leopard,” Col. Banastre Tarleton, with a troup of
180 cavalry and 70 mounted infantry.

These reached the village on the morning of June 4th, to find that a
warning had preceded them. The members had left town for Staunton: they
were pursued and seven captured. The Jeffersons—the family by carriage,
Mr. Jefferson on horseback—refugeed to Enniscorthy, the Coles plantation
in Southern Albemarle.

The warning was brought by John Jouett, captain of militia, and a native
of Charlottesville, his father being the owner of Swan Tavern. Chancing
to be in Cuckoo Tavern in Louisa County as the legion swept by on the
main road, he suspected their destination and rode swiftly by a shorter
route, covering the forty-odd miles in time to arrive several hours
before the enemy. This was the famous “Jack Jouett’s Ride,” which in
dash, and political importance, surpassed that of New England’s Paul

In Charlottesville the British troops destroyed military stores
amounting to 1000 new muskets, 400 barrels of powder, several hogsheads
of tobacco, and a quantity of soldiers’ clothing. A more serious loss
was the burning on the court house green of the County records, which
covered the foundation of the County. As the uniform of the legion was
white, faced with green, and that of the infantry red, the village must
have presented a dramatic appearance during these hours.

Upon the 5th, Tarleton with his prisoners, withdrew towards Tidewater,
his movements being hastened by rains which flooded the streams, and by
the gathering of local militia. Jouett’s gallant action received State
recognition. A resolution of the General Assembly, December 14, 1786,
reads: Colonel Meriwether directed, “to procure an elegant sword for
Capt. John Jouett on the best terms he can for the Contingent Warrents.”

                      PRESENT COURT HOUSE BUILDING

The main portion of the present court house was built by order of court,
1803. A committee of three produced the plan. (Mr. Jefferson was not one
of these, but is said to have approved the design.) We do not know the
style of the original portico; the present entrance and T-front are
post-Civil War. The grounds held the usual whipping post, stocks, and
pillory, and as late as 1857 the whipping post was restored.

The court house long served as the town’s public building, and the
denominations used it in rotation. Writing about this in 1822, Mr.
Jefferson says:

  “In our Richmond there is much fanaticism, but chiefly among the
  women. In our village of Charlottesville there is a good degree of
  religion, with but a small spice of fanaticism. We have four sects,
  but without either a church or a meeting house. The court house is the
  common temple, one Sunday in the month to each. Here Episcopal and
  Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist, meet together, join in hymning
  their maker, listen with attention to each others’ preachers, and all
  mix in society in perfect harmony.”

Mr. Jefferson was a frequent worshipper, riding down from Monticello and
bringing a light cane which opened into a seat—his own invention. It was
not unusual to see on this green a president and two ex-presidents in
friendly talk with neighbors. Mr. Madison, who lived some twenty-odd
miles off in Orange County, was a close friend of the Albemarle two:
they were called “the great trio,” as in close harmony they governed the
United States for some twenty-four years. Mr. Madison was a member of
the University Board, and, oddly enough, president of the Albemarle
Agriculture Society.

An interesting old document, originally deposited in the court house was
the will of Thaddeus Kosciusko, the gallant Pole who came to America to
fight in the Revolution. He left it with Mr. Jefferson, and appointed
him executor. When Jefferson heard of his death in 1817 he had the will
recorded in the office of the Albemarle Circuit Court, where it remained
on file until May, 1857. It was then transmitted to the Secretary of the
Commonwealth, to be deposited in the State Library.

Mr. Jefferson’s own will, executed here, contained many interesting and
touching features. Although overwhelmed with debts, he freed five of his
servants. This portion reads as follows:

                            JEFFERSON’S WILL

  “I give to my good, affectionate, and faithful servant, Burwell, his
  freedom and the sum of three hundred dollars to buy the necessaries to
  commence his trade of painter and glazier, or to use otherwise as he
  pleases. I give also to my good servants, John Hemings and Joe Fosset,
  their freedom at the end of one year after my death, and to each of
  them respectively, all of the tools of their respective shops or
  callings, and it is my will that a comfortable log house be built for
  each of the three servants so emancipated, on some part of my lands
  convenient to them with respect to the residence of their wives, and
  to Charlottesville and the University, where they will mostly be
  employed.—I give the use of an acre of land to each during his life.—I
  humbly and earnestly request of the legislature of Virginia a
  confirmation of the bequest of freedom to these servants with
  permission to remain in this State where their families and
  connections are, as an additional instance of favor, of which I have
  received so many manifestations in the course of my life, and for
  which I now give them my last solemn and dutiful thanks.” (Two boys
  were to receive their freedom upon coming of age.)

                           COURT HOUSE VOTING

Until towards the middle of the 1800’s this court house was the sole
voting place in Albemarle County. Elections were held on court days.
Only “Freeholders”—white, adult males owning at least twenty-five acres
of land with a building on it—had the franchise. The secret ballot was
unknown. Candidates were required to be present throughout the election,
and by popular custom they were expected to furnish a “treat” for their
followers. These supplies of food, and especially of drink, became an
expense which friends sometimes had to share. Rum punch was the usual
drink, although cider was also offered.

The procedure was as follows: the voting was by voice. A long table was
placed in the court room. At the center of this sat the High Sheriff; on
either side of him were a few of the county Justices; then at the two
extreme ends were the respective candidates, each with a clerk who
recorded his party’s votes. The room was open to the crowd. Singly, each
voter advanced before the bench. If unchallenged, the Sheriff asked his
choice and the man named his candidate. The candidate then usually rose,
bowed, and expressed his thanks: “I thank you, Sir”; “You honor me,
Sir.” The crowd at the same time expressed its feelings in cheers or
sharp retorts. (_See The Freeholder, Charles S. Sydnor, Chapel Hill

It is interesting to know that Jefferson and Monroe both voted in such
elections many times. This method continued until after the death of
both men.

On one occasion, April 1810, Mr. Jefferson came down hurriedly from
Monticello and lobbied on this green for Monroe, who at that time was
undergoing a brief decline in popular favor. The contest was for the
State Assembly. The local party had gone so far as to decide to nominate
another man; Mr. Jefferson’s intervention, however, nipped this in the
bud; the proposed candidate withdrew at Jefferson’s solicitation; Monroe
was substituted and elected.

                             JOHN S. MOSBY.

Coming momentarily down to the War-Between-the-States era, Virginia’s
famous cavalry officer, Col. John S. Mosby, is doubly connected with
this building. Mosby came to Albemarle as a small boy, grew up near
town, and attended the University. While a student, he—in an
altercation—shot and seriously wounded a man. He was tried in this
building and sentenced to a year in prison; but he was pardoned after
serving seven months.

During the war, as “Ranger Mosby,” he had a brilliant guerrilla career.
In March, 1865, about a month before the surrender, he happened to be in
Charlottesville at the time of Sheridan’s raid through the town. He was
warned that Sheridan would enter from the West. He obtained civilian
dress. Believing he had time, he entered a Main Street shop. However,
the Union troops had spread out and a small company was entering from
the North, down Park Street, at that very time. A running colored boy
warned Mosby of his danger; hearing the words ‘Park Street,’ he supposed
he was to escape in that direction. Rushing for his horse, he entered
Fifth Street on the dead run. Reaching Jefferson Street he found the
company was already at the court house and disbanding. Dashing through
unrecognized he cleared High Street at one jump, ‘with mud splashing to
Heaven,’ and escaped down Park Street after all.

[Illustration: Sixth Street. Eastern Boundary of Village.    _J.
Rawlings Thomson_]

                        BUILDINGS ON THE SQUARE

                               TOWN HALL

These old, early nineteenth-century houses have a grave and quaint charm
of their own. At the corner of Park and East High Streets stands a large
red brick building now known as the Park View Apartment, 350 Park
Street. It was erected in 1851 “for the purpose of a town Hall.” Up to
that time the lot had served as a playground for men and boys, and was
known as the Battery. Later, the hall became the Levy Opera House, but
with the coming of the movies its public functions declined.

                              SWAN TAVERN

The Red Land Club now occupies the site of one of the old buildings of
the village, the famous Swan Tavern. The exact date of the tavern’s
building is not known; the lot was bought in 1773. The building was a
wooden structure with its painted sign of a swan hanging over the door.
It was the home of the Jouett family. Jack Jouett, hero of the famous
ride, lived here, and here the refugeeing members of the Virginia
Legislature convened in 1781. In 1812 the tavern became known as the War
Office, as military matters connected with that war were handled here.
Following this, it gradually fell into decay and in 1832 collapsed. The
present brick building was then erected.

                              SLAVE TRADE

[Illustration: Farish House. Now Old Wing of Monticello Hotel.    _J.
Rawlings Thomson_]

Number Nothing (now Numbers 240-242 Court Square) is the original house
on this lot. It was built in 1820; a double store, separately owned and
handled. The name comes from the fact that at first the lot was intended
for a horse lot. When it was sold the other lots had been numbered in
rotation; a sequence was impossible, so Number Nothing was chosen.
Traditions of the slave trade cluster here. Until some forty years ago
there was on its Southern side, at the curb, a large stone, some
eighteen inches high, by fifteen inches wide, and thirty long, which was
known as the slave block. Here the village auctioneers long functioned,
and doubtless when slaves were brought in, their dealers made use of
these facilities. A fragment of an old sign may still be deciphered on
this wall: “... and Bros. Auction Rooms.” The stone was unintentionally
removed during recent street repairs.

                            VILLAGE LIBRARY

223 Court Square was built in 1815 as a store. Next, where Number 222
now stands, formerly stood two small wooden buildings. The first was a
small, one-room affair, the village library. Mr. Jefferson made
substantial contributions of books from his great collection. A few of
these volumes, bearing both his signature and the stamp of the library,
are preserved in the Alderman Library at the University.

                           SWISS WATCH-MAKER

The second little house was the shop of a Swiss watch-maker, who was
induced to settle here by Mr. Jefferson, who at intervals brought in
other European artisans: Italians to introduce wine-making, an Italian
coach-builder, and stone-cutters to carve the capitols at the

                              EAGLE TAVERN

On the Square’s South side stood the famous Eagle Tavern. Its site is
now the East wing of the Monticello Hotel. For almost two centuries this
spot has been the site of a house of entertainment, and has never had
any other use.

The date of the first building is not recorded. The lot was cut off and
sold in 1765; the village then was two years old, and the lot was new.
When sold for the second time, in 1791, it is described as a tavern. The
building probably followed the first purchase.

The Eagle Tavern was a wooden, two-and-a-half story building, with the
sign of the eagle displayed. A deep porch covered its front, and on this
travelling peddlers habitually sold their goods: saddles, boots, dry
goods, etc. This for some decades was an important item in the supplies
of the village, but after 1835-36 it died away.

Later, this wooden structure was replaced by the present low brick
building. The name became Eagle Hotel, and so continued until 1863, when
it became the Farish House.

Of its use before the coming of the railways we are told that on court
days 200 or more persons dined here, and in the stables and lot 250
horses were fed. Reminiscing, an early citizen wrote:

  “In 1833 the price of board and lodging was ten dollars per month. The
  public room was a spacious hall, having in it a large open
  fireplace.... In one corner of this public room was the bar, having
  shelves on which were ranged decanters and bottles of the ardent—the
  elixir of life.... Our farmers sat down to a superb dinner, and
  cheerfully paid the landlord fifty cents for it—not as in the present
  times, when many bring snacks in their pockets and eat them while
  sitting at a fire kept up by the landlord for the guests of the

As late as the 1790’s public dances were given here, and were attended
by high and low, the different classes keeping to themselves, though
without friction. (This mingling was doubtless due to the scarcity of
music.) Here, too, the political parties celebrated their victories with
great dinners, and endless speeches and toasts.

An old book gives this somewhat disconcerting glimpse of the village in

                            “SATAN’S THUMB”

  In passing through the place in 1818, Dr. Conrad Speece attempted to
  preach at night in the court house, but nearly failed, due to the
  insufficient light, and the rudeness of the boys. He spent the night
  at the tavern, and such were the sentiments uttered by the prominent
  gentlemen, and such the conduct of the young men frequenting the
  tavern, that he said the next day: “When Satan promised all the
  kingdoms of the world to Christ, he laid his thumb on Charlottesville,
  and whispered, ‘_except this place, which I reserve for my own
  especial use_’.”

This old hostelry in its day housed all the great men of the vicinity,
and a great many from a distance.

                            CIVIL WAR PERIOD

                            SHERIDAN’S RAID

Charlottesville was occupied by Sheridan’s Cavalry, U.S.A., arriving
March 3rd, 1865, and leaving on the 6th. Their entry was from the West,
and troops encamped in many sections of the town: “above the
University,” South of the University (Piedmont), Belmont, Park Street,
what is now Locust Grove, etc.

A committee from the University secured guards for that institution and
it was uninjured. There was no burning in the town with the exception of
the Woolen Mills, East Market Street, which had furnished material for
Confederate uniforms. All approaching bridges were destroyed. Searching
homes for hidden arms was almost universal, and there was considerable
looting, followed in some instances by mobs of negroes and disorderly
whites. A detailed, edited letter in the _Magazine of Albemarle County
History, Vol. 14_, gives the following information:

  “As a general thing the citizens suffered little. Parties were sent
  out in all directions, and did an immense amount of damage. Our
  country friends suffered dreadfully. Corn, meat, flour, hay, horses,
  and negroes were in great demand.... I suppose the County has lost
  many hundred horses, and from 1500 to 2000 negroes. Some families lost
  almost everything they had, their household stuff being taken away or
  destroyed.... Hundreds of watches must have been carried out of the
  County. Poor Mrs. Harper (Farmington) not only lost in servants and
  horses, but had her house ransacked from garrett to cellar.... Her
  pictures were spared, her wines, of course, all taken.... I told my
  servants they had my full consent to go, ... but none of mine left.”
  (Quartered in his home, 713 Park Street, were Col. Battersby, 1st N.
  Y. Lincoln Cavalry, his Hungarian orderly, and a negro servant.) “He
  and his orderly appeared to be perfect gentlemen and conducted
  themselves in all respects as our guests.” He furnished guards for two
  neighbors. “Col. Battersby had a fine Newfoundland dog.... He returned
  to my house the day after his master left, and is now with me. I have
  written to Col. Battersby and sent my letter to Richmond to go by flag
  of truce.” Family tradition states that shortly after Appomattox the
  orderly came for the dog.

Col. Sheridan’s headquarters were successively No. 408 and No. 522 Park
St. Major-General Wesley E. Merritt was quartered at 303 East High
Street, and Major-General George A. Custer at The Farm—the beautiful
house designed by Jefferson, now 1201 East Jefferson Street. It was at
the time the home of Capt. Thomas L. Farish, C.S.A.

                          ESCAPE FROM GALLOWS

Capt. Farish was on Adjutant-General duty in South-side Virginia. He
obtained leave to return to Albemarle for the protection of his family.
He was captured in civilian dress and taken to the custody of Gen.
Custer—in Farish’s own home. Receiving him, Custer said, “Capt. Farish,
in these unusual circumstances, I don’t know whether it is my duty to
ask you to take a seat or yours to ask me.” The civilian dress classed
Farish as a spy, and Sheridan sentenced him to death by hanging. Workmen
erected a scaffold beneath one of the giant white oaks on Farish’s lawn.
Custer made persistent remonstrance, and in a discussion which lasted
until midnight, obtained a change of sentence to parole. (See Farish’s
narrative, _Weekly Chronicle, Charlottesville, August 4, 1876_—_Alderman

                          MILITARY OCCUPATION

At the close of the war the country was under military government. The
civil courts were closed, right of public assembly denied, and the usual
further restrictions. Government headquarters were in Richmond, and
Military Commissioners controlled the separate counties under direction
from the central offices. This occupation continued for two years.
Albemarle was fortunate in the character of the U. S. Army officers who
filled this difficult role. On the first of these—Captain Linn
Tidball—several anecdotes remain. He was strict with the populace, but
also with his soldiers, and more than once disciplined them for
“unnecessary harshness in the discharge of duty.” One small incident was
as follows:

  A group of soldiers stationed at the Farish house (now the old wing of
  the Monticello Hotel), for a while amused themselves hanging out a
  Union flag so that it impeded the sidewalk before the building. They
  would then force all passers-by to halt and salute. War feeling was
  still too high for this to be accepted; the populace boycotted that
  walk and passed in single file down the middle of the street, with
  eyes straight ahead. After a few days this came to the attention of
  the officer. The flag was removed and the men reproved, on the grounds
  that to use the flag for purposes of malice or sport was degrading to
  its honor.

Another story:

  One regulation was that Confederate uniforms might not be worn in
  public. This worked much hardship on the newly-returned soldiers, who
  had no other clothing and no means of procuring any. A committee
  waited on the Commissioner and requested some modification. His order
  was that all military buttons and insignia be removed from the coats,
  and the grey could then be used until it could be replaced. Some time
  later a young mountaineer was brought before him. The youth, in
  Confederate uniform, had fought in the streets with Union soldiers.
  When these soldiers had testified, the officer asked for the young
  man’s statement. He said he had never heard of any regulations about
  his uniform. He was walking along and a soldier halted him and began
  to roughly cut off his buttons. “I thought he wanted them for his girl
  back home, and I knocked him down. Then them other fellows come up and
  they got _me_ down.” The officer called for the severed buttons, gave
  them to the youth and said: “Take these home and give them to _your_
  girl. She may want to keep them. Have her sew plain buttons on your
  jacket, and in future, young man, don’t be so handy with your fists.”

Also, this officer showed exceptional confidence in the community. A
distressing problem for the county was to provide for the returned men
who lacked the essentials for resuming work and a normal life. A
committee of three prominent men, headed by Col. Thomas Jefferson
Randolph, grandson of Jefferson, visited the officer and asked
permission to hold a public meeting for discussion of the situation.
Col. Randolph stated that the committee would be personally responsible
for the good conduct of the crowd, and would vouch for the propriety of
all speeches. The officer not only gave his consent—he stated he would
allow it to take place without guards. The meeting was held in the old
Levy Opera House, now the Park View Apts., on the corner of Park and
East High Streets. The contract was strictly observed on both sides.

It is interesting to note the sectional adjustment achieved in only a
decade. On July 21, 1876, Memorial Services commemorating the first
battle of Manassas were held in Charlottesville by the 19th Virginia
Regiment. Tents were pitched in the court house yard, and banners
stretched across the streets inscribed with appropriate mottoes. At the
banquet, one toast was: “The American Union.” Col. R. T. W. Duke,
C.S.A., responded, “May it endure for all time.” See _Charlottesville
Chronicle, July 28, 1876_. _Alderman Library, University of Virginia._

[Illustration: Monticello.    _Gitchell’s Studio_]

                          ALBEMARLE’S SHRINES

                            _Monticello Mt._

The home of Thomas Jefferson, designed and built by himself upon land
inherited from his father—Colonel Peter Jefferson, member of the House
of Burgesses and Lieutenant-Colonel of the County. The leveling of the
mountain top began, 1768. Due to successive additions and alterations,
completion of the buildings was later than 1809. Following the burning
of Shadwell, his father’s home, Jefferson moved to Monticello (the
Southwest Out Chamber) in 1771 and in 1772 brought his bride there. She
was Martha Wayles Skelton, a young widow of twenty-three, distinguished
for beauty and a graceful carriage. It was an exceptionally happy
marriage, ended after ten years by her death. Of six children, only two
daughters survived infancy. Both left descendants.

In 1781 Monticello was raided by British Tarleton’s troops, in pursuit
of the refugeeing Governor and Legislature. Forewarned, the family
escaped. There was no property damage. Upon his visit to America in
1824, Lafayette was a guest here, and a great public reception in his
honor was held on the lawn.

Monticello remained Jefferson’s much loved home until his death there,
July 4, 1826, aged eighty-three. Due to financial stress, it was sold in
1830 for $7,000. In 1836 it was purchased by Commodore Uriah P. Levy of
the United States Navy for $2,700. With the exception of the Civil War
period, when it was confiscated by the Confederate Government, it
remained in the Levy family until sold to the Monticello Memorial
Foundation, 1923. Much of the original furniture and many personal
relics are on display.

                                ASH LAWN
                       _2 mi. beyond Monticello_

Home of James Monroe, twice Governor of Virginia, U. S. Senator,
Secretary of State and War, Minister to France and to England, and twice
President of the United States. James Monroe was born in 1758 at his
father’s home, Monroe’s Creek, Westmoreland County, Virginia. He studied
at Williamsburg, served with distinction in the Revolutionary War, and
practiced law for eighteen months in Fredericksburg. His removal to
Albemarle was the fulfillment of a long-cherished plan, as his pleasant
letters to Mr. Jefferson show. One reads as follows:

[Illustration: Ash Lawn. The “Cabin-Castle”.    _J. Rawlings Thomson_]

  August 19, 1786. “I shall leave this (N.Y.) for Virginia. I have not
  relinquished the prospect of being your neighbor.... The house for
  which I have requested a plan may possibly be erected near Monticello.
  To fix there and to have yourself in particular, with what friends we
  may collect around for society, is my chief object, or rather the only
  one which promises to me ... real and substantial pleasure.” _Writings
  of James Monroe, Stanislaus Murray, Hamilton, Vol. I, p. 158._

Mr. Jefferson’s reply is also pleasant.

  “To Colonel Monroe from Jefferson, December 18, 1786. Paris. When I
  return, which will be early in the Spring, I shall send you ... the
  plan of your house. I wish to heaven you may continue in the
  disposition to fix it in Albemarle. Short (Washington’s Minister to
  Holland) will establish himself there, and perhaps Madison may be
  tempted to do so. This will be society enough, and it will be the
  great sweetener of our lives.” _Papers of Thos. Jefferson, edited by
  T. J. Randolph, Vol. II, p. 69._

In August, 1789, Monroe removed to his first Albemarle purchase—an
800-acre farm just west of Charlottesville. A portion of this tract is
now included in the site of the University of Virginia, and known as
Monroe Hill. This farm proved a disappointment, and in 1793 he bought
the Carter tract. This adjoined Monticello on the north and William
Short’s estate—then Indian Camp, now Morven—on the south. Monroe named
his new home Highland, but by later changes of ownership it became North
Blenheim and then Ash Lawn.

                          BUILDING OF ASH LAWN

Due to Monroe’s prolonged absences—Washington, France, England—the
development of the estate was delayed. Jefferson, and Monroe’s uncle,
Joseph Jones, Chief Justice of Virginia, had oversight of planning and
building. The exact date of the moving in is given in a letter from

  “November 22, 1799. I was yesterday at Monticello, where Mr. Jefferson
  informed me he proposed a visit to you ... I told him it would ...
  immediately appear throughout the nation. He declined the trip ... in
  the persuasion an interview might be had, by your making me a visit,
  in my new home, to which I move tomorrow.” _Writings, Vol. III, p.

                            SALE OF ASH LAWN

As is well known, Monroe’s life was straitened by debt. Under this
pressure, he wrote to Jefferson as early as 1814 of a plan to sell
either his Loudon estate or that in Albemarle, adding:

  “intending however, not to sell that in Albemarle unless the price be
  such as to indemnify me for the sacrifice I shall make in
  relinquishing a residence of 26 years’ standing, as mine has been, and
  near old friends to whom I am greatly attached.” _Writings, Vol. V, p.

The sale finally took place, January 1st, 1826, the price being $18,140.
The Monroes then resided at Oak Hill in Loudon County. In 1828 Mr.
Monroe removed to New York City, where his death occurred, July 4th,
1831. His body was re-interred at Richmond, Virginia, July 5th, 1858.

                       BOXWOOD GARDEN AND STATUE

Ash Lawn’s widely known boxwood garden is held, by local tradition, to
have been designed by a French landscape artist who during Monroe’s
presidency was engaged in work for Washington City. Certainly the old
formal planting and the size of the slow-growing dwarf box
(suffruticosa) do not clash with this belief.

The garden now is dominated by a marble statue of Monroe. This was
presented to the president’s home upon the hundredth anniversary of his
death, by the sculptor Attilio Piccirilli, whose work may be also seen
in the capitol in Richmond and the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

[Illustration: Michie’s Old Tavern.    _J. Rawlings Thomson_]

                           THE MICHIE TAVERN
                       _Rt. 53, Monticello Road_

This authentic eighteenth century tavern was moved, 1927, from its
original site on the Buck Mountain Road in North Albemarle to its
present location on Monticello Road. Before-and-after photographs show
that while some later tamperings were done away with, the original
structure was scrupulously preserved—with the exception of the cellar,
whose massive slave masonry it was not possible to transport or

This tavern bears the name of William Michie, son of the John Michie of
Louisa County who in 1746 bought a one thousand, one hundred and
fifty-two acre tract in that region from John Henry of Hanover County,
father of Patrick Henry. John Michie made his home in this region in a
great river bend, and named it the Horse Shoe. His sons shared in the
development of the tract, and John Michie’s will, 1777, provided that
each son should be confirmed in ownership of the acres he had brought
under cultivation, before equal distribution of the remainder.

William Michie inherited in the Buck Mountain section, lived there, and
on November 11, 1784, petitioned the court for “License to keep ordinary
in my house.” William Michie became a large landowner, served as
Magistrate and Sheriff, and died in 1811.

This old building displays an interesting exhibit of the accustomed
furnishings of that period.

[Illustration: Lewis and Clark Statue. 1919.]

                       CHARLOTTESVILLE’S STATUES

Among the munificent gifts of Paul Goodloe McIntire to his native
town—parks, playgrounds, public library; gifts to the University of
Athletics, Fine Arts, Medicine, etc.—the most obvious are the statues in
the city.

                         LEWIS AND CLARK STATUE
               _Junction of West Main and Ridge Streets_

Sculptor, Charles Keck. Unveiled, November 21, 1919. This work is of the
romantic school. It is a three-figure group; Meriwether Lewis, William
Clark and Sacajawea, the young Indian guide with her papoose. In beauty
of design and of execution it will repay prolonged scrutiny. The
pedestal with its carved symbolism should not be overlooked.

                           LOCATION OF STATUE

Our present Main Street is the Colonial Three-chopt Road, which led from
Richmond, passed Boyd’s Tavern and crossed the Rivanna at Secretary’s
Ford—now the Woolen Mills (East Market Street). Crossing Mechum’s River
it struck in a straight line for Woods’ (now Jarman’s) Gap. It was in
use prior to 1746. Though not associated with the expedition, it was
felt appropriate to place the explorers on a great early artery and
facing into the West.

                            MERIWETHER LEWIS

Young Meriwether Lewis—he was only thirty-five at death—was born in
Albemarle in 1774. He was ‘Albemarle of Albemarle.’ The Lewis family was
already old Virginia stock when Robert Lewis took up large holdings in
what is now this county. He was Meriwether Lewis’s grandfather. He owned
the handsome estate of Belvoir, near Cismont, and some ten thousand
acres in other parts of the county. Meriwether Lewis’s mother was a
granddaughter of ‘the great Landowner,’ Nicholas Meriwether, who came up
from tide-water where he owned large estates, and in 1727 patented in
one body 17,952 acres, this being the first patent lying within the
bounds of present Albemarle. Eight years later he made an addition of
more than a thousand acres, adjoining, which became his home. He was
Lewis’s great-grandfather. These were families of high standards and
public service—vestrymen, magistrates, officers in the militia and the

Our explorer’s birthplace, Locust Grove, was west of Charlottesville
about seven miles. The name and site remain; the original house was
burned. The village of Ivy is near it.

Meriwether Lewis was Jefferson’s secretary when the government
determined upon exploration of the lands just purchased from France. He
brilliantly headed this expedition—from St. Louis to the mouth of the
Columbia River, 1803-06. Upon his return, Jefferson appointed him
Territorial Governor of Louisiana. In 1809, while journeying to
Washington city, he died by gunshot at an obscure country inn in
Tennessee—whether by his own hand or that of others was not definitely
known. A monument to him was erected at this spot by the Legislature of
Tennessee, 1848.

                             WILLIAM CLARK

By a few years, William Clark, joint explorer of the Pacific Coast,
failed to be of Albemarle birth. Jonathan Clark of King and Queen
County, Virginia, in 1734 took out holdings in the county. His dwelling
was a plain house on the Stony Point Road very near the site of Buena
Vista, the McMurdo residence. He had two famous grandsons; the elder,
George Rogers Clark, was born in that cabin. The younger, William, was
born in Caroline County where his father had inherited substantial
property. William Clark’s later life was successful. He was appointed by
Jefferson Territorial Governor of Missouri, and later became U. S. Agent
for Indian Affairs. Died, 1838.

                          LOUISIANA PURCHASE.

It is perhaps not always realized that Albemarle _was_ the Louisiana
Purchase. Three of the actors in this great drama—Jefferson, Lewis and
Monroe—lived here within a ten-mile radius. A circle with that diameter
would include Monticello, Ash Lawn and Locust Hill. As members of a
small and closely integrated social class these men knew each other
intimately in private life. Despite the difference in age, Jefferson and
Lewis had attended the same private classical school; Monroe had at one
time studied law under Jefferson’s supervision.

Monroe came to Albemarle in 1789 and made it his home until his
retirement from public life. His choice of home was dictated by his
oft-expressed desire to be near Jefferson, their friendship being early
formed and life-long. Thus, when this chance to acquire a vast territory
arose, the men who handled it knew fully the respective qualities of
each actor.

                        STONEWALL JACKSON STATUE
                 _Jackson Park. East Jefferson Street_
                        _Adjoining Court House_

Sculptor, Charles Keck. Unveiled, October 19, 1921. This dynamic
equestrian figure, of the romantic school, already ranks among the
world’s “great action” sculptures. It is known that the artist, at its
inception, came to Albemarle to study Virginia-bred horses and the
Virginia seat in the saddle. A local horse-fancier demonstrated these
points. The beautiful pedestal is enfolded in the superb wing-sweep of
two symbolic forms—Faith and Valor.

Thomas Jonathan Jackson—Virginian by birth, graduate of West Point,
distinguished in the Mexican War—resigned from the regular army, 1851,
and became a Presbyterian elder and a professor of natural philosophy
and artillery tactics at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington.
Ten years later, at the outbreak of the War-between-the-States, he
entered the Confederate army and rose to a rank second in authority only
to Lee. His military genius was fully recognized abroad, and his
campaigns have long been studied in England’s military schools. General
Jackson was killed, 1863, at the battle of Chancellorsville through the
blunder of his own men. His age was thirty-nine.

[Illustration: Stonewall Jackson Statue. 1921.]

[Illustration: George Rogers Clark Statue. 1922.    _J. Rawlings

                       GEORGE ROGERS CLARK STATUE
                    _West Main Street near Twelfth_

Sculptor, Robert Ingersol Aitkin. Unveiled, January 6th, 1922. This
seven-figure group portrays the mounted Conqueror of the North West in
conference with a standing Indian chief, who shares the central focus.
Their attendants complete the vital and finely balanced conception. A
surrounding planting of pine suggests a forest atmosphere.

This frontier military leader was born in Albemarle County, 1752, on the
Stony Point Road. His family removed to Caroline County when he was five
years of age, and he early migrated to Kentucky. Upon the coming on of
the Revolution he threw himself ardently into the protection of the
exposed northwestern regions. At Williamsburg he presented their dangers
to the Assembly and obtained a military commission for their defense
against British and Indian forces. He was in chief command and rose to
Brig. General. During this period, 1778-1783, he was a popular idol and
was called “the George Washington of the West.”

His later life was tragically darkened by debts contracted for the
necessities of his men and never made good by Virginia. Political
intrigue and calumny added to his misfortunes. He died in poverty and
neglect near Louisville, Kentucky, 1818.

                               LEE STATUE
             _Lee Park. East Jefferson and N. 2nd Streets_
                   _Opposite Charlottesville Library_

Sculptor, Leo Lentelli. Unveiled, May 21, 1924. This equestrian figure
of Lee is in monument style. The block which it occupies was from 1929
the Southall-Venable home.

[Illustration: Lee Statue. 1924.    _J. Rawlings Thomson_]

[Illustration: Miniature Model of Lee. 1937.    _J. Rawlings Thomson_]

Robert Edward Lee was born, 1807, at Stratford, Virginia, of
distinguished ancestry. The family’s founder came to Virginia in the
reign of Charles I, and became the colony’s Secretary of State and a
member of the privy Council of Virginia.

A graduate of West Point (later its Superintendent), and distinguished
in the Mexican War, Lee had resigned from active service when Lincoln
offered him command of the Federal forces in the field. With a heavy
heart he declined. (He had earlier freed his slaves.) Writing on the eve
of the crisis, he said “—I can anticipate no greater calamity for the
country than the dissolution of the Union.... Still a Union that can
only be maintained by swords and bayonets ... has no charms for me. If
the Union is dissolved and the Government dispersed, I shall return to
my native State and share the miseries of my people, and, save in
defense, will draw my sword no more.”

After the war, Lee set himself to heal the wounds of his people. He
refused public office and became President of Washington College (now
Washington and Lee) in Lexington. Died, 1870.

“Lee’s high character, his moral courage, his noble nature, and his
mastery of the art of war, make him a notable figure in history.”

                         MINIATURE MODEL OF LEE
                       _Charlottesville Library_
                  _N. 2nd and East Jefferson Streets_

Sculptor, Henry M. Shrady. Presented by the Honourable and Mrs.
Alexander Wilbourne Weddell through the Richmond Chapter of the United
Daughters of the Confederacy. 1937. This charming equestrian figure of
the Confederate General, by Shrady, was executed as the first step in a
heroic statue commissioned by Mr. McIntire. The sculptor’s sudden death
prevented the fulfillment of this contract, but Charlottesville is
fortunate in owning this model of the artist’s noble conception.


In the 1870’s the town’s postmaster lay in his final illness. In the
manner of the day a friend sat beside his bed and extolled the
blessedness of heaven. The old gentleman assented quietly, adding, “but
I believe I should prefer to compromise and remain in Charlottesville.”

    [Illustration: Map, Charlottesville area]

  1. Old Court House
  2. Sixth Street
  3. Farrish House
  4. Stonewall Jackson
  5. Lee Statue
  6. Monticello; Ash Lawn; Michie Tavern
  7. Lewis & Clark
  8. George Rogers Clark
  Shaded Area—Old Town

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Silently corrected a few typos.

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—Added page numbers, and generated a hyperlinked Table of Contents.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

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