Part 1 of 3
Did You Know That Eight U.S. Presidents Were Born in Virginia?
As a native Virginian, and a proud citizen of the United States of America, I am pleased to tell you about the Eight Presidents From Virginia – Their Birthplace. In fact, one of the nicknames given to our state is “Mother of Presidents.” We are also known by the nickname, The Old Dominion, and some folks know and call us by our slogan, “Virginia is for Lovers.” We are also called, the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Proudly, we can claim that more of the U. S. Presidents have been born in, and therefore come, from Virginia, than any other state. The State of Ohio runs a close second, with seven Presidents being born there.
While revisiting some of the historical landmarks, in and around my hometown of Richmond, VA, and while in the Virginia State Capitol Building, I noticed, in The Rotunda, all the busts of past Presidents from Virginia. While I knew, and closely associated, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and John Tyler with their Virginia roots, I had forgotten that William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson were born Virginians, too. What a great bit of historical trivia.
Now, let’s get to know more about these great leaders and Presidents from Virginia.
George Washington was the 1st President of the United States, and was the first of eight Presidents from Virginia.
George Washington, born February 22, 1732, was the first child of Augustine Washington and Mary Ball Washington. He was born at the Pope’s Creek Estate, the family residence in Westmoreland County. But he spent much of his childhood at Ferry Farm, a plantation on the Rappahannock River, near Fredericksburg, Virginia. His father died when he was 11, and his half-brother, Lawrence Washington, took on the duties of a substitute father. Upon his father’s death, he inherited Ferry Farm while his older half-brother, Lawrence, inherited Mount Vernon. After Lawrence’s death, in 1752, he inherited Mount Vernon.
On January 6, 1759, Colonel George Washington and Martha Dandridge Custis were married. The wedding was held at her home, White House Plantation, which was located on the Pamunkey River, in New Kent County. After spending their honeymoon there, they moved to Mount Vernon. While they had no children together, George Washington helped with the raising of her two children from her first marriage and later helped Mrs. Washington raise her two grandchildren.
While his education was limited to an elementary school standard, he was to master many skills in his lifetime. Those skills included: surveying, a military career, innovative plantation owner and planter, delegate to the Virginia House of Burgesses, elected Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, selected to preside over the Constitutional Convention, and later, was to receive the unanimous vote of the electorate to become the first President of the United States. He served two terms as President, from April 30, 1789 through March 4, 1797. On December 14, l799, President George Washington died at his home, Mount Vernon. He and his wife, Martha Washington, are buried in a Tomb on the Mount Vernon estate.
President George Washington is lovingly and respectfully referred to as the “Father of Our Country.”
Thomas Jefferson was the 3rd President of the United States, and was the second of eight Presidents from Virginia.
Thomas Jefferson was born at the family home in Shadwell, VA, on April 13, 1743, and was the third child born to Peter Jefferson and Jane Randolph Jefferson. When Thomas Jefferson was two years old, the family moved to Tuckahoe Plantation near Manakin, VA. Peter Jefferson had been named guardian, by William Randolph, to raise his children and to run Tuckahoe Plantation, upon his death. Jefferson’s education began at Tuckahoe, where he took classes with the Randolph children. Thomas Jefferson’s family lived at Tuckahoe Plantation until 1752. Upon returning to Shadwell, his education continued, as he attended a local school, and later, boarded and studied with a nearby minister. In 1757, his father, Peter Jefferson, died, leaving his estate to his two sons, Thomas and Randolph. Thomas’ share of the land was about 5,000 acres. At age 16, he began his studies at the College of William and Mary, in Williamsburg, VA. Two years later, he began studying law with George Wythe, and in 1767, he was admitted to the Virginia Bar. In 1769, construction began on Monticello, a mountaintop house of his own design.
On January 1, 1772, Thomas Jefferson married Martha Wayles Skelton, a widow, at her home, “The Forest,” located close to Williamsburg, VA. They were married ten years and had six children. Martha Jefferson lived only a short time after the birth of her last child, and died September 6, 1782. Thomas Jefferson deeply mourned the death of his wife and never remarried. Even though Martha Jefferson died many years before Thomas Jefferson was elected president, she is listed as one of the First Ladies of the United States.
Thomas Jefferson is known for being the primary author of the Declaration of Independence. He is also recognized for serving in the Virginia House of Burgess, Second Continental Congress, as Governor of Virginia, Congress of the Confederation, Minister to France, the First Secretary of State, and as the Second Vice President. Other notable achievements are: lawyer, architect, inventor, and scholar. He was elected President of the United States and served two terms, March 4, 1801 through March 4, 1809. At the age of 83, President Thomas Jefferson died at his home, Monticello, on July 4, 1826. On that date, July 4, 1826, his close friend, John Adams, died a few hours before him, and it was also the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson was buried beside his beloved wife, Martha, in the Thomas Jefferson Family Cemetery at Monticello.
His home, Monticello, and the University of Virginia, which was founded by Thomas Jefferson, were both added to the World Heritage Site, by UNESCO, in 1987. Other sites, designed by Thomas Jefferson, which are under consideration for addition to the World Heritage Site, are Poplar Forest and the Virginia State Capitol.
This article, The Eight Presidents From Virginia – Their Birthplace, is being continued in Part 2 and Part 3.
Part 2: The Eight Presidents From Virginia – Their Birthplace – Part 2: James Madison, James Monroe, and William Henry Harrison
Part 3: The Eight Presidents From Virginia – Their Birthplace – Part 3: John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson
Location of the Birthplaces for the Eight Presidents From Virginia
President George Washington and President Thomas Jefferson
1732 Popes Creek Rd, Colonial Beach, VA 22443, USA
38Â° 0.906â² N, 78Â° 24.948â² W.