Mount Pleasant Farm
This artist's rendering of eighteenth-century Mount Pleasant, a tobacco and corn plantation located near the Southwest Mountains in what is now Orange County, is based on archaeological evidence. Ambrose Madison, the grandfather of President James Madison, owned the plantation and moved into the overseer's house (at right front) with his wife, Frances Taylor Madison, and their three children in 1732. Their modest house is sited in front of a wooden enclosure where some twenty-nine enslaved people lived. A cultivated field is at right. In the 1760s, Ambrose Madison's son, James Madison Sr., constructed a new, two-story brick mansion about a half mile from Mount Pleasant's original location. From 1797 to 1812, James Madison Jr. and his wife, Dolley Madison, substantially expanded that house and named it Montpelier.