An Account of James Monroe's Land Holdings

© Copyright and All Rights Reserved
By Christopher Fennell

Chronology of Monroe's Life and Residences

  • 1758: Born in Westmoreland County, Virginia.

  • 1776-1780: Joined and served in the Continental Army, starting as a Lieutenant and later promoted to Major and then Lieutenant Colonel. As a military officer, Monroe later received a grant of over 5,000 acres of land in Kentucky.

  • 1780: Studied law at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, with Thomas Jefferson as his mentor.

  • 1783-1786: Served as Virginia Delegate to the Confederation Congress, meeting in New York City.

  • 1786: Married to Elizabeth Kortright of New York; the Monroes moved to Frederickburg, Virginia, in Henrico County, where Monroe opened a law practice; their daughter Eliza was born on December 5, 1786.

  • 1787-1789: Served as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, meeting in Richmond; served as a member of the Virginia Convention to Ratify the Constitution during 1788.

  • 1789: Monroes moved to Charlottesville, in Albemarle County, Virginia, and Monroe opened law office there.

  • 1790-1794: Monroe served as United States Senator from Virginia, meeting in Washington, D.C.; while spending much time in Richmond and Washington, Monroe purchased the 1,000-acre Highland property in Albemarle County in 1793.

  • 1794-1796: Served as Minister to France under President Washington, travelling to and living in Paris.

  • 1799-1802: Served as Governor of Virginia, spending much time in Richmond; the Monroe family moved to the Highland property in Albemarle County in 1799; their son, James Spence, was born on November 23, 1799, and died in Richmond on September 28, 1800.

  • 1803-1807: Served in 1803 as Envoy to France to negotiate purchase of the Louisiana Territory for President Jefferson; served from 1803 through 1807 as Minister to England and Spain, spending much time out of the country; he negotiated for the purchase of Florida in 1804.

  • 1808: Monroe's daughter Eliza married at the Highland property.

  • 1810-1811: Served as member of the Virginia House of Delegates in 1810, meeting in Richmond; he was elected Governor of Virginia again in January 1811, and served until November 1811, when he resigned to become Secretary of State for President James Madison.

  • 1811-1817: Served as Secretary of State from 1811-1817; after the capture of Washington, D.C. by the British in the War of 1812, Madison also appointed Monroe as Secretary of War in September 1814, and Monroe served in that office as well until March of 1815.

  • 1817-1825: Served as President of United States for two terms; in 1817, he laid the cornerstone of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville; in 1820, his daughter Maria Hester was married at the White House in the first wedding of a President's daughter held there; during this "Era of Good Feeling," the Seminole War occurred in 1817-18, the acquisition of the Florida territories from Spain in 1819-21, the Missouri Compromise on slavery in 1820, and the Monroe Doctrine was issued in 1823.

  • 1826: Sold the Highland property and moved to the Oak Hill plantation in Loudoun County, Virginia; Congress authorized reimbursement payment to Monroe in 1826 of $30,000 for debts incurred in the course of his public service.

  • 1827: Served as Member of the Board of Visitors for the University of Virginia.

  • 1829: Served as Chairman of the Virginia Constitutional Convention.

  • 1830: Monroe's wife, Elizabeth, died on September 23, 1830, at the Oak Hill plantation in Loudoun County.

  • 1831: Monroe moved to his daughter's residence in New York City due to poor health, and died there on July 4, 1831.

  • 1858: In the 100th anniversary of his birth, Monroe's remains were reinterred in Richmond, Virginia.

To view a particular topic on Monroe's land holdings,
click on the desired subject below

1. The Ash Lawn-Highland plantation
2. Monroe Hill, site of the University of Virginia
3. Parcels in Downtown Charlottesville
4. The Limestone Farm in Albemarle
5. The Oak Hill plantation in Loudoun County
6. A residence in Fredericksburg
7. A residence and land in Henrico County
8. Other speculative land holdings in Kentucky and elsewhere
9. A List of Sources and References Cited

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Ash Lawn-Highland Museum Web Page

Last Modified: September 2, 2012