Historic Eppington Plantation Celebrates its 250th Anniversary
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VIRGINIA — On Saturday, Oct. 6, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., historic Eppington Plantation will be commemorating its 250th anniversary with a Heritage Day celebration. This celebration honors the long history of the beloved Chesterfield landmark, and pays homage to the many revered figures that passed through its doors, including Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette.
In honor of the anniversary, the Eppington Plantation will be opening its doors to the public for tours through the home and the adjoining cemetery (usually only available by appointment). The Heritage Day celebration also will include a large array of period attractions and activities to give guests a sense of what life was like in the 18th century. Period-accurate musical performances, period games and activities will take place, and crafters will be demonstrating and selling their wares. A historical reenactor portraying Marquis de Lafayette, a friend of Eppington’s owner Francis Eppes, will be there to walk guests through history, and a colonial militia encampment will give artillery demonstrations. There will be food vendors, craft beer tastings and visiting artists from Plein Air Richmond will be painting on site and selling their works.
The event will take place at 14201 Eppes Falls Road in Chesterfield Va. The rain date is Sunday, Oct. 7. Free admission and parking. No pets allowed. For more information, call 751-4946
In anticipation of Eppington’s anniversary, there will be several programs at county libraries in September.
- Saturday, Sept. 8, 1-2 p.m., a historical reenactor portraying the Marquis de Lafayette will talk about his ties to Eppington and his role in the beginning of our nation. Central Library.
- Wednesday, Sept. 19, 3-4:30 p.m., Martha W. McCartney, research historian and author of “Eppington on the Appomattox” will discuss the history of Francis Eppes and his family in Chesterfield County and their fascinating ties to Thomas Jefferson. North Courthouse Road Library. Book signing to follow presentation.
- Thursday, Sept. 20, 6-7 p.m., William Graham, former Curator of Architecture for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and a member of the Peer Advisory Group with the Eppington Foundation, will present a program focusing on the historic architecture of Eppington. Ettrick-Matoaca Library.
- Saturday, Sept. 22, 10:30-11:30 a.m., the Marquis de Lafayette will talk to children about his relationship with the Eppes and the beginning of our country. Clover Hill Library.
The History of Eppington Plantation
Eppington Plantation was built in 1768 by Francis Eppes VI, brother-in-law to Thomas Jefferson. Eppes and Jefferson also were close friends and, after Jefferson’s wife Martha died in 1782, the newly widowed Jefferson entrusted his two daughters, Maria and Lucy, to the Eppes family while he served as minister to France. Sadly, Lucy died of whooping cough shortly thereafter and was buried on the property. Maria grew to adulthood, married the eldest Eppes son and remained on the property until her death in 1804.
The house itself is a Chesterfield County Historic Landmark, a Virginia Historic Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places. It is an excellent example of 18th century Georgian design and features a three-bay, two-and-a-half story central block design with hipped roof, dormers and flanking one story wings. Eppington is well preserved and still looks much as it did 250 years ago.
Chesterfield County acquired Eppington Plantation when it was deeded as a gift in 1989 by the descendants of the Cherry family, along with 43 acres for historic preservation. In 1997, the Eppington Foundation was established with the mission to preserve, restore and promote the history of Eppington and to educate the public to its historical, cultural, agricultural and architectural significance. The foundation works in a cooperative partnership with Chesterfield County’s Department of Parks and Recreation to manage the site and protect the property. Current land holdings are 376 acres with ongoing efforts to acquire additional parcels of land. The first annual Eppington Heritage Day was held in 1998 and the Eppington Foundation celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2017.