Eppington Plantation History
A Historic Landmark
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 2 daughters, Maria and Lucy, to the Eppes family while he served as minister to France. 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.
Eppington on the Appomattox
Eppington On The Appomattox by Martha W. McCartney describes native peoples and the colonization of Jamestown Island and the Appomattox River Basin. The history of Francis Eppes’ family in Chesterfield County contains information drawn from court records, archives and overseas repositories. Documented research on Eppington reveals a well-built gentry home designed in a period of growth and expansion and explores advent scientific farming and economic ventures in mining and railroads. The physical structure of a large working plantation and the relationships of families are described in this narrative in early life of Chesterfield County. Eppington on the Appomattox is available at the Parks and Recreation Administration Building.
The cost of Eppington on the Appomattox is $15 or $20 if mailed. Accepted payments are cash and check (made payable to the Eppington Foundation).
Thomas Jefferson was at Eppington when a letter from President George Washington appointed him the first Secretary of State at the outbreak of the French Revolution. The widowed Jefferson left his daughters at Eppington when he went to France. His youngest daughter Lucy Elizabeth (age 2) died there of whooping cough and was the first burial in the Epps family cemetery. Her 2-year-old cousin Lucy Epps was buried beside her within 2 weeks. A radar survey of the graveyard at Eppington revealed 10 adult graves, 16 infant graves and two vaults.
The archeological potential of the slave quarter area located east of the house is staggering, and funding is needed to buy this property.
- Archaeological Monitoring at Eppington Plantation - Aug. 2014 (PDF)
- Archaeological Research Report on the School and Kitchen Sites of Eppington (PDF)
A Ground Penetrating Radar Survey (PDF) was conducted at the family cemetery on Eppington Plantation to help locate burials in a non-destructive way. The plantation is famous not only as the 18th century home of the Francis Eppes VI family, but also for its strong family connection to Thomas Jefferson.
- Test Excavations at Eppington – Feb 1994 Part 1 (PDF)
- Test Excavations at Eppington – Feb 1994 Part 2 (PDF)
Eppington is a unique virtually untouched example of Palladian architecture. It is a one-of-a-kind classroom for architectural historians and most importantly for our school children. A paint analysis was done to determine the different colors of the inside walls of the house down through the ages.
- 1989 Talk and Tour on the Architectural Significance of the House (PDF)
- Eppington an Architectural History - May 15, 1995 (PDF)
- Eppington Interior Paint Analysis - Phase I, Feb. 5, 2007 (PDF)
- Eppington Interior Paint Analysis - Phase II, Feb. 19, 2008 (PDF)
- Story of Eppington and Eppington at a Glance (PDF)
Eppington was known for its elaborate gardens. Thomas Jefferson referred to Frances Eppes as the first horticulturist in America. View the Organic Viticulture Research at Eppington Plantation (PDF), performed by Virginia State University and Virginia Tech.
Spring Run Vineyards is a small family owned and operated farm winery in Chesterfield. From 2015-2017, Spring Run Vineyards partnered with Chesterfield County and the Eppington Foundation to manage and maintain the vineyard at Eppington.
People of Eppington
The Eppes family, Eppes descendants and others associated with Eppington: