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Shadwell, Virginia facts for kids

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Shadwell, Virginia
A view of the Rivanna at Shadwell, Virginia
A view of the Rivanna at Shadwell, Virginia
"Birthplace of Thomas Jefferson"
Country United States
State Virginia
County Albemarle
361 ft (110 m)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 434

Shadwell, a census-designated place by the Rivanna River in Albemarle County, Virginia near Charlottesville, was the birthplace of Thomas Jefferson. It was so named after Shadwell parish in London by his father, Peter Jefferson, a colonist and planter in central Virginia. Shadwell is the parish where his wife Jane Randolph had been christened. Peter Jefferson and Jane Randolph had six children, among them Thomas, who would become the third president of the United States. Active in county meetings Peter was appointed Justice of the Peace of Albemarle county, taking his oath in September 1744. The following month he was appointed lieutenant colonel to the Albemarle county militia.


In 1770, the Jeffersons' house at Shadwell was destroyed in a fire, and the family moved to the Randolphs' estate at Edge Hill. The site today is marked by a Virginia Historical Marker. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places along with Clifton.

After the U.S. had won its independence, Thomas Jefferson desired to reform the Virginia government. In September 1776, eager to work on creating the new government and dismantle the feudal aspects of the old, Jefferson returned to Virginia and was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates for Albemarle County.

By 1835, Shadwell was home to a large carding factory employing 100 workers, a large merchant mill owned by John Timberlake & Son, and a sawmill. It also had several general stores at Shadwell, shops, and private dwellings. As the Rivanna River was navigable as far as the town, grain and tobacco were shipped downriver from Shadwell. The town prospered until 1850, when the factory burned and was shut down permanently.

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