Timeline

Thomas Jefferson and Poplar Forest

1745
“Poplar Forest” mentioned in early land records

1749
“Poplar Forest” appeared on early land plat

1776
Jefferson writes the Declaration of Independence

1773
Jefferson visits Poplar Forest for the first time in September after his wife inherits the 4,819 acre plantation following the death of her father, John Wayles

1779
Jefferson drafts the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom

1781
Jefferson and family in seclusion at Poplar Forest after British invasion of Monticello; works on Notes on the State of Virginia, his only published book

1782
Martha Jefferson dies

1784
Jefferson appointed Minister to France

1790
Jefferson appointed Secretary of State by President George Washington

1801
Jefferson begins term as the third President of the United States

1803
Jefferson approves negotiations for the Louisiana Purchase and launches the Lewis & Clark expedition

1804
Daughter, Maria Jefferson Eppes, dies

1806
Construction begins on the octagonal retreat at Poplar Forest

1809
Jefferson retires from public life and stays in the main house at Poplar Forest for the first time

1812
Construction of the octagonal house considered basically “complete”

1814
Begins expanding the house at Poplar Forest by adding a service wing

1816
Interior plastering complete; Jefferson brings his granddaughters, Ellen and Cornelia Randolph, to Poplar Forest for the first time

1818
Jefferson founds the University of Virginia

1823
Grandson Francis Eppes and wife Elizabeth begin residing at Poplar Forest; Jefferson visits for the final time in the spring

1825
Fire causes minor damage to house

1826
Jefferson dies July 4th at Monticello at age 83; Francis inherits Poplar Forest and 1,074 acres

1828
Francis sells Poplar Forest and moves his family to Florida; William Cobbs becomes the new owner; his daughter Emma marries Edward Sixtus Hutter; the property remains in the Cobb-Hutter family until 1946

1946
The Hutters sell Poplar Forest to the James O. Watts family

1979
Poplar Forest sold to Dr. James A. Johnson, High Point, N.C.

1984
Property sold to the nonprofit Corporation for Jefferson’s Poplar Forest

1986
Poplar Forest opens for public visitation on a regular basis