Chestnut Grove (plantation)

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Coordinates: 37°31′3.2″N 76°58′42.3″W / 37.517556°N 76.978417°W / 37.517556; -76.978417

Chestnut Grove plantation where Martha Washington, wife of George Washington, was born.

Chestnut Grove was an 18th-century plantation house on the Pamunkey River near New Kent Court House in New Kent County, Virginia, United States.[1][2] Chestnut Grove is best known as the birthplace of Martha Washington,[1][2][3][4] wife of George Washington, and the first First Lady of the United States. Martha Washington was born in the east room of the mansion.[1][4]


The two-story frame house consisting of six rooms[2][4] was originally built around 1730.[4] It was first inhabited by prominent Virginia planter John Dandridge and his wife Frances Jones.[1][2][4] The couple raised their eight children, including Martha Washington, there.[1][2][4] It was at Chestnut Grove that Martha married her first husband, Daniel Parke Custis, on 15 May 1750.[1][2][4]

In 1768, Martha Washington's younger brother Bartholomew Dandridge sold Chestnut Grove and its accompanying 500 acres (2.0 km2).[4] Colonel Richard Pye Cooke then purchased the mansion in 1840.[5] At that time, the Chestnut Grove estate contained 1,175 acres (4.76 km2). Unlike neighboring plantation homes, Chestnut Grove continued to serve as a residence for 200 years in its original state until it burned down in November 1926.[2][4]


Chestnut Grove's architectural details survive due to old photographs and sketches.[4] The mansion was a two-story frame structure with a hip roof and a chimney at either end.[4] It also contained a basement which ran the length of the mansion.[4] The interior of Chestnut Grove was plain and paneled in pine.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Haugen, Brenda (2005). Martha Washington: First Lady of the United States. Compass Point Books. ISBN 0-7565-0983-1. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Virginia Department of Historic Resources. "Martha Washington's Birthplace". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  3. ^ The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (2009). "Martha Dandridge Custis Washington". The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Bryan, Helen (2002). Martha Washington: First Lady of Liberty. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, Inc. ISBN 0-471-15892-5. 
  5. ^ Philip J. Chamberlain, Ph.D. (July 13, 2003). "The Third Generation and Beyond: The Late 18th to the Mid-19th Century". The Chamberlaynes of Virginia. Retrieved 2008-03-05.