Lower Brandon Plantation

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Brandon, State Route 611, Prince George vicinity (Prince George County, Virginia).jpg
Lower Brandon Plantation is located in Virginia
Lower Brandon Plantation
Lower Brandon Plantation is located in the US
Lower Brandon Plantation
LocationBurrowsville, Prince George County, Virginia
Coordinates37°15′27.1″N 76°59′36.2″W / 37.257528°N 76.993389°W / 37.257528; -76.993389Coordinates: 37°15′27.1″N 76°59′36.2″W / 37.257528°N 76.993389°W / 37.257528; -76.993389
Builtc. 1765
Architectpossibly Thomas Jefferson
Architectural styleEnglish Palladian
NRHP reference #69000271
VLR #074-0002
Significant dates
Added to NRHPNovember 11, 1969[2]
Designated NHLApril 15, 1970[3]
Designated VLRSeptember 9, 1969, December 5, 2007[1]

Lower Brandon Plantation (or simply Brandon or Brandon Plantation and initially known as Martin's Brandon) is located on the south shore of the James River in present-day Prince George County, Virginia.

The plantation is an active farm and was tended perhaps from 1607 on, and more clearly from 1614 on, so it is one of the longest-running agricultural enterprises in the United States. It has an unusual brick mansion in style of Palladio's "Roman Country House" completed in the 1760s, and was perhaps designed by Thomas Jefferson.[4]

It was established in 1616 by Captain John Martin, one of the original leaders of the Virginia Colony at Jamestown in 1607. The plantation was owned by the Harrison family for over two centuries, from 1700–1926. Restored by Robert Williams Daniel in the early 20th century, it is both a National Historical Landmark open to tours and one of America's oldest continuous farming operations.


Brandon Plantation was part of a 1616 land grant of approximately 7,000 acres (28 km2) on the south bank of the James River to Captain John Martin (1560–1632). Captain Martin was one of the original colonists and a member of the first Council in the spring of 1607, when Jamestown was first established.

Martin's new plantation built on the 1616 land grant was initially named "Martin's Brandon", apparently incorporating the family name of his wife, Mary Martin (née Brandon), daughter of Robert Brandon, a prominent English goldsmith and supplier to Queen Elizabeth I of England. They had been married in 1586.

In 1619, Martin's Brandon was one of the plantations represented when what became the House of Burgesses, the first representative legislative body in the English colonies, met at Jamestown. The representatives of Martin's Brandon were Thomas Davis and Robert Stacy.

During the Indian Massacre of 1622 which occurred on Good Friday, March 22, 1622, there were 7 deaths recorded at Martin's Brandon, including one woman and two boys. 347 deaths were recorded during the coordinated attacks along both shores of the James River, from the mouth of the river at Newport News Point on Hampton Roads, west to Falling Creek. [1]

Captain John Martin died at Martin's Brandon Plantation in 1632. His grandson, Captain Robert Bargrave, inherited the plantation on Martin's death. In 1637, merchants John Sadler and Richard Quiney and mariner William Barker, who patented the nearby Merchant's Hope plantation, bought Martin's Brandon. They and their heirs farmed it successfully until 1720 when it was sold to Nathaniel Harrison (1677–1727).

After Nathaniel's premature death in 1727 it passed to his son Nathaniel Harrison II (1703–1791) who built the current manor house around 1765. Brandon then came into the possession of American Revolutionary War Colonel Benjamin Harrison (1743–1807). At his death, the property was divided between his two sons, and Upper Brandon Plantation was created.

1898 postcard

Brandon Plantation (aka Lower Brandon) remained in the Harrison family until 1926, when it was acquired by Robert Williams Daniel, a Richmond banker. The Daniels undertook the restoration of the house and grounds, and purchased several adjacent tracts of land that were part of the original land grant that had been separated from the estate over the previous three centuries. U.S. Congressman Robert W. Daniel, Jr. (1936–2012) inherited the property from his parents.[4]

Brandon was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969,[2] and was further declared a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1985.[3][4][5]

The restored manor house was, furnished by the Daniels with 1760s era English and American furnishings. Brandon is still a working farm and the agricultural enterprise is one of the oldest continuous farming operations in the United States.

The 4487.5-acre property was sold at auction by the estate of Robert W. Daniel, Jr., on 23 June 2013.[6] In late 2013 the purchase contract with the buyer fell through and the estate was put back on the market with an asking price of $20 million.[7] Midway through 2014, a Florida family purchased it for $17.8 million; soon after acquiring it, the new owners announced their intention to continue the agricultural operation and to occupy the historic manor house for part of the year.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  2. ^ a b National Park Service (2006-03-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  3. ^ a b "Brandon". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-04-25.
  4. ^ a b c James Dillon (October 17, 1974). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Brandon, Brandon Plantation "Lower Brandon"" (pdf). National Park Service. and Accompanying four photos, interior and exterior, from 1969 and 1974 (32 KB)
  5. ^ Staff, Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission, James W. Moody, Jr., Director (July 24, 1969). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Brandon" (pdf). National Park Service. (at Virginia DHR, includes map of the plantation)
  6. ^ "Land and Farm".
  7. ^ "Brandon Plantation Returns to the Market". Richmond Times Dispatch. December 31, 2013.
  8. ^ "Brandon Plantation sold for $17.8 million". Richmond Times Dispatch. July 3, 2014.

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