Verdura Plantation

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Verdura Plantation was a large cotton plantation of 3,500 acres (1,400 ha) in eastern Leon County, Florida, United States established by Benjamin Chaires, Sr.

The Benjamin Chaires who owned Verdura was not Benjamin Chaires Sr., but his nephew, son of Green Hill Chaires.

Plantation specifics[edit]

The Leon County Florida 1860 Agricultural Census shows that Verdura Plantation had the following:[1]

  • Improved Land: 1,000 acres (400 ha)
  • Unimproved Land: 11,500 acres (610 ha)
  • Cash value of plantation: $20,000
  • Cash value of farm implements/machinery: $650
  • Cash value of farm animals: $4,235
  • Number of slaves: 63[2]
  • Bushels of corn: 2500
  • Bales of cotton: 160

In 1838, Verdura Plantation had 9,440 acres (3,820 ha) of land.

Plantation house[edit]

The name of Benjamin Chaires' plantation was Verdura and it was located about 12 miles southeast of downtown Tallahassee. It did not have columns on the front, but there was a row of columns on the east and west sides of the house. Verdura's mansion was a 3 story brick home with 15 rooms. This house burned in the 1880s.

The house pictured above is called The Columns and is located in downtown Tallahassee. It was on the corner of Adams and Park, but was moved to its current location, the corner of Park and Duval, in the 1970s. It is the current home of the James Madison Institute. The Chaires family lived in the columns periodically, most likely when Indian attacks were imminent, but Benjamin Chaires did not own the building. He signed the deed as President of the Union Bank which owned The Columns then. Verdura and The Columns were most likely built around the same time, the 1830s. Benjamin probably had a hand in the building of The Columns as he was a brick manufacturer in addition to his other endeavors.

The owner[edit]

Benjamin Chaires, Sr. was an early arrival in Leon County and one of the wealthiest land owners in Leon County. Benjamin Sr. died in 1838. Benjamin was the brother of Green H. Chaires of Evergreen Hills Plantation and Thomas Peter Chaires of Woodlawn Plantation.[3]

Benjamin Chaires was not referred to as "Sr." Benjamin Chaires Sr. was his nephew.

Benjamin Chaires is listed as a voter in First Florida Election of 1845.[4]

Benjamin Chaires died in 1838. The voter listing probably refers to his nephew, Benjamin Chaires Sr. (son of Green Hill Chaires) or his own son Benjamin Chaires Jr. both of whom were born in 1821.


  1. ^ Green, Linda. "1860 Agricultural Census, Leon County, Florida". Archived from the original on 24 January 2008.
  2. ^ Largest Slaveholders from 1860 Slave Census Sschedules
  3. ^ Paisley, Clifton; From Cotton To Quail, University of Florida Press, c1968.
  4. ^ Norem, Betty. "Leon County Voters in First Florida Election, 1845". Archived from the original on 24 March 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2012.

There is no historical marker at Verdura.