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Founding Fathers

About The Founding Fathers
Fascinating Facts
The Papers of George Washington
George Washington's Farewell Address
The Papers of James Madison
The Papers of Thomas Jefferson
Homes of the Founding Fathers


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Homes of the Founding Fathers

When the Founding Fathers weren't out fighting wars, drafting important documents like the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, or helping to found a country, they were at home with their families and businesses. Here are the places the Founding Fathers called "home," and some interesting facts about each man's personal estate.

George Washington

The first president of the United States and Revolutionary War General was born and raised in Virginia, and this is where he made his home. His estate, known as Mount Vernon, is located on the Potomac River just outside of what is now Alexandria, Virginia.

George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate

Mount Vernon was a familial estate, in the family since 1674, and it passed down to George in 1754. George Washington constructed the mansion itself (seen above) in stages from 1757-1778. It would become his eventual place of burial.

After falling into ruin throughout the later part of the eighteenth century and for most of the nineteenth, the mansion was restored by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association and continues to this day as a museum.

James Madison

The fourth president of the United States, like Washington, was also a Virginian, and grew up on a plantation near Orange, Virginia called Montpelier. The sizable estate covers approximately 2,700 acres of land.

Mount Pleasant

The original name for the plantation was "Mount Pleasant," and the Madison family had moved there in 1732. James Madison became the sole proprietor in the early nineteenth century, when he was able to retire from public life and spend his time expanding the mansion. He renamed the estate "Montpelier" because he liked the French word, which loosely translated means "Mount of the Pilgrim."

Upon Madison's death in 1836, he was buried in the family cemetery on the estate, and his widow Dolley moved to Washington D.C. and sold the property. In 1894, the National Trust for Historic Preservation took charge of the estate, and opened its doors as a museum.

Thomas Jefferson

To Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, his home was more than just a home, it was a passion - and most of the time an absolute obsession. Also a Virginian, Jefferson spent a great deal of his youth, when he wasn't reading or studying politics, law, mathematics, languages, and literature, learning about architecture and engineering, and trying to apply it to practical living. This fascination resulted in a lifelong commitment to his estate Monticello.


Jefferson would never complete the mansion to his satisfaction during his lifetime. Many of his own personal accounts, and the accounts of his slaves, describe how he would finish one part of the home, only to tear it down and do it again. Many people though it was the operation of a madman, others knew it was one of the ways for him to cope with the death of his wife. But Jefferson would not only construct Monticello, but he would also design the University of Virginia, and his summer home Poplar Forest, just outside of Forest, Virginia.

Crowds gather around a Fire Eater at the Poplar Forest Fourth of July Festivities, Photo by Joey Phoenix Photography
Crowds gather around a Fire Eater at the Poplar Forest Fourth of July Festivities, Photo by Joey Phoenix Photography

John Adams

Second President of the United States, John Adams bought his estate in Quincy, MA, just outside of Boston, at the end of the Revolutionary War. Two loyalists owners had abandoned the home when things in the colonies began to heat up. John and Abigail Adams, who had just recently returned to the States from London, wanted a place of their own. They called the estate "Peacefield," although John affectionately referred to it as "My Little Farm," in his many letters and journals, and many other people simply call it "Old House."

John Adam's Old House

Benjamin Franklin

The renowned statesman and Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin, was a well-travelled man who spent much of his time abroad in Europe. Although he lived in many homes, the last surviving residence of the great man is in on 39 Craven Street in the heart of London, where he lived for sixteen years.

Alexander Hamilton

Hamilton, who was born in the West Indies, moved to New York in 1772. His success in politics and law allowed him to commission architect John McComb Jr. to design a "country" home on his 32 acres of land in upper Manhattan, in what is now called Hamilton Heights in Harlem. Hamilton named the mansion "the Grange" after his grandfather's estate in Scotland. Hamilton was only able to enjoy the house for two years before he died in the fateful duel against Aaron Burr in 1804.

The Grange

The house has been moved twice in the last two centuries, most recently in 2011 after a major renovation, but according to the National Park Service, it will remain on its current site for some time to come.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons Share-Alike License 3.0

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