Stratford Hall

Stratford
VA

Stratford Hall, Home of the Lees of Virginia

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QUICK FACTS
  • Stratford Hall has 8 chimneys, 16 fireplaces, and 18 rooms.
  • The house has paintings in nearly every room, and though many are copies, there are several originals of the family by Matthew Pratt; one of Marquis de Lafayette by Charles Peale Polk; and one of Henry Lee after Gilbert Stuart.
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Built by Thomas Lee in the late 1730s, Stratford was home to six sons and two daughters. The eldest, Phillip Ludwell Lee, Sr., inherited Stratford Hall. The other five sons — Richard Henry, Francis Lightfoot, Thomas Ludwell, William, and Arthur — served in various ways during the Revolution.

Henry Light Horse Harry Lee, who fought with General Washington in the Continental Army, lived at Stratford Hall when he married Phillip’s daughter, Matilda. He was also the father of Robert E. Lee, the future confederate general during the Civil War.

According to the mission statement, Stratford Hall preserves the legacy of the Lee family and its plantation community, inspires an appreciation of America’s past, and encourages commitment to the ideals of leadership,honor, independent thought and civic responsibility. Currently it works to preserve the house as it was during the years that Henry and Matilda Lee lived there.

Furnished with an outstanding collection of predominantly 18th-century American and English decorative arts, the 1,900-acre site includes nature trails, a gristmill, formal gardens, and reconstructed slave quarters. Overnight lodging is also available.

But as an intellectual enterprise ... [Jefferson’s University of Virgina] proved less satisfactory to its creator when it opened the year before he died. The students turned out be not so much an aristocracy of virtue and talent as a gang of rowdy youths with a taste for drink, gambling, breaking windows, firing guns into the air, and thrashing professors who tried to stop them. The horrified Jefferson came down from his mountain to Charlottesville to reprimand them. Flanked by his dear friends and fellow trustees James Madison and James Monroe, the frail eighty-two-year-old patriarch drew himself up to his full six foot two, began to speak — and burst into tears.

Myron Magnet
The Founders at Home: The Building of America, 1735 - 1817 (2014)