Wilton House Museum


Wilton, home of the Randolphs



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Built c. 1753 for William Randolph III, Wilton was home to the Randolphs for more than 100 years. A tobacco plantation of 2,000 acres on the James River, Wilton hosted George Washington, Thomas Jefferson (while Governor of Virginia), and Marquis de Lafayette.

When the house was in danger of foreclosure in the 20th century, the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America intervened and saved the house from destruction by purchasing, dismantling, moving, and rebuilding it in 1934. Wilton was rebuilt in its current location in the West End of Richmond. Opened to the public since 1952, it is one of the best-preserved colonial mansions from the original 13 colonies.

Includes period pieces and furniture, plus a few original artifacts. Guided tours only.

By attacking slavery more fiercely than ever before, Revolutionary Americans freed tens of thousands of slaves. But the Revolution’s libertarian and egalitarian message had perverse consequences. It forced those Southerners who chose to retain slavery to fall back on the alleged racial deficiencies of blacks as a justification for an institution that hitherto they had taken for granted and had never before needed to justify. The anti-slavery movement that arose out of the Revolution inadvertently produced racism in America.

Gordon S. Wood
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)