From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

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Elkhill was a relatively small plantation owned by Thomas Jefferson, located near Elk Island, at the mouth of Byrd Creek in Goochland County. He obtained the land comprising the Elkhill plantation in three different stages:

  1. 307 acres bounded by Byrd Creek and the James River and opposite Elk Island; today it is situated between and one mile south of State Route 6 and the James River. It was part of the Wayles estate where it was listed as 348 acres by Jefferson in his "Rough estimate of the value of the land to be divided" and "Mr. Wayles's lands" [1]. Inherited by Ann Skipwith and conveyed jointly with her husband Henry to Jefferson by deed of 21 September 1778 for the sum of £710-0-0.[2] It is interesting to note that the agreement was consummated in 1774 as put down in "Real estate in account with Real estate: 1774. Jan. 14. By 266. as. land Goochl. called Elkhill bought of Skipwith £710-1-0."[3] This acreage was probably swapped for Jefferson's "part of my part of Pleasants, Hatcher, & St. James lands, Cumbld. sold to H. Skipwith £710-0-0."[4]
  2. 312 acres lying on Byrd Creek and not quite adjoining the above property was conveyed to Jefferson by Edward Smith for £468 by deed of 21 January 1782.[5]
  3. 50 acres lying further up Byrd Creek and contiguous to the above was conveyed to Jefferson by deed of 19 May 1783 by Judith and Reuben Smith for £50.[6]

669 acres were conveyed to Thomas Augustus Taylor by deed of 5 August 1799 for £1500.[7] It is to be noted that Jefferson's Elkhill property never was and is not now a part of the present Elk Hill farm located in the same area of the county.[8]

During the Revolutionary War, Elkhill was occupied for a time by Lord Cornwallis and his troops. Jefferson later related that they had done a great deal of damage:


  1. Thomas Jefferson Account Book, 1773
  2. Goochland County Deed book 12, 217.
  3. Fee Book
  4. Ibid.
  5. Goochland County Deed Book 13, 207.
  6. Ibid, 12, 364.
  7. Ibid, 17, 535.
  8. For more information on the "non-Jefferson" Elk Hill see Amanda D. Pitts to Editor, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2 February 1969.

Further Sources

  • "Jefferson's Advertisement for Sale of Elk Hill," including hand-drawn map, and "Agreement of Sale for Elk Hill," PTJ 17:567-571.
  • Weeks, Ellie. "Thomas Jefferson's Elk-Hill." Goochland County Historical Society Magazine, 3(1): 6.