Peter Field Jefferson was born about 1789 in Buckingham County, Virginia. He married Jane Woodson Lewis, and had three children:
Peter Field Jefferson owned property and operated several businesses in the Scottsville area. He died August 25, 1861 at the age of 72 and is buried at his home, Mount Walla.
Known as "Field" to his family, he spent nearly all of his adult life in Scottsville, Albemarle County, across the James River from his father’s plantation, Snowden. He is found in public records as Peter Field, “P.F.,” and “Fields” Jefferson. According to his death record, he was born in Buckingham County about 1789. Other sources, including the 1850 census, indicate he may have been born as early as 1785.
He was a founding father of what became Scottsville, Virginia. There he owned the ferrry, which connected southern Albemarle County to northern Buckingham County; a store at the ferry; a mill; a tobacco warehouse; and various town lots. His home, Mt. Walla, still sits on the hill above Scottsville. Late in life, he also purchased a plantation in Buckingham County very close to Snowden, where he grew up. He was by far the most financially successful of Randolph Jefferson’s sons.
In a history of Albemarle County, originally published in 1901, Rev. Edgar Woods confused Jefferson generations, stated that Peter Field was the grandson of Randolph Jefferson rather than his son, thus creating long-repeated misinformation about Peter Field Jefferson of Scottsville. Comparing two simple facts -- that Randolph Jefferson did not marry until 1780 and that Peter Field Jefferson of Scottsville was born between 1785 and 1789 – should put the matter to rest.
On November 21, 1819, Peter Field Jefferson married his cousin, Jane Woodson Lewis. She was the daughter of Elizabeth Jane (Lewis) and Lilburne Lewis and the granddaughter of Charles L. Lewis and Lucy Jefferson.
Peter Field Jefferson died in Scottsville on August 25, 1861. Reported by his lawyer and Executor, William M. Wade, the cause of death was old age. He was seventy-two years old, born in Buckingham County, and the son of Randolph Jefferson.
In a new biography, "Peter Field Jefferson: Dark Prince of Scottsville" (Slate River Press, 2018), historian Joanne Yeck follows the rise and fall of Randolph Jefferson’s most financially successful son. Nephew to President Thomas Jefferson, Peter Field proved that at least one member of the family had a head for business. This Jefferson’s success as a self-made man, however, is tainted with great personal loss, making his story a distinctively American tragedy. Extensive information about his wife and cousin, Jane Woodson (Lewis) Jefferson, and their children - Frances Ann "Fanny" (Jefferson) Foland, Thomas Jefferson, and Peter Field Jefferson, Jr. - is also included.
Rev. Edgar Woods, Albemarle County in Virginia, Giving Some Account of What It Was by Nature, of What It was Made by Man, and of Some of the Men Who Made It (Baltimore, MD: Clearfield Co., 1997).
Joanne L. Yeck, The Jefferson Brothers (Kettering, OH: Slate River Press, 2012).
Joanne L. Yeck, "Peter Field Jefferson: Dark Prince of Scottsville & Lost Jeffersons" (Kettering, OH: Slate River Press, 2018).
Surveys of Peter Field Jefferson properties, Virginia Historical Inventory, Library of Virginia
1850, 1860 US Federal Population Census, Albemarle County, Virginia
Marriage record, Fluvanna County, Virginia
Death record, Albemarle County, Virginia
Deed Books, Fluvanna County, Virginia
Deed Books, Albemarle County, Virginia
Will Books, Albemarle County, Virginia
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