Verdura Plantation, Leon County, Florida

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Leon, Florida Territory, United Statesmap
Surnames/tags: Chaires Slavery
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Index of Plantations Slaves of Benjamin C Chaires of Leon County, Florida


Benjamin Chaires was the wealthiest planter in Florida. He originally bought 500 acres in 1832 which eventually became Verdura Plantation. He added to the plantation throughout the 1830s. His largest land purchase was in 1836 when he bought a plantation from George Fauntleroy for $50,000. This included 800 acres, 57 slaves, and all improvements on the property. Chaires died in October 1838. Tax records in 1839 showed his estate to consist of 9,440 acres (3,820 ha) and 80 slaves. When he died in 1838, his wife, Sarah, inherited the house and surrounding 500 acres. "The plantation suffered after the Civil War from the loss of slave labor and a depression in the cotton market. After the main house burned in 1885, the plantation was abandoned. It was sold by the Chaires family in 1948."[1] Many people in the Chaires family are buried at the Verdura Plantation Cemetery, including Benjamin Chaires and wife, Sarah.[2]

"...The house was built of bricks in Greek Revival style. It had three floors and 15 rooms, each with a fireplace. The downstairs rooms could be opened up to create an 80-foot long ballroom. Verandas supported by ten (five on each side) Tuscan order columns were on the East and West sides, rather than across the front. It was built of bricks made by hand by slaves on the plantation. The house stood on a hill partially surrounded by a stream. On a clear day the Gulf of Mexico was visible from the attic. The plantation house burned in 1885."[3]

The Florida Memory Project displays a photo taken sometime in the 20th Century showing the ruins of the once grand plantation house, with an accompanying statement: "Verdura plantation house was built in 1832 by Major Benjamin Chaires. After he and his wife died the plantation was passed to their children. Fire destroyed Verdura in 1885 and four vine-covered columns and a mound of bricks are all that remain."[4]

Slaves of Verdura Plantation

The Slaves of Benjamin Chaires


  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Verdura Plantation," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed July 2, 2022).
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Verdura Plantation," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed July 2, 2022).
  4. Kerce, Red(Benjamin L.), 1911-1964. Vine covered column ruins of Verdura plantation - Tallahassee, Florida. 20th century. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. <>, accessed 2 July 2022.

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