Cedar Grove, Mecklenburg County, Virginia
In it’s heyday as a working plantation Cedar Grove, in southern Mecklenburg County, Virginia, was home to the Lewis family and about 100 slaves. John Taylor Lewis bought the original 1600 acres of Cedar Grove in 1782 for 80,000 pounds of tobacco and bequeathed this property to his son, John Taylor Lewis (1794-1866), who built the elegant brick Greek Revival main house in 1838. Cedar Grove was influenced in part by the design of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Richard and John Lewis, the sons of John Tyler Lewis, fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War (1861-5). John achieved the rank of lieutenant and was captured at Gettysburg while Richard was badly wounded at Bull Run, fought at Gettysburg, was wounded three more times and eventually sent home. The end of the Civil War destroyed the wealth of the Lewis family. The main house for a time was used as a tobacco warehouse and suffered neglect, but in 1929 Mr. Lewis’ great grandson, also named John Taylor Lewis, began to buy and reassemble the Cedar Grove property, bringing it back into the Lewis family’s ownership and eventually restoring Cedar Grove. The main house, with its distinctive Greek Revival architecture, is extremely well preserved, as are the two surviving original dependencies: an ice house and a smoke house.
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