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Edmund Ruffin Plantation

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Title: Edmund Ruffin Plantation  
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Subject: National Register of Historic Places listings in Hanover County, Virginia, List of National Historic Landmarks in Virginia, List of plantations in Virginia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Edmund Ruffin Plantation

Edmund Ruffin Plantation is located in Virginia
Edmund Ruffin Plantation
Location 11 mi. NE of Richmond on U.S. 360, near Richmond, Virginia
Built 1843
Architect Unknown
Architectural style No Style Listed
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 66000837
VLR # 042-0020
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 15, 1966[1]
Designated NHLD July 19, 1964[2]
Designated VLR September 9, 1969[3]

The Edmund Ruffin Plantation, also known as Marlbourne, was built in 1823 near Richmond, Virginia; it was not purchased by Edmund Ruffin until 1843. He was a planter and a pioneer in agricultural improvements; he also published an agricultural journal in the 1840s named the Farmer's Register. One of a group of intellectuals they called "the sacred circle",[4] he worked to reform agriculture in the South, promoting crop rotation and soil conservation; he is considered to have been "the father of soil science" in the United States.[5] Ruffin experimented with agricultural methods and mixed marl, defined as "a friable earthy deposit consisting of clay and calcium carbonate, used esp. as a fertilizer for soils deficient in lime" to add to soils.

He and his friends: William Gilmore Simms, were pro-slavery and promoted a moral reform of the South. They published numerous articles in literary and short-lived magazines, promoting a stewardship role for masters to improve conditions under slavery.[6][7]

Later Ruffin gained more attention as one of a number of secessionist fire-eaters; he traveled to South Carolina and is credited with firing one of the first shots at Fort Sumter in 1861. Despondent after General Lee's surrender in 1865, he left a note proclaiming his "unmitigated hatred to Yankee rule—to all political, social and business connections with Yankees, & to the perfidious, malignant, & vile Yankee race"[8] and committed suicide at Redmoor in Amelia County.

His Marlbourne plantation was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964.[2][9]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^ Charles B. Dew, "Review: 'A Sacred Circle: The Dilemma of the Intellectual in the Old South, 1840-1860' by Drew Gilpin Faust", The Florida Historical Quarterly, Vol. 58, No. 4 (April 1980), pp. 445-447
  5. ^ Nature's Management: Writings on Landscape and Reform, 1822-1859Ruffin, Edmund. , edited by Jack Temple Kirby, University of Georgia Press, 2006
  6. ^ Drew Gilpin Faust, A Sacred Circle: The Dilemma of the Intellectual in the Old South, 1840-1860, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1977
  7. ^ The Ideology of Slavery: Proslavery Thought in the Antebellum South, 1830--1860Drew Gilpin Faust, (Google Ebook), LSU Press, 1981
  8. ^
  9. ^ and Accompanying five photos, exterior, from c. 1970 PDF (32 KB)

External links

  • Photo at Virginia DHR
  • Diary records of Ruffin's son, Edmund Ruffin, Jr., survive and describe events at this and other Ruffin plantations: Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations From the Revolution Through the Civil War
  • Marl defined at
  • Edmund Ruffin at another encyclopedia, mentioning his use of marl
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