Sherwood Forest Plantation

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Sherwood Forest Plantation is located on the north bank of the James River in Charles City County, Virginia. It is located on Virginia State Highway 5, a scenic byway which runs between the independent cities of Richmond and Williamsburg.

Sherwood Forest has the distinction of being the the only private residence in the United States to have been owned by two unrelated US Presidents. William Henry Harrison inherited the plantation, then named Walnut Grove, in 1790 and held it for three years. He sold the 3,000 acre (1,214 ha) property in 1793 having never lived in the house. Harrison's successor John Tyler purchased the plantation, which by then had been reduced to 1,600 acres (648 ha), in 1842 and lived there after leaving the White House.

John Tyler renamed the plantation Sherwood Forest in 1842. He said it signified that he had been "outlawed" by the Whig party. He was attracted to he plantation because it was near his birthplace of Greenway, Virginia. He retired there when he left the White House in 1845 and spent the rest of his life there with his second wife and some of his children - he had eight with his first wife, seven with his second wife, and the last of them died in 1947.

The house was very run-down when Tyler bought it, and Congress refused to pay him the allowance that was customary for upkeep of the White House, so Tyler had to pay for repairs at Sherwood Forest himself, and he did much of the work himself.

The house was occupied by Union soldiers during the Peninsular Campaign of 1862 and again in 1864. When an Ohio regiment vacated the house in 1864, the attempted to raze in with fire as a punishment for Tyler's support of the Confederacy. The fire was quickly extingushed by a loyal slave and did little damage to the house.

Owners of the house who started restoring it in the mid-20th century started removing some home-made storm windows and then discovered from old records that Tyler had built them himself, so they kept them. One of the house's claims to fame is the length of the house; over 300 feet (91 metres). It is also noted for its long, skinny ballroom, a "hyphen" Tyler had added to the house to accommodate the style of dancing popular then - what is today called "line dancing" but was then the "Virginia reel."

The house has been in the Tyler family since it was purchased by president Tyler in 1842. The house is currently owned by Harrison Ruffin Tyler, President Tyler's grandson (via Lyon Gardiner Tyler). It is open to the public for tours.

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