Ash Lawn-Highland as Never Seen by James Monroe

My Journey Through the Best Presidential Biographies

ALH1Ash Lawn-Highland from a Cirrus SR20

During his presidency, James Monroe was most often a leader and not a follower.  But earlier in his life, when it came to his choice of where to settle down, he followed the advice of his mentor Thomas Jefferson and bought land…right next to Thomas Jefferson in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Monroe purchased land adjacent to Monticello in 1793 and made it his permanent residence in 1799.  Then known as “Highland,” the Monroes lived there for most of the next twenty-four years. The name “Ash Lawn” was not used until after Monroe’s death. Today it is known as “Ash Lawn-Highland” and is owned by the College of William and Mary, where Monroe studied until he dropped out of college (to fight in the Revolutionary War).

I am embarrassed to admit that before I began reading Harry Ammon’s biography of Monroe, I was unaware the…

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