Three Notch'd Road

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Three Notch'd Road (also called Three Chopt Road) was a colonial-era major east-west route across central Virginia. It is believed to have taken its name from a distinctive marking of three notches cut into trees to blaze the trail. [1] By the 1730s, the trail extended from the vicinity of the fall line of the James River at the future site of Richmond westerly to the Shenandoah Valley, crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains at Jarmans Gap. [2] In modern times, a large portion of U.S. Route 250 in Virginia follows the historic path of the Three Notch'd Road, as does nearby Interstate 64. [3]

Colony of Virginia English/British possession in North America (1607–1776)

The Colony of Virginia, chartered in 1606 and settled in 1607, was the first enduring English colony in North America, following failed proprietary attempts at settlement on Newfoundland by Sir Humphrey Gilbert in 1583, and the subsequent further south Roanoke Island by Sir Walter Raleigh in the late 1580s.

Virginia U.S. state in the United States

Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States located between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. The geography and climate of the Commonwealth are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. The capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond; Virginia Beach is the most populous city, and Fairfax County is the most populous political subdivision. The Commonwealth's estimated population as of 2018 is over 8.5 million.

A fall line is the area where an upland region and a coastal plain meet and is typically prominent where rivers cross it, with resulting rapids or waterfalls. The uplands are relatively hard crystalline basement rock, and the coastal plain is softer sedimentary rock. A fall line often will recede upstream as the river cuts out the uphill dense material, forming "c"-shaped waterfalls and exposing bedrock shoals. Because of these features, riverboats typically cannot travel any farther inland without portaging, unless locks are built. The rapid change in elevation of the water and resulting energy release make the fall line a good location for water mills, grist mills, and sawmills. Because of the need for a river port leading to the ocean, and a ready supply of water power, settlements often develop where rivers cross a fall line.


Jack Jouett's Ride

During the American Revolutionary War, a young Virginian named Jack Jouett is credited with an epic nighttime ride by horseback. He sounded a warning alert at Monticello and the town of Charlottesville of secretly approaching British troops seeking to capture the Governor of Virginia and key members of the Virginia General Assembly. Portions of Jouett's famous ride took place on the Three Notch'd Road.

American Revolutionary War War between Great Britain and the Thirteen Colonies, which won independence as the United States of America

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was an 18th-century war between Great Britain and its Thirteen Colonies which declared independence in 1776 as the United States of America, and then formed a military alliance with France in 1778.

John Jouett Jr. was an American farmer and politician in Virginia and Kentucky, but may be best known for his heroic 40-mile (64 km) ride during the American Revolution. Sometimes called the "Paul Revere of the South", Jouett rode to warn Thomas Jefferson, then the outgoing governor of Virginia that British cavalry had been sent to capture them. After the war, Jouett moved across the Appalachian Mountains to what was then called Kentucky County. He thrice served in the Virginia House of Delegates, first representing Lincoln County and later Mercer County before Kentucky's statehood. Jouett also represented Mercer County at the Danville Separation Convention in 1788. He later served three terms in the Kentucky House of Representatives, first representing Mercer County, then adjoining Woodford County.

Monticello the primary plantation of Thomas Jefferson

Monticello was the primary plantation of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, who began designing Monticello after inheriting land from his father at age 26. Located just outside Charlottesville, Virginia, in the Piedmont region, the plantation was originally 5,000 acres (20 km2), with Jefferson using the labor of enslaved Africans for extensive cultivation of tobacco and mixed crops, later shifting from tobacco cultivation to wheat in response to changing markets. Due to its architectural and historic significance, the property has been designated a National Historic Landmark. In 1987, Monticello and the nearby University of Virginia, also designed by Jefferson, were together designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The current nickel, a United States coin, features a depiction of Monticello on its reverse side.

In late May, 1781, after General Benedict Arnold, who had defected to the British, had attacked the Virginia capital of Richmond, Governor Thomas Jefferson and Virginia's legislature, including Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Nelson, Jr., and Benjamin Harrison V fled to Charlottesville, Virginia, [4] (where Jefferson's home, Monticello, was nearby). Learning of this, British General Charles Cornwallis ordered Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton to ride to Charlottesville and capture them. On June 3, with 180 cavalrymen and 70 mounted infantry of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, Tarleton left his camp on the North Anna River, [4] marching his force covertly. With a fast maneuver designed to catch the politicians completely unaware, he had planned to cover the last 70 miles in 24 hours. [5]

Benedict Arnold Continental and later British Army general during the American Revolutionary War

Benedict Arnold was an American military officer who served as a general during the American Revolutionary War, fighting for the American Continental Army before defecting to the British in 1780. George Washington had given him his fullest trust and placed him in command of the fortifications at West Point, New York. Arnold planned to surrender the fort to British forces, but the plot was discovered in September 1780 and he fled to the British. His name quickly became a byword in the United States for treason and betrayal because he led the British army in battle against the very men whom he had once commanded.

Richmond, Virginia Capital of Virginia

Richmond is the capital city of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and the Greater Richmond Region. Richmond was incorporated in 1742 and has been an independent city since 1871.

Thomas Jefferson Third President of the United States

Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. Previously, he had served as the second vice president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. The principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights, motivating American colonists to break from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation; he produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level.

Captain Jack Jouett of the Virginia Militia, [6] then twenty-seven years old, was asleep on the lawn of the Cuckoo Tavern (or by another account at his father's house) in Louisa County, Virginia that night [5] when he heard the sound of approaching cavalry and spotted Tarleton's British cavalry. [7] Jouett was acutely aware of the military situation; his father and brother Matthew were also captains in the Virginia Militia, as was brother Robert in the Continental Army. [6] He correctly suspected that the cavalry were marching to Charlottesville, where he knew that the legislature was completely undefended. Realizing the only hope for Jefferson and the legislators was advanced warning in time to escape, Jouett quickly mounted his horse, a bay mare named Sallie, [8] and, as the British paused for a 3-hour rest, began the 40 mile ride. Lit by a full moon, he had to ride fast enough to beat the British and warn the Virginians. [5] Reaching Monticello about 5:00 AM, Jouett warned Governor Jefferson, and then went on to Charlottesville, where most of legislators were staying at the Swan Tavern, which was owned by Jouett's father. The legislators decided to flee west on the Three Notch'd Road, cross the Blue Ridge, and reconvene in Staunton, 35 miles away, in three days. Jouett's warning allowed most legislators to escape, but seven were caught. On the way west, as the British closed in, Jouett used a diversionary tactic to help General Edward Stevens, who was recovering from wounds he received at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, escape. [5] [9] Recognizing their debt to Jouett, the legislature passed a resolution on June 15, 1781 to honor him, and "Jack Jouett's Ride" became a legendary portion of Virginia's history.

Cuckoo, Virginia Unincorporated community in Virginia, United States

Cuckoo is a small unincorporated community in Louisa County, Virginia, United States. It is located about eight miles southeast of Louisa, roughly between Charlottesville and Richmond. The Cuckoo Tavern stood nearby, which in 1781 was the beginning of Jack Jouett's ride to warn the Colonists of the arrival of Banastre Tarleton's British cavalry. There was also a large house named Cuckoo built in 1819 for Henry Pendleton on the former property of William Overton Callis. A historical marker is at the spot. Its post office has been closed.

Louisa County, Virginia U.S. county in Virginia

Louisa County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 33,153. The county seat is Louisa.

Staunton, Virginia Independent city in Virginia, United States

Staunton is an independent city in the U.S. Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 23,746. In Virginia, independent cities are separate jurisdictions from the counties that surround them, so the government offices of Augusta County are in Verona, which is contiguous to Staunton.

Marquis de Lafayette

Late in the Revolutionary War, Marquis de Lafayette, the General commanding the French troops supporting the Continental Army, camped in Albemarle County along the Three Notch'd Road at Giles Allegre's Tavern (Later named Lafayette Hill Tavern, 37°59′17″N78°18′50″W / 37.988085°N 78.31379°W / 37.988085; -78.31379 ) on Mechunk Creek while guarding important munitions stored at the Old Albemarle County Courthouse located at Scottsville on the James River. [10]

Continental Army Colonial army during the American Revolutionary War

The Continental Army was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War by the ex-British colonies that became the United States of America. Established by a resolution of the Congress on June 14, 1775, it was created to coordinate the military efforts of the Thirteen Colonies in their revolt against the rule of Great Britain. The Continental Army was supplemented by local militias and volunteer troops that remained under control of the individual states or were otherwise independent. General George Washington was the commander-in-chief of the army throughout the war.

Albemarle County, Virginia U.S. county in Virginia

Albemarle County is a county located in the Piedmont region of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Its county seat is Charlottesville, which is an independent city and enclave entirely surrounded by the county. Albemarle County is part of the Charlottesville Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of Albemarle County was 98,970, more than triple the 1960 census count.

Scottsville, Virginia Town in Virginia, United States

Scottsville is a town in Albemarle and Fluvanna counties in the U.S. state of Virginia. The population was 566 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Charlottesville Metropolitan Statistical Area.

U.S. Route 250

Much of the current U.S. Route 250 (established in the 1930s) from Short Pump in Henrico County west to Crozet in Albemarle County closely follows its path. In the City of Charlottesville, which was established near the headwaters of the Rivanna River, West Main Street and part of University Avenue near the University of Virginia follow its original course. [1] In the 1960s and 1970s, Interstate 64 was completed nearby, also closely paralleling the Three Notch'd Road.

U.S. Route 250 in Virginia highway in Virginia

U.S. Route 250 is a part of the U.S. Highway System that runs from Sandusky, Ohio to Richmond, Virginia. In Virginia, the highway runs 166.74 miles (268.34 km) from the West Virginia state line near Hightown east to its eastern terminus at US 360 in Richmond. US 250 is the main east–west highway of Highland County, which is known as Virginia's Little Switzerland; the highway follows the path of the 19th century Staunton and Parkersburg Turnpike. From Staunton east to Richmond, the highway serves as the local complement to Interstate 64 (I-64), roughly following the 18th century Three Notch'd Road through Waynesboro and Charlottesville on its way through the Shenandoah Valley, its crossing of the Blue Ridge Mountains at Rockfish Gap, and the Piedmont. In the Richmond metropolitan area, US 250 is known as Broad Street, a major thoroughfare through the city's West End and downtown areas.

Short Pump, Virginia Census-designated place in Virginia

Short Pump is a census-designated place (CDP) in Henrico County, Virginia, United States. It is an affluent suburb of Richmond, Virginia. The population was 24,729 at the 2010 census.

Henrico County, Virginia County in Virginia

Henrico County, officially the County of Henrico, is a county in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 306,935. In 2018, the population was estimated to be 329,261, making it the fifth-most populous county in Virginia and the sixth-most populous county-equivalent in Virginia. Henrico County is included in the Greater Richmond Region. There is no incorporated community within Henrico County, therefore, there is no incorporated county seat either. Laurel, an unincorporated CDP, serves this function.

In Henrico County, Richmond

Another portion of the old road, now known as Three Chopt Road, runs from Short Pump through western Henrico County and the City of Richmond, ending at the former unincorporated town of Rio Vista at the intersection of State Route 147. Research by the Henrico County Historical Society revealed a map of Henrico County dated 1819 showing the road marked as "Three Chopped Road". Years later, they found the spelling of the road changed to Three Chopt on a map of 1853. [11]

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Goochland County, Virginia County in Virginia, United States

Goochland County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Its southern border is formed by the James River. As of the 2010 census, the population was 21,717. Its county seat is Goochland.

Fluvanna County, Virginia U.S. county in Virginia

Fluvanna County is a county located in the Piedmont region of the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 25,691. Its county seat is Palmyra.

Charlottesville, Virginia Independent city in Virginia, United States

Charlottesville, colloquially known as C'ville and officially named the City of Charlottesville, is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is the county seat of Albemarle County, which surrounds the city, though the two are separate legal entities. This means a resident will list Charlottesville as both their county and city on official paperwork. It is named after the British Queen consort Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who as the wife of George III was Virginia's last Queen. In 2016, an estimated 46,912 people lived within the city limits. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the City of Charlottesville with Albemarle County for statistical purposes, bringing its population to approximately 150,000. Charlottesville is the heart of the Charlottesville metropolitan area, which includes Albemarle, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, and Nelson counties.

Rivanna River river in the United States of America

The Rivanna River is a 42.1-mile-long (67.8 km) tributary of the James River in central Virginia in the United States. The Rivanna's tributaries originate in the Blue Ridge Mountains; via the James River, it is part of the watershed of Chesapeake Bay.

Michie Tavern United States historic place

Michie Tavern, located in Albemarle County, Virginia, is a Virginia Historic Landmark that was established in 1784 by Scotsman William Michie, though in Earlysville. The Tavern served as the social center of its community and provided travelers with food, drink and lodging. It remained in operation, in the Michie family, until 1910, when it came to be owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1927, the Tavern was purchased by the Josephine Henderson, who had it moved seventeen miles from Earlysville to its present location, close to Monticello.

Virginia State Route 53 state highway in Virginia, United States

State Route 53 is a primary state highway in the U.S. state of Virginia. Known as Thomas Jefferson Parkway, the state highway runs 18.32 miles (29.48 km) from SR 20 near Charlottesville east to U.S. Route 15 in Palmyra. SR 53 connects the county seats of Albemarle and Fluvanna counties. The state highway also provides access to the community of Lake Monticello and Monticello, the estate of Thomas Jefferson. The route of SR 53 became a state highway in 1930; the highway receives its present designation in 1947.

Castle Hill (Virginia) United States historic place

Castle Hill (Virginia) is an historic, privately owned, 600-acre plantation located at the foot of the Southwest Mountains in Albemarle County, Virginia, near Monticello and the city of Charlottesville, and is recognized by the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places. Castle Hill was the beloved home of Dr. Thomas Walker (1715–1794) and his wife, Mildred Thornton Meriwether. Walker was a close friend and the physician of Peter Jefferson, and later the guardian of young Thomas Jefferson after his father's death.

Earlysville, Virginia Unincorporated community in Virginia, United States

Earlysville is an unincorporated community in Albemarle County, Virginia, United States, roughly 9 miles (14 km) north of Charlottesville. It is named for John Early, who in 1822 bought just under 1,000 acres (4 km2) of land that now comprise a portion of the town. Earlysville has a small central business district, with a grocery store, restaurant, dentist, daycare, mechanic, and several retail stores. As of January 2019 there remains only a thrift store, an auto repair shop, a United States Post Office, and many churches. There is a nearby light industrial park and several small suburban developments. The bulk of the area is rural in character.

Milton, Albemarle County, Virginia Unincorporated community in Virginia, United States

Milton is an unincorporated community in Albemarle County, Virginia. In the batteaux era Milton was the head of navigation along the river, but by the mid-nineteenth century horse-drawn canal boats were traveling all the way upstream to Charlottesville, where the head of navigation was located at the very point where the Fredericksburg Road and Three Chopt Road

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Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, was involved in politics from his early adult years. This article covers his early life and career, through his writing the Declaration of Independence, participation in the American Revolutionary War, serving as governor of Virginia, and election and service as Vice-President to President John Adams.

Albemarle County Public Schools

Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) is a school district serving Albemarle County, Virginia. Its headquarters are in the City of Charlottesville. ACPS serves approximately 14,000 students in preschool through grade 12 in Albemarle County, Virginia, the sixth largest county by area in the Commonwealth of Virginia. A diverse locality of 726 square miles in the heart of Central Virginia, Albemarle County is a blend of primarily rural, but also suburban and urban settings.

Jarman Gap mountain pass in Virginia, USA

Jarman Gap is a wind gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains in the counties of Albemarle and Augusta, Virginia.

Scottsville Historic District United States historic place

Scottsville Historic District is a national historic district located at Scottsville, Albemarle County and Fluvanna County, Virginia. The district encompasses 153 contributing buildings, 1 contributing site, and 4 contributing structures in the town of Scottsville. The district includes commercial, residential, religious, factory and warehouse buildings in a variety of popular architectural styles including Federal, Georgian, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, Prairie, Colonial Revival, and Craftsman. Notable buildings include Scottsville High School (1920), Riverview (1817), Chester (1847), Belle Haven, Oakwood, Herndon House (1800), The Tavern (mid-1700s), Scottsville Presbyterian Church (1832), Disciples Church (1846), Coleman's Store (1914), and the Fore House (1732). Located in the district and separately listed are Cliffside and Mount Walla.

Lewis Farm United States historic place

The historic home listed as Lewis Farm, also known as The Farm and John A. G. Davis Farm, is located at Charlottesville, Virginia. It was built in 1826, and is a two-story brick dwelling with a low hipped roof and two large chimneys. On the front facade is a Tuscan order portico with a terrace above. The house was built by individuals who worked with Thomas Jefferson on building the University of Virginia. Its builder, John A. G. Davis, was law professor at the University of Virginia and was shot and killed outside Pavilion X by a student in 1840. During the American Civil War, Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer set up temporary headquarters at the house where he remained for three days.

Parham Road is a circumferential highway in Henrico County in the U.S. state of Virginia. The highway runs 12.08 miles (19.44 km) from Virginia State Route 150 near Tuckahoe east to U.S. Route 301 and SR 2 in Chamberlayne. Parham Road serves the northwestern suburbs of Richmond, including Tuckahoe, Laurel, and Chamberlayne. The four-lane divided highway intersects all of the major highways that extend northwest and north from the city, including Interstate 64 (I-64) and I-95. Parham Road is county maintained except for the portion that is State Route 73, a connector between US 1 and I-95. The Parham Road name was applied to a small portion of the current route by the early 20th century. SR 73 was constructed in the early 1960s. Most of Parham Road from SR 6 to US 1 was constructed as new four-lane divided highway by Henrico County in the late 1960s; the existing sections were upgraded at the same time. The highway was extended east to its present terminus in the late 1970s. Parham Road was completed south to its present western terminus in 1990 concurrent with the extension of SR 150 across the James River from the Southside of Richmond to Henrico County.


  1. 1 2 "Three Notch'd Road". Retrieved 2015-04-16.
  2. "The Route of the Three Notch'd Road : A Preliminary Report" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-04-16.
  3. "The Route of the Three Notch'd Road : A Preliminary Report" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-04-16.
  4. 1 2 Archived August 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  5. 1 2 3 4 Archived June 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  6. 1 2 "Captain Jack Jouett's Ride to the Rescue : The Colonial Williamsburg Official History & Citizenship Site". 2009-11-05. Retrieved 2015-04-16.
  7. "Jack Jouett". Retrieved 2015-04-16.
  8. Archived February 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  9. "Newspaper Article: Jack Jouett, the 'Paul Revere' of the South, Rode to Save Jefferson". Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2015-04-16.
  10. "Three Notch'd Road - Virginia Historical Markers on". Retrieved 2015-04-16.
  11. "Henrico County (Virginia) Historical Society - Henrico County's Three Chopt District". Retrieved 2015-04-16.
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