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Edmund Ruffin, the pioneering agronomist and ardent secessionist, made his Hanover County plantation of Marlbourne a laboratory for his agricultural theories. By showing that exhausted soils could be revitalized with the application of marl, scientific crop rotation, and other advanced farming methods, he contributed to a renaissance of agriculture in the South. Violently opposed to any political interference from the North, he symbolized his dedication to the Confederate cause by firing the first shot on Fort Sumter. Although sacked by Union troops, Ruffin’s substantial frame house at Marlbourne, built ca. 1845, survived without significant damage and still overlooks the broad, fertile bottomlands of his splendid farm, owned and operated by his descendants. Ruffin, who committed suicide over distress at the Confederate defeat, lies buried in the Marlbourne family cemetery.

Last Updated: January 30, 2024

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

For additional information Read

Nomination Form


Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Historic District and National Cemetery

(NHLs) Virginia's National Historic Landmarks


Berkleytown Historic District

Hanover (County)


Brown Grove Rural Historic District

Hanover (County)