In 1761 the County was partitioned, land on the south being relinquished for the formation of Buckingham and Amherst counties. This left Scottsville on the extreme southern border of Albemarle, and it was decided that the location of the court-house was no longer suited to the needs of a majority of the population. A thousand acres were secured in the centre of the County, and in November, 1762, an Act of Assembly was passed, creating the town of Charlottesville, and authorizing the removal of the County seat to this place. Its name was bestowed in honor of the little Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg Strelitz, the young bride of George III.
The new courthouse, pillory, stocks and whipping post were duly erected on the present Court Square, and fifty acres of adjoining land were laid off in lots and streets. The prospective town consisted of four tiers of squares, each tier running east and west and containing seven squares; the four tiers extending from Jefferson St. to South St. The Courthouse Square was exterior to the town. Building, however, for some years was slow and scattered, and during this time the infant village was of small importance in the history of the County. The country planter continued to control the social and business life of the community, and its business interests were still centred in the thriving villages of Milton and Scottsville. As late as 1779, Capt. Anburey, a British prisoner, writes:
"On our arrival at Charlottesville, this famous place we had heard so much of consisted only of a Court-house, one tavern,<a href="#1" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 1 The Swan, upon the site now occupied by the Red Land Club."> and about a dozen houses."
After the Revolution, the number of taverns increased rapidly, the town's location on the main State road to the West making it a halting place for stage lines, and for much private travel.
The present Courthouse building was not erected until 1803, in which year George Divers, William D. Menwether and Isaac Miller were appointed to draw a plan for the edifice. The cost was not to exceed five thousand dollars. In 1859 a contract was entered into with George W. Spooner to construct a front addition designed by Wm. A. Pratt, a former Proctor of the University. This addition was flanked with towers and crowned with gables, but some years later, upon the prevalence of a more restrained standard, it was removed, and the present pediment, with its supporting pillars, was erected by Mr. Spooner. We do not know when the instruments of correction, which were formerly necessary associates of a courthouse, were removed. In 1820 they were repaired, and as late as 1857 James Lobban and Andrew Brown were appointed to select a place for the whipping-post.
As the old building now stands, the wing to the north is that in which Jefferson worshipped, and about which center the associations of more than a century. We are told that in early days it was no unusual sight to observe here a President and two Ex-Presidents, with perhaps a U. S. Senator or a Governor in attendance. An old anecdote relates that upon one such occasion, as the three Presidents stood on the green, one of them remarked that if there only were a fourth they would all cross over to the tavern and take a drink. With characteristic bonhon2ie, the late Mr. Jesse Maury, then a youth of seventeen, stepped forward and offered to fill the gap-he being the president of the Albemarle 'Possum Club.