King and Queen County was established in 1691 from New Kent County. The county is named for King William III and Queen Mary II of England. King and Queen County is notable as one of the few counties in the United States to have recorded a larger population in the 1790 census than in the 2010 one.
Among the earliest settlers of King and Queen County was Roger Shackelford, an English emigrant from Old Alresford, Hampshire, after whom the county’s village of Shacklefords is named. Shackelford’s descendants continued to live in the county, and by the nineteenth century had intermarried with several local families, including Taliaferro, Beverley, Thornton, and Sears.
In 1762 when he was 11, future president James Madison was sent to a boarding school run by Donald Robertson at the Innes plantation in King and Queen County. Robertson was a Scottish teacher who tutored numerous prominent plantation families in the South. From Robertson, Madison learned mathematics, geography, and modern and classical languages—he became especially proficient in Latin. He attributed his instinct for learning “largely to that man (Robertson).” At age 16, Madison returned to his father’s Montpelier estate in Orange County.