The Madison-Barbour Rural Historic District, encompassing 32,520 acres of the Piedmont, has been inhabited for more than 12,000 years and contains almost 200 identified prehistoric archaeological sites. Nearby was the likely location of Stegara, a ca. 1600 Siouan-speaking Manahoac village on the Rapidan River. The rich soil that drew colonists by the 1720s is well suited for diversified agriculture, including grains, vineyards, livestock, and forestry. This land, and the free and enslaved laborers who cultivated it, fostered the prosperity of families such as the Madisons and Barbours, who contributed state and national leaders to the fledgling United States.