James Pleasants was born on 24 Oct. 1769 at his home, Contention, located two miles south. A Quaker, Pleasants served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1796 to 1810, and in 1803 was elected its clerk. He sat in the United States House of Representatives from 1811 to 1819, and in the Senate from 1819 to 1822. First elected governor of Virginia by the General Assembly in 1822, he served two consecutive terms until 1825. He last held office in 1829-1830 as a member of the State Constitutional Convention. He died on 9 Nov. 1836, in Goochland County, esteemed for his public service and private virtues.