Ashland was the Country Home of Henry Clay and his wife Lucretia from around 1806 until 1852. In 1809 they moved their ever growing family from their town home in Lexington to Ashland where they resided until his death in 1852. The estate covered up to 600 acres and as a working farm it grew Hemp, Tobacco, and various grains as well as livestock. The livestock, of course, included purebred stock of all kinds. During his long and frequent stays in Washington the farm was run by Lucretia with the help of an overseer and about 50 slaves.
After Henry's death his heirs sold the estate to his son, James Brown Clay. The house, being in rather bad repair, was torn down and a new one erected on the very same foundation as the old one.
During the Civil War, James B. Clay took his family and moved to Canada because of his Confederate sympathies. If you have read my new book you will remember that my Great Grand Aunt Martha McDowell Buford Jones also fled to Canada to avoid being arrested because she was the wife of a Confederate Officer.
James, unfortunately, died in Canada and his widow, Susan Jacobs Clay sold Ashland to Kentucky University which was an amalgamation of the private Transylvania University and the state Agricultural and Mechanical College. From 1866 to 1878 the estate was the home of Kentucky University's Regent, John Bowman and family as it was part of the Campus. The estate then covered only 324 acres.
In 1882 Kentucky University was dissolved and the Ashland estate was sold to Henry Clay McDowell, cousin to Martha. Henry was married to the daughter of Henry Clay Jr. and was the Granddaughter of Henry Clay the original owner. The McDowells made many improvements to the house and grounds, first and foremost being INDOOR plumbing. When Henry McDowell died in 1899 Anne stayed in the home until 1917 when her daughter Nannette and husband Dr. Thomas Bullock and their son Henry moved in with her. By now there were only 20 acres belonging to the once huge estate. Henry donated a lot of land for a Golf course plus an "Ashland addition" a development designed by Olmsted Brothers' landscape architecture firm.
When Nannette McDowell Bullock died in 1948 she willed the house, property and most of the belongings to the Henry Clay Memorial Foundation to be used as a museum in honor of her famous great Grandfather. In her will she made provisions for her son to live at Ashland for as long as he desired. The first floor was opened to the public in 1950 and in 1964 when Henry Bullock moved out, the entire house was opened as a historic museum. It is a registered National Historic Landmark.
My book tells of many happy occasions that transpired at Ashland while the McDowells owned the estate. Many a prize thoroughbred horse was sired and trained there. One Kentucky Derby winner.
BUFORD Families in America Book 2005
Addendum to Buford Book 2005
And my ALL-TIME favorite ~ TRIVIA
~~Clouds by Torie~~