Once Cried Off to a “Plain, Practical Farmer,” the Chaumiere des Praries is to be Auctioned Again

The Chaumiere des Praries in Jessamine County, Kentucky. Author’s collection.

In the early 1790s, along what is today Catnip Hill Road in Jessamine County, a Virginian acquired some 330 acres in a portion of Fayette County (Jessamine did not separate from Fayette County until 1798.). His land would be part of the new Jessamine County formed in 1798.

The Virginian was Colonel David Meade and it was on this parcel that he would create his version of Paradise. The moniker is one by which neighbors recognized the beauty of the colonel’s estate. Once destroyed, those neighbors erected a sign over the entrance to the state, with a Miltonian reference to the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden: “Paradise Lost.”

Paradise was destroyed by a “plain practical farmer” who purchased the land at auction three years following the death of Colonel David Meade.

Of Colonel Meade’s estate, only an octagonal room constructed in 1823 remains. It was retained when, in 1840, the house now on Catnip Hill was erected. This historic property, along with approximately 164 acres, will be again “cried off” at an auction to be held later this month.

A view of the ca. 1823 octagonal room. Author’s collection.

During a recent open house, I had the opportunity to explore the current state of the property which I featured in chapter 12 of Lost Lexington. Below are photographs from my visit.

You can visit the property, too, during open houses scheduled on November 1 and November 8, each from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. The auction is scheduled for November 14, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. Details on the auction are available here.

Small cemetery on the site is burial location of Col. Meade. The monument is a replacement based on a description
in his will. Author’s collection.

Small anteroom, ca. 1823, off the octagonal room at Chaumiere. Author’s collection

Rear of the ca. 1840 Chaumiere with the ca. 1823 octagonal room partially visible at far-left. Author’s collection

Auctioneer Bobby Day Wilson during a recent open house. The auction will be held
on Nov. 14, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. Author’s collection