The Only Thing That Lasts
land is the only thing in
the world worth working for, worth fighting for,
worth dying for, because it’s the only thing that lasts.”
Gerald O’Hara in Gone With the Wind
When we look at the life of James Ware I, we see a man whose very identity was marked by change. No man or woman goes through life without being altered by the natural transformations that occur with age and experience. Change is inevitable and, frankly, usually a good thing. Yet in a world that is constantly evolving, we often strive to hold onto some things that we feel will never change. We think of them as “constants” in our lives – our culture, our faith, our familial connections. That is why we often cling to traditions so hard and work diligently to see that our children have a sense of who they are and where they came from.
James was born at a time when he was only two generations removed (at most) from being able to identify himself as an ‘Englishman.’ His family customs would have been passed down from European great grandparents, and his views of the world would have been greatly affected by things they learned in a country across the ocean from where he was born. In his lifetime, however, James would change the way he identified himself from ‘Englishman’ to ‘American’ – a man completely and totally different than his ancestors.
During the years of his childhood, there were few religions that James could have claimed as his own other than the Anglican faith. This newly formed country still harbored deep religious prejudices, and for the vast majority of his life, the Episcopal churches in Virginia offered the only accepted place in which to worship. Granted, there were several Baptists groups in Great Britain before the 1700s and the first church of its kind in Colonial America was founded in Providence by Roger Williams in 1638, but the majority of the colonists in 1714 were not familiar with any other doctrine than that of the Church of England. In this country, as H. Leon McBeth stated in his work, The Baptist Heritage, published in Nashville in 1987, “in 1700, there were only 24 Baptist churches with 839 members, but in 1790 there were 979 churches with 67,490 members.” In another life-changing decision, James would choose to leave his father’s faith behind and embrace the newly organized movement of Baptists that was taking root in Virginia and, ultimately, in Kentucky as well. This shift in religious identity was no small thing. He suffered through persecution for it in Virginia and was willing to undergo unbelievable hardships getting to Kentucky to further the growth of his convictions. With the exception of his son John (and possibly his daughter, Clary), every offspring of James and Agnes would no longer be known as ‘Anglicans’ but as ‘Baptists.’
During the years 1736 to 1753, when Agnes was birthing the next generation of Wares, James would have been called a ‘colonist’ in this country. Decisions about the laws and leadership of Virginia were made by the King of England, and as loyal subjects, the colonists would have been expected to obey his proclamations and edicts without hesitation. The following excerpt that appeared in the newspaper, The Virginia Gazette, in the mid-1700s, is an example of the ruling power of England over her subjects.
to prohibit the exportations of provisions
Whereas it has been represented to His Majesty, that an illegal Correspondence and trade is frequently carried on between the French and his Subjects in the several Colonies; and I have his royal Instructions to take all possible Measures to prevent the Continuance of all such dangerous Practices, particularly that the French should not, upon any Account whatever, be supplied with Provisions: I have therefore thought fit, by and with the Advice of His Majesty’s Council, to issue this Proclamation, hereby strictly prohibiting the Exportation of Flour, Bread, Pork, and Beef after the second Day of next Month, until further Order made thereupon: and I do herby require the Officers of His Majesty’s Customs, not to clear out any Ship or Vessel that has any Flour, Bread, Pork, or Beef on Board, but what is necessary for their own Company’s Subsistence. And I do appoint his Proclamation to be read and published at the Courthouse and Churches in each respective County within this Colony, and that the Sheriffs take Care the same be done accordingly.
Given under my Hand, and the Seal of the Colony, at Williamsburg, this 6th day of March in the Twenty-Eighth Year of His Majesty’s Reign, 1755
In the years following the birth of the Ware children, colonists found these proclamations and orders more and more disagreeable, especially as they soon began to realize that the King often put the welfare of those living in England ahead of the colonists. Their inability to have any significant input into government decisions effecting their own livelihood caused an irrevocable rift with Great Britain. By the end of his life, James would take great pride in the phrase that would come to define him. He was no longer a colonist - he was an American Patriot.
Record for patriotic service by James Ware Sr.
Even with the Revolutionary War behind them, the way in which these new ‘Americans’ viewed themselves was largely dictated by their home colony. Nowhere was this distinction more profound than in Virginia. Prior to the conflict with Great Britain, Virginia had always served as a focal point for this burgeoning nation - - occupying more land than most all other colonies put together. Once her lands were ceded over to the new American government after the Revolutionary War, Virginia then became “the ‘mother” of the states of Kentucky (1792), Ohio (1803), Indiana (1816), Illinois (1818), West Virginia (1863), and indirectly Michigan (1848), and even part of Minnesota (1858).” (Ref. 972) To be a ‘Virginian’ was a great source of pride, for even as John Adams had declared, “this Declaration of Independence cannot pass without Virginia on board.”
The 13 Original Colonies
The 13 colonies
The winds of change that had ushered in the violent storm of revolution affected more than just the sense of patriotism in the colonists. Virginia, herself, was feeling growing pains. The once rich soil that had yielded great profit for its earliest settlers was now growing depleted from overuse. Tobacco, a cash crop for so many, ruined the soil. After three years of harvesting the plant on a section of land, farmers discovered the ground was leached of its nutrients. Thus, new fields were needed to make a living. When increased production of tobacco sent prices down, planters had to sell even more of their crop to keep up their income and this, in turn, created the need for yet more land and larger estates. It was a never ending cycle. Good land was literally ‘running out’ – the sad result of high demand and poor use.
If the exhausted soil was not enough of an issue, the climate certainly did not help either. “In the eight years from 1792 to 1800, there were only two years in which crops were harvested and sold without the occurrence of some calamity.” (Ref. 2265) Many considered the winter season of 1779-1780 as “the coldest winter that America [had] ever known.” (Ref. 2570) The year 1781 was greeted with high hopes, but “a drought caused many . . . to seek economic improvement beyond the mountains.” (Ref. 2570) Descriptions of this fertile land called “Kentucke” must have truly sounded enticing. And so it came to be that the ‘Virginian’ James Ware became a ‘Kentuckian’ in his remaining years.
The world changed greatly from 1714 to 1796, and so did the man!
By 1792, James Sr., William, Edmund, and their immediate families had relocated to Woodford County, Kentucky and were now well established in their new homes. Oldest son, John, who would always remain in Virginia, had three of his children married and was already a grandparent. Nicholas, after moving with his family to South Carolina in 1783, had been deceased for five years. We have no firm record for Clary, but it had been nearly 30 years since the passing of Richard. One year earlier, in 1791, James Ware II had finally made the great migration from Virginia to Kentucky with his children and the Webb family. Unlike his father and brothers, however, James Jr. chose to travel the first part of the way by the Ohio River rather than using the Wilderness Trail. (Ref. 2543) The remainder of the “long and dangerous trip was made in wagons and by horse back with all their negroes and what possessions that could be carried.” (Ref. 2) For the complete biography of James Ware Jr., please read Virginia Roots in Kentucky Soil, the sequel to this book.
Map showing the original counties of Kentucky before 1784
The above map shows Lincoln County, where James Sr. and his sons, William and Edmund, first settled. The map below shows how the counties had altered in just ten years time.
Once James and his sons, William and Edmund, left Lincoln County, “they settled in what was then Fayette County, but that section became a part of Woodford when the county was established in 1788. However, when they surveyed the line that separated the county of Franklin from Woodford, eight or ten years later, the line passed through the farm of James Ware, and within a short distance of his log residence, and separated his farm into two almost equal parts, one in Franklin and the other in Woodford, but the residence went into Franklin.”(Ref. 1024)
The following pictures, taken with the kind permission of Mrs. Crit Blackburn Luallen (one of the current owners of Wareland) show the lush beauty of some Kentucky roads and one (in particular) that currently marks a boundary to her property.
The road in the distance (Old Frankfort Pike) shows one of the boundaries of the remaining property that was known as Wareland.
The map below shows highlights for the following places which pertain specifically to James Ware:
Home of James Ware I and properties relating to his family
Disclaimer: Although this map provides great visual references for the places pertaining to the family, I am not sure the scale or time frame descriptions are completely accurate.
Photos courtesy of James & Judy Ware 2009
In 1790, for some reason, James decided to write his Last Will and Testament. He used his old friend, Reverend William Hickman, as a witness for this important document. Hickman was the minister of the Forks of Elkhorn Church where both Ware sons (and their families) were not only members of the congregation, but held positions of leadership.
Franklin County had seen several cases of smallpox that year, and influenza was an ever present danger, but his decision could also have simply been for administrative purposes. It is interesting to note, however, that there is no mention of Agnes in the will. Even in an age where wives had few legal rights, it is hard to believe that (after more than 40 years of marriage) he would not have included her in some way. He was very meticulous in bequeathing something to even the children of his late son, Nicholas, who did not reside in Kentucky. It would, therefore, seem safe to assume that Agnes must have already died. Her death conceivably may have even provided him with the impetus to ‘put his affairs in order.’ It is also possible that Agnes passed away on the trip coming to Kentucky or when they were first living in Lincoln County. However and whenever she died, it must have been hard for James to lose his life partner after so many years together. Their marriage had spanned well over four decades - quite a remarkable achievement.
the History of the Forks of Elkhorn Church
William and Edmund continued farming on what had been James’ land and held intact the original property claim for almost 15 years following his death. In 1814, however, Edmund Ware died and, with his passing, a large portion of what was originally owned by James Sr. moved out of the immediate Ware family. (See Chapter 9 for more details)
Edmund’s land went up for auction, and his brother (William) was obviously not in a position to buy it. Edmund’s son-in-law, Rueben Samuel, stayed on the property until it sold to Martin Hardin three years later. According to church historian, Ermina Jett Darnell, “. . . in 1818, William and Sarah Ware and Reuben and Nancy Letcher Samuel, sold to Martin D. Hardin the land on which Edmund resided at the time of his death, and upon which Rueben Samuel was living at the time the deed was made. (Ref. 2291)
Martin Hardin, appointed Kentucky Secretary of State under Governor Shelby during the War of 1812, “served in this position until 1816 when he was elected to the U.S. Senate.” (Ref.2577) He was married to Elizabeth Logan, and “they lived with their children [on the land] which they bought in 1818 from the Samuels and the Wares.” (Ref. 2291, 2533) Hardin built a home on his property and named his estate Locust Hill. When Hardin died on October 8, 1823, he was first buried “in a handsome tomb at the back of the orchard on his property,” but “his remains were later re-interred in the State Cemetery in Frankfort.” (Ref. Wikipedia) His will contained specific instructions concerning his property.
of the will of Martin D. Hardin were kindly provided by Marti Martin,
Woodford County Historical Society Board Member and Researcher. For more details, please see Chapter 9.
Scott decided to keep the name Hardin had used for the property when he “purchased the first 205 acres . . . in 1834,” but he immediately began to improve his acquisition and set it on a course for becoming an estate that would be renowned in all of Kentucky. The new owner continued to buy additional acreage over the years, and the surrounding gardens and orchards he incorporated into his plantation were breathtaking. “Many illustrious guests were entertained . . . for months at a time and his imposing mansion was clearly visible “atop one of the steepest points” of the (eventually more than) 1,000-acre estate. (Ref. 2578)
Home of Robert W. Scott, build on what was Edmund Ware’s land in 1800
photo taken by Judy C. Ware 2012
Scott’s beautiful house actually took several years to complete. Construction began in 1845, but it would not be finished until 1847. (Ref. Handbill) It was during those years when the opportunity arose for Scott to buy the single largest portion of adjoining land.
In 1829, William Ware and his wife had both passed away - leaving the property once owned by James (and now known as Wareland) to William’s son, Samuel Ware, who “had lived on a part of his father’s estate” all his life. (Ref. 1024) Samuel died in 1846, and according to his will, Wareland was then put into a trust for his three sons - James, Hankerson, and William. The heirs began selling off portions of Wareland right after their father’s death. By 1847, George Blackburn had purchased 24 acres, and 46 acres went to Elijah Fogg and his wife, Ann R. Ware Fogg. Ann was the great granddaughter of James and Agnes Todd Ware.
of Crit Luallen
built on what was William Ware’s land in 1846 and James Ware’s land in 1783.
They also sold the remaining, largest single portion of Wareland (150 acres) to Robert Wilmot Scott. By combining this new acreage into his property of Locust Hill, Scott ultimately reconnected plots of land owned by the two sons of James Ware - thus making the area closely resemble (once again) the original land warrant property owned by James Ware in 1783. Locust Hill (Edmund and William’s land) was now under one owner again.
It is of interest to note that in this transaction there was special mention made of “excluding a quarter acre of land which is reserved, including graveyard.” Clearly, the graves of William and numerous other family members were still being well maintained as of this date.
Deeds for Blackburn and Fogg for Wareland sections
In November of 1848, 94 additional acres were sold to Elijah Fogg.
Wareland acres sold to Elijah Fogg
150 Acres Sold to Robert Wilmot Scott
Scott used both slave labor and wage hands to manage the vast amount of land on his farm. “Some of the wage hands occupied the tenant houses and were supplied rations from cribs and smokehouses.” (Ref. 2292) He built several outbuildings, and “there existed at Locust Hill after 1849 living accommodations for fifty to one hundred persons.” (Ref. 2292)
We know that “after William Ware’s death, Wareland was used as a tenant house,” which would make sense because it was now simply part of the property Scott bought in 1849 to enlarge his holdings. (Ref. 2219) A tenant is “one that pays rent to use or occupy land, a building, or other property owned by another.” (Ref. Dictionary) It is recorded that “in 1876, [Wareland] was bought by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas H. Bedford, who remodeled it and lived there for many years. It then became known as the ‘Tom Bedford Place.’ ” (Ref. 2219) The land was still owned by Scott until after his death in 1884, so it is possible that Bedford was one of his tenant farmers who stayed with him for many years and managed this section of his land for him. By remodeling the house, it would be practical for locals to refer to it as “Tom Bedford’s place” even though it was still legally owned by Scott. There is even an article in a Frankfort newspaper of 1884 that mentions a friend who is “visiting Mrs. T. H. Bedford at Wareland.” (Ref. Newspaper) It was still officially being called Wareland in 1884 - even though the Bedfords had been living on it since 1876.
Frankfort newspaper 1884
As of now, there has not been found any record of a deed between the two men, but it would still appear that, at some point, a section of Wareland came under ownership of the Bedfords. According to one family letter, “the Bedford home burned about 1907 and the place was sold to Mr. Frank Haff who erected the house which is there at present.” (Ref. 2219) It is also possible, however, that this “Bedford Home” was not the same one as that which was located on Wareland.
Robert W. Scott died in 1884 and was buried in Frankfort Cemetery. Horatio Pleasants Mason purchased Locust Hill from the Scott heirs, and it was he who renamed the estate Scotland in honor of Robert. (Ref. 2291, 2292) Horatio was married to “Samuella Bolling Anthony and they had nine children who lived to maturity and married.” (Ref. 2533) The Masons owned this land for less than twenty years, but under their care, Scotland remained a beautiful landmark. When Horatio died in 1906, it would seem the property then stayed with his son, Sam Mason, until it was sold to Jacob Swigert Taylor in 1923.
Swigert purchased Scotland for his daughter, Mary Belle Taylor Hay, and she and her husband (Charles Walter Hay) lovingly made it a home for not only their children but generations to come. The land was in good hands. While their daughter, Eugenia, was away at college, Charles wrote her a letter in which he mentioned a purchase he had recently made. He was pleased to report that he had bought a farm on 155 acres of beautiful Kentucky land which was located very close to her home of Scotland. This new acquisition was part of an estate which had (at one time) been called . . . Wareland. (See Chapter 8) With that purchase by Charles Hay, both sections of the original 1783 Ware property were once again reunited under one family and, even more astounding, those family members are all descendants of the original owner – James Ware I of Virginia.
James had no idea at the time of his death the great legacy he created. Each generation from 1714 to the present (2013) would see a male child carrying his name. The country that he and his sons fought so hard to secure would be split apart in the time of his great grandchildren, only to be healed again - even stronger. Although his generation helped birth a new nation, his heirs lived to see that nation become a world power. Yet, through all the changes - - - the ebb and flow of life - - - the land which he would call “home” still remains.
Old barn on land that was
known as Wareland
Photo kindly provided by Crit Blackburn Luallen
Twilight filters through the leaves
to dance upon the rain-washed land,
and shadows play among the trees
to come and greet me where I stand.
I know this road – and how it winds,
my shoes have touched each rock and stone –
and yet, there are those sacred times
I sense I do not walk alone.
Across a thousand yesterdays -
with time suspended in the air,
I’m reminded that where ere’ I go,
Those born before me traveled there.
Judy C. Ware © 2013