Liberty Hall and the Orlando Brown House are situated on a 4 acre lot within the quaint streets of downtown Frankfort, KY just blocks from the Kentucky River.
Liberty Hall was the first home built on the property by John Brown, United States Senator for Kentucky.
Historically Significant Individual
John Brown (1757 – 1837) was another historically significant individual, as he too played a role in the statehood of Kentucky. He was born and raised in Staunton, Virginia, attended Washington and Princeton Colleges, until he enlisted in the Revolutionary War where he served until war’s end. He returned to his studies after the war, attending The College of William and Mary.
Timeline of Events
1780 – Graduated with a Law Degree
1782 – He was admitted to the bar and studied law with Thomas Jefferson.
1784 – He headed west via the Wilderness Road to look over his military land grant. Once there, he began representing the District of Kentucky in the Virginia Legislature.
About this same time, a movement began among the settlers of Kentucky to separate from Virginia for various reasons. Brown’s connections with both the east and the west was beneficial. He had James Madison and Thomas Jefferson as political allies and he knew many early Kentucky leaders. He petitioned on several occasions for Kentucky to be granted statehood.
Finally, in 1792, Kentucky was granted separation from Virginia and was admitted into the Union as the 15th state. Brown was then chosen to be one of the state’s first U.S. Senators. He served three terms from 1792 – 1805.
Brown began work on his home in Frankfort in 1796. In 1799, he married Margaretta Mason in New York City. Brown’s home was not complete until 1804, but he, Margaretta, and their first born son, Mason, moved into the home in 1801. Just shortly after moving into their home, their second son, Orlando, was born.
Their home, named Liberty Hall, was built in the early federal-era architectural style. Today, it is one of the greatest examples of this style in Kentucky. Because 4 generations of the Brown family lived in and cared for the home, it is found to be in its original form. It is truly a site to see!
In 1835, John Brown had a Greek Revival style home built next to Liberty Hall for his second son, Orlando, and his wife Mary Watts Brown. Today, both homes are cared for by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA) in Kentucky.
When my daughter and I visited, we were able to tour both homes along with the gardens. Today, the Orlando Brown House is closed to tours. Liberty Hall is worth seeing, in and of itself, so make sure to plan a trip soon. For some, there is an added bonus! The home is said to be haunted by The Gray Lady, an aunt of Margaretta, who died in the home during a visit with the family. On our tour of the home, nothing appeared to convince me of spirits or ghosts. I’ll leave that for others to explore!