White Hall in Richmond, KY has to be one of my top faves! My original writing about White Hall was as a Facebook post. It is time to make it an official blog post, one that can be found easily and read again and again. Because this is one of our early trips, I do not have many personal pictures to share. I have added photos from other sources when possible.
Please enjoy White Hall and our post from 2020. ❤️
Green Clay: Revolutionary War Patriot & More
Revolutionary War Patriot and War of 1812 Brigadier-General, Green Clay (first cousin to Henry Clay), was born August 14, 1756, in Powhatan County, Virginia.
He, like so many men of the time period, moved into Kentucky County after the Revolutionary War to claim his land grant in 1777. He built his fortune as a land surveyor with many land holdings. Later, “Clay’s Ferry,” (the first ferry between Madison and Fayette counties) various distilleries, and taverns added to his wealth. He was very active in politics; serving in the Virginia Legislature, the Virginia Convention where the federal Constitution was ratified, and then later the Kentucky Legislature.
In 1795, Clay married Sally Lewis in Fayette County, KY. Their home was built in 1798 in Madison County in the Georgian architectural style. Green and Sally went on to have 7 children together.
Green Clay died in 1828 at his home, then named “Clermont.” He was believed to be one of the wealthiest landowners and slaveholders in the state at the time of his death.
The home and several hundred acres were handed down to his youngest son, Cassius Marcellus Clay. In 1860, Cassius had a significant addition constructed, adding the Italianate style to the home, and he renamed it “White Hall.” The addition turned the home into a 10,000 square foot mansion with many modern amenities, including indoor plumbing and central heating!
Cassius was quite the opposite of his father. He was an outspoken leader against slavery. In 1845, be began publishing an anti-slavery newspaper in Lexington called The True American, which led to many death threats. Cassius went on to become a founding member of the Republican Party in Kentucky and was later appointed by President Lincoln to be the United States minister to Russia.
The home stayed in the family until the 1960’s, although Cassius’s grandson rented it out to tenant farmers for several of those years. In 1968, the family donated the home to the State of Kentucky. After many years of restoration, the home opened to the public in 1971 as part of the Kentucky Park System. Today, the home belongs to Eastern Kentucky University and is cared for and preserved by the White Hall-Clermont Foundation.
Our Visit x 2
My daughter, my mom, and I originally toured the home when it was owned and operated by Kentucky State Parks in 2017. It was a beautiful tour with a very informative tour guide. My daughter was in love with the fact that you could tour almost every nook and cranny of the home. She loved the indoor bathroom with toilet closets and a cooper bathtub. She was enthralled with the high ceilings and rounded walls. Outside, she was eager to explore the outdoor kitchen and ice house, all of which are original to the property.
She loved this home so much that she continued to talk about it for several years. One afternoon, my husband asked if we should load up in the car to explore for the day. My daughter automatically suggested White Hall, so off we went to show Daddy the indoor toilet closet!
It has been a little while since we visited the second time, but the home is still in the care of Eastern Kentucky University. My daughter continues to talk about this home even today. It is still one of the few historical homes we’ve toured where you are able to see nearly every room from top to bottom. She’s a curious one, and she has always wanted to know what’s behind the door of the room you can’t tour, so this home made an impression.
I hope you will take time to visit White Hall, to hear the history of the home and the historically significant people who lived there. It really is worth a trip… or two!