What could be better than a June evening spent sipping a glass of lemonade or wine, watching vintage carriages being smartly pulled around a meadow by magnificent horses, and touring, by candlelight, a house built circa 1815?
All this can be yours if you attend the opening Gala of the Lemonade and Lavender Homes Tour sponsored by the Greenbrier Historical Society on Friday, June 7 from 5-7 p.m. Advance tickets will be needed for the gala and are available at the Greenbrier Historical Society’s North House, located at 301 West Washington Street in Lewisburg, or the Greenbrier Convention and Visitors Bureau, located at 200 West Washington Street in Lewisburg.
James Jarrett and 3 brothers came to the Greenbrier Valley as early as 1771 and first settled on Wolf Creek in what is now Monroe County. They built a house fort, known as Jarrett’s Fort, which they shared with other early settlers such as Elder John Alderson. James, however, must have liked the land on Muddy Creek because he claimed his first land by right of settlement there in 1774. He continued to acquire land in that area as well as in the Kanawha Valley where his property adjoined that of George Washington.
Back on Muddy Creek, where he made his home, speculation is that his first house was built of logs. However, whether he liked the stone houses he saw in Camp Union (Lewisburg) or remembered fondly the ones near his birthplace in Berks County, PA, he began gathering stones from the fields and valleys to build one of his own.
The James Jarrett House was likely begun around 1815 and was placed on the tax rolls as an improvement to the property in 1820. Mr. Jarrett died in 1822 and left “this my house” to his wife, Rosanna, for her lifetime or until she re-married and then to his young sons, Levi and Vincent. When the land was divided, Vincent acquired the portion with the house and it was subsequently sold.
It passed through Lewis, Harvey, and Knapp hands before being acquired in 1976 by Margaret and David Hambrick and named “Fairhill”. James Jarrett was her great-great-great grandfather, bringing it back into the family. They protected and stabilized it and began the final restoration process in 2002. Much original material was still a part of the house and will be seen by those who tour.
Raymond and Lynn Tuckwiller have been collecting and driving their historic carriages for many years. They will share several of them with the guests—both on display on the terraces and being driven in the meadow. The Tuckwillers and their horses and carriages are regular performers at re-enactments and have appeared in several movies.
Refreshments, including wine from Watts Roost Vineyard, will be served by the pond and natural music will be provided by the waterfall. Fairhill is a working farm with longhorn cattle in the pasture and located on a small country road. Appropriate care should be taken. The James Jarrett House will also be on the Homes Tour on Saturday, June 8.
Call the Greenbrier Historical Society at 304-645-3398 for more information.