My Home, Stuart Manor

May 24, 2013 |

Stuart Manor is on the National Register of Historic Places.

6th Grader Uncovers Her Family’s History: Reid Dixon is a 6th grade student who researched her family’s homeplace, the historic Stuart Manor, located just outside of Lewisburg.

The original buildings were built by Colonel John Stuart, who is known as the “founder and father of Greenbrier County”.

Reid Dixon is 11 years old and attends Greenbrier Episcopal School in Lewisburg.

Reid Dixon: “My home, Stuart Manor, was owned by Colonel John Stuart, and is the oldest house in Greenbrier County. Colonel John Stuart was known as a “wiry, dark, Scotchman.” He was a soldier, a hunter and it is said that he is the founder of Greenbrier County.

In the year of 1767, a lot happened: his father died, he turned 18 years old, and he set out for a hunting and exploring adventure with his friend, Robert McClanahan. When he returned from his adventure he bought the upper part of Frankford. Two years later, he moved onto his new property. In those days, there were three ways to secure property: The first way was to burn down the ring of trees, the second was to plant a crop of corn, the third was to settle on the property.  What Stuart did was buy the corn right from a man named Hamilton. Then, he built a cabin named Grumble Thorp. A hundred years later, it was demolished.

Stuart built the very first gristmill in the county near his cabin in the entrance of a cave now know as Organ Cave. Stuart only lived there for two years; in 1771, he moved four miles away and built a fort. The Fort was destroyed in 1792. Then, Stuart built his second gristmill at Milligan Creek. In 1774, he was promoted as a captain in the local militia and was put in charge of a very large part of General Lewis’ army.

Two years later, he married William Froggs Widow, Agatha Stuart. He built his last home in 1789 near the fort. The house was built to take advantage  of a great view in all directions and owned lots of land. A French philosopher saw the home and named it “Beau Desert”, which means “Glorious Wilderness”; this is now called Stuart Manor.

Now, when I go to Stuart Manor, I feed my pony, check her water, and check the barn supply. When my family comes, we have lots of fun. My cousins and I go to the graveyard, go out to the carriage barn, and every once in a while, play cards in the parlor. We also go down to a cabin that we call Grumble Thorp ll. I think that the name the philosopher named the house, “Glorious Wilderness”, suits it, and that is exactly what it means to me.”

Sources: Greenbrier Pioneers And Their Homes., by Ruth Woods Dayton

Stuart Manor is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Click here to read the nomination form for this historic building.


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