James Hill House, Lexington, Fayette, Kentucky


316-318 N. Upper St.
, (North of 3rd St. corner)
Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
Built 1813


David Megowan built this old brick house more than a quarter of a century ago and he and his wife, Nancy, sold it and the corner property to John Hart December 30, 1813.

The deed called for 200 feet on Upper St. "to Blythe's line" and 172 feet on Third St. back "to a 20-foot alley."

Hart reserved this corner (and No. 314), extending 166-2/3 feet on Upper St. A candle factory, operating under various owners from its ownership by John D. Clifford in 1816, was on the corner for more than half a century.

Hart divided the house into three equal "lots" of 33-1/3 each and sold No. 316 to James R. Brown and No. 318 to Thomas Tibbots in April, 1814.

Tibbots and wife, Jane, sold their half to James Hill in November, 1814. Brown and wife, Martha, conveyed their half to Joel McLemore in November, 1817, and McLemore, "of Lincoln County, Tenn.," sold it to Hill in February, 1820. (1818 Directory: "James Hill, Cabinet Maker, Upper St.")

John Jeffreys purchased the property April 25, 1827, from Hill and wife, Polly, "of Madison County, Indiana," and bought 11 feet more from Dr. James Blythe. Jeffries and wife, Polly, sold it in September, 1831, to William Metcalf.

James Weir, trustee for Lydia Pemberton, bought it in January, 1833, and conveyed it to John Gordon. (1838 Directory: "John Gordon, hemp mfr. N. Mulberry Cor. 4th.")

Gordon and wife, Elizabeth, sold it December, 1835, to Rebecca Whitt, who married Thomas Kirby. (They filed articles of separation June 1, 1846).

Mrs. Kirby, "of Cincinnati, Ohio," conveyed this house in which she had resided, and the adjoining house (No. 314) which she had also bought, to Francis B. Rust, "Broom County, Ky.," in December, 1851.

In authorizing Richard Pindell to sell, in July, 1850, Mrs. Kirby (from Cincinnati, Ohio) said "Wilson" occupied the first house (No. 314) and "Cravens and Childs" the other two (Nos. 316-318).

Rust, of Boone County, Ky., sold to Robert Harper, of Butler County, Ohio, in July, 1854, and Harper and wife conveyed it in April, 1864, to Chas. S. Bodley, son of Gen. Thos. Bodley. Three months later Bodley and wife, Frances G., split the property and sold No. 314 to Matthew McNamara and Nos. 316-318 to Wm. Monaghan.

(The adjoining house, No. 314), is said to have furnished locale for a part of "Gone With the Wind," though a long way from Georgia.)

John Hart, mentioned in the original deeds to "both" these houses, died in St. Louis September 3, 1820. The following notice appeared in the Lexington Public Advertiser September 20, 1820:

"Died at St. Louis on the 3d inst. in the 31st year of his age, Mr. JOHN HART, late of this town and the last surviving son of Col. Thomas Hart, whose memory will always be dear to those who knew him. Mr. Hart through his integrity and generosity, was one of the first victims of the calamities of the times. After many laborious and ineffectual efforts to mend his fortune, he although brought up in the lap of luxury, beloved by a numerous connexion and respected by everyone, forsook all and with the intention of exerting his industry on another theatre he went to St. Louis and fell victim to the climate--He was the model of what a perfect gentleman ought to be...

The history of the candle factory on the Third Street corner follows:

Tilford, Scott & Trotter (John Tilford, George Trotter, Sr., and Thos. Scott) bought the corner property in 1816 with an eye to establishing an industry here.

John D. Clifford formed a partnership with a Philadelphia merchant, Chas. N. Bancker, and set up a candle and soap factory on the lot that year.

Bancker seems to have become sole owner eventually, however, as in deeding "the lot formerly occupied by Chas. N. Bancker and John D. Clifford as a soap and candle manufactory," to John Love in 1829, he cited deeds to it from Clifford, Tilford, Trotter and Rev. John Ward and wife (Clifford heirs).

Love conveyed the factory to Wm. Swift in 1834. Swift sold it in 1835 to Wm. Self (listed here in the 1838 Directory). Self conveyed it to Sloan and Redd, and James R. Sloan traded it to Francis Hostetter. It was still operating in the 1870's.

Source: Old Houses of Lexington, C. Frank Dunn, typescript, n.d., copy located in the Kentucky Room, Lexington (Kentucky) Public Library.

Transcribed by pb, June 2006