Keeneland Magazine

WINTER 2014

Keeneland, Investing in Racing's Future since 1936.

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KEENELAND.COM K WINTER 2014 63 chased it for $15,000. Vertner died in 1861, the year the Civil War commenced, but his wife, Eliz- abeth, and niece, Rosa Vertner Jeffrey, carried on in their residence. The latter, a novelist and poet, penned a novel, Woodburn, about social life in the antebellum South. Jeffrey slanted her writing nostalgically for those mythical magnolias shining in the South- ern moonlight. But like many others, she took the wrong side. Kentucky, caught in the middle as a border state of divided sentiment, developed into highly contested territory. At various times, either the Union Army or the Confederates set up camp in Lexington — with their offcers occupying the former Bodley House. One time, the federals threw a grand ball in the house, painting an American fag in chalk on the wooden foor where guests waltzed through the night. Author John Fox Jr. wrote a fctional version of this ball in The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come. Vertner's widow sold the house to William A. Dudley in 1865, the year the war ended. As pres- ident of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad he held a prestigious position, for the railroad was Kentucky's main connection with the boom- ing North — and the recovering South. Dudley brought his father, Dr. Benjamin Winslow Dudley, to live in the house until both died in 1870. Dr. Dudley was a renowned surgeon who pioneered medical techniques and had assisted in elevating Transylvania to its vaunted status in the 1820s. Descendants of these Dudleys lived in the house until one among them, Mrs. Dudley Short, sold the residence in 1912 to the last of its private owners, the Bullocks. The Bullocks were leading citizens (he was a founder of what became the Lexington Clinic; she, the founder of the Gar- den Club of Lexington), but their renown did not eclipse that of their long-term house guest: Min- nie's sister, Katherine Rebecca Pettit, who helped found settlement schools at Hindman and Pine Mountain. The schools brought education to gen- erations of mountain residents. Many quilts and coverlets handmade in East- ern Kentucky and once belonging to Pettit remain in the house. Also on display is Minnie Bullock's collection of snuff bottles, some dating to the The Hunt-Morgan House, on the southwest corner of Gratz Park, shares a history with the Bodley-Bullock House. Both celebrated their 200th an- niversary this year; both have been home to families of signifcant note in Lexington. John Wesley Hunt was among the frst millionaires west of the Alleghe- ny Mountains when he built this house in 1814. As far back as 1795 he had opened a general store in Lexington, according to The Kentucky Encyclopedia. He participated in two of Kentucky's emerging industries, importing Thor- oughbreds from the East and manufacturing hemp packaging for cotton bales. He also began a dynasty that was to include his grandson, Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan, and great-grandson, scientist Thomas Hunt Mor- gan. The latter was the frst Kentuckian to win a Nobel Prize, in 1933. The Hunt-Morgan House stood in danger of destruction in 1955 when the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation was organized specifcally to save the residence. The Trust acquired and continues to maintain the Hunt-Morgan House as its fagship property. SUZANNE DORMAN

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