Monday, June 13, 2011

Horseshoe Bend Farm: The Logsdon Ancestral Home

Nearly a year ago in July of 2010 I posted an article on the maternal grandparents of William Logsdon and as a result of that article and one other earlier article,"Who the heck is Alice?",  I met Bernard Thompson, a half-cousin of my husband Mike. (See my blog post "Treasure Chest Thursday: The Perks of Blogging".) Bernie's and Mike's common ancestor was their great great grandfather, William Logsdon (1799 - 1882), but Bernie descends from William's first wife and Mike descends from William's second wife.

In an e-mail, Bernie told me he'd been to the Logsdon ancestral farm at Horseshoe Bend outside of the small town of Springfield, Kentucky. He said if we were ever up that way to let him know and he'd take us there. He had met and made friends with the wonderful old couple that had lived there for the past 60 years and was sure they'd be delighted to show us the home. Up to that point I'd had no idea that the farm was still in existence and Mike and I were both excited at the possibility of getting to see it.

Mordecai's on Main Restaurant
Plans were made and on Thursday, May 26 we met in Springfield with Bernie and his wife Mary Ann and another local genealogist couple, Gerald and Martha Thompson. First, Bernie treated us to lunch at Mordecai's On Main Restaurant on Main street there in Springfield.
(Notice the "o" in the name is a Lincoln head penny. President Abraham Lincoln's parents, Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks were married in Springfield in 1806.)

After lunch we made our way to Horseshoe Bend Farm. I had checked this farm out from the description Bernie had given me of where it was and using Google Earth, it was easy to pinpoint.

Horseshoe Bend Farm, Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky

What I saw from Google Earth was somewhat deceptive though. It doesn't give a sense of the steep elevation! We turned onto a very narrow, nicely paved road that went up, and up, and UP! Looking down from the road you could see the original wagon road not far below. The Horseshoe Bend Farm was on a hill..or knob. I live in Florida so I call it a mountain!

closer overhead view
When we reached the top, we saw among the trees the quaint old farm house, built by William Logsdon in the early to mid 1800s. There were two large barns, the old original wooden barn and a newer barn.  As we stepped from the car we saw our hostess standing just inside the screened front door. There was a strong breeze scented with earth, animals, and honeysuckle and the surrounding scenery was breath taking! I was a little shy snapping that first picture so after I took it I handed the camera to Mike and he took the rest. I felt like I was invading privacy but I think he felt a sense of his ancestral roots and he wasn't the least bit shy about taking more pictures.

Front view from outside the gate

Front view closer up

Back view showing the 1950s addition (kitchen and enclosed porch).

We don't know for sure exactly when this house was built by William Logsdon. William had at least 10 children by his first wife, Nancy Worland (Bernie's ancestor), who he married in 1823. Nancy died in 1838 and William married Mike's ancestor, Alice McIlvoy, in 1840 and had at least 10 more children by her. The farm is several hundred acres and still a working farm with cattle and crops. Below are a few photos of the surrounding countryside. To get the full effect you really should click to enlarge!

Yes, we did tour the interior of the home but for the privacy of the present owners I will refrain from making those photos public. The home originally had four large rooms, two upstairs and two downstairs with a stairway in the center. I have since wondered, just how do you sleep that many in one family? Not that all 22+ family members were living there at one time, but there had to be a fairly large number of them living there at any given time just the same! I assume male children had one bedroom upstairs and the females had the other and the parents must have slept in one of the two rooms downstairs. The upstairs bedrooms must have looked like dormitories!

William Logsdon owned a small number of slaves and I'm not sure where they would have lived on the property. There may have been another building at one time. In the 1850 slave schedule William had three male slaves ages 60, 14 and 12 and one female slave age 42. In 1860 only the three male slaves are listed, ages 72, 24 and 21. I think Mike was a bit dismayed to learn he had an ancestor that owned slaves but of course it was common at the time, especially if you had a fairly large farm such as this one.

I believe the property known as Horseshoe Bend Farm may have been purchased originally by William's father Joseph and that William did not own it until after his father died. In the will of Joseph Logsdon he states: "I bequeath unto my son William Logsdon, the plantation he now lives on...". This will was written in 1839 so it is likely the farmhouse was built years before then.

I wish to thank Bernie publicly for making this visit possible. It was a memorable, enjoyable and informative day. To top it off, Bernie left us with a couple of wonderful parting gifts: The books "2008 Maryland to Kentucky Reunion - A Guide to the Kentucky Holy Land" and "Putting Meat on the Bones - A Tribute to our MD to KY Ancestors", Written by their Many Descendants, Compiled by the 2008 MD to KY Reunion Committee. It is my understanding that the couple that accompanied us, Gerald and Martha Thompson, were involved in making these books happen. They are absolutely priceless additions to my genealogy library! Our thanks to all four Thompsons for a wonderful visit!

Original barn at Horseshoe Bend Farm



  1. VONDERFUL, nope, that is not a typo! The photos are terrific, the scenery is beautiful. Totally exciting!

  2. Takes my breath away, Lisa. What an experience.

  3. Lisa,
    I've had a LOT of trouble leaving comments lately. I type them out and they either won't post or post under anonymous -- despite signing in. I'm trying this for a second time. From the first picture, it's obvious why it is called Horseshoe Bend Farm -- and they didn't have the advantages of GPS! Great picture.
    Kathy Reed