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December 2014: Durr Farm
By Helen Dedman
I feel sure the first time you visited Beaumont Inn as you turned off US 127 onto Beaumont Inn Drive, you wondered what, why and how is this small farm located in the middle of Beaumont Inn’s property? Well, it is the Durr property. Yes, of course, there is a story.
Glave Goddard, second husband and co-founder of the Inn with Annie Bell (her first was Glave’s brother, Nick who died nearly 20 years before Glave and Annie married) had managed his family’s 457 acre farm, Wildwood, on the outskirts of Harrodsburg for many years. After his mother died, the farm was sold and proceeds divided among 9 children. Glave and Annie used his portion to buy the Beaumont College building and some surrounding property on June 17, 1917 after being vacant for several years. Roy and Pearl Durr worked for “Mr.Glave” on the farm at Wildwood as a young married couple. When the Goddards moved to the College property, they asked the Durrs to come along. Annie and Glave moved into the room which is now the front room of the Gift Shop and the Durrs moved into the College’s back room addition, now the location of the Owl’s Nest Pub. Pearl had her first two children in that room. It is hard for me to fathom how both families, the Goddards and the Durrs lived in these single rooms—I guess we are much more “spoiled” these days.
Annie Bell Goddard who graduated from Daughters College (forerunner of Beaumont College) in 1880 and returned to teach there for many years until its closing, persuaded Glave to purchase the College property as rumors were circulating that its life had run its course and would be at risk for demolition. For instance, the present Main Dining Room was at the time hung with burley tobacco curing as you would find in a barn. The windows were either propped open or panes broken out to allow ventilation for the curing crop. Annie Bell was horrified and from this worry of demise, she hatched her scheme of salvation as a boarding house business. Roy, along with other craftsmen helped Glave with the repairs necessary to stabilize and restore the interior to its former condition. In the beginning rooms were rented to traveling tobacco salesmen, teachers, and a few folks traveling along an antiquated road system.
Phillip, third son of Roy and Pearl, once told me that his father after a couple of years of helping “Mr. Glave” at the College property now called Beaumont Inn, really wanted to return to his first love, farming. But every time he said he was going, Annie would tell him, “You can’t leave, you are family.” Pearl was Annie’s sixth cousin and that of course tied in Roy as well.
As the young Durr family began to grow, I am sure it got a little crowded for the family in the single back room addition. So they bought 4 acres just below the Beaumont south property line which was flat bottom land and would allow for enough acreage to hopefully satisfy Roy Sr.’s desire to farm while continuing to be an integral part of Beaumont Inn’s development. (Roy Sr. did oversee the vegetable gardens and small livestock operation located on the Inn property as well.) Glave bought the remaining 6 1/2 acres up the hill. Keep in mind, US 127 was not put in until the 1960’s so the property was surrounded by farmland. Now Roy had his own farm and began farming in earnest, but Uncle Sam called him to fight in the Army during WW I. He did fight overseas and Pearl was very worried upon his return home and exposure to all the culture, food and people of Europe, he would no longer be happy with her. Pearl asked former teacher Annie to educate her as to the ways of world. Pearl was a quick learner. When Annie became the first Mercer County Extension Officer, going to local farms teaching women the latest methods of safe food preparation and preservation such as canning, etc., Pearl went with her. Soon Pearl took over many of the instruction responsibilities so that Annie could devote more time to the Inn business. It is not known if Roy was impressed when he returned but all of their children would be good students and well read. The Durrs had five children; Roy Jr., Eunice, Samuel Bonaparte, Phillip McArthur and Hunter. All of the boys served their country in the US Army. All were farmers, amassing large farms throughout the county.
Chuck remembers going down to the Durr farm as a child with his siblings to “help Ms. Pearl” collect eggs from the hen house, milk the Jersey cows, slop the hogs and pick apples and pears from the small orchard behind the house. There was also a small vegetable garden behind the house. Several out buildings still stand as I write, along with the early outhouse used prior to the days of indoor plumbing. His memory recalls a small pristine conditioned farm so exemplanary of that age of self-sufficient farm families. A way of life so coveted of its day.
In my time since 1975, long after Roy and Pearl had died, two of the brothers still lived on the farm raising a few dairy cows and cutting hay from the pastures. They now owned several large farming tracts in the county and were very prosperous. All were very frugal, loved history and could share wonderful stories. The last brother, Phillip, passed away earlier this year (2014). Beaumont Inn bought the property from the heirs in November 2014.
The next time you visit we most certainly will be clearing out brush, relaying rock walls, and remembering the contributions and friendships the Durr family has shared with the Dedman family and Beaumont Inn since its beginning nearly 100 years ago.
October 14, 2014: History Underfoot Cemetery Tour
Written by Helen Dedman
For the past 11 years the James Harrod Trust for Historic Preservation has sponsored the “History Underfoot” Cemetery Tour in September at our beautiful Spring Hill Cemetery. This is not a “ghost tour” but a performance of 5-6 characters that come to life in our cemetery. Characters from Mercer County’s past with interesting stories to tell. Here is one such story, a visitor from Maple Grove Cemetery. Come join us next year, September 11-12, 2015.
(Portrayed by Doris Bartleson) My name is Hattie Parker Crutcher. I was born in 1878, right here in Harrodsburg. My mother, Hattie Parker, was a cook at Beaumont College. You know where that is? I believe it is something like Beaumont Inn now. Well, anyway my mother cooked for all those girls, teachers, professors, just about anyone who came around and was hungry. She had some help; they hired girls to help with the cooking and men who worked at the farm there at the college. Yes, we had a big garden, cows for milking, chickens we raised for eggs and meat, pigs. In fact there used to be a big barn over there and someone told me not too long ago that now there is some kind of swimming pool where that barn was-can you imagine that, a swimming pool. Wonder if that is the same thing as a lake or pond we used to fish in? Anyway, my mama was a good, hard working cook. She had to get up early in the morning to get breakfast ready for those girls before classes started. When I got old enough she got Colonel Smith, he was the one man running the college, to hire me as a fire girl. Know what that is? Well, I was about 9-10 years old and I would go in with Mama early in the morning. My job was to quietly go into each of the rooms, I believe there was about 20, and put a little kindling in each fireplace and coal and get it to warm up the room before the girls got up to dress. Yes, they liked me a lot because it sure could get cold in the building during the winter! I also had to cut the kindling that I used. Well, one day I was out back with my little ax, just chopping away and all of a sudden one little piece of wood hit me right in the eye. Oh my did it hurt, I ran to mama and all the cooks laid me down, cleaned my eye, made me rest, praying all the while that I wouldn’t lose my eye. But I did, just couldn’t see out of it ever again. Well, Colonel Smith heard about what happened and he came to see me. He said, “Hattie, I heard you had an accident and I am so sorry. I am told you must wear a patch over your eye.” “Yes, sir, I do, because the eyeball looks so bad.” “Well, Hattie, you know we have something in common. You see I was wounded in the War, got a bullet in my arm and I can’t use my arm, it just hangs there. So I wear a cape, instead of a jacket, kind of like your eye patch. I wear that cape with dignity and most people don’t even know I have a dead arm.” You know that made me feel so much better, so I decided I would wear my eye patch with dignity and I do, I always wear one that matches my dresses. I have blue, black, pink, even a flowered patch.
Well, now as I got older I started helping my mother with the college cooking and I came to be just about as good a cook as my mama. I sure enjoyed working with her. But along about 1917 there just weren’t as many girls coming to the college. You know we had day students from around here in Harrodsburg come to school here also. There were all types of schools around here, little private schools in homes and churches, black and white. Everybody wanted their children to learn to read and write and do their numbers. Then the government decided it they were going to get in the school business and so along comes public schooling. A grand idea but it sure put Beaumont College out of business! Several people tried to start it up again but finally it just sat vacant. I would ride by on our pony (Oh by that time I had married John, my sweet, hard working John. He was a plasterer and a good one) to look at the old building. So sad, so many memories. Well, thank goodness, I had married because I and a lot of others were out of work now. I picked up a few cooking jobs here and there but then Miss Annie came to see me. Miss Annie Bell Goddard, I mean. See Miss Annie graduated from Daughters College (that was what it was called at first) then she went away with her husband, Nick, but he died so she came home. Then she taught at the College, that’s when I got to know her, she even became the Dean of Students, whatever that is. She was heart broken when the school closed. She just couldn’t bear it, but like I said she came to see me after that building had been sitting there vacant for a few years and said, “Hattie, Mr. Glave (that is Glave Goddard, her second husband, who happened to be her first husband’s brother. She didn’t married Mr. Glave until Mr. Nick had been dead for about 20 years) and I have bought the old college building and I need your help! We aren’t sure what we are going to do with it but we bought it!” Well, I went to help and so did Frank Smith who had helped take care of the farm at the college. We cleaned up rooms, Mr. Glave bought in some old furniture he would fix up (I heard some of it is still there) and we just started working. Then every so often some of the girls who had gone to school here started showing up, wanting to show their families where they went to school, wanted to talk to Miss Annie. We had to fix them up a place to sleep and feed them some supper and then a little breakfast. I got to start cooking again—I love to cook! Then one day I overheard Miss Annie and Mr. Glave talking about how they just couldn’t afford to do this any more. Miss Annie was saying “we have got to charge them something, we are living on a shoestring.” But Mr. Glave wasn’t for it, he was one for entertaining, having guests. Finally, Miss Annie talked him into it and they started calling the place Beaumont Inn. My little kitchen with a coal stove was right out in front, some people have told me it is the front room of some kind of gift shop that is there now. So I would cook and Frank Smith would come in from the barn and fields, wash up, put on a white coat and serve the folks in the parlor. Yes sir that was the dining room. That big room that they use for a dining room now, why Frank hung tobacco in there!
It went on like this for awhile and Frank and I overheard Miss Annie talking to Mr. George Alfred Curry. Everyone knew who he was, fine man who lived on the corner there of Beaumont, big white house. I believe it became a funeral home. (Doris if anyone asks, it’s where McClellan funeral home was, Johnson’s own it now.) Oh Mr. Curry and his wife were nice folks and had done real well in insurance up in Ohio somewhere. He was calling Miss Annie to ask her to feed some guests he was having here in Harrodsburg. He had heard we were serving some fine food and he wanted to bring them to us. She kept saying no, we just can’t and hung up. Well, Frank and I said, “Miss Annie, we can do that, we can. You just call him back, we can do it. We have been feeding all those other folks.” She did call him back, he came, his guests and he and his wife loved every bite! So you see Frank and I talked Miss Annie into serving folks good old cooking and I hear tell Beaumont Inn is still serving food to travelers today. We were all a team in those days, cooking, cleaning, working hard. But I was getting older and more and more people started coming so I retired. Wanted to spend some time with my husband. But that didn’t last long, Miss Pansy Poe out on Shawnee Farm called and wanted me to cook for her. Miss Pansy could make me laugh, and she did like to eat! It was easy there, not as many people to cook for and I pretty much decided what I wanted to cook, Miss Pansy liked it that way.
Then John passed away and I was getting more and more tired. You know John and I never had children and I missed that.
On April 5, 1950 I was just so tired I didn’t wake up. I got a little write up in the newspaper (back then they didn’t put much in the paper about colored folks.) Let’s see it said “Hat Crutcher died Wednesday at her home on West Broadway. She was one of Harrodsburg’s most beloved Negro citizens and had a host of friends among the white people.” I think that was nice, I did have a lot of friends black and white and I am proud of my hard work throughout the years.
September 7, 2014: New Arrival
By Helen Dedman
Welcome Harrison Shaffer Bowling! This little bundle of joy was born August 5, 2014 at 7:21pm, weighing 6 lbs, 19 inches to Becky, our daughter and her husband, Adam. Parents and Harrison are doing very well! In keeping with tradition, Becky and Adam chose family names. Harrison was my grandfather, father, brother and nephew’s middle name. Shaffer was Adam’s great grandmother’s maiden name.
Becky, Adam, and Harrison live in Middlesboro, Kentucky which is about two hours east of us. The road has been well traveled in the last month with Weezie (that is my grandmother name taken from my middle name, Louise) going each week to help out as much as possible. It is so much fun!
July 18, 2014: Garden Update
By Helen Dedman
Well, it has been an interesting year for the gardens! Early in the Spring Chuck contracted with a gentleman to plow the garden plots, going deeper than the usual tilling. I warned him to make sure he did not plow the butterfly garden that I put in last year. Remember? I was so proud and excited to see what plants made it through the winter and if by chance we had any butterflies. You guessed it; Chuck did not catch him in time. The whole thing plowed under, even the garden butterfly ornament our good friends, Mark File and David Soyars gave us! GONE! I was so devastated I couldn’t even cry or get mad. Chuck felt really bad. Fortunately, I kept the list of plants and the plotting so off to Shooting Star Nursery I went. I replanted and Chuck mulched it—the hard part was his peace offering. But interestingly enough, I think it is even better this year. Lots of milkweed (crucial element for Monarch Way station) came up voluntarily as did a huge gourd plant. The butterfly ornament never showed up, but maybe the butterflies will!
I got two hives of bees this spring! Queen Adelina and Queen Beatrice are doing very well. Beatrice has already filled the first box with brood and I had to put a super on her hive. Adelina hasn’t filled her hive yet but almost. If it sounds like I know what I am doing it is because I have wonderful, patient mentors who have taught me so much. Bees are amazing. I probably won’t get honey this year but maybe next fall. I think the bees are helping the garden!
Now the vegetable garden. Our spring was very wet and cold so we didn’t really start planting until mid May—tomatoes, squash, green beans, cucumbers. More to add later such as okra, radishes, more squash. Oh, the plans we made, but then I fell and broke my elbow. (Fell on the tennis court, am healing nicely, but not in the plan.) Chuck tills and I plant. So the garden is scaled back a bit, but it is producing. We are harvesting cucumbers, green beans and squash. Tomatoes are on the vine and okra plants are coming up.
Come see the gardens! And while you are out there notice the large concrete pig behind the green building. My mother-in-law collected pigs and her good friend, Ralph Anderson bought her this large 2 ton pig for her collection which she named Prudice. At one time it “lived” in her back yard along with little concrete piglets. After her death, we thought it appropriate to move Prudice to her new home, which is behind the ham house. But recently I found out that Prudice has another name, The Pig of Shame! At the doctor’s office one of the receptionists asked the story of the pig because she and her family like to go look at the sunflowers, passing by Prudice on the way. During one special birthday celebration as they went out to the gardens, it was decided that the birthday boy should have picture made on the Pig of Shame. Now it is a tradition! Love it! I knew about tradition of picture taking on the tree out front but the pig is a new one. Do you have a Beaumont Inn tradition? We’d love to hear about it.
Hope to see you soon along with the butterflies and the bees.
July 1, 2014: Kentucky Owl Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
By Dixon Dedman
Those familiar with the history of Beaumont Inn know my name is Samuel Dixon Dedman and I am the fifth generation of my family to serve as Innkeeper in this family business. What many of you do not know is that around the same time period that my great-great grandmother, Annie Bell Goddard, was purchasing these thirty-some acres and three story 1845 structure to convert it from a college for women to it’s present state as a full-service country inn, my great-great grandfather Charles Mortimer Dedman and his son, Thomas Curry Dedman, Sr., were dealing with the Act of Prohibition and the subsequent closure of their distillery, Kentucky Owl. We are ecstatic to announce that Kentucky Owl Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is alive once again, and we are all very, very excited about its potential! Read more about it.
January 30, 2014: Treasured Gifts
By Helen Dedman
Beaumont Inn and the Dedman family have been very fortunate to have been recipients of many gifts over the years. A few of our favorites:
Last fall a good friend of ours, Anne Shannon McClellan Williams, called me with the message, “Katie needs to come home.” Anne’s husband was the great grandson of John Augustus Williams, founder of Daughter’s College, now Beaumont Inn. John Augustus and his father, Dr. Charles E. Williams, bought the Greenville Institute in 1845, upgraded and changed the name to Daughter’s College. John wanted to teach and counsel the young ladies as if they were his own daughters. John Augustus and his wife, Mary Hathaway, had 6 children, Augustus Edwin, 1854-1916; Mary Belle, 1850-1851; Mary Augustus, 1852-1853; Katie Burnett, 1856-1859; Guy Bowman, 1864-1898; Lee Price, 1868-1892. None of the girls lived longer than 3 years. Katie was born in Missouri and died in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Before she died, an early photograph was taken of her. Years later a Civil War soldier came to “collect his daughter” who had been at Daughters College for safe keeping and educating during the war. Unfortunately, this survivor did not have the means to pay for his daughter’s education, so he painted this pastel portrait of Katie from the photograph for payment. Her new home is the front parlor of Beaumont Inn. She is home and we will take very good care of her. What a wonderful gift!
A few summers ago a former employee and Dedman family friend, Billie Ruth Hendren, moved from her Harrodsburg home to an assisted living facility. As she was relocating to a more institutional setting, she wanted to “return home” a beautiful table that had once graced her great aunt’s home. Well, that great aunt was Mrs. Grover Kyle, who built Greystone, now one of the four buildings that make up Beaumont Inn. Mrs. Kyle was the niece of Eli Lilly, pharmaceutical giant founder of Indianapolis, Indiana. Mr. Kyle, from Harrodsburg, went to work as a chemist for the company in Indianapolis. There he met his bride and brought her back to Harrodsburg, where they lived on a beautiful farm in the county. After Mr. Kyle died and the Lilly stock became very profitable, Mrs. Kyle decided to move into town with her 3 children. She built Greystone in 1931 for $30,000, employing well known architect Hugh Meriwether for design. Stone masons (from WPA project) crafted the beautiful building from Kentucky limestone quarried in Wilmore, Kentucky. The house and furnishings were sold at auction in the 1950s when Mrs. Kyle died. After several owners, the Dedman family purchased the property in the early 60s, incorporating the four large upstairs bedrooms for guest rooms and opening an antique shop in the spacious downstairs. Now, the table. Billie Ruth had always been instructed by her aunt that when she downsized or moved, the table must return home to Beaumont Inn/Greystone. And now it has! This beautiful hallway table, vintage 1930’s, now graces the foyer of Greystone which may very well have been exactly where Mrs. Kyle placed it years ago.
One other treasure, the Baby (Cleopatra) Clock is located in the main hallway of Beaumont Inn. This beautiful Victorian clock illustrating the newly developed gold gilding process was part of the French exhibit at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Evidently a good friend and frequent visitor of Pauline Goddard Dedman’s (second generation innkeeper), bought the clock after the fair. When she later became a widow, her downsizing from the large family home to apartment life compelled her to gift her treasured clock to a more public venue where this beautiful piece could be enjoyed by others. She could think of no better place for display than Pauline’s Beaumont Inn. In talking with my friend, antique dealer Jerry Sampson, I found out this gold gilding process makes the gold brighter, less flaking and better to withstand age. But mercury was used in the process. As many of the craftsmen died of mercury poisoning, the process was outlawed. Wow! Hopefully, someday we will rediscover the name of Pauline’s generous friend in order to give proper recognition!
There are many more gifts that grace the halls of our buildings which I will share at another time. We are so fortunate!
Read Blog features from 2012 & 2013