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Springhill B&B and Winery

History of Springhill Plantation

Once known as Anoatop
(an Indian name meaning “Windy Hill”)

As shared by Eddie O'Daniel, former owner/proprietor (with some editing by Jeff Daugherty, current owner/proprietor)

History of Springhill Plantation Once known as Anoatop (an Indian name meaning “Windy Hill”) As shared by Eddie O’Daniel, former owner/proprietor (with some editing by Jeff Daugherty, current owner/proprietor)

Disclaimer: The history and stories that I’m about to recant are facts and folklore that have come from The Kentucky Standard newspaper, Nelson County Encyclopedia, and personal accounts of neighbors and family members who once lived in this home (Eddie O’Daniel).

The house is best known for the Civil War skirmish here in 1864 and the architecture of the home, such as the elaborate ironwork outside and woodwork inside.

The house was owned and built by John R. Jones who hailed from Virginia. The house was built in 1857 and set on a hill located on a large tract of fine land. It was a two-story house made of brick. Jones came here with a land grant for 1,050 acres and 40 slaves, nine who attended the house and the others living in cabins along the perimeter of the land.

Jones was 79 years old when he married a 42-year-old woman named Anna Grant. They married May 8th or 9th, 1864. Anna was Jones’ second wife, and must have made him feel young, because he listed his age on the license at 68
years old. The old "letch" probably lied to Anna as well.

On Friday June 17th, CSA Lt. Col George M. Jesse from Owen County, Kentucky, a regimental commander under General John Hunt Morgan, was leading a band of Morgan's men along with some farm boys who wanted to
join the fight. This small unit, probably about 150 or so cavalry men, had escaped Morgan's failed Cynthiana raid. Jesse was called a guerrilla, but he was a CSA regular Army officer. His men had been encamped near
Bloomfield at Camp Charity.

Lt. Col. Jesse was a detached commander who acted very much like Col. John Singleton Mosby "The Gray Ghost," of Virginia. Jesse had served in the Kentucky General Assembly from 1857 until 1859 and was sending out scouting parties to press (steal) horses for his men. Jesse sent out a patrol to locate the Confederate Green Duncan's place. Duncan’s home was
on the south side of the Bluegrass Parkway and has since burned down. The patrol Jesse sent out found John Jones’ farm instead not realizing Jones was a Union man. Private Thomas McIntire and his men knocked on the door, but Jones would not answer. They then threatened to burn down the house, but still Jones did not give up his saddles and bridles. One of his saddles was
believed to be made of jewels and precious metals. Jones loaded his gun and fired, the bullets hitting McIntire. He was carried away and later his arm was amputated. However, amputation did not save him, as he died a short time later.

When Jesse was informed of this; incensed, he sent men to burn Jones’ house and shoot Jones. Three soldiers returned and set fire to the to the wooden framework around the house. Jones fearful the house would burn and his wife and daughter would be killed, stepped onto the porch where he was shot dead. The Confederates left and neighbors put out the fire. John and Anna had only been married 40 days. Jones’ grave can be seen in Campground Church Cemetery in Nelson County, KY. His inscription reads:

John R. Jones Gravestone

In memory of
John R. Jones
Born Aug. 27, 1785
And shot this
June 17, 1864
Aged 78 yrs, 9 months
and 20 days

General Stephen Gano Burbridge, military commander of Kentucky, issued his Order No. 59, that dictated when a Union man was killed by guerrillas, prisoners of war would be shot in reprisal. The men selected to be executed were, John May Hamilton, 37, of Richmond, IN, and Richard Berry, 20, of Livingston County. Union Major Francis Henry Bristow of the 8th Kentucky Cavalry oversaw the executions. The prisoners were brought to Bloomfield, and taken to a spot on Bunker Hill, on the south side of town where they were to be executed. Berry began to weep but was chastised by Hamilton and told to die like a brave Confederate soldier.

Berry asked for and was given time to write a letter to his father. He wrote:

"I am to be executed in a few moments. I do not want you, ma, or the children to grieve after me; bear it with as much fortitude as possible. I think I am prepared to die. I have been living as a Christian ever since I have been in prison, reading my testament and praying. So don't grieve for my sake. Assure yourself that I am prepared and not scared."
Your Son,
R. Berry

Richard Berry's family came to carry their son's body back home for burial. The local woman's club prepared Hamilton's body placing it in a cast-iron casket and laid the soldier in state at the Masonic Home. They then buried him in Bloomfield's Maple Hill Cemetery. If you are so inclined, you can find his small stone midway up the hill in the oldest part of the cemetery. It says simply "May Hamilton CSA, shot 1864." Since then, a larger stone has been erected in his memory and reads, "He came here as a stranger, but now he lies with friends."

Springhill is Sold

During the Civil War, many doctors came to Kentucky to assist with all the wounded. One of those doctors was Dr. James Robert
Hughes who was originally from Springfield but at the time had a large farm in Missouri. While he was in the area, he fell in love with the daughter of Anthony W. McElroy, a wealthy businessman in Springfield. Hughes married Marie Rice McElroy in 1848 and needed a suitable home. Hearing of the tragic stories of the Jones family and Confederate soldiers they approached the Jones family with an offer to trade Dr. Hughes’s farm in Missouri for this farm here. After Dr. Hughes moved into the manor, he began building the front wing of the home rather than rebuilding the balcony and porches the Confederates had burned. Which explains why there is a huge portico between the foyer and the stairway and between the Merlot Suite on the second floor and the stairway. In this way, Dr.Hughes would change the appearance to the stately manor and thereby change the haunting reputation of the home of “the darkest day of Bloomfield’s history”.

Dr. Hughes later imported the ironwork on the two porches on the front of the house from Paris, France, in 1904. The wood casing in the original part of the house is Federal-style and the Hughes’ addition is the Victorian “keyhole” design. The mantel in the parlor is cast iron, as well. The wood trim of this house also includes some Greek and Egyptian influences. The door and window casings are wider at the bottom than at the top, which gives the illusion of height and was a design used by the ancient Greeks on the columns
of their temples. At the time many of the old plantation homes of Bloomfield were built, King Tut’s tomb had been discovered. It was quite a fad to use the ancient Egyptian designs, which explains why the symbol of infinity is on the large mantle of the southwest room now used as the Bourbon Room. After the death of Dr. Hughes, the farm was divided among his children with the homestead consisting of three hundred acres. The home and 300 acres were purchased by Will and Hugh Stiles in 1937. Subsequently, it passed through the hands of several owners until the home and a remaining tract of 78 acres was purchased by Louie Torres who moved his family to the Bloomfield, KY area in 1985 from Detroit, MI.

A New Beginning

Around 1999 the home and five acres were purchased from Mr. Torres by Eddie O’Daniel. Eddie was from the Springfield, KY area and was moving back closer to home. He began to plant his vineyard shortly thereafter and added onto an existing building behind the house that was used by Mr. Torres as his mechanic’s shop. This room would become the tasting room for Eddie’s winery, known as Springhill Winery. A later addition was used for wine production, while the original mechanic’s shop was used for wine storage. He also began renovations in the house.

Before Eddie purchased Springhill Plantation there was only one bathroom in the house, and that bathroom was on the first floor at the back of the house while all the bedrooms were upstairs. Eddie’s plan for a bed and breakfast would require the addition of several bathrooms, one in each bedroom located at the front of the house and one shared bathroom between the back two bedrooms. The house now includes six full bathrooms and one half-bath.

Eddie and Carolyn O’Daniel owned and successfully ran Springhill Plantation B&B and Winery for 15 years before semi-retiring in December 2017. The winery remained open three days a week. In November of 2018, Eddie went to his other farm as he usually did. However, he did not return home and was later found to have had an accident with his ATV. Unfortunately, Eddie did not survive his injuries.

At the time of Eddie’s death in December 2018, he was known as the Oldest Winemaker in Kentucky, not by age but by experience. He had started working in his father’s vineyard and helping to make wine at an early age. Thanks to Eddie’s persistence Kentucky wineries began making a comeback. There are now over 73 wineries in Kentucky and Eddie had a hand in bringing many of them to life. He was well-known in the wine industry for his knowledge and expertise. Wine was not just a beverage to Eddie, it was his passion and his passion for good wine survives to this day.

Springhill Plantation B&B and Winery

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3205 Springfield Rd.,
Bloomfield KY, 40008