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Garred House

The Garred House, known as “the most commodious stone house in the Sandy Valley,” is a demolished historic residence south of Louisa, Kentucky. The residence, along with a burial vault and chapel, were listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1820, David and Jennie Garrett acquired land along the Big Sandy River south of Louisa and erected a log cabin. 2 David ordered the construction of a Greek Revival-style burial vault in 1835, which was the first of its kind in the area. 1 2 3 It was built of native stone with the front entrance featuring marble quarried in Vermont. But once the marble slab had arrived, David noticed that the family name had been misspelled as Garred instead of Garrett. The mistake remained intact and the name change was made permanent. Located at the top of a hill, the vault became a landmark for passing riverboats along the Big Sandy.

A two-story residence, of hand-cut sandstone, was then constructed by sons Ulysses and David W. in 1850. 1 2 3 The front featured five window bays and a first-level porch, with low square chimneys on the north and south elevations. 2 3 The rear addition contained a kitchen 1 and rooms that once housed slaves. 2 3

Shortly after the residence was built the Garred’s split the property and David W. built a two-story frame house nearby. 2 David donated the land, materials, and labor for the erection of a small brick Methodist church near the family cemetery and stone house.

The Garred property was further divided in the 1870s, with the Ulysses taking ownership of the circa 1850 house and David W. controlling property to the south. 1 The stone house later served as a hotel for passing travelers, described by William Ely in The Big Sandy in 1887 as “second to no other hostelry in the valley.” 2 3 3d

It later became home to Dr. Francis E. Burgess, a noted doctor, and poet. 1

The Garred house was purchased in 2009 by Jim Booth who had the intention of restoring the residence. 1 Unfortunately, the long-abandoned house was demolished after a tornado ripped through the area.



  1. Preston, Tim. “New luster for a Lawrence gem.” Daily Independent 15 Nov. 2009. 1 Dec. 2009.
  2. Perkins, Marlitta H. “Garred-Burgess House.” Lawrence County Landmarks. rootsweb, n.d. Web. 1 Dec. 2009 Article.
  3. United States. Department of the Interior. “Garred House, Chapel and Burial Vault.” National Register of Historic Places Inventory – Nomination Form. Comp. Gloria Mills. N.p.: n.p., n.d. National Park Service. Web. 1 Dec. 2009. Nomination Form.
    3a. Big Sandy News, 1 Sept., 1922, p. 1.
    3b. Collins, Lewis and Richard Collins. Collins Historical Sketches of Kentucky. Vol. II, Louisville: John P. Morton and Co., 1874, pp. 258, 261, 459.
    3c. Connelley, William Elsey, and E. M. Coulter. History of Kentucky. Vol. I, Chicago: America Historical Society, 1922, p. 1101.
    3d. Ely, William. The Big Sandy Valley, Catlettsburg: 1887.
    3e. Population, Economic and Land Use Study, Louisa, Kentucky. Kentucky Program Development Office. September, 1968, p. 3.


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The final blow was a tornado that tore through the area a couple of years ago; destroyed part of the barn, at least the roof of the house and many trees along the river. You could then trace its path as it crossed the highway and tore branches from trees as it finally left the area…….leaving a sad and waterlogged shambles of the old farm. If the house had to be torn down, I could not think of any better solution than to have a cemetery with the old family plot as a centerpiece.

I grew up down the road (actually north but we always say down because the river flows northward) from Doc Burgess. He was our family’s doctor when I was a child and my mom would take us to him anytime day or night and he would make house calls and take whatever you had to offer for pay. It is so sad that that old house was destroyed just when everyone was looking forward to seeing it restored. I still find myself looking for it when I pass.

My husband is a direct descendant of a John Garard and his wife Mehetible Haugen. This is obviously not the same Garrard family because he predates this family by many years. This John came to VA from PA. He was married a second time to Mary Gray/Snodgrass after 1780. He was born about 1720 and married Mehetable about 1740. He had eleven children by Mehetable and three by Mary. He was a minister and first settled in Frederick County VA. His son Justus was born in 1755 in VA. Justus married Rachel Corbly in 1773 in Washington County PA. They lived and died in Garards Fort PA. I think the family originated in France.

Could someone post a photo and/or an exact location of the burial vault that was created there in 1835.
Also, any other information on the Garred family would be appreciated.
Joseph Garred

My Dad has a book on the Garrard family (we are relatives) . Send me some contact info on Facebook (Cathi Kise Blair) and we can see about getting you some photocopies of the book!

I live in Lawrence county. I heard that the former owner of this home Dr. Burgess Had written a book(s) of poetry. I would love to get a copy of some of his work. Does anyone have any idea where I could get a copy?

Sad to hear it is gone if what you are saying is true. I recently found out that David & Jane were my 7th great grandparents. Do you know what is on the property now?

Everything is gone now except for the graves! So sad to drive by and see the old house gone even if it was in shambles. Always looked for it on our way to Huntington, WV, and so glad that I asked my husband to pull off the road one day so that I could photograph it! Roads have been black topped throughout the property. Looks like it could possibly be a cemetery, or a subdivision if the graves were relocated.

Hi, just read your inquiry and the property of Dr. Burgess is in the process of becoming a Cemetery and beautiful mausoleum by new owner
Jim Booth. I stopped there Sunday and spoke with the workmen using all the beautiful stone from the house. How great is that?
Dr. Burgess was a close friend of my Mother and Aunt Anne Mallory. He wrote lots of poetry about the plantation. Also, Dr. Burgess was
always in love with my Aunt Anne. If you have his book, you will see her name through-out the poetry.
I’m from Pike County, Ky. and still drive down from Columbus,Oh where I live. I still own my parents family home near Pikeville. Get there 3 or 4 times

Since there is a “family cemetery” in back of the house, I’m sure Dr. Burgess is now buried there. That eases my mind. He was a great and kind man.

Ruby Olson 614 755 2181

I'm curious as to the headstones on the graves that are there. Will they be "relocating" them or leaving them in tact? There are 5, I think. The male (father) died on the same month & day of my birth. His wife, Lydia, is the name of my first born child. And a son, Dean, is the name of my mother. How's that for a coincidence? I think something more and would love to know the last name of that family so I can do research. Does anyone know the name or where I could find it? Would pay to have photos of the graves taken! Thanks for any replies, if they follow. 🙂

I grew up in Lawrence County and I my family history extends back to the early days of Kentucky. I have been by this house numerous times and wondered what it's fate would be. I am so glad to hear that it is being restored. I have traveled overseas and marvelled at stately old buildings still in use and wondered why we here in the US are in such a rush to tear down and build something new but not necesarily better.

There have been numerous rumors as to Mr. Booth's intent when he bought the land. I, and many others are looking forward to seeing the property restored.

I agree. Was at that house many yrs ago & someone had stolen the mantle from the fireplace and trashed the house. There was the old medical supplies from the Dr. (His exam table, etc), receipts from where he'd been paid pennies for gas rights, old clothing, etc. Am pleased it's not being destroyed. What happened to the Dr.? Has anyone reported on that?

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