Historic Schoolhouse Farm
Fruitwood Turnings From A Jefferson County Landmark Dating From 1790
Platinum Pen with Black Titanium Trim in Apricot Wood
About Historic Schoolhouse Farm
According to Jefferson County records the log structure which became the farm house ("Schoolhouse Farm") was built in 1790, on the southwest corner of a 318 acre tract belonging to Samuel Taylor, one of the first European settlers in the region, who served along with Adam Molers and the sons of Melchoir Engle in a local company during the Revolution. Around 1813, the land passed to the Marylander George Reynolds, whose family partnered with Henry Boteler to operate grist mills along the Potomac; Boteler and George Reynolds, Jr., eventually built the arched kilns (that stand today) along the Potomac and converted their grist mill to produce hydraulic cement for the C&O Canal and the B&O Railroad, among many other structures. Beginning in 1846, when the cement mill business faltered, the land upon which the Farm sat passed among Reynolds' heirs and various trusts. In the meantime, in 1848, long before public education was mandated in Virginia, Jefferson County had established one of its first five public schools at the original log structure of the Schoolhouse Farm. Census data from 1850 suggest that William Grady was the sole teacher at that time. In 1860, the entire 318 acres were acquired by Solomon Billmeyer, a slave owning Southern supporter. During the Civil War (it is uncertain whether school was in session during the conflict), Confederate General A.P. Hill's passed the location twice - once en route to Sharpsburg and again three days later, when the Battle of Shepherdstown was fought during the Confederate withdrawal from Antietam. At War's end, in 1865, Billmeyer's heirs split off two of the original 318 acres (containing the Schoolhouse Farm) and sold them to Charles Kidwiler for $200. Excavated ceramic jars and lids suggest Kidwiler's widow Margaret had a separate summer kitchen built behind the house sometime in the 1870s or 1880s, which was converted to a greenhouse in 1975 and most recently renovated in 2009, by owners Mick Feeser and Cindy Jo Shellhaas-Feeser, who graciously allowed me access to wood from the Schoolhouse Farm and provided this history.