Photo by Frank Lively, '63 
The Stewart "Farmdale" Plantation

Edmund Scandland and his wife, Anna Hawkins, came from Virginia and settled down near Farmdale in Franklin County. The region where they settled was then known as Franklin Springs.

After living there for a matter of time, Mr. Scandland found that the water from one of his springs had an odd taste and smell. Because of the belief in home remedies at that time, Mr. Scandland decided to make a great profit by boiling the water down to a salt substance and selling it as a medicine.   It was later discovered that the waters closely resembled in their medical qualities, those of the Cheltenham Springs in England. For over a century they were believed to have cured various diseases.

 Because of its "miracle" waters, the property was sold to Dr. Joseph G. Roberts who opened a health resort.  In March 1839, he announced to the public that he could accommodate from eighty to one hundred guests during the summer. The outcome must have pleased him because in June of 1840 he announced that he bad enlarged his facility and could now accommodate from two to three hundred guests. Again the outcome was good and everything seemed to be going along fine until a test led the people to believe that the water was contaminated.  This led to the end of the resort.

Dr. Roberts then decided to open an "Institution for the Education or Young Ladies;" but it too failed and Dr. Roberts returned to Frankfort to reside.

Because he was unable to complete payments on the property, Dr. Roberts reverted it back to Mr. Scandland, and according to the file he then sold it to T. N. Lindsey, B. B. Johnson and A.S. Parker in February 1842. On August 2 of that same year it was announced that the Presbyterians would hold a camp meeting there. The meeting proved a success and in 1843, Colonel Allen, a graduate of West Point and his wife came for a visit. 

He was so impressed with the property that he bought it and established the Kentucky Military Institute, which was chartered by the legislature in 1847. It was thought that this purchase was made in 1845, but the deed is dated July 23, 1848.  As. K.M.I. became very popular and many parents sent their sons there, Colonel Allen had to put up more buildings. 

Things were going so well, that he became too anxious to succeed; and because of financial difficulties in 1849, he had to close the school until he made enough money to reopen it in 1852.  As the Civil War became a reality, most of the cadets rushed off to join both armies.

It was at the beginning of the war that the story of Lucy Pattie came about. She was a young girl who lived at Farmdale.  Miss Pattie was a friend to everyone at the institute. When the cadets went to war, Captain John Kent left with Lucy all the records of their Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. He gave her the grip of the fraternity and accepted her promise that she would not give unless they gave her the same grip.  When the war was over, she refused to give the records to anyone unless they gave her the grip.  The members of the fraternity were so fond of her that they made her the only woman member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. They awarded her a badge which she wore proudly the rest of her life, even to her grave.

The KMI was later moved to Lyndon, Kentucky; and in 1893 the property was sold to Dr. John Quincy Adams Stewart, KMI Class of 1847.  Dr. Stewart opened a school for the training of the mentally retarded. His school was established to prove that the mentally retarded can learn and have every right to.  His son, Dr. John Pugh Stewart, KMI Class of 1892 took over.  In the past seventy-nine years and four generations of Stewarts, the Stewart Home School has become one of the best private institutions for the mentally retarded in the United States, and the fifth oldest.

Photo by Frank Lively, '63 

The original main building, which was erected in 1845 when the health resort was in operation, is used today, as the office of the Superintendent and present Director, Dr. Stewart.  It is also the matron's home.  Upstairs in the main building, you will find the rooms of twenty-two girls. The girls still enjoy the veranda that was used by the resort guests. From the veranda you will look out into the court surrounded by boys' dormitories, which were former military barracks. In the middle of the court, Old Glory is still proudly displayed.

Archived by Frank Lively, KMI '63

The Farmdale Properties, now the Stewart Plantation, controlled by six generations of two KMI graduates, has been by-passed by two highway imporvements in 100 years, and is now hidden on back roads in Franklin County.

 
 
 
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