Farmington Historic Plantation

Historical Marker #2231 in Louisville denotes Farmington Historic Plantation, a fourteen-room Federal-style home built by John and Lucy Speed in 1816. The house was designed from plans drawn by Thomas Jefferson. For much of its existence, Farmington was 550-acre hemp plantation with a large slave population. Abraham Lincoln, a close friend of John Speed's son, Joshua, spent about three weeks at Farmington in 1841.

Abraham Lincoln met Joshua Speed in 1837, on the day Lincoln arrived in Springfield, Illinois. They took an instant liking to each other and the almost penniless Lincoln did not hesitate when Joshua Speed offered to share his lodgings. The two men roomed together for four years. They remained close friends and confidants throughout Lincoln's life, including the Civil War years, despite their differing political opinions. In 1864, Lincoln appointed Speed's older brother, James, as Attorney General of the United States.

Images

Farmington

Farmington

Artist's rendition of Farmington. ca. 1934. Image Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society View File Details Page

Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail Logo

Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail Logo

The Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail is a scenic route through central Kentucky featuring museums and historic sites with ties to the sixteenth president. The logo was created by the Kentucky Historical Society during the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial observance. Image Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society View File Details Page

Farmington

Farmington

The Speed home at Farmington was built between 1815 and 1816 by John and Lucy Speed. When John Speed died, his son Joshua took over operation of the plantation. Photograph courtesy of Tim Talbott. View File Details Page

Enslaved Memorial at Farmington

Enslaved Memorial at Farmington

Farmington plantation primarily grew hemp and produced goods related to that crop, such as rope and bagging . The Speeds owned a number of enslaved people to do the plantation's labor intensive work. Today, a memorial commemorates those enslaved individuals. Photograph courtesy of Whitney Todd. View File Details Page

Farmington Stone Barn

Farmington Stone Barn

Farmington's agricultural output included a ropewalk and weaving house where hemp fiber was processed into usable products. Structures, like the barn pictured here, were instrumental in plantation manufacture. Photograph courtesy of Whitney Todd. View File Details Page

Joshua Speed to Abraham Lincoln

Joshua Speed to Abraham Lincoln

In September 1861, Joshua Speed, the owner of Farmington, wrote to his long-time friend Abraham Lincoln expressing concern over John C. Fremont's emancipation order in Missouri. Speed at one point in the letter explained, "So fixed is public sentiment in this state against freeing negroes & allowing negroes to be emancipated & remain among us -- That you had as well attack the freedom of worship in the north or the right of a parent to teach his child to read -- as to wage war in a slave state on such a principle--" Despite being a slave owner, Speed was instrumental in keeping Lincoln informed about happenings in Kentucky. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Warren Greer, “Farmington Historic Plantation,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed April 29, 2017, http://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/121.
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