Site of Fairfield

Historical Marker #82 in Bourbon County highlights the first home of James Garrard, the second governor of Kentucky.

Governor James Garrard's first house, located on Stoner Creek, was called "Fairfield." It was constructed before 1785 and was built of native limestone. In addition to being the home of Garrards, Fairfield also served as the site of early Bourbon County Court sessions.

Elizabeth Mountjoy Garrard, the governor's wife, did not like the low area in which it was built. She suspected the location, which was close to the creek, was not a healthful place to live, so a second house, called Mount Lebanon was built across the creek on a high cliff overlooking the creek and Fairfield.

After the family moved into Mount Lebanon, Fairfield eventually became home to James Garrard, Jr., the Governor's second son and his family. This James became the farmer who ran the entire Garrard estate during his father's many absences while serving the state. Young James became one of the most famous agricultural leaders of his time. He was also a successful politician and statesman. James, Jr. was equally successful in his career as a soldier who protected the community against Native American attacks and as an officer in the War of 1812.

Charles Todd Garrard, grandson of the governor, acquired the farm around 1830. He built a larger home, known as Locust Grove, on the property. Charles was a noted stock breeder and owned cattle descended from the first pedigreed stock imported in 1817.

Shortly after the Civil War, the farm was sold to Colonel Ezekiel Field Clay, a son of US Congressman Brutus J. Clay. Clay incorporated Fairfield into what became known as Runnymede Farm, the oldest continuously operated thoroughbred breeding farm in Kentucky.

Another significant stone building on Runnymede Farm is the Cooper's Run Baptist Meeting House, which built in 1803 for one of the oldest congregations in Kentucky. Governor Garrard helped to establish the church and served as its minister for ten years. Runnymede has used the structure as a horse barn since 1900.

Fairfield remained part of Runnymede until 1924 when the farm was divided between two of E. F. Clay's children, one of whom received the original Fairfield boundaries. The stone house burned in 1951 leaving only a shell. However, part of the stone was used as facing for the Anne Duncan House at Duncan Tavern in Paris. The remaining stone was used to build a four-room house on the bank of Stoner Creek directly in front of the site of the original structure.