Buena Vista/Todd House

Historical Marker #1999 near Frankfort notes where Buena Vista, the summer home of the Robert Todd family, once stood.

Among others, the first families of Kentucky include the Clays, the Breckinridges, the Logans, and the Todds. Brothers John, Robert, and Levi Todd were among the early settlers to what would become Kentucky. John was killed at the Battle of Blue Licks in 1782, while Levi died in 1807. Levi had four children. One of them was Robert S. Todd. His daughter, Mary Todd, became the wife of Abraham Lincoln.

Robert S. Todd became a wealthy businessman, politician, banker, and merchant in Lexington. His first wife, Eliza Ann Parker (Mary's mother) died in 1825. He later married Elizabeth Humphreys. The Todds were considered among the elite of Lexington. They lived in a fine brick house on West Main Street and had connections with some of the wealthiest and most influential people in Kentucky.

In addition to his home in Lexington, Robert Todd also owned a country summer home in Franklin County. It appears that Todd acquired the place, which was called Buena Vista, through his second wife's family in the 1830s. The rural retreat provided a place of refuge from the summer city heat and deadly diseases such as cholera. Buena Vista consisted of a large two-story frame house that had a stone kitchen ell. A log smokehouse, stone springhouse, and stone slave quarters were also on the property.

Robert S. Todd died in 1849 and the house became the property of his wife. In 1851, Mary and Abraham Lincoln, along with young sons Robert and Edward, visited Mary's step-mother at Buena Vista. The home remained in her possession until about 1860, when Mrs. Todd sold it to W. B. Risk. The home and land passed hands several times through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. After falling into disrepair, Buena Vista was razed in 1947.