The fact that the patriarch of what would become the Maker’s Mark family claimed his stake here would be story enough for most to consider this 200-year-old (plus) home in Kentucky.
But add the fact that the patriarch also was the master distiller for a Founding Father, and that later another son became the step-father of two notorious gun slingers, and the Samuels Home becomes both a home and a treasury of American history.
When Robert Samuels was granted a corn writ for 60 acres of land near Bardstown, Ky., in 1784, he began making bourbon. In fact, the former Revolutionary War captain was appointed George Washington’s master distiller.
That love and interest in bourbon coursed through his family through the ages. Through the Roaring Twenties and Prohibition to later, and then again more currently when the Samuels family again began distilling – this time as Maker’s Mark (now distilled in Loretto, Ky.) – the home remained a constant for the family for more than a century.
While Robert crafted whiskey more for private use and for the first President of the United States, grandson Taylor William “T.W.” Samuels helmed the first Samuel family legal distillery in 1840, on the same land grant. He created the T.W. Samuels & Son distillery.
His older brother, Dr. Reuben Samuels, married Zarelda James and became stepfather to Frank and Jesse James.
T.W. Samuels, it is said, is the one who helped Frank to surrender at the end of the Civil War – he was also the county sheriff at the time – but a year after the war ended, Frank and Jesse robbed a bank in Russellville, Ky. – their first.
The home retains traces of the James brothers time there, said listing agent Marsha Clark, who says there is a ceiling hatch believed to be the way Jesse James escaped the law, and inscriptions and initials are carved into the plaster walls, dining room window sill, living room fireplace mantle and carriage house door.
The five-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath, 3,500 square foot home sits on 1.73 acres in what is now known as Coxs Creek, Ky. Priced at $449,000, the home would make a great vacation home in the heart of Bourbon country or even an income property for events or vacation rentals.
Clark said that the home has been updated and refurbished, but in keeping with the historical nature of the home.
The dining room has its original painted mural, the hardwood flooring throughout the home is original, and there are seven original fireplaces.
And even the kitchen fireplace still has its pot hanger and looks so period that you could almost picture a young Frank and Jesse warming themselves in front of the fire, or Robert Samuels pouring himself a couple fingers of his whiskey.
But you’re not living completely in history. There are the comforts of the modern age, too – tankless water heater, new kitchen appliances, a gas fireplace in the partial basement and heating and air conditioning are just a few of the amenities.
“The stone marker from the three original families is still available,” Clark said. “You will love the cozy back/side porch with garden area.”
A treed backyard gives plenty of room to play in the Kentucky shade, too.