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  • Erin Egnatz

My Old Kentucky Home: Kentucky

In Bardstown, Kentucky sits the former home of Judge John Rowan and his wife Anne. The couple originally settled on the land in 1795. The grand home that now stands on the site, called "Federal Hill," was completed in 1818. The home hosted some well known figures such as Andrew Jackson and Marquis de Lafyette along their travels through Kentucky. In 1853, Stephen Foster (who was an abolitionist) wrote the famous "My Old Kentucky Home, Good-night," inspired by the home.


In 1833, a cholera outbreak claimed the lives of 16 people at the residence. Eight of those who died were slaves, while the other 8 were family members.


In 1843, John Rowan Jr. took over the estate after the death of his father. He lived there until his sudden and tragic death in 1855. As he was leaning out the window, watching his daughter play, he accidentally fell to his untimely death. John Rowan Jr.'s wife, Rebecca, would remain in the home until her death in 1897 at the age of 84.


The paranormal activity at Federal Hill is fairly well known. Shadows have appeared in the dining room where all of the cholera patients died. An apparition has been seen ascending the stairs to the second floor. Disembodied children's laughter has been heard in their former room. A woman has been seen looking out the upstairs window dressed in Victorian clothing. Orbs have been captured in many visitors photos and footsteps with no source can be heard throughout the home.


Federal Hill is inside the My Kentucky Home State Park in Bardstown, Kentucky. Tours are offered throughout the year and even some ghostly tours in the fall. It is certainly a place you want to check out if you are ever in town!


Photo by: zef art




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