The venue is officially in the National Register of Historic Places as of 2020. Over the course of history, it has been called Springdale, Rose Lawn, the Briar Patch Farm and now, the New Field Farm at Timber Ridge.
David Vance is the first owner on record to own the property in 1708! He passed the property in 1809 onto his son, David Taylor Junior, instructing him to build “a comfortable dwelling” for his wife.
Around 1820, the Taylors worked in tandem with their neighbor Gibson family to build the house to comfortably accommodate Taylor Jr.’s wife. Their initials have been found in woodwork and plaster to confirm this as well. This house was originally called “Springdale.”.
Andrew W. Kinnear is recorded to have owned land in 1773. He served in the Revolutionary War. Andrew Kinnear and his descendants remained in the area after the Revolutionary War. In 1786, Andrew and his wife, Susannah, bought and moved to a farm on Timber Ridge. That original homestead isn’t the current farmhouse, but the land was in the Kinnear family for 120 years!
In 1808, Andrew W. Kinnear deeded a portion of the land to his youngest son Andrew Kinnear Jr. in an attempt to convince his son to remain in the area rather than move to Ohio. Andrew Jr. was dissuaded from leaving and took care of his father until his death in 1812. His son John A. Kinnear bought a property near the farm he grew up on.
In 1849, David Taylor officially sold the farm (containing the accommodation of the farmhouse) to John A. Kinnear.
After the Civil War, John Kinnear shifted his focus to solely farming operations and introduced dairy production to the property. John Kinnear also helped to establish the first public schools in the area during his service as Justice of the Court and School Trustee for South River District. He was an active member of the Timber Ridge Presbyterian Church, serving as both treasurer and deacon. He also organized the Timber Ridge Agricultural Society in order to improve agricultural efforts within his own community.
By this time, the property had been renamed “Rose Lawn.” We know this because one of his sons, Samuel Ashby Kinnear matriculated into VMI, claiming “Rose Lawn, Timber Ridge, VA” as his home in 1878.
Samuel was dropped from the VMI roles in 1880 for his participation in the “Barracks Mutiny” in February of that year when a large group of students were refused extra time to study. He was invited to return; however, he declined and graduated from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute with honors instead.
When John A. Kinnear passed away in 1892 on February 8, he left his property to his heirs. This is when more animals were introduced to the farm: hogs, cattle and sheep. Beef, pork, wool and lambs were products of their work according to the will of Rachel Lackey Kinnear.
John Alexander Kinnear grew up in Rose Lawn, and attended Washington and Lee University before and after World War I. He volunteered for an ambulance unit to assist with the war effort to remove the wounded from the frontlines in England, France and Belgium. He received the Croix de Guerre for “conspicuous gallantry in action.”
He returned after his service and stayed at the house while he finished his education at Washington and Lee University.
Horace Lackey Kinnear, one of the sons of Andrew and Rachel Kinnear, lived in the farmhouse and worked the land while his siblings retained their interest and holding but lived and worked elsewhere. At one point there was a trapdoor installed, separating the first from the second story, splitting the single family home into separate apartments. Outdoor porches were walled in to create kitchen areas upstairs, as well as downstairs.
Horace Lackey and his wife, Frances Hammer Davis “Bud” Kinnear, farmed the land on Timber Ridge. In 1955 no one had tended to the roses growing around the “Rose Lawn” house for a summer. As a result the roses grew wild and the house became affectionately known as “the Briar Patch” and the name remained in use until recently.
Horace retired from farming within 40 years of inheriting the property to work for the Reeves Brother Buena Vista Plant until 1974. Both Horace and Frances “Bud” were active participants of the community. He was a member of the Mountain View Ruritan Club, and she was proactive in the establishment of the Rockbridge-Botetourt Regional Library. She was also a librarian for Southern Seminary Junior College of Buena Vista and the Washington and Lee Law Library before she retired in 1974.
They were also dedicated members of the Timber Ridge Presbyterian Church. Horace served as an elder there, while Frances was Circle Chair and President of Women of the Church. He also was a member of the Rockbridge County School Board and served on the board of the BARC Electric Cooperative, bringing electricity to Rockbridge County.
When it came time to install electricity to the property, he opted to have the lines run behind the farm house instead of in front of it to retain the curb appeal of his home. Together, they helped establish the Blue Ridge Recreation Area in Fairfield, Virginia, just north of Lexington.
The land and the barn was used for cattle and harvesting hay by the Williams family. The house was managed by realtor Pat Aldrid, and she made the renovations to the second story in 2001. Thankfully, she had the shag carpet removed, the walls of the second story painted white, and new linoleum installed.
New Field Farm
The current owners of the property are Brett Allen and Donna Lee Barraclough. They have contracted with Daniel McClung, who is growing corn on the farm to ensure that the land remains active and productive as intended.
The Barraclough family has restored and renovated historic properties before! Namely, the 1901 Victorian, single-family home located in the historic residential area in the city of Lexington that now serves as a bed and breakfast called “A Secret Garden on Jackson.”
Their eldest daughter, Amber Ansted, did the research and writing necessary to request registering the property in the National Register of Historical Places.This was important for the family because they feel that the property and the story of the residents is significant and warrants such a status. They have a great respect for the long legacy of service left by the Kinnear family and they hope to continue that legacy as they work to preserve and revitalize the property.
They worked closely with Michael C. Brown who is on the historical review board because of his skill in planning restorations. Their goals include restoring and highlighting the historically unique aspects of the farmhouse and its surrounding structures, including the painted brick preserved within the gabled storage area and the two front doors on the outward facing parts of the original brick farmhouse.
Veteran in a New Field by Winslow Homer
The name of the property was inspired by a print given to Brett Barraclough by his children upon his retirement from the military. The painting is named, “A Veteran in a New Field” by Winslow Homer. The painting depicts a man working in a field upon his return home from a war. In the lower right hand corner lies the equipment of a soldier, which indicates that the man had returned home and immediately picked up his farm equipment and started working in the field.
This resonates with Brett and his family as they transitioned swiftly from a life in the military to working on the farm together. It is a change that the family is still adjusting to, but have loved. The additional time with Brett has been appreciated. The many experiences the family has had on the farm have literally been groundbreaking. The family loves the work and are grateful to be seeing the property in the final stages of construction.
We would like to express gratitude for all who helped in the researching aspects: Dan Pezzoni, Jim O. Phelps, Joanna Mitchell, Lisa McCowan, Colonel Keith Gibson, Amber Ansted, Levi and Amanda Barraclough, and Zach Filis.