Family Stories

Rachel Black Givens House – Lincoln County

Don’t we all love the historic homes that have survived the years and remain as a remembrance of days gone by? Today I introduce you to the Rachel Black Givens house in Lincoln County. The Givens family moved to Kentucky, specifically Lincoln County, about 1780. I have already written a blog on the George Givens family, their family graveyard was moved to Buffalo Springs Cemetery in Stanford when an expansion was decided on the Danville-Boyle County Airport that would cover the cemetery. The family written about today is James Givens, brother of George. Their children, James Givens Jr. and Jane Givens, daughter of George, married and had a family of ten children. Their son, Samuel, received the home after his parents death, and after his, it was given to his daughter – Rachel Black Givens.

Rachel Black Givens House

The Advocate Messenger, Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Sunday, April 19, 1970

Historic Homes by Mrs. M. H. Dunn, Stanford

This old home, called the Rachel Black Givens home, a sentinel of the past, stands high on a hill gracing the west, overlooking Hanging Fork Creek.  It is about one-half mile from the Highway 78 and about two miles east of Hustonville.

This house was built by James Givens, Jr., about 1790.  He was the son of James Givens, Sr., who was born in Ireland in 1723 (died in Lincoln County in 1801).  James Sr. married Martha Allen, daughter of Robert Allen and his wife Deborah Montgomery.

James Givens Jr. married his cousin Jane Givens, daughter of Capt. George Givens, a Revolutionary soldier, and his wife, Rachel Black.  They built the large colonial house overlooking the L & N Railroad on Lover’s Lane, or the Airport Road, not far from Junction City.

James Givens Jr. was born January 8, 1764, and served in the Revolutionary War as a private in Augusta County, Virginia Militia, under the command of his first cousin, Capt. Robert Givens.  His father, James Givens Sr. also served in the Revolutionary War.

James Gives Sr. and his family came to Kentucky about 1780 and apparently built the large brick house on Knob Lick Road, known as the Knob Lick Farm.  It is also on the L & N Railroad and not far from the Capt. George Givens home, but on different highways.

James Givens Jr. and wife Jane Givens had ten children.  They were:  George, Martha, Rachel Black (who married Logan Montgomery), Sarah, Mary, Jane, James Pleasant, Nancy, Samuel and Benjamin.  Samuel received the plantation through his father’s will.

Samuel was born in 1809 and married Eliza Montgomery and second, Nancy Burton, and had six children by the second marriage.  They were Eliza Ann, Mary Catherine, Jennie Burton, William B., Martha Harbison and Rachel Black Givens.  Rachel Black [Givens] did not marry, but the plantation passed on to her and she lived here alone for several decades.  After her death it was sold to Virgil Campbell in 1929 and proceeds divided among her nieces and nephews.  She is buried in the family graveyard lying a short distance from the house.

Mr. and Mrs. Campbell sold this property in 1950 to Mr. and Mrs. Edward Russell.

The building is a massive, two-story, white frame structure, built in the Greek Revival style of architecture with a two-story tetrastyle Doric portico with a balcony over the large front door.  In remodeling a few years ago, Mr. Russell removed the balcony.  The house contains four large rooms and halls in front with the back portion built in an ell.  The stairway rises on the right side of the hall and then more steps to the upper floor on the left side.  The string course of the stairway is hand carved.  A door in the center of the landing leas to the ell part of the upper floor.

All of the woodwork and floors are yellow poplar.  The woodwork in the family room was painted and while still wet, the painter made a design in the paint with the tip of his finger.  The design is diagonal straight lines forming a square about two inches with a daisy in the corner where the lines cross.  Very unusual and very beautiful.  When the Campbells owned it, a tenant painted this woodwork white, but left panels of the original design on the doors and mantle.  The woodwork in the north room is also unique.  Knots in the lumber were used to form decorations in the mantle and window frames.

There were three rooms originally in the ell, but when Mr. Russell remodeled in 1968, he tore down the back room and added a two-car garage.

The house was heated by fireplaces (one in each room), but is now heated with a modern gas furnace.  The very large kitchen has been modernized completely with lovely maple cabinets and paneling.

In remodeling, Mr. Russell found that the entire house, including the roof, had been put together with wooden pins instead of nails and they were in such a good state of preservation that they could not be removed, but had to be sawed through.

The original door bell, still in use, is unusual in that it rings with a crank.

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