Forsythe-Shewmaker House in Mercer County on National Register

Forsythe-Shewmaker House - Salvisa, Ky.
Photo: NRHP Application, Ky. Heritage Council
On the banks of the Salt River in Mercer County, Andrew Forsythe built his two-story brick home as the centerpiece of his farm around 1830. In the Federal-Greek Revival style, Forsythe's home also incorporated a number of French considerations which would have been quite en vogue at the time such as the parlor wallpaper being imported from Paris.

Forsythe was born in 1795 in Mercer County. He was the grandson of one of the five McAfee brothers who settled the area around what is now Salvisa. From the age of 17, Forsythe ventured in the transport of goods utilizing the many waterways around Mercer County. He would often "fill a flat boat at Oregon with produce, take it down to New Orleans, sell it and then walk home." He would also transport items via horseback to eastern Kentucky and to Maysville by road.

Forsythe took to farming in 1820 and by 1832 had amassed 250 acres along the Salt River. Eventually, his holdings would include 693 acres before he died in 1886 at the age of 91.

Forsythe's home, known now as the Forsythe-Shewmaker Home, was recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Just shy of 19 acres remains part of the property. One of the notable points in the nomination form is how the structure and design of the home lent to impress others and to improve Forsythe's social position.

The application points specifically to the one story brick servants home built in close proximity to the main house. In the 1830s, having two brick structures so close together was significant and showed Forsythe's importance in the local economy.

The Shewmaker name is added to the identity of the home because that family bought the dilapidated house in 1937 at auction on the courthouse steps in Harrodsburg, restored it and held the property until 1976.

On a personal note, I'm quite fond of this area as it was where I took my first No Destination drive, including a visit down to the dock at Oregon where Forsythe's career was forged. Much of the family, including Forsythe's father, worshipped at New Providence Church and is buried in the church cemetery.

Source: Ky. Heritage Council NRHP Application
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