CLAY HISTORIC DISTRICT
161 W. Orleans
d n english
The original house at this location was built by Carman D. Bledsoe in 1847. Mr. Bledsoe was known as a skilled craftsman. He could build houses, cabinets, spinning wheels, caskets, wagon wheels and many other items to families settling in Jackson or continuing their trip west.
His house on Orleans St. was only one room typical of the time but as his family grew so did the house. His family had many good years at this location.
In 1873 the Bledsoe family sold the house to a Union Army Officer. Lt. Hartwell P. Farrar had come to Jackson durning the conflict he met and fell in love with Miss Agnes Wilson. They wed in 1863. They returned to Jackson in 1872 he purchased the house and began by enlarge the house adding porches ,rooms under which created a brick walled wine cellar. By the time he and his family moved in it was elegant residence.
He began building more houses in this area in the 1880’s as the town grew and the need for houses increased. All the time he worked his job as a surveyor/ Civil engineer for the railroad . The job led to travel not only around the United States but out of the country as rail travel grew. Each time he had to leave on an extended trip he had arranged for a local Jeweler to deliver a gift to his sweet Aggie each week. One such gift was full set of engraved silverware. The family shared what beautiful jewelry , hair combs and other beautiful gifts she would receive from her “Captain”.
Through the years Captain and Mrs Agnes contributed the growth and good will of the City of Jackson.
The Farrar’s are buried in Riverside Cemetery .
The house on Orleans was in the Farrar family for 100 years.
Through the years the family moved away letting the property
become rental property and in disrepair.
In the 1980’s Mrs Rose Johnsey purchased the property. It took a lot of hard work to restore this beautiful house. Mrs. Johnsey showed me some of the treasures that were uncovered. For example as they took down one of the porches they discovered several pieces of engraved silver.
Mrs. Johnsey opened the house up to the pubic sharing the history of the house and the Farrar’s contribution to the community. Ladies would hold luncheons , club meetings and at one time the house was on the LANA tour.
In the 1990’s the ownership of the house passed to Janice
Redfearn and her husband. I found this appropriate since Janice is an amazing spinner. Restoring a house that was built by Mr. Bledsoe a gentleman who created spinning wheels in 1847 ironic.
This story was written in 2004 since then the neighborhood has changed. ( for the good)
Unfortunately I have not kept up with the house. That gives you something to explore.