Woodford – Versailles – 1 Site
Site: Jack Jouett House Historic Site – 40 Miles That Saved America
Address: 255 Craig’s Creek Road, Versailles
Contact: Susan Lyons Hughes, 859-873-2709, firstname.lastname@example.org
Description: This rural homestead has a significant national history. Tours begin at the Visitor Center to learn about Captain Jack Jouett’s famous 40 miles ride, Matthew Harris Jouett and other family members. Then walk (or drive) to the Jack Jouett House to tour the 1797 Federal style brick house built by Jack Jouett, and the 1780s stone cabin used by Jouett as an outdoor kitchen. Tour the nearby cemetery where members of the Morris, Morse and Boone families are buried.
Some historians believe Captain Jack Jouett has not been afforded his proper place in history, although his daring ride has received some elegant accolades: Virginia publisher and editor Virginius Dabney characterized Jouett’s deed “as one of the most important and colorful exploits of the Revolution,” declaring it more significant of the ride of Paul Revere; more hazardous, longer and involving a larger number of more important men. Armistead C. Gordon, Jr., wrote in 1925, “Had Jack Jouett not frustrated Tarleton’s foray, a disheartening and even fatal blow might have been occasioned by the simultaneous capture of Jefferson, Henry and the three signers of the Declaration of Independence at a juncture when continental fortunes were at a critically low ebb.”
On the night of June 3-4, 1781, Captain John “Jack” Jouett, Jr. rode 40 miles through the backwoods of Virginia to warn Governor Thomas Jefferson and the Virginia legislature of the approach of 250 British troops. His heroic act saved the American Revolution by preventing the capture of its most important political leaders.
Jouett migrated to the Bluegrass after the war, where he played an important role in the Kentucky statehood convention, served in the legislature and became a prosperous planter and breeder of fine horses and cattle. He and his wife Sally Robards raised 12 children, including renowned portrait painter Matthew Harris Jouett.
The brick house features a formal parlor, a dining room and three bedrooms with period furnishings. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.