Louisville's First Families -A SERIES OF GENEALOGICAL SKETCHES
Author - KATHLEEN JENNINGS
Published by THE STANDARD PRINTING CO.- Louisville, KY 1920
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RICHARD SNOWDEN VEECH
Sketched from a picture made on the day
of his wedding to Mary Louise Nichols.
Five of his six children make Louisville
The Veech Family. Chapter IX.
JOHN VEECH, born in Ulster, Ireland, in 1747, emigrated in his early manhood to settle in Pennsylvania. He was a surveyor by profession, and colonial records show that he was making surveys in what is now Jefferson county as early as December 21, 1785, on a permit from William and Mary College, signed by Thomas Jefferson.
On his arrival in the colonies, John Veech joined a Scotch Presbyterian settlement at Uniontown, Pa., and it was there that he married Agnes (Nancy) Weir. They came to Kentucky shortly after the Revolution, down the Ohio river, it is understood, on flat boats to Falls of the Ohio. Their first child, Alexander Veech, was born January 27, 1787, in Dutch Station, one of the historic forts which were refuge for the pioneers. The first Veech farm was on the Shelbyville road about a mile above St. Matthews, and some two miles from the old station and from "Indian Hill," which was the home of Alexander Veech, and has never passed out of the family, now being occupied by James Nichols Veech and his family.
John Veech bought "Indian Hill" (of 324 acres, the old deed states) on December 1,
1806, from Richard Taylor. The Veech family kept the property until 1814, when they sold to Zachary Taylor, son of Richard Taylor, founder of the Kentucky family. There is a tradition that when John Veech offered the Indian Hill farm to Alexander Veech, the son refused it because he said it was too far from his parents' home. It seems that a dense forest stood between the two farms. However, in 1833, Alexander Veech purchased the Indian Hill farm which was to be his lifelong home.
John and Agnes Veech had five children, three of whom left descendants, but only two had families which figure in Louisville life-Alexander Veech and his sister, Sarah Veech, who married William Garvin. Agnes Veech died in 1811, John Veech in 1817.
Alexander Veech was a youthful Kentucky volunteer in the War of 1812, fighting in the Battle of the Thames. From early manhood he was called Capt. Veech, having commanded a home-guard which offered defense against Indian raids. It is interesting to know that the Veech farm was named Indian Hill because of the marauders' headquarters located there when planning an attack upon Louisville. Two fine springs on the place proved a drawing card to the Indians when selecting a point for an encampment.
One of these springs near the Veech home has furnished drinking water for the family through several generations. The Indians chose the hill as a gathering point, and they deadened the lumber on this prominence as a forest signal to the braves. "Indian Hill" is on the Brownsboro road, and the rolling farm-land adjoins the golf links of the Louisville Country Club, which lies between the farm and the river.
Alexander Veech married Olivia Winchester, daughter of Richard Winchester, pioneer from Maryland, in May, 1821, at the Winchester home, Vale of Eden, near Lyndon, afterwards buying out the other heirs and making it their home until about 1832, when they took possession of "Indian Hill." The large white brick house on "Indian Hill" in which Richard Snowden Veech was born in 1833 was added on to by this member of the family in 1881, when a wing was built at the side and the main entrance changed. This house is still occupied by Veeches.
To Alexander and Olivia Veech were born four children, but Richard Snowden Veech was the eldest child, the only one to leave descendants. Born at "Indian Hill," when he died in 1918 he had known no other home. Like the father and grandfather before him, he loved the land and farmed the acreage around his home,
after being educated at Centre College. When the farmers of four counties, Jefferson, Oldham, Bullitt and Shelby, organized the Farmers and Drovers' Bank, Richard Veech was made cashier and was active in its management from 1868 until 1880, when he became president of the New Albany and Monon Railroad. While he was in business in Louisville for some twenty years, he was best known as the distinguished horse breeder, and he built up a reputation for Indian Hill Farm from coast to coast, as the home of fine trotting stock.
He established the Indian Hill Farm in 1872, putting at the head of the breeding farm, Princeps, a descendant of Woodford Mambrino, who was the most prominent branch of the Mambrino Chief family, which was at that time one of the most prominent factors in the trotting horse world.
While 1878 was the banner year of the famous stock farm, breeding trotters was a lucrative business there for twenty years and with the horse interest a picturesque life set in at Indian Hill. Because the land was very rolling, a half mile straightway dash was used for training; there were generally from fifty to sixty brood-mares on the farm.
From 1878 to 1885, particularly, and in other years, also, prominent business men and horse
breeders of the East, from New York, Boston and Philadelphia, made a practice of forming private-car parties (usually of two cars) to visit Louisville before going to the Lexington trot meeting. Here they would be entertained at dinner by Richard Veech and by John B. McFerran, who at that time owned fine trotting stock at Glenview Farms. The horse-lovers would visit the two farms and would attend the sales which Messrs. Veech and McFerran would hold in conjunction at Indian Hill or Glenview. These sales were attended by horse-breeders from all over the country.
Veech and McFerran belonged to Kentucky's big six, which included, besides themselves, Henry Clay McDowell, of Ashland; A. J. Alexander, of Woodford; E. G. Stoner, of Bourbon, and Lucas Brodhead, of Versailles.
In 1881 Richard Veech acquired the Beargrass farm of 700 acres, of which he used a portion for cultivation, with part in pasture and the remainder set aside for training purposes. This farm includes the ground upon which Dutch Station stood, and is now owned by Bethel B. Veech, who was associated with his father in conducting the stock farm from 1882 to 1897. Bethel Veech has a summer bungalow not far from the site of the old fort. Another pioneer fort, Cane Station, stood about midway the Indian
Hill farm, and it is told that in recent years while plowing a portion of the land a number of Indian arrowheads were turned up.
An interesting and unusual incident of Richard Veech's career as a horseman occured in 1918, the last year of his life. While ill at a hospital in the city he prepared from memory a pedigree list of some fifty head of trotting stock, still at Indian Hill, furnishing a record of each animal described to him, and, before his death, arranging a sale of these horses.
Richard Snowden Veech married Mary Louise Nichols, of Danville, Ky., whose parents were of Puritan stock from Rhode Island. The six children of this marriage are living, five of them in Louisville, the home of one daughter, Mrs. A. Hunter Kent, being St. Louis.
Elizabeth Veech is the wife of Burwell K. Marshall, and the mother of Richard Veech Marshall, of St. Louis, whose wife was Helen Chauncey, of Olney, Ill.; of Elizabeth and Louise Marshall, now in France on Red Cross service; of Sallie Ewing Marshall, the wife of Nicholas Dosker, and of Burwell K. Marshall, Jr.
Olivia Winchester Veech, Mrs. Kent, has one daughter, Mary Kent, the wife of Major Manton Davis and the mother of Olivia Davis.
Bethel B. Veech married Eliza Quigley and has one daughter, Elston Veech, wife of
William Mills Otter, who has two small children, Bethel and Ann Otter.
Helen Lee Veech is the wife of George Twyman Wood and has three sons, George Twyman Wood, Jr., who married Louise Robertson, of Washington, and makes New York his home, Richard Veech Wood and Thomas J. Wood, who is a student at Princeton.
James Nichols Veech married Agnes Ross, makes Indian Hill his home, and farms as his father and grandfather before him. He is the father of Agnes Veech and of John Alexander Veech, named for John Veech and Alexander Veech.
Dr. Annie S. Veech, who makes Louisville her home, has been on duty overseas with the Red Cross.
Sarah Veech, daughter of John and Agnes Weir Veech, born in 1795, was the bride of William Garvin, an Irishman from County Derry, born the same year as she, and emigrating to this country to settle in Philadelphia for a brief time before coming to Shelbyville, Ky. Sarah Veech and William Garvin were married January 2, 1822, at the home of the bride's older sister, Mrs. Francis Veech Brookey in Shelbyville, and on horseback the young couple left for Glasgow, their wedding journey to the new
home being made in the saddle, despite the bitter weather of mid-winter.
Four children were born to the Garvins in their Glasgow home, which they left in 1827 to locate in Louisville. They bought a home on Jefferson street, between Fourth and Fifth, and they became identified with the social life of the city. William Garvin engaged in the wholesale dry goods business, and was a successful merchant of Garvin, Chambers & Co. and later of Garvin, Bell & Co.
In 1852, the Garvins moved further out in town to a home on Chestnut street, which was to be the scene of elaborate entertaining for four generations of the family.
For this home William Garvin found many beautiful things, objects of art from abroad. Two marble mantels from Italy, exquisitely carved and intended for the Chestnut street house were among the handsome fittings brought from Philadelphia, through the Erie Canal and over the mountains in wagons. These mantels an now in the home of William Garvin's granddaughter, Mrs. Crittenden Taylor Collings, on Spring Drive.
Sarah Veech and William Garvin had three children, Jane Orr Garvin, Ann Eliza Garvin and Emmet Garvin. The daughters married brothers, John and Robert Bell, from Ireland.
Jane Orr Garvin and John Bell purchased the Hunt house (now the Pendennis Club) and this was their home in the sixties. During the Civil War, John Bell receiving word that his brother, Lieut. William Bell, of the Confederate army, had been wounded, left for the South in search of him. John Bell was not destined to find his brother, and stricken ill on a train in Alabama, died and was buried in that State, many weeks before his family received news of his death. Lieut. Bell, fatally wounded at the Battle of Shiloh, was taken to the home of his cousin, Samuel Gwyn, at Memphis, where he died.
William Garvin lost his life in the steamboat disaster on the Ohio in 1868, when the United States and the America collided. His body was washed ashore, and clasped in his hands was found the Bible which he had been reading. He was an elder in the Presbyterian church with which his family and the Veech family have been identified in this city.
Ann Eliza Garvin, who, married Robert Bell, inherited the Chestnut street house and lived there until her death in 1911. Jane Garvin Bell with her children returned to this house after the death of her husband, but later lived on Third street, and at an advanced age she died there in 1918.
Jane and John Bell were the parents of Garvin Bell, who married Ellen Robinson, and was the father of Nelchen Bell, Mrs. Alex Galt Barret, of Louise Bell, Mrs. Howard Lee; of Madeline Bell, Mrs. Robert F. Vaughan; of Robert Bell, of Florida, and Francis Bell.
Jane and John Bell's daughter, Mary Jennie Bell, makes Louisville her home, and with her, a niece, Jeannette Garvin Payne, daughter of Elizabeth Bell and Henry Payne, of Georgetown, the sons of this marriage being Thomas Henry Payne, of Winnipeg, who married Amelia Brown, a descendant of a sister of William Garvin and John Payne, whose home is New York.
John Stuart Bell and Sarah Francis Bell, both dead, were children of Jane and John Bell.
Ann Eliza Garvin and Robert Bell had three children, Annie Garvin Bell, the wife of Crittenden Taylor Collings, and mother of Edith Collings Fisk, in France on Red Cross duty, of Allison Collings, and of Christine Collings, wife of William Hall, and with her husband and children, Edith and Noel, makes her home at Short Hills; Catherine Gwyn Bell, widow of Foster Thomas who with her son, Garvin Thomas, lives in France, and Henry Bell, deceased.
Emmet Garvin married Lucy Tomlinson, and their daughter, Sarah Garvin, is the widow of General John F. Weston, and is in New York with her daughters, Marie and Kathleen Weston.