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The Full Story

The original home, which is now the kitchen, was most probably built in 1832 for the James Campbell family. James Campbell died in the 1850s and the Campbell farm was sold to E.F Payton and W.G White. The house stood on 175 acres. These two men then subdivided the farm and "offered for sale at public auction" much of the subdivision. The lot containing the "dwelling house" was purchased for $6,080 by the Reverend William M. McElwee.


Reverend McElwee built what we now see as the main house in 1859. He owned it throughout the civil war. After the Civil War, General Robert E. Lee was asked to be President of nearby Washington College (Washington & Lee University). He accepted and moved to the city of Lexington. The General would visit the Reverend McElwee and sometimes stay late into the afternoon. Word would get around that the General was present at Stonegate and great crowds would assemble in front of the house to watch him leave. General Lee liked to keep his privacy and would leave the house through a trap door in the floor of the dining room which would take him into the basement and out the back of the home avoiding the crowds.


The home became known as Stonegate because of the formal entrance for carriages and horses off Main Street.

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