Purchased in the early 1800’s as part of a Virginia land grant by Captain John Henshaw, Hermitage has been a working farm for nearly two centuries. The land was gifted to Henshaw’s son, Phillip Telfair Henshaw, who married Sarah Ann Scott and moved to Kentucky and began construction on the main house at Hermitage in 1832, which was modeled after their family home in Virginia.
During construction of the main house, the Henshaws returned to Virginia to visit family when Phillip fell ill. His wife, Sarah Ann Scott Henshaw, returned to Hermitage a widow with their three small children and completed construction of their home in 1835. Daughter Lucy Mary Jane married Richard Waters in the mid-1800s. The Waters had five children and gave Hermitage to one of their sons, Phillip Edmund Waters, who married twice and raised 13 children on the farm. In 1936 the farm was sold to the Warner Jones family.
Under Warner and Harriet Jones, Hermitage became one of the most famous thoroughbred farms in the nation. Warner Jones is the only person to breed winners of the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks, and a Breeders’ Cup race. In addition, Jones broke the Keeneland yearling sales with a record sale of $13.1 million in 1985 for Seattle Dancer. Queen Elizabeth II visited the farm in 1986.
In 1994, Carl Pollard became principal owner of Hermitage. Mr. Pollard continued to contribute to the Thoroughbred industry and the Hermitage tradition until the legacy was passed to entrepreneurs Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson in 2010. Brown and Wilson, who are married and own 21c Museum Hotels and the Kentucky Bison Co., will continue Hermitage’s rich history in the equine industry and expand the vision of the property’s previous owners.