"Traveller 1840”, is the historic farm where Robert E. Lee’s war horse, Traveller, was foaled in 1857.

Agent Contact:
Richard Grist, 304-645-7674


By Margaret Hambrick, Local Historian

Major William Hamilton likely came to the Greenbrier Valley in 1769 and moved to the Blue Sulphur area in 1773.  He married Isabelle Clements.  He built a log cabin on this farm and lived to be 81 years old (Dayton 1942: p 262). As the family’s wealth increased, the Brick House was built by either son Andrew Hamilton who married Delilah Jarrett or son Jacob Hamilton.


Faux grain painting on doors on second floor of The Brick House

Dated by a brick near the front door which says “1840”, this house shows its roots in the Adam style including “having curved or polygonal projections to the side or rear” (McAlester 1994:  p 153).  The use of a hipped roof was not uncommon to this style.  The once detached kitchen was incorporated into the house by the use of a breezeway with living space added behind and above the kitchen.  The bricks may have been fired and laid by locally famous brickmaker John Dunn.  He is known to have made the bricks for the Blue Sulphur Springs Resort and what is more likely than, while there, he was also engaged to make the bricks for this house.


While the outside retains its Adamesque characteristics, the inside shows evidence of style change and renovation.  The faux grain painting on the woodwork in the four main upstairs rooms is a remarkable example of this style of decoration.

Andrew D. Johnston purchased the farm from Jacob Hamilton in 1855 and this farm is best known as the place where General Robert E. Lee’s famous horse, Traveller, was foaled (Dayton 1942: p 263).  Born in 1857, this grey gelding with black points stood 15.3 hands high.  He took top prizes in the 1858, 1859 and 1860 Lewisburg Fair.  He was trained by an enslaved person, Frank Wilson, who after emancipation changed his name to Frank Winfield Page (Pendleton 2004: p 13). Some of the early horse training apparatus is on display at the North House Museum in Lewisburg.

Mary Lucinda Page (Kelly), the first of Frank’s two daughters, wrote to her daughter Harriet M. Williams … in 1976 that “My father was taught to go out on the Johnson farm early in the mornings and drive up the young horses from the field.  He started riding at the age of ten.  The horses were penned up; a bridle put on them.  Then he would ride those horses every day until they were gentle.  That’s why it is said he was the first man to break ‘Traveler’ Gen R. E. Lee’s famous ‘war horse’” (Pendleton 2004: p 14).

Horses must be trained to tolerate commotion, people, and other strange horses.  One can imagine Page riding him past the Blue Sulphur Springs Resort for that purpose.  Little did he know he was training him for war.

General Lee first saw the horse when he took command of Confederate troops near Big Sewell Mountain along Route 60 and under a tree that came to be known as “Lee’s Tree” (Pendleton 2004: p 14). At that time, Traveller had been sold to Captain Joseph M. Broun by Captain James W. Johnston to whom the horse had been gifted by his father, Andrew Johnston.   Lee later bought Traveller from Major Broun for the sum of $200 Confederate money (Pendleton 2004: p 16).  Lee rode Traveller throughout the Civil War and during his retirement.  Traveller died in 1871, eight months after Lee.

The farm was purchased from the Johnstons in 1871 by James Jarrett (III) (Deed Book 26: p 378).  He left this property to his son, Thompson Hickman Jarrett who served three terms in the WV Legislature and was Sheriff of Greenbrier County from 1906 to 1912 (Deed Book 5: p 355). It was inherited by T. H. Jarrett’s daughter, Pauline Jarrett Huff, and her children sold it to Lewis A. Fleshman in 1949 (Deed Book 169: p 558).  It is currently owned by Doris Fleshman Griffith.


  • “Traveller 1840”, is the historic farm where Robert E. Lee’s war horse, Traveller, was foaled in 1857.
  • The two story Adamesque style home was built circa 1840 in what was then Virginia’s Blue Sulphur Valley, nearly a quarter century before West Virginia became a state
  • Traveller 1840 has been part of a working farm since the 1770’s. The property currently consists of the home grounds and pasture and/or cropland. The property is thought to have first been settled in 1773 by Major William Hamilton
  • 17 +/- acres of hay and grazing land surround the home creating a country estate property
  • The property will be surveyed prior to closing
  • Build date: Circa 1840
  • An underground spring, the original water source for the home, is still producing and is currently used to water livestock. The spring exit from underground is protected by a spring house made of sandstone
  • Constructed of hand-made – kiln fired clay bricks, which may have been fired and laid by locally famous brickmaker John Dunn, who made and laid the bricks for the nearby Blue Sulphur Springs Resort
  • Hand cut sandstone was quarried nearby for use as lintels, foundation stones, walkways, and a basement stairway
  • 4,028 +/- Sq. ft. living area with a partial basement
  • Rich and diverse resident wildlife population in perfect harmony with farming operations
  • Minutes to historic Lewisburg, jet airport, interstates, hospital and city amenities
  • Located near the historic Blue Sulphur Springs
  • Perfect for agricultural uses
  • Surrounded by large farms and timber tracts in a nice rural neighborhood
  • Superior access by state maintained paved roads
  • Cell phone coverage is good, depending on the carrier
  • Darkest of skies with little light pollution for star-planet gazing & astrophotography
  • Sedges, rushes, ferns, songbirds, frogs, turtles, & crawdads populate nearby wetlands & bogs
  • Located in Greenbrier County, just 20 minutes to Lewisburg, the county seat
  • Area fur bearing wildlife – deer, black bear, squirrel, bobcat, raccoon, fox, chipmunk, opossum, skunk, coyote, and rabbits
  • Area winged wildlife – eagles, hawks, owls, ravens, wild turkeys and Neotropical songbirds
  • Pasture grasses, wildflowers and indigenous plants, coupled with the nearby forests produce life-giving Oxygen and are a sequester of carbon dioxide
  • Perfect for recreational activities including shooting sports, ATV riding, horseback riding, hiking, camping, hunting and nature viewing
  • Low taxes, low population density
  • Scenic, cultural, and historic values of the farm provide not only economic benefits, but also quality of life values


Google Coordinates: 37.823380°(N), -80.619971°(W)
Address: 3789 Spring Valley Road, Alderson, WV 24910
Elevation Range: 1640 ft. to 1677 ft. +/-


By the early 1800’s, the Blue Sulphur Valley was already well settled. Farms and small homesteads were served by 3 main turnpikes, including the Lewisburg-Blue Sulphur, Meadow Bluff-Blue Sulphur and the Red Sulphur-Blue Sulphur Turnpikes. These turnpikes were connected to the two major overland routes of the Midland Trail and Seneca Trail. There was also a road leading to Alderson on the Greenbrier River where it connected to the C&O Railroad.

The valley became an important agricultural and timber region. Blaker’s Mill was a gristmill grinding wheat, corn, oats and barley while the Piercy’s Mill processed wool as well as grains.

In 1832, construction of the Blue Sulphur Springs Resort was begun and finished in 1839. The resort would accommodate some 350 guest who came to take the healing waters of the mineral spring with the blueish hue. The Resort was mostly burned in 1864 by Union Troops.

Traveller, General Lee’s horse was born on this farm, known as the Hamilton Farm, in 1857 in the Blue Sulphur Springs Valley. Traveller was an American Saddlebred and as a colt, he took top honors at the Lewisburg, Virginia, fairs in 1858, 1859 and 1860. As an adult he was a sturdy horse, 16 hands tall. Iron gray in color with black points, a long mane and flowing tail. From all accounts, Traveller was difficult, high strung, a bit unruly, pranced or jigged wherever he went.  It is stated that Traveller went into battle more than any other Civil War horse. Traveller walked behind the hearse at Lee’s funeral and continued to be well cared for up until his death in June 1871.


Mineral-spring resorts were all the rage for the rich and famous in the eastern U.S. in the 1800s, and the iridescent waters at Blue Sulphur Springs, in Greenbrier County, were no less famous than those of their extant counterparts, such as those at The Greenbrier in nearby White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and The Homestead, in Hot Springs, Virginia. Thousands once visited the Blue, though it was fated to enjoy less fame. Its pavilion is all that remains to tell the tale.

The Greek Revival pavilion at Blue Sulphur Springs is in many respects a fraternal twin of the pavilion at White Sulphur Springs, though the latter is rounded, the former, squared. A 32-foot high square structure, its monumental hip-roof is supported by 12 Doric columns and protects a marble basin which fills with spring water.

The pavilion was the focal point of a 200-room resort built by George Washington Buster in 1834 and which attracted many notable guests, including Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, Robert E. Lee, Henry Clay, and Jerome Bonaparte.

Resort physician Dr. Alexis Martin opened the nation’s first curative mud baths here, but competition from The Greenbrier and an antebellum economic downturn caused the resort to close in 1858. Briefly it was used by the Baptists of Virginia as a ministerial college.

When the Civil War broke out, the resort facilities were used by both Confederate and Union forces, and it was intentionally burned to the ground by the Union Army in the last years of the conflict. Only the pavilion survived.

On March 27, 2013, Mrs. Rebecca Lineberry generously donated the Pavilion and two acres to the Greenbrier Historical Society, leading to the formation of the Greenbrier Historical Society’s “Friends of the Blue” Committee.  In 2013,  the Blue Sulphur Springs Pavilion was placed on the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia’s Endangered Properties List, however, in 2014, an alliance of the “Friends of the Blue” Committee and many other concerned investors embarked on a rescue and rehabilitation effort, and the meticulous reconstruction of the Pavilion has been completed.  In June 2023, the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia recognized the Friends of the Blue Committee for the Blue Sulphur Springs Pavilion Restoration Project by awarding the “Most Significant Save of an Endangered Property Award.”


All rights the owner has will convey with the property.


Two sides of the property run with state roads. Other sections of boundary run with fences. A survey will be conducted to separate the area from a larger tract. The property is being sold by the boundary and not by the acre.


Water:  drilled water well for domestic use.   An underground spring, the original water source for the home, is still producing and is currently used to water livestock. The spring’s exit from undergound is protected by a spring house made of sandstone. The spring just below the home.
Sewer:  Private septic
Electricity:  On site
Telephone: One site but not hooked up
Internet: Available through cellular hot spot
Cellphone Coverage: Good, depending on the cellular coverage provider


The property has a little over 1/10 mile of frontage on Spring Valley Road Rt. 31. The driveway for the home and farm joins directly to Spring Valley Road. Additionally, the property has about 2/10 mile of frontage on Jarrett Cutoff Road Rt. 31/2.


Greenbrier County is subject to some zoning and subdivision regulations. All prospective buyers should consult the County Commission and also the Health Department for details regarding zoning, building codes and installation of septic systems.

Information can be found at the county website:


The property has been used as home grounds and a farmstead for many years with associated buildings and fields.

(This summary is an estimation of current property use as determined from aerial photography.  It is made subject to the estimation of property boundaries and any errors in the interpretation of land use type from the aerial photography utilized.)


Deed Information: A portion of the property in DB 628 Pg. 796
Greenbrier County, West Virginia

Acreage: 17 acres +/-, to be determined by survey

Real Estate Tax ID/Acreage/Taxes:
Greenbrier County (13), West Virginia
Blue Sulphur District (3)
Tax Map 22, a portion of Parcel 7; Class 2

2022 Real Estate Taxes: $698.62 for the whole tax parcel of which the sale area is a portion.


Traveller 1840 has been part of a working farm since the 1770’s. The property currently consists of the home grounds and pasture and/or cropland.

The agricultural land’s flat topography would be used to raise livestock of all kinds (chickens, pigs, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits etc.) and could be farmed with horse drawn equipment. The land would support vegetable gardens, berry patches, fruit orchards, and row crops of corn, oats and barley

Beehives would provide honey and beeswax for candles.


The property offers unparalleled recreational opportunities. Numerous soft recreational activities are anchored by the nearby Greenbrier River, New River, New River Gorge National River Park, and the 2000-acre Bluestone Lake.

Water-sports enthusiasts will find the nearby Greenbrier River, New River and Bluestone Lake ideal for swimming, canoeing, fishing, kayaking, tubing, snorkeling, paddle boarding and windsurfing. Great fishing is found for small and large mouth bass, crappie, catfish, muskie, walleye, pike and bluegill.

Nature viewing is next in line of recreational activities. Wildlife viewing is not just for larger animals. Equal consideration is given to a diversity of species including neo-tropical songbirds, butterflies, turtles, frogs, rabbits, chipmunks, dragonflies, owls, eagles and hawks. White tail deer, black bear, red/gray fox, bobcat, wild turkey, grouse, geese, squirrel, raccoon, fox and rabbit make up the resident wildlife population.

Stargazing-Planet Observation
Near total darkness can be still be found on the property, thereby affording the opportunity to view the night sky in all its brilliant wonder.

Shooting-sports devotees find all the land and privacy needed to enjoy:

  • Paintball-Airsoft-Laser Tag-Archery tag
  • Shotgun sport shooting including Skeet, Trap, Double Trap and Sporting Clays
  • Rifle & Handgun shooting: bullseye, silhouette, western, bench rest, long-range, fast draw
  • Archery and Crossbow competition shooting
  • 22 single shot rifle and a few tin cans make a fun day

All Terrain Motorsports
The property is perfect for experiencing the property from an ATV or UTV. Riders are welcome to ride all public roads that do not have a painted dividing line and there are miles and miles of open roads in the area. These exciting machines handle the wide variety of the forest’s terrain.

Mountain Biking, Horseback Riding and Hiking
The land may be used for mountain biking, hiking or horseback riding and the area offers several state and national parks geared for these activities.


Lewisburg, which is the Greenbrier County seat, was voted the Coolest Small Town in America, combining the warmth of a close community with the sophistication of more urban locations. The thriving downtown historic district offers year-round live productions presented at the State Professional Theatre of WV, Carnegie Hall, distinctive dining venues, antique shops, award-winning galleries/boutiques, a year-round farmer’s markets.

Greenbrier Valley Medical Center is a modern hospital and all attendant medical facilities, along with the many big box stores.

The county and city host several fairs & festivals throughout the year including The WV State Fair, a professional 4-weekend Renaissance Festival, Chocolate Festival, Taste of our Town Festival (TOOT), antique car shows, Jeep Rally, Airstream Rally, WV Barn Hunt Competition, and numerous fun parades.

Lewisburg is the home to the Greenbrier Country Public Library, a fantastic, ultra-modern public library that is open 7 days a week. The library’s services include: Reading Areas, References, Notary Public, Local History Room, Tax Forms, Fax Service, Photo Copies, Digital Printing, Inter Library Loans, Internet/Computer Access, Audio Books, eBooks, Story Hour, Video & DVD’s, Paperback Book Exchange, Literacy Tutoring, Databases, Computer Classes, Book Discussions, Children’s Programming and an Online Catalogue.

Lewisburg is also home to the modern Robert. C Byrd Medical Clinic (300 employees), the WV Osteopathic Medical School (600 students) and the New River Community and Technical College. The area is a strong economic generator with a solid workforce employed in county/state government, tourism, hospitality, medical, education, retail, construction, wood products, mining and agriculture.

The world-renowned Greenbrier Resort, with 800 rooms and 1600 employees, is located in the sleepy little town of White Sulphur Springs. The 4-Star resort has a subterranean casino, NFL Summer Practice Events, Tennis Exhibitions (Venus Williams, John McEnroe etc.). Several other area golf courses are available in the area – including Oakhurst Links, America’s first golf course, where guests play using old style hickory-handled clubs and ground-burrowing golf balls.

A picturesque train ride from White Sulphur Springs connects the area to DC, Philadelphia, Chicago, and many other locations. By car, DC is 4 hours away and Charlotte is only 4.

Within a two-hour’s drive are located some of the finest recreational facilities in West Virginia. Winterplace Ski Resort, whitewater rafting / fishing on the New River and Gauley River, 2000-acre Bluestone Lake, Pipestem State Park and Resort and the 80,000-acre New River National Gorge National Park. Five other area state parks and state forests offer unlimited hiking, horseback riding, ATV riding and rock climbing opportunities. Snowshoe Ski Resort is 90-minute drive through some of the most scenic country on the East Coast. The new 12,000-acre Boy Scout High Adventure Camp and home to the US and World Jamboree is an hour’s drive.


Greenbrier County School District

Public Elementary School:
Alderson Elementary School

Public Middle School:
Eastern Greenbrier Middle School

Public High School:
Greenbrier East High School

New River Community and Technical College (Lewisburg campus)
West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine

Private Schools:
Greenbrier Community School (PK-8)
Greenbrier Valley Academy (2-8)
Lewisburg Baptist Academy (PK-12)
Renick Christian School (2-7)
Seneca Trail Christian Academy (PK-12)


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Contact Foxfire