There is a house on Old Bowling Green Road, or Hwy 1297, 4 miles southwest of Glasgow, that is known to the citizens of Barren county by many different names. Today, most of us youngsters know it as the Dick Steffey place. But others call it the Winlock place, others the Ed Waller place, and still others refer to it as the John Mayfield house. All of these families have occupied the farm at one point in time, and there are very few citizens that cannot find their way to Beckton or Railton by referring to this well-known way-finder.
John Mayfield, Sr. was one of the earliest citizens of the county, and he is believed to have been the builder of the house. It is uncertain from whom Mayfield purchased the farm, but it became a well-known landmark of the area, with the road on which it is located being called the Mayfield Road at one time. Mayfield and his farm are mentioned several times by Franklin Gorin in his “The Times of Long Ago.” According to Gorin, Mayfield had the first apple and peach orchard in Barren county. Probably the same one owned by Ed Huggins a generation later.
Mayfield built the first water grist mill on Beaver Creek. He also introduced foxtail to the county, though it’s probably one thing Mayfield would have wanted forgotten. Mr. Mayfield came from the Bluegrass Region and wanted to grow bluegrass 0n his farm. He made a trip to Lexington, purchased seeds, planted them, and waited for the grass to grow.
He noticed the top of the grass looked different from that in Lexington, but attributed it to the difference in soil. After his return from another trip to Lexington, he saw that, instead of bluegrass, his fields were covered with foxtail. He tried to kill it, but was unsuccessful and it spread to neighboring farms, eventually spreading everywhere in the county.
Gorin stated that Mayfield had many children, but upon Mayfield’s death, the farm did not stay in the family as was usually the way in the earlier days. Part of the land was purchased in 1839 by Alanson Trigg. Trigg sold the property to Edmund Waller in 1845. The house came to the Winlock family in 1852, when it was purchased by Martha Y. Perkins, widow of Joseph Winlock. Joseph Winlock died in 1825, and his widow, Martha Young Martin Winlock, married John Perkins in 1829.
The farm was later owned by Ann M. Doty, believed to be the daughter of the Perkinses, and her husband JM Doty. Also William M. Winlock, son of Joseph and Martha Winlock. In 1873, JTG (Theo) Winlock and Jane Winlock, also children of Joseph and Martha Winlock, bought the farm and house.
Theo Winlock was well known in the county. He married Elvira Clayton and moved to Glasgow, but he kept the farm and made trips to it often, On one of his trips to the farm, on August 5, 1897, he had a tragic accident. While he was at the farm there came a heavy rainfall which caused all the streams to flood. On his way home, he tried to cross Huggins Branch, usually a small stream, and his horse and carriage were swept away. Winlock and his horse were drowned.
After Theo Winlock’s death the farm was bought by his nephew, Joseph R. Winlock in 1899. Warren Bybee purchased it in 1907; he sold it to Basil Richardson in 1910. Richardson sold it to CE Hall of Monroe county, in 1919. In 1924, Hall sold the farm to a group of men which included WE Steffey. Steffey later bought out all the others and became sole owner. The house is owned today by the WE Steffey heirs.
The house is Federal style, containing 2 rooms downstairs and 2 rooms upstairs with wide hallways. It has stone lintels with keystone flemish bond brick work on all elevations. The house has been abandoned for several years now, and is in a sad state of repair. It is on the National Registry.
At the time the Winlocks owned the farm, a good oil well was struck on the farm, on Beaver Creek. You can still smell the natural gas when you cross Beaver Creek on Hwy 1297. The author notes here that she lives within a mile of this historic farm, and is related by marriage to the current owner.
Somewhere near the barn, or under it, was at one time a small family cemetery, containing members of the Waller family. Time has taken away evidence of this, but the graves are still there, somewhere. This knowledge came from a family sketch written by Stephen Waller in 1920. The 3 names given are Lucy Waller Newman, Edmund Waller, who died in 1847, and Elizabeth Johnston Waller.
Dick Steffey also remembered as a small child there being a cemetery across the road from the house. Someone pulled the stones up and threw them in Beaver Creek. Noone knows who may have been buried in this cemetery. All signs of it are gone as well.