I started working on this post last year since I was led to believe that the man, Thomas Offut Drane, that built this house had an ancestral link to President Obama, former Presidents Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney. I wanted to post it in time for President’s Day but as usual, Murphy’s Law sprung into action with me coming down with a respiratory infection and less than a month later, the flu despite getting vaccinated. I’m hoping that the house is still standing since it was 6 or 7 years ago that I took these photos. During this time, I used the free 2 week trial on Ancestry to do research, on more than one occasion. It was exasperating having to go through so much information, with some of it being wrong. The common ancestor who has such esteemed descendants was Mareen Duvall who settled in Maryland and became a very prosperous planter in the 17th century. I did find Dranes that married into the Duvall family but never a direct link. Also, there were some sites that included information that this Drane branch came over in the 17th Century on the Ark and Dove with George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, a founder of Maryland but there were others that disputed this fact. Here’s another confusing fact concerning Thomas Drane. He was born in Montgomery County, Maryland in 1761 which is now a suburb of Washington, DC. Montgomery County, however, was formed from parts of Frederick and Prince George’s counties in 1776 so how could Thomas have been born in Montgomery County when it had not yet been established. See how confusing this can be? Despite the conflicting dates, I’m sure he’s from Maryland and was probably born in either Federick or Prince George’s County. Maybe I’ll find something or a Drane descendant will see this post and provide the correct information.
Regardless, this house is significant with its Federal style. Thomas Offutt Drane had money and this house is a perfect illustration when most of the structures in this area during the late 18th, early 19th centuries were of log construction. The detailing, what is left, indicated that he could afford the best craftsmen: the chair railing, the remaining mantel, doors, transom etc. are all hallmarks of a well-to-do settler. There were a number of other families from Maryland and Virginia (including cousins of George Washington) that moved into South Central Kentucky for the prospect of a new, prosperous start with the dispersion of land grants after the American Revolution. The land was fertile, unlike most of the ground in the original 13 Colonies which had been over farmed. They settled in an area, despite it’s reputation, near the Red River often referred to as Rogues’ Harbor because it attracted lawless characters too.
Also during the course of my research, I found Mr. Drane’s will online which is quite interesting: http://files.usgwarchives.net/ky/logan/wills/drane437gwl.txt
According to this will, he had large estate, needless to say. He also listed having several “yellow” slaves which I’m assuming meant that they were of mixed race. With his second wife, three sons were born and named after George Washington Thomas Jefferson, and Andrew Jackson ; I didn’t look up the family tree of his second wife to see if there were any connections. Another weird fact was one of the witnesses to the will was named Aaron Burr, a local merchant,who was actually related to the deceased Vice President Burr. History can be so strange and surprising…