Garrett VanMeter Home
Photo by Albert Mach
The Garrett Van Meter home was built circa 1830’s by cattle farmer Garrett Van Meter. He was the son of Colonel Jacob Van Meter. The house is two story brick structure in the Greek Revival style of architecture. The house is listed on the National Historical Register.
In 1861, the kitchen burned down during pork butchering and a new summer kitchen was added. The house has 10 rooms each with a fire place. Several generations of the Van Meter family built houses in the area, leaving a record of their wealth and prominence in local society. The other three Van Meter family dwellings are still standing in the immediate area and include Traveler’s Rest, Fort Pleasant and the William Van Meter home (named Buena Vista), all within a mile of this home.
Although the Garrett Van Meter house was divided from its farm and outbuildings in 1974, the surrounding land is still devoted to its historic agriculture uses and much of it is still farmed by the current owners, Sam and Kelly Williams and their 4 children.
The Williams purchased the home in 1999 and spent 2 years restoring it to its original splendor. Projects left to be completed include the summer kitchen and landscaping.
After Garrett’s death in 1865, at the age of 52, the home was sold, and his widow and most of her 9 children moved to a large tract of land near Mansfield, Illinois where Garrett’s brothers lived. The home passed from the Van Meter family to the Whiting, Welton and Leatherman families before ending up with the Williams family. Rebecca Van Meter, of Traveler’s Rest, kept a diary from 1855-1864 of her life in Old Fields. This diary was published by the Williams family and they consider it the most treasured part of their home.
In her diary, Rebecca talks about life during the civil war for her sisters and brother, Garrett. Union soldiers passed by their homes daily. Rebecca documents the struggles of Garrett and his family in dealing with the Union army as they came by their home demanding to be fed, demanding supplies, and taking what they needed. Garrett’s five sons all served honorably in various regiments in the confederacy from the Hardy Blues to the Hardy Calvary.
The Williams family has taken great pride in preserving history by restoring the home. They feel that opening their home for Heritage Weekend is a great way to continue passing down history.
Open courtesy of Sam and Kelly Williams and Family
Location: North on Rt. 220 from Moorefield to right turn on Reynolds Gap Road. Continue for ½ mile to Sycamore Bridge Road and turn right. Continue on this dirt road and bear left at the “Y” and continue into the home’s driveway.