Mt. Airy Estate

Location: Four miles south of Mt. Jackson, on Route 11, and one mile west on North River.

Built: 1772 - 1795


10 Mar 1795: Tavenor Beale and Betty, his wife, sold to William Steenbergen, "Mt. Airy Estate", it being a part of two different tracts of land willed to Westley White by his father, William White, and said Westley White sold to Abraham Brewbecker and said Brewbecker by deed dated April 23 and 24, 1772, sold to Tavenor Beale.

14 Dec 1841: Elizabeth Steenbergen, widow of William Steenbergen, sold to John G. Meem, Sr.

20 Oct 1870: John G. Meem, Sr. sold to John G. Meem, Jr.

3 May 1876: John G. Meem, Jr. sold to John Southgate Lemmon.

20 May 1884: John Southgate Lemmon, trustee to Henry Grafton Dulaney, Jr.

1 Apr 1909: Arthur Herbert, etc., trustee under the last will of H.G. Dulaney, Jr., conveyed to S. Henley Carter.

20 Apr 1909: S. Henley Carter sold to Daniel Kelliher of Seattle, Washington.

Physical Description

This beautiful mansion is built of stone and brick with the cornices made of plain wood. The walls in the dining room have high paneled wainscoting, a long panel above and a narrow one below, with beaded cornice at the top. The doorways all over the house are two feet thick, have three panels, grooved and molded. The fireplace in this room has square columns and a banded apron with three panels molded and fluted, perpendicular fluting across the top of the paneling, and a step design shelf; the mantel in this room was originally in the Rude's Hill house which was a part of this estate at one time; this mantel was placed in its present position in 1925. The doors in this house are holy design, six panel double cross.

In the spacious hall, the wainscoting only comes to the chair rail and is also paneled; the chair rail is molded. The fireplace in the hall is of black marble; the columns on each side are Corinthian design and set a little forward of the square facing. It also has a marble fluted overhang and black molding under a black shelf, the rest of the trim is in mottled marble. The stairway has one landing, a turned newel post and balusters, and a round hand rail; and the risers are scrolled. The front door has a fan light above same. The parlor fireplace is the same as the hall. A balcony opens off the parlor which looks on a beautiful landscaped terrace. The hinges on the doors are plain, the latches are brass knobbed iron, old type; these also were brought from the Rude's Hill house. The door frame to the bedroom is three feet thick and has cupboards in the same; the fireplace is corniced and has a beaded molding and drops on the cornice; the columns are round and fluted; the apron has a panel in the center. The fireplace side of the room is paneled and there are cupboards on either side and over the door.

In the nursery the same kind of cupboards are found. The fireplace is of step design; the cupboards are from floor to ceiling. The library which is next was built of brick in 1930 and has a beautifully finished walnut floor; the west and south side of this room are brick, the east side is rock.

Historical Significance

This estate was the home of General G.S. Meem, and all of the papers he carried during the Civil War, that were available, were in this house; among them being a roster of every one in his command, also letters written by different relatives that are of importance.

Some other persons of note who were connected with this home are: James Madison Hite Beale, who was born at Dunmore, Mt. Airy, February 7, 1786, and while residing here was a member of Congress from Virginia, for two terms, 1833-35 and 1835-37.

William Steenbergen, Sr. died here in 1839; he married a daughter of Tavenor Beale, who was the first sheriff of Dunmore County.

Daniel Kelliher of Seattle, Washington, bought this estate for sentimental reasons, for his wife, Elise, was a daughter of General G.S. Meem, and a niece of John G. Meem, Jr.

This house is furnished entirely with antiques, most of them being heirlooms with a history. There are many family portraits in oil, and many velvet lined leather cases of tintypes. There are also pictures of Calhoun and Lincoln; these were taken from the original portraits in which the dress suits of each man are placed beneath the head of the other, the reason for this being the scarcity of dress suits at this time. The original of these two portraits are in the studio of Mr. Morrison, photographer, Woodstock, Virginia.

The stairway is covered with prints of the old time watering places and sport resorts of Virginia before the Civil War. There are two pictures of "The Quorn Hunt", there is also "Talli-Ho and Away" and "The Whefsendune". Along the upper hall are several Scottish (sic) portraits and a picture in colors of "Types Militaires", "Emperor Napoleon III", "Mavine de equipages de Ligue"; also a group of pictures: "L'Europe", "L'Asia", "Faust and Gretchen" and "Scotland".

Source: Virginia W.P.A. Historical Inventory Project, 1937

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Created October 29 2001