Church Hill At Timber Ridge Plantation- Church Hill is a grand manor built by the venerable Reverend Horatio Thompson in 1848 about 5 miles outside of the Lexington city limits in Timber Ridge, Virginia. The Reverend Thompson was on the board of trustees of Washington College that appointed Robert E. Lee as president of the college. (Timber Ridge, VA is the original location of Liberty Hall which is now known as Washington & Lee University.)
In 2001, when Hollywood came back to Rockbridge County, after filming the movie Somersby nearby a few years earlier, Church Hill was used as the setting for Stonewall Jackson's home in several scenes of the Ted Turner, Warner Bros. movie “Gods and Generals”.
Timber Ridge Plantation is most widely known as the birthplace of Texas Legend Sam Houston, the famous liberator of the Republic of Texas and Governor of the states of Tennessee and Texas. Sam Houston was born on the Timber Ridge, Virginia plantation on March 2, 1793 and lived there until his teens when his family moved to Tennessee. The original cabin was relocated to make way for the new home, but some of the original timbers are believed to be used in other structures on the Timber Ridge, property.
Since it was built in 1848 Church Hill has been the private residence for 6 generations of the Thompson family, and visitation is by reservation only. The home is listed in the Virginia Historic Landmarks Registry as well as the National Registry of Historic Places.
There is a lot of history in this piece of land located just outside of Lexington, Virginia.
In 1864 Church Hill survived Shermans March to the Sea as he ordered Maj. Gen. David Hunter to move up the Shenandoah Valley and employ "scorched earth" tactics to threaten railroads and the agricultural economy of the valley. In June of that year, the Reverend Horatio Thompson could see from the widows watch of the home the Union forces marching by as they descended upon and burned Virginia Military Institute a few miles away in retaliation of that institution sending cadets to fight at New Market! General Hunter was said to have marched up the front walkway to the home, but left Church Hill untouched. Robert E Lee was a friend of the Thompson Family and an overnight guest in the house.
Through the years many distinguished citizens and diplomats from the state of Texas have been visitors as guests of the Thompson family.
The home still looks much the same today as when it was built in 1848
Chuch Hill picture taken in the 1800's
Church Hill during the filming of Gods and Generals