Berkeley Plantation, the Birthplace of William Henry Harrison, American Whiskey and “Taps”
Born on the grounds of Berkeley Plantation, William Henry Harrison went on to be the 9th President of the United States. The plantation has also had many other notable achievements over the course of its existence.
Berkeley Plantation was first inhabited by settlers in the early 1600s. In fact, in 1620 American Whiskey was first distilled on the grounds. The development of the land and eventual construction of the main home gives this plantation the honor of being one of the oldest in American history.
The family of Berkeley Plantation were very respected among politics. Many notable people have stayed at the grounds of Berkeley Plantation including the first ten presidents of the United States. Benjamin Harrison V, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. His son, William Henry Harrison was born at the home and went on to be a president.
Unfortunately the property was bankrupted by Benjamin Harrison VIII, 23rd U.S. president, and the family lost the entire plantation to foreclosure. They tried several times to reclaim the property but were unsuccessful. The farm was rented out and the mansion was at one point used as a barn.
During the Civil War, the home was utilized by Union soldiers. George McClellan and Abraham Lincoln met at Berkeley on occasion during the war. The army song “Taps” was written and first played on the wharf of Berkeley Plantation during the Civil War.
John Jamieson was a young boy when he served under George McClellan as a drummer boy for the Union army. He went on to make his money in the lumber industry and returned back to Berkeley Plantation to restore the home in 1907. Although John never saw the home fully restored, his son Malcom and his wife Grace spent nearly twenty years and a lot of money to bring the home back to its former glory.
Malcolm and Grace lived out their life on the property and are buried on the grounds. The home has been a museum since the 1960s.
How to Visit
The plantation is open for tours to the public. For more information about hours and admission please visit the official website here.
Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’.