The home of Archibald and Elizabeth Pannill Stuart was constructed on this site c. 1830. It was in this house that their most famous son. James Ewell Brown was born on February 6, 1833. Six other Stuart children would also be born in this house. Of the eleven Stuart children born to Archibald and Elizabeth, seven were born here at Laurel Hill.
There are no extant contemporary descriptions of the house. The house stood for only seventeen years (c.1830-c.1847), being destroyed by a disastrous fire in the winter of 1847-48. The house had passed into memory by the time its most famous occupant became a military hero. Given the size of the Stuart household, including numerous slaves, the house may well have been built more toward comfort than grandeur. In his 1885 biography of J.E.B. Stuart, H.B. McClellan characterized the house at Laurel Hill as "large and comfortable." Burke Davis' biography "The Last Cavalier," described the house at Laurel Hill as a "big rambling house in an oak grove with a view of the Blue Ridge."
While we have no definite description of the house, local artist Mrs. Pat Gwyn Woltz spent endless hours researching and sketching homes in the area dating from the Stuart era, and whose owners were part of the same socio-economic strata to which the Stuart's belonged. The picture at the left was taken
in 1854 sometime during his final year at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.
This sign is a gift of
Mr. & Mrs. William B. Clark, Jr.
In Memory of Elizabeth Pannill Stuart
Mother of James Ewell Brown Stuart