Bourbon whiskey bar Jess James


In celebration of having this remarkable property back in the family’s hands, a member of the Samuels family will be available for a meet and greet session at the house during your visit. Included in the rental for the first 20 confirmed reservations. A rare chance for a one-on-one conversation with Rob or Bill Samuels, Jr. about the history of true bourbon royalty in Kentucky!

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History of The Samuels House

Historic Samuels HouseNearly 250 years of Samuels family history - along with some incredibly notable American history - has taken part at this site, beginning with the post-Revolutionary War settlement to Kentucky in 1784. In fact, two generations of Samuels grew corn & distilled whisky onsite for 40 years before the federal home that stands today was built. Circa 1820, the home was constructed by John Samuels, son of Robert Samuels, Jr., who brought a still from Pennsylvania to Kentucky upon settling the land years before. With the construction of the family’s first commercial distillery by third-generation T.W. Samuels, ‘T.W. Samuels Straight Bourbon Whiskey’ is produced in 1844 at the homestead. Twenty years later, T.W., serving as Nelson County Sheriff, accepted the surrender of his brother's notorious stepson, Frank James, granting the last pardon to confederate soldiers & marking an end to the Civil War. Over 150 year later, the house remains a fixture of the Samuels family legacy. 

Colt RevolverThe James Gang - "The Final Surrender" on July 26, 1865

On April 10, 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. But the war didn’t end on that day. During the Civil War, group of men not connected to the Confederate Army roamed the south and border states, raided flanks of the Union Army and stole provisions from the wagons and trains. Among the groups were Quantrill’s Raiders a quasi-guerilla unit that fought as far south as Texas and east into Kentucky and Tennessee. After Lee’s surrender, this group continued to make raids throughout central Kentucky. They were eventually surrounded in Samuels, Kentucky…

Jessy and Frank James PardonFollowing Guerilla chieftain William C. Quantrill, being mortally wounded at Wakefield, the remains of his Army, including Frank James, Jim & Bob Younger, Samuels family cousins Bud & Donnie Pence, and twelve others surrendered to Union Army Captain Robert Young on July 26, 1865 in the front yard of The Samuels House, making it “the final surrender of an organized Confederate force”. Arrangements for the surrender and subsequent pardons were coordinated by Wilson Samuels and his first cousin, T.W. Samuels, great-grandfather of Maker’s Mark founder Bill Samuels, Sr.

Frank and Jesse JamesSince Quantrill had been mortally wounded in a skirmish days earlier, Frank James assumed command and at the surrender handed over the Navy Colt revolver to Captain Young who immediately handed it to a 6-year-old, Ora Samuels, who years later gifted it to her great-great-nephew, Bill Samuels Jr. The revolver, along with notable James Gang documents and photographs, are on display here at the Samuels House.

The James brothers would later go on to rob their first bank the following year in Russellville, KY, marking the beginning of their lives as wanted criminals and eventually becoming the most infamous outlaws in U.S. history.

History of The Samuels House
Bourbon whiskey bar
History of The Samuels House
Jess James