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Bellemont/ Foxland Hall/ Foxland Manor: Sumner Co. horse farm legacy

Updated: Mar 8

Bellemont/ Foxland Hall was built about 1836 near Station Camp Creek in Gallatin by Thomas Anderson Baber (1796-1844) and Lucy Ann Trevelian Baber (1804-1855) on about 350 acres. The present address is 1445 Foxland Rd. The couple met and wed in Goochland Co., VA. They married in 1823. By 1844, at Baber’s death, the estate had grown to 991 acres.

John D. Goss purchased the horse farm in 1862. Goss' father was a wealthy sugar planter in San Domingo - the plantation was 7 square miles. In the 1797 slave uprising, the Goss fam got warned and escaped. In 1842, John Goss traveled from Baltimore to Nashville and started a furniture business. He wed Elizabeth Buie (1808-1894) from Sumner Co., and they purchased Bellemont. The family remained at Bellemont for several years after the death of Goss. Much of the mahogancy furniture at Bellemont came from the San Domingo estate.

By 1910, John Mabry Branham (1874-1935) and Laura Stratton Branham (1885-1972) purchased Bellemont and renamed it Foxland Hall. They wed about 1909. It grew eventually to about 500 acres. Laura’s parents were Mosley T. Stratton and Laura S Stratton of Lynnlawn. John’s grandfather, John T. Carter, had bred Lord Murphy who won the fifth Kentucky Derby. John had started his advertising career in Nashville with The Tennessean’s predecessor the Nashville American. Then he opened his own national advertising firm in Chicago, the John M. Branham Co. He then bought a part of the Nashville Tennessean newspaper and set up a horse breeding stable and fox kennel at Foxland Hall.

By 1929, other regional enthusiasts invested in this sportsman’s club: Rogers Caldwell and Mason Houghland among others. Investors formed the Southern Grassland Hunt and Racing Foundation in 1930 and started the Grassland Steeplechase. Then it prospered as a stud farm for racing horses and was known as Foxland Hall. Laura continued to race thoroughbreds across the country and win large purses.

In 1983, she was awarded the first Sportsman of the Year Award from the Kentucky Horse Breeders Association - it was the first of its kind award and unusual for a non-Kentucky resident to win an association award. After John died, Laura continued residing at Fox Hall.

In 2013, investors renovated the mansion and opened up Foxland Harbor Golf and Country Club. In 2014, the mansion was renamed Foxland Manor. See Kennesaw, Lynnlawn


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