The year was 1842. President John Tyler was in the White House. John Fremont was heading westward to explore the route to Oregon, and Henry Clay had resigned from the Senate after forty years as a public official. In that year Robert Costain Beauchamp arrived in Hancock County.
He purchased 160 acres of land and built this two- story brick house, which still stands today on Highway 60 near Windward Heights. It is as elegant and impressive as when it was first constructed. Very few homes in Western Kentucky have survived a longer period of history.
William Beauchamp, father of Robert, came to America during the French Revolution. Rober t Costain Beauchamp was born in the old Fort at Georgetown, Kentucky. He migrated to Daviess County and settled near Yelvington, where he lived until 1827. He then became a citizen of Hancock County.
Beauchamp was a successful businessman and farmer, and soon the original 160 acres grew to 5,000. The house was the center of a thriving “village” with brick furnaces, a black- smith shop, dairy, loom house, livestock, and produce, all of which supported the family quite handsomely.
The house is sur- rounded by huge beech trees, all of which bear initials and dates, carved by some of the early inhabitants. The walls of the house are 18 inches thick and of hand-kilned brick made by slaves. The partition walls are also soundly constructed of brick. There are seven rooms and two halls. In the front hall is an open stairway, and there is an enclosed stair way in the east front room. The floors are of two-inch thick ash, and many of the doors retain the original locks.
Although there have been minor changes through the years, the alterations were carefully planned so that the house would lose none of tis original charm.
Robert Costain Beauchamp served in the Kentucky Legislature in 1867-68 and again in 1871- 72. He died on September 9, 1884, at the age of 84 years and is buried in the family graveyard, which can be seen from the house.
The Beauchamp House today is owned by the C. Waitman Taylor, Jr., family a descendant of Robert Costain Beauchamp. Taylor’s mother, is the great-granddaughter of Robert C. Beauchamp. The late Sam Beauchamp, who died in January 1968, was the last of the Beauchamp grandsons.
(The name “Beauchamp” was changed to “Beecham” in Hancock County, as in the name “Beecham School.”)