Thomas Metcalfe (Kentucky) - Early Life

Early Life

Thomas Metcalfe was born on March 20, 1780 to John Metcalfe and his third wife, Sarah "Sally" Dent (Chinn) Metcalfe in Fauquier County, Virginia. His father served as a captain in the Revolutionary War. In 1784, the Metcalfe family settled near Russell's Cave in Fayette County, Kentucky. Some years later, they would move to a farm in Nicholas County.

Metcalfe received only a rudimentary education, and at age sixteen, he was apprenticed to his brother and learned the craft of stonemasonry. Three years later, their father died, leaving the brothers to provide for their mother and younger siblings. Among the structures built by the Metcalfe brothers are the state's first governor's mansion and the Green County courthouse, known as the oldest courthouse in Kentucky.

On October 2, 1801, Metcalfe enlisted as a lieutenant in the 29th Regiment of the Kentucky Militia. He was promoted to captain on October 12, 1802. About 1806, Metcalfe married Nancy Mason of Fairfax, Virginia. The couple had four children. Between 1817 and 1820, Metcalfe built a house for his family in Nicholas County. The estate was dubbed "Forest Retreat" by statesman Henry Clay who, on his first visit to the newly constructed house, told Metcalfe, "Tom, you have here a veritable Forest Retreat."

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