Situated at the foot of Early's Mountain and on an eminence overlooking Gill's Creek, the Jubal A. Early Homeplace is in a dilapidated condition today due to years of vacany and neglect. The Raymond Kelley family who has owned the surrounding farmlands for many years responded generously to the concerns of a multitude of Americans who expressed a desire to preserve the homeplace of General Early. Hoping to make the historic place available to the public, they donated the home and more than eight acres of land to the Jubal A. Early Preservation Trust. The trust is comitted to restoring and preserving this house and the grounds as a living memorial to Southern heritage.
It was here that Jubal grew to maturity surrounded by an expansive tobacco plantation like so many of his generation in the rural South. The place had belonged to his grandfather Jubal since the 1790's and the original house (the right front of the present structure) is thought to have been built in the first decade of the 19th century. Here his father, Joab, lived and managed a tobacco plantation of more than 4,000 acres. Joab also served as postmaster of Cooper's Post Office, in the Virginia legislature, as colonel of the Franklin County Militia, and as sheriff at various times. The original house was small by today's standards, with one room each above and below and a large cellar underneath. A kitchen was behind. After Joab sold the place in 1847, an addition was added to the left front and the house enlarged to a typical T-shaped structure. A small office stood in the yard and was later used by the Joplin family who lived here during the Civil War and their neighbors as a schoolhouse. The Joplins, close friends of General Early, contributed six sons to the Confederacy and drilled and supplied young recruits on the premises. It was generally regarded as something of a Confederate gathering place during the war and many a Confederate soldier was fed here. After the surrender at Appomattox, Jubal hid out here while Union soldiers scoured the countryside for him. Disguised as Tom Joplin and on his horse Gray Bill, which Joplin rode at Appomattox, Early easily passed the patrol at the Federal camp nearby and escaped South with the assistance of many friends. The old home passed through a succession of owners who farmed the fertile bottomlands until 1995 when it was deeded to the Preservation Trust.
The Jubal A. Early Preservation Trust is currently seeking tax deductible donations toward this preservation project. Our goal is not only to preserve and refurbish the home, but also to present interpretive programs and other programs to develop a greater appreciation of Southern history and culture. We would appreciate any contribution of time, labor, materials, furnishings, artifacts, educational materials, research, and, most of all, monetary gifts toward this project. We solicit your interest and your participation in this exciting venture.