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The Julius Penn Estate

On April 29, 1843 Julius Augustus Penn sent the poem shown below to his soon-to-be wife Elizabeth Minor, and promised her that he would work hard in his new profession of law and build her a home in the Clermont County seat of Batavia that would be second to none. That is if she would be his wife, of course. Records indicate that a building permit was issued in 1855. Not until 1861, at the onset of the Civil War, was a substantial portion of the home completed… the timbers, bricks and glass being fashioned from materials taken from the land on which it was built.

That same year, Mr. Penn organized Company E, 22nd Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Militia to assist in suppressing the rebellion. As Captain of this company, and later Major of the regiment, he saw extensive active service in Virginia. It is local lore that in his absence, General John Morgan’s Confederate Raiders swept through Batavia and stole all of the fresh horses, cured meats and fresh baked pies to be found, including those on the Penn Estate. General Morgan himself is said to have paid his respects to Elizabeth Penn (a painted portrait of General Morgan during the Ohio raid can be found in the 1861 Inn library.)

Not until 1866, after Lee surrendered the CSA armies, was the home entirely completed. Today, other than the inclusion of modern conveniences such as plumbing, heating and air conditioning, the home and out buildings are pretty much as they were then. The smoke house, out house, ice house and bank barn still stand as monuments to how things used to be. The proprietors of the 1861 Inn, Tom and Carole Cottrill, have dedicated themselves to keeping it that way…for their guests to enjoy.

Thy Name, April 29, 1843
"It comes to me when smiles are bright
On gentle lips that murmur round me,
And dandling glances flash delight
In eyes whose spell would once have bound me,
It comes-but comes to bring alone
Remembrances of some look or tone,
Dearer than aught I hear or see,
Because ‘twas worn or breathed by thee.

It comes to one where clustered boughs
Their shadows cast upon this sod,
While in nature’s fame my vows
Are lifted from her face to God:
It comes to tell that all of worth
I dream of heaven or know on earth,
However bright or dear it be,
Is blended with my thought of thee."

Selected by Julius Augustus Penn
for Elizabeth Minor. Author unknown.