Origins of the American Thoroughbred
Buckland Farm has been known for its horses. Beginning in the 1780’s, John and Samuel Love Jr. (on his “Salisbury” plantation in Loudoun County) began to import fine Arabian and European horses to breed. The blood-lines of their stallions “Mahomet” and “Spread Eagle” are listed among the origins of the modern thoroughbred. John Love’s operation became one of the first large-scale breeding farms in Virginia along with “Salisbury” and “Bowling Green.” Samuel Jr. corresponded with former President George Washington seeking his support to sell horses to the United States Army. Washington endorsed the request without recommendation to James McHenry, Secretary of War under President John Adams.
John Love advertised stud services by Mahomet several times in the Republican Journal and Dumfries Weekly Advertiser. This ad at the right ran in the May 16, 1796 edition
Buckland Farm Sold
The Lees and Sargent
Richard Bland Lee II and his descendants lived at Buckland Farm until 1935. Mrs. R. B. Lee’s first cousin, painter John Singer Sargent, visited Buckland Hall on several occasions during the late nineteenth century and painted a rare watercolor of the house in 1887. He also painted a view of the icehouse and three large oil landscapes of various views of the farm. In 1935, the property was sold to Mitchell Harrison, who hired architect Irwin Fleming for the restoration of the main house. II
The property was later sold to Thomas Mellon Evans, a noted Wall Street financier, philanthropist, and horse-breeder. Mr. Evans spent four decades developing a state-of-the-art thoroughbred farm at Buckland, the first in Virginia to be laid out in the Kentucky style. His championship horses included Pleasant Colony, winner of the 1981 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Pleasant Colony died on New Year’s Eve 2002 and was buried at Buckland on the center of the modern Point-to-Point race track within sight of the barn where he was foaled.