Camilla Leake
Barrow House

WFP Historical Society

Contributed from the 1972 Audubon Pilgrimage Booklet
by the WFP Historical Society

Amos Webb was a man of many parts. In the early years of St. Francisville's history, he operated a theater next to the Market House, and, in 1813, had himself appointed postmaster, renaming the post office "Webbsville." The town had become too well known under the patronage of St. Francis for this egocentric innovation to hold, however. A more permanent contribution was the salt-box house he built on the lot he bought in 1810 from the town's jail keeper. This unpainted two-story frame dwelling, its front doors opening directly onto the street, became home to a succession of noteworthy townspeople, and grew into The Camilla Leake Barrow House we know today.

One of these residents was J. Hunter Collins, who bought the salt-box in 1857. The law partner and well-loved friend of L. D. Brewer of Virginia, Collins added the cottage part to the house for use as his office after the untimely death of his partner in 1859. Since the ironwork varies, perhaps an earlier face-lifting had occurred at the hands of Mrs. Ann Jordan, a widow who used her husband's military pensions to improve the property she had picked up for little or nothing at a Sheriff's Sale.

In July 1859, William W. Leake began reading law in Collins office, and was admitted to the Bar just before the outbreak of the Civil War. The double-balcony salt-box with its cottage addition became his home in 1866. His daughter, Camilla Leake Barrow, whose doctor-husband had been born at Highland, came with her family to live in the house in 1895.

Postmaster, soldier, lawyer, doctor, and enterprising, vigorous widows -- this house has been home to all, and all have left footnotes to the history of their town.

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