Lynne Dant on Naming the Rooms at The Homestead Bed & Breakfast
By: Lynne Dant, COO and Distiller
When our family decided to revive the grand old home near the center of this property – a house that has a storied past connected to both the Abbey of Gethsemani and one of the original Dant distilleries – and turn it into The Homestead Bed & Breakfast, we saw it as an opportunity to honor some of the unsung heroes of our family – heroines, actually. This was a big family that made a very big impact on the bourbon industry in Kentucky. But as every Dant will tell you, these women, and many others like them, are the ones who have held this family together for almost 200 years. Their husbands made great bourbon. They made a great family, and along the way, created a tradition of hospitality that inspires everything we do at Dant Crossing.
That’s why each of the suites at the renovated Homestead bears one of their names. We wanted to share a little background about each woman.
Ann Catherine Ballard Dant
Ann Catherine Ballard Dant – our matriarch, was married to Joseph Washington Dant. Ann Catherine was born June 15, 1830. She lived 72 years and raised 10 children, nine of whom were there with her when she passed. She lived a life of “true Christian simplicity,” and was every bit the frontier pioneer that her husband was known to be. When guests stay in the Ann Catherine Suite, they are in touch with one of the true founders of Kentucky’s bourbon tradition.
Martha Jane Ferriell Dant
Martha Jane Ferriell Dant, married to William Wallace Dant, the fifth of Ann Catherine’s 10 children. Born in 1861, Mattie Jane, as she was known, lived with her husband W.W. in Marion County, just down the road from Dant Crossing. They raised nine children, and it was Martha Jane and her husband who led the second generation of Dants in growing the family business. Martha Jane passed away in 1939, at the age of 78.
Mary Estelle Bowling Dant
Mary Estelle Bowling Dant was married to the son of William Wallace and Martha Jane, William Washington. He was both the distiller and president of Dant & Head Distillery, which was built at the end of Prohibition and located on the same property where Log Still Distillery will be. Mary Estelle is remembered by many of us as “the Mother Teresa” of our family. She was a “saintly woman,” who had 13 children, 10 of whom survived to adulthood. Mary Estelle was well regarded for her Sunday morning biscuits and gravy, and famously served her children in two shifts, the first five and then the second five, always doing her best to accommodate her large and faithful family. Everyone loved Mary Estelle.
Catherine Nancy Moore Dant
Catherine Nancy Moore Dant was postmaster and depot operator at Gethsemane Station. When Wally was growing up, it was his grandmother Nancy and grandfather (John) Wallace whose home he visited each summer. Nothing excited Wally more than his visits to the post office located in the train depot, where his grandmother, and my aunt, Nancy presided. She was “a force to be reckoned with,” as everyone knew. And she was a major influence on her grandson, who has restored this incredible destination with her in mind.
Barbara Ann Hutchins Dant
Barbara Ann Hutchins Dant was the oldest of nine kids and the only sister to eight brothers. She was a staunch supporter of her five children, including my cousin Wally, who is Log Still’s owner and my fellow distiller. A lifelong, faithful Catholic and Notre Dame fan, Barbara Ann couldn’t watch the games with her kids without getting stressed out. She was an avid golfer later in life and secretly loved beating Wally’s dad at the game. She loved her whiskey sours when she did drink, and of course, like most women of her time, she smoked her cigarettes. Barbara Ann was the role model for Wally’s love of family.