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Photos above and main photo courtesy of F. Hillman.

Notable Houses and Property near Unison

The buildings and residences of Unison past

"Faraway Farm"
(formerly "Meadow Brook", later "Gray Stone")

Located one mile outside the village on the NW corner of the junction of Willisville and Bloomfield Roads, and conveniently midway between Unison and Bloomfield, is the c.1821 two story stone dwelling that is the centerpiece of "Far Away Farm", once known as "Gray Stone" (and prior to that "Meadow Brook"). The name "Gray Stone" came from the very visual presence of a large outcropping of ancient stone just across the road from the house.

The property was purchased by George Keen from William Carter who owned the land prior to 1821. Apparently George lived in a log house on the estate while the handsome stone house was being built. It was finished in about 1821, at which point George began a systematic goal of purchasing up most of the land between Unison and Bloomfield along the Bloomfield Road to become one of the biggest landowners in the area. Upon Georgeís death in 1873 the property became the residence of his son Jonathon Keen (1873-96) and then upon Jonathonís death it was passed down to son Harry L. Keen. Harry was currently living in the house when the 1937 photograph below was taken by researcher Elizabeth Morgan (Bluemont, VA) for the VA W.P.A. projects. She wrote in her report (now housed in the Library of Virginia archives) that "the entire farm was surrounded by [field]stone fencing", and the fields were cultivated with crops.

"Gray Stone" - photos above and below taken April 6th, 1937 for Virginia W.P.A. Historical Inventory Project

From family history and documents: George and his younger brother John appeared in Loudoun around 1810. Census records indicate they came from New Jersey. George married Nancy Carpenter, and shortly thereafter was the executor of the wills of his father-in-law and brothers-in-law who were well-to-do landowners and slaveholders. George and Nancy had at least six children, three lived to adulthood Ė John, Jonathon, and Unity Keen. His fourth child, Lucy Carpenter, was born in 1857 when he was 69. George is found numerous times in the county land records, and held loans and mortgages of many small farmers. As a matter of fact, when George died a sizeable part of his estate was "notes".

The original part of George's house was built in the late 1700ís, and additions were gradually built over the years. The most current additions on the old house were built in the mid 20th century. The property now exists as a private horse farm, but during George's occupancy an orchard was the primary source of farm income.

Of George's children: John Keen eventually left Loudoun [and] moved to another of George's farms near Winchester where he lived until his fatherís death. Jonathon was killed in a riding accident in 1890. Grandson Harry Keen was left to manage the farms. A member of the VA House of Delegates from 1922-23, he had married Mary Virginia McCann of Winchester, VA whose father, James Kemp McCann, was a rep in the House of Delegates in 1895-96]. Harry kept the family farm for many years before finally selling it out of the family in the mid 1900's, and moving away.

The current owners purchased the property in the 1970's, and relate that the prior owner had added the second side wing to the house, the other already having been there, erected a log cabin (a relic from West Virginia) at the back of the house, and renamed the property "Far Away Farm", the name it carries today. The stone addition to the back was added "sometime during the Victorian period".

Photo - 1937

All photographs by Flora Hillman. All Rights Reserved.