Walnut Hall Stock Farm was originally part of a 9000 acre land grant in 1770 by Patrick Henry to his brother-in-law William Christian, as a reward for his service in the Revolutionary War. In 1892 Lamon V. Harkness came to Kentucky to buy carriage horses. He was so taken with the area that he purchased 400 acres and established Walnut Hall Stock Farm to breed Standardbred horses. Over the years Lamon Harkness established one of the finest Standardbred Farms in the country and expanded his operation to include 5000 acres and the breeding of cattle, sheep and hogs and the raising of various crops including burley tobacco. Some of the great horses during the years of Mr. Harkness were Moko, Walnut Hall, Fereno and The Harvester.
After the death of Harkness in 1915, Walnut Hall Farm passed into the ownership of his daughter Lela and her husband Dr. Ogden M. Edwards, who had purchased the interests of Mrs. Edwards’ brother and sister. Over the years the farm enjoyed great success and owned many famous Standardbred foundation sires and broodmares such as Guy Axworthy, Peter Volo, Peter Scott, Volomite, Hanover’s Bertha, Protector, Scotland, Margaret Spangler, Margaret Arion and many more.
Dr. Edwards died in 1940 and Mrs. Edwards in 1946. At her death her daughter, Mrs. H. Willis (Katherine) Nichols and her son’s widow, Mrs. Sherman Jenney divided the almost 3500 acre farm with Mrs. Jenney calling hers Walnut Hall Stud and Mrs. Nichols retaining the name Walnut Hall Farm. Mr. and Mrs. Nichols continued to operate Walnut Hall Farm as a Standardbred Nursery. In 1936 Katherine H. E. Nichols became the first woman to drive a 2:00 trotter when she drove the mare Margaret Castleton to a 1:59 ¾ mark. The next year she lowered the mark to 1:59 ¼. Margaret Castleton became one of the farm’s best broodmares. Some of the great horses at Walnut Hall during these years were Bergdorf (dam of Abercrombie), Besta Hanover, Darnley, Guy Abbey, Lou Sidney, Impish and Silent Majority to name a few. Between the years 1932 to 1956, Walnut Hall Farm bred eight Hambletonian winners.
Colonel Nichols died in 1985 and his wife, Katherine died in 1986. The farm was split between the daughters with Martha Nichols Brown and her husband Steve operating their acreage as Dunroven Stud and Margaret Nichols Jewett and Katherine Nichols Sautter operating their acreage as Walnut Hall Farm. In 1993 the farm was split again as Margaret Jewett established her acreage as Walnut Hall Limited and Katherine Nichols Sautter with her husband Dr. James Sautter reverted to the original name under L.V. Harkness of Walnut Hall Stock Farm for their portion of the farm.
Since 1993 Dr. and Mrs. Sautter have continued to raise Standardbred horses, cattle and limited crops on 415 acres of the original Walnut Hall Stock Farm tract and 170 additional acres in nearby Scott County. Some of the great broodmares the Sautters have had are Dateable, Breena Hanover, Seven O’Clock and Britelite Lobell. Several great race horses came from the Sautters also including Guts and Dontgetinmyway. Walnut Hall Stock Farm is one of the oldest farms in the country operated continuously by the same family.