On a ridge overlooking the Ohio River east of Owensboro stands Haphazard, a historic home presumably named for the randomness of the eddies of the river it faces.
Mrs. Garland Howard, who owned the property with her husband, submitted the application to have Haphazard Plantation added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The house was added to the register on August 22 of that year.
The property, which includes the ridge and the home, was part of a land grant to George Mason and surveyed in 1787. Mason was a writer of the Constitution of the United States and attended the Constitutional Convention with George Washington.
According to many accounts, George Mason was also a Virginia patriot and never set foot in Kentucky. His grandson Richard Mason inherited the property and sold it to Robert Triplett in 1822.
According to Garland’s application, Richard Mason served as a Colonel in the U.S. Army and was serving as civil and military governor of California in 1848 when gold was discovered there.
When Triplett acquired the property, the deed transfer described the home as “a log dwelling house of two rooms, 20 by 20 feet with a 12-foot passageway between.” The original log dwelling is still part of the current home. Howard said Triplett added the Federal interior, wings on either end and a gable on the north side.
Robert Triplett can only be described as a colorful character. He came to the newly established Owensborough where he became the area’s first major real estate dealer, built the first steam-powered sawmill, established a distillery and began mining coal in Bon Harbor Hills. He also fought in a widely-documented duel and recounted his adventures in his book, “Roland Trevor or Pilot of Human Life,” among many other accomplishments.
A.B. Barret of Henderson, tobacconist and merchant, acquired Haphazard on 1,000 acres in 1843 and sold it the next year to William Bell, a director and later president of Southern Bank of Kentucky. Bell is credited with adding a Grecian style portico to the home.
The Bell family owned Haphazard until 1941 when it was acquired and restored by Samuel Coots and his son-in-law Wallace Thacker. The home had been vacant for three years and was being used to strip tobacco, with livestock sheltered in the basement.
According to a Messenger-Inquirer article from Oct. 5, 1965, Delbert Glenn purchased the home in 1947, but that owner is not included in Howard’s application to the National Register of Historic Places.
Howard’s application states that Garland W. Howard purchased the home and ten acres in 1969, but not from whom.
According to Riley Hess, one of the current owners of the home, Dr. Bruce Beck of Owensboro owned it for a short time after the Howard family, but never lived there. The Hess family has been living there since 1989.
“There are a lot of original features from the early 1800s,” Hess said. “We have a lot of the old doors and floors of American Chestnut.”
She said the home still contains four of the original fireplaces that are still in working order. The Hess family has put in a new kitchen and new bathrooms since they have been in the home.
“I love it because there is so much that is original,” Hess said. “I hope someday someone else will live here and love it as much as we do.”