On February 26,1665, Sir William Berkeley Knight, Governor, representing the King of England, Charles ll, granted Major Thomas Walker a Patent for 2350 acres. Unlike a Grant, there were stipulations that came with a Patent. There had to be a certain amount of people living on the land before the Patent was given. Major Thomas Walker took 40 acres (now known as Walkerton), set them aside and invited anyone who wanted to live on the land to come with their livestock and live. 47 people came to live on that land and Major Walker was given 50 acres per person.
The land he petitioned for was the site of “Mattapony Fort.” This land had been petitioned by Edward Diggs in 1653, but he decided not to pursue this particular Patent, so Major Walker petitioned for the land. Several houses and out buildings were constructed near the fort. In approximately 1692, Major Walker’s son, Lt. Col. John Walker, renamed the land “Ryefield.”
Around 1710, a house on the river was built. It was a two room wide house with a hallway down the center. When Baylor and Frances (Hill) Walker came to live on the land, they renamed it “Locust Grove.” In 1773, the house burned. Not only did Frances lose the house, but she also lost her husband, Baylor the same year. She sent her children over to “Hillsboro” to live while she burned 90,000 brick and dismantled two other buildings to rebuild the house. It consisted of the foyer, with a room on the left and one on the right with the stairs leading up to a hallway and one bedroom.
Around 1869, Virginia Henley Walker, known as Miss Jenny, raised the roof on the right side of the house to create another bedroom, added porches and the room above the front porch, and added the kitchen with a room above. She also moved chimneys and doors to create what now exists.
When John Henley Walker Jr. and his wife Letitia came to live at “Locust Grove” they added the wing to the left with a bedroom, bath, kitchenette, parlor, and porch on the first floor. Upstairs, two more bedrooms were added with a bath. The “best room in the house,” the river porch, was expanded and an upstairs porch was added. They brought in electricity and plumbing at that time.
Today, “Locust Grove” is owned by John (Jerry) Henley Walker lll, his wife, Cecelia (Cecky) Ropelewski, and his sister, Letitia G. Walker, who all live on the farm. They are the current stewards, fixing , repairing, and upkeeping the buildings and yard.