In 1837 the Reverend Horatio Thompson took ownership of the Timber Ridge, Va farm where Church Hill sits. 11 years later “Church Hill” was built and occupied by Horatio Davenport Thompson and his family, a minister of the nearby Timber Ridge Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church. The property was formerly owned by the pioneering Houston Family who acquired title of the land in 1742 as part of the Borden Land Grant. In a log dwelling, that was moved to make way for the present home, Sam Houston, the Texas legend was born in 1793. It is believed that some of the logs from the Sam Houston birthplace were incorporated into the bank barn that still remains on the property today. In 2001 Church Hill was used for several scenes of the Warner Bros. film “Gods & Generals”. Today the property is in the hands of the 6th generation of Thompson’s that have called “Church Hill” their home. Church Hill is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and the Virginia Historic Landmark Registry.
The home is said to have been built on the homesite where General Sam Houston of Texas fame was born in a log cabin on March 2, 1793 to Major Samuel Houston and Elizabeth Paxton. The Houston family moved to Tennessee in 1807 after the death of Sam’s father, Major Houston. Today there is a 38,000 pound piece of Texas pink granite commemorating the birthplace of the Texas hero placed at the Sam Houston Wayside just below Church Hill.
While filming the movie "Somersby" with Richard Gere in Lexington, Church Hill was identified by a location scout as a potential venue for an upcoming movie. A few years later a deal was struck and Church Hill was the setting for a major Hollywood Production starring Robert Duvall, Stephen Lang, Cali Rocha, C. Thomas Howell and Frankie Faison. Filming took place in August, 2021.
This scene was filmed in the Library at Church Hill and is easily recognizable today.
Somersby starring Richard Gere and Jodi Foster
War of the Worlds starring Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning
Gods and Generals starring Robert Duvall, Stephen Lang, C. Thomas Howell, Frankie Faison, Cali Rocha & Mira Sorvino