Unfortunately, if he was fearfully functional on the battlefield, Batey was confidently inept at blackjack,

August 5, 2013 § Leave a comment

Though it was originally designed by Colonel Gerome Batey two years before the Civil War, Old Main was not built until nearly twenty years after Appomattox. Too drunk too often to pursue plans for a mansion before hostilities turned into combat, Batey’s campaigns with the Union army in Kentucky and Tennessee put him in close enough proximity to Southern spirits that he could endure the horrors of war for which he did not have the stomach sober. By the time the Confederates surrendered, his anxiety overtook his addiction and Batey found in riverboat gambling the perfect outlet for both. Unfortunately, if he was fearfully functional on the battlefield, Batey was confidently inept at blackjack, and likely would have lost most of his inherited fortune fair and square if he hadn’t instead begun passing out and got it stolen. He returned to Cincinnati with a liver near failure and a heart whose violent palpitations kept time with the explosions he claimed occasionally to still hear, taking refuge in his childhood home with his widowed mother and youngest sister. With the passing of their mother a few years later, though, so went his sister’s willingness to keep nursing family members. It’s uncertain whether her proposal to use half of their mother’s sizable will to have built for Batey the mansion he’d designed but never actually broke ground on was born of spite or kindness. In any event, Batey was not in any position — physically or mentally — to argue, and he was soon living in the house he never would’ve built on his own alongside a nurse whose name he could never quite remember.

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