By Joe Wagner
Behind a bustling shopping mall on the east side of Louisville, Kentucky, right next to the parking lot, is an old family cemetery. Surrounded by a stone wall, it contains a few dozen graves – the last resting place of the family who once owned the land on which the shopping center sits. The shopping center is named Oxmoor Mall, and the land it sits on is part of the original Oxmoor plantation – the ancestral home of the Bullitt family.
The founder of Oxmoor in 1785 was young Alexander Scott Bullitt, of Prince William County, Virginia. Alexander’s new 15 year old wife was Priscilla, whose maiden name was Christian. She was the eldest daughter of William Christian, of Augusta County Virginia, who had given her and her new husband the land from which Oxmoor would emerge. William Christian had come to Louisville, then a part of western Virginia, about 1784 to settle on lands he obtained in Kentucky after many years of military and political service, both to his state and to his brother-in-law, a gentleman by the name of Patrick Henry.
William Christian’s links to colonial Virginia and its military history are many and interesting, but for purposes of this story, you should know that if you do drive around to the back of Oxmoor Mall on the Shelbyville Road just east of Louisville, you’ll have the opportunity to pause at the gravesite of Colonel William Christian, the first Executive Officer and second Commander of the First Virginia Regiment of the Continental Line.