Free land to the Seneca, Shawnee, Mingo, Delaware and Cherokee peoples for countless years, the property now known as Swift Level was first documented as a secured patent from the Commonwealth of VA in 1788 by James Peebles. The property began a rich history documented by generations to follow.
Situated on the Midland Trail, (a thousand year migratory route for indigenous communities, woodland bison, elk) and the James and Kanawha River Turnpike, (surveyed by the young George Washington) a roadway that hosted troops traveling to the first land-battle of the Revolutionary War. Swift Level is situated in the Greenbrier Valley immersed in the early history of this karst region with limestone outcroppings, native bluegrass, abundant fresh springs and the ever-flowing Mulligan Creek. Samuel McClung ll purchased the property in 1822 and completed construction of the present day cluster of brick houses in 1827. The property then known as Mountain View raised 12 children, was a base for 4 stagecoach lines, hosted southern sympathy throughout the Civil War with 2500 Union troops encamped just 1 mile west during this time. In 1875 the property was assigned jointly to Martha McClung Porterfield and husband John A. Porterfield. John A. Porterfield conveyed interest to the Porterfield family in 1877. It changed ownership in 1890 to the Knapp family who managed and successfully farmed during both depressions.
In 1930 the property was purchased by Swedish immigrant Oscar Nelson and his wife Harriet Engstrom Nelson and re-named Morlunda after Oscars native home in Sweden. Extensive renovations and new construction began along with the foundation of what became an internationally renowned herd of Hereford cattle being raised on what expanded into over 2500 acres. Morlunda Farms hosted dignitaries from all corners of the world in the days of gas, oil and cattle. Annual field days gathered crowds of over 1000 on the sweeping front lawn, shaded under centuries old maple trees while feasting on delicious pit cooked steers. Many guests would stay at the nearby Greenbrier Hotel and return in subsequent years to purchase cattle that went to countries as far away as South Africa and Brazil for breeding programs.
The property has remained in the family yet found itself divided sixty years later into large parcels where it has continued the tradition of cattle, horses and entertaining. The main unit of Morlunda became a tract of 151 acres and its name changed to Swift Level. Oscar Nelson lll retained the name Morlunda for his lands which are adjoining Swift Level . The name Swift Level represents a mounted calvery of McClungs named the Greenbrier Swifts and the Original People''s name for ‘big levels’ of which the Greenbrier Valley rests in.
The past 16 years Swift Level has been very active as a horse property where breeding and sales have been very successful. Swift Level ran a 125 mile ride listed by Equitour and Hidden Trails through the mountains once again gaining international status. (see articles). Swift Level is renowned for its lodging, cuisine and hospitality all enhanced by the beauty and history of the property.
Retreat programs include many corporate and private programs, including the horses, massage therapy and star-lit skies creating an environment that produces a high rate of return bookings.
Special events are always an attraction to Swift Level. Weddings, receptions, private dinners, private and community fund-raising events, art shows, horse shows and special programs for youth.
Jennifer "Tootie" Jones
Route 2 Box 269
Herns Mill Road
Lewisburg, WV 24901
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