Ashbourne Farms is the agricultural legacy of W.L. Lyons Brown and Sally [Shallenberger]
Brown. A wedding gift to the young couple in 1937–several Scottish Shorthorn cattle and
bull–given by Sally’s grandfather, Ashton Cokayne Shallenberger, the fifteenth governor
launched the makings of the property that stands today.
Ashton Cokayne Shallenberger owned a farm in Nebraska, called Ashbourne, where he bred shorthorns for a living. After his death in 1938, W.L. Lyons Brown and Sally named their budding property Ashbourne Farms in her grandfather’s honor. From meager beginnings, the Browns built the farm from the ground up, suffusing the property with a deep love of agriculture and nature. This legacy is the foundation upon which the modern day iteration of Ashbourne Farms flourishes.
Years of thoughtful care went into restoring the property to the picturesque splendor of its heyday; the entire farm is now listed on the national historic register. On it stands a restored version of the original farmhouse, built in the late 1800’s, along with a number of other revived structures. More than that, Ashbourne Farms nurtures its vision of preservation and natural conservation with intention. In doing so, its family members opened Ashbourne Farms to the public, so that its beauty could be relished by others for generations to come.
After a chance meeting at the Derby, W. L. Lyons Brown and Sara “Sally” Shallenberger forged their destiny. Brown crossed the seas to profess his love, and they were married in Vienna, Austria.
Sally Brown’s grandfather, Ashton Cokayne Shallenberger, 15th Governor of Nebraska, gifted the newly married couple with a champion Shorthorn bull and several cows for their recent nuptials.
In 1937, Lyons and Sally purchased their first 150 acres of land and named it Ashbourne Farms, after the Nebraska farm owned by Sally’s grandfather who passed away shortly after presenting their wedding gift. The farm name and its corresponding crest are derived from the town Ashbourne in Derbyshire, England where the Cokayne family originally resided.
By 1945, Lyons and his brother, George Garvin Brown II, became the country’s premier Shorthorn breeders.
For over twenty years, the Ashbourne Inn was a notable inn and restaurant in Oldham County, Kentucky where they served food directly from the farm, becoming one of the original farm-to-table destinations.
After W.L. Lyons Brown passed away, Sally retained 850 acres of the farm that she and her late husband amassed.
To protect the land in perpetuity and preserve its natural beauty, Sally Brown placed those 850 acres into a land trust, thus ensuring the continuation of her and her husband’s beloved legacy.
With plans to keep the family farm tradition alive, second-generation daughter, Ina Brown Bond purchased the farm.
Austin Musselman and his wife, Janie, purchased the land from his mother and expanded it to 2,250 acres. The husband-and-wife partners renovated the show barn, added equestrian and event facilities, and have plans to bring back Ashbourne Inn.