The property had acquired the name Locust Grove in 1771, when Henry Livingston Jr. purchased it from his own father, who had farmed it since 1751. The estate was later sold to John and Isabella Montgomery who used the land for farming operations. Samuel Morse in turn bought the land from them in 1847, three years after his breakthrough with the telegraph. He hired Davis in 1851 and began working with him to remodel and expand the Montgomerys' cottage into an Italianate villa, which is still the current look of the home. The unique combination of landscaped lawns, vistas, and architecture makes Locust Grove one of the most handsome Hudson River estates.