White-Gregory-Posey Home looms large in local history

Susan Harber, The Daily News Journal, December 18, 2017

Henry White operated a tavern at this location beginning in 1817. “Whites Tavern” near Stewartsboro on today‘s Old Nashville Hwy. was a favorite inn for Andrew Jackson as he traveled from the Hermitage to Murfreesboro and Washington D.C.

The White-Gregory-Posey Home on Nashville Highway near Old Smyrna Lane was one of the oldest and most historical houses in Rutherford County.

The home was built by Henry White in 1817 as a tavern.  The original structure was comprised of yellow poplar, black walnut, white ash and oak with seven finely carved mantels.

The sturdy, eight-foot chimney was situated eight feet into the ground.  Window panels and sills, door frames, and wainscoting were all handcrafted.  The flooring was held by handmade square nails.  The smokehouse was built by slaves, who baked the bricks in a kiln.

President Andrew Jackson lodged in Whites Tavern to and from Washington.  The tavern was a regular stop for the Old Stagecoach Line, which passed the nearby turnpike.  When Jackson arrived at the tavern and trading post at Stewartsborough, Henry and Miss Lucy White excitedly greeted him as their special guest.

After Henry White passed away, the house was acquired by Lycurgus Nelson (1840-1905), who was a captain in Company K from Rutherford County.  Lycurgus and wife Evelina Belmont Weakley had eight children born in Rutherford County.

Evelina was the granddaughter of Robert Weakley (1760-1845), founding father of Jefferson in Rutherford County and notable Tennessee pioneer.  Weakley Lane in Smyrna carries his name today.

The house was then sold to Major Henry Gregory (1814-1907).  Henry wed Mary “Polly” Mason and had seven children: Henry, Martha Ann, Margaret, Fannie, Mary Jane, Susan and Laura.

With Mary’s passing in 1877, Henry lived on as a widower for 30 years.  Both Mary and Henry are buried in the Cannon Cemetery in Rutherford County.

Major Henry filled the grand home with dancing and fine dining in a lavish manner.  The dining room showcased beautiful cherry presses where a big supper was served to guests.  The side porch of the home was reserved for romance.

While this home was a highlight for dances and carefree living, the same porch of the Gregory home was a post for enemy troops during the Civil War.  The Union took command of the house, and the brick smokehouse was utilized as a fortress.  Holes knocked out of the smokehouse walls for cannons were a result of a skirmish on the lawn.  The historical home was utilized as a hospital during the war.

After the Civil War, the Gregory estate was still intact.  Five Gregory children continued their schooling within the home where their teacher also lived.

The third owner of the home was Wilson Yandle Posey (1824-1908) and his wife Mary May Bumpass Posey (18281891) and their five children.  Son Wilson Yandle Posey, Jr (1866-1962) was raised in the home.

Wilson Jr. and his wife Myrtle Mae Omohundro lived in the home during World War II and watched Army trucks pass near their estate during maneuvers.

Three years after the passing of Wilson Posey Jr. (age 96), the Posey estate burned on March 4, 1965.  Wilson is buried today in Mapleview Cemetery in Smyrna.

The White-Gregory-Posey Home maintains deep history in our county and is chronicled in memory as a classical and cherished abode.

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