Blount Mansion was constructed between 1792 and 1830, with the earliest part of the building serving as the home and office of William Blount, the governor of the Southwest Territory and signer to the United States Constitution. Over the next 100 years, the mansion was home to several prominent Knoxvillians, but by 1925, it was marked for demolition. Realizing its historical significance, the Bonny Kate Chapter, NSDAR, led by Regent Mary Boyce Temple, purchased an option on the Mansion and quickly established the Blount Mansion Association to preserve the property.
Blount Mansion, which was designated as Knoxville’s only National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service in 1965, has become the oldest museum in Knox County, Tennessee. A primary goal of Blount Mansion is providing greater education to the public of the important role Governor William Blount played in the history of the United States and Tennessee. Through their continued support, the Tennessee Society Daughters are still aiding in the historic preservation of this national treasure which was saved so long ago from destruction.
Brainerd Mission Cemetery
In 1817, in a small clearing in the wilderness, Brainerd Mission was founded among the Cherokee Indians by the American Board of Foreign Missions whose headquarters was in Boston, Massachusetts. This board secured the assistance of the United States government and established a mission and a school at Brainerd for the education and Christianization of the Cherokee. During the 21 years of its existence, the mission at Brainerd drew many prominent people as visitors. Among them was James Monroe, president of the United States, who spent the night of May 27, 1819, at the mission. The mission closed its doors in 1838 at the time of the removal of the Cherokee west of the Mississippi.
The only visible part of this important story that still remains today is the mission’s cemetery. Since September 26, 1933, when Henry H. and Dorothy D. Hampton deeded the overgrown cemetery land to the local chapters of DAR and National Society Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), our organizations have cared for this beautiful, sacred acre that is rich in history. At the request of the DAR in 1933, a Chattanooga-based architect designed the cemetery’s Colonial Revival landscape. A Georgian-style geometric pattern of boxwoods, trees, paths, and cemetery furniture was installed in and around the remaining original tombstones. A stone wall with vertical capstones to enclose and protect the cemetery was constructed. This design of 1933 remains largely intact today. The six chapters who own the property provide annual dues for upkeep, and members convene at least three times a year to rake leaves and ensure that the grounds are well-kept. On the second Wednesday in June, the Annual Flag Raising takes place at the cemetery. This is a meaningful ceremony that is important to all DAR and SAR members in our district as well as to those of Cherokee heritage, community leaders, and many long-time residents of Brainerd.
Davy Crockett Cabin Museum
This TSDAR Historic Site in West Tennessee is a recreation of Davy Crockett’s last home in Tennessee. It was built from the timbers of his actual home and contains furniture, tools, and other items from the early 1800s, as well as pictures, books, and letters related to Colonel David Crockett’s life here. It was here that he famously hunted and killed 105 bears. This is also the site of his mother’s grave.
David Crockett was born in Greene County, Tennessee, in 1786 and lived in Tennessee all but the last few months of his life. From 1822-1835, he lived near the town of Rutherford and was elected to represent the citizens of Lawrence and Hickman Counties in the state legislature. Following his state service, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives for three terms.
The Tennessee Society DAR has supported the museum since the cabin was named a TSDAR Historic Site during the term of State Regent Grace Gary in 1983, due to the key role of Davy Crockett in our state and national history. Davy Crockett Days are held here in early October with activities, including a parade held during the week.
Nashville’s roots can be traced back to 1779 when the first permanent American settlements were established along the bluffs above the Cumberland River. Fort Nashborough, known originally as Bluff Station, served to protect pioneers from armed incursions by Native Americans hostile to the expansion of white settlers into the area. The largest engagement took place in April 1781, when a force of Chickamaugan Cherokee, led by Dragging Canoe, unsuccessfully attacked the station in what was known as the “Battle of the Bluffs.”
The local DAR chapters funded the construction of a scaled-down version of the original Fort Nashborough in 1930 as part of the organization’s national effort to identify and preserve historic places in the early twentieth century. The structures were rebuilt in 1962 and then again in 2017 when the City of Nashville rededicated a re-imagined new fort complex with an interpretive center to show how early settlers lived and worked. While the 2017 reconstruction is not complete, the final plans include a classroom.
The Rock House, built between 1835-1839, was a toll house and stage stop on the early stagecoach road that ran from Knoxville to Nashville. It is believed that the sandstone building was built by Barlow Fisk, who is said to have operated a store at the place as late as 1852. Famous patrons included James K. Polk, Andrew Jackson, and Sam Houston.
In 1930, a DAR chapter was chartered in Sparta and chose Rock House as the chapter name. The chapter’s interest in the landmark has continued undiminished, and they repair, furnish, and tend to it as part of their chapter activities. The State of Tennessee bought the Rock House and its grounds in 1941 and appointed the Rock House Chapter, NSDAR, as custodians of the historic site. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and on the Tennessee State Historical Register in about 1961.
Tennessee Period Room in the NSDAR Museum, Washington, D.C.
NSDAR’s Memorial Continental Hall in Washington, D.C., houses 31 Period Rooms. Each room is sponsored by a state society and is a historically inspired scene that displays pieces from the NSDAR Museum Collection. The Tennessee Period Room represents a parlor in a wealthy American home during 1828-1836, the years of Andrew Jackson’s presidency. Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, is pictured in the 1830-32 portrait by painter Ralph E. W. Earl that hangs in the room.
The Tennessee Society contributes toward the maintenance and improvement of the Tennessee Room and its furnishings. Recent contributions include a restored gas chandelier, more in keeping with the style of the room; a museum gate for the doorway; and most recently in 2016 the TSDAR replaced the wallpaper with a hand-printed reproduction of Adelphi’s Parakeets and Pearls.