Henry Farm named to national historic register
From Staff Reports
NASHVILLE — The Samuel Henry Farm in Blount County is among 11 Tennessee sites that have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The 1830s Henry House, located south of Maryville, was first listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 for its Federal and Greek Revival architectural styling.
The new nomination expands the boundaries and recognizes the agricultural impact the farm had on the settlement and development of Blount County, according to a news release from the National Register.
Historic outbuildings on the property include a smokehouse, garage, chicken coop, a 20th century privy and a barn believed to date back to the 18th century.
The farm includes about 90 acres of fields for crops and livestock, along with a historic pond.
The farm continues to be owned and operated by descendents of the family that settled the land, including Larry French, Ginna E. French and James French.
In 2009, the farm was designated as a Tennessee Century Farm by the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University.
At that time, Century Farms Director Caneta S. Hankins provided a history of the farm to The Daily Times.
“Samuel Henry is a well-known name in the settlement of the territory that would become Tennessee in 1796,” said Hankins, who added that as early as 1792, Henry built a fort, Henry’s Station, and planted crops on his land grant.
Married to Polly Beal, with whom he fathered six children, Henry was a quartermaster during the Revolutionary War and played an important role in selecting Maryville as the seat of government for Blount County. In addition to his civic duties, he constructed several mills in the area and also obtained a permit to install special stones for grinding wheat.
Through the years, Henry’s sons expanded the business with a wagon trade that reached as far as Atlanta, Ga. When the mail routes were established, one of the mills that was known as “Brick Mill” became a stop on the regular route.
The second generation to own the property was son James. He and wife Narcissa Howard, along with their five children, produced grain, hay and livestock on the farm. During this period, a substantial brick house, built in the Federal style, was constructed.
According to family records, the home’s bricks were molded and baked by slaves from the red clay on the property. James died before the house was completed, and under Narcissa’s direction, it was completed. She lived there until her death in 1885.
The farm’s long history includes generations of owners, all of whom have kept portions of the historic farm in agricultural production.