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A Cheating General: White Hall

Updated: May 7

White Hall is a 2 story frame Greek Revival mansion at 2536 Duplex Rd. (old Mt. Carmel Rd.) in Spring Hill.

Photo by Skye Marthaler

The house was built by Dr. Aaron C. White and Eliza R. Fain White (1829-1853) in 1844. Dr. White was a large landowner and physician. He had moved north from a plantation at Elkton in Giles Co. to Spring Hill and purchased 300 acres. Dr. White's father was Gen. William White III. Eliza was the daughter of Samuel and Susan Wharton Fain, early settlers in Maury Co. of Williamsport. Because white-washed brick was used on the house and the family name was White, its name became White Hall. Over the years, Dr. White did less farming and resumed his medical practice. The family sold 266 acres to Seth Sparkman. The Whites donated 2 acres for a boys school - Spring Hill Male Academy which evolved into today’s Spring Hill Public School. The family kept 30 acres with White Hall. Eliza died in a yellow fever epidemic.

The next year, Dr. White met Eliza’s cousin Margaret J. Fain (1828-1877) and married her the next year in 1855. Her father, John Fain, was in merchantile and owned Forest Hill, a sizable plantation on the French Broad River in the east. During the Civil War, White Hall had a major part in Maury Co.’s most infamous murder. CSA Gen. Van Dorn had his headquarters at White Hall. Allegedly he was carrying on an affair with a married woman. Margaret did like the situation and told Dr. White to get Gen. Dorn out of the house. Before Dr. White could make the request, Gen. Dorn said he was moving his operation to the Cheairs mansion. Shortly afterward, the husband Dr. Peters shot Gen. Dorn. Dr. White died in 1874.

Three years later, in 1877, oldest daughter Rose White (1855-1933), married John Wesley Cheairs (1854-1919), grandson of Nathaniel Francis Cheairs of Rippavilla. Rose and John lived at White Hall with Margaret until Margaret’s death later that same year. They then remained at White Hall. The family fortune declined, and when the estate was offered for sale by court order, Rose and John were able to keep the home. Rose remained at White Hall until her death in 1927; thereafter, at least one of her children resided there - Irene, Rose, and Wharton Cheairs.

When they died, the house was willed to Scarritt College (now part of Scarritt Bennett Center on the Peabody/ Vanderbilt University campus) , and Scarritt sold the property Hazel G. Morton. From about 1969 to at least 1984, the owner was Morton.

In 1992, Joe Ed and Jean Gaddes purchased and worked to restore the home. They do not reside there, but in Brentwood, TN. Gaddes is very active in mini-locomoties - Mid South Live Steamers. He helped build a steam engine rail exhibit at Maury County Park. The Gaddes are active in local preservation and are members of the Lotz House Foundation. NRHP 1984


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