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B. O. Keesee Residence/ Cumberland Bank

Updated: Jun 19

502 Madison St. Clarksville, TN

Circa 1874.

The Keesee house boasted about 20 rooms and modern conveniences. Bellfield Octavius (B.O.) Keesee (1827-1875) was a native of Clarksville and was raised on a nearby farm.

Photo from VisitClarksvilletn

He was able to enjoy his fine new home for a year. In 1852, he wed Cornelia R. Peacher (1836-1919), and they never had children. Cornelia was the daughter of Pete and Sarah Peacher who were a prominent family. The Peachers owned a couple mills, much property in Clarksville and in several surrounding counties. In 1868, he was a founder of Clarksville National Bank operating as Montgomery Savings Institution and served as president. Just two years later, about 1870, the bank bought the old Tennessee bank building on the Public Square and changed its name to Bank of Clarksville. Later because it upgraded its standards, it changed to Clarksville National Bank. By the 1930s, it merged with First National Bank. For nearly a decade before succumbing , Keesee battled cancer.

Four years after Keesee died, in 1879, Cornelia married Edmund Turnley, a merchant who owned a hardware business and was a partner in Clarksville Ice Company with George S. and James M. Bowling. Turnley’s wife and 2 children had perished in 1878. Turnley died in 1896, and Cornelia remained in the house with her stepson, Edwin Turnley and his family and later with his sister Nettie Wade, husband Stokley Wade and family.

In 1916, the home was sold to Clarksville Hospital stockholders. In 1917, the home was renamed Clarksville Hospital. Two years later, the adjacent neighbor M.C. Northington House was purchased to house nurses. With growth, the hospital exchanged land with R.U. Edmondson and his property on North Second St. and he moved into Keesee property. Later, the home was sold to Dudley Murphy who resided there for years. He was a mortician.

In 1977, he sold the home to the Bank of Clarksville. Several banks have operated from the Keesee home; as of 2020, the structure now houses the Cumberland Bank & Trust.

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