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Dun Ailie: Ellen's Hill

Updated: Apr 28

Photo by Shelly Hamby

Dun Ailie was built in 1848 by Obadiah Hurt on Murfreesboro Rd. near the Briley Pkwy intersection (likely near the current Dunailie Dr.).

A Mr. James, banker in Nashville owned it prior to the Civil War. After 1865, Dr. William Palmer (W.P.) Jones (1819-1897) and Jane Elizabeth Currey Jones (1834-1918) purchased the property. He was involved in several publications including The Southern Journal of Medical and Physical Sciences, Parlor Visitor, and Tennessee School Journal. In 1858. Dr. Jones along with others founded the Shelby Medical College - named in honor of Dr. Shelby. In 1862, he was named Superintendent of the Tennessee Insane Asylum. In 1873, he was elected State senator in the Tennessee Legislature. In 1887, President Hayes appointed him Postmaster of Nashville.

Next, Dr. Jones’ daughter, Mary Bell Jones Wheeler (1858-1919) and Albert Johnson (A.J.) Wheeler (1843-1924) got the home. A.J. was a senior member of the publishing firm, Wheeler, Osborne & Duckworth.

They sold the property to Ellen Christie McClung Marshall (1843-1927), a widow (of John Twist Marshall, Jr.), and she owned the home until 1904. Ellen was part of the Knoxville and Nashville McClung clan. Her sister was Margaret McClung (Mrs. Matthew) Gardner of Lynnwood. Ellen's sister, Eliza McClung Ewing died in 1907, and her husband Frank McGavock Ewing lost their Pulaski farm about the same time. Frank moved in with his mother-in-law and bought Dun Ailie. Frank was involved in fire and marine insurance, was the owner.

Then, Senator James B. “J.B.” Frazier (1856-1937) and Louise Keith Douglas Frazier were owners. They wed in 1883. Frazier He was the 28th governor of Tennessee and afterward served in the State Senate 1905-1911. They flipped the home in a year to Ellen's other daughter Johnnie and her son-in-law Lemuel Campbell.

So, in 1915, Lemuel Russell (L. R.) Campbell (1859-1942) and his wife Johnnie Marshall Campbell (1870-1923). L.R. was an attorney. The Campbells had lived on Hillsboro Rd. and moved to Dun Ailie when the railroad took their home and property; they had been living in the old Mongomery estate overseer's house near Lombardy and Hillsboro Rd. Lemuel's parents were Gov. William B. Campbell and Frances Campbell of Bowen-Campbell House.

In 1942, part of the estate was inherited by their son, (Francis) Russell Campbell (1900-1963) and his wife Mary Baird Creveling Campbell (1905-1988). They wed in 1928. Her family owned Hillhurst The couple purchased the remainder of the land from other heirs in 1944 with 236 acres. They resided there until 1958 when the couple moved to 1012 Belle Meade Blvd.

The Dun Ailie estate consisted of 236 acres then. By 1957, the estate was surrounded by residential subdivision developments including Glencliff and Seven Oaks developments. After 1958, the property was sold for subdivision development and the house razed. The Dun Ailie name is derived from Gaelic for “Ellen’s Hill” which reflected the Campbell’s Scottish heritage and Ellen Marshall’s ownership of it. The family connection is remembered by Dunailie Dr. See Bowen-Campbell House, Hillhurst, Lynnwood


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