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Early Rutherford Pioneer: Espyland aka. Espey's Branch

Just northeast of Smyrna, off a path that became Old Jefferson Pike, James Espey settled a family Revolutionary War land grant. His family was there about 15 years before they built a nice 2 story home.

Photo from RuthCo.HistSoc.

Located on present day 311 Jefferson Pike, James Espey (1760-1813) and Mary Patrick Espey (?-1773) built Espey’s Branch/ Espeyland about 1795 on 1,280 acres. The home was a large 2 story brick home with a central 2-story portico. James was a signer of the Cumberland Compact in 1780. His father, Robert Espey, was a member of Demonbreun’s original group that founded Nashville. Originally, the homestead was known as Espey’s Branch. The Espey family were farmers. James served as sheriff in the area and was killed while performing official duties. After Mary died, in 1780, James married Mary Catherine Overall Espey (1762-1811). Her father, William Overall and mother were part of the Ft. Nashborough founding group as well. He was serving as a sheriff in Williamson County at the time.

His son, Robert Armistead Espey (1798-1871), inherited the property. Robert married three times: Mary C. Wade, Eliza Clay, and Lucinda Biles. In 1946, Mrs. Ellis King, greatx3 granddaughter of Robert, owned the property and retained ownership in the 1950s. In 1967, Espeyland was destroyed. At some point in the 1970s/80s, much of the property was acquired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It was then leased back to the Town of Smyrna for the creation of Sharp Springs Natural Area park. The home had stood at the entrance of the current Sharp Springs Park. The family is remembered through Espey Dr. located north of the former homestead.

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