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Felix Compton House/ Seven Hills

Seven Hills, John Lucas’ colonial-styled home, was built in 1811 at the northeast corner of Hillsboro Pike and Harding Place - present-day 5050 Hillsboro Road - likely near the site of the current Covenant Presbyterian Church. John Lucas (1765-1846) and Susannah Lucas (1769-1846) were some of the first settlers pushing farther south of Ft. Nashborough. They lived with their family for a little over a decade near the crest of the hill at current Hillsboro Rd. and Harding Place, overlooking a large valley of the future Green Hills area.

In 1822, the Lucas family sold their house and 100 acres of land to Maj. John Boyd (1771-1837) and Elizabeth Boyd (1770-1828). His second wife was Lemira S. Douglass Boyd (1802-1838) whom he wed in 1829. Boyd built a larger structure in the 1840s incorporating the original home. Maj. Boyd was a very early pioneer in Middle Tennessee, a large landowner and had a primary residence just outside downtown Nashville on Cedar Lane (present-day Charlotte Pike). According to W. Woodford Clayton in History of Davidson County, Tennessee, the Boyd lands stretched across southwest Nashville - generally from present Charlotte Ave. to Granny White Pike. Their daughter, Mary Lemira Boyd Hayes married Henry Martyn Hayes, and they built and resided at Ensworth on West End Ave.

Felix Compton (1809-1870) and Emily Green Webster Compton (1826-1904) purchased the house in 1858 and remodeled it. The Compton family named their place Seven Hills and owned it until about 1905. They owned 460 acres of farmland and 300 acres of woodlands. This plot originally reached from Granny White Pike to Hillsboro Rd. Compton increased the campus size to 750 acres. After the Civil War, the Compton farm increased to nearly 1,000 acres.

The Compton’s plantation stretched from present Woodmont Blvd south to present St. Bartholomew’s Church on Granny White Pike. The Compton family - William, Henry Compton Sr., Henry Compton, Jr. and Felix - became very prominent landowners in West Nashville - their family properties stretched from Belle Meade Plantation to the Lealand estate. History records from the later 19th century refer to Hillsboro Rd. as Compton Pike in parts but not through the current Green Hills area. There remains a portion of the old Compton Rd. bed north of Woodlawn Dr. Felix and Emily’s son, Felix, Jr., inherited their land and became a practicing doctor.

Felix, Sr.’s parents William Compton (1767-1846) and Susan Mullen Compton (1776-1860) settled on what became known as the Compton Turnpike about 1800 and then later, the Hillsboro Turnpike. On arrival in Ft. Nashborough area, they initially rented land from Capt. John Rains along present-day Nolensville Rd. area. Then they began accumulating lands further south. Willoughby and Nancy Williams were neighbors to the west at their Woodlawn estate. They built a brick Georgian home on the ridge by Hillsboro Rd. across from the present start of North Stanford Dr. just below the crest of what became known as Compton’s Hill south of Green Hills. Compton farmed his land and was a carpenter also. Records have him building the flat-boats that carried Gen. Andrew Jackson and his troops to New Orleans. Their son Henry W. Compton (1813-1895) and Annie Ward Compton inherited the home. The house remained in the family until it burned in 1945.

Then Andrew Mizell (A.M.) Burton (1879-1966) and Lillie Mae Armstrong Burton (1886-1981) bought the property in 1929 and lived there until 1981 during which time the area became known as Burton Farm. [Editor’s note: I can remember driving down Hillsboro Rd. into Green Hills in the mid-1980s and seeing the cows and horses on the Burton Farm.] Burton was a founder (in 1903) and president of Life and Casualty Insurance Co. of Tennessee. In 1957, L&C Insurance built a new 31-story tower downtown that for a while was the tallest building in the Southeast. The Burton family deeded the house with 180 acres to David Lipscomb College about 1981. The college then sold the property to a developer. The area was developed into a multi-use site with offices, assisted living housing, condominiums and residences - Burton Hills. In 1984, the house was dismantled and moved to a location in Dickson Co.

The house names came from a long-time family owner (Felix Compton) and later from its setting among the several hills in the area (Seven Hills). The Burton family is remembered through Burton Hills Blvd., 7 Hills Blvd., and the area to the south of the former farm is called Burton Valley. See Ensworth (Hayes)

Photo from Nashville Public Library, Special Collection

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