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Forbes-Mabry House

The Forbes-Mabry House was built in 1861 at 607 North Second St. by Professor William Archibald Forbes (1824-1862) and Mary Elizabeth Brunson Garland Forbes (1821-1891).

Photo by Sbugsyk

It was built the house in Italianate style. (Dr. Forbes’ first wife was Sarah L. C. Bryce, ?-1851.) Prof. Forbes and Mary wed in 1853 and bought the land from G. A. Henry of Eagle’s Nest/ Emerald Hill. Prof. Forbes taught Pure and Mixed Mathematics and Natural History at Stewart College, was a trustee and chair of the math department as well as the Clarksville City Engineer and a partner in Forbes and Prichett, Stemmeries, a tobacco business. Prof. Forbes became Col. Forbes as he had military training in his youth in Virginia and commenced training enlistee students at Stewart College. Col. Forbes was killed at the Second Battle of Manassas.

Mary’s stepfather, Cave Johnson, stayed with her family during the war. In 1817, Johnson was elected Attorney-General of Tennessee. He served in the U.S. Congress between 1828-1844. Johnson was the official who surrendered Clarksville to Union Forces at Clarksville Landing in 1862. After Mary died, her daughter, Bettie Garland, had to sell the estate by court order in 1892.

In 1894, the house was sold to Nannie W. Tyler Johnson (1841-?), wife of Polk Grundy Johnson (1844-1889) who was Mrs. Forbes half-brother. Nannie and Polk wed in 1875. [Polk’s first wife from 1868 was Emma V. Robb, daughter of Col. Alfred and Mary Helen Robb of Cumberland Hall.] After the Civil War, he secured an appointment as clerk and master of the chancery court in 1870-1889.

Nannie sold the house to Thomas Lawson Mabry (1847-1902) and Elizabeth “Betty” Dabney Mabry (1858-1938) in 1899. After both parents died, their daughter, Malinda Mabry Macon, bought the house from the estate and converted it to apartments.

Elizabeth’s brother and his wife John Elliot Mabry (1895-1943) and Ernestine Bowden Mabry (1895-1971) inherited it. They wed in 1922. In 1973, Agnes Louise Baldwin Webb (1926-2001) and Sidney B. “S.B.” Webb (1929-2020) bought the Forbes-Mabry House. S. B. owned Webb’s Furniture Co. in Clarksville. Agnes was a basketball player in her youth and played on the first U.S. women’s national basketball team. The Webb family sold the home to Hilliard Black Dabbs (1916-2013) and Jeanette Dabbs. Dabbs owned Dabbs Realty Group. He was also a WWII marine veteran and later a steel consultant in France, Australia, Turkey and Wales. They used the property for their real estate business and residence.

They later sold the property to Thomas O. Williams III and his wife. Since 1988, Donald D. and Patsy Sharpe have owned Forbes-Mabry House. The couple designed and handled much of the restoration himself. Don is a contractor and Patsey is an ornament designer. NRHP 1994 See Cumberland Hall


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