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George Henry Ratterman House

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

George Henry Ratterman (1824-1898) came to Nashville from Germany in 1842.



Photo from GH Ratterman house Facebook


He prospered as a grocer and merchant on Market St. Two decades after arriving in Nashville, George married Ellenore Callaghan (1837-1898) in 1862, and soon after, they built a large Federal style brick mansion on 10 acres at 1215 North Summer St. (current Fifth Ave. North) - in the heart of historic Germantown. Ellenore’s father was Phillip Callaghan, a prosperous Nashville merchant. George was the brother of Mary Jane Ratterman Buddeke of Buddeke-Byne House.


The Rattermans were prominent in Nashville and in Nashville’s German society. George and his brother-in-law Bueddeke prospered as merchants on Market St. on the Public Square. They gave the present altars to the neighborhood’s Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church.

Their daughter, Jane Gertrude Ratterman, married Thomas James Tyne and lived at Longleat. The Tyne’s daughter, Catherine Jane Tyne, married Ed Potter and resided at Oak Hall/ Century Oak.


About 1910, Frank Gasser (1892-1961) and Clara Louise "Addie" Diatikar Gasser (1893-1945) lived at the property. Clara was the daughter of Henry Gottleib Barbara Brunaid Diatikar. Frank led a colorful life and leased land from the Lealand estate for a dairy farm. He likely operated a roadhouse there as well.


For years, the home was abandoned as well the area being neglected In the mid-1970s, a rebirth began happening in the Germantown community. In 1979, Joe Herndon arrived in Nashville and desired to live in the downtown area and specifically Germantown. He purchased the Ratterman house to reside in and the neighboring Ritter House for his business. Herndon is a preservation specialist and is married to Dee Dee Walker. They were very involved with the restoration of homes in Historic Rugby on the Cumberland Plateau.


In 1981, Ernest (?-2013) and Berdelle Campbell moved from Belle Meade to Germantown and into the Ratterman House. Ernst had been the chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Vanderbilt University. They immediately started created a "wild garden" on the half acre they purchased beside their new home. It has since developed into a neighborhood treasure. Shortly after Ernsest passed away, Berdelle worked with The Land Trust for Tennessee and put a conservation easement on their property. In 2022, the Ratterman home is on the market.


[Prior to Ellenore Callaghan’s marriage to George Ratterman, she and several members of her family were involved with William Walker’s revolution in Nicaragua. Walker invaded and took over the government in Nicaragua, and the Callaghans came down very shortly afterward. She published her stories in the Nashville Banner’s 1912 “Women’s Edition.” Previously, Walker’s efforts as a Southern filibuster had tried to conquer the Mexican states of Senora and Lower California in 1851 but was driven away. In 1855, Walker invaded and succeeded in becoming Commander-in-Chief of Nicaragua and de facto president in 1856. He was driven out by 1859.

When he returned again in1860, he was captured and executed. Two of the Callaghans died of tropical fever shortly after arrival in Nicaragua. Elleanore and others seem to have been partly under the protection of Walker but never applied to any land grants there. They were later returned safely to the United States by 1868. Walker’s adventures were part of the filibuster movement in the mid-1800s to expand the United States under the Manifest Destiny ideal and also to expand Southern slavery territories in the Caribbean and South America.] See Buddeke-Byne House, Longleat, Oak Hall/ Century Oak


Sources:

Nashville Pikes, Vol. 5, 150 Years along Buena Vista, Whites Creek, Brick Church and Dickerson Pikes, Ridley Wills II, pp. 59-61



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