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Homestead Manor: Early Thompson's Station & 3 Daughters Wed 3 Brothers!

Updated: Mar 5

The Giddens and the Buford families were close - offspring married one another. Three Giddens sisters wed three Buford brothers and one Gidden son married a Buford daughter!

Image from Tenn. State Lib. & Archives

This property was built from 1809-1819 by Francis Seymour Giddens, Sr. (1753-1830) and Mary Elizabeth “Betsy” White Giddens (1757-1833) in Thompson Station. They wed in 1782. It was built in Georgian style. The current address is 4683 Columbia Pike. Prior to moving to Tennessee, Francis was a gunsmith in Virginia and made and repaired guns for the American Revolution. About 1800, the couple left Virginia for Tennessee and purchased land along Murfree’s Fork part of the West Harpeth River (and now called Thompson’s Station) as part of his Revolutionary War land grant.

A log house was erected until the Giddens built the larger Homestead Manor. In 1819, Francis received a license to own and operate the mail and an inn. Travelers between the Ohio River and the Gulf of Mexico knew they could find satisfactory shelter there. Francis and his sons were also surveyors and purchased much additional land in Williamson County to establish their plantation. The Tennessee and Alabama Railroad line was built along part of the Gidden’s land in 1852 and helped establish the area as a shipping point. The Louisville and Nashville Railroad (L&N) uses the lines today.

Photo from Visit Franklin site

A daughter, Elizabeth Giddens Buford (1783-1832) married Spencer Buford (1778-1845) in 1801, and they lived at the nearby Buford House/ Roderick Farm.

Next, their other daughter, Nancy Giddens Word (1793-1854) and her husband Samuel Word (1778-1831) owned Homestead after Francis died and while her mother resided there. Nancy and Samuel’s daughter Mary E. Word Lyle (1824-1886) and husband Charles T. Lyle owned Homestead Manor next. They wed in 1848. At some point, the Lyle family moved to Arkansas where they are buried.

After the Lyle family left, James and Rachel Giddens owned Homestead Manor. In 1861, Major Thomas Banks and his family purchased the plantation. During the Battle of Thompson Station in 1863, Homestead Manor was in the center of the fighting. According to lore, when a Rebel flag bearer fell, daughter Alice Banks ran from the house and amid gunfire, raised the Rebel flag to rally the Confederate troops. One of the wounded brought to the Manor was a military surgeon, David H. Dungan, Alice’s beau. She later married Dungan and they lived just north of her family’s home.

Major James H. Akin (1832-1911) and Sophia Burnette Kernan Akin were owners in 1882. They wed in 1881, and then moved from Maury County to Williamson County and into Homestead Manor and farmed 420 acres. In 1870, Akin had been the tax collector for Maury Co. for 2 years. Then he became Justice of the Peace in Williamson County for 8 years. [James' first wife in 1859 was Marinda Cecil. Marinda died in 1867.] Maj. Akin was a farmer and stock raiser. Sophia died prior to 1900. In 1900, Maj. Akin married Lena Odom.

The next owners were the daughter and son in law of the Timmons, the W. T. Naff family; Mary C. (Mrs. Jim) Tanner and her sister Winifred Hagerty. A Giddens relative, Hazel Giddens Morton, owned the home by 1959. Dr. William J. Darby (1913-2001) and Elva M. Darby purchased Homestead Manor in 1969. They wed in 1935. Dr. Darby was Professor of Biochemistry Emeritus, former chair of the Biochemistry Department at Vanderbilt University and one of the leading nutrition researchers of the 20th century.

About 2013, the property was bought by the Marshall family of A. Marshall Family Foods who restored it. Sitting on 50 acres, It is currently a restaurant and events place and affiliated with Puckett’s restaurant properties. The 50 acres is protected by a permanent conservation easement through The Land Trust for Tennessee. In 2019, the Homestead Manor was closed in order for A. Marshall Family Foods to concentrate on other lines of business.

In 2020, a church Hope Unlimited Church from Thompson’s Station purchased the 50 acre property from Marshall Family Foods. The leadership of Hope Unlimited want to turn the different parts of Homestead Manor - barn, home, etc. - into a community area with space for a coffee shop, relational visits, songwriting/ singing areas. NRHP 1976 See also Spencer Buford House/ Roderick Farm


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