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Kingsley: Connections to Many Families and one of the Few Fences after the Civil War

Thomas Seawell King (1786-1851) received a 640-acre land grant for military service to the young United States of America.

The lands were located on what became Murfreesboro Rd. near the present-day Nashville International Airport. King and Delia Cantrell Nolen King (1795-1858) built their mansion, which he named Kingsley, in 1831. Delia’s parents were William and Sarah Nolen who founded Nolensville.

Dempsey Weaver (1815-1880) married Frances Louise King (1823-1889), Thomas’ daughter in 1844 and bought the Kingsley property. [Dempsey’s first wife was Mary Delilah Johnson Weaver ((1823-1842), wed 1839.] The house was remodeled in 1860 based on Arlington Mansion in Natchez. Ornate fences and extensive gardens were added. Dempsey Weaver was a prominent Nashville businessman and Treasurer of Vanderbilt University from 1875-1880. He was in the mercantile business and was Cashier of Planters’ Bank, one of the 3 largest banks in TN until the 1860s. He was also a founder and vice president of Third National Bank. Dempsey and Frances were very interested in gardening and landscaping, and Kingsley was renowned for its ornate gardens and especially an ornate cedar fence which bordered the property.

Somehow it survived the ravages and scavenging during the Civil War and was said to be the only fence standing between Nashville and Murfreesboro. The fence was finally removed during the widening project of Murfreesboro Road in the 1940s. After Dempsey died, Frances continued residing there.

A granddaughter, Anna Russell Weaver Hobbs, was married to Herbert Farrell Jr., resided at Overton Hall/ Crieve Hall and had family connections to the Cheek famlly. [Their great, great-granddaughter was Irene Jackson Wills of Meeting of the Waters and wife of Nashville historian Ridley Wills. She also had family ties to Far Hills and Dunmore.]

After Frances died, her daughter, Mary Delilah Weaver Harris (1848-1910), inherited it and lived there with her husband Joseph “Joe” Edwards Harris (1846-1938). At her death, her children inherited the property, and Joe continued residing there. Five generations eventually lived there. The last family owners were Edna Beard Harris (1880-?), a renaissance woman of arts and music, and her husband Weaver C. Harris (1882-1937). They wed in 1910. Weaver was treasurer of McWhorter Weaver Company. She was a very accomplished violin player and played at numerous Nashville weddings. Edna was the daughter of Edward E. and Sarah L. Beard of Wilson County. Mr. Beard was a prominent attorney, member of the Wilson County Bar Association and businessman. Sarah was the daughter of James Livingston who was a successful Nashville merchant. He and Sarah lived near The Hermitage and at one point, lived in the home President Andrew Jackson had built.

The City of Nashville bought the property in 1946 in preparation for airport expansion, and Edna moved away. It was temporarily leased to First Baptist Church in 1947 and operated as Fidelis Home for the Elderly before being demolished in 1959. The Genesco campus now stands where Kingsley property was. See also Colemere, Sevenoaks, Dunmore, Meeting of the Waters, Overton Hall/ Crieve Hall


Hidden History of Nashville by George Zepp

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