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Petway House/ Airdrie/ Buell-King House

Updated: Jan 19

William Caldwell built this home at (the current 3210) Avenal Ave near the Glencliff area from 1797-1808. It was on a 140 acre land grant. The same year it was completed, the home was sold to Congressman Dr. William Dickson (1770-1816) and Polly Gray Dickson with 391 acres. William and Polly wed in 1802. His second wife was Susannah Hickman Dickson. Dr. Dickson practiced medicine prior to congressional service. Rep. Dickson served in the Tennessee House of Representatives from 1799-1803 and was speaker. He then was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from 1801-1807. He was a trustee of the University of Nashville from 1806-1816. Dickson County is named after him.

In 1817 Congressman Thomas Claiborne (1780-1856) and Sarah Martin Lewis Claiborne (1786-1871) bought the property. (His first wife was Hannah Hicks Claiborne -1788-1808, wed 1805) He practiced law in Nashville. He served in the U.S. House of Representative from 1817-1819. Then it was sold in 1818 to TN Supreme Court Justice Gilbert Gray Washington (1785-1846) and Elizabeth H. Wharton Washington. They wed in 1822.

In 1825 Hinchey Petway (1776-1856) and Susannah Caroline Parrish Petway (1789-1858) purchased the property. They wed in 1807. They bought the property and held it through the 1840s. He was a Franklin merchant and active citizen and in fact has a part of southwest Franklin named after him - Hincheyville. In 1819, Petway sold his farm of 90 acres beside the city of Franklin to a group of businessmen - Randal McGavock, Felix Grundy and others, and they developed the first suburb of Franklin. The neighborhood grew over decades particularly post Civil War. Petway had mercantile stores in Franklin and Nashville in partnership with Stephen Cantrell as well as a cotton plantation in Florence, AL. (Cantrell had earlier been a junior partner with George M. Deaderick of Nashville.) He had a large farm and sold 90 acres of it to a group of prominent Williamson Co. residents in 1819. They developed the land into Franklin’s first addition - Hincheyville along West Main St. Hinchey moved his family north to Airdrie plantation. He added acres to total 431 acres prior to his death, and by this period, and the farm had turned into a working Southern plantation. The home came to be called Petway House. When Petway died, the family held it through the Civil War.

About 1866, Judge John S. Brien (1807-1867) and Rochette Michaux Howard Brien (1821-1907) purchased it. Judge Brien was a Chancellor in the Chancery Courts in 1851. It stayed in the family after his death. Rochie remained in Petway House until her death. Her daughter Rochie (1840-1930) and her husband, Union Gen. George P. Buell (1833-1883), resided with widow Rochie. They wed in 1865. Gen. Buell was the Union commander who accepted the surrender of Nashville in 1862 from local officials. Then the couple became owners along with grandson Don Carlos Buell II. The owners created the Airdrie Land Company to help sell some surrounding lands, and the Airdrie name stuck. Don Carlos hired a local architect George Norton, to redesign the style to Neoclassical about 1910. He had married the architect’s sister, Ruth Norton, and lived there until 1953.

That year, Ward Sykes “Luke” Allen (1922-2017), at the time a Vanderbilt Professor of English, bought property from Ruth Norton Buell and lived with wife Peggy Felicity McComas Allen (1924-2015) until 1958. They wed in 1951. Prof. Allen taught at Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Auburn. He was known for his discovery of notes about the King James Bible translations, won a Guggenheim Fellowship for that feat, and wrote three books on the King James Bible.

It was then sold to Charles and Josephine Toney. In 1963, it was purchased with about 3 acres by Harold and Dorothy King, and as of 2005, they remained owners. NRHP 2005


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