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Rutlege-Baxter Place/ Rose Hill/ now Foundations Nashville

Updated: Jun 13

101 Lea Ave. Nashville, TN

Circa 1813. Original 1-story brick Federal/ renovated 1820s & 1860s

Photo by Nashville Post

Rutledge-Baxter Place / Rose Hill was built on College Hill by Joseph Coleman, Nashville’s first mayor. Coleman (?-1819) served as an early Nashville mayor from 1806-1809 and was married to Anne M. Coleman.

About 1820, Henry Middleton Rutledge (1775-1844) and Septima Sexta Middleton Rutledge (1783-1865) arrived in Nashville and purchased the property. They married in 1799. The couple made changes to the house to resemble Septima’s family home Middleton Place near Charleston, SC. House and hill were named after the extensive rose garden Septima cultivated which ran 300 feet from the top of the hill down to the Cumberland River - thus “Rose Hill.” The husband and wife were first cousins whose fathers were signers of the Declaration of Independence. Henry’s family home was Hampton Plantation in South Carolina.

In 1816, Henry and “Sexta” traveled to TN to inspect parts of 75,000 acres they had inherited through a Revolutionary War grant. The Rutledge group first stopped at the Elk River in Franklin Co. and established the 50,000 acre Chilhowee Plantation (Place of the Running Deer). About 1820, they had traveled to Nashville where they purchased a home from Joseph Coleman, Nashville’s first mayor. The home with its 20 acres sat atop College Hill (present-day Rutledge Hill). The household split its time between Nashville and the plantation. Genon Neblett wrote an interesting book about the family's journey: The Chosen Exile: The Life and Times of Septima Sexta Middleton Rutledge, American Cultural Pioneer.

Their daughter, Mary Middleton Rutledge Fogg (1801-1872) married Francis Brinley Fogg (1795-1880). Mary and Sexta helped found the House of Industry (for young destitute women) and the Protestant Orphan Asylum. Mary was also a writer who published seven books: The Cook's Own Book, Barrington's Elements of Natural Science: Comprising Hydrology, Geognosy, Geology, Meteorology, Botany, Zoology and Anthropology. Fogg was a Connecticut native, a noted lawyer and public eductation benefactor along with Mary. They lived in downtown Nashville on Church St. where Watkins Institute stood in 1956.

After Septima’s death about 1865, Judge Edmund Dillahunty Baxter (1838-1910), a Nashville attorney, purchased the property. The Baxter family restored and expanded the home. They also reoriented the home from Rutledge St. to Lea St. His brother was Jere Baxter, Nashville railroad baron. Edmund was married to Eliza Tennessee Perkins (1844-1875) in 1858 and then Sarah Elizabeth Perkins (1851-1945), widow of his half-brother Jones F. Baxter, in 1879. Their daughter was Nancy “Nannie” Baxter Overton who married into the Overton family and resided at Ravenscroft. He was the Tennessee attorney for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad and was part of the creation of interstate regulations which in 1887 became the Interstate Commerce Act. Baxter then became nationally known for railroad law and represented numerous railroads and shipping companies. The Tennessee governor regularly appointed him to fill in for Tennessee State Supreme Court jurists who were temporarily disabled. Vanderbilt University got him on their Law School staff. His family also enjoyed a summer cottage at the turn of the century vacation spot at Ridgetop, TN.

Later the home was used as a boarding house in the first part of the twentieth century, then apartments. In 2006, Blackburn & McCune moved in. Then in 2012, the law firm of McCune Zenner Happell occupied the property. In 2017, it was used by Foundations Nashville.

In 2021, G&S Partners comprised of Amy Wood and Adam LaFevor bought the historic home. That entity operates SoBro Law Group and Commerce Title & Escrow. The family owners are remembered with neighborhood streets Middleton St., Rutledge St. as well as the neighborhood Rutlege Hill. See also Ravenscroft


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1 Comment

Billy Wauford
Billy Wauford
May 30

Been by there several times, would love to look inside

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