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By John Oliver, President, Historical Society

There are so many pleasures I associate with summer that I don’t think I could list them all. Besides fresh tomatoes off the vine, wading in the creek, lightning bugs, homemade ice cream, family reunions and celebrating the Fourth of July, there are June weddings!

And that brings me to our subject for this month.

I am not going to write about weddings in particular, but about good places to hold weddings! Because it seems that several local entrepreneurs have turned some of Trousdale County’s old buildings and homes into places to stage weddings, family reunions and celebrations.

As a person who appreciates the beauty of old doors, hardwood floors, high ceilings and period details, this is subject I am pleased to write about!

Submitted photo
This is the historic “Lauderdale Estate,” one of the oldest homes in Hartsville and now a venue for weddings, celebrations, reunions and more.

Let me start by saying that maintaining an old home or property is a lot of work. Restoring one that has been neglected is even more work. Too often we drive past an old place and don’t appreciate its history or workmanship. Luckily, some people do and I salute them!

Our first old home has a long and fascinating history. It is the Lauderdale Estate.

We have to start by going back to the Lauderdale family and their arrival in what is now Trousdale County – a long time ago!

The first Lauderdales arrived in Middle Tennessee in the 1790s.

Members of the family bought land here and also received some land for their service in the American Revolution. They were a distinguished family and immediately got involved in the local economy and in local society.

The Lauderdale men, like most men of the time, enlisted in the local militia – a forerunner of our National Guard – and worked their way up in the ranks. In fact when the local militia would muster, or get together to practice, it was on Lauderdale property.

Now that is just the beginning, because two of the Lauderdale men went on to distinguish themselves beyond the borders of our state!

James Lauderdale fought in the War of 1812, alongside another well-known Tennessean, General Andrew Jackson.

In the days leading up to the Battle of New Orleans, Lt. Col. James Lauderdale was in a skirmish with the British on the edge of the American camp. Fighting valiantly, he was mortally wounded and died.

If we are familiar with the story of that battle, we know that we stomped the British and sent them packing – all with very little loss of American life.

In the end, Lt. Col. Lauderdale was the highest-ranking American killed in the siege of New Orleans and his loss was keenly felt by his fellow soldiers and volunteers.

In recognition of his service and death, Lauderdale County, Tennessee was named in his honor. As were Lauderdale County, Mississippi and Lauderdale County, Alabama!

But his brother, William Lauderdale, is no less remembered.

In the Seminole Indian Wars, Maj. William Lauderdale led a group of Tennessee militiamen to Florida and fought the Native Americans. They were not particularly successful, but while there the major did select a good location for a fort and oversee its construction.

That spot proved popular and the little fort attracted settlers and grew into one of the nation’s best-known vacation spots. That’s right, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is named for a local boy!

William died on his way home, but his family continued to live here and to prosper.

The Lauderdale Estate house was built on William’s land by his son, James Hart Lauderdale. James had another connection to our local history. His mother was a daughter of James Hart, the founder of our town!

The home has been overlooking the old road to Kentucky, now known as Halltown Road, since its construction in the early 1800s.

While the two-story, timber-frame home has had several different occupants over the past 50 years, it was recently purchased by Jeremy and Jordan Barnes.

She has Hartsville roots and the couple has put countless hours into restoring the old home. Well, they had some help from family and friends too. But the end result is a charming home that is now billing itself as a place to have your event.

All you have to do is Google “Lauderdale Estate” and see photos of this historic property and how the gifted couple has decorated the interior. They also maintain a Facebook page.

If you have driven down Halltown Road to our Convenience Center, you have probably noticed this attractive old home. Now you can rent it for a celebration or wedding – and personally enjoy its history and charm!

NOTE: The Historical Society will hold its June meeting on Saturday, June 8 at 2 p.m. in the County Archives building at 328 Broadway. Our featured speaker will be C.L. Gammon, a Lafayette native who is running for president! All meetings of the Historical Society are open to the public.