Two Rivers Mansion

Posted on January 3, 2020

In Nashville you will find many Antebellum Country Homes, however, the Two Rivers Mansion, is like no other. It is one of the most elaborate and most well-preserved Antebellum Country Homes in the area. This mansion has a few tales that will blow your mind.

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History

The mansion is a very elaborate antebellum home. It was one of the last ones to be built in the Nashville area. It is still considered one of the best-preserved houses in the entire state of Tennesee.

This mansion was part of a plantation of just over 1,100 acres. It was located on very fertile land. The home and land were placed between the Cumberland River and Stones River. It is believed that the name of the mansion comes from the two rivers that surround the plantation. The name was given to the mansion by the first owner, William Harding. This family also owned the Belle Meade plantation that was located in Nashville as well.

This mansion was built by a man named David McGavok. It was started in 1859. He started it right before the Civil War. He was building it for his wife, Willie(William) Elizabeth Harding. However, the home was not finished until about ten years later in 1870. The home would be lived in for three generations of the McGavock family. However, it was in 1965 that the last heir to the property had passed away.

After the last heir passed away. The property was purchased by the government. The Metropolitan Government of Davidson and Nashville County had become the owners of the land.

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A Little Deeper History

In 1819, William Harding had decided to purchase a farm from Willie Barrow. He had purchased 476 acres and there was a brick house on the land. This land was between the Stones and Cumberland Rivers. William had acquired more land that left him with 1,100 acres. He had found this land before he decided to marry a local in 1830. Her name was Elizabeth Clopton. However, William had died in 1832 before their only child would be born. The name of the daughter is none other than William Elizabeth Harding. She was named in honor of her parents. She was the next person in line to inherit the plantation. However, before she could inherit the plantation, she must marry. She married her cousin, David H. McGacock. They had married in 1850.

The couple was very young and hand one son whom they named Frank. They lived in a little brick house while they waited for their future. Not long after, they decided to plan and build a mansion in the backyard. The plan for the mansion was finished in 1859. If you look closely, you can see the names Frank, Willie, and David on the three bricks that are located on the back porch of the mansion. The entire brickwork and millwork were done and crafted by slaves that had been hired for the family.

It wasn’t until 1880 that the estate would thrive. It was known as the Two Rivers Stock Farm. It had a garden, orchard, livestock, dairy operations, fox hunting, and horse breeding. One document states that there were over fifty buildings on this property at a single time. This would include barns, stalls, tenant housing, sheds, and more. However, in 1933, most of the buildings would be destroyed by a tornado.

After the family had passed away, the son had taken over the farm. He took over the farm for a short time in the late 1890s. The land was near-bankrupt at this time because it was just after a severe depression. To keep the farm and land inside the family, the son of Frank, would inherit the estate. He would lease out this farm in the early part of the 1900s while he was working another job. Spence, the son of Frank, was working as a shoe salesman.

In 1928, Spence had married a woman named Mary Louise Bransford. She was from Melrose. The couple had decided to add plumbing, heat, and electricity to the mansion. They also remodeled it visually as well. However, they would only live inside the mansion for four short years. They would eventually return to the family home left to Mary by her family. They would move to Melrose due to Mary’s mother’s death. This occurred in1933. Three years after the death of her mother, Mary’s husband, Spence would die. However, for the next 18 years of her life, Mary would stay in Melrose while the caretakers would continue working the land on the farm.

In 1954, Mary had returned to the Mansion, Two Rivers. She said this is where she was always happiest and would stay here. She stayed at the Two Rivers mansion until her death. She had died in 1965. She was the last heir to the home. The will that she had made had several beneficiaries. She also listed that part of the estate be sold for Medical School and research. The fund that was named after Mary’s father is still helping people today.

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The Mansion Today

There aren’t 1,100 acres anymore, however,  the house is still there. Today, there are only 14 acres. On these fourteen acres, you can find the mansion, as well as a beautiful brick house. This brick house was built in 1802 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Place. It is one of the oldest brick houses ever built in Nashville.

Because this area is so close to the water, it brings many different things. You can find several springs, rich soil, and even wild game. This is what makes the property so valuable today and back when it was built.

As stated, the 1,100 acres were sold and split up. Andrew Jackson had purchased some of this land. You may know it now as Hunters Hill. Keep in mind that the brick building that is on the property was built well before the house. The brick building was built by a man David Buchanan and was purchased with the property.

The land was eventually turned into a park and golf course. It has eighteen holes, softball diamonds, baseball diamonds, a playground, and six tennis courts.

The Unusual/Paranormal

The home was built on the land of a burial ground. This burial ground had about one hundred Native Americans. These grounds were found after the construction, however, these bodies were never laid to rest properly. Instead of reburying the remains, the owner had used their bodies to decorate the fence of the property. He would use the skulls to decorate and allowed the children to use their burial war clubs as play toys.

When people visit this mansion today, they will feel a presence. It is also common to hear phantom footsteps as well. It is said that the female apparition will wander the grand halls. The apparition is that of Lula McGavock. It is said that her baby had died mysteriously from an illness at a very young age and that she would die very shortly after. The little brick house where the family had lived during the building of the mansion is said to be very dark. The energy is said to be so dark that it will bring people to tears. Many people believe that Lula’s spirit is trapped because of the dark energy that was brought on by disturbed spirits of the Native Americans.

It is also said that the people who work at the mansion now can still feel the presence of the owners that had built the place. It is said that they are both felt as well as seen. Walking into the mansion may make you feel watched. You may not see something, but walking into the mansion, you will feel something. You will feel watched, it will feel spooky, it is something that happens. As stated, it is believed that this area is extremely haunted and spirits and dark energy surround the area.

This has happened because of a mistake made by the people who constructed the building. The couple was supposed to rebury the Native American’s remains, however, they never did and did far worse to the remains. Because of this, the land and homes are now haunted.

 

Sources:

https://www.wkrn.com/special-reports/haunted-tennessee/newsmaker-two-rivers-mansion/

http://friendsoftworiversmansion.org/history/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Rivers_Mansion_(Nashville,_Tennessee)