Stumbling Through Tipton-Haynes State Historic Site

For years, the Hardy family has volunteered at various historic sites, lending our knowledge to help these sites with special events. This past weekend, we were at the Tipton-Haynes State Historic site near Johnson City, Tennessee.

History runs deep through the East Tennessee site. Native Americans, buffalo trace, a post-Revolutionary war skirmish, and the home of a Confederate senator can all be found at Tipton-Haynes. The property was acquired by John Tipton in 1784. After the end of the American Revolution, there was considerable confusion in present-day East Tennessee. Some favored the establishment of a new state, the State of Franklin, while others, like Tipton, preferred to remain loyal to North Carolina. In February 1788, the sides came to blows at the Tipton home in a skirmish known as the Battle of the State of Franklin.  Of course, we know that there was never a state of Franklin recognized by the United States, and the area became the state of Tennessee in 1793. The property was sold to the Haynes family, and was given to Landon Carter Tipton and his bride Eleanor as a wedding present in 1839.

Landon Carter Haynes was a lawyer, newspaper editor, and Methodist minister. He also served in the Tennessee House and Senate, serving a number of years as the speaker of the house. When the Civil War came, Haynes was elected one of the two
Confederate senators from Tennessee. He lived in Knoxville when not in Richmond, until East Tennessee fell, and then moved his family to Wytheville, Virginia. At the end of the war, he was in Statesville, North Carolina. Haynes lost the house after the war. It was auctioned off by the Federal government. Haynes made his way to Memphis where he died in 1875.StumblingHaynes3

The Tipton-Haynes site encompasses 45 acres and eleven historic buildings (not all original to the site). The centerpiece is the Tipton-Haynes House, which started life as a log cabin in the 1780s, and was continually improved upon to its current structure. There are also several other log and frame structures, including barns and smokehouses. Possibly the greatest asset is Haynes’s law office, sitting beside the main home, and like the main house, fronting the old road. There are just not many nineteenth-century law offices around. (The Todd Law office in Jefferson is another stand-alone building. Maybe we’ll look at these in another post).

Tipton-Haynes does several events throughout the year. This past weekend was the annual Civil War reenactment. Members of the blue and gray squared off in the fields beside the house, giving visitors a chance to catch a glimpse of the carnage of the days gone by. The site is worth a visit for several reasons, like the Battle of the Lost State of Franklin, and honestly, there are just not that many Confederate senator’s houses open to the public. There is a visitoStumblingHaynes2r center with artifacts that have been excavated from the site, and some other Tipton-Haynes family pieces. Both Michael and Nathaniel’s favorite pieces are the Haynes Law office. Elizabeth and Isabella both enjoy the house, as it does have two parlors and three kitchens thanks to its growth over time. The cave is also a big favorite with kids and adults alike.

By the way, the Hardys are always looking for historic sites with which to work. They bring years of interpretive experience to wherever they go, and they always are eager to learn more about specific sites or topics. If you are interested, please drop them a line.

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