Thursday, December 31, 2009
Holly Springs’ history
By SUE WATSON
What is today known as Crump Place on Gholson Avenue in Holly Springs was first known as the Sam McCorkle House, built in 1836 by the first banker and first land commissioner to the Indians in Marshall County.
His family plot is located at the last entrance to Hill Crest Cemetery on South Center Street and once was surrounded by a beautiful wrought-iron fence which was stolen, according to Marie McClatchy, a descendant to other families who lived at Crump Place.
Born in North Carolina on January 1, 1795, McCorkle lived 55 years and married his wife, America, who according to the family monument, was born in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky. America died February 7, 1879. The couple had a daughter Kate who married Charles Nelms, who died at the Battle of Shiloh.
Nelms’ brother, Dr. Presley Nelms, was the father of Mollie Nelms who married E.H. Crump Sr. of Hudsonville, the father of the later famous “Boss” Crump of Memphis and U.S. Senator from Tennessee. The couple lived at Crump Place and had three children, Edward Hull, Kate and John.
Mollie and E.H. Crump Sr. lived with Kate McCorkle Nelms at Crump Place after her father Sam McCorkle died. Mrs. Mollie Nelms Crump lived to a ripe old age of 97 years in the house built by her great-uncle Samuel McCorkle.
E.H. Crump Sr. died at 40 years of age in the 1878 yellow fever epidemic.
“When he died, Mollie dressed in her black mourning clothes and continued to wear black for the rest of her life,” said McClatchy. “When she died she had one the largest funerals ever held in Holly Springs. It was held at Christ Episcopal Church.”
“Boss” Crump was a brother to Marie McClatchy’s great-grandmother, Kate Crump Butler, and therefore was McClatchy’s great-great-uncle. Kate married Jasper Butler Jr. of Holly Springs and they had four children, Marie, Frances, John, and Corinne.
John Butler died when he was three years old. When Kate Butler (Boss’s sister) died at age 32 in 1902, Mrs. E.H. Crump Sr., better known as Dannie to family and friends, raised her three granddaughters Marie, Frances and Corinne Butler. Marie married her neighbor Hugh Rather Sr. and they continued to live at Crump Place with Dannie. After Marie McClatchy’s, Carey Crain’s, and Dr. Edward Rather’s father Edward and uncle Hugh Jr. were born, they also lived at Crump Place with Dannie and their parents. Dannie had beautiful flower and rose gardens in her front yard on the Gholson Avenue side of the house. The back of the house was on the Chulahoma Avenue side of the house. It had a wonderful back porch. Next to Crump Place was a small “pasture.” This is where Marie and Hugh Rather Sr. built their home which is now the home of Carey Crain. Hugh Rather Sr. was a pharmacist and owner of Rather Drug Store on the Holly Springs square.
In 1952 when E.H. Crump was the Memphis mayor, the stores on the east side of the square caught fire.
Marie McClatchy said her father, Edward Rather, called him and said, “Uncle Ed you’ve got to come down and help; Holly Springs is burning.”
Boss rode with the Memphis fire chief along with fire wagons from Memphis to Holly Springs to help put out the fire that destroyed most of the buildings on the east side of the square, McClatchy said. It was the next day before they got the fire put out.
McClatchy said her great-aunt Corinne Butler had inherited the house when Dannie died and lived at Crump Place until her health started to fail. McClatchy remembers when she and her sister, Carey, would go and play on the back porch and spend the night with Corinne and sleep in Dannie Crump’s bed. Corrine sold the house to the Holt family. They remodeled the house to make it more family friendly.
They eventually sold it to the Roger Woods family and they did further remodeling. The Woods then sold it to David Person from San Antonio, Texas, who has roots in the area. McClatchy said Person returned Crump Place to its original splendor several years ago. He removed the enclosed part of the house on the Chulahoma Avenue side of the house. He restored the back porch to its original look. He repainted the house back to its original color.
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