I went on an adventure on my day off to sketch at Tulip Grove. It is an estate attached to the Hermitage, in Tennessee. It was the first time I’d had an opportunity to go back since getting my membership. It has been bitterly cold this winter – not conducive for outside activities.
When I go to a place to sketch, I like to walk around first and see what catches my eye.
Strangely, the most interesting thing about this locale wasn’t the building (which was locked) but the sundial / memorial in the back yard.
Here is my picture of it.
Here is my sketch.
This was sketched around 3:30 pm, Friday January 26th, 2018. It was 56 degrees and sunny. The sun set in about an hour.
It says this on the stone (Marble? Granite?) base –
“The memory of Jane Berry Buntin and her son Horatio live on at Tulip Grove. Their home 1915 – 1964.”
Here is a picture from above –
So who are (were) these people? Why were they living at Tulip Grove- a historical mansion? It had been built for Andrew Jackson Donelson – the heir to Andrew Jackson. He was his wife’s nephew – they never had children.
I did some research.
Jane Elizabeth Berry married Charles Erwin Buntin. They had four children – Charles Erwin (Jr.), Rachael Craighead, Horatio (Ratio) Berry, and William (Billie). They are listed in the book “Notable Southern Families, Volume 2”. Berry is the important line – all the wealth comes from her side. Horatio was a common name in her family.
Jane was born May 29, 1883 in Tennessee. Her parents were also from Tennessee.
Charles Sr. was born April 7, 1880 in Tennessee. His parents were also from Tennessee.
Charles Erwin Jr. was born January 5, 1909 (died May 3, 1985, at 76)
Rachel Craighead was born February 8, 1910 (died January 22, 2001, at 90)
Horatio Berry was born September 15, 1911 (died February 23, 1984, at 72)
William Allison was born January 24, 1914 (died November 2, 1996 at 82)
Jane and Charles bought Tulip Grove in 1914. It is 26.33 acres and has a mansion.
In the 1920 census both parents and all four children are living there.
Charles Sr. died July 3, 1932.
In the 1940 census, Jane is 56 and living with Horatio, who was 28 and William who was 25. They are all listed as employed as farmers, but there is no income listed. All three Buntins are listed as having completed the second year of college.
A white female housekeeper named Francis Hayes (38 years old, completed high school) is also living there.
The home value is listed as $35,000 in 1940.
In 1944 there is a lawsuit against Jane concerning property she owned at 306 and 308 Second Avenue North, which was leased to the Stephens Manufacturing Company, which started 1/1/1942. This means she was involved in real estate at least as early as 1942.
In 1962 she sold 175 to 200 acres in Hendersonville to Maddux Realty and Construction Company. She is listed in the article as “a descendant of the surveyor who gave Tennessee its namesake, Daniel Smith”. The Berry family owned what was Indian Lake (now part of Old Hickory Lake) – it was a land grant from the Revolutionary War that had remained in the family.
She was active in the Ladies’ Hermitage Association (LHA) and signed a warranty deed 3/11/1964 transferring Tulip Grove to the LHA with the agreement that she and her heirs were to be paid one-third of all gate receipts to Tulip Grove for 99 years, in monthly installments. If they didn’t make at least $600 within 6 months (except in the case of renovations or restoration) then the contract is null and void and the property returns to the heirs.
From 1965 to 2001 the family received $300,000. The LHA closed Tulip Grove to the general public in 2001 and paid the minimum amount of $600 every 6 months.
Her heir and granddaughter, Jane Berry Field, sued the LHA around 2011 because they hosted private paid events at Tulip Grove and didn’t give the family any proceeds from those events.
Jane died at age 98, Friday, July 3, 1981, while living at the Imperial House Apartments. She was buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, 1101 Lebanon Pike, Nashville TN. All four of her children were buried there as well.
The Imperial House Apartments were located near St. Thomas Hospital, and operated from 1963 to 2017, when they were demolished. They were damaged in the 2010 flood.
I still do not know why only Horatio is mentioned along with Jane on the memorial. Why are the other children not named?
Horatio was married to Willie Davis (Johnson) Buntin. She was born May 24, 1911 and died October 17, 2001. She is listed as “Mrs. Horatio Buntin” in a news article about President Lyndon Johnson (a distant relation of hers), when he visited the Hermitage in 1967. She is listed as a Regent of the Ladies Hermitage Association.