Nelson-Kirby House

Nelson-Kirby House (HM296L)

Location: Memphis, TN 38119 Shelby County
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Country: United States of America
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N 35° 4.967', W 89° 50.185'

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Yellow Fever Refuge

This house was home to two owners who experienced differently the tribulations of the Civil War. The first, Thomas A. Nelson (1819-1887), acquired property on Poplar Pike in 1869 as a rural refuge from the yellow fever epidemics that periodically swept Memphis. He had moved in 1856 from his native Alabama to the city, where he became a cotton merchant and president of the Bank of West Tennessee. In reprisal for a Confederate raid in 1863, Federal authorities expelled Nelson and other Southern sympathizers from Memphis and confiscated his property. In 1871, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld his claim that his expulsion had prevented him from defending it against seizure, and he was compensated. After the war, Nelson founded a cottonseed oil company (Memphis Oil, 1868) and the Southern Life Insurance Company (1870). In 1898, his land, house, and outbuildings were sold to John A. Kirby.

Kirby (1842-1929), a Virginia native, moved to Memphis in 1860 to work in the wholesale grocery business. He enlisted in the Shelby Grays (Co. A, 4th Tennessee Infantry) in Germantown in May 1861. He fought at Shiloh, Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, where he was shot in the leg and captured on November 25, 1863. Imprisoned at Rock Island, Ilinois, Pvt. Kirby took the oath of allegiance to the United States on May 21, 1865, and returned to Memphis. He worked in the grocery business, bought land, and farmed until his death in this house at the age of eighty-eight.

John L. Ebling acquired the house in 1890, enlarged it, and added the Stick-style embellishments to the exterior, including the bay window and decorative trusswork. John A. Kirby's descendants continue to own the Nelson-Kirby House, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. The house, which was built on land granted to Eppy White in 1837, was moved here in 2014 from its original location on Poplar Pike to ensure its preservation.
HM NumberHM296L
Series This marker is part of the Tennessee: Tennessee Civil War Trails series
Placed ByTennessee Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, July 9th, 2018 at 10:01am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 241397 N 3885904
Decimal Degrees35.08278333, -89.83641667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 35° 4.967', W 89° 50.185'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds35° 4' 58.02" N, 89° 50' 11.1" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)901, 615
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling East
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 6783 Messick Rd, Memphis TN 38119, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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