"A Hard Nut to Crack"
— The Battle For Decatur —This Greek Revival mansion belonged to Dr. Aaron Adair Burleson and his wife, Janet, during the Civil War. Part of an original 778-acre land grant, the brick home covered by Flemish bond, features 18-inch thick walls and contains one of the significant Federal period interiors in North Alabama. The iron fence work surrounding the property is original and Union soldiers used it for drying blankets as seen in the accompanying photograph. The original gates, however, are missing and are thought to have been taken by soldiers for use as fire grates. Before the war, Burleson served as the first President of the Tennessee and Central Alabama Railroad which became part of the Nashville & Decatur Railroad - a vital north-south transportation link. Burleson served as a physician with the rank of Major in the Confederate army. Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston is thought to have stayed in the home while reorganizing his army here in March, 1862, although his headquarters were actually located in the office of the nearby McCartney Hotel. During the occupation of Decatur the Burleson family was well treated, and "got along with their guests with minimum friction," according to relatives. Janet Burleson received passes to travel between the lines until she was caught smuggling quinine to injured Confederate soldiers, which she accomplished by putting the medicine in holes bored into her surrey and sealing them with beeswax. When Union Major General Grenville M. Dodge ordered citizens to evacuate Decatur in early 1864, the Burleson family's possessions were piled in the street and burned. Among those possessions were books from Dr. Burleson's library. A volume of "Byron's poetic works, " stolen from the fire heap by a Federal soldier and then confiscated by Lieutenant L. N. Weeks of the Federal army, was returned to the family in 1900. The home was sold in 1869 to Jerome Hinds, a former Union soldier from Illinois. It was here that Hind's niece, Grace Hinds, was born. She later married Lord Curzon, who at one time was England's Viceroy of India. After the Hinds' occupation, the home was used as a boarding house and hotel before standing vacant until its purchase in 1895 by R. P. McEntire for use as a private residence. The home remains a private residence, and the privacy of the family should be respected.
|Placed By||City of Decatur|
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Saturday, September 6th, 2014 at 5:22am PDT -07:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||16S E 501420 N 3830550|
|Decimal Degrees||34.61681667, -86.98450000|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 34° 37.009', W 86° 59.07'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||34° 37' 0.54" N, 86° 59' 4.20" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near 1105 Sycamore St NW, Decatur AL 35601, US|
|Alternative Maps||Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap|
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