Elisha Sharp House
||This article possibly contains original research. (September 2010)|
Elisha Sharp House
|Location||Old Ten Mile Road, Ten Mile, Tennessee|
|Area||less than one acre|
|MPS||Meigs County, Tennessee MRA|
|NRHP Reference #||82004030|
|Added to NRHP||July 6, 1982|
Elisha Sharp was born July 25, 1792, and died December 6, 1863. In 1817, he married Elinore Ellen Huff (also spelled “Elinor” and “Eleanor”) (1801–1874). She was sixteen years old, and he was twenty five. They came to Meigs County sometime between 1816 and 1822 (known as Rhea County until 1836). Elisha Sharp was a large landowner and one of six original county commissioners of Meigs County. In 1836, Sharp served at a second lieutenant within the first division of the East Tennessee guard under Brigadier General John E. Wool. Assembled to battle against the Cherokee Nation, the units were sent home in November 1836, since some sort of temporary compromise was made with the Cherokees. Sharp later joined the Confederate Army.
The Sharp cemetery is located just around the corner from the Sharp House, on Union Grove Road, also known as county road 508. The earliest headstone still in this cemetery is dated 1830. Most of the gravestones are of the Sharp family, though there are also about six from the Culvahouses, a family who, until roughly 1955, owned the farm on highway 58, west of the Sharp-Wasson-Worth House. The Elisha Sharp House is located on Old Ten Mile Road, which was once a stage coach route that connected Knoxville and Kingston, Tennessee.
The Sharp House was built between 1820 and 1830, probably after 1825, and is located about twelve miles (19 km) north of Decatur, Tennessee. The Sharp farm was around 226 acres (0.91 km2). Elisha Sharp owned it for around 61 years, from 1816 to 1877. In 1877, the Wasson family purchased it, and owned it until 1932 or 1938. Near this time, electric lines were installed in the area. There were two additional owners between 1938 and 1955.
In 1955, the Sharp House was purchased by James Archibald (aka “J.A.” and “Nub”) Worth, originally from Sevier County, Tennessee. J.A. Worth was a health physicist for Oak Ridge National Laboratories, and later worked at their test site in Arizona to help assess health problems associated with radioactivity exposure. He married Nell Jeanette Fields Worth in 1957, though they did not move to the Sharp House until 1959, when they came to Meigs County from Campbell County. The Worths raised cattle on the surrounding farm for over forty years. J.A. Worth died in 1999, and Nell Worth sold the house and farm to Jerry Swanks, a neighbor and also a farmer, in 2007.
Elisha Sharp owned slaves and supported the Confederacy. The Sharp House was made with bricks, fired in a home kiln, and these bricks were probably made by slaves. The bricks were made from clay that was most likely taken out of the bank of Hurricane Creek, just few yards away from the house. The interior walls throughout the first floor are about 2 feet (0.61 m) thick.
Little is known about the slaves owned by Elisha Sharp. In a case wherein Elisha Sharp was named as a defendant, it is stated that in 1832 he purchased a woman named Amy (then twenty years old and pregnant), and her children Phillip (age 5), Betsy (age 4). Her child Nancy was born afterwards. It is unknown if this enslaved family lived on the Sharp farm. Amy was the daughter of a woman named Nan. The case challenged Sharp’s right to purchase Amy and her children, because the claimants argued that Amy belonged to the estate of a prior owner, and the woman who sold her and her children had no right to sell them to Sharp. The claimants not only accused him of buying the slaves improperly, but that he knew the sale was illegal and even kept the slaves hidden after the sale. Sharp later claimed that he subsequently sold the family to an unknown slave trader in 1836, and had no knowledge of the family’s subsequent whereabouts.
A few names of other slaves owned by Elisha Sharp can be gleaned from his will. Tom, Guy, Alexander, Sally, Susan, Martha, Nancy, and Alley, French, Townley and Joseph, Daniel, Simon, Taylor and Nep are all bequeathed to various relatives. Sharp must have owned other unnamed persons—or presumed he would own (acquired through purchase, birth from presently ownedslaves, or inherit), other slaves at the time of his death—because he also bequeaths all slaves not named within the will to his children and grandchildren. The will was dated March 4, 1863, and probated April 3, 1865.
During the Civil War, Elisha Sharp died on December 6, 1863, as a result of a gunshot wound he had suffered approximately two months earlier. He was shot in front of the front door (in 1863 the house had no porch) of the Sharp House. Sharp was shot by Isaac Preston Knight (1834–1907), a local man from Meigs County, who was a union soldier on leave. Apparently, Elisha Sharp had directed his rebel soldiers to steal tools. When Elisha Sharp did not return the tools, apparently some owned by Knight’s father, Knight shot him. Other sources confirm Knight was a union soldier, from April 1863, to August 1864. Sharp is said to have lived for two months before he died. The Knights went west after Mr. Sharp was killed.
“Remember Me for I may be in these
Western hills where men folks are free
August 28, 1898”
In 1898, the time of the inscription, the home was owned by the Wassons. It is still on the wall as of August 2010, along with the strips of wallpaper that Nell Worth decided not to change for fear of damaging the inscription.
In 1985, the FCE Club (“Family and Community Education”) began a large quilt for a state project, the Tennessee “Homecoming 1986.” The house is one of 14 sites representing the early history of Meigs County that are depicted on the quilt. The quilt now hangs in the Meigs County Historical Museum, in Decatur, Tennessee.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- “TENNESSEE - Meigs County,” National Register of Historic Places, http://www.nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com/tn/Meigs/state.html
- Eleanor Sharp’s obituary states that the Sharps moved to Meigs County this site “around 1821,” not 1816. See: The Quarterly, volumes 25/27 (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Genealogical Society,1980), 348.
- PRIVATE ACTS OF Meigs County, TENNESSEE 1835-36, “[chapter 34] ‘An Act to establish the county of Meigs, in honor of Colonel Return J. Meigs, deceased; a patriot and soldier of the American Revolution of 1776 (January 20, 1836)’.” Revised Edition. Revised and Edited by Steve Lobertini, Legal Consultant, and Theodore Karpynex, Administrative Assistant, 1995; updated by Elaine Turner, Paralegal, 2008. Nashville Tennessee: County Technical Assistance Service, The University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service, 1995 and 2008, page 47. http://www.state.tn.us/tsla/history/county/actmeigs.htm
- Niles Weekly Register, volume 51, Baltimore, Maryland (November 26, 1836), 197.
- The Quarterly, volumes 25/27 (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Genealogical Society,1980), 347-348.
- The information about Old Ten Mile Road was related by Nell Worth, and published by: Johnny Hutshell-Royster, “$100,000 gift gives museum a boost,” The Daily Post-Athenian (Thursday, February 15, 2001); Johnny Hutsell-Royster, “Meigs Museum continues to grow and educate,” The Daily Post-Athenian, Athens, Tennessee (Friday, March 26, 2004), C4; and Ron Clayton, “$100,000 gift boosts Meigs museum fund,” Chattanooga Times Free Press, Chattanooga, Tennessee (Friday, February 16, 2001), B2. Other unpublished notes about the cemetery were compiled for Meigs County Museum by Nell Worth .
- Johnny Hutsell-Royster, “Meigs history told one stitch at a time,” The Daily Post-Athenian, Athens, Tennessee (Wednesday, February 28, 2001), 12-13.
- Johnny Hutshell-Royster, “$100,000 gift gives museum a boost,” The Daily Post-Athenian (Thursday, February 15, 2001); and Ron Clayton, “$100,000 gift boosts Meigs museum fund,” Chattanooga Times Free Press, Chattanooga, Tennessee (Friday, February 16, 2001), B2; and "Meigs Museum Groundbreaking," The Daily Post-Athenian (Thursday, June 27, 2002), 1-2.
- Johnny, Hutshell-Royster, “$100,000 gift gives museum a boost,” The Daily Post-Athenian (Thursday, February 15, 2001); and Atchley Funeral Home Records, Volume IV, 1987-1999, Larry D. Fox, (Smoky Mountain Historical Society), 20 Mar 1999. James Archibald Worth obitaury
- Unpublished 2008 Autobiography of Nell Worth (1923-2010)
- Unpublished research by Nell Worth (1923-2010)[unreliable source?]
- “ELISHA SHARP VS. ELI KING ET AL., CASE #206,” State of Tennessee, Bradley County Chancery, Court Case Files 1836-1860, Original Bill, 3 June 1843, as transcribed by Joyce Disharoon (http://sites.google.com/site/familytiesprojectsite/john-king-jr-of-tn). A summary is also available through the Digital Library of American Slavery, Petition 21484332 (http://library.uncg.edu/slavery_petitions//details.aspx?pid=13421).
- The Quarterly, volumes 25/27 (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Genealogical Society,1980), 347; Johnny Hutsell-Royster, “Meigs Museum continues to grow and educate,” The Daily Post-Athenian, Athens, Tennessee (Friday, March 26, 2004); Johnny Hutsell-Royster, “Meigs history told one stitch at a time,” The Daily Post-Athenian, Athens, Tennessee (Wednesday, February 28, 2001), 12-13;and Unpublished research by Nell Worth (1923-2010).
- “[to Andrew Johnson] From Isaac P. Knight and Vincent Myers (August 19, 1863), Papers of Andrew Johnson, 1862-1864, edited by Leroy P. Graf and Ralph W. Haskins, volume 6. Knoxville, Tennessee: University of Tennessee Press, 1984, pages 229-330 (http://books.google.com/books?id=c0aTWegf9_EC&pg=PA329&lpg=PA329&dq=Papers+of+Andrew+Johnson+isaac+knight&source=bl&ots=L27ZsZ2uwi&sig=Orf-QxuUURPMfWDtbrjei6Yreg4&hl=en&ei=E5-HTOjHI8LflgfLp8yNDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBIQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Papers%20of%20Andrew%20Johnson%20isaac%20knight&f=false); and http://genforum.genealogy.com/triplett/messages/1619.html. Note that this source confirms Knight’s Union service, and lists him as a doctor rather than a farm hand: http://genforum.genealogy.com/triplett/messages/1619.html
- Johnny Hutsell-Royster, “Meigs history told one stitch at a time: Quilt Project completed for Homecoming ’86 in Meigs County Library,” The Daily Post-Athenian, Athens, Tennessee (Wednesday, February 28, 2001), 12-13; and “Meigs County historical quilt on display at library” The Daily Post-Athenian, Athens, Tennessee (date unknown, “1986 revisited”).
- Paulette Jones, “Meigs Historical Society Praises Nell Worth,” The Daily Post Athenian, Athens, Tennessee, (July 23, 2010); Johnny, Hutshell-Royster, “$100,000 gift gives museum a boost,” The Daily Post-Athenian (Thursday, February 15, 2001); and Ron Clayton, “$100,000 gift boosts Meigs museum fund,” Chattanooga Times Free Press, Chattanooga, Tennessee (Friday, February 16, 2001), B2; and Johnny Hutsell-Royster, “Meigs Museum continues to grow and educate,” The Daily Post-Athenian, Athens, Tennessee (Friday, March 26, 2004), C4