Rippavilla Plantation

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​Nathaniel Frances Cheairs IV, a French Huguenot descent, was born on the property on December 6, 1818. As he matured, he began courting Miss Susan Peters McKissack, daughter of Master William McKissack II, also of Spring Hill, Tennessee. When Nathaniel IV announced to his father of his intentions of marrying Susan, his father had only one objection – all of the “Nathaniels” prior to Nathaniel IV had married girls by the name of “Sarah.” His father wanted him to carry on that tradition and find someone else to wed. Nathaniel IV wanted his father’s blessing on the marriage and persisted about marrying Susan. His father even offered his son a sum of gold worth $5,000 to find another bride, but Nathaniel IV would not accept. 

Eventually, Susan’s father made an offer that Nathaniel IV could not refuse. Being the owner of the local brickyard, Master McKissack agreed to supply all of the free bricks and slave labor needed to construct a house once Nathaniel and Susan were married. Nathaniel III, a wise businessman, saw the offer and gave his blessing upon his son's marriage. Nathaniel Frances Cheairs IV and Susan Peters McKissack were wed on September 2, 1841, and received the $5,000 in gold as a gift. 

For ten years, Nathaniel and Susan made their home in a two-story log cabin located at the back of the property. Here, Susan gave birth to three of their four children. In 1851, the smokehouse and kitchen house were completed. The Cheairs would reside in the upstairs of the kitchen before and during the construction of the mansion. 

Construction on the mansion commenced in 1852 and was finished in 1855, after being halted by the Cheairs on three separate occasions. The mansion was over 50 per cent complete all three times that construction stopped, and each time the walls were torn down. The first occasion was when Nathaniel did not think that the walls were straight; the second occasion was when he did not like how the mortar had bonded. The third occasion was when a bit of cold weather had struck the area, and Nathaniel thought some of the mortar might have frozen. Fearing that it would lead to the downfall of the house, he once again ordered the walls be torn down. 

Eventually, the mansion was completed, and Susan gave birth to their fourth, and last, child. The family happily resided in the home for several years before the Civil War broke out in 1861.

Rippavilla Plantation


Rippavilla Plantation