Meet-Up at Rippavilla Plantation

Nathaniel Frances Cheairs IV, a French Huguenot descent, was born on the property on December 6, 1818. As he matured, he began courting a girl from Spring Hill. The object of his affection was Miss Susan Peters McKissack, daughter of Master William McKissack II. 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. Then, Susan’s father made an offer that Nathaniel IV could not refuse. Being the owner of the brickyard in Spring Hill, Master McKissack offered to supply all of the free bricks and free slave labor needed to construct a house once Nathaniel and Susan were married. Being the wise businessman that he was, Nathaniel III saw that offer and gave his blessing upon his son’s marriage. Nathaniel Frances Cheairs IV and Susan Peters McKissack were wed on September 2, 1841. As a wedding gift, Nathaniel III gave his son the $5,000 in gold that he had previously offered his son.

For ten years, Nathaniel and Susan made their home in a two-story log cabin located at the back of the property. Susan gave birth to three of their four children while living in the cabin. 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 completed in 1855. Completion of the mansion was delayed for three years because of Nathaniel’s own vision of the home. He stated that he wished the house to stand for over 100 years. Construction of the home was halted three separate times. The mansion was over 50% complete all three times that he had 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 Nathaniel did not like how the mortar had bonded, and 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 had the walls torn down. Eventually, the mansion was completed, and Susan gave birth to their fourth, and last, child shortly after they moved in. The family resided happily in their new home for the several years that remained before the Civil War broke out.

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  • Wanda

    And five stars from me.

    July 7

  • Wanda

    I enjoyed the meet up very much and meeting everyone as well. A great way to spend an afternoon.

    July 7

  • Jason N.

    I really enjoyed the tour today at Rippavilla. The guide was very knowledgeable. Glad to be part of the group.

    1 · July 6

  • John

    My kids and I had fun!

    1 · July 6

  • Bonnie

    I am not going to be able to join the group today after all. Will make the next one...................

    July 6

  • Diane G.

    I can take up to 3 more in my car. I already reserved 1 spot. We can meet at the Kroger Shopping Ctr on the Corner of Edmonson Pike and Old Hickory Blvd- I will be near the Taco Bell there. Any questions call me at[masked] or[masked]

    June 29

    • Jennifer

      Have to bow out. Have a scheduling conflict. Will make the next one!

      July 4

    • Diane G.

      See you next time!

      July 4

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