The Historic Carter House


My sister from St. Louis was visiting me, and we wanted to do things instead of sitting at home in front of the TV. She travels a lot and it so happened that she had a free night coming at a Hyatt Hotel that was going to expire if it wasn’t used.

So, she decided that she and I could have a sister’s sleepover and spend the night at a fancy hotel. The closest one she could find was about 25 miles away. It was in a small town called Franklin that grew by leaps and bounds after one of the largest and most popular malls around was built there.

We both like history so we decided to tour a historic place since we would be in the area anyhow. There are several old historic homes in the immediate area, the most famous being the Carter house, which is a National Historic Landmark from the Civil War. It was probably not the best time to relive Civil War history with Civil War symbols under much criticism. However, we reasoned that you cannot forget history. You can learn from it without glorifying what happened in a dark period of the past.

The house, of course, was very old, a Federalist style brick farmhouse. It also had several out buildings, including a smokehouse and a log slave cabin which represented several that were there in the past. The kitchen was also a separate building. This was common in the 1800’s. If it caught fire while cooking in an open fireplace, the entire house would not burn down.


During the war, the house had been taken as headquarters for the Union Army, which made it the target of an attack during the Battle of Franklin. The Carter family with seven children and a neighboring family survived in the basement of the Carter’s home while bullets flew. Over a thousand bullet holes remain in the sides of the house and buildings.  One of the Carter sons was wounded in the battle and brought home to die. A bedroom still has a blood stain.

A few pieces of the Carter’s furniture were in the home now, but it was largely furnished with period antiques that were typical of the time. The item that I like most was a sampler embroidered by Mrs. Carter.

We learned about all the generals who fought in the battle (six killed, seven wounded, and one captured.) After the battle, the Union Army left to attend to the injured and dead. The Confederate Army returned and since no one was there, they claimed victory in the battle, even though they suffered one of the greatest defeats and losses of life in the war.

In the center of town there is a traffic circle with a statue of Robert E. Lee. With current sentimen, I expect it to be taken down sometime in the near future. Several major battles were fought in the area and many old homes from that era are still around. As I told my sister, if anyone is interested in Civil War history, there is plenty of it here to see.

Copyright 2017 Sheila Moss

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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