Legacy Farms Historic Manor
The property was granted in a Revolutionary War grant and construction began for Jennings Infirmary in 1832 . Newburn Jennings, who learned to practice medicine from Indians was ahead of his time in holistic healing and even cared for Union soldiers in the battle of Murfreesboro.
The four back rooms of the manor served as the hospital. The way the house was constructed in the beginning would have been with two chimney stacks and four fire places two upstairs and two downstairs. If you look closely at the fireplaces upstairs you can see how the ones in the back of the house differ from say the ones downstairs in the front of the house.
The property was also a working farm of 300 acres with cows, chickens, and pigs. They used the farm in this time to provide food and extra money to run the hospital. The barn would have been in the same location as the event hall and about half the size. After the days of Jennings Infirmary, the house changed hands many times through deaths of family members and eventually came into the hands of George Gore Denney who used the house as a home. It was lost again to Northwest Insurance company before getting its long term resident in 1930 H.R. and Robbie Denney. H.R. and Robbie Denney moved into the home in 1930 taking it back over as a home just the way his father George did from 1910-1915. They set up house and settled in for a long term as loving owners of the manor. They had three children and a lot of very close family who all helped turn it back into a working farm.
The front part of the house is not the one you see today. The original front door was the door off of the dining room. The house was built to face Jennings Pond Road that set in the field directly in the front of the house. When you move to what is now the front part of the house the original staircase is still very much present in this house. Brought in from New York, it has seen its fair share of children sliding down the rails in play to weddings and even seating for funerals. Local resident, Leon Denney, who was brought home from the hospital to Legacy Farms and resided until he was 21 told stories of how the magnificent staircase was used for parties, funerals, and play. Leon was also able to provide the layout of the house when he lived there in the 1930s.
He tells stories of when he was a child about the kitchen where his mother would cook, and where they would sit after a meal on the back porch; the enclosed space near the kitchen now doubles as a food service area and a new staircase to the upstairs rooms. We can hardly think of this in our time, but Legacy Farms started out with only 3 electrical plugs one for the washing machine, one for the refrigerator, and one for the radio. There was only one light switch at the time and it was by the front door and all the other lights were on pull strings.
The furnishings in the house (until it became a bed and breakfast in 1998) were modest. It was furnished with “normal things, nothing elaborate”, but the one luxury item that Leon remembers was the radio for music. Leon remembers people coming from miles around to gather in the living room and listen to the Grand Ole Opry. There was also an 8 party telephone line in the downstairs hallway of the house that residents from miles around came to use. The Denney family would allow people to make long distance calls and they would even pass along a birth or death message, only asking for a little money from each person to pay the bill at the end of the month.
Something else that may be hard to imagine is that in that dining room that Leon speaks of so fondly happens to hide quite a secret. A tunnel began at a trap door in the dining area and ran under what is now Highway 231. According to records from the Jennings family, slaves, cattle and provisions were hid in the tunnel during the war to preserve their belongings. If you go up the large staircase in the front of the house you will come to a landing and you can't tell it now but there used to be a door to your right that would take you into a spare room where the kids used to play. If you travel into the lavender room you can see where the old hospital ended.
Standing there now is an apartment and underneath an office for Legacy Farms. In just about every turn in the manor you can see what Leon likes to call an all wind porch. There were so many porches and balconies built so that on a hot summer night you could find just the right porch to set on to get a good gust of wind. If you travel just outside of Legacy Farms to what was the front of the house you can look to your left and see a tree planted almost in the middle of the driveway. That tree was planted by the Denney family in the 1930s and looking toward the white fences in front of you used to set the fruit trees that helped keep the family in food and provided a nice income. Where the office now stands used to be a smokehouse where the working farm smoked all their meats. Right past the office toward the garden is where they had an outhouse complete with a Sears catalog. Denney still remembers where the little barn sets now was the spot where they first drilled water on the property. He said one minute the ground was dry and the next you couldn't imagine the amount of water that came to the surface. Where the main event center sets was the site for the old barn that used to house everything from cows, to horses, to chickens and mules.
In the 1980s the house was given to Leon who wanted to restore the property to its original glory, but through lack of resources and problems with theft could not mange to make it work. It soon became quite much for him to deal with so it went on the auction block. It was taken over in the 1990s by Jacqueline George who brought the manor back to life as Cedarvine Manor. As Leon tells it the house was almost unable to be repaired, but Jacqueline brought it back and made it into a bed and breakfast. The George family is responsible for bringing the manor back to life. Ms. George converted the kitchen into a gourmet kitchen able to feed several guests and for making one thing on the property that stands out to most who come here, the pond off of the event center. The pond was at first not a pond at all. It was the rain water run off from the barn. It made only a little puddle about the size of a coy pond. Jacqueline had it dug out and the covered bridges placed there in the time that she owned it. She also furnished the property with several antiques, murals and paintings to fit the time period.
In 2010 Legacy Farms was born. With lots of love and time Legacy Farms was made into the great Bed and Breakfast and Wedding Venue that it is today. Through the dedication of the owners and the love of all the people that work here Legacy Farms can continue the rich history of this historic manor. Owners Jerry and Kellie Bryson have brought it back to life with weddings, family reunions, and many other events. As you walk through this house maybe take a moment and remember the children that once slid down the banister, the guests gathered in the living room to listen to The Grand Ol Opry, and the soldiers that were once cared for by the fires in the upstairs bedrooms. You are now becoming part of history – whether you are attending a wedding or family reunion.