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The Sabin (Wells-Smith) House
Sabin House Jonesborough Tennessee 
The home on Sabin Drive (on hill above the Visitor's Center). 
Photo taken 1971 when owned by the Jack Smith Family
Pictures are a little slow to download, so be patient
Built approximately 1856, this home was once situated on many acres on the hill which now overlooks the Jonesborough Library and Visitor's Center.   Tragically, the home was demolished in January 2005, but it was well documented and has been rebuilt on Academy Hill using original materials.  The restoration is a remarkable job, and the home is for sale (June 2008).  I invite everyone to visit the builder's web site which includes photographs of the completed restoration.  It's amazing!

There is a special book signing for  the new book which documents the house history, demolition, and rebuilding by Paul Kennedy, with Robbie Jones, scheduled for November 5, 2009 in Jonesborough.  Read the PRESS RELEASE.

The history of the house has been documented by Jonesborough preservationists, and Paul Kennedy has been kind to share some of the information with me.  Accordng to Paul,  historian Gene Cox traced the deed to the original owner, Seth J. W. Lucky.  Mr. Lucky sold the property to Reverend Rufus Wells in 1855 for $72.00, and it's believed the house was completed in 1856.   Paul Kennedy adds, " We discovered the graves of the Wells infant children in the cemetery, which would have been clearly visible from the house, especially before the cedars were there.  I like to think that Rufus and Chloe [Wells] planned the house's orientation with that view in mind."

Wells  sold the property to Julia Gammon in 1862; her sons sold it to Mrs. C.A. Brownlow in 1883; W.P. Brownlow sold to W.F. Young in 1896, who sold to Albert Sabin in 1927.  In 1951 the Corrells bought it, and sold to Jack and Velma Smith in 1960. 

Not Just a Building...

The Albert Sevier Sabin family occupied the home for several decades, beginning around 1927, and my father and his six siblings added their names to the mortar between the bricks, as previous generations of children had done.  Until demolition,  the autographs of the home's children were still visible in the mortar.

One of the previous owners had developed a rare albino blackberry, which was still in existence in the 1920s and 30's.    The children  joked about the irony of picking WHITE BLACKBERRIES  on the OLD YOUNG PLACE.  In the 1930s the property  included a barn (the barn was located where 11-E now runs through the area).

Generations of children roamed the hills and woods around this home for 150 years.  My dad and his brothers camped out on the hill behind the house.  Young servicemen and their brides visited "home" during and right after WWII.  My oldest sister was born right after the War, and spent the first two years of her life here while our parents finished their educations at East Tennessee State. Older cousins' first memories include visits with the grandparents here. 

A few early memories of my father's:  Trudging up and down the steep streets to get to school each day...stopping by the ice house after church on Sundays to pick up ice for iced tea...playing along the creek in town with chum Bill Slemons, and riding the horses, King and Prince, down the hill for watering when the well was dry....the town horse trading once a month at the bottom of the hill below the house (and the day that someone left a dead horse behind for the Sabin family to dispose of) boys playing football in the flat clearing that they called "Mrs. Smith's Bottom"....and the boys carving my grandfather's initials, ASS (Albert Sevier Sabin, of course) in Grandma's butter mold..."Jake Leg" - the neurological effects of bad whiskey made with Jamaican ginger that affected some older men in town...the family living in one heated room in the winter, and going upstairs to freezing cold bedrooms...many long trips back and forth from Jonesboro, Tennessee to Walterboro, South Carolina, crossing the Nolichucky River over and over and over and often being blocked by rockslides and having to wait for boulders to be moved...taking apples into town in a little wagon to sell them for pocket money....learning to swim on the Nolichucky, and chipping in to buy gasoline money to go to the public swimming pool.

If you have access to any earlier photographs of the house and its inhabitants, I'd be very pleased to add them to this page.

 Maud Sabin with the Boys
On the front porch, around 1928-1930.  Pictured, left to right:
Bill Sabin, Neil Sabin, Maud Sabin, Don Sabin, Ellis Sabin
(Archie, Sevier, and Kathryn are not pictured)

Bert and Maud Sabin
Sabin House 1939
Bert Sabin
The Home in 1939 - Bert and Maud Sabin, &
 Bert Sabin on the right with barn in background

Maud Sabin with Grandchildren
Grandmother and Lap Full of Grandkids , early 1940s

Thanks to cousin Sevier Sabin and other cousins for sending some of these photos

Information on the Beautifully Restored and Relocated Sabin House
Currently For Sale!

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