Note: A reminiscence written by
Mrs. Eunice Williams FITE (Mrs. Leonard FITE) of Nashville, Tenn., who as
a child was a frequent visitor at Greenwood, the home of Robert ALLEN,
near Carthage, Tenn.
Mrs. FITE's mother was Lucy Anne WILLIAMS, an intimate friend of Virginia
"Since 'Garden Fever' has manifested itself throughout the country it
is meet that a word should be said of old gardens that flourished several
decades ago and live now only in the memory of a few. So I am making
a 'memory pilgrimage' to Greenwood, near Carthage, the lovely old ante
bellum home of Robert ALLEN built for his distinguished bride, Rebecca
"The young mistress of the house followed the traditional idea, rare
personal charm and dignity were hers, as were the virtues exemplifying the
spiritual forces of her day. Those who are familiar with Carthage,
in Smith County, Tennessee, and its environs know that it rivals in beauty
the scenery of the most favored upland countries--the steep bluff, the
winding river, the purple hills are a never-ending delight.
"About a mile and a half northwest of town up the Old Battery hill
and through a wooded drive, flanked on either side by beautiful hills, one
came upon Greenwood. The spot seemed designed by nature for a
home. The house was a two story red brick with white shutters and
keystones over the windows. A brick walk led to a flag-stone terrace
and the hospitable door of the manor. There were no columns.
"On the garden side of the house the earth sloped gently down to a
meadow. On this slope English daisies, pink, white and lavender,
carpeted the ground. The garden was part of the meadow. I
recall no geometrical designs. Grass grew in the center and was
bordered by a profusion of flowers. Lilacs, syringa, snowballs,
lemon lillies, roses, peonies, iris, etc., also the usual herbs that make
fragrant the linen shelves and savoury the cuisine. It was a garden
that delighted bees and butterflies as well as children. At the rear
was a latticed summer house which sheltered the cistern over which trailed
a handsome wisteria. The usual smoke-house and cabins completed the
"When a little girl I began accompanying my mother on visits to
Greenwood, Miss Virginia ALLEN, a daughter of the house being the adored
friend of my mother, a friendship hallowed by the vicissitudes of the
"Well I remember the last visit, and a sad one, to Greenwood--Miss
Virginia, my mother and I (by then a grown-up young lady) went out to
spend the night. A tenant was in charge--all the loved ones were
gone. As we walked up the brick path to the house, not a word was
said, the tears were coursing down the beautiful face of Miss Virginia
ALLEN, and I, on the threshold of life, wondered if it is ever wise to
open the door on so many endearing memories."
Eunice Williams FITE.
See Robert ALLEN Bible.