Travellers Rest was the home of Judge John Overton, who built the home in 1799. John Overton was an advisor and close friend to Andrew Jackson, who was Judge at the Superior Court of Tennessee during the time.
The home was originally built as a two-story, four-room Federal-style clapboard structure; additions were built on to it in 1812, 1828 and 1887. Overton originally named his plantation ‘Golgotha,’ which meant “Place of the Skulls,” due to the prehistoric skulls that were often unearthed while digging up the site for the home’s construction. He later changed its name to Travellers Rest to reflect the peaceful nature of the home to him after his long horseback rides, required of him as a circuit judge. Overton died at his plantation in 1833.
At the beginning of the Civil War, Overton’s widow occupied the home until her death in 1862. After her passing, her son John and his wife Harriet and their children continued to occupy the home. The plantation’s farm, which covered 1,050 acres and was worked by 80 slaves, was valued at $68 million during this time.
In 1954, the plantation was saved from demolition and restored to become a museum, showcasing the life of work of John Overton and the plantation’s role in the Civil War. In 1995, during the construction of a visitor’s center, additional archaeological findings were reported on the property in the form of human burial remains.
Travellers Rest is on the National Register of Historic Places and available for visiting and touring Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Visit www.travellersrestplantation.org for more details or visit their Facebook page here.