One Of County's Few Remaining Antebellum Homes For Sale As Development Site

Saturday, August 30, 2014 - by John Wilson

One of Hamilton County's few remaining antebellum homes is on the market as a development site.

The stately two-story brick home at 4521 Bonny Oaks Dr. is listed for $1.6 million by NAI Charter realty.

The main value in the four-acre site is its development potential, the ad says.

It states, "This is the last corner with a major intersection remaining on Highway 153 from the Chickamauga Dam to the intersection Highway 153 and I-75.

"There is an approximate 3,800-square-foot homeplace on the property which has been converted into an office building. The building can be cleared for expansion or future development. The site is approximately two miles from Enterprise South Industrial Site home of Volkswagen and Amazon."

The old home is near busy Highway 153, but a visit to it brings back olden days of magnolia trees, boxwoods and frame outbuildings.

The house belonged to Harrison Hancock, who came to the section then known as Jersey from Kentucky long before the Civil War. He married Temperance Gotcher, daughter of Baptist preacher Henry Gotcher, in Hamilton County on Nov. 3, 1844.

Harrison Hancock was a staunch Baptist. Oakwood Baptist Church is nearby. He was a Mason as well as a Baptist. Just before the Civil War, he was listed with three slaves. During the war he worked for the Confederate government.

Harrison Hancock was still residing on his farm at Jersey when he died March 27, 1901. His wife died a few months later.

The house was passed down to his daughter, Virginia Bell, who married O.F. Walton.

It was later sold to J.J. and Louie Davis, then to George and Elizabeth Anderson Lewis. One of the Lewis sons was Eugene Lewis, a noted local preservationist who helped to save the Cravens House on the side of Lookout Mountain. Eugene Lewis claimed that the Jersey house was built in 1848, and he had it furnished with period antiques. Another son of George and Elizabeth Lewis was Hugh Lewis.

A daughter of George and Elizabeth Anderson, Katherine, lived in the brick house for many years. She married Marve Adolphus Stokely. Mrs. Stokely was a beloved teacher at Tyner School. She was a graduate of Tyner High School.

After the death of Katherine Lewis Stokely in 1991, the old house was sold to a business group. It was converted for use as an architectural office. The house is now vacant.

Pixie Lewis Collins, daughter of Hugh Lewis, said the family papers were turned over to her son, Louie Brogdon, a reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He said he has not had a chance to delve into the boxes of family papers that might shed more light on the history of the old house.

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