Monday, July 8, 2013

Lynnlawn and the Stratton family

photo courtesy TSLA

Thomas Stratton first came to Davidson County about 1809.  He traveled back to his native Virginia on at least two occasions before settling here permanently.  About 1818, Thomas came with his second wife Elizabeth Blakley Swann, their young son Madison and infant daughter Elizabeth.  They likely traveled with Willis Swann, father of Elizabeth Blakley Swann, and his family.  Swann bought property on the Cumberland River at the mouth of Dry Creek.  After the death of Elizabeth, Thomas remarried and moved to Sumner County.  Several of his children followed.  Two of his sons became well known Nashville business men.  Both owned wholesale grocery companies in Nashville.  Madison is best known for founding and naming the community of Madison in Davidson County.   

1860 Nashville City Directory Business of Madison Stratton

Three of the children of Thomas and Elizabeth Swann Stratton would eventually have homes on Gallatin Pike in East Nashville.  Jane Stratton, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth, was married in 1842 to Kindred Jenkins Morris.  Kindred Morris and Jane owned a home on Gallatin Pike near East Nashville High School.  Madison Stratton and Thomas E. Stratton purchased land near their sister and brother in law.  The brothers bought adjoining tracts on August 14, 1852 from Eli Morris.  Madison Stratton built a home between Stratton and Calvin Avenues on Gallatin Pike. 

1860 Nashville City Directory Business of Thomas E. Stratton

The tract purchased by Thomas E. Stratton, was on Gallatin Pike between Eastland and Stratton Avenues.  The home built by Thomas and his wife Mourning Morris Stratton, about 1852, was an Italian Renaissance style.  It has been suggested that William Strickland, architect of the Tennessee Capitol Building designed the house.  The drive of the home was said to have been lined with lynn trees and the Stratton family named their home Lynnlawn.  The two story brick house had 18 rooms and ceilings on the first floor were 17 and one half feet high.  The large main hall and curving staircase was very much like that in the Hermitage, home of Andrew and Rachel Jackson.  

Plat filed in 1888 shows the Stratton Home
Thomas Stratton died in 1881, almost thirty years before his wife Mourning, who died in 1908.  Thomas and Mourning are buried at Mt. Olivet near the plot of Kindred and Jane Morris.

Morris and Stratton Monuments at Mt. Olivet
Photo from CB - Find a Grave Contributor
Thomas and Mourning had two daughters, Addine and Carrie and a son, Mosley Thomas Stratton born in 1845.  After the death of his mother, Mosley T. Stratton moved back into the old home place.  He died in 1910 and ownership of the home passed to his children.  His surviving sons Thomas, Mosley, Jr. and Fred Stratton and a daughter Laura, wife of John Branham, sold their interest in Lynnlawn to their sister Nina Stratton Foster.  Nina and her husband Edgar Foster and their son Stratton soon moved into the home.  In 1957, Nina, now an aging widow, sold the home to H. G. Hill, a Nashville grocer.  Four generations of Stratton's had lived at Lynnlawn.  

About 1960, the house was damaged by fire and was soon demolished.  The lot was vacant for many years.  An H. G. Hill grocery was built there in the 1970's. Today an Aldi's food store is on the site.


  1. My cousins lived across the street from the old mansion. One afternoon one of my cousins and I were playing in the yard of the mansion and the caretake took us inside to the first floor. It was amazing. I only wish I had been old enough to remember more.

  2. Lynnlawn belonged to my great aunt! We called her "Sister" Nina. I have one of the mirrors that came out of that grand old home.

    1. Hi pstovall. Years later, a question. Are you related to the Stovall family of Mississippi, as in the Stovall Plantation? Just curious about the Stratton family having ties to Mississippi. I grew up in Clarksdale, MS and remember playing often under the trees at the plantation. This would only add to my Mississippi - Tennessee connections. I'm descended from the Cage family and several other connections. Thanks.

  3. Thank you so much, Debie Cox, for the well researched posting of Lynnlawn and the Stratton Family. You are gifted with a dedication to sharing information that is accurate and a love for Nashville history. Thank you again, so much.

  4. I remember going into that house before it caught fire. It was stunning. I was young but the main thing I remember were the beautiful mirrors. There was a rumor that on the property there was an underground tunnel that lead to the Cumberland River. I looked for it for years ! No luck.


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