Saturday, August 9, 2014

House Genealogy - 315 Grace Street, 37207

315 Grace St. (formerly Josephine Ave)

In 1880 the East Nashville Real Estate Company filed a plat with the Davidson County Register of Deeds (RODC 57-11) for a plan of lots in North Edgefield/Northeast Nashville. East Nashville Real Estate Company had purchased the land from J. W. Bryan.  The property had once been a part of the lands of James McGavock whose old home still stands at 908 Meridian Street. Read more about  McGavock.

Sarah Horne was from Alabama, born there in 1844.  Patrick Stephenson was an immigrant from Ireland and worked for the railroad on the Decatur line.  He was living in Nashville as early as 1867.  Perhaps he met Sarah on a layover in Decatur.  They were married in March of 1870 in Decatur, Alabama.  By June, 1870, the newlyweds were living in Nashville at the City Hotel.  Within a few years, they were living on Foster Street in Northeast Nashville, probably to be near the railroad.  The 1880 census lists Patrick's occupation as a conductor, with the railroad.  Patrick died just before Christmas, 1881 and was buried at Nashville's Calvary Cemetery. 

Pulaski Citizen - Dec. 22, 1881

Sarah was left to raise two young children, Ellen and William. In 1882 Sarah Horne Stephenson purchased lot # 3 (Davidson Co., Deed ref. 72-460) of the East Nashville Real Estate Plan of Lots for $300.  From 1883 -1898 Sarah was living at 315 Josephine Ave. and worked as a music teacher to support her family. 

In 1899, Sarah's daughter and son-in-law, Ellen and William Varley moved into the house, with their two young daughters, Patricia and Loretta.  William Varley is listed as head of house in the 1900 census and Sarah is in the household listed as mother in law.  William had a men's clothing store on Union Street in partnership with a Mr. Bauman and earlier a Mr. Bowers.  The men owned a second store in Birmingham, Alabama.

In 1901 the house was transferred by deed from Sarah Stephenson to her daughter Ellen Varley for the amount of 1167.50.  The deed still gives the street name as Josephine.   (RODC 259-104)
In 1909, Varley transferred his interest in the Nashville store to Bauman.  Bauman gave over his interest in the Birmingham store to Varley.  By this time the Varley's were living full time in Alabama.

In 1913, Ellen Varley, who had moved with her husband William to Alabama several years before, sold the house to Moore Handley Hardware Co. of Birmingham, Alabama.  The street is called Grace Avenue in the deed.  (Davidson Co., Deed ref.  445-314)  Sarah Stephenson also moved to Alabama.  She died at Mobile in June 1926.

The house at 315 Grace Avenue would have looked similar to this house before it was altered.

In 1920, Moore Handley Hardware Co.  sold the house to Delter and Mell Todd for $1500. (Davidson Co., Deed ref.  531-82)
Over the next few years there were several owners, Natalie Overall, Jacob Grandstaff and Morris Jacobs.  Morris Jacobs bought the property in 1924, apparently as an investment.  He and his wife Bessie did not live in the house although they owned it until 1955.  They sold the house, that year, to Inez Parker.  Ms. Parker lived in the house at least in the early years of her ownership and was still in possession of the property at her death in 1993.  Ms. Parker left the property to Mildred Morris Dattilo and she sold the house in 1994.  

Today the house looks very different than when Sarah lived there, over 130 years ago. 

315 Grace Street today, a mixture of old and new.


  1. Jean Morris KalillAugust 11, 2014 at 11:05 AM

    I have many memories of this house and the wondeerful people who lived there. Inez parker was my aunt and after her husband's death she lived there with her parents Joe and Daisy Morris until her death. My family and I lived next door and I spent many happy times with them. Jean Morris Kalill

  2. The house in the black and white picture is almost exactly like my grandparents' house out on Rosebank. Even the location of the trees around the house are similar. I know that it is not my grandparents' house because when the house still had gingerbread, they had a porch swing, not a glider and they had a railing around the porch as well. In about 1956, the old gingerbread was deteriorating and my grandfather had it removed. The wooden porch was replaced with a concrete porch and the gingerbread mill work was replaced with wrought iron. A few years later, my grandmother bought a glider just like that one in the picture. After my grandparents' deaths, my brother and I sold the house. It has changed hands several times. Just recently, it has begun to look neglected and I think it is empty. I am afraid it will soon be torn down. I would love to see it restored but I am afraid it will be a victim of the popularity of East Nashville.

  3. Does anyone know how to find the history on the blue house next to it at 317 Grace st ? We live here now and have been told it was built in 1888 and also in 1920. We don't which one it is and would love to find this history on it!

  4. The lot was purchased in Feb. of 1884 by Martha McKinstry and she was living at the address in 1885. I have only a few notes on the property. The deed book and page number is 83 - 94. You can search the address in Nashville City Directories at Metro Nashville Archives. The archives also has maps and possibly other information. When the lot was sold to Mrs. McKinstry, the street was named Josephine. If you are on facebook, look for the Oldtimes in Northeast Nashville group. You might find more info there.

  5. Debbie, do you have any info on 327 Grace St? I know recently it was a lot owned by the church on Hancock. Anything else you have would be much appreciated.


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