In Your Backyard: Cottontown’s Bridal House

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By Hollie Deese

Sumner County may soon have a new park, thanks to a historic Cottontown two-story home and surrounding acreage that was deeded to the county in December 2016. Located on Highway 25 across from Mudd Hollow Road, just a few miles from Gallatin, the probated property was given to the county by resident Donald Brickey.

Screen Shot 2017-01-25 at 9.32.20 AMDonald, a member of the Air Force and Tennessee Air National Guard, moved into the home with his wife Frances after he retired following a long career as a design engineer. Donald passed away on November 4, 2016. Frances died in 2013.

The home is known as the Bridal House, and was built by the son of one of the first settlers of Sumner County. The log home stands on the west bank of Station Camp Creek, and was built in 1819 by Moore Cotton as a wedding gift to his only daughter Elizabeth, who married an apprentice who worked in Mr. Cotton’s blacksmith shop.

Moore was the oldest son of Thomas Cotton, the founder of Cottontown. According to the Tennessee Historical Commission the older Cotton had been a captain of the Hertford County, North Carolina Militia during the revolution. After Tennessee separated from North Carolina and became the 16th state, new settlers moved west from across the mountains to take up land grants as rewards for service in the Revolutionary War, including the Cottons.

In addition to land in Davidson County, Thomas Cotton purchased 317 acres in Sumner County. He founded Cottontown but died just four years later when Moore was twenty-four years old. Thomas’ land was divided and willed to Moore and his youngest brother John.

Moore built on his half of the property a two-story brick home, just west across the field from the Bridal House. According to local lore Moore did not approve of the marriage of his daughter to the apprentice and wanted her living within sight and earshot of his home. Because of that he built the Bridal House.

Moore Cotton died December 13, 1836, and is buried in a local grave.

Architectural significance

According to the application of the Bridal House for the National Register of Historic Places, where the home was placed in 1982, the home remains as the only log building in Cottontown and as the only known log house of the once many log homes associated with the Cottons.

Prior to a 1960s rehabilitation, the Bridal House stood in a structurally unsound, dilapidated condition with no windows and doors, a deteriorated tin roof and one crumbling brick chimney at the east side of the building.

During the rehab, new brick chimneys were constructed in place of the originals at each end of the gable roof and an existing tin roof was replaced with wood shingles.

The Bridal House is architecturally significant and recognized primarily for its construction with unusually large logs, measuring about three feet in width. Research about the home says those logs were pulled from Bug Hollow by oxen on two wide-wheeled wagons latched together.

The logs were four feet in diameter, hewn by a man named Brigham from Zeigler’s Station. The house was completed in fifteen months and was originally a rectangle, two-story log building.

After the home was deeded to the county, it was announced at a county commission meeting by County Executive Anthony Holt that the home and land would hopefully be used as a future park.

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