“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Memphis in Shelby County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)

Nelson-Kirby House

Yellow Fever Refuge

NELSON-KIRBY HOUSE Marker image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Wallace Martin, May 8, 2018
Inscription.  This house was home to two owners who experienced differently the tribulations of the Civil War. The first, Thomas A. Nelson (1819-1887), acquired property on Poplar Pike in 1869 as a rural refuge from the yellow fever epidemics that periodically swept Memphis. He had moved in 1856 from his native Alabama to the city, where he became a cotton merchant and president of the Bank of West Tennessee. In reprisal for a Confederate raid in 1863, Federal authorities expelled Nelson and other Southern sympathizers from Memphis and confiscated his property. In 1871, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld his claim that his expulsion had prevented him from defending it against seizure, and he was compensated. After the war, Nelson founded a cottonseed oil company (Memphis Oil, 1868) and the Southern Life Insurance Company (1870). In 1898, his land, house, and outbuildings were sold to John A. Kirby.

Kirby (1842-1929), a Virginia native, moved to Memphis in 1860 to work in the wholesale grocery business. He enlisted in the Shelby Grays (Co. A, 4th Tennessee Infantry) in Germantown in May 1861. He fought at Shiloh, Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga,
Nelson-Kirby House and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Wallace Martin, July 11, 2018
2. Nelson-Kirby House and Marker
Missionary Ridge, where he was shot in the leg and captured on November 25, 1863. Imprisoned at Rock Island, Ilinois, Pvt. Kirby took the oath of allegiance to the United States on May 21, 1865, and returned to Memphis. He worked in the grocery business, bought land, and farmed until his death in this house at the age of eighty-eight.

John L. Ebling acquired the house in 1890, enlarged it, and added the Stick-style embellishments to the exterior, including the bay window and decorative trusswork. John A. Kirby's descendants continue to own the Nelson-Kirby House, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. The house, which was built on land granted to Eppy White in 1837, was moved here in 2014 from its original location on Poplar Pike to ensure its preservation.
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails series list.
Location. 35° 4.967′ N, 89° 50.185′ W. Marker is in Memphis, Tennessee, in Shelby County. Marker is at the intersection of Messick Road and Hickory Crest Drive, on the right when traveling east on Messick Road. Touch for map
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. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6797 Messick Rd, Memphis TN 38119, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Germantown Cemetery (approx. 1.3 miles away); War Comes to Germantown (approx. 1˝ miles away); Fortunate Survivor (approx. 1˝ miles away); Germantown, Tennessee (approx. 1˝ miles away); Germantown Baptist Church (approx. 1˝ miles away); Mertie's Lake and the Buckman Water Science Trail (approx. 1.6 miles away); Shelby County / Memphis (approx. 1.6 miles away); This Chimney Swift Tower (approx. 1.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Memphis.
Also see . . .  Nelson-Kirby House (Kirby Farm House). Memphis Heritage Inc. (Submitted on July 9, 2018.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 12, 2018. It was originally submitted on July 7, 2018, by Christopher Wallace Martin of Germantown, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 284 times since then and 75 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on July 7, 2018, by Christopher Wallace Martin of Germantown, Tennessee.   2. submitted on July 12, 2018, by Christopher Wallace Martin of Germantown, Tennessee. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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Aug. 15, 2020