“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Columbia in Maury County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)

James K. Polk House

For the Union

James K. Polk House Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse, July 3, 2016
1. James K. Polk House Marker
Inscription.  This house, constructed in 1816, is the only surviving Tennessee residence associated with the nation's eleventh president. James Knox Polk (1795-1849) lived here from 1818 to 1824. When Polk's mother died in 1852, the house passed to his younger brother, William H. Polk.

As Tennesseans considered secession during the 1860 presidential election, William Polk supported Stephen H. Douglas, the northern Democrat, over John Breckinridge, the southern Democratic candidate. In 1861, Polk became a staunch Unionist. He chaired the Tennessee Unionist Convention, which selected him as its gubernatorial nominee to oppose secessionist Isham G. Harris for Tennessee governor. The Confederate press lambasted Polk's candidacy, and a Nashville paper proclaimed that he could "no more fill the place of Governor than Falstaff could play Hamlet." Harris handily defeated Polk, 74,973 to 43,342 votes.

After Federal troops occupied Columbia in March 1862, they established the Provost Marshal headquarters at St. Peter's Episcopal Church next door to the Polk house. In September, Polk joined Union Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden's staff in Nashville.
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The Nashville Daily Union proclaimed on September 9, "Blessed with all the comforts and luxuries of a delightful home, he has voluntarily left them all to fight for that flag which he loved, and which James K. Polk delighted to honor."

Polk became ill in Nashville and died there on December 16, 1862. His older brother's widow, Sarah K. Polk, arranged with Union General William S. Rosecrans to have his body transported to Columbia to be buried in Greenwood Cemetery.
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Government & PoliticsPatriots & PatriotismWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #11 James K. Polk, and the Tennessee Civil War Trails series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1816.
Location. 35° 36.899′ N, 87° 2.242′ W. Marker is in Columbia, Tennessee, in Maury County. Marker is at the intersection of South High Street and West 7th Street (Business U.S. 412), on the right when traveling south on South High Street. Marker is located at the President James K. Polk Home & Museum. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 301 W 7th St, Columbia TN 38401, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. James Knox Polk (a few steps from this marker); St. Peter's Church (Episcopal)
James K. Polk House image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse, July 3, 2016
2. James K. Polk House
(about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Bethel House Hotel / The Princess Theatre (about 400 feet away); Site of the First Law Office of James Knox Polk (about 500 feet away); The Forrest-Gould Affair (approx. 0.2 miles away); James Edwin R. Carpenter (approx. 0.2 miles away); Maury County War Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Andrew Johnson (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Columbia.
James K. Polk House image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse, July 3, 2016
3. James K. Polk House
Credits. This page was last revised on September 10, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 21, 2016, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 521 times since then and 54 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 21, 2016, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Oct. 3, 2023