The Carter House

The Carter House postcard
Civil War Cannon
Back Porch
Kitchen with bullet holes visible
Carter House orchard
Apple Trees in Bloom
Apple Trees in Bloom
Apple Trees in Summer
Heirloom Apple Tree
Apple Blossoms
Apple Blossoms
Battlefield Sign
Spring Vegetables
Spring Vegetables
Summer Vegetables
Harvesting Beans
Harvesting Okra
Volunteers Planting Osage Orange Hedge
Carter House Volunteers
Carter House Volunteers
Osage Orange Hedge
Herb Garden
Iris Bed
Slave Cabin
Heirloom Peony Bed
Heirloom Peony
Shade Garden Early Spring
Orchard In Winter
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In 1830, Fountain Branch Carter built a one-and-a-half story brick house just south of downtown Franklin for his small family. He and his wife Polly had twelve children, eight of whom reached adulthood. Though Fountain had successfully operated a business in town, following the construction of his new home he had the opportunity to pursue farming. In just twenty years the Carter farm grew from nineteen acres to two hundred and eighty-eight.

On November 30, 1864, the Battle of Franklin raged across the fields south of town, scarring the landscape, claiming the lives of thousands and changing life on the Carter farm forever. Before daybreak Federal Brig. Gen. Jacob D. Cox woke the Carter family, took possession of the house and made the parlor his headquarters. The fighting began in the waning afternoon sunlight when 20,000 Confederates attacked a similar number of entrenched Federals. The Carter family, a neighboring family, and several Carter slaves took refuge in the north room of the basement as the battle raged around their home.

Fountain Branch Carter’s son Tod was serving as an aide to Confederate Brig. Gen. Thomas Benton Smith during the Battle of Franklin and was mortally wounded in the fight.  He was shot down leading a desperate charge just southwest of his childhood home. Tod was brought to the house where he died two days later.

In the years following the war, the Carter family made efforts to rebuild their farm and revive their livelihood. But the farm was never again as profitable as it was before the war. Moscow Carter sold the house and land in 1896. Carter House was purchased by the State of Tennessee in 1951 and it was first opened to the public in 1953. Today it is managed, along with Carnton, by The Battle of Franklin Trust and is dedicated to the Carter family and all Americans who fought in this battle. 

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