Historic Jonesborough home receives special distinction

Jessica Fuller • Jul 20, 2018 at 8:52 PM

For the past 289 years, the Rees-Hawley House has been perched on a hill overlooking Jonesborough and remains one of the longest-standing structures in Tennessee’s oldest town. 

On Friday afternoon, the house gained another distinction, this time from the National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century. The home now boasts a plaque from the society after a year-long process of getting a marker for the building for its historical significance. 

The society was founded in 1915 and today remains an organization of women who are descendants of an ancestor who lived in one of the original colonies prior to 1701 with a mission to preserve historic records and buildings. Thirteen chapters dot the state with 400 members, but the Rees-Hawley House is the first in Jonesborough to have the distinction from the National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century.

“When it was organized, that was something that (the founder) wanted, was to do historic preservation and to mark old houses so they would be saved,” state president Cindy Waters said. “As far back as 1915, that was the plan when the organization was created, to preserve and protect our history.” 

The three-story home was built on Lot No. 1 by James Rees of the original 1779 town plat out of dovetailed chestnut logs built on a native limestone foundation, and changed hands and architectural styles over the centuries. Today, the original cooking fireplace still nests in the original kitchen of the home. 

Marcy Hawley and her late husband, Robert, purchased the home in 1988 and renovated it, but took care to preserve important historic elements of the home. It functioned as a bed and breakfast where many visitors stayed over the years. 

“It was such an honor and it brings attention to Jonesborough and with this plaque it demonstrates how important historic preservation is in Jonesborough,” Hawley said.

“Everything that’s gone on in this town, this house has witnessed.” 

Email Jessica Fuller at [email protected] Follow Jessica on Twitter @fullerjf91. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jfullerJCP.

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