The Tarr House was built in 1881 by James Archibald Tarr to celebrate the birth of his son Herd (Hurd) Lonas Tarr MD. The Tarr House (as it is locally called) is an Italianate 3800 square foot mansion located about 3 miles NW of Jefferson City. The structure consists of handmade brick made with clay and fired on the west lawn near the natural spring. The walls are 14 inches thick. The home sets on a beautiful tract of land (approx. 15 acres) consisting of views of the Great Smokey Mountains and overlooking Jefferson City and the Old A.J. Highway (once the main roadway to Knoxville and directly across from the Fairview Mansion built in 1851). Of the four remaining original mansions along this route, the Tarr House still regally sets surrounded by an undeveloped 600 acres of land recently donated to the National Land Conservancy .; therefore, the Tarr House will retain its rural character into the future. This is why the mansion is in consideration for placement on the National Register of Historic Sites. Sitting on the porch one can be transported back to 1881 and the time when plantations were large and the owners well-to-do.
* Major David Tate III, an officer of the War of 1812 emigrates from Botetourt County, VA. He becomes an extensive farmer and landowner along the Holston River; eventually his holdings are vast enough to be designated in the archives as "Chamberlain Bend Grainger County".
* Major Tate unites his holdings with Mary "Polly" Chamberlain, daughter of Jerimiah Chamberlain, a native of Ireland and one of the first settlers of East Tennessee. Jerimiah gives land as a dower to his daughter upon her marriage to the major. At that time it is said that the Tate-Chamberlain clan owned almost 1600 acres of Grainger County land, the southern boundary being where the house is located today.
* Comfort Knox Tate is given a land dower by her father David Tate when she marries the Mexican War hero James Herd Lonas in 1850 including the land on which the house now stands.
* Comfort Knox Tate Lonas bequeathes 50 separate acres to her daughter Mary Molly Lonas upon her marriage to Archibald Tarr in 1880 to build a house. Eventually James and Mary purchase the familial 1600 acres making it one of the largest farms in east Tennessee. James and Mary live in the home where Mary dies in 1937 having survived James by a number of years. Three boys and one girl are the result of this union.
* Following tradition, the brothers gift their sisiter, Hellen Tarr Miller, 26.75 acres including the house (1939). In 1941 they give Helen a separate deed for a driveway.
* In 1945 Helen Tarr Miller sells the house and grounds for $10,450 to her nephew J.H. Lonas and his wife Annie M. Lonas . J.H. Lonas purchases land from relatives to try to regain the original holdings of his family. He uses the home as equity on the vast land purchases. Helen Miller is paid off by the Federal Land Bank of Louisville.
* In 1951 all land including the home reverts back to the bank in foreclosure. With this foreclosure, the house and "Tarr-Lonas lands" never return to their original ownership.
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