A little over a year ago, the historical Braxton Lee homestead property in Ashland City, Tennessee was under consideration for development of new Cheatham County offices which would have included a county jail. This was followed by a proposed 300-home residential subdivision. Thanks to a group of local investors (Braxton Lee Investment Group) the Homestead has been secured for the time being from immediate development and we have a chance to secure it for permanent preservation but before we begin we must purchase the property. But first…some history.
The Braxton Lee Homestead is located on a hilltop off Highway 12 S, just south of Tennessee Waltz Parkway in Ashland City, Tennessee. Across Hwy 12S from Marrowbone Creek, the Homestead overlooks the creek, an early 1900s railroad trestle and the Cumberland River Bridge as you come into Ashland City from Nashville.
Braxton Lee was a prominent, early settler of middle Tennessee arriving in 1796 with his uncle and a small group of settlers from Virginia. Braxton’s family purchased 640 acres and settled in the area that is now Ashland City. He operated a large homestead providing supplies and food to riverboats on the north banks of the Cumberland River. In 1811, he and his wife, Polly (Hunter) completed a log farmhouse, large smokehouse and a summer kitchen on the acreage which all still stand today.
This property is significant to the history of Ashland City and Cheatham County. The Lee house is the oldest standing structure in Ashland City and is 45 years older than Cheatham County government. This Homestead was a place where much of the frontier community gathered. In 1796, the Ashland City area was included as part of western Davidson County, District 25. Braxton Lee became the Davidson County Commissioner for the 25th District and it is written that much of the county’s business such as settling of land disputes, sale of property and marriage ceremonies all transpired at the homestead.
Braxton was commissioned Captain of the 20th Regiment of Tennessee Militia on July 24, 1807. He remained Captain until after he enumerated the 60 male citizens of the area into Captain McCormack’s Militia in July 1812. After Braxton Lee’s death in 1841, the land was divided and sold. Gideon Lowe purchased the house and lived there while he also served as Davidson County District 25 Commissioner until his death in 1853. In 1856, three years later, Cheatham County was formed from Davidson, Montgomery, Dickson and Robertson counties.
Today the home and 57-acres is what remains of the original 640 acres Braxton Lee purchased. The remaining property is one of the largest undeveloped parcels of land remaining in the city limits. There are many descendants connected to the Homestead today scattered across the U.S. in numerous states. Related family names include Hunter, Basford, Binkley, Jackson, Harris, Head, Hunt, Lenox, Peebles, Sanders, Stark, Teasley, Walker, Weakley and Wilson.