Civil War  |  Historic Site

McLemore House


446 11th Avenue
Franklin, TN 37064
United States

Get Directions

This heritage site is a part of the American Battlefield Trust's Road to Freedom: Tennessee Tour Guide app, which showcases sites integral to the Black experience during the Civil War era. Download the FREE app now.

McLemore House, Franklin, Tenn.
McLemore House, Franklin, Tenn. Skye Marthaler (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Born enslaved about 1829, Harvey McLemore was bound to the white McLemore family until emancipation in 1865.

As a free man he entered a sharecropping contract with his former enslaver and veteran Confederate Calvary officer, Judge William S. McLemore. By 1870, Harvey was married to Eliza and managed 68 acres of land on the McGavock Plantation, now known as Carnton. In 1880, he purchased four lots from Judge McLemore for $400, the largest amount of property owned by any African American in the Hard Bargain subdivision. He then built his home, which provided physical and financial security for at least five generations of his family over the next 117 years. The McLemore house was an anchor in the Hard Bargain neighborhood, which became a strong, stable community of working-class African Americans and was made up of skilled carpenters, rock masons, blacksmiths, mill workers, washerwomen, and domestic servants.

The McLemore House, now a museum operated by the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County, stands as a living testament to the determination and resilience of the Harvey McLemore family and their neighbors following the Civil War, and continues to inspire the residents of Hard Bargain. The Hard Bargain Association seeks to preserve the historic neighborhood; its Executive Director Derrick Solomon says of Harvey McLemore, “If he didn’t go to his ex-slave owner at that time to make this ultimate sacrifice, I would never have had the opportunity to purchase a home,” he said. “The McLemore house is the past, present and the future of Hard Bargain.”


McLemore House: What's Nearby

Franklin, TN