- Associated Press - Sunday, June 7, 2015

BLUFF CITY, Tenn. (AP) - Imagine being surrounded by pieces of U.S. presidential and Tennessee history every single day.

That’s how Harvey and Betsy Carrier have lived for the past 40 years in Betsy Carrier’s ancestral home in Bluff City. Her relatives were the Stovers, who were descendents of President Andrew Johnson, who became the nation’s 17th president after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

“Nobody has ever lived in the house other than my family so they were the keeper of the keys for the Johnsons and the Stover artifacts,” she said.

She has a strong passion and love of history and the couple has kept many of the Johnson and Stover artifacts, but several have been taken to Greeneville so the history can be shared with everyone.

The house still contains original Johnson and Stover furniture, including a dining room table and a silver tea set that was brought to the house by the Johnsons from the White House.

It also includes several portraits, books and photographs that belonged to the Johnsons. Some jewelry, a pair of First Lady Eliza Johnson’s glasses, pieces of fabric from dresses and a grandfather clock that was given to President Johnson by his physician are also still in the home.

The house was commissioned in 1867 by President Johnson’s daughter, Mary Stover, whose first husband died in the Civil War and who divorced her second husband.

She used her inheritance money for the house following Johnson’s death from tuberculosis.

Stover moved to Union, Tennessee - now Bluff City - to oversee the Holston Cotton Factory there that Johnson had been a silent partner of following the end of his term and the end of the Civil War in 1869.

The three-story brick mansion is located atop a hill in Bluff City on Cedar Street near the city’s middle school. Stover named the house Stover Hall.

Stover’s two daughters and son lived in the mansion. Stover later died from tuberculosis and the home was willed to her daughters, Lillie and Sarah. Sarah Drake Stover and her husband, William Bruce Bachman, Betsy Carrier’s grandparents, then lived in the mansion. Sarah died in 1892 of tuberculosis at 28 leaving behind two sons. Bachman remarried and had four children, one of them her father, Robert Bachman.

Most of the original structure of Stover Hall was destroyed in an accidental fire set by Sarah and William’s sons in 1887. The house burned for a week and during that time the Johnson’s bookcase, doors, furniture, mantels and other items were salvaged.

Bachman rebuilt the home in 1907 on the Stover Hall foundation with a lot of the original materials. The home was renamed Long Shadows by Betsy’s grandmother, Lula, because of an oak tree beside the structure that cast long shadows.

Betsy’s aunt later lived in the home and after her death, the Carriers bought the home.


Information from: Bristol Herald Courier, https://www.bristolnews.com

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