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Leon Geny

Unknown – 1878
John Baptiste Geny (brother); Annie Klein (wife); Jacob Barot (adopted son)
1858 - Geny family tradition states that in 1858, Leon Geny arrived in Nashville from Alsace, France to design the gardens at the Belmont Estate. While most likely Leon Geny became the gardener at Belmont soon after his arrival the gardens would have already been designed. Geny no doubt made changes to the design.

1859 – March 4 – In a letter, Adelica mentions Rutherford Brown visited Belmont and “told us of Geny the flowers, etc.”

1860 – April 8 – In a letter, Adelicia wrote that she wanted Mr. Geny to make sure that Mr. Storm hurried with his painting of the galleries and verandas.

1860 – In April, Leon is documented working at Belmont as the gardener. In June, the US Census lists him as age 35 born in France and living in the gardener’s house at Belmont with Robert Kunze.

1868 - Leon was elected to the Tennessee Horticultural Society at the Spring of 1868 meeting. [Republican Banner 4/5/68]. On April 9th, Leon’s brother John Baptiste Geny arrived in Nashville. Also, a gardener he had hoped to teach French. He married in June of the same year and went into the florist business immediately. He opened his first green house at the corner of Warren and Jackson Street. This business continues today.

1870 – He is mentioned in the paper as a member of the French Aid Society in Nashville [Republican Banner 9/16/70]. The US Census listed him living close to Belmont age 54 with his wife Annie age 38. Annie Klein (sometimes spelled Anna) was born 1830 in Metze of the province of Loraine, France. The couple had no children but adopted her nephew Jacob Barot (1857-1907) known as Jaques who continued growing vegetables and flowers after the 1893 death of Annie.

1873 – September - Leon becomes the gardener again in September of 1873 and works for one year.

1874 – While working at Belmont and with the Cheatham’s financial help, Leon purchased five acres on Hillsboro Pike adjoining Vanderbilt University on April 21, 1874. The family will sell vegetables and flowers from the Market House in downtown Nashville.

1875 – Adelicia Cheatham was engaged in a court case against Leon for a breach of contract likely stemming from his work on the property from 1873-74. It is decided he owes Adelicia $498.85.

1878 – January 24 - Leon died and was buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery with Masonic rites from Cumberland Lodge, No. 8, F. A.M. of which he was a member. (Section 6 Lot 205)
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