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Estate Employees


Tucker, Josephus:  He is listed as the overseer in the 1850 census; age 27, born in Virginia.  The census was enumerated on October 24, 1850.  He cannot read or write.  Although the Acklen family would not move to Belmont till late summer of 1853 by the fall of 1850 there were already thirteen enslaved people working on the estate while the house is being built.  Mr. Tucker is mentioned in a letter on December 20, 1855 as still at Belmont.  In 1860, he is living in the Goodlettsville area, near Nashville.  He is listed as a farmer with $500 worth of land and $650 of personal property.  He can now read and write.   He is married to Mary age 30, born in Tennessee and has two daughter, Rebecca, age 6 and Josephine, age 4.      


Roth, Mrs.:  It is believed she worked as a housekeeper.  She rode with Adelicia at Belmont on December 20, 1855  There was an advertisement for a housekeeper in December of 1855.  There were two applications, one from Mrs. Polk’s housekeeper.  In November of 1857, Mrs. Roth wanted her workbox sent down to Louisiana; it was on the mantel in the housekeeper’s room.  She also wanted her riding hat, which was upstairs in the wardrobe.


McGrady/McGredy, David Anderson:  It was mentioned that he was to empty the flowerpots in 1856.  Most likely he started on or sometimes after January 1st of that year.  He was gone by November of 1857 when he is back in the nursery business for himself.  His full name was David Anderson McGrady.  He exhibited at Horticultural Society exhibition in May of 1868 and at the Agricultural and Mechanical Association Fair in October 1872.  He was a partner with Gartland.  He was buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery on  March 2, 1899 (Sec. 6 lot 153). His tombstone reads “David Anderson McGredy / 1826 -1899. His wife, Hannah Bornes McGredy (1840-1902), is listed on the same tombstone.


Bonstead, Mr.: In December, 1857, Adelicia wrote that he was to clean out the cistern for drinking water and examine the corner of the nursery for leaks.  In February, 1858, she wrote again about the cistern.



Geny, Leon: He was born around 1826 in France.  Geny family tradition states that in 1858, Leon and his brother John Geny arrived in Nashville from Alsace, France to design the gardens at the Belmont estate.  The first time he is listed working at Belmont as a gardener is in April 1860. While Leon Geny most likely became the gardener upon or soon after his arrival, the gardens would have already been designed.  However, they may have made changes to the design.  In June 1860, he was listed on the census as 35 years old, living in the gardener’s house with Robert Kunze.  By December 1864, Geny was no longer a gardener.  Four year later in 1868, he was elected to the Tennessee Horticultural Society.  By September 1869 he was working for Mr. P. I. Nichols.  Although he does not appear in the 1870 census, he did become a U.S. citizen on July 25, 1871. Two years later he was listed as a Belmont gardener again and worked there for one year. In April of 1874 he and his wife bought five acres near Belmont for $2,500 and grew plants and flowers that they sold at the farmers’ market in Nashville.  He died at 4:00 on January 24, 1878 and was buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery.  The 1879 and 1880 city directory lists a Leon Geny as a gardener.  The directories of 1892, 1893, and into the 20th century list him as a florist.  However, this Geny is likely a nephew of the Belmont employee with the same name. 


Henderson, David:  He worked as an overseer at Montvale and lived in the overseer’s house, according to the 1860 census.  In 1860, he was 35, born in Scotland, and living with his wife, Jennett, age 35, and his children: Mary, 10; George, 9; Harriett, 6; and Andrew, 6 months.  It appears that Andrew was the only child born in Tennessee.  He was no longer at Belmont by December of 1862.  There is a David Henderson listed in the 1865 and 1866 city directories working at a livery stable on N. Cherry, and living at 108 N. Cherry, who might be a possible match.


Kunze, Robert:  According to a grave stone, he was born on March 29, 1839 and lived until December 24, 1924.  He was listed in the 1860 census as living at Belmont as a gardener, age 22, who was born in Germany.  He was living with Leon Geny in the gardener’s cottage.  By the 1870 census, there is a Robert Kunze, age 30, from Prussia, working as a farm laborer in Austin County, Texas, living with Peter Pampel, 24, and Bertha Pampel, 20.  Bertha was from Prussia, and Peter was from Texas.  By the 1880 Austin County census, Robert Kunze was 39, a farmer, with wife Mathilde, age 25, who kept house and was born in Texas, Willie, age 8, Frank, age 6, and Edward, age 3.  By the 1920 census, Robert is still living in Austin County, age 81, with Matilda, age 61.  He was recorded as immigrating in 1853, naturalized in 1860, and owned his own house, and both he and his wife were able to read and write. 


Terry, James C.:  He worked as an overseer for Adelicia, beginning at the end of 1862 and was living in the Overseer’s house when it was destroyed in December of 1864.  The 1850 census has him living in Williamson County, Tennessee, born around 1819 in Tennessee, age 31, a farmer, living with his wife, Margaret, age 28; and children -- Mary J., 7; Rufus, 5; Rachael, 1.  The 1860 census for Davidson County lists James as 42, an overseer, living with Margaret, 38; Mary, 17; Rufus, 15; Rachael, 11; Charles, 9; James, 7; Alice, 3; and Samuel, 5 months. The 1870 census for Davidson County lists James, 50, working as a lime burner living with his son Rufus, age 24, who was head of the household and a farmer.  A 70 year old Charles Abernathy was also residing here.  James was also living with Margaret, 47; Charles, 18; James, 13; Nannie, 12; Alice, 10; Samuel, 8; and Archibald, 6.  The 1880 census for Davidson County listed James as 62, farming, living with Margaret, 60; Charley, 27, who was a drover; Nannie, 21; and Samuel, 20, who was farming.  There was also an 8 year old Mattie Frazier, listed as a granddaughter. He cannot be located beyond 1880. 





Cenas, Heloise:  Miss Cenas came to Belmont from New Orleans with Adelicia in June of 1864.  We do not know if that is when she starts working as a tutor.  In a letter from September 1864, Miss Cenas wrote to her family in New Orleans that the “grounds are more beautiful than ever.”  It is assumed that she left her position as tutor when Adelicia and the children traveled to Europe in May of 1865.  She carries on a lifelong correspondence with the children, but she is never mentioned again at Belmont as a tutor.  She is replaced by Miss Ella Mason.  Neither Heloise Cenas nor Ella Mason have been located in the census records.


Rock, William C.:  He was a gardener working at Belmont in December of 1864.  He cannot be located in the Tennessee 1860 census.  He was still at Belmont by May of 1865.


Blair, William:  He was a gardener at Belmont at some point following the Civil War, probably between May of 1865 and May of 1867.  In May of 1870 he was the gardener at the Tennessee Insane Asylum and was still there in May of 1873.  He was also the gardener for P. L. Nichol.  On November 8, 1873, the Nashville Union & American, reported that in the preceding week a marriage license was issued for William Blair and Mary Sullivan. The couple moved to California around 1875. On February 12, 1878 the Nashville Daily American reported that Mrs. Mary Blair, wife of William Blair formerly of Nashville died in San Francisco. 


Gray, Henry:  Born ca. 1834, died 1916.  He worked as a gardener at Belmont, beginning by May of 1867 and leaving by the end of April 1869.  It appears he went to work at the Tennessee Insane Asylum because he was there by July of 1869.  He was first mentioned in one of Adelicia’s letters in October of 1868 as “getting his plants in before Frost.”  He was mentioned again in 1869, when Adelicia wrote that the change of gardeners was of great advantage because one of them had become unreliable.  Because of the handwriting, it is difficult to know if Adelicia was referring to Mr. Gray or Mr. Geny, another gardener at Belmont, but it was most likely Gray.  He was elected a member of the newly reformed Tennessee Horticultural Society in April of 1868.  In the Gardener’s Monthly magazine, May 1868, he was listed as a gardener at Belmont.  By July of 1869 he was working at the Tennessee Insane Asylum.  By January of 1870 he was in partnership with William Heaver in the Edgefield Nursery while still working at the Asylum.  That partnership dissolved on July 1, 1870.    He remained at the Asylum until he started working for Mr. P. I. Nichol in October of 1871.  He was not found in the Davidson County census of 1870.  He was listed in 1872 as a florist who worked for P.L. Nichol and lived at 109 S. Cherry Street.  Nichol was recorded as a florist and dealer in seeds, plants, and bulbs.  The 1873 and 1874 directory listed Gray as a grocer, still living at 109 S. Cherry.  In the 1875 directory, he was listed as a gardener working for McGavock.  He was now living at 320 Broadway.  From 1876 onward, he cannot be found in a city directory.  The 1880 census listed Gray, age 44, living with wife Annie E., age 41.  Both were English born.  By January, 1887, he was on the payroll of the Tennessee Insane Asylum as a florist at $55 per month.  Records for the Asylum end on January 15, 1894, and he was still employed.  There are no employment records before 1887.  The 1900 census listed Henry as living at the Asylum in Davidson County, age 64, that he was born in November 1835, married in 1860 and married for 40 years, and immigrated to the United States in 1861.  His wife was born in May 1839, age 61.  He cannot be found in the 1910 census.  He died at age 82 and is buried at Mt. Olivet on November 4, 1916.  His wife died at age 75 on July 3, 1914, and is also buried at Mt. Olivet.  According to tradition, Adelicia and Dr. Cheatham gave a gardener Mr. Gray prints of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert when Adelicia left for Washington D.C.  His widow gave them to William K. Nicholson who also worked at the Asylum.  (This last statement is probably not accurate, considering that Annie died before Henry.)


Luizard, Charles:  [also spelled Louigard] Born in France ca. 1849-50.  He worked as Adelicia’s footman and possibly driver from 1866 to about 1870.  He was listed on the ships manifest as a servant traveling with Adelicia and was probably 15 or 16 years old at the time.  On October 10, 1866, the Republican Banner published a story which mentioned livered servants on Adelicia’s carriage.  In November of the same year, Albigence Waldo Putnam, an elder at First Presbyterian Church, also recorded how Adelicia arrived at church with a French driver on a carriage box in livery and with cockade.  However, by June of 1870, the United State Census listed Charles as a cook at the Maxwell Hotel.  Three years later on February 23, the Republican Banner printed a story about a railroad accident in which Charles was mortally wounded. The article explains that Adelicia brought him from France to work as her footman and then he went to the Maxwell House Hotel before becoming a brakeman for the railroad.  While working, he fell from a moving train and broke his arm in several places. Eventually, the arm had to be amputated and Charles died from complications of the surgery. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.  


Mullins, Mike:  He was born in Ireland in 1820.  Mullins immigrated to the United States in 1853, and was living in Blair County, Pennsylvania, in 1854.  He made a declaration of intention to become a U.S. citizen at the October Term in 1854 of the Court of Common Pleas in Blair County.  He first appeared in Nashville in 1859 in the city directory as a laborer at M. Jackson & Company.  This company owned Claiborne Machine Works.  There was no Michael Mullins listed in the 1860 census in Davidson County or in the 1860-1861 or 1865 city directory.  The August 1, 1863 Nashville Daily Union reports that he is the assistant gardener, to Owen Sharkey at the Tennessee Insane Asylum.  A M. Mullins is listed as a laborer in the 1866 directory, but there is no listing from 1867 onward.  He may have gone to work for Adelicia as early as 1867.  He is first mentioned by her as a workman in October of 1868.  In April of 1869, Adelicia wrote: “Mike [could be Mullins] and John are with us on the place and stays in the cottage [most likely the gardener’s cottage behind the water tower.]”  In the same letter, she also mentioned that Gray or Geny [most likely Gray] was becoming unreliable as the gardener.  Mike Mullins was listed in the 1870 census as living at Belmont as a common laborer, age 43.  It appears that in the ten years between 1870 when he is listed as a laborer and 1880 when he is listed as a gardener, he might have been working as an assistant to the head gardeners.  Valentine Fisher is also listed as a gardener in the 1880 census.  By May of 1869, Owen Sharkey is the gardener, who Mullins was an assistant to at the Asylum and remained until September of 1873, when Leon Geny became the gardener for one year. Other than Valentine Fisher in the 1880 census have no references to any other gardeners from this time forward.  Mullins became a citizen on June 28, 1878 in the Davidson County Court [Minute Book Q, page 613, mf roll 1620].  In the 1880 census, he was listed as 51 years old, single, and gardener, living at Belmont.  He appeared to have worked at Belmont until it was sold in 1887.  In 1889 he was listed in the City Directory as working as a gardener on Church Street at the corner of Boyd.  In 1894, he boarded at 904 Kayne Avenue and worked as a florist.  He cannot be found in the 1900 census. In 1901, he was at the same residence as in 1894, but his occupation was listed as a gardener.  He died at the age of 87  and was buried at Calvary Cemetery in an unmarked grave.


Amanda:  She is the cook for Adelicia in October of 1868.  By April of 1869 Adelicia writes that she has a new cook but gives no name.  This may be the same Amanda who was the daughter of Betsy a enslaved person given to Adelicia by her father O. B. Hayes in 1839.  She is listed in the September 1847 inventory of the Isaac Franklin’s estate.  She was still with Adelicia in October of 1857.  She is possibly the same Amanda [with no last name given] who was buried in the Nashville City Cemetery on March 10, 1871. 


Joshua:  Listed as a servant in October 1868.


Delia: In two letters, Adelicia refers to her as a servant in October 1868, and is known to have worked in the dining room as late as April 1869.


Liddy:  In October of 1868, she was mentioned as the washerwoman, and in April 1869, she was mentioned as being in the nursery and bedrooms.


Sharkey, Owen:  Born 1824, died 1879.  Sharkey was trained in Scotland and worked in San Francisco as a gardener before moving to Nashville. The first time he was documented in the city was in a Nashville Daily Union article published on July 9, 1863. He was mentioned as superintending the Horticultural Department at the Tennessee Insane Asylum. On August 1, 1863 the same newspaper also reported that Michael Mullins, later a Belmont gardener, was his assistant. Sharkey gave a paper to the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society on March 3, 1868, and he is still listed working for the Tennessee Insane Asylum as a gardener. He probably worked at the Asylum until coming to Belmont as a gardener in May of 1869. He worked at Belmont until May of 1870 when he the Lishley Greenhouses hired him.  The 1870 census records that he was living with the Lishley family and was a United States Citizen born in Ireland.  By October of the following year (1871), he was back at Belmont and remained there until he returned work at Tennessee Insane Asylum in July of 1873. In 1876 Sharkey helped build the Mt. Olivet Cemetery’s first greenhouse and became the building’s first keeper. From newspaper reports, he was considered one of Nashville’s top gardeners.  He died July of 1879 in Shelbyville, Tennessee while working as a gardener for Mr. J. D. Whilhoite.  Sharkey was buried at Willow Mount Cemetery in Shelbyville.  



Buhla, Frederick: He was listed in the 1870 census as being 32 years old, a common laborer and born in Baden, Germany.  He cannot be found beyond 1870. 


Buhla, Josephine: Wife of Frederick.  She was listed in the 1870 censes as living at Belmont but did not work for Adelicia.  She was 24 years old and born in Switzerland.  She cannot be found beyond 1870. 


Fleming, Mary:  She was listed in the 1870 census as an African-American, age 28, and having been born in Tennessee.  This could possibly be Mary Ann, daughter of Maria, who was a slave given to Adelicia by her father in 1839.  If she was a year old or less, that would make her actual age in 1870 31.  Three years difference is very much within the range of age mistakes found in the census. There is a Mary Fleming found in the 1880 census, listed as 45 years old, widowed, living with her son Alex Stoddard and his wife in Nashville.  The 1900 census listed a Mary Fleming, widowed, age 60, born in February 1840 and having had 2 children, only 1 was living by 1900.  Her mother was born in Virginia; her father, Tennessee.  She was a servant to the Noel family.  She was listed as a cook, and could not read or write.


Golden, John: He was a teamster.  He was listed in the 1870 census as being 37 years old and born in Ireland.  The 1880 census for Gibson County, Tennessee lists a John Golden, age 45, single, as a common laborer, living with a Rachel Golden, African-American, age 45, widowed, and her three daughters, Frances, 25; Belle, 18; and Catherine, 19.  Rachel could possibly be John’s sister-in-law. He cannot be found past 1880.


Haley, Mildred:   She worked as a seamstress.  Listed in the 1870 census as living at Belmont, African-American, 25 years old, and born in Tennessee.  She cannot be located in the census past 1870.


Horton, Sophia:  According to the 1870 census, she worked at Belmont as a house servant.  She was white, 39 years of age, and was born in Tennessee.  She cannot be located past 1870.


Winkler, Elias:  He appears to be working at Belmont by May of 1869.  He worked as a gardener at Belmont, according to the 1870 census.  He was listed as being 27 years old and born in Switzerland, but he was a citizen of the U.S. by 1870.  It appears he was at Belmont by May 1869 and was gone by Oct. of 1871.   He may have been an assistant to Owen Sharkey.  He was gone from Belmont by October of 1871.


There was an Elias Winkler in the 1880 Adams County, Ohio census, who was 37, born in Switzerland and worked as a farmer.  He had a wife, Ann Eliza, who was 20, and from Ohio. He cannot be located past 1880 in the census records.


Winkler, John: He worked as a common laborer at Belmont, according to the 1870 census.  He was listed as being 24 years old and born in Switzerland, but he was a citizen of the U.S. by 1870.  There are too many John Winklers in the 1880 census of the correct approximate age, mainly in Illinois and Ohio, to narrow down who might have worked at Belmont. 


Winstead, Margaret M.:  According to the 1870 census, she was a mulatto house servant working at Belmont, 21 years of age, and born in Tennessee. She cannot be found beyond the 1870 census.


Young, John:  According to the 1870 census, he was a 9 year old, African-American footman working at Belmont.  He was born in Tennessee. With such a common name, it is too difficult to track down the correct John Young from census records.  There are numerous entries in the 1880 census and beyond that could match this former Belmont employee.



Buford, Nellie (could also be Mollie): She was an African-American housekeeper.  She was listed in the 1880 census as being 21 years old and born in Tennessee.  She had a son, Frank, who was one year old at the time of the census.  She cannot be located past 1880. A  Mollie  Buford died on May 7, 1890 at the age of 40.   [Death Certificate #279]  This would be the approximate correct  age. 


Cheatham, Armstead:  He worked as a coachman.  He was African-American.  He is listed in the 1880 census as living at Belmont, age 35, and born in Tennessee.  This would make his date of birth ca. 1845.  He was listed in Adelicia’s will.  He apparently stopped living at Belmont sometime before 1883, because the 1883 City directory lists him residing on Hamilton Street at the corner of Watkins.  He very well could have continued working for Adelicia, commuting to work.  He married Fannie Watkins on October 28, 1886, presided by Reverend J.M. Gilmere/Gilmore.  In the same year, he moves to 61 North Margin Street.  The 1888 city directory lists him as a driver at 175 North Market, with a corresponding residential address of 304 Morgan.  He was listed at the same home address in 1889.  In the 1890 and 1891 directories, he was a sick nurse, with the same address on Morgan Street.  The 1900 census records his age as 45, born in March 1855.  At the time of the census, he had been married for 13 years, and worked as a porter.  He could read, write, and owned his house.  He lived with his wife Fannie, who was born in August, 1850, age 49.  She could not read or write.  An Alice Watkins, age 7, lived in the house as well.  The 1904 city directory listed him as a porter, still on Morgan Street.  The 1909 listed him as an expman [expressman—according to 1910 census], living at the same address.  In the 1910 census, his age was listed as 50, married 22 years, and living with his wife Fannie, age 63, who now was listed as being able to read, but not write.  The 1910 and 1914 city directories recorded him as an expman, living at 304 13th Avenue North.  In the 1915 directory, he was at the same 13th Avenue address, but was working as a driver for Warner Drug Co.  By the 1920 census, he was listed as 60 years old, living with Fannie, age 65, owning their own home, but no occupation is listed at this time.  The 1922 city directory recorded him as a porter, still living on 13th Avenue.  He passed away on March 26, 1923. 


Fisher [Fischer], Valentine:  He worked as a gardener at Belmont in 1880.  It is not known exactly when he began and left work at Belmont.  He was born March 30, 1837 (although the tombstone has 1833).  He was born in the German province of Hesse-Darmstadt, according to the 1870 census.  He immigrated to the United States in 1857.   In 1870 he was living with the Schoupfley family from Prussia.  This family was a bee-keeping, gardening family.  Fisher’s occupation in 1870 is listed as carpenter.  By 1880, he was listed as living at Belmont, age, 42, single, gardener.  He made a declaration to become a US citizen on July 20, 1885 at the July term on the County Court of Davidson County [page 181, Book V; mf roll 1622 and 1623, TSLA].  He became a US citizen on August 18, 1887.  The 1892 city directory lists him as a florist, living on Patterson at the corner of Boyd.  In the 1893 directory, the address is the same, but he is listed as a gardener.  In 1896 and 1899, the directory records him as a gardener, business address of Church at the corner of Boyd.  The 1900 directory lists him as a gardener, with the same business address as 1896 and 1899, living on Boyd at the corner of Patterson.  The 1900 census listed him as living at a Hotel in Nashville and retired, his past occupation being a florist.  He was recorded as being able to read, write, and speak English.  He died in Nashville on November 7, 1900, at the Commerce Hotel and is buried at Mt. Olivet [sec. 10, lot #446], with services by the Aurora Lodge of I.O.O.F. on November 9, 1900.  [Death Certificate #D1613].  His will was signed on the day of his death.  He made provisions for the purchase of a tombstone.  He left money to his nieces and nephews in Baltimore, who are the children of his two brothers.  He also left money to children of a deceased brother, Andrew, living in Germany. [Original will in Metro Archives.  Probate 11/10/1900.  Will book 35, page 479.  Minute Books S: 578.]


Sittell, Agnes:  According to the 1880 census, she was a white housekeeper who lived at Belmont, was 39 years old, a widow, and hailed from Scotland.

Heloise Cenas

Image of Heloise Cenas courtesy of the

Louisiana State Museum. 

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