Adelicia Hayes was the center of the family who lived at Belmont Mansion. She was married three times. Her first husband, Isaac Franklin, was a slave trader whose wealth made the Belmont estate possible. Her second husband, Joseph Acklen, was an attorney who oversaw the construction of Belmont and managed the couple's numerous properties. Her third husband, William Cheatham, was a doctor and medical reformer who ran the Tennessee Insane Asylum using the most advanced theories of moral treatment for the mentally ill in the 19th century.
From the time construction of the mansion began in 1849, the Acklen’s kept people enslaved on the property. The 1850 Slave Census listed a total of 13 people at Belmont including 5 men, 2 women, and 6 children ranging in age from 12 to 4 months old. By the time of the 1860 Slave Census there were 32 people at Belmont including 18 men, 14 women, and 12 children ranging in age from 15 to 1 years old. The Acklens also owned seven cotton plantations in Louisiana where 659 people were enslaved. Some of these individuals self-emancipated or joined the Union army. Others, like Eva Snowden (pictured here) worked for wages for their former enslaver in the post-war period.
Over the years, the Belmont estate employed over 30 people, Black and White. Many of these employees were European immigrants from several countries including Scotland, Ireland, England, France, and Prussia. They filled roles such as overseer, gardener, tutor, housekeeper, and general laborer. Some, like the children's tutor, Heloise Cenas (pictured here), or gardener, Leon Geny, would go on to run their own businesses. Cenas later operated her own school and Geny started a greenhouse where he grew and sold plants.