Mount Juliet

Mount Juliet, Ireland - Mount Juliet, Tennessee
Truth, Tradition & Theory
By Donna G. Ferrell

"A land uniquely endowed by nature. Magnificent scenery, rolling green landscapes and pastures. An abundance of natural wildlife." Mount Juliet, Tennessee, in the 1850s, yes, but the aforementioned description is of Mount Juliet Estates in Thomastown, County Kilkenny, Ireland. Did one of our Irish immigrants also see the similarities with his native country? I would like to suggest later the name of such a person.

Following are excerpts from A History of Mount Juliet Estate, Thomastown, County Kilkenny, written by John Kirwan, MA, Dip, AS.

"This part of Ireland has very strong Norman associates. The estate as we know it today were originally two separate estates, Walton's Grove and Ballylinch, each with its own separate history."

"The Waltons were an ancient Norman family who owned Oldtown, the townland of Mount Juliet. They changed the name Oldtown to Walton's Grove. They were here for centuries until William Walton was dispossessed by Cromwell in 1653. After the Restoration, it became the property of James, Duke of York, and later James II. James sold it to a Mr. Sweet, who in turn sold it to Mr. Kendall in 1719. He changed the name to Kendall's Grove. Mr. Kendall left the property to Rev. Thomas Bushe. He sold Kendall's Grove to his neighbor, Somerset Hamilton Butler, 8th Viscount Ikerrin, 1st Earl of Carrick in 1757. It was on this property that the Earl built Mount Juliet, named in honor of his wife, Lady Juliet Boyle."

"Ballylinch belonged to Jerpoint Abbey until the Suppression of the Monasteries by Henry VIII in 1541. They were then granted to Thomas, Earl of Ormonde (the Black Earl). He in turn granted them to Oliver Grace, a descendant of a Norman adventurer."

"Oliver's son, Gerald, built Ballylinch Castle and moved there in 1563. However, the Graces were dispossessed by Cromwell who granted Ballylinch to one of his followers, Colonel Daniel Redman in 1654. His daughter Eleanor married James Butler, 3rd Viscount Ikerin and the Butlers of Ikerrin moved to Ballylinch. When Somerset Hamilton Butler, 8th Viscount Ikerrin, purchased Kendall's Grove in 1757 these two estates were joined."

"The estate was sold to Sir Hugh McCalmont in 1914 by the seventh Earl of Carrick. The property was later sold by Major Victor McCalmont, who moved to a smaller property at Norelands, just across the river from Mount Juliet."

Today, Mount Juliet lies within 1500 walled acres of unspoiled woodland, pasture, and formal gardens. The house built by the Earl between 1762 and 1771 still retains an aura of eighteenth century grandeur. You can visit Mount Juliet today, spend a few days enjoying the elegance and grandeur of the old manor house. A distinguished menu of classic Irish dishes is offered each evening. If you like golf, tennis, horseback riding, cricket, or a stroll in the gardens, all of this may be accomplished at Mount Juliet, Thomas town, County Kilkenny, Ireland.

Mount Juliet, Wilson County, Tennessee

Tradition says the village of Mount Juliet was named for Julia Gleaves, which is easily disproved. Julia Jennings Baird, a widow, did not live in the area until she married Guy Gleaves, 29 September 1851. During the War Between the States (1861-1865), she was regarded as a "ministering angel". She was a well respected member of the community, but the name "Mount Juliet" had already surfaced before the War and before she moved to the area.

Tradition also says the name Mount Juliet seems to have appeared about 1835. There is no evidence to support this date. In the 1840-50 Census, the area is referred to only as the 25th Civil District. The post office for the 25th District in 1860 was Rural Hill, Tennessee (Suggs Creek area). It is possible the name Mount Juliet was first suggested as a name for a house, and the surrounding community gradually took on the name. Mount Juliet High School was incorporated about 1855. In 1851-52, several members of the community removed to Texas. These families, the Wrights, Hamiltons, and Hewgleys were among those traveling west and established the name Mount Juliet in Travis County, Texas.

Tradition also tells us the area first known as Mount Juliet was located on a mount, facing the old Lebanon-Nashville Road (Old Lebanon Dirt Road), near the eagle tavern. This tavern was a stopover for many a weary traveller and remained a public inn until about 1850. Was this spot manufactured to agree with the Julia Gleaves tradition? Possibly, for there are other "mounts' in close proximity, but we can conclude this is the general area.

There were people of Irish descent in the district, but only one Irishman in the 25th Civil District in the 1850 Census. His name was Edward Bodily, a stone mason by trade and born ca. 1814 in Ireland. Only one who had seen the countryside of Thomastown, Ireland, could possibly see the similarities to his newly adopted land. Who else but one who had seen the estates of Mount Juliet, Noreland, and the River Nore could suggest the name Mount Juliet and possibly Moreland (Noreland) Road? Although Stoner Creek is not the River Nore, it does meander below the "mounts" much like the River Nore of Ireland. In a video I received from Martin P. Nicholson, Managing Director of Mount Juliet in Ireland, the topographies of the two regions are astoundingly similar. Even today in the mind's eye, you can envision the Mount Juliet of 1840-1850. Although it is veritably impossible to prove that Edward Bodily suggested the name, there is circumstantial evidence.

Bodily arrived in America sometime before 28 October 1848. On this date, he made bond to marry the daughter of a prominent member of the community. The lady of his affection was Abraham Hegueley's youngest daughter, Almedia. Abraham possibly did not approve, but the marriage took place a few months later, 8 March 1849. Abraham, not to be outdone, made his will 18 June 1849. He named another son-in-law, Samuel Hamilton, to act as trustee for his daughter Almedia Bodily. Hamilton was to see that all property described in his will for Almedia stayed in the county of Wilson and the state of Tennessee. If she were to die without issue, the property was to go to Abraham's other children.

Whether Abraham considered his new son-in-law as an "opportunist" or just didn't approve of his is still evident five years later. On 10 February 1854, he added a codicil to his will making William L. Young, another son-in- law, trustee for Almedia Bodily. Samuel Hamilton, who married Sarah Hegueley, was already in Mount Juliet, Texas.

The surname BODLE can be found ten miles east of Thomastown in 1835. This information came from The Kilkenny Archaeological Society in Ireland. Edward Bodiliy was evidently a good stone mason, as much of his work can still be seen today. Research continues as more questions surface. Could Edward Bodily have been one of the many Irishmen who came to work on the Tennessee State capital? From the Tennessee State Capitol Historic Structure Report: "As early as July 1845, Strickland had advertised for a number of stone masons to who fair wages would be paid". Did Bodily build the fire place and chimney in one or more of the houses on the mount? Did he suggest a name for the house? Mount Juliet, in Ireland was a house, not a town or village. Whomever Edward Bodily was, he is the only person in 1845-1850 who could have possibly seen both Mount Juliet's.

Davidson County Tennessee Circuit Court Minutes 1803-1906, Naturalizations and Declarations of Intention, pp. 331-332. "BODILY, Edwin/Edward - A native of Ireland, born on 22 March 1814, emigrated to the United States in March 1832, landed in New York where he remained about two years; removed to Philadelphia where he remained about two years, six months hence he removed to Nashville, TN in 1843 where he has remained ever since and expects permanently to settle, renounces allegiance to Queen Victoria. 15 January 1850." D. G. Ferrell

UPDATE: Research continues on the origin of the name Mount Juliet and the date first established. The above theory is suggested by research and circumstantial evidence from The Kilkenny Archaeological Society in Thomastown, Ireland. Another theory suggest that Henry Ross may have had a part in the naming of Mount Juliet. In the book, Tax Lists of Wilson County, TN, 1803-1807, by Thomas E. Partlow, there is a Henry Ross in 1803 owning 640 acres on Spencer Creek, this is the LaGuardo area. I do not find him owning land in the 25th Civil District. In the book, Wilson County TN, Deed Books C - M, 1793 - 1829, by Thomas Partlow listed under the surname of ROSBOROUGH you will find Henry Ross with land grants from the State of NC on Spencer's Creek and the south side of the Cumberland River. The earliest grant being #3294, 25 Mar 1789, Deed Book - B, page 303. Anyone with proof is encouraged to share that information with us. As in all research mistakes can be made, debate is welcomed. Donna G. Ferrell

Used with permission of the author to whom all rights belong.
Donna Ferrell is a member of the Mt. Juliet-West Wilson County Historical Society.