Description: A small white wooden building with side gable roof has an off-center front door topped by a rectangular paneled glass window and shuttered front window.
Historical Note: This white wooden cottage, with carved scrollwork detail below gabled eaves and Gothic arches adorning the square hoods over its single front window and door, was built during the Civil War by John Houston Bills. Bills, a prominent cotton factor, had been a close associate of President James K. Polk. An anti-war Unionist, Bills built this cottage in the yard adjoining his home, The Pillars, so that his daughter, who was married to Confederate officer Marshall Polk, a relative of James and Sarah Polk's, could move back into town while her husband was away. Evalina later wrote in her memoirs to her daughter, "Your father left me in my country home but I found it impossible to live there--no protection--so my father had me come to his house and I occupied the little cottage in his yard with Knox, my only child." Marshall Tate Polk, a captain in Polk's Artillery, was wounded and captured at the Battle of Shiloh. Sarah Polk's influence assured that Marshall Polk would receive special care and attention after he was wounded during the war. Evalina and Marshall presented a gold-tipped cane to Sarah Polk in appreciation.
Institution: The Pillars
Publisher: Digital Initiatives, James E. Walker Library, Middle Tennessee State University
Rights: Images reproduced on this website are intended for individual, educational use only. For research inquiries about specific objects or requests for high resolution images, contact The Pillars.