Tag Archives: Nathaniel Taylor

Sabine Hill Bicentennial Celebration


 October 12, 13 & 14, 2018


2018 marks the 200th anniversary of Sabine Hill, the beautiful Taylor family home in Elizabethton, TN. Perched atop a prominent knoll at the west entrance of Elizabethton, Sabine Hill stands as a welcoming beacon to one of Tennessee’s most historic areas. Built by the widow of Brigadier General Nathaniel Taylor, Mary Patton Taylor, this beautiful surviving example of Federal architecture is a must see. Restored by the Tennessee Historical Commission, the house has been returned to its 1818 splendor and has been described as one of the finest examples of wood framed Federal architecture in the State of Tennessee. The operation of Sabine Hill is managed by Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park, and the park has a full weekend of activities planned to commemorate the bicentennial of this significant historic home.

The celebration kicks off at 6:00 PM on Friday, October 12 with “An Evening with Andrew Jackson” presented in ‘The Gathering Place’ of the Sycamore Shoals Visitors Center. Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park is proud to welcome historian and renowned living history figure Grant Hardin as he portrays one of America’s most well-known historic characters, General Andrew Jackson. Jackson was not a stranger to Elizabethton. It is said that when he served as a Tennessee Superior Court Judge from 1797 to 1803, Jackson held court under the sycamore tree where the Watauga Association had been established 25 years earlier. During the Creek Indian War and the War of 1812, Jackson was a contemporary of Brigadier General Nathaniel Taylor who may have begun the construction of Sabine Hill as early as 1811. The evening program will begin with a presentation of early 19th century music followed by General Jackson as he recounts his days as a youth during the American Revolution, his rise in military leadership, and his finest hour at the Battle of New Orleans. There will be a reception with light refreshments following the presentation. Admission to the event is $8.00. Pre-registration is required.

Please log on to the following website to register and purchase tickets – www.tnstateparks.com/parks/events/sycamore-shoals.

“An Evening with Andrew Jackson” Schedule:
6:00 – Doors Open
6:15 – Early 19th Century Music
7:00 – General Andrew Jackson
8:00 – Reception and Light Refreshments


The celebration continues through the weekend with guided tours of Sabine Hill giving visitors the opportunity to take in the colorful and architecturally detailed interior while learning about the Taylor family who called Sabine Hill home in the early 19th century. Tours are by reservation only. These special bicentennial tours will include early 19th century living history demonstrations and displays in addition to the regular guided tour of the historic house. Enjoy an 1812 era militia camp, US Army regular presentation, historic foodways, and more! Please note there are no restroom facilities on site at Sabine Hill, so plan accordingly before your arrival.

Sabine Hill Weekend Tour Schedule:

Saturday, October 13: 9am, 11am, 1pm & 3pm

Sunday, October 14: 1pm & 3pm

Admission costs are: Adults – $7.00; Ages 7 to 17- $5.00; Ages 6 and under- Free. Tours are limited to 18 guests per tour. Pre-registration is required. Please log on to the following website to register and purchase tickets –

http://www.tnstateparks.com/parks/events/sycamore-shoals. Sabine Hill State Historic Site is located at 2328 West G. Street, Elizabethton, TN 37643.


As part of your weekend experience be sure to take in these additional interesting and informative programs.

Here in East Tennessee we are taught from youth about the significance of our region and its inhabitants in the American Revolution and the American Civil War. However, few people understand the crucial involvement that East Tennesseans had in the War of 1812. Melanie Storie, a lecturer with ETSU’s Department of History and former seasonal interpreter at Sycamore Shoals, will be presenting a fifty-minute lecture on East Tennessee’s role in one of America’s most important and most-oft-forgotten wars as part of the Sabine Hill Bicentennial Celebration. Her expertise lies within East Tennessee in nineteenth century history and her publications include, “The Dreaded Thirteenth Tennessee Union Cavalry: Marauding Mountain Men”. The lecture will take place in the Gathering Room within the Sycamore Shoals visitor center from 11:00-11:50 on Saturday, October 13and is free to the public.


Upper East Tennessee carries a strong legacy of traditional southern music. From bluesman Brownie McGhee to world-renowned singer Tennessee Ernie Ford, a wide array of music has spread from Tennessee’s mountains abroad. The Taylors of Elizabethton so too produced music that charmed the hearts and ears of locals and foreigners alike. Brothers Bob and Alf Taylor who at separate times held Tennessee’s highest office, brought mountain music to the national stage by ‘fiddling around’ on the campaign trail, even fiddling together when they ran against one another in the 1886 gubernatorial contest. Miraculously, links to the Taylor’s music such as phonograph records, eye-witness accounts and even Alf Taylor’s fiddle survive to today. Thanks to ETSU’s Reece Museum and director Randall Sanders, Alf’s fiddle among other Taylor related treasures will be on display at Sycamore Shoals for the Sabine Hill Bicentennial Celebration. Ranger Corbin Hayslett will present a program on East Tennessee fiddling and the Taylor brother’s influence and legacy on Saturday, October 13th in the Gathering Place within the Sycamore Shoals visitor center. The program will last from 12:00 – 12:50 and is free to the public.

Additionally the Sabine Hill Social Society will be offering opportunities throughout the weekend for visitors to take a glimpse into the social atmosphere of the early 19th century. These free programs will take place in the ‘Gathering Room’ of the Sycamore Shoals Visitor Center. Playing cards was a very common pastime in the early 1800s. On Saturday, October 13 from 1:30 to 4:00pm join in the fun, and learn some early 19th century card games. On Sunday, October 14 from 1:30 to 4:00pm join Sabine Hill Social Society members to learn about early 19th century dance styles and practices. Dancing was a highly popular social pastime, so come to learn or just to watch. No partner or prior experience required.

There will be plenty of opportunities this particular weekend to get the entire family out for a fun, entertaining and educational experience while celebrating 200 years of one of the area’s most historic homes.

For more information and a detailed schedule please contact Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park at 423-543-5808 or visit these websites; http://www.sycamoreshoalstn.org and http://www.tnstateparks.com/parks/sycamore-shoals. Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park is located at 1651 W. Elk Ave. Elizabethton, TN 37643. Sabine Hill State Historic Site is only 2 miles west of the park and is located at 2328 West G. Street, Elizabethton, TN 37643. 


Sabine Hill Bicentennial Celebration – Schedule of Events

Friday, October 12th

An Evening with Andrew Jackson (Sycamore Shoals Visitors Center)

Admission $8.00 (by reservation only) www.tnstateparks.com/parks/events/sycamore-shoals. 

6:00 – Doors Open

6:15 – Early 19th Century Music

7:00 – Address by General Jackson

8:00 – Reception and Light Refreshments


Saturday, October 13th

9:00, 11:00, 1:00 & 3:00 – Sabine Hill Guided Tours (by reservation only)

Admission: Adults – $7.00; Ages 7 to 17- $5.00; Ages 6 and under- Free

11:00 – East Tennessee in the War of 1812 ~ Lecture by Melanie Storie (Sycamore Shoals Visitor Center)

12:00 – East Tennessee Fiddling: The Legacy of Bob & Alf Taylor ~ Ranger Corbin Hayslett (SycamoreShoals Visitor Center)

1:00 until 4:00 – Early 19th Century Card Games (Sycamore Shoals Visitor Center)


Sunday, October 14th

1:00 & 3:00 – Sabine Hill Guided Tours (by reservation only)

Admission Adults – $7.00; Ages 7 to 17- $5.00; Ages 6 and under- Free

1:30 until 4:00 – Early 19th Century Fellowship Dancing (Sycamore Shoals Visitor Center)



The Tennessee Historical Commission and Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park are pleased to announce the opening of Sabine Hill in Elizabethton, Tennessee. This beautiful early 19th century home was constructed c. 1818 by the family of Brigadier General Nathaniel Taylor. Architectural historians consider the home to be one of the finest examples of Federal style architecture in the State of Tennessee. The property was restored as a capital project of the Tennessee Historical Commission and will be operated as a unit of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park. “We are very honored to partner with Sycamore Shoals to help provide a valuable addition to the area’s thriving tourism industry,” notes Tennessee Historical Commission Executive Director Patrick McIntyre. “This exciting new attraction for Elizabethton is the culmination of a decade of work that began when we learned the home was imminently threatened by demolition.”

Jennifer Bauer, Park Manager at Sycamore Shoals said “It was the intent of all involved in this process that this should be a model historic preservation project. Extensive research and a high quality restoration of the property and home were paramount in the process of bringing the Taylor home back to life.”  Research included archaeological investigations of the grounds, obtaining cut dates of the primary beams in the main house through dendrochronology, and detailed historic paint studies of the interior and exterior of the structures.

The process of saving Sabine Hill has been a continuum of events since the mid 1900’s. When the house was sold to the Reynolds family in the late 1940’s, their stabilization of the structure ensured it would not fall. Subsequently, other private owners worked together to preserve the house, the original doors, mantles, and examples of varied architectural details inside the home. When threatened with demolition, the local community and Taylor descendants came together to call for the future preservation of the Taylor home.

Ultimately, the success of the efforts of both citizens and state government working together can now be seen in Tennessee’s newest and finest State Historic Site, Sabine Hill.

Sabine Hill will once again radiate with the life and stories of its earliest inhabitants, Brigadier General Nathaniel Taylor, his wife, Mary Patton Taylor, their children, and descendants.


In celebration of the opening, Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park will be conducting guided tours by reservation on November 4, 5, 11 and 12 and also hosting an entertaining celebration at Sycamore Shoals on Saturday evening, November 4th at 7:30 pm. The Saturday evening event will include historic dance demonstrations & guest participation, a glimpse into the history of Sabine Hill via clothing of the era, and fun for the whole family. This event is sponsored by the Sabine Hill Social Society and Friends of Sycamore Shoals. 

Tours for these two weekends will be conducted at 9 am, 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm on Saturdays and 1 pm and 3 pm on Sundays and are by reservation only by logging onto http://www.tnstateparks.com/parks/about/sycamore-shoals and choosing “Upcoming Events” in the left hand menu. Tours meet at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park. Additional opportunities to tour Sabine Hill will be announced at a later date.


Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park                              Tennessee Historical Commission

1651 W. Elk Avenue                                                            2941 Lebanon Pike

Elizabethton, Tennessee 37643                                       Nashville, Tennessee   37214

423-543-5808 for additional information