Deery Inn Museum
Located at Blountville in historic Sullivan County, the old Deery Inn and Museum dates back to the early 1800s. Click here to order a DVD.
Historic downtown Blountville is taking on a wonderful
new look as the Sullivan County Historic Preservation
Association continues its restoration work on the beautiful
Deery Inn and surrounding properties.
"Dinner with William and Elizabeth Deery"
is the theme for this elegant table setting in the dining
room of the Deery Inn. The china and silver services
are on loan from the collection of Dr. Rann Vaulx of
Indian Springs. Dr. Vaulx graciously arranged the table
and provided the serving pieces.
About the Deery Inn
The Deery Inn is a two-story Dutch clapboard structure
located on Main Street in Blountville, the county seat
of Sullivan County. The Deery Inn is located next to
the Sullivan County Court House. During its early years,
it served as a main way-station on the Great Stage Road.
In 1801 William Deery obtained what we refer to today
as the Deery Inn Property. Deery soon expanded his trading
post, adding a frame general store and a tavern with
hotel rooms above. The cut stone addition was probably
added in 1821, before his marriage to Elizabeth Alison.
In total there are nineteen rooms, two attics, a cellar,
and two kitchens.
William Deery, a man from Ulster in Ireland developed
the inn into a major trading post. A successful merchant,
Deery operated a thriving business as innkeeper and
owner of the stage lines. The imposing manse has three
main entrances. There are thirteen nine-over-six glass
pane windows. Two chimneys stand sentinel at the west
and east ends. The inn consists of a large entrance
hall, a gathering room, dining room, library, kitchens,
four family bedrooms, three bathrooms, and three wayfarers
rooms with their own entrance.
After Deerys death in 1845, his estate was in
litigation. The next fabled owners were Gideon and Mary
Cox Cates, when the inn was known as Cates Hotel.
Cates leased the inn during the Civil War and during
the Battle of Blountville, Cates bribed both the Federal
and Confederate commanders not to shell the building.
The Cates provided a sanctuary in the rock structure
portion of the inn for infants, the ill, and the infirm.
During the battle, the courthouse and eleven buildings
nearby were burned, but the Deery Inn stood unscathed.
The inn was purchased by Gideon and Mary Cates on 11
January 1866 for $2,527. Twenty years later, the Cates
sold the inn to R. W. Easley, who immediately sold the
property to Amanda Pearson in 1887. Census records show
that the Pearson family operated a U.S. post office
in the inn while they owned it. The Pearsons held the
property until 1940 when the property was purchased
by Virginia Byars Caldwell.
Mrs. Caldwell and Judge Joseph A. Caldwell maintained
the residence as an historic and cultural focus for
forty years. Mrs. Caldwell restored the manse to its
Federal Golden Era with authenticity and singular purpose.
During the Caldwell ownership, the inn became the center
for historic and festival events. Mrs. Caldwell moved
numerous log structures to the back gardens, including
a smokehouse, the King Ironworks office, and a spring
house as well as the law office of Attorney General
John Fain. To the east is the circa 1800 Rutledge House.
The Deery Inn and the Rutledge House are now owned by
Sullivan County and managed by the Sullivan County Historical
Notable guests in the inn include Andrew Jackson, James
K. Polk, Andrew Johnson, Louis Phillipe Orleans the
King of France, and the Marquis de LaFayette. The inside
doors have been autographed by three Tennessee governors,
including Frank Clement, Buford Ellington, and Lamar
Alexander, and the front door by President Jimmy Carter.
Tours now available
Beginning in 2009, group tours are now available. Come see the beautiful historic preservation inside the Deery Inn! You'll be thrilled at the beautiful decor. And see our latest preservation work... A fully furnished brick kitchen behind the Deery Inn!
Call us at 423.323.4660 to set up a tour for you and your family or for your civic group or organization.
Location and contact information
Location: Hwy. 126, downtown Blountville
Sullivan County Department of Archives and Tourism: 423.323.4660
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