- [S94] Sevier County, Tennessee Census, 340C, 1880.
Census Place: Harrisburg, Sevier, Tennessee
Source: FHL Film 1255277 National Archives Film T9-1277 Page 340C
Relation Sex Marr Race Age Birthplace
W. H. TROTTER Self M M W 65 TN
Occ: Farmer Fa: VA Mo: TN
S. T. TROTTER Wife F M W 61 TN
Occ: Keeping House Fa: TN Mo: TN
L. S. TROTTER Son M S W 24 TN
Occ: Works On Farm Fa: TN Mo: TN
A. M. TROTTER Dau F S W 21 TN
Fa: TN Mo: TN
M. A. TROTTER Dau F S W 21 TN
Fa: TN Mo: TN
S. E. TROTTER Son M S W 18 TN
Occ: Works On Farm Fa: TN Mo: TN
- [S118] History of early Sevier County Doctors , Beulah Linn, (www.sevierlibrary.org/genealogy/doc/doc.htm).
Dr. W.H. Trotter, son of John and Asa White Trotter, was born July 26,1814; died Sept. 14, 1887; married Sarah Trigg Emert, daughter of Phi lipand Elizabeth Reagan Emert. Dr. Trotter attended Grant University at Athens, Tn., and setup his practice at Middle Creek in an office in his yard. He was also a farmer and built a beautiful two-story white frame house which has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The home is presently occupied by his great-grandson, Glen McMahan and his wife Florita Butler McMahan. There are mementos in the house of Dr. Trotter's medical practice such as scales for measuring medication and saddle bags.
During the Civil War a group of soldiers were camped on a hill at the spring near the cemetery. On another hill a man was plowing the field. It was believed that the soldiers, thinking to have some fun, started shooting nearthe man with the plow. Since the house was located between the two hills, one of the bullets shattered a windowpane, traveled through three wails and dropped down after piercing the third wall. The bullet is still in the wall of the house.
Dr. Trotter and his wife had twelve children: John Andrew Trotter; Maria Caroline Trotter; Newton Edmondson Trotter; Lewis Stevens Trotter; Stewart Erastus Trotter; Elizabeth Emert Trotter; Mitchell Trotter; Malinda Caldonia Trotter (m. T.D.W. McMahan); Adaline Minerva Trotter; Isaac Alexander Trotter; Ashley Wynn Trotter; Mary Angeline Trotter.
Dr. and Mrs. Trotter are both buried in the Middle Creek Cemetery.
Information from Glen McMahan
- [S106] The Mountain Press, 20 Sep 2015.
Upland Chronicles: Trotter-McMahan House has storied past
Long a favorite subject of artists seeking to paint a “picture-perfect” Sevier County farm, the Trotter-McMahan property has been identified by scholars of architectural and agricultural history as one of the most important remaining historic agricultural landscapes in the state. Located in the Middle Creek community, the property has been owned by the same family for over 200 years, a record that is itself quite extraordinary.
Several of the buildings that make up the farm, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, would be considered landmarks in their own right — including the oldest documented cantilever barn in the country, a portion of which may date to the 18th century.
The handsome, two-story Greek Revival style house was built in 1848.
The centerpiece, a historic dwelling house, was built for Dr. William Harrison “Billy” Trotter by Fredrick Sanders Emert, a brother-in-law of Dr. Trotter and a grandson of early settler Frederick Emert.
Born July 26, 1814, Dr. Trotter was not only a physician but also a county trustee from 1842 to 1852, and a wealthy farmer as well.
The house was originally intended to be built of brick, but another physician suggested frame construction because it was thought to create a healthier living environment.
Based on the central hall plan, the square house features a hipped roof that retains standing seam metal panels.
The entrances were accented by transoms and side lights, providing abundant light to the large central hall.
Built on a solid brick foundation, the weatherboarded house retains most of the original exterior elements, including six-over-six wood sash windows and their accompanying shutters.
A single-story, full width porch, supported by square columns, is located on the rear façade. The only changes to the house have been a partial enclosure of the rear porch and the replacement of the front portico.
Around 1900, the front two-story portico was removed and replaced with a three-quarter width, single-story porch that was highly embellished and contemporary to the Victorian era.
The second level entrance was replaced with a double four-over-four wood sash window. In the 1940s, the front porch was replaced again.
However, the new single-story portico was built on the foundation of the 1848 portico and similar to the original portico with square columns.
Dr. Trotter, son of John and Asa White Trotter, married Sarah Trigg Emert, daughter of Phillip and Elizabeth Reagan Emert. He attended Grant University at Athens, Tennessee, and set up his practice in an office in his yard.
They had 12 children: John Andrew Trotter, Maria Caroline Trotter, Newton Edmondson Trotter, Stewart Erastus Trotter, Elizabeth Emert Trotter, Mitchell Trotter, Malinda Caldonia Trotter (married T.W.D. McMahan), Adaline Minerva Trotter, Isaac Alexander Trotter, Ashley Wynn Trotter, and Mary Angeline Trotter.
During the Civil War, a group of soldiers were camped on a hill at the spring near Middle Creek Cemetery. On another hill a farmer was plowing a field.
It was said that the soldiers, thinking they would have some fun, started shooting near the man with the plow.
Since the house was located between the two hills, one of the bullets ricocheted, possibly off the farmer’s plow, and shattered a window pane, traveled through three walls and dropped down after piercing the staircase.
The bullet is still lodged in the staircase.
On Sept. 14, 1887, Dr. Trotter died at age 73.
His wife, Sarah, remained in the house until her death in 1896.
After that, their daughter Melinda Caldonia and her husband T.W.D. McMahan acquired the portion of the property that included the house.
Thomas Wilson De Arnold McMahan was born at Richardson’s Cove on Dec. 13, 1849. He married Malinda Caldonia Trotter on Jan. 25, 1877. He was a successful farmer and amassed considerable property, including the Trotter property and the McMahan Farm at Richardson’s Cove. When the county court voted to build a new courthouse in 1895, T.W.D. McMahan was among the commissioners appointed to serve on the building committee.
He died Oct. 5, 1921, at age 71.
The last family members to reside in the house were Glenn Fox McMahan (1906-1991) and his wife, Florita Butler McMahan (1906-1998). A great-grandson of Dr. Trotter, Glenn McMahan graduated with a degree in agriculture from the University of Tennessee in 1931. They raised their only daughter, Glenna Butler McMahan, in the house.
A dedicated civic leader, Glenn helped organize the Soil Conservation District of Sevier County and served as supervisor and president from 1954 to 1963. He helped organize the Sevier Farmers Co-op and served as one of its first directors.
The house has been unoccupied since Florita McMahan died in 1998. The property is still owned and maintained by her daughter Glenna McMahan Semmer.
Interestingly, Dr. Ashley Wynn Trotter – a son of Dr. William Trotter – built one of the finest homes in Sevierville during the Victorian era. Located at 217 Cedar St., the three-story clap-board structure was built in1892.
In 2002, the construction of Veteran’s Boulevard connecting Sevierville with Pigeon Forge began – an act that in effect split the farm in two and brought unprecedented developmental pressures to the entire area.
The heirs hoped to maintain the farmstead’s core buildings and insulate them as much as possible from nearby suburban and tourism-related development.
At present, the Trotter-McMahan property remains the last intact farm of its size in this rapidly growing area.
In 2009, the Trotter-McMahan Farm was officially listed as a Tennessee Century Farm.
Carroll McMahan is special projects facilitator for the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce and serves as Sevier County historian.
The Upland Chronicles series celebrates the heritage and past of Sevier County. If you have suggestions for future topics, would like to submit a column or have comments, contact Carroll McMahan at 453-6411 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Ron Rader at 604-9161 or email@example.com.
- [S94] Sevier County, Tennessee Census, 366a, 5 Jul 1870.
- [S94] Sevier County, Tennessee Census, 376a, 13 Jul 1870.
- [S94] Sevier County, Tennessee Census, family 496, page 421a, line 18, 18 Sep 1850.
- [S34] In the Shadow of the Smokies, Smoky Mountain Historical Society, (1993), 313.