In 1993, we purchased the 4.5-acre remnant of the old Glenn Farm one mile east of Interstate 75 in the East Brainerd suburb of Chattanooga, Tennessee. The old farm house, barn, and acreage were a wonderful fun haven for our family, and our children still affectionately call home "The Farm." Fifteen years later, we added another acre after the last of the neighboring Walker Farm was sold by its heirs to a local developer. This area along Mackey Branch was historically known as Tsula Creek of the Opelika Settlement, which was inhabited by the Cherokee until the mandated removal in the 1830's.
"Several notable Cherokee made their homes in the East Brainerd-Graysville area, among them one of the Fields brothers and Alexander McCoy, secretary of the National Committee. The farms were strung out mostly along Mackey Branch, which they called Tsula Creek.
The Cherokee who lived there called their strung-out settlement Opelika, after the town which stood at the current site of the Elise Chapin Wildlife Sanctuary at Audobon Acres until burned by Juan Pardo's Spanish troops and their Coosa allies in 1559. The settlement included a stickball court where Heritage Park is now." Notes from the Ninth Circle, by Chuck Hamilton
We have been told that the original structure was a two-room house built by a Cherokee, however, we have been unable to confirm that information. Local deed records indicate that our property was part of the J.T. Phillips Tract from the 1800's, who conveyed to Charles Dudley in 1909, then to the Boyds in 1924, who then sold to the Glenn Family in 1944. Pre-Civil War and Civil war artifacts were found in the cistern under our house by prior owners. While renovating our kitchen, we discovered the original stone hearth, and our son found an ancient rattlesnake skin while removing the old fireplace! We intend to continue learning more about the history of our property and the local area. Over the past 29 years, we have seen our area explode with commercial development, so we aim to preserve and nurture the 75 to 100-year old oak, pine, cherry, locust and black walnut trees that help create the peaceful atmosphere at St Francis Cottage.
We have enjoyed cultivating new trees, shrubs, and perennials, along with 40 blueberry bushes, thornless blackberries, Gogi berries, strawberries, figs, pears, Muscadine grapes, asparagus, garlic, and the usual summer vegetable garden of tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, beans, peppers and herbs. In order to preserve the integrity of the original Cherokee-occupied lands, we use no chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides in any of our gardens. Now empty-nesters, we desire to share our home and gardens with others on a more regular basis, beyond the visits from family and friends. After researching bed-and-breakfast operations for about twelve years and working with local governmental authorities, in 2016 we decided to take the plunge, and construction of St. Francis Cottage began on 2.3 of our 5.5 acres.
St. Francis Cottage has been created to provide a private, serene setting from which guests can venture out to enjoy the many splendors of the beautiful Scenic City and the surrounding area. Each guest will be treated with the kind of attention that is reserved for family. When our guests arrive, we want them to leave their troubles at the door and step into a world of comfort and rest in an urban cottage setting. Our aim is to enhance the elements of a well-lived life through genuine hospitality, restful rooms, nourishing and delicious food and engaging conversation among our visitors. As owners, we intend to see that attention to detail and service are dedicated to each and every person. We have found that people live more fully when connected to the wonders of nature, so we continue to develop our herb, vegetable and flower gardens throughout the property. At St. Francis Cottage, we embrace enthusiasm, creativity, nature and community.