Former Tharp Home

This home was built in 1868 by Rev. Benjamin F. Tharp, a Baptist minister, for his Mother, Martha Davis Tharp, so she could move into town from the Tharp farm, but she died while the house was under construction. Then while the house was under construction, his daughter Claudia’s husband, Hugh Lawson (1844 – 1878) died at Indian Springs of wounds he had received in the War Between the States. Tharp wanted Claudia (1847 – 1910) and her three children–Claudia, Mattie, and Hugh–nearer to him, so they moved to this new house in town from the Lawson home, Pine Retreat. The two-story clapboard house with porch across the front was built of pegged timbers on brick pillars with ample crawl space under the house. Double solid wood front doors were flanked by window lights over the doors as well as on the sides. The floor plan is a traditional style with wide, long central hall and two gracious rooms on each side, both upstairs and downstairs. A fireplace in each room provided heat for the winter months, and fourteen-foot ceilings aided in keeping rooms cooler in the hot summer. Downstairs, there was a narrow porch across the entire back. A well for drawing water was convenient to the center of the porch. The kitchen and necessary rooms were separate buildings in the backyard. Rev. Tharp was a member of the first graduating class at Mercer University. He financed a missionary to the Creek Indians in Oklahoma and helped establish a school for the Indians in that state. After Claudia’s death, other members of the Lawson family continued to live here until 1993.