Kingsport: Everyday History Again

Back in 2014, I wrote a blog about Grass Dale, the mansion centerpiece of what was once the Groseclose plantation in Kingsport. Several people posted comments and expressed interest in the home that they frequently drove past.

But one reader, a Groseclose descendant, shared with me her memories and photos and so I am sharing those with you along with a few other discoveries!

In 1856, Joseph Groseclose (1816-1890) of Virginia bought a large portion of the Pendleton Land Grant from Joseph Everett, which included a c.1800 log cabin built by David Ross. Joseph and his wife Susan Cassel and their two children, Josiah and Catherine, lived on the Sullivan County plantation where Groseclose cultivated grains, cane, tobacco, and fruit orchards and raised cattle.

Joseph willed the home and land to his son Josiah Wythe Groseclose (1852-1920) with the proviso that his mother be allowed to live and be cared for in the family home until her death.

Josiah married his second wife Elizabeth Aldridge (1864-1935) in Texas and did some moving back and forth, leasing out the farm after his mother’s death, at times, when his family needed to be closer to Elizabeth’s family in Collin County, TX. Together, the couple had five children: Joseph Aldridge, Mabel Maria, Murry Clyde, Alice Rita, and James Wythe, who died in infancy from pneumonia.

Josiah graduated from Roanoke College in 1882. In addition to introducing innovative farming to Grassdale, he was a teacher, was active in the Lutheran Church, and acted as the county’s tax assessor.

After acquiring a dairy herd, the Grosecloses used the spring house in the milk production process.

Josiah and Elizabeth at Grass Dale with their granddaughter, Ruth Marie Groseclose, c. 1919.

Josiah left the farm to his son Murry Clyde (1894-1975), who married Gladys Roller in 1918. Brothers Clyde and Joseph Groseclose farmed just over 100 acres of the original property and operated a creamery that supplied milk to Kingsport. Clyde and Gladys lived in Grass Dale with their four children: Ruth (1919-2012), Rita (1921-2010), Mary Sue (1925-1950), and Murry Clyde.

Baby Ruth Groseclose (rt) with unknown friend, 1920, on the Grass Dale porch in Kingsport, TN.

Beautiful sisters Ruth, Rita, and Mary Sue Groseclose.

Rita lived in the home her whole life. It was Ruth’s granddaughter that offered to share a few memories and pictures of the interior of the home.

The entrance hall.

The smokehouse.

Inside the smokehouse with meat still hanging!

One of the bedrooms.

Another lovely bedroom.

It has been an honor to research a family whose lives and work have been so integral to the history and development of Kingsport and whose home is a focal point of the city’s landscape.

Credits and thanks go to:
Maria White, descendant
Sarah Land White Bagby, Ancestry user
FGreenbaum, FindAGrave contributor
CDeaderick, FindAGrave contributor

Feature image: Groseclose Cemetery

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