and Bills Streets
in Bolivar, TN
Pillars home of the John Houston
Bills' Family for 140 years, is now a house museum owned
maintained by the Hardeman County Chapter of the
Association of Preservation of Tennessee
Pillars & The Little Courthouse
P.O. Box 148
"Quest for Black Citizenship in America,"
Come Celebrate with us as we Celebrate
Featuring: Mr. Archie Williams
other leaders from Hardeman County!
February - 14- March 7, 2009
Prices: $5.00 for
Adults and $2.00 for Children, or a donation..
in school groups are free.
See this special exhibit at:
The Little Courthouse Museum
215 Market Street East
(2 blocks East of Court Square)
February 14 – March 7, 2009
Hours: Saturdays 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Prices: $5.00 for Adults and $2.00 for Children or a donation.
Children in school groups are free.
groups during the week by appointment- call 731-764-6243.
Group tours for 10 or more by appointment.
Cissye Pierce at (731) 764-6243.
Historic Bolivar Home Tour: April 18-19, 2009
Pre-Order your Home Tour Ticket: $20.00
If you are interested in being a Docent Please contact us at: (731)518-7148.
We are taking recipes for our upcoming Cook Book!
If you would like to have your special recipes in our Cook Book send it in to us!
Schedule Special Tours
or for more information
Cissye Pierce: 731-764-6243
Born in Iredell County,
North Carolina, John H. Bills was one of the founders of
Bolivar, in Hardeman County, and a leader of the
Tennessee Democratic Party in the nineteenth century. He
came to the West Tennessee area in 1818 with members of
the family of James K. Polk. In 1823 Bills married
Prudence Polk McNeal, a cousin of the future president.
Bills also began a cotton factoring company with her
brother, Ezekial McNeal, which they called Bills and
McNeal, and acquired two plantations, one near Bolivar
and the other in Mississippi.
Bills was one of the first commissioners for the new
town of Bolivar in 1824, and with his brother-in-law,
one of the leading industrialists and planters in West
Tennessee. He purchased his home, known as "The
Pillars," in 1837, from a Philadelphia
newspaperman, John Lea, and traveled throughout the
eastern United States to furnish it in appropriate
style. The mansion is now a historic house museum
administered by the local chapter of the Association for
the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities. Bills
entertained several notable Tennesseans and southerners
at his home, including Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk,
Sam Houston, Leonidas Polk, and Jefferson Davis. After
his wife died in 1840, Bills continued making trips
throughout the eastern U.S. and Europe. In 1849 Bills
married a widow from Virginia, Lucy Anne Duke.
Union troops burned the town of Bolivar in 1864,
destroying the business district, including Bills'
cotton plant. Bills, however, proclaimed himself neither
Unionist nor secessionist, and thus protected his home
and much of his wealth from military reprisals. He
continued traveling, entertaining, and aiding in the
rebuilding of his business and of Bolivar until his
death at home in November 1871.
Source: Tara Mitchell
Mielnik, Tennessee Historical Commission
From Jackson: take 18 S. to Bolivar. At intersection of
18 S. and Hwy. 64 turn right onto Hwy. 64. Go 1 block to
Washington St. Take L. onto Washington. Go to Washington
and Bills Sts. - House (Pillars) at curve.
Links from other home tours
History Home Tour of the 1860's
My Way Home
A Collection of
Genealogies 1810 – 2003
by Martinette E. Mitchell
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Pillars history o