Deery Inn Museum

Located at Blountville in historic Sullivan County, the old Deery Inn and Museum dates back to the early 1800s. Click here to order a DVD.

Deery Inn

Historic downtown Blountville is taking on a wonderful new look as the Sullivan County Historic Preservation Association continues its restoration work on the beautiful Deery Inn and surrounding properties.

"Dinner with William and Elizabeth Deery" is the theme for this elegant table setting in the dining room of the Deery Inn. The china and silver services are on loan from the collection of Dr. Rann Vaulx of Indian Springs. Dr. Vaulx graciously arranged the table and provided the serving pieces.

About the Deery Inn
The Deery Inn is a two-story Dutch clapboard structure located on Main Street in Blountville, the county seat of Sullivan County. The Deery Inn is located next to the Sullivan County Court House. During its early years, it served as a main way-station on the Great Stage Road. In 1801 William Deery obtained what we refer to today as the Deery Inn Property. Deery soon expanded his trading post, adding a frame general store and a tavern with hotel rooms above. The cut stone addition was probably added in 1821, before his marriage to Elizabeth Alison. In total there are nineteen rooms, two attics, a cellar, and two kitchens.

William Deery, a man from Ulster in Ireland developed the inn into a major trading post. A successful merchant, Deery operated a thriving business as innkeeper and owner of the stage lines. The imposing manse has three main entrances. There are thirteen nine-over-six glass pane windows. Two chimneys stand sentinel at the west and east ends. The inn consists of a large entrance hall, a gathering room, dining room, library, kitchens, four family bedrooms, three bathrooms, and three wayfarers’ rooms with their own entrance.

After Deery’s death in 1845, his estate was in litigation. The next fabled owners were Gideon and Mary Cox Cates, when the inn was known as Cates’ Hotel. Cates leased the inn during the Civil War and during the Battle of Blountville, Cates bribed both the Federal and Confederate commanders not to shell the building. The Cates provided a sanctuary in the rock structure portion of the inn for infants, the ill, and the infirm. During the battle, the courthouse and eleven buildings nearby were burned, but the Deery Inn stood unscathed. The inn was purchased by Gideon and Mary Cates on 11 January 1866 for $2,527. Twenty years later, the Cates sold the inn to R. W. Easley, who immediately sold the property to Amanda Pearson in 1887. Census records show that the Pearson family operated a U.S. post office in the inn while they owned it. The Pearsons held the property until 1940 when the property was purchased by Virginia Byars Caldwell.

Mrs. Caldwell and Judge Joseph A. Caldwell maintained the residence as an historic and cultural focus for forty years. Mrs. Caldwell restored the manse to its Federal Golden Era with authenticity and singular purpose. During the Caldwell ownership, the inn became the center for historic and festival events. Mrs. Caldwell moved numerous log structures to the back gardens, including a smokehouse, the King Ironworks office, and a spring house as well as the law office of Attorney General John Fain. To the east is the circa 1800 Rutledge House. The Deery Inn and the Rutledge House are now owned by Sullivan County and managed by the Sullivan County Historical Preservation Association.

Notable guests in the inn include Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, Andrew Johnson, Louis Phillipe Orleans the King of France, and the Marquis de LaFayette. The inside doors have been autographed by three Tennessee governors, including Frank Clement, Buford Ellington, and Lamar Alexander, and the front door by President Jimmy Carter.

Tours now available
Beginning in 2009, group tours are now available. Come see the beautiful historic preservation inside the Deery Inn! You'll be thrilled at the beautiful decor. And see our latest preservation work... A fully furnished brick kitchen behind the Deery Inn! Call us at 423.323.4660 to set up a tour for you and your family or for your civic group or organization.

Location and contact information
Location: Hwy. 126, downtown Blountville
Phone: 423.323.4660

Sullivan County Department of Archives and Tourism: 423.323.4660

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