McCarroll Place was built in 1836 by Byrd Hill, on a lot one half mile south of the home’s present location. In 1840 the house was bought by Hill’s cousin, John R. McCarroll (d. 1878), who moved the home north to its present lot. McCarroll was the Sheriff of Marshall County between 1839 and 1869, throughout the early years of the town, the Civil War, and the early Reconstruction period.
Eventually, the McCarroll family married into the Francisco family, who lived here for much of the 20th century. The McCarrolls included Edgar W. Francisco (d. 1940), Edgar W. Francisco II (1897-1966) and Edgar W. Francisco III, the current owner of the house, though he does not live in Holly Springs. McCarroll Place is the last remaining home in Holly Springs that is still owned by descendants of the original builder. Today the house lies empty and slowly deteriorates, though the owner occasionally maintains the grounds.
During the Civil War, two notable events happened at the house. During Van Dorn’s raid, in 1861, a Union soldier was mortally injured and died inside the house. The McCarroll family, fearing reprisals from the Union army, buried the soldier behind the house in an unmarked grave. Also during the Civil War, Sheriff McCarroll’s niece, Ludie Baugh, lived in the home. Ludie used a diamond to etch her name in one of the window panes, which can still be seen today.
In recent years, McCarroll Place has become the center of a good amount of controversy in the literary world. In 2010, Emory University professor Sally Wolff-King, in her book Ledgers of History: William Faulkner, an Almost Forgotten Friendship, and an Antebellum Plantation Diary, relied on the current owner, Edgar W. Francisco III, in claiming that his father (Edgar W. Francisco II) was close personal friends with William Faulkner, and that Faulkner based many of his stories on the Francisco family and McCarroll Place. Though it is possible Faulkner visited McCarroll Place on one of his many visits to Holly Springs and it is true that the Ludie Baugh etched window pane is similar to many recurring themes in William Faulkner’s works, many other Faulkner scholars, including noted local author Hubert McAlexander, have rejected the claims in the book and believe that the Francisco’s claims are nothing but a hoax.
McCarroll Place is a single-story, flanking-gable frame Greek Revival house, and originally consisted of two log cabins connected by a porch. The house was eventually clapboarded. There is a central pedimented portico supported by Tuscan piers, exterior end chimneys and a transom of the door. The house originally faced west. The brick kitchen and slave quarters behind the house were built in the 1850s, and are some of the few surviving slave quarters in Holly Springs.
McCarroll Place was listed on our 2016 List of the Most Endangered Historic Properties in Holly Springs, due to recent neglect of the house and the fact that it has remained empty for several years.