On this lot on Center Street was originally an antebellum house, though nothing is none of the house or its owners.  In 1918, William Hunter Peel (1886-1952) and his wife Johnnie Mae Peel (1890-1982), of the Laws Hill Peel family, moved to Holly Springs and purchased this lot.  According to Peel family tradition, the last owner of the antebellum house had died of some sort of plague or fever, and Johnnie Peel refused to move into the old house.  Her dutiful husband tore the antebellum house down and built this current home.

For six decades, Johnnie Mae Peel owned and operated the Moss Rose Antiques store out of her house here.  The Peel family lived here for over 70 years.  William “Billy” Hunter Peel (1924-1996) owned the house from 1975 until 1991, when the home was sold to Keith and Judy Kiraly.

Between 1991 and 1999 the house was owned by the Kiralys, Natha Jackson, Gary May and Steve and Mary Roberts.  Kay Wheeler owned the house from 1999 until 2011, when the home was sold to the current owner, George Hirtz.

The Peel House is an unusual one-and-a-half-story Craftsman frame house, with hipped roof and two hipped-roof dormers on the north and west elevations.  A three-bay porch is supported by square posts.  The most interesting feature is the flat structure located at the top of the house, which would best be described as a “Widow’s Walk”, though this kind of structure would be unusual on a house built during this time period and in this region.

Thanks to Judy Weatherly and Jill Eaton for much of the history of the Peel House.

3 thoughts

  1. Hello, I’m a granddaughter of Hunter and Johnnie Mae Peel. My mother was Marjorie, Billy Peel’s sister. I wanted to pass on a story about the house that may or may not be verifiable, but here goes: (I see that you have done the title search as to the various owners, but this is a little different):

    According to my mother, there was a house on the Center St. lot that was very old, but someone from a previous family had died of a contagious illness (not yellow fever, but maybe TB). My grandfather had purchased the house but my grandmother refused to live in it, fearing that the illness could be contracted by her family. At that time, Hunter and Johnnie Mae were living in the Waterford/Cold Point area of Marshall County. So the original house was torn down and the current house built. Could this be accurate based on the property records available?

    Thank you for your efforts in keeping the history of this wonderful town alive. I never lived in Holly Springs, but I always wanted to!

    Jill Eaton


    1. Jill, thank you for the response. After doing some more digging, your story seems t be absolutely correct. It looks like there was an antebellum house on the lot, and that your Peel family constructed this house on the same lot. Furthermore, there is also a story that says your family brought pieces of their Waterford Peel House to Holly Springs and used them in the construction of this house. Thank you for the information, and I’all be sure to add it to the post!


  2. I sent you a friends request Mr. Knecht on facebook and I was going to send you some pic’s of the inside of the house now, If you answer my friends request let me know


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