Crump Place, one of the first great houses built in Holly Springs, was constructed by Samuel McCorkle (1795-1850) in 1837. McCorkle was one of the founding fathers of Holly Springs and was one of the first bankers and landowners in the new town. Samuel McCorkle and his wife, America McCorkle (died 1879), had one daughter, Kate McCorkle Nelms, who married Colonel Charles G. Nelms (d. 1862).
In 1850, Samuel McCorkle died, and his wife America continued to live in the home. Her daughter Kate McCorkle Nelms became a widow after her husband Charles died at the Battle of Shiloh, during the Civil War in 1862. Shortly after the Civil War, Kate became the guardian of the daughter of her deceased husband’s brother and wife, Mary “Mollie” Ann Nelms Crump (1843-1940). Together with Mollie, Kate moved back into the family home with her mother America.
Between the Civil War and the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878, the McCorkle House became one of the social centers of town. Mollie married Captain Edward Hull Crump Sr. (1838-1878) in the late 1860s and moved to the Crump plantation at Hudsonville, where Mollie gave birth to three children. Sadly, Edward Crump Sr. died during the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878 and Mollie and her family were left destitute in Hudsonville. After five long years on the farm, Mollie and her children moved back to Holly Springs and into the old McCorkle House, now owned and occupied by Kate McCorkle Nelms Dancy, who had remarried since the death of her first husband.
Along with Mollie came her three children, the youngest of which was Edward Hull “Boss” Crump Jr. (1874-1954), who would become one of the most famous and illustrious of the citizens to come out of Holly Springs. Contrary to local legend, “Boss” Crump was not born in this house (he was born on the Crump farm in Hudsonville along with the rest of his siblings), but he did spend his late boyhood and teenage years here, until moving to Memphis, Tennessee at age 19 to begin his rise to become one of the most powerful individuals in the history of the region. E. H. Crump would eventually become a powerful politician within the Democratic Party, and served as Mayor of Memphis in the 1910s. Even after serving as Mayor, Crump remained the most powerful figure in the city, and his influence eventually spread to the rest of Tennessee. He served two terms in the United States Congress in the 1930s. “Boss” Crump was a notable supporter of the Memphis Fire Department, and it was because of Crump’s influence with the City that the Memphis Fire Department was dispatched to Holly Springs in 1952 to save the town square from complete destruction after a fire began on the east side of the square. Crump died in Memphis two years later.
After Kate McCorkle Nelms Dancy died in 1894, Mollie Nelms Crump inherited the McCorkle House, now known as “Crump Place”. Mollie’s oldest son, John Crump (1868-1900) died childless in 1900, and her daughter Kate Crump Butler (1870-1902) died two years later. Before her death, Kate Crump Butler had married Jasper Butler Jr., and the two had three surviving children, all girls, who were now orphaned after the death of their mother. The matriarch of Crump Place, 60-year-old Mollie Nelms Crump, now known as “Dannie” to her family and friends, raised her three grandchildren, Marie Butler (1890-1936), Frances Butler and Corinne Butler (1900-1977) in Crump Place. Marie Butler eventually married Hugh Rather Sr. (1884-1953), who lived next door at Rutledge. After their marriage, Marie Butler Rather and her husband Hugh both lived at Crump Place with Grandmother Dannie, and their children Hugh H. Rather Jr. (1916-2002) and John Edward Rather (1918-2003) were born and raised in the house. In 1929, Hugh Rather Sr. and Marie Butler Rather built a new Colonial Revival house to the southeast of Crump Place, on the old Crump pasture, and named the house Athenia. Carey Rather Crain, the daughter of John Edward Rather, still lives in this house today.
In 1940, Grandmother Dannie (formerly known as Mollie Nelms Crump), died at Crump Place at age 97. Crump Place was inherited by Dannie’s granddaughter Corrine Butler who continued to live in the house. After Corrine’s health began to decline, she sold the house in 1963 to Randolph E. Holt (1927-1976) and his wife Carolyn K. Holt. After 126 years, Crump Place passed out of the hands of the McCorkle/Nelms/Crump/Butler family.
Randolph and Carolyn Holt owned Crump Place for six years, until 1969, when they sold the house to Roger L. Woods (1919-2002) and his wife Jane L. Woods (1920-2005). The Woods family owned the house for over 30 years, from 1969 until 2002. In 2002, Crump Place was bought by David Person, who conducted an extensive restoration and renovation of the house. David Person restored the original color to the house and re-opened the great gallery on the back of the house, which had been enclosed. After six years of good stewardship, Person sold the house to Kevin Brewer in 2008. Brewer owned the house from 2008 until 2014, when it was sold to Julianna Basore, who owned the house for two years. In 2016, the house was purchased by Martin and Dawn Donnelly.
Crump Place is a single-story, flanking-gable frame house with a five-bay gallery with a pedimented portico entrance supported by Tuscan piers and surmounted by a balustrade. The back of the house has a prominent gallery porch.