The Taylor-Butler-Greene House (also known as “Suavatooky”) was a Greek Revival home built in about 1839 by Sanders Taylor (1783-1857), one of the early settlers to Marshall County and Holly Springs.  Taylor was born in North Carolina, and moved to south Mississippi in about 1817, the same year the territory was admitted to the Union as the 20th State.  From 1817 until 1837, Taylor, his wife Sarah Green Taylor and his children lived in several counties in south Mississippi, including Perry County and Holmes County.  In 1837, one year after North Mississippi was opened to settlement, Taylor and his family moved to Holly Springs.

Though Taylor owned several lots in and around Holly Springs, he purchased this lot in 1839 and constructed the house soon after.  During the early years in Holly Springs Taylor was an influential figure, serving as a town selectman (similar to the modern alderman) and being a primary shareholder in the ill-fated Memphis and LaGrange Railroad during the 1840s.  By the early 1850s Taylor had moved to the Red Banks area with his family, where he died in 1857 and is buried in Red Banks Cemetery.

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Grave of Sanders Taylor (Red Banks Cemetery)

One year after Taylor died, his family sold this home to S. G Rhine.  Two years later, the house was sold again to William Taliaferro (1802-1887), who owned the house throughout the Civil War.  During the Civil War, the house was used as a hospital.  In 1866, the house was sold to Jasper F. Butler (1834-1879), a pharmacist originally from Arkansas who came to Holly Springs just before the Civil War and married into a local family.  After the end of the Civil War, Butler purchased this house and also established the Butler Pharmacy on the southeast side of the Square, where Tyson’s Drugstore is today.

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The Butler House (c. 1915)

From the end of the Civil War until the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878, the Butler Pharmacy was known as one of the major “clubs” in town, where men of all ages would congregate and enjoy the medicinal cocktails offered at the pharmacy, most of which contained large amounts of alcohol.  The pharmacy was so popular with locals that the area around the pharmacy was known as “Butler’s Corner”.  The Butler Pharmacy also sparked the careers of many future pharmacists and doctors, including Alex McCrosky, William Compton, L. A. Rather and Lemuel A. Smith (who died during the Yellow Fever Epidemic).  Jasper Butler was a well known and well-liked man.  After his untimely death at the age of 45, his funeral was held here in his home, and many townspeople came to  mournwith the family.  As a sign of his popularity, his funeral service was officiated by  the preachers from the Baptist, Presbyterian and Methodist churches.

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Grave of Jasper Butler (Hill Crest Cemetery)

After Butler’s death, his widow Malvina Burton Butler continued to live in the house, as well as run the Butler Pharmacy on the Square.  In 1913 the Butler family sold the house, after owning it for nearly fifty years.  Dr. Ira Seale (1880-1953) ran a small hospital out of the house during the early 20th century.  In 1929 the house was purchased by Edwin E. Greene Sr. (1895-1957), a local businessman who ran a dairy in Holly Springs.  The Greene family owned the house until it was eventually destroyed.

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Edwin Greene and his dairy cart, c. 1920 (McAlexander Collection)

At some point in the 20th century, the house was named “Suavatooky”, which is supposedly the Chickasaw word meaning “watering place”.  In the late 20th century, the house was abandoned and sat vacant as early as the late 1970s.  By the late 1980s it had fallen into disrepair.  Sadly, the house was destroyed in October 1987.  Today, a hair saloon and a liquor store are located on the former site of the house.

The Taylor-Butler-Greene House was a single-story raised-basement Greek Revival brick house with stuccoed finish and had a pedimented frame portico supported by square pillars, flanking gable roof and interior end chimneys.  The house had a prominent sloping roofline which connected the original brick house to what was likely a later frame addition.

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The Last Days of Suavatooky (South Reporter- October 28, 1987)

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