The Old Mickle House, also known as the Patillo-Niles-McCully-Mickle House, was a one-story frame Greek Revival house that began life as a log cabin, like many of the other early homes built along Chulahoma Avenue. According to the original deeds, the log cabin was built in 1836 by Robert H. Patillo, a newspaper publisher who was one of the first settlers to Holly Springs. In 1836, Patillo, along with James Elder, founded the earliest religious organization in Marshall County when they built a pole and mud Sabbath school associated with the Presbyterian Church.
In 1845, Patillo moved to Memphis, Tennessee and sold the log cabin to Charles Niles (1786-1855). Niles, originally from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, was another early settler to Holly Springs. Niles opened a store with James Elder and built his first home, now called Cuffawa (1838). Charles Niles was also a founding member of the Holly Springs Presbyterian Church, along with Elder and Patillo. Niles later became the Postmaster for Holly Springs, and was involved in a bit of controversy in 1840 when the staunch Democrat refused to delivery Whig literature and letters before the Presidential Election of 1840, when Whig William Harrison was elected the 9th President of the United States. Like Patillo before him, Niles also moved to Memphis and died in 1855.
In 1855, the log cabin was purchased by R. A. McCully for the relatively-large sum of $6,153 ($172,000 in 2020 money, adjusted for inflation). Soon after purchasing the log cabin, McCully began an extensive renovation of the home, clapboarding the original logs, adding two large rooms to the north front of the house and another ell room on the south side. The McCully family owned the home until 1870, when the house was purchased by Dabney H. Hull (1820-1884). Hull was a farmer who owned a plantation north of Holly Springs, and purchased this house for his sister, Jane H. Minor (1815-1885). Over the next twenty-five years, Jane Minor, her daughter Lucy Mickle (1836-1889) and Lucy’s son John M. Mickle (1860-1942) lived in the house, now called the Mickle Home. In the 1870s, famous sailor and explorer Commodore Matthew Fontaine Maury, who was related to the Mickle family, visited the Mickle House.
John Mickle, who grew up in this house, would become one of the most important and influential figures in Holly Springs’ history. He was born on his family’s “Woodlawn” plantation, but moved to Holly Springs at the beginning of the Civil War. Mickle’s earliest memories are of the Union occupation of Holly Springs, General Van Dorn’s 1862 raid on the town, and the destruction of the first Courthouse. After moving into this home, Mickle briefly attended Chalmers Institute (1837) and experienced the horrors of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878. Mickle never completed his education, and instead joined the newspaper business, in which he remained for his entire life. John Mickle became Holly Springs’ first historian, and recorded everything he witnessed and knew about the history of Marshall County, Holly Springs and her citizens. In the 1930s, Mickle began writing a series of historical articles, published in his newspapers, which preserves much of the known history of the town.
In 1895, the Mickle family sold the house to Dudley M. Featherston. Featherston conducted another renovation on the house, completely removing the original log cabin from the house, adding several new rooms and added the prominent bay window to the front of the house. From 1903 to 1914, the house was owned by Philip T. Holland (1844-1914), and in 1914 the house was purchased by Chesley C. Stephenson (1883-1942). The Stephenson family owned the house for nearly 25 years, though they frequently rented the house out to other families, including the Booker family. In 1938, the Old Mickle House was destroyed, and replaced by two brick homes, the Sigman House and the Phillips House.
The Old Mickle House was originally a dogtrot log cabin with two large rooms and an attic. After the 1850s, the house was clapboarded and given Greek Revival styling, including a front porch supported by square posts. In the 1890s, the house received a prominent bay window on the east side of the home. Two oak trees, a mimosa tree and a cherry tree were located in front of the house.