This house was built in 1873 by Mr. Jabez Wheeler Hayes. He was a successful jewelry manufacturer and Sewanee’s first large scale benefactor after the Civil War. His gifts were mainly civic improvements in the community; contributing $100,000 of his fortune into the early development of the village and founding Sewanee’s first public school. Hayes built this large residence for his son-in-law George A. Mayhew. Mayhew had a store in the village and came with his family from the north with Hayes. This house was on the road connecting the Sewanee Military Academy to the village, now known as Kentucky Avenue. The University Record of August 1874, notes “…the completion of the fine mansion of George A. Mayhew, Esq. The external appearance of the house is handsome and commanding, while the internal arrangements present very great beauty and convenience. The panel work of black walnut and chestnut shows the fine effect which can be produced by the judicious use of our native woods, and that chestnut can be put to a more ornamental use than fence posts and house blocks.” Mayhew died in 1882 and his sister, Miss Mayhew, raised his two daughters. After Miss Mayhew’s death the house stood empty for many years, although it was still owned by the Mayhew family. It was broken into and people helped themselves to the furnishings.
In the early 1910s, Archdeacon and former Rector of Otey Parish, William Stirling Claiborne, bought the house and gave it to the University. He intended it as a home for Col. Duval Cravens, superintendent of Sewanee Military Academy. Cravens and his family lived there for several years after they came to Sewanee in 1912. By 1932 it was converted into two apartments for Sewanee Military Academy faculty. The house was razed in 1967.
Gailor, C. (1970). Old Sewanee Houses; The First Fifty-Years, 1860-1910. Unpublished manuscript, the University of the South, Sewanee.
Williamson, S. R., Jr. (2008). Sewanee Sesquincentennial History: The Making of the University of the South. Tennessee: Sewanee Sesquincentennial History Project.