Hunt House

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Hunt House


In 1871 Pierre Barbot took a lease on this lot and presumably built the house soon after. We are fortunate to have an early picture of how it looked before various changes were made. Barbot, Sewanee’s first tailor, was from Paris via Winchester, Tennessee. He soon had a business partner, also French, Lazare Pillet. Barbot and Pillet lived in the house and ran their business from there as well. All the students—Grammar School and College—wore military uniforms made by them. They also made elegant dress suits, ladies' riding habits and children's suits. Barbot soon left, but Pillet remained in Sewanee for many years and was joined by Mr. Fabard as his business partner. Pillet was known for his "dapper figure, back straight as a line, well-dressed always in perfect style (his own wonderful creations), tight of fit, and so curved in at the waist as to suggest the use of stays….with his floriated French manner and black mustache, he was the Parisian through and through." (Purple Sewanee, 39-42) He was an enthusiastic gardener and it was he who planted the boxwood on each side of the front walk. When Fabard died, Pillet decided to retire and return to France. Unfortunately, he died while on a visit to Kentucky and is buried in Sewanee.

The house then became a dormitory for the Medical School before being bought in 1892 by Mrs. J. C. Bradford of Nashville. She used it as a summer home. Mr. John Breckenridge Hunt bought the house from her in 1911 and the house has remained in the Hunt family ever since. Mr. and Mrs. Hunt both loved the woods and the outdoors and she planted many trees and shrubs at the house that are still visible today. After Mrs. Hunt’s death in 1934, her daughter Mary Crockett Hunt, took over the house. For forty years, she served as a secretary at the Sewanee Military Academy. Similar to her parents, she was a lover of the outdoors and became an ardent conservationist and preservationist. When she owned the Hunt House she took in University student boarders who then became her loyal fans. After her death in 1978 the house was bought by Willie Cocke and Lily Hunt.




Still Image

Bibliographic Citation

Carpenter, J. (Ed.). (2007). Sewanee Ladies. Sewanee, Tennessee: Proctor's Hall Press.

Gailor, C. (1970) Old Sewanee Houses; The First Fifty-Years, 1860-1910. Unpublished manuscript, Sewanee: The University of the South, Sewanee.


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“Hunt House,” Online Exhibitions and Digital History, accessed July 3, 2020,

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