Lotz House

The home of the Lotz family built in 1858, occupied for 3 years prior to the Battle of Franklin.

He was a humble man, a woodworker on a 5 acre lot with some animals. Not well to do but would have had better furniture and fixtures than most (not to the calibre of the plantation owners) due to his craftsmanship. His house was a showcase of his talents, both for structural woodworking and for instruments, he had no slaves so everything was done by the family,

Mr Lotz had heard there may be a battle but Federal officials also said that there wouldn't be a battle here, that they had planned a battle for Nashville. Mr Lotz' home was a timber structure and was concerned for his family. Across the way was the Carnton Plantation, there home made of brick. The Carters would allow the Lotz family to come stay with them should a battle occur in Franklin.

The youngest, 2 year old twins, had died before the battle after drinking contaminated or poisoned water the Federals had tampered with prior to the Confederates coming into Franklin.

This family had already endured the rigors of war before the battle had even begun.

One night when a Union officer came knocking at his door Lotz gathered up his family (and his toolbox) and they hurried to the Carnton Plantation.

It must have been difficult for him to watch his house be ruined by unruly soldiers who were merely cold, hungry. They pulled out all his out houses, barns and fences, cut down trees etc and when hungry started killing his livestock for food.

His house was severely damaged from fire, cannon's and bullets. His house was used as a field hospital for both Confederate and Federal soldiers. (Hence the red flag I the picture below)

The Battle of Franklin rendered 10,000 casualties in its short 5 hours. It is said that once the troops moved on the towns folk would see the devastation that would be forever burnt in their memories.

Death and destruction like no other, as he took his family back to their home they literally had nowhere to put their feet that they weren't stepping on bodies. Seventeen horses lay dead in the front yard and no way to move any of them as he now had no stock to pull the wagon. For two weeks they lay there.

The family then lived in the root cellar (where you stored your root vegetables duri the winter), a dirt floor next to no heating during cold weather while Mr Lotz began repairs on the home, mending floorboards, walls, taking out broken windows and boarding up the right side of the house. Burnt boards were taken off and flipped over to be re-affixed. With no nails or anything, Mr Lotz pulled the horseshoes off the dead horses to use the nails for fixing floorboards.

What an overwhelming thought of grief, pride, yet sheer resilience this man and indeed his family had to be able to go on wih their lives.

It took him four years to restore his home to livable conditions. Now Mr Lotz was trying to gain commissions again for furniture and instruments. He built a piano and inlay a confederate flag one end and an American flag the other. A wingspread eagle through the centre had its talons clutching the Confederate flag.

The Klu Klux Klan was a 'good' group in the very early days. They supported Confederate families who had lost loved ones during the battles. They had heard about Mr Lotz piano and they set out to see the masterpiece. At the knock on the door Mr Lotz was excited they may be coming to see his work and purchase the piece however it took a turn for the worse. They were so outraged and felt it dishonourable to show the eagle clutching the flag that after heated discussions took place Mr Lotz was threatened that they would be back to tar and feather him.

Mr Lotz feared they would definitely be back, he quickly packed his covered wagon, sold as much as he could and left the rest, selling his house to the Buchanan family …… And along with it some other items of furniture AND the piano. By the way, he moved clear East to San Jose, California.

For the poor family who bought the home, awoken by a crashing noise, found the Klan had indeed come back and broken into the house, retrieved the piano, took it outside, smashed and burnt it.

Anyway that's all I can remember from Miss Helen's guided tour of the house. No pictures could be taken inside unfortunately. There were some truly magnificent pieces of art, china and furniture. Only a few have been returned to the House historical society that belonged to, or was made or painted by one of the Lotz family members.

You can see on the outside of the house the different cornice above the windows to showcase different styles of his work. Evident also in the very different mantlepieces, staircase and triple crown moulding he had carved and made using hand tools.

 

A humbling, interesting end to a long day.

Kat xo

 

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