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Jackson era foundation discovered at The Hermitage
Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A routine excavation at Andrew Jackson’s home, The Hermitage became an archaeological discovery.  Earlier this year as workers were repairing a broken pipe, they uncovered what appears to be the foundation of a Jackson era building.
The subsurface remains, which include a brick and stone foundation, were uncovered during the excavation of a trench running along a 1920s maintenance facility at The Hermitage.  The utility work exposed a thick layer of brick and limestone rubble and displaced a large limestone block. Larry McKee, an archaeologist with TRC Solutions who previously served as staff archaeologist at The Hermitage, was contracted to analyze the finding.
“I’m always happy to return to The Hermitage and lend a hand on archaeological matters,” said McKee.  “The recent find of the intact foundation in the new utility trench adds some more specific information on this area of the grounds.  It also proves, once again, that there are still plenty of areas ripe for archaeological investigation on the property.”
McKee was able to clean out a segment of the trench, giving a clear view of the exposed remains.  The large limestone block displaced by the trenching was identified as having the size and shape typically seen with other Jackson era masonry.  Handmade bricks attached to the stone display the original fine sand mortar seen in the brick construction of structures elsewhere on the property.
“What makes this find so exciting is that the type of construction matches the remains of other buildings built here in the 1820s and 1830s,” said Tony Guzzi, Vice-President of Preservation & Site Operations at The Hermitage. “These two decades are when Jackson was at the height of his national fame and was able to invest huge sums in The Hermitage to make it better reflect American culture and his position in society.”
 Hermitage historians, along with McKee, whose tenure as The Hermitage’s staff archaeologist lasted ten years, believe the structure likely played an important role in farm and livestock activities at the plantation.  There is documentation of farm buildings, including a brick barn, once existing on The Hermitage grounds. They also noted the presence of a thin layer of black material, mostly wood charcoal, which may have been related to a major fire in the early 20th century.
“It’s long been common knowledge that the current maintenance yard and building were built on top of what was the location of barns, stables, and other structures area,” said McKee.  “Explorations in this area have the potential to help flesh out knowledge of livestock-raising, other agricultural activities, and the Jackson family’s general strategies for making The Hermitage a productive operation.”

About The Hermitage
The Hermitage, Home of President Andrew Jackson, is one of the largest and most visited presidential homes in the United States. In 1856, the State of Tennessee purchased the property from the Jackson family, entrusting it to the Ladies’ Hermitage Association in 1889 to operate as one of America’s first historic site museums. Today, The Hermitage is a 1,120-acre National Historic Landmark with more than30 historic buildings, including restored slave cabins. Thanks to efforts of this nonprofit organization, the mansion is the most accurately preserved early presidential home in the country. The Hermitage is a national model for authenticity, conservation, and historic preservation. In recent years, new interpretive initiatives and educational programs such as archaeology and the history of slavery have enhanced the experience of some 180,000 annual visitors, including 30,000 school children, from all 50 states and many foreign countries; in fact, we interpret The Hermitage mansion in five foreign languages. The property also receives 30,000 annual visits from the local community, including more than 1,000 children who play Little League baseball at The Hermitage’s Rotary Park. The Hermitage is a “Partner Place” with the National Trust for Historic Preservation; and a site along the National Park Service’s Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.  For more information, visit

Youth football officially moving to Mundy Park
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Kenny Howell

Managing Editor

The board of commissioners approved a lease with MYFSA to move them to Mundy Park, and awarded another liquor store license Monday. 

Wilson Co. Fallen heroes honored at ceremony
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sabrina Garrett

Special to The Chronicle

Lebanon Police Department Capt. Michael Vanhook said that whether an officer is employed by LPD, Mt. Juliet Police or the Wilson County Sheriff’s Department, “We are all fighting the same battle.”

Prince Harry lays wreath at Stansbery’s grave
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

While honoring America’s war dead Friday at Arlington National Cemetery, Britain’s Prince Harry placed a wreath and note at the grave of Mt. Juliet soldier, Michael L. Stansbery, Jr.

According to the Associated Press, the grave was chosen at random of the soldiers that had died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Prince Harry served two tours in Afganistan. 

The note read “To my comrades-in-arms of the United States of America, who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of freedom. Captain Harry Wales.”

Stansbery, 21, was killed July 30, 2010 by improvised explosive device while on patrol in Kandahar Province. He is a Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient. He was a 2007 graduate of Wilson Central High School. 

MJ man arrested after standoff
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Mt. Juliet man was arrested following an early-morning standoff with Mt. Juliet Police officers. Mt. Juliet’s Special Response Team and Crisis Negotiators were able to quickly respond and end the neighborhood standoff this morning.

On Tuesday, May 7, at about 11:45 p.m., officers with the Mt. Juliet Police Department responded to a domestic assault complaint at a home in the 200 block of Whitnell Drive. Officers arrived on the scene to find the 28-year-old male assault victim in the front yard. The initial investigation revealed that the victim’s younger brother assaulted him during an argument. When officers attempted to make contact with the suspect, identified as Jesse Gerg, 25, Mt. Juliet, he locked himself in a bedroom. Gerg responded with foul language and refused to come out. Officers continued to attempt communication with Gerg, but it ended after  Gerg stated he was armed and was going to shoot officers. After the gun threat, officers backed out and immediately surrounded the home and called for the Special Response Team.

“Our Special Response Team is comprised of dedicated, highly trained officers who are always ready to quickly respond to dangerous incidents in our neighborhoods,” stated Mt. Juliet Police Chief James Hambrick. “When a combative individual makes a poor decision and threatens to shoot police officers, he will be treated as if he is armed. The safety of our citizens is our number one priority.”

Members with the Special Response Team (SRT) and Crisis Negotiators quickly responded to the scene. Crisis Negotiators ordered the suspect several times to come outside, but Gerg failed to communicate. Hours later, SRT officers finally made contact with Gerg in the backyard of his home, but he continued to resist and refused to comply with commands to show his hands. Fearing Mr. Gerg was armed, a SRT officer deployed a less-lethal Taser device to gain control of Mr. Gerg, and he was safely taken into custody. The standoff ended around 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, and a firearm was not located in the home.

Gerg was arrested and booked into the Wilson County Jail and was charged with the following: Domestic Assault; Disorderly Conduct; Resisting Arrest; Simple Assault.

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