Historic Structures

Bothwell House, Ashville Alabama

Date added: June 13, 2019 Categories: Alabama House

The house was constructed in 1835 for James J. Bothwell who came to Ashville in 1834. Until that time, Ashville had only one doctor, Dr. Charles C. P. Farrar. In addition to his other services, Bothwell was a charter member of Cataula Masonic Lodge. In 1852, shortly before his death, he hired Richard Crow, a local builder to add a kitchen and dining wing to his house. On his death in 1854, his widow, Ellen Bothwell obtained a license to operate a tavern in her home. In 1857, she sold all her holdings in Ashville and moved to Tishamingo County, Mississippi. Her cousin, Peyton Roway, purchased the home and several years later sold it to W. T. Hodges. In 1880, Judge Leroy F. Box purchased the home which he presented to his daughter Lula on the occassion of her marriage to James A Embry, a local attorney. The Embrys had twelve childern, which necessitated additions to the house. In 1978, a grandson of the Embrys sold the house to Dr. Lamar M and Rebecca Campbell.

The Bothwell-Embry House is a two-story, wood frame, three-bay wide Federal house with exterior chimneys at the gable ends, and a central two-story columned portico. The portico has four two-story fluted Doric wood columns and a second story balustered balcony, topped by a pedimented gable. Two pilasters frame the first and second floor doorways to the portico, and two more form the front corners of the house. The two-panel doors both have sidelights and transoms. Two rear wings were added to the original section of the house; one for a dining room, kitchen, and upstairs bedroom, and a second for two bedrooms. The area between the wings was enclosed for a ball and sun room. A rear porch was also added. The roof has been modified from a gable to a hip to accommodate the additions. The house is sheathed in hand-sawn clapboards, and is constructed of large pegged timbers. The floor joists are notched and fitted, and are of hand-hewn heart pine. There is a basement with 5'6" headroom.

The windows on the original section are nine-over-nine sash on the first floor, and nine-over-six on the second floor. The additions have four-over-four, or two-over-two sash. There is a bay window in the dining room. The windows on the original section of the house have hand-made louvered shutters.

The doors and windows of the original portion of the house are trimmed with built-up moulding and feature crosette corner blocks, with carved medallions. Many doors have their original box locks. The identical mantles in the parlor and master bedroom are fairly simple in the Adamesque style. The staircase has a fairly simple carved newel post balusters and a rail ending in a scroll. There is a scroll-work design carved into the stringer. Other woodwork includes wainscotting under the windows and heavy baseboards. The chair rail in the earlier rooms was been removed, but was reproduced by the Campbells. Floors are wide heart pine boards. Walls are plaster.

The house which sits on a hillside facing west on about 3/4 acre of land, has undergone many expansions over the years. Expanded in 1852, 1882 and 1917, it has also seen the addition of bathrooms on both floors, and a rear porch. The outbuildings include an octagonal latticed well-house with a concave octagonal-domed roof and a hand-carved pineapple finial; a smokehouse and a privy.