Quite possibly, Dr. William Cheatham is the most overlooked of all of Adelicia’s three husbands. Isaac Franklin left her the fortune, Joseph Acklen tripled the fortune, and William…..?
To remedy this situation and give credit where credit is due, we have decided to host a free day in his honor on Sunday, August 4th from 1 until 4.
Guests will be able to view the house and enjoy refreshments, and there will be crafts for children, including Victorian fascinators and jewelry making and 3D garden design to commemorate Cheatham’s keen interest in cultivation.
Kay Gaston, who wrote an in depth paper on Cheatham, will give a talk on him, and there will be a display of photos and memorabilia which have been loaned by descendants of Cheatham.
Did you know?
Cheatham was a leader in mental health and one of the foremost physicians in Victorian Nashville. He was practicing medicine in Nashville when the legislature appointed him superintendent and physician in 1852 of the newly constructed Tennessee Lunatic Asylum, which later became Central State Hospital.
The hospital was constructed in response to the reform movement, which swept Tennessee in the 1830s, in particular to the crusade of reformer Dorothea A. Dix, who stated in 1858 that few institutions anywhere were superior to it. The program, which incorporated the most advanced theories of moral treatment, was praised not only by Dix on her frequent visits there, but also by Dr. W. K. Bowling, editor of the Nashville Journal of Medicine and Surgery. Sterling Cockrill and other trustees, upon unanimously electing Cheatham to a second eight-year term in 1859, gave him much of the credit for the hospital’s reputation as one of the best in the nation.
Cheatham was appointed to a second 8-year term in 1859, but when Nashville fell to the Union army he left the position on July 25, 1862. He resumed the practice of medicine, and on June 18, 1867, he married Adelicia Acklen at Belmont Mansion. The wedding itself was a small affair, but the reception took place under tents on the grounds of Belmont; 1,500 invitations were sent out, and all the Nashville newspapers brimmed with reports of the guests, decorations, and refreshments.
Cheatham received his medical degree in March 1843 from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. He continued his private practice in Nashville almost up to the time of his death in 1900.