From Humble Beginnings
Erastus Tousey bought his land in 1817 for the grand sum of $25. His federalist style home was built in 1822. Erastus lived here with his wife, Catharine and their six children until his death in 1863. An extensive estate was left to Catharine including properties in Kentucky, Kansas, and Iowa. She also inherited and set free their 4 slaves, Lydia, Martha, Jefferson, and Tommy. It has been written that the former slaves remained with Catharine at the homestead long after the “war between the states” ended.
The Tousey House has been many things over the years…home; tavern and livery; hotel; boarding house; gift shop; consignment shop; and restaurant. In 1917, it was purchased by Lester and Pearl Gulley and Albert and Fannie Pettit. For the next 39 years they operated Gulley & Pettit’s Store. Katie Pettit Presnell has written of the many fond memories she and her 3 sisters had living in this grand old home. They were all born here and two sisters gave birth to their children here. They raised hogs, chickens; and preserved their own garden produce and stored it in the old slave quarters in the dirt floor and stone wall basement; milked their cows and sold the milk in the General Store. The sisters long remembered the aroma of meat curing in the still-standing smokehouse in the back, falling asleep in huge poster beds and listening to the owls in the church steeple across the street. Katie recalls that their home was “cool in the summer and warm in the winter.”
The house has a history of celebrating life and welcoming all through it’s doors. We hope to continue this tradition.
We want to thank former Judge Bruce Ferguson and his wife, Elizabeth, for their restoration of this beautiful historic property in 1987. They are responsible for returning the Tousey House to it’s former glory after ten years of vacancy.
Burlington still has the atmosphere and flavor of a little country town even though it is part of the fastest growing county in the state. Take time to visit the peaceful shops and businesses that surround Union Square. While at Tousey House, we hope you enjoy the delicious food, southern hospitality, and restful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.