Rhea-McEntire House

The Rhea-McEntire House in Decatur belonged to John Seveir Rhea. At the time of removal, it would have been possible for the family living in the house to see Native Americans disembarking from the Ferries, and their long walk from the end of Sycamore Street to the Railroad Warehouses. The house sits at the Northeast corner of Market and Sycamore street, and overlooks the former site of Rhodes Ferry landing. Rhea began and finished construction during 1836, but, during the Panic of 1837, Rhea was stricken by the severe economic downturn, and was forced to forfeit the house to the State Bank of Alabama in 1839.


John Seveir Rhea and his wife would have been eye witnesses to the atrocious conditions that Cherokee were subjected to at Rhodes Ferry Landing. The house, which overlooks the bluff would have been able to see the landing, and the long winding march up Bank street to their quarters for the night. It was eventually sold in 1839 to another Decatur merchant, Alexander Patterson. Eventually, Patterson deeded the property to his daughter Margaret and her husband Dr. Aaron Adair Burleson for the price of “one dollar and ‘love and affection.’”


While living in the house, the Burleson family experienced the American Civil War in a unique way. Dr. Burleson served as a surgeon for the Confederate Army, but his house was utilized as military headquarters for both Union and Confederate leadership at different times for operations in the area. It is confirmed that the 102nd Ohio Regiment was present at the house in 1865 because upon the death of Abraham Lincoln the regimental band performed a funeral dirge on the rooftop widow’s walk.