The birthplace of America’s first admiral and a great Hispanic American hero — the man who uttered those famous words, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” — is about to be turned into a private gated community.
Admiral Farragut was born at Stoney Point Farm 12 miles southwest of Knoxville, Tennessee. Until a few months ago, most people were completely unaware that this land had any historic significance. A 110-year-old monument is still on the property, and it is etched with the words “Birthplace of Admiral Farragut,” but it is on private property that is fenced off from the public and now zoned for residential development.
Stoney Point Farm was first settled by Spaniard Jorge Ferragut in 1797, four years before the future Admiral’s birth. He hacked out a clearing in the wilderness, built a 20 x 40 foot log cabin, plowed the fields, and moved there with his young family to run a ferry across the Tennessee River.
David Farragut’s father left his homeland of Minorca, Spain, and sailed to America in 1776 to fight in the Revolution. After the war was over he became a major in the territorial militia and a prominent Knox County landowner.
A preservation group is now coordinating with the Knox County Parks and Recreation and the University of Tennessee Archaeological Research Lab to study the public land that surrounds the farm and borders the waterfront. Fundraising efforts are underway to purchase the lots and dedicate them to future development of a visitors’ center and museum rather than a private residential development.
Please visit http://www.farragutbirthplace.blogspot.com for more information and to make a donation for “Farragut Birthplace” to Knox Heritage, an affiliate of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.