Genealogy records indicate that the Wynne family resided in Canterbury, England, for three or more centuries before coming to Virginia. A man named Robert Wynne served as Speaker of the House of Burgesses in Virginia from 1661 to 1674. History recounts that around 1790 a Wynne descendant & numerous relatives trekked from Pittsylvania, VA, down through Indian country to settle in Sumner County, TN. His son, named Robert K. Wynne, married Cynthia Harrison in Jan 1800. Their first child, Alfred Royal Wynne, was born in Dec 1800.
Alfred Royal Wynne & Almira Winchester, the daughter of General James Winchester of Cragfont, were married in 1825. A. R. bought out his partners’ shares in Wynnewood in 1834 & moved his wife & two sons into the inn. The family grew with the birth of twelve more children. The lives of A. R., Almira, & their family centered around the management & promotion of the inn.
Over the years, A. R. Wynne supported his family as merchant, slave trader, land speculator, river transporter, farmer, & proprietor of the inn. During his many, lengthy business trips, Almira managed the inn, the farm, & the family with quiet competence.
The Wynne’s fourteen children were born over a span of twenty-five years … 1825 to 1850. Six of their eight sons became soldiers, two in the Mexican War & four in the Civil War. Five of their six daughters became school teachers, indicating that they were “educated,” as their mother had been. This was uncommon in the nineteenth century.
The Wynnes were diligent correspondents when separated. A wealth of letters chronicling their family history still exists today; they are preserved at the TN State Archives in Nashville. We have replicas of some on display at Wynnewood. All have given us valuable insight into their life & times.