Kimberly Clutsam

Kimberly Clutsam is thrilled to tell the stories of our wonderful town and people of Lovely Franklin! She moved to  Franklin, Tennessee with her husband and three children in 2017, but the city captured her heart more than thirty years ago. While home on Christmas break from Middle Tennessee State University in 1987, Kimberly’s Mother took her to Carnton for a tour. Their experience that day was a life-changing one. The mother and daughter, who share a deep love for history, were captivated touring the home, where they learned all about Carrie McGavock and the Battle of Franklin. Their docent was none other than famed Widow of the South author Robert Hicks, years before he penned his best selling novel. Kimberly was inspired. Although it would be a few years before life would slow down enough for Kimberly to focus completely on writing, everything she experienced added to her desire to research and write family narratives. Read our backstory on Robert Hicks.

One day while visiting the McGavock Cemetery at Carnton, a man on a bike rode up and asked the Clutsams if they had any questions about its history. The man turned out to be author Gregory Wade, who was releasing his first novel, Broken Valley, the next week. The Clutsams ended up not only going to his book signing, but becoming wonderful friends. Kimberly is serving her second term on the board of directors for the Battle of Franklin Trust, with Wade being responsible for her nomination. The organization manages Carnton, Carter House and Rippavilla, with their mission being “to preserve, understand and interpret the story of a people forever impacted by the American Civil War.” Serving on the board of the BOFT has been a privilege for Kimberly, as she has been able to provide input and a voice on important issues with Carnton, Carter House and Rippavilla, the three houses managed by the BOFT. Battlefield reclamation, interpretation of the stories of the enslaved and preserving their cemeteries are efforts near and dear to Kimberly’s heart, and also part of the work being done at the BOFT. 

Carton Trenton Lee Photography | Lovely Franklin
Carnton (Trenton Lee Photography)

In 2015, Kimberly was given the opportunity to serve as one of the Co-chairs for the 40th annual Town and Country Tour presented by the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County. She coordinated the tour for Ogilvie Place in College Grove, working closely with the fabulous Mrs Libby Battle, her wonderful family and an amazing group of volunteers along with Brenda and J. Edward Campbell and the Battle family.

In 2021 Kimberly created a walking history tour for her neighbors in the Founders Pointe neighborhood. Twelve stops on the tour pointed out areas that were previously part of the landscape of the Abram Maury homeplace. The Maurys made Tennessee their home before Tennessee was even a state. Kimberly, and her kids created laminated visuals so that the tour could be viewed for several weeks. Maps, census records and also portraits of the Maury’s were used alongside text. 

The most important thing in Kimberly’s life is her relationship with God, and she doesn’t make any decisions without praying about it first. In hindsight, she recalls the events that transpired when she and her husband Rob started looking for a new home for their family in Franklin. Having an obsession with old cemeteries, Kimberly had to hold back her excitement once she realized their realtor scheduled a viewing at a home located adjacent to one of the most meticulously preserved cemeteries in Williamson County.

Abram Maury Cemetery | Franklin TN Founder | Lovely Franklin TN
Abram Maury Family Cemetery

Obelisks, box tombs and headstones from three branches of the Abram Maury family sit under an ancient oak tree. Maury is considered the founder of Franklin, laying out the town and selling lots in 1799. Lines of headstones are surrounded by a hand hewn limestone block wall with a wrought iron gated entry. It was all Kimberly could do to refrain from running over to the cemetery and visiting it instead of the potential home they were viewing. Read the backstory on Abram Maury here.

A few days later, the Clutsams decided to make an offer on the home, only to find out it had been sold over Skype only minutes after their departure. The Clutsams amped up their prayers, as school was about to start. Having already sold their old home, they were about to be left homeless. God had bigger plans though, as the Georgian Colonial next door, which looked very much like the house from the movie, “Home Alone,” went on the market the following day. Not only did the home they ended up purchasing have more room, but the neighborhood pool, park and trails were feet from their back door. It was perfect in so many ways, and only something God could do. Rob actually told Kimberly after viewing the house for the first time that if they were able to purchase it, he would consider it divine intervention. After more prayers and much negotiation, the Clutsam’s moved into their dream house. 

Clutsam Family Home – Franklin, Tenn.

A month after moving in, Kimberly found a note written on paperwork left in a binder for future homeowners by the previous residents. The note described what a joy the home had been for their family, and how they never wanted to leave, but they had been transferred by the husband’s job. It continued to reveal how the old Maury homestead previously sat right underneath where the Clutsam’s new home was located. Even more incredible, the note also informed how the old Maury kitchen foundation was in the right rear raised corner of the backyard of the modern day home. To this day, very often members of the Clutsam family find shards of old china, farm tools, marbles, even discovering a harmonica reed from days gone by. She keeps every little thing she finds and has filled up several shadow boxes, as they are reminders of the past she loves to study. Kimberly feels her and Rob’s move to Franklin was God’s plan for their family all along, with the proof being in the serendipitous nature of the events. 

Kimberly Clutsam
Kimberly Clutsam

Kimberly met her husband Rob in March of 2002 and it was love at first sight. They were busy planning every detail of their lives only weeks after meeting, when tragedy struck and Kimberly was diagnosed with breast cancer. A double mastectomy, followed by six months of chemotherapy were prescribed. Kimberly’s oncologist, realizing the seriousness of the relationship with her new boyfriend, asked if he could come in for a chat. She warned the couple that the chances they would have children following Kimberly’s chemotherapy would be slim, and she felt her duty to let them know. Kimberly had a seven year old son named Will from before they’d met and Rob vowed that he would be happy if he was their only child. 

The couple were married in April of 2003, (Kimberly wore a wig that was eerily similar to her real hair) and their little family fell into a wonderful little life together. To their surprise, the following February of 2004, Rob and Kimberly discovered they were pregnant. Madison Grace Clutsam was born October of 2004, and they were elated that God had not only blessed them with each other and their son Will, but this new baby girl that had defied all odds. Even more miraculously, when Madison was a little over a year old, the couple discovered they would have another baby. Mary-Caroline was born in November of 2006, making a Clutsam party of five. Kimberly celebrated twenty years of being cancer free in March of 2022. She hasn’t taken one moment of her marriage, children or life for granted, trying to savor and appreciate every moment. Kimberly was surrounded by so many angels on earth during this period of her life, and she thanks God everyday for them all, especially her wonderful husband Rob. 

Kimberly created a blog a few years back dedicated to her research. She was surprised how often people would comment and ask for more posts. Recently her work was published in the Butler County Historical Society quarterly. 

Kimberly started a childcare business in 1996, purely out of love for her child. She’d just been hired for a new job, yet didn’t want to leave her almost one year old Will with anyone else. She took the advice of her very wise Grandmother and ran an ad in the local paper (this was before the World Wide Web) offering home childcare. Before the end of the week she had a full roster. In another example of serendipity, Kimberly was well prepared for this endeavor, as she previously completed a two year program in Preschool and Early Childhood Education while in college, so she was well prepared.  For almost thirty continuous years, Kimberly cared for children from the ages of 6 weeks to five years in her home. Her children grew up alongside the little preschool and as a result, the entire Clutsam family have great memories of the whole endeavor. 

Kimberly’s family is extremely important to her, and always has been. Over the years, she’s been supportive with every endeavor her children and husband Rob have endeavored. Her husband Rob took up photography after they were married, a hobby that  perfectly complemented Kimberly’s love for history. While she is touring houses, he is photographing them. Rob’s award-winning photography consists of many photos of the gorgeous landscapes of Franklin, Tennessee. 

Girl Scout Troop Leader, Cheer coach, Dance mom are just a few of the titles Kimberly has gone by over the last few years. Rob and their three children are everything to her. Will is the oldest. He graduated from Vanderbilt in 2017 and received his Masters in mathematics at Middle Tennessee State University in 2023 with plans to pursue his PhD. Not only is Will a brilliant mathematician, he’s a great guy!