The Kennedy House, sometimes known as the McNutt-Campbell-Kennedy House, most likely built by early settler John McNutt, is one of the older surviving homes in the French Broad corridor and had been occupied primarily by James Campbell. In 1865, Irish-born Rev. James Kennedy, a Presbyterian, bought the house and lived here for decades. He was known for his affiliation with the "Seceder" movement, and the New Salem Church he founded in 1853 beside the post office was known as a "Seceder" church, a term that refers not to the Civil War, but to an 18th-century theological dispute in Scotland. The Seceders were the more independent-minded sorts of Presbyterians who resisted suggestions of state control over religion.
The yard includes a bit of foundation that may be all that remains of the 1785 home of North Carolina settler James White, who at the time was a Revolutionary War veteran recently involved in the aborted State of Franklin, unknowingly on his way to helping found a city. The precise location of his cabin, the first of his three Knox County homes, is speculative -- but historians have strong reason to believe it was here on the grounds of the McNutt-Campbell-Kennedy house. In 1786, White moved to the future site of downtown Knoxville, where he built a fort and mill, and in 1791 became associated with the founding of a city.