Macon County Chronicle

Late Jimmy Reneau III Mansion Burns in Clay County

Fire recently destroyed the late Jimmy (James Houston) Reneau III mansion, located off Highway 53 North on the Jimmy Reneau Road, in Clay County, Tennessee, which burned to the ground in a 5:30 a.m. blaze.

The home, which was built in the early 1970’s, was one of the original lake-view mansions and later the Candle Lit Manor, a bed & breakfast. The late attorney, who had a law office in Macon County for several years after his father died, built the gorgeous home at the end of the road, situated on beautiful Dale Hollow Lake surrounded by breathtaking views.

As you may recall, Jimmy had his practice in the old Wilson Meador home built in the 1940’s, located at 406 College Street, in Lafayette, previously occupied by attorneys Guy Yelton, Jimmy White and his father James Houston (Jimmy) Reneau Jr. until he passed away in 1982. He immediately took over his dad’s office, serving as a lawyer in the same location for ten years, with Carolyn Jent Hix by his side until he was killed in an automobile accident between Jackson and Clay County eighteen years ago, in 1992.

According to Jimmy’s sister, Corinne McLerran, who is the Clerk & Master in Clay County, her son and daughter-in-law, Al and Lisa McLerran, purchased the unique structure in 1995. “They transformed the home into the well known bed & breakfast, Candle Lit Manor, which was a very popular place to eat for quiet sometime,” Corinne said when contacted by telephone on Sunday afternoon, January 17th, “and numerous weddings and other special events were held there over the years, because of its beautiful location, until it closed last year.”

The fire was spotted by a passer-by headed toward Burkesville on Hwy. 53, before day- break and realizing it was the mansion, they immediately called 911, as reported in the Dale Hollow Horizon newspaper in Clay County. The City of Celina Fire Marshall stated the home wasn’t occupied at the time of the fire even though it still had electricity, no one was injured and the origin of the fire at the landmark was unknown.

Corinne Reneau McLerran worked for three years in Lafayette, in the late 1960’s for the Department of Labor during the War on Poverty and her aunt, Oopie Reneau, also worked in Macon County for the Cordell Hull Economic Development in the Head Start division until she died in 1983.

The early morning fire is under investigation.

(Photos courtesy of the Dale Hollow Horizon, in Clay County)