Thousands of years before the first white settler arrived in Hardin County, a race of Mound Builders left evidence of their existence. The most remarkable example of that pre-historic race was on the east bank of the Tennessee River, where Savannah now stands.
At this place, a line of 14 mounds, some covering 1/2 acre of ground and rising 30 feet in the air, ran parallel between the mouths of two ravines nearly a mile apart. It was on one of these mounds that the house that became known as Cherry Mansion was built in 1830.
As early as 1821, James Rudd constructed a log cabin a few yards east of the Tennessee River and established a landing and ferry known as Rudd's Ferry. In 1823, a road was cut from Hardinsville, the county seat located some 10 miles to the east, to Rudd's Ferry. By 1827, the close proximity to the river and its importance to commerce in the county prompted the move of the county seat to its present location and the name was changed to Savannah.
David Robinson, a wealthy landowner and planter, purchased Rudd's Ferry and land from James Rudd and played an active role in the settling of the town in its new location. His wife Elizabeth is credited with naming Savannah after her hometown of Savannah, Georgia.
Robinson built a stately, Federalist-style home overlooking the Tennessee River and near the ferry. Using slave labor, the eighteen inch thick walls were built of bricks made on the banks of the nearby river and a rock wall was constructed surrounding the house.