Julie Carr of Brookhaven graduated from Belhaven and moved to Oxford in 1978 to attend the University of Mississippi’s School of Law. Her fiancé was “a gorgeous, long-haired, musician, tennis player” named Billy Chadwick, who followed her to pursue an MBA degree. Four years later Julie Chadwick, who only lasted one week as a law student, was finishing up a graduate degree in Communicative Disorders, and Billy was Head Coach of the Women’s Tennis Team.  One spring Friday, he was in the locker room of the main athletic facility and overheard Ole Miss football legend Buster Poole say, “I’ve got the prettiest piece of land in Lafayette County, and I’m thinking about selling it.” Poole called it his “fishing cabin,” but really it was 160 acres of mostly woods on Highway 334.     
“We spent the weekend plotting how we might could swing it,” recalls Julie. “We knew we wanted to live out in the country and were looking for land.” Billy then “used his MBA degree for the first and only time” and sold 80 acres of property to his older brother. He then used that money as a down payment to Poole, who admired the Chadwicks’ moxie and let them finance the rest at a time when interest rates were over 20 percent. “When we were able to buy the land, Coach Buster literally threw in the house,“ remembers Julie, “you could see daylight between the walls.”
With a baby due in the winter, the Chadwicks asked their friend, an architecture student named Buddy Faulkner to inspect the dwelling. “His advice was to level it. But we couldn’t afford to do that,” recounts Julie. So, they worked all summer to make the house livable and moved in during the fall. Their son, Lyon, was born in February of 1983. “We all lived in the single bedroom.” Two years later they had another boy, Carr, and added two more bedrooms to the home.  
Billy thinks back to Lyon and Carr’s childhoods and declares, “Everyone should grow up on a farm. They were able to experience firsthand the love of nature. They grew up swimming in the lake, riding the ponies in the pond, and caring for every critter imaginable.” 
Julie agrees. “Raising the kids on a farm was a dream for me. They were my playmates in the woods. And our shared music always filled the house.” 
“I come from a musical family,” Billy explains. “My dad’s family had a ‘Big Band’, and my aunt was a concert pianist. I started writing songs after high school with my cousin, Vernon Chadwick and my twin brother Barney. My first rock band was The Innovations. We had the honor of being the first rock band to play the Mississippi Coliseum. My favorite will always be playing in my son’s band, Sleeping Bulls.” 
Music has also been a thread throughout Julie’s life. Encouraged by her childhood piano teacher, Celeste Robbins, Julie learned how to play many instruments including guitar, which she currently plays for the Chadwick Band alongside Billy, Barney, and percussionist Ricky Burkhead. They were slated to play the 2020 Double Decker Festival before it was canceled. Covid also nearly canceled Julie’s “highlight of every year, a Christmas Eve performance of our friend Bonnie Rideout’s arrangement of Greensleeves. The piece starts with a slow air on the violin and ends with a rollicking jig. Lyon is a beautiful violinist and is at the center, joined by Carr on bodhran, nephew Hudson on mandolin, me, Billy, and Barney on guitar. We carried the tradition from our wonderful, diverse church in Jackson to First Presbyterian in Oxford. When church was virtual during the pandemic year, Carr and his true love, Kate, put together a wonderful video of the jig to share with the church, family, and friends. It was our best Christmas gift.” 
Not surprisingly, the heart of their home is what the Chadwicks call the music room. The space is centered by a baby grand piano that previously lived in the Carr house in Brookhaven. It is surrounded by vintage guitars, basses, and Julie’s new and beautiful harp. Above it is a vaulted area that holds Carr’s drums, and there is basket full of children’s instruments under the piano. Julie says, “It was our second big addition.”  ​​​​​​​
“The house was originally a tenant house, over a hundred years old” Billy reveals. “We found newspaper for wall insulation dated 1905. It had two rooms and a kitchen. We’ve been adding to it for the last forty years, using the same the original structure with re-claimed materials like heart pine floors and beams and wood planked walls. It’s a very organic house.”
“I love that so many of the materials came from old places,” Julie adds. “Billy has procured and curated every board, every material that we have used.” 
Billy also designed the home’s newest addition. A room that he describes as “mainly windows and a vaulted ceiling that truly takes in the light and beautiful view of our catfish pond and pastures.” The design took months to refine.  After receiving a blessing from architect and friend, Tom Howorth, concerning the blueprint, Billy hired Jeff Stone and Bobbye Ingram to build the room. Once constructed, it was decorated, like the rest of the house, with the art of friends like Ron Dale, Jere Allen, Robert Malone, Carlyle Wolfe Lee, and Treehouse Gallery owners Walter and Vivian Neill. 
“Our friends love to gather in the woods,” explains Julie. “Much of the art in the house was inspired by our land.” 
And what rich land it is. The Chadwicks plucked oak leaf hydrangeas, ferns, beauty berry, and buckeye from the woods and planted them in the beds that surround the house alongside black-eyed Susans and daisies that were transplanted from Billy’s parents’ home in Jackson and English dogwoods from Julie’s parents’ yard. Their garden produces lettuces, greens, blueberries, and thornless blackberries. There is a creek and a spring-fed lake that Julie calls “the best swimming hole in Lafayette County.” They swim in it most days between spring and Thanksgiving. 
Behind the house stands a barn that is home to three horses. Julie is thankful that they are part of her routine throughout the day. “Looking out the window and seeing them play in the pond is my favorite vision.” She also loves to ride on the property’s trails that “usually follow old deer trails or an old logging road.” ​​​​​​​
Julie also used her horses for hippotherapy at the North Mississippi Region Center, where she was a speech pathologist for thirty-three years. “Using horse movement as a modality can really provide good therapy support across the spectrum. NMRC supported my being trained and certified and built a lovely space on campus for our program.”
Julie was also busy in those days helping Billy become one of the most successful coaches in Ole Miss history.  He won the NCAA Championship titles in both singles and doubles in Men’s Tennis. “Julie was the secret to our success,” confesses Billy. “We created a family away from home for the players, and Julie was the heart of it.” The Chadwicks recruitment trips to Sweden, France, England, and South Africa assembled an international team that won five overall SEC Championships which tied football coach Johnny Vaught’s university record. ​​​​​​​
Billy retired in 2016. Julie followed in 2018. Since then, they’ve devoted their lives to nurturing the farm, making music, and spending time with family. “My ninety-seven-year-old mother has lived in assisted living in Oxford for going on eleven years and is a big part of our lives. Our sons live in cities now, Nashville and New York, and I love how they relish being back on the farm.” Julie savors how Lyon and his wife, Toni’s daughter, Harper, has taken to the farm. “She loves riding her horse, jumping in the lake, and being in the woods. She’s learning about trees and critters. Growing up in Nashville, she could be in danger of becoming a city girl, and we love to get her on the farm as much as possible.”     ​​​​​​​
The home Billy and Julie have made from an old tenet house turned fishing camp is enchanting. Its allure goes beyond the architecture, art, and landscaping. What makes the farm special is Julie and Billy’s love. Their shared interests blind them to each other but also protect their first and only home. “Billy’s as committed to conservation and preserving the beauty and wonder of nature as I am,” Julie proclaims. “Our farm, which is now the original 160 acres, gets more beautiful every day.”
Billy smiles. “When we first moved to Oxford it was a small, sleepy town. We knew everyone and it was a special time. Where else could you hang with the likes of Willie Morris, Larry Brown, John Grisham, and Ronzo at the Hoka? With all the development in Oxford, it is great to have a place where everything that surrounds us is ours. Our vision is for this beautiful place to remain a paradise.”    
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