The Twentieth Tennessee Regiment was known as Battles
regiment, and was organized at Camp Trousdale near the
Kentucky line. Joel A. Battle was elected colonel; M. B. Carter,
lieutenant-colonel; Patrick Duffie, major; Dr. D. B. Cliff, surgeon; J. H.
Morton, assistant surgeon, John Marshall, quartermaster; M. M. Hinkle,
commissary; Alex Winn, adjutant; John Edmonson, chaplain. The only company
from Rutherford in the regiment was Company E. John S. Gooch was elected
captain of the company at the age of nineteen, and was severely wounded at
Fishing Creek. At the reorganization of the army in May, Capt. Gooch was
elected lieutenant-colonel at the age of twenty. Col. T. B. Smith, of the
regiment was only twenty-two. Col. Gooch was compelled to resign in a
short time, and as succeeded by F. M. Lavender. On the promotion of Col.
Gooch, William Ridley was chosen captain of Company E, and remained with
the company during its term of service. Capt. Ridley received a severe
scalp wound at Missionary Ridge; Lieut. Crosswaite was killed at
Murfreesboro, and Lieut. Peyton at Chickamauga. A full history of the
regiment is given elsewhere.
Many other companies and parts of companies were recruited in
Rutherford County, but their history is closely interwoven with other
The battle of Murfreesboro began December 31, 1862,
and ended January 2, 1863. The Confederate forces numbering about 35,000
men were under the command of Gen. Bragg, whose right was under Gen.
Breckinridge, center under Gen. Polk, and left under Gen. Hardee. The
Federals according to commander Rosecrans, numbered 27,977 infantry,
3,200 cavalry and 2,223 artillery. Rosecrans right confronting Hardee,
was commanded by Gen. McCook, the center by Gen. George H. Thomas,
opposite Polk, and the left, opposite Breckinridge, was commanded by Gen.
T. L. Crittenden. Bragg anticipating Rosecrans intention of attacking his
own right, hurled Hardee with irresistible force upon McCook, Rosecrans
right, and crushed it. By night Rosecrans had lost, including stragglers,
one-fourth his army and a large portion of his artillery. His right wing
was almost at right angles to its position in the morning, but it had been
so strengthened as to be impossible to drive it further. The battle so far
had been largely in favor of the Confederates. January 1 was a day of
comparative quiet except occasional artillery duel and some skirmishing.
On January 2 skirmishing opened about 8 oclock and grew warmer as the day
advanced; the tide rolled toward the right. At about 3 P. M. the picket
firing began, which was the signal for the celebrated charge made by
Breckinridge on the right. Perhaps no more gallant charge is recorded in
history than this one led by Breckinridge and his gallant subordinates.
They swept everything before them, crossed the river and seemed ready to
crush Rosecrans left, as had been done by his right, but he had
skillfully massed fifty-eight pieces of artillery heavily supported by
infantry. Upon this unseen enemy the troops rushed, but were compelled to
fall back with much loss. The night was passed with anxious watching, the
following day Bragg slowly began to fall back, leaving the field in the
hands of the Federals. Braggs
loss was reported by him at 10,000; Rosecrans loss was 1,533
killed, 7,245 wounded, besides 6,273 prisoners. On the ground where the
battle was fought is now a National cemetery, where were gathered the dead
bodies from the various points and buried there. The number thus buried
amount to about 6,000. Near Murfreesboro is a Confederate cemetery, where
now sleep 2,000 Confederate soldiers.
The city of Murfreesboro was founded by an act of the General Assembly
passed October 17, 1811, although no lots were purchased nor houses
erected until in June, 1812. The town was originally called Cannonsburg,
in honor of Gov. Cannon, but by an act of November 19, 1811, amendatory to
the act of October 17, 1811, the name was changed to Murfreesboro. This
name was given in honor of Col. Hardy Murfree, who was a Revolutionary
soldier and held lands in the vicinity under military grant from North
Carolina. His claim as well as many others, were signed by Richard Dobbs
Spaight, Esq., our governor, captain-general, and commander-in-chief;
such an array it would seem would make the title perfect. As is elsewhere
mentioned, Joel Childress, Joel Dyer, John M. Tilford, Abraham Thompson,
Carmichael, B. Sanaway and Blackman Coleman, were appointed commissioners
(aldermen) of Murfreesboro. These constituted the first town board or
council, the former commissioners having nothing to do with the
government. The above act as repealed, September 28, 1815, and seven
commissioners were chosen by the people. Previous to this, November 5,
election precinct at Black Fox Camp was ordered moved to Murfreesboro. On
November 19, 1813, all money in the hands of the commissioners from the
sale of lots, after paying these expenses, was ordered turned over to the
town board for the benefit of the town.
The act incorporating the town of
Murfreesboro passed the General Assembly October 17, 1817. It was declared
that the citizens of the town of Murfreesboro, of the county of Rutherford
and the State of Tennessee were a body corporate and politic with
authority to sue and be sued, etc. The town was organized with a mayor and
aldermen. Annual elections were ordered to be called by the sheriff of the
first Monday in January. On October 13, 1818, Isaac Hilliard and Mary
Moore, his wife, of Halifax County, N. C., legatees of Col. Hardy Murfree,
deeded Lots 46 to 70 inclusive, except Lots. 53 and 65, to the Citizens,
owners and Occupiers of certain Lotts or parcels of land in the town of
Murfreesboro. This was done for a love of the people of the place, a
desire to make their titles perfect and for the remembrance of Col.Murfree
in the name. On December 26, 1837, Isaac Hilliards enlargement was
incorporated, containing Lots 1 to 24
inclusive. A further addition was made to the city January 10, 1851. On
December 6, 1860, Bennett Smith deeded a lot near the Presbyterian Church
to the city. On December 12, 1865, the city limits were extended
three-quarters of a mile from the Public Square. Town officers: The first
town officers elected were Joshua Haskell, mayor, but he resigned and
David Wendel was chosen in his place; Burrell Gannaway, Nicholas Tilford,
T. C. Watkins, William Barfield, Charles Niles and G. A. Sublett,
aldermen; William Ledbetter, recorder; Benjamin Blankenship, town
constable. Other mayors, David Wendel, 1819; Robert Purdy, 1820; Henry
Holmes, 1821; William R. Rucker, 1822-23; John Jones, 1824; William
Ledbetter, 1825; S. R. Rucker, 1826; William
Ledbetter, 1827; John Smith, 1828; Edward Fisher, 1829;
John Smith, 1830; John C. Moore, 1831; Charles Ready, 1832; Charles Niles,
1833; Marman Spence, 1834-35; Edward Fisher, 1836; L. H. CARNEY, 1837; E.
A. Keeble, 1838; Edward Fisher, 1839; G. A. Sublett, 1840; B. W. Farmer,
1841-42; H. Yoakum, 1843; Wilson Thomas, 1844; B. W. Farmer, 1845-46; John
Leiper, 1847-48; Charles Ready, 1849-53; F. Henry, 1854; E A Keeble, 1855;
Joseph B. Palmer, 1856-59; John W. Burton, 1860-61; J. E. Dromgoole, 1862;
* * * R. D. Reed, 1865-55; Charles Ready, 1867; E. L. Jordan, 1868-69; T.
B. Darrach, 1870; J A. January, 1871; J. B. Collier, 1872-73; Dr. J. B.
Murfree, 1874-75; H. H. Kerr, 1876; H. H. Clayton, 1877; N. C. Collier,
1878-79; J. C. Clayton, 1880-84; E. F. Burton, 1882-83; J. M. Overall,
1885-85, H. E.Palmer, 1886. Police officers: A. G. Miller, City Marshal;
G. W. Myers, R. E. Beard and R. M. Nelson.
The town as originally surveyed
by Hugh Robinson, contained seventy lots each 150 feet square, being
numbered from the northwest corner to
the northeast from one to twelve inclusive. The Legislature passed
eighteen rules and regulations to govern the town while under the first
town board. In 1815 the General Assembly passed an act for the relief of
the seven commissioners of Murfreesboro against any claims that might
arise against them while they were discharging their official duties.
Capt. William Lytle built a mill, blacksmith shop and afterward a
cotton-gin near Murfreesboro in 1808. The first house was built within the
corporate limits of the town in 1811. A. Carmichael built the first tavern
in Murfreesboro near the Pump Spring. Col. Joel Dyer moved his tavern
from Jefferson to Murfreesboro in 1812; this building stood till burned in
1854. Col. Robert Jetton built a tavern on South Main Street of cedar
logs, that stood till burned in 1853. J. Renshaw also built a tavern near
the southeast corner of the Public Square. Porter & Spence moved their dry
goods store from Jefferson to Murfreesboro in 1813. The town was now
growing rapidly. A public warehouse was built near the creek on Main
Street in 1813. All cotton and tobacco had to be placed in some one of the
three houses in the county for inspection before sale. W. A. Sublett and
L. Mathews were made inspectors in 1813. The fees for opening and
recooperage was about $1.50 per hogshead for tobacco and cotton in a
similar ratio. On November 15, 1817, J. Haskell deeded Lots 71 and 72 to
Bradley Academy. In 1818 the market house was built, which, with some
improvement stood till destroyed by the soldiers. Hugh Cabell was made
sealer of weights and measures for the town and county. The rates fixed
were for a bushel measure 50 cents; pecks, 15 cents; half peck, 12½
cents; gallon, half gallon and two quarts, 25 cents. In 1818 the town well
was ordered begun, but was not finished till 1824; owing to a destructive
fire all wooden chimneys were ordered pulled down, and brick or Stone
substituted instead. Also a fire-watch of twelve men were put on duty. The
Subletts were allowed $98 for printing the town ordinances in 1818. Stumps
were ordered removed from the streets. Few buildings at this time were
adorned with paint. The first brick house erected in town was built this
year by John M. Telford, west of where the present National Bank now
Drs. W. R. Rucker, James Maney, Henry Holmes, J. King and L. P.
Yandell were distinguished early practitioners. Lawyers - S. H. Laughlin,
Samuel Anderson, S. R. Rucker, W. Brady, Andrew Childress, J. R. Martin,
Charles Ready, John Bruce, John Haskell, P. W. Humphreys and I. H. Bute.
Visiting attorneys - Rob Butler, John Bell, J. H. Eaton, Andrew
Jackson and Felix Grundy. Merchants - David Wendel, Joe Spence, Hill,
Snell & Co., M. Spence, Silas Loik, C. OFlynn, C. R. Abbott, Falls &
Christy, David Lineau, John Smith, J. C. Moore & Co., J. Currin, Benjamin
Elder and Charles Gugger. Saddlers - Charles Niles, W. Gardner, A. S. & J.
Davidson. Tailors - Reuben Bolles, Peter Campbell, Samuel Parrish, Samuel
Jones. Hatters - Alfred Miller, A. Staller, Christopher Hist.
Cabinet-makers - James Crichlow, Ed Fisher, Samuel Patton. Chair-Makers -
E. A. Cochran, Isaac C. Brown Carpenters - Capt. J. Jones, George
Anderson, J. McDermott. Blacksmiths - William Gilliam, John Kennedy,
William Blanton, P. Parker. Boot and
shoe-makers - Willis Barker, B. Kennedy, J. Jones. Tanners - V. Cowan, Rob
Jetton, J. Bone. Wagon-makers - William R. Icemeyer, J. D. Scrape.
Tinner - Lewis Sperry. Tavern- keepers - James Vaughn, R. Smith, Gen.
Robert Purdy, W. C. Emmett. Gunsmiths - Ed Elam, George Baltes. Brick and
Plasterers - J. Fletcher, T. Montague. Jewelers - A. Liddon, who made the
county seal, and W. Manchester. Milliners - Mrs. A. Staller, Miss S.
Warren. Wool-carder - Isaac C. Brown.
The first General Assembly met in Knoxville May 28, 1797, and continued to
meet there till 1813, when it changed to Nashville and remained till
September 15, 1815, at which time it again assembled at Knoxville, but was
changed to Murfreesboro September 19, 1819. It continued to meet at
Murfreesboro till early in January, 1826, since
which time its sessions have been in Nashville. The bill for fixing a
permanent seat of government was called up October 4, 1843. The
vote at the third reading in the House stood: Yeas, 40; nays, 34. In the
Senate, on motion of Senator W. H. Sneed, for Rutherford and Williamson
Counties, the vote on the question of locating the state capital at
Murfreesboro stood eleven for and fourteen against. On reconsideration
October 10, 1843, the bill was carried in favor of Nashville. During the
session while in Murfreesboro the Assembly met
in the court house, the representatives using the lower floor and the
senators the upper floor. A call session was held August, 1822,
but the court house having been burned, the session was held in the
Presbyterian Church; the lower house met on the first floor and the
Senate in the gallery. On the assembly of the Legislature at this place,
Gov. McMinn took his seat as governor, and James McDowell was elected
doorkeeper. During the session of 1823 Gen. William Brady was chosen
speaker of the House.
The acts were printed on a press owned by the State. This was brought from
Nashville, and the work was done in a house on College Street. The year
1823 marked the first appearance of a Dutchman - Hoffman by name - into the town. He
was a baker by trade, and the novelty of the man was as
great as the ginger cakes he sold. Another historic character of this
period was Peter Jennings, a free negro, who had served during
the Revolutionary war, and for such service was awarded a pension.
At this period Murfreesboro afforded two military companies, one of
seventy-five men, the Murfreesboro Volunteers, commanded by Capt. G S
Crockett; the other, the Murfreesboro Sentinels, commanded by Capt. Russel
Dance, afterward by J. C. Abbot, and still later
by Capt. John Childress. The former company took part in the reception
given to Gen. Lafayette at Nashville in 1825. A great semi-centennial
celebration was held July 4, 1826, at Murfrees Spring under the auspices
of the Sentinels, there was a parade by the company, and speeches made by
M. Rooker and others. A committee visited the Hermitage, and invited the
hero of New Orleans to visit here in
Murfreesboro on January 15, 1828, the thirteenth anniversary of the battle
of New Orleans. The invitation was accepted. Dr. William R
Rucker was president on this occasion, and G A. Sublett,
vice-president. Great preparations were made, and a large and
enthusiastic assembly greeted him. A magnificent banquet was spread, and
the beauty and chivalry of the place did honor to the occasion. Thirteen
regular toasts were drank, and responded to with grace; twenty-four
additional were offered. A poem was prepared and read for the occasion.
There was a sound of revelry by night, and the reception closed with a
magnificent ball. At this time the population of Murfreesboro was 955, and
the revenues for the town was $355.81.
In 1831 the Washington Cotton Factory was started by Mr. Lowery; this had
a horse head-wheel for motive power. From the success of this a new
company was formed, consisting of Messrs. Masterson, Christy, Lowery &
Johnson. A large second-hand engine and machinery was placed in position,
the whole at a cost of about $25,000. It was an unfortunate financial
investment. It soon passed into the hands of Dr. James Maney, then to ---
& Watson, next to Moore & Cox, and then to Field for $4,000. William
Somerhall purchased the entire business for $1,500. In 1833 a report was
made to the city council on the feasibility of establishing a system of
favorable report was made and the estimated cost was $1,000. It was
proposed to raise the water from the Sand Spring in large tubs, to be
conveyed to the top of Capitol Hill upon a wooden railway; the same to be
elevated by horse-power. The water was to be led from Capitol Hill, by
cedar tubes, into an air-tight tank in the court-yard square; thence,
by hydrants, to the places of business. The work was completed and
the Rose Water-Works were set in operation. After a short time they were
found to be a failure. The first drug store was started by H. H.
TREADAWAY, on the east side of the square, in 1837; another was soon after
started by Avent & CARNEY, which was afterward
sold to J. H.Nelson. The first grocery store was started by Jacob Decker
in 1837; a large carriage factory was started the same year by H.Osborn &
Co. Other jewelers than those mentioned were F. Garland, James Reed, A.
O. H. P. Sehorn, R. D. Reed,
William Roulet and J. Lukins. In 1850 a new drug store was
started by John McDermott; a hardware and grocery store, by
John C. Spence; a book store, by R. D. Reed; a second book
store was owned by Craig & Fletcher, which was sold to
Fowler & Davis. The livery stables at this time were owned by
Todd & Carnahan, Todd & Barkley. A carriage shop
was run by R. & S. Smith. The Cedar Bucket Factory was started
by J. C. Spence in 1854.
The Rio Mills were erected in 1855 by
W. S. Huggins & Co. The building was a large four-story brick,
and was run by two twenty-five horse-power engines, and had a
capacity of about 200 barrels of flour per day. The whole cost about
$25,000. These mills were sold to William Spence, who, in 1860,
added a distillery, and at this place fed many hogs. These mills were
used by the armies during the war and were greatly damaged. 1855
was noted for the great fire in this city, in which the City Hotel, as
well as many other buildings, was burned. The first gas-works were
built in this city in 1857. Mains were laid and the business was started
by making gas from resin oil and cotton seed, but, the war interfering,
the matter was not fully tested. The war made Murfreesboro a great
military camp. The troops enlisted were usually sent to Camp Trousdale for
instruction. The first appearance of Federals in the place was March 7,
1862, and on the 10th Gen.Mitchell took formal possession of the place.
July 13, 1862, he made his celebrated raid upon the town, capturing a
large number of prisoners. This strange coincident occurred during the
engagement: In the attack upon Mancy Springs 21 Federals were killed and
no Confederates; in the attack upon the court house 23 Confederates were
killed and no Federals; in the fight at the river 2 on each side were
killed. After the battle of Stone River the city was again in the hands of
Federals, they having taken possession January 4, 1863.
All the churches and the colleges were used as hospitals for the sick and
wounded, first by the Confederate, afterward by the Federal Army. In 1866
the Cedar Bucket Factory passed into the hands of the Stones River
Utility Works. It was started in the old cotton factory, but has since
moved to its present building. April 15, 1869, marks the era of the great
fire, in which a large number of business houses were destroyed.
Business of 1870:
Attorneys - Charles Ready, H. P. Keeble, J. B. Palmer, J. C. Cannon, B. L.
Ridley, G. S. Ridley, E. H. Ewing, E. D. Hancock. B. F. Lillard, R. Beard,
F. R. Burrus, J. E. Dromgoole, J. M. Avent, J. W. Burton, T. B. Darrach,
J. D. Richardson, J. W. Childress and J. A. Leiper. Physicians - G. D.
Cisthwait, J. B. Murfree, W. C. Cook, J. E. Wendel, M. Ransom, L. M.
Knignt, W. D. Robinson, R. S. Wendel, H. H. Clayton, W. Whitson and N. H.
Lytle. Dentists - A. Hartman and S. H. Bears. Hotels - City Hotel, J.
A. Crocket; and Planters, W. A. Rapp. Dry Goods - Rosenthal & Bro., T. C.
Goodrich, E. Rosenfeld, W. Smith, J. Allen, Miles & Mckinley, Rich &
Wright, Eagleton & Byrn, Tobias & Bro. and A. G. Rosenfeld. Drug stores -
J. McDermott, J. W. Nelson and William Wendel. Bakers and confectioners -
H. Raymond, G. S. Mcfadden and H. Osborn. Saddlers and harness-makers -
John Kelley, Mosby & Co. and J. H. Boehms. Grocers - L. Burgsdorf, Lane &
Crichlow, J. S. Mcfadden, J. I. C. Haynes, Henry Elliott, James Tompkins,
Collier & Eagleton, James & Collier, R. N. Ransom Smith & Hodge, Jetton &
Clayton, Pearce & Abbott, John Barber, H. H. Kerr, Carney & Ransom and W.
A. Ransom. Stoves and tinware - Daniel Kelley. Hardware - Street, Andrews
& Co., T. B. Ewbanks. Milliners and dress-makers - Mrs. McDougal and Mrs.
R. W. January. Jeweler - William Roulet. Commission merchants - Reed &
Tally, Leiper & Menifee. Lumber dealer - William A Ransom. Coal dealer -
Rob Martin. Marble and Stone - David Nugent. Blacksmiths - W. J. McKnight,
N. C. Blanton. Carriage factories - W G. Garrett, Thomas Spain, Bock &
Present business: Dry goods - B. F. Paty & Co., T. Tobias, J. Frank & Co.,
M. Hirsh & Co., Moses Henlein, I. Rosenfeld, M. Nathan & Co., ---
- Spain & Co. (also grain and seeds), Henderson & Co., H.
Arnold, B. B. Kerr, Butler & Dumwright, J. M.
Overall, M. Rosenfeld, Bell & Huggins, Haynes,
Hollenell & Co., Mcfadden & Son, Todd & Morgan, John Johnson, J. B. White,
J. Osborn. Groceries, grain, cotton and produce - William Mitchell, Hodge
& Smith, Clayton & Overall & Co. Grain dealer - W F. Leiper. Grain and
machines - D. H. Tally. Drug stores - William Wendel, J. Nelson, J. T.
Merchant, H. H. Kerr, J. Kerr. Hardware - Street, Burns & Co., Nelson &
Ivy. Harness and saddlery - Street, Burns & Co., J. Mosby. Buggies and
carriages - Adam Bock, George
Walter, W. B. Garrett. Wagons - Rob Blanton, V. Dill.
Stoves and tinware - Cantherin & North, Beard & Co.
Jewelers - W. R. Bell, W. B. Paty. Book stores - O. P. Hill, W. B. Smith.
Grist-mills - J. A. Ransom, Belmont Mill Co., Murfreesboro Mill.
Cotton-gins - Ransom & Co., J. T. B. Wilson, D. H. Talley, White & ___.
Cedar Bucket Factory
- Stones River Utility Works. Lumber dealers - W. B. Earthman
& Co., Kirkpatrick & Ranson. Liverymen- J. H. Allen,
Roberts & Oslin, W. R. Fox, James McKnignt. Hotels -
Miles House, New Ready House. Gas-works - ___ Collins. Butchers - W. B.
Jones, Mathew Nelson. Milliners - Mrs. L. Gifford, Mrs. Bettie Shelton.
Dress-makers - Miss Nannie Prim, Mrs. P. Hooper. Opera house - Jordon &
Tannery - ___ Smith Professional attorneys - Palmer & Palmer, Avent, Avent
& Smith, Ed Hancock, Ridley & Richardson, H. P. Keeble, Burrus & Woods,
Cannon & Son, P. P. Mason, Sheafe & Smithson, E. L. Jordan, Jr., B. L.
Ridley, B. F. Lilliard, Ervin Burton and R. Beard. Physicians- Wendel &
Wendel, C. C. Clayton, J. B. Murfree and Dr. Burns. Dentists - Alexander
Hartman and J. Bryan.
A new industry is the Stones River Creamery, started in 1884. This
establishment is now in successful operation, using about 4,000 pounds of
milk per day. Financially, the town has always been
solvent; morally, the grade is high; intellectually, it has few superiors.
It educated one President and gave him a wife, and has been socially
intimate with several. It has recently furnished a prominent character
in the field of letters, Charles Egbert Craddock - Miss Mary
The charter granting the Murfreesboro Tennessee Bank
was issued November 15, 1817. The capital stock was $400,000,
divided into shares of $50 each. The limit of the bank was to run till
January 1, 1841, with the option of closing sooner, if thought best by
the directors. The directors were John Fisher, Joshua Haskell,
Samuel P. Black, John Clopper, E B. Clark, Benjamin
McCulloch, Joel Childress, Nicholas Tilford, William
Barfield, John Smith and Edmond Jones. The officers elected were Benjamin
McCulloch, president; Samuel P. Black, cashier. The bank began business on
the north side, but afterward built a house of their own on the northeast
corner of the Square. Business with the bank was continued about five
years when the directors began closing the business. On the closing of the
bank loan-agencies were established in its stead. The agents of these
often enriched themselves at the expense of their creditors. In 1838 the
Bank of Tennessee was established. Branches of the bank were opened in the
leading cities. The capital stock of this bank was $5,000,000. These
branch banks took notes at a discount, which were made payable on the
installment plan. Notes or tickets on the bank were also issued for a
time. The stringency of the money market at that time made these banks a
great relief to the business world. A branch of the Planters Bank was
Murfreesboro in 1859, with J. W. Childress, president, and
William Ledbetter, cashier. The bank continued in successful
operation till the war, when the capital was moved to Nashville. After the
close of the war the business of the bank was closed out.
The Exchange Bank was established in the summer of 1852, under the free
banking system by William and Joseph Spence. The bank was started with a
capital stock of $50,000 but was later increased to $100,000. The bank did
a prosperous business till 1857, when by some improper management and bank
became embarrassed and suspended for a time, but resumed business again in
1858, but was permanently suspended in a short time. Much loss and
dissatisfaction grew out of the management of this institution.
The First National Bank was established in March, 1869, with a capital
stock of $100,000. The first board of directors were J. B. Kimbro, W. N.
Doughty, J. W. Richardson, J. R. Collier, J. R. Dillon, J. E. Dromgoole,
J. B. Palmer,
W. A. Ransom, M. L. Fletcher, W. B. Lillard AND A.M. Alexander. The
officers were J. B. Kimbro, president; W. N. Doughty, vice-president; J.
B. Collier, cashier. In July, 1871, the capital stock was increased to
$160,000, and in March, 1872, J.
B. Kimbro died and was succeeded by J. W. Childress as president. In 1879
Collier, the cashier, died and was succeeded by H. H. Williams, the
present cashier. J. W. Childress resigned in January, 1880, and was
succeeded by E. L. Jourdan. In 1877 the capital stock was reduced from
$160,000 to $100,000, at which it now stands, with $50,000 surplus. The
present board of directors are E. L. Jordan, J. B. Palmer, J. M. Avent, J.
M. Haynes, Joseph Ransom, R. C. Blackman, N. C. Collier, J. W. Sparks, J.
T. Byrn, J. A. Moore and George Beasley.
The Stones River
National Bank was organized May 1, 1872. The directors were W. N. Doughty,
J. P. Rice, W. R. Butler, W. C. Eagleton, T. C. Goodrich, Theodore Smith,
J. I. C. Haynes, D. D. Wendel and C. B. Huggins. Officers were William
A M. Overall, vice-president, and J. B. Fowler, cashier. The board of
directors were William Mitchell, A. M. Overall, Alex Hartman, J. I. C.
Haynes, W. N. Doughty, C. H. Byrn, J. H. Reed, Horace E. Palmer, W. C.
Harrison, Jr., W. Barton and C. M. Holden. The Stones River National
Banking Company was organized May 1, 1872, with a capital stock of
$50,000. The officers were W. N. Doughty, president; D. D. Wendel,
cashier, and C. B. Huggins, teller; directors: J. P. Rice, W. R.
Butler, W. C. Eagleton, T. C. Goodrich, J. I. C. Haynes and Theodore
Smith. The officers were William Mitchell, president; A. M. Overall,
vice-president; J. B. Fowler, cashier. Directors: William Mitchell, A. M.
Overall, Alex Hartman, J. I. C. Haynes, W. N. Doughty, C. H. Byrn, J. H.
Reed, H. E. Palmer, W. C. Harrison, Jr., W. Barton and C. M. Holden.
The first newspaper ever published in Murfreesboro was The Courier
initial number of this little sheet made its appearance June 16, 1814.
It was issued from the office on the corner of Vine and Lebanon Streets,
by G. A. and A. C. Sublett. The Courier
was like other papers; at times
it gave the news rather than the expression of opinions. The press was one
of the Franklin style, not unlike that on which was printed the
Declaration of Independence. Mail service was furnished once a week at
this time, but to facilitate exchanges private carriers carried papers to
Nashville. The Weekly Times
was established in Murfreesboro in 1837, and
was the organ of the Democratic party. It as edited by Thomas Hegan. The
said: The union of the Whigs for the sake of the
Union. Its motto signified its politics. It was edited by E. J. King.
This editor, like the modern editor, saw the salvation of the country
depended upon the support of his paper and his party. The National
was established by G. A. Sublett in Murfreesboro in 1828. It
favored the election of Andrew Jackson for President in opposition to John
Quincy Adams. It was an anti-administration paper. The Murfreesboro
was established in 1859 by A. Watkins, and was edited by G. T.
Henderson, as a neutral political paper, but in 1852 it was changed
to a Democratic paper. The paper was conducted by Mr. Henderson
till it was suspended on account of the war, the type and press having
been destroyed by the Federal Army. The Telegraph
was the Whig organ of
the county and was edited first by T. Taylor and afterward by R. S
Northcott. This paper continued till the war. The Murfreesboro News
was again started in Mr. Henderson in January, 1866, and was continued
till 1878, when it was sold to other parties. The News
is now owned and
edited by W. C. Frost, a young and vigorous writer, who conducted the
paper in a very successful manner. The Free Press
showed that the
Messrs. Henderson knew how to edit a paper. The Gold Eagle
was the organ
of the colored people. It was begun in January, 1886, but suspended
publication until the middle of February on account of machinery. The
paper was a seven column edition and was edited by
Dr B. Andrew Franklin. It was issued from the office of Russell & Ransom.
The scourge of cholera first threatened the place in 1832, but fortunately
did nothing more than to frighten the inhabitants. A general clearing up
and fumigating of the foul place was begun. The cholera went away only to
gather strength for its return in 1835, when it came like a terror in all
its horrors. Men and women frightened fled from their homes as though they
were pursued by a devastating army; business was suspended; relief
committees were formed; G. J. Cain, a prominent merchant, died; Gen.
William Brady, a prominent lawyer and candidate for Congress, succumbed to
the disease; Dr. A. Hartwell, who did yeoman service for the sick, was
himself attacked and died. A committee of young men, James and John
Holmes, D. D. Wendel, William Spence, W. T. Leiper, John Leiper, Robert
Loik, Samuel Eagleton and James W. Hamilton were formed to act as nurses
and attend the needs of the sick, and right nobly was the work done. The
women, too, did their share. Providing coffins, digging graves and nursing
the sick took all their attention. The town seemed depopulated by the
disease and fright. Soon the destroying angel raised its wings and fled,
but sadness was left in nearly every household.
Mount Moriah Lodge, No. 18, was chartered in the year 1817, on petition of
F. N. W. Burton, M. B. Murfree, B.F. McCulloch, John Lytle, A. C.Sublett
and John L. Jetton. The lodge met on the north side of the Public Square
in their room till about the year 1832, when the discredit attached to the
order, by the community, caused it to suspend after a prosperous existence
for more than a dozen years. After the excitement above mentioned had died
away the lodge again reorgnaized in 1840. They
met for a time in a room on the northwest corner of the Square, then on
the west side in a room on the third floor of a building; this room and
contents were burned in 1859. The lodge net procured new regalias and
filled a room on the east side of the Square. This lodge was compelled to
suspend during the war, but was soon after reorganized, and now has a
membership of about forty members. The present officers are William
Mitchell, W. M.; T. H. Woods, S. W., George Walter, J.
W., J. H. Allen, Treasurer, J. T. McKinley, Secretary; J. R.
Thompson, Chaplain; J. J. McKnignt, S. D.; J. C. Dunn, J.
D., W. F. Leiper, S.; J. W. Wigg, T.
Murfreesboro Commandery, No. 10, was chartered May 12, 1870, and was
organized by V. E. Sir David Cook assisted by Sir Knights A. B. Martin and
Alex W. WICK, of Baldwin Commandery, No. 7. The first officers were Sir J.
B. Palmer, E. C.; Sir J. D. Richardson, G., and Sir J. B. Murfree, C. G.
The officers for 1886 are W. F. Leiper, E. C.; John Bell, Jr., G.; William
Mitchell, C. G.; W. D. Robinson, P., H. C. Jackson, S. W.; Richard Beard,
J. W.; H. W. Kerr, Treasurer; William Ledbetter, R.; Charles King, S. B.;
H. Weakley, S. B.; T. M. King, W. Past Commanders: J. B. Palmer, J. D.
Richardson, J. B. Murfree, T. H. Woods and H. H. Kerr.
Stranger Rest Lodge, No. 14, I. O. O. F., was instituted December 25,
1845, with the following charter members. J.
N. Champion, Andrew Donaldson, J. A. Harrison, S. A.
Bivens and R. G. Buchanan. On December 27 W. W.
Earthman became a member, the oldest now living. Funds paid to Grand Lodge
since its inception, $16,570.51; relief funds, $3,389.65. Two fires within
the last decade have made a report on the orphans educational fund
impossible, yet there has been expended under this head $980.35. The lodge
now owns a $3,000 building on the South Side. Present officers are R. M.
Ransom, N. G.; J. B. Cosbey, V. G.; M. Hoehnlein and W. B. Drumright,
treasurers. Orphan fund trustees: N. C. Collier, E. C. Cox and Adam Bock.
This body has expended for orphans now under their care, $1,289.55. The
Refuge Lodge has furnished the following Grand Masters: Benjamin Johnson,
A. O. H. P. Sehorn, E. G. Budd and J. H. Crichlow, the only one now
living, and these three grand representatives to the Sovereign Grand
Lodge: A O. H. P. Sehorn, E. G. Budd and J. H. Crichlow, now
lieutenant-colonel upon the staff of John C. UNDERWOOD, the
lieutenant-general and commander-in-chief of the army of Patriarchs
Militant. Not withstanding the mis- fortune of fires, etc., the order has
had a successful career, and now numbers sixty-five active members.
The G. U. O. O. F. Lodge, No. 1822 (colored) was instituted in October,
1878. The lodge now numbers about 200 members.
The origin of temperance societies in
Rutherford County dates as far back as 1827, as mentioned in the
history of the Presbyterian Church. In this church was organized the
first formal society having rules and by-laws. A society was soon
after formed called the Washingtonians, or Washington Temperance
Society. After a time the interest in the matter somewhat died away, but
was renewed again in 1847 under the name of Sons of Temperance. This
society prospered, and higher degrees were formed in 1851. In
that year the degree of Knight Templar was opened in the court house, and
in 1857 the K. of H. was organized. These societies continued to prosper
till broken up by the war. In 1867 the order of G. T. was organized in the
court house, and in 1868 the order of S. of T. was revived. To the efforts
of these good people the State owes no little to her excellent temperance
Lodge No. 161, K. of H., was organized in Murfreesboro, September 25,
1875, with the following charter members. H. H. Clayton, F. H. Crass, W.B.
Garrett, S. B. Bowers, J. O. Oslin, T. N. Crichlow, John Mcdermott, E.
Rosenfeld, J. W. Childress, G. H.
Baskett, Dr. J. B. Murfree, J. B. Clayton, E. C. Cox,
J. R. Osborn, J. T. Rather, R. L. Martin, S. N. Lawing,
S. G. Mcfadden, Ed Obrenne, H. Hirsch and W. C. Osborn. The present
officers are J. M. Wigg, P. D.; H. C. Finch, D.; H. Hirsch, V. D.; E. C.
Cox, A. D.; S. W. Lawing, R.; J. J. Mckinley, F. R.; J. W. Ewing, C.; Dr.
R. S. Wendel Treas.; G. S. Ransom, G. H. Eickhoff, I. W. and D. W.
Donaldson, Sentinel. Present membership ninety-five. The A. O. U. W. was
organized May 2, 1877, with the following members: C. O. Thomas, Dr. J. B.
Murfree, J. R. Osborn, J. N. Crichlow, R. F. Osborn, W. Roulet, F. H.
Crass, W. B. Earthman, H. Hirsch, W. C. ___ and S. N. Lawing. This popular
fraternity now numbers thirty-nine members.
Jefferson is located at the forks of Stones River. The place was selected,
as stated elsewhere, as a seat of justice for the county and remained
the same from 1804 till 1811. Col. Robert Weakley and Robert Bedford
entered the land about Jefferson and had a town platted. A courthouse,
brick, about 40x40 feet was begun in 1804, and ready for use in the summer
of 1806. A jail and stocks were also built. Rude houses were rapidly
built. The town proper embraced forty acres of land. William Nash opened a
store near the place in 1803, said to have been the first in the county.
An ordinary was kept in the place by Mitchell in 1805. As communication
and travel at this time was mainly by river, Jefferson was an important
trading post. Numerous keel and flat-boats were seen at her wharves, many
were also built there. Goods were bought largely at Pittsburgh and brought
to Jefferson by river; produce, grain, meat, etc., were shipped to New
Orleans and sold. These voyages required months to complete. After the
removal of the seat of justice to Murfreesboro the town began to decline.
In 1815 the old court house was transformed into a seminary of learning
under the name of Jefferson Seminary of Learning. The Legislature made
John Coffee, Peter Legrand, S. Crosthwait, George Simpson and Walter
Keeble trustees of said institution and to govern the same. The school was
of short duration; the old building stood till about 1835.
Constant Hardeman built the first and only steam-boat at Jefferson and
floated the same down to Nashville to receive her machinery and finishing
touches. The boat was of about 100 tons burthen. The broad-ax by which
most of the timber was hewed is now in the hands of David Neugent. The
town now contains a shop, one or two stores, a postoffice and an Odd
The little village of Milton is situated fourteen miles southeast from
Murfreesboro. The first settlers came from North Carolina and Virginia
about the year 1790. Among the first were James Doran and ___ Roach; the
former entered land and built a house about one mile from where the
village now stands; a Stone spring-house bears J. D., 1807, and is still
standing. The latter, it is thought, entered the land where the village
now stands. The first house was built about 1810. Little is known of the
place until 1830, when Howard and Benjamin Morgan purchased the land and
laid out a town, to which was given the somewhat classic name Milton.
The town was incorporated and constituted a body corporate and politic
under the name and style of the mayor and aldermen of the town of Milton.
The town soon assumed metropolitan airs, but after an existence of about a
half-century the charter was revoked. The place now contains only about
200 inhabitants. The village contains an I. O. O. F. Lodge, Presbyterian
Church, a drug store and two general stores. The amount of business in the
place amounts to about $40,000 annually. The pride of the village is its
seminary, which was erected and incorporated under the four mile law.
This school is in a flourishing condition under the management of Prof. N.
D. Overall, assisted by Miss Mattie Hill; in the music and art departments
are other competent teachers. The high moral standing, the people, their
social culture, the fine lands surrounding and good mail facilities, make
Milton a desirable place in which to live. Historically Milton marks the
place of a hotly contested engagement between Gens. Morgan and Blackman in
the late war, in which the former was defeated. Some of the Confederate
dead lie buried in a beautiful grove near the village.
The village of Eagleville, consisting of about thirty families, is
situated in the southwest part of the county. The first settlements made
in that neighborhood were made about 1790. Pioneer settlers were William
and Thomas Jordan, Henry Ridley, James Shepard, Robert Donaldson, James
Neal, Daniel Scales, Ab Scales, John Guy, Robert Wilson, James Gillespie,
Joe Carson, ___ Burgess, George and Robert White.
The Missionary Baptist Church was organized one and one-half miles north
of Eagleville November 7, 1839, by Rushing James Keal and John Landrum.
The first members were Thomas and Sophia Jordan, Elizabeth
Williams, Josiah Johnson, Drury Bennett, William
Cullom, Robert and Nancy Palmer, John and Rhoda
Hazelwood. It was then called Harpeth Baptist Church, but on
removal to Eagleville, in about 1866, it was called Eagleville Baptist
Church. Eagleville Lodge, No. 17, I. O. O. F., was organized May
20, 1846. The charter members were John Nunn, William Nunn, Samuel Rankin,
Thomas W. Maxfield, S. S. Morgan, Thomas Cheatham, Thomas Moore and
William Taylor. Business: Charles Williams sold the first goods in the
place in 1832. His old stand is now occupied by his sons, J. C. & R. E.
Williams. R. S. Brown has also sold goods for a number of years. Other
branches of business are a drug store, cabinet shop, machine shop, tobacco
factory, flouring mill, two blacksmith shops, livery stables and
a boot and shoe shop. The school, now under Prof. G. M. Savage, was
chartered several years ago. It employs seven teachers, and the curriculum
embraces the entire course of mathematics, natural sciences, English,
Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, German and Anglo-Saxon languages,
metaphysics, logic, music and art. This school is furnished with a
commodious boarding house for girls, and a row of ten rooms
for boys, beside the family buildings. The school building has eight
rooms besides the chapel.
Readyville is situated on the Woodbury Pike in District No. 19, in the
eastern part of the county. It was named in honor of Charles Ready, who
was one of the seven justices that organized the first court in the
county, in 1804. He settled in that county not far from the beginning of
the present century. In 1833 this was on District No. 6, and George
Brandon, A. Tenneson and Joe Macey were made inspectors of elections at
that place. Readyville is situated in an excellent farming community, and
maintains a flourishing school.
La Vergne was founded after the building of the railroad, and lies in
District No. 3, near the Davidson County line. It was incorporated by an
act of the General Assembly passed February 28, 1861. It contains several
hundred inhabitants, two churches, stores, shops and other business
houses. It was at this place that skirmishing began between the armies of
Gens. Bragg and Rosecrans previous to the great battle of Stones River.
The town fared badly during the war.
Salem is situated five miles southwest of Murfreesboro, on the Salem &
Eagleville Pike. Salem is near the western part of District No. 11. Versailles
is the name of a postoffice near the center of District No. 10.
It contains a store and other places of business. Middleton
is situated near the southern boundary of the county fourteen
miles south of Murfreesboro. It contains a Baptist Church, postoffice,
store and shops. Christiana lies on the east side of the railroad ten miles from
Murfreesboro. It is in the northern part of District no. 20. It contains a
postoffice, a school, one or two stores and is a good shipping point on
the railroad. Fosterville is a thriving little village situated thirteen miles southeast
of Murfreesboro on the railroad. It contains a church, store, postoffice
and shops. Carlocksville is situated near the southeastern part of the county
fourteen miles from Murfreesboro and in the most thickly settled portion
of District No. 24. It contains business houses, a Baptist and a Methodist
Episcopal Church and a postoffice.
Stewartsboro, near the Nashville Pike on Stewart Creek, was formerly a
place of some little business, but since the completing of the railroad
the business has been transferred to Smyrna. In point of population and
wealth this is now the second town in the county. It contains a school of
excellent merit, a Presbyterian Church, a Masonic Lodge, stores and other
business houses. Florence, on the railroad midway between Smyrna and
Murfreesboro, has a fine location and is surrounded by excellent
farming country. It supports an excellent school.
Rutherford County is divided into forty-three school districts, and has
150 houses for the education of children in the public schools. The
schools were organized under the present system in 1869, and put into
effective operation in 1873. Besides the 150 schoolhouses above mentioned
the county supports seven graded schools, i.e., one at Murfreesboro,
Smyrna, Milton, Eagleville, Fosterville, Lavergne and one at Florence. The
school population for the year ending July, 1885, was White males, 4069;
females, 3,824; colored males, 3,398; females, 3,281. This makes a total
school population of 14,572. There was expended for the year as above the
sum of $39,556.82. In these schools there were employed 43 male White
teachers and 44 females, and 31 colored male teachers and 44 females,
making a total of 139 teachers. The total number engaged in both public
and private schools amounts to
about 200. The average salary for teachers in the public schools for
1885 was $25 per month, the minimum being $18 and the maximum
being $60 per month. The average length of term for the year is four
months. Excellent private schools of high grade are maintained the
greater part of the year at Milton, Readyville, Eagleville, Florence
The public schools were put in operation soon after the
war, but for want of proper accommodations were not efficient until
within the last year. An elegant brick building was erected on the site
of the old Female Academy, and an efficient corps of teachers employed.
The present corps of teachers are Prof. W. W. Millam, principal; Miss
Sallie Ralston, assistant; other teachers, Misses Mary Jones, Nannie Wade,
Allie Wade, Ida Clark and Janie Murfree. The colored schools are under the
charge of Prof. Carney and three assistants.
Soules Female College was
organized in 1825, and was known as the Female Academy. The first
trustees of this school were F. N. W. Burton, Dr. W. R. Rucker, M. B
Murfree and Dr. James Maney. This school was for girls exclusively, those
heretofore being mixed schools. Besides the ordinary branches taught there
were in addition rhetoric, philosophy, belles-lettres
, painting, ne
edle-work and music. The teaching was done by the Misses Mary and Nancy
The Female County Academy was founded in 1829. One acre of ground
was purchased in the north part of town for $100, and a two-story brick
building of four rooms was erected thereon. A suitable course of study was
prepared, and the services of Miss Keyser was obtained. The school was
soon in successful operation. The Rev. Mr. Baker, who became the husband
of Miss Keyser, was also employed as one of the teachers. After Mr. and
Mrs. Baker retired from the institution Mr. and Mrs. G. T.
Henderson conducted the school successfully, after whom Mr.
and Mrs. Blackington took charge of the school. In 1850 the
school had grown to such proportions that an enlargement was found
necessary, and one acre of land was purchased of William Lytle and added
to the grounds, on which additional buildings were erected. The first
teachers in the academy after the enlargement were Mr. and Mrs. Fellows.
In 1852 steps were taken to have a female school of more extended limits.
The Rev. Thomas Madden was said to have taken the initiative in this
matter. The charter was obtained in 1854, and the following trustees
appointed: L. H Carney, B. W. Avent, D. D. Wendel, Levi Wade, W.
R.McFadden, Joseph Watkins, William Spence, W. S. Huggins and W. F. Lytle.
The school was founded on a liberal basis, four of the above being
Presbyterians, four Methodist, and one belonging to neither. The school
was named in honor of Bishop Soule, of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The
following faculty were employed: J. R. Finley, president; Mr. J.
Hoffman, Misses Jane and Phoebe Raymond, Julia Knapp
and Jane DeWolf. The school was opened in the Female Academy, but owing to
disagreement with the trustees of that institution, it was decided to
erect a new building. About three and a half acres of ground was purchased
where the old Methodist Church stood, and a large brick building, three
stories high, about 100 x 110 feet, was erected at a cost of $25,000. Dr.
Finley resigned before the college was completed, and was succeeded by Dr.
S P. Baldwin, who conducted the school successfully two years, and was
succeeded by C. W. Callender, who remained two years, and was succeeded by
Rev. John Naff. Rev. Naff conducted the school till his death in 1862.
Owing to the war the school was suspended, the building having been taken
first by the Confederates as a hospital, afterward by the Federals. The
building was greatly damaged by the war. The school was reorganized by the
Rev. J. R. Plummer after the war, who conducted a school for two years.
Owing to a debt overhanging the building it was sold, the Rev. D. D.
Moore, D. D., being the purchaser, for $15,000. Dr. Moore managed the
school six or seven years, when it passed into the hands
of J. D. West, D. D,. and later into the hands of Prof. J. R. Thompson,
its present owner. The institution has a faculty of nine instructors, the
Rev. J. R. Thompson being the president. The
school has a preparatory and a collegiate department. In the collegiate
department is a freshman, a sophomore, a junior and a senior class,
embracing the usual course of a school of its kind. Since 1877 there have
been forty-seven graduates from the college. Under management
of Prof. Thompson the school has been eminently successful. The location,
the surroundings, the high professional training, the social refinement,
and the Christian influence that is brought to bear upon
pupils at this institution make it a desirable place for the training of
young ladies for the higher duties of life.
Union University was
organized by charter dated February 5, 1842, under the title Union
University in Tennessee. The trustees named in the charter were
William Martin, Robert Boyd, Crawford Howell, C. C. Trabue, J. H.
Marshall, J. H. Shepard, D. W. Dickson, B. Gannaway, H. Maney, J. J.
Whittaker, W. W. Searcy, P. F. Norflest, L. Reneau, Charles Watkins, B.
Kimbro and L. E. Abernathy. The trustees had power to select
a location. It was intended for a Missionary college. That denomination
being numerous in East Tennessee Somerville was selected as the site, and
G. W. Wilt began teaching a primary grade of work intended
as a branch of the college. Owing to the failure to raise the necessary
funds for West Tennessee the school was never properly begun at
Somerville. A more liberal basis was made, and it was proposed to
erect the college at Murfreesboro, still to be under the control of the
Baptists, but it was to be in the main non-sectarian. The new name
given the college was Union University. The following new board of
trustees was appointed: Charles Trabue, Rev. Hiram Young,
Rev. B. Kimbro, Hon. W. L. Martin, P. F. Norflest, C.
K. Winston, James Avent, E. H. James, T. Vaughn, Rev. W. L. Perry, Thomas
Ashford, Rev. T. B. Ripley and Rev. Samuel Baker. The Rev. M. Hillsman was
and J. F. Fletcher secretary of the board. The required subscription
$25,000) being obtained the work of building the university was begun. The
corner-Stone was laid in June, 1849, with imposing ceremonies by the civil
societies of Murfreesboro. The address was delivered by Dr. Eaton, its
first president. The building is a fine brick structure, 80 x 110 feet,
and three stories high. The first faculty were Rev. Dr. Eaton, president;
Revs. William Shelton, G. W. Jarman, David Bridenthall and P. W. Dobson,
professors in the various departments. The Rev. J. H. Eaton, who was chosen the
first president, was at the time managing the Bradley Academy, and
by an act of the Legislature the Bradley was placed under the same
management as the university. The school under President Eaton
had a prosperous career. On his death his remains were deposited in
a tomb in the college campus, near the scene of his labors. The Rev.
Pendelton was chosen the successor of Dr. Eaton, and
managed the school successfully till 1861, when it was closed on account
of the war. During the period of the war the university building was used
as a hospital by the army. In 1853 Eaton College or the Baptist Institute
was founded and managed by the same board of trustees as the Union
University. For the institute two acres of land was purchased of Dr. James
Maney, in the north part of town, on which was erected a brick building,
50x80 feet, and two stories high. The
building furnished accommodations for about 100 pupils. This
institution passed into the hands of the Christian denomination a short
time before the war. School at this place, as elsewhere, suspended
during the war, during which period the building was used as a hospital or
for other purposes, and was greatly damaged. After the war the Cumberland
Presbyterians managed a school there for a time, and then
it again passed into the hands of the Christians. The university and its
branches has ceased as a university, but instead of the university proper
there is in its stead the Eclectic Normal School, which is now being
successfully carried on by Dr. James Waters. The school has a good corps
of teachers, a full course of study and a good attendance.
The work of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church began in this county in the
early history of the organization. Preaching was at first held in private
houses. Normans camp ground was a favorite place of meeting for a long
time. The denomination has churches at Mount Vernon, Jacksons Ridge,
Rockvale, Lebanon, Rockspring, Fosterville, Lytles Creek, Mount Tabor,
Lascassas and Jerusalem. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized
in Murfreesboro on May 30, 1858, by delegates from Nashville and
elsewhere. The first pastor chosen was J. C. Provine; the deacons were C.
N. Brooks, J. H. Green, H. Osborn, R. N. Ransom and W. A. Reed. The
members were J. N. Clark and wife, C. N. Brooks and wife, J. Reed and
wife, H. Osborn and wife, J. Hooker and wife, R. N. Ransom, W. A. Reed, R.
D. Reed and some others. Preaching had been held in town as early as
1840-45,by Rev. George Donnell and others from Lytle Creek congregation.
The church was begun under the pastorate of Rev. J. P. Campbell, and a lot
was purchased in 1859. A Sabbath-school was organized September 25, 1859,
pastor as superintendent, and H. Osborn and R. N. Ransom, assistants. The
school had nineteen scholars and six teachers. The church was only
partially completed at the outbreak of the war, but being less damaged
than others, services were held in that church the Methodist Episcopals
and Presbyterians for a time. In 1865 preaching was resumed, the church
and soon after steps were taken to repair and complete the building, which
was done in 1868-69. The class now has a house of worship worth about
$9,000, a strong membership and maintains a good Sabbath-school.
Soon after Alexander Campbell began his wonderful career as a minister and
theologian, converts began to be made to his doctrines in Rutherford
County. The first church organized in Murfreesboro January 1,-1833, and
consisted of twelve members. Steps were immediately taken to build a
church. Lot No. 59 of the original plan of Murfreesboro was purchased of
F. E. Bicton for $50, and deeded to Peyton Smith, George Morris, William
Smith, Thomas Rucker, Sr., Joseph Ramsey, Thomas Rucker, Jr., and G. W.
Banton. The church was completed in due time, and the members began
worship at their new home and continued till 1859-60, when the church
built a new house of worship on Main Street. Services were interrupted
here for a short time during the war, but were resumed again in 1865. This
denomination has churches at Antioch, Miles Hill, Rock Hill, Science Hill
and elsewhere. It is a strong and influential body.
One of the earliest church organizations in the county was the Primitive
or Regular Baptist Church. Its first members were from North Carolina or
Virginia. The early ministers labored with an apostolic zeal, and were
known for their simplicity of habits.
The first church organized in the county by the Baptists was McCoys, in
the Norman settlement. This was before 1800. Elder William Keel is
believed to have been the first minister. He remained with these people
some time and then went away, but returned in s old days. This church grew
rapidly, and soon became one of the leading churches in the county. In
consideration of $1, love and affection, on May 8, 1813, Thomas Rucker
deeded two acres of land to John Warren and Drury Vaugh, deacons, or their
successors in office, of that branch of the Baptist Church who believe in
the final preservation of the Saints in Christ, and Baptism by emersion.
This church house was erected near Cummings mill on the east fork of
Stone River. This was called Providence. Other early members were the
Lillards, Claytons and Clarks, also Dr. Yandell, father of the
distinguished Dr. Yandall, of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Watson, one of its early
ministers, was. distinguished as a physician and a minister, and respected
as a citizen.
Beasleys church was built four miles west of Murfreesboro about 1820, on
the Beasley farm. There is still a house of worship near the same place.
Among the early members of this church were Chrisnhall and wife; Posey,
wife and family. Elder Whitesett was one of its first ministers. The
denomination is quite strong at this place. Enon Church was built at a
later date. The building is a frame structure, and stands about six miles
north of Murfreesboro. The membership here is small. Early members were
the Reeds, Barksdales and Searceys. Peyton Smith was one of its early
ministers. He afterward joined the Methodists, and later the Christians.
Lett Bond was a later minister of the church in Murfreesboro. The first
church of this denomination was built near the southeast corner of the
Public Square, and stood for some years. On the failure of the Bradly
Academy early in the decade of 1830, th at building was used by these
people till the creation of the church which now stands in Murfreesboro.
This was built in 1850-51. Prominent among the early families belonging to
this church were the Brooks, Powells, Morgans, Lethermans, Ruckers and
Claytons. Dr. Watson was a leading spirit in the erection and maintenance
of this church. The membership of this denomination has greatly decreased
within the last few decades.
Owing to a difference of opinion in regard to missionary work,
Sabbath-school work, and other minor matters, there was a division in this
branch of the church, the one branch being known by the public as
Primitive, Regular or Hard Shell Baptists, and the other as Missionary
Baptists; the latter are characterized by Sabbath-schools, educated
ministry and foreign missionary work. This denomination is now the
strongest in the county, and has from fifteen to twenty churches and a
large membership. This denomination was first organized in Murfreesboro,
January 7, 1843. Church organizations already existed at Enon, Bethel and
Overall Creek. Delegates were sent from these as well as from Nashville to
assist the organization in town. The sermon was preached by R. B. Howell,
and the deacons assisting in the organizations were J. H. Marshall, J.
Thomas, C. C. Trabue and James Avent. The membership enrolled were S. D.
Crosthwait and wife, Thomas H. Maney, Fanny Maney, Thomas and Priscilla
Dickson, Mary L. Bell, R. Smith, Lorinda Smith, J. H. Eaton, W. H. January
and J. F. Fletcher. The first deacons were B. Gannaway, John Malley and
Frank Fletcher. At the first meeting J. H. Eaton was ordained to preach,
T. H. Maney was elected clerk, and R. B. Howell was chosen first pastor.
Steps were soon taken for the erection of a church, which was completed in
1848. This was duly dedicated, and was occupied till April, 1862, when
services were interrupted by the war. The church was greatly damaged by
the armies, and was afterward sold to the colored people. Services were
resumed after the war at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the Rev. A.
Vanhoose officiating as pastor. In 1868 the church began the erection of a
new house of worship on Alain Street; this was completed at a cost of
about $10,000. The membership of this church is now about 135. A large
church is maintained at Braleys Creek, Antioch, Concord, Eaglesville, and
in fact in nearly every district in the county.
The origin of the Presbyterian Church is due to the labors of Rev. Robert
Henderson, who began his work in June, 1811. The church was organized near
Murfrees Spring, in April, 1812, with the following members: Robert
Wasson, John Smith and William D. Baird, elders; others were Joseph,
Margaret and Mary Dixon, John, Susana, Henry and Frances Henderson, May
Stewart, Abigal Baird, Margaret Jetton, Margaret Wilson, Grace Williams,
Elizabeth Kelton, Margaret Wasson, Jane and Elizabeth Smith. In 1813 Rev.
Henderson gave the church half his time; in 1814 he was succeeded by Rev.
Thomas J. Hall, and he, in 1815, by Revs. James Beuman and George Newton,
each of whom gave the church one-quarter of his time. In 1816 Revs. George
Newton and Jesse Alexander rendered like service, and in 1817 Jesse
Alexander gave one-third his time. In 1818 Rev. Henderson again took
charge of the church. The sacrament of the Lords Supper was first
.administered to this church in October, 1818. The first public
collection, amounting to $22.08¾, was taken up to defray the
expenses of the church for the last six years. In December, 1823, the Rev.
J. W. Hall became pastor. The number of church communicants, at this time
was ninety-one; the number in 1828 was 138. In 1819-20 the church erected
a fine brick church in Murfreesboro; this was 40x60 feet, with gallery and
cupola; in the latter was hung a 560-pound bell in the year 1831. This
bell cost $220.31. This building stood till destroyed by the ravages of
war. It was used as a hospital for sick and wounded soldiers. In 1822 this
building was used for the meeting of the General Assembly. Aside from the
Rev. Robert Henderson, who was a teacher as well as a pastor, the Rev.
William Eagleton was the most noted. The Rev. Eagleton began his labors,
December 29, 1829, on the resignation of J.W. Hall, and continued with the
church till 1866, the time of his death.
No church history of the place would be complete without mention of this
godly man. Many others deserve mention. D. D. Wendel was clerk of the
sessions from 1846 till his death in 1873. The church was reorganized
after the war by Rev. J. H. Neil, and a new building erected in 1870. This
building at that time cost between $17,000 and $18,000. The church is new
and out of debt, and has contracted for a $600 pipe organ. The membership
at present is about 300 communicants. The Presbyterian Church deserves
credit for being the first temperance society in Middle Tennessee. At a
meeting of the synod, October 5, 1827, after reciting the evils of
intemperance, it was Resolved
, that they will abstain from the use of
distilled liquors; that they will not permit them to be used by their
families or servants except as medicine; that they will not provide them
as articles of entertainment for their friends, and they will
discountenance the use of them in the community. Another very old church
is Cripple Creek, which has a membership of 37; Stone River has 63;
Hopewell, 78; Hall, 38, and Smyrna, 69. In the days of camp-meetings the
Presbyterians had a camp ground at the Sulphur Springs and one in the
McKnight settlement, near Milton.
The progress of the church was slow till December, 1828, when the first
conference met in Murfreesboro, at which a great revival was begun, and
the church was greatly strengthened. John Lytle, Airs. Wasson and the Rev.
John Lane deserve mention for their zeal and piety; also Capt. Jones, who
conducted the first public prayer-meeting at the old Bradly Academy, in
1818. The Rev. Baker was the first stationed preacher in Murfreesboro; he
began his work in 1829. Other prominent ministers of that day were the
Revs. F. E. Pitt and Alexander. The old church becoming insufficient for
the demand, a new church was begun in 1843, on a lot bought of Daniel
Lernean, and deeded to F. Yoakum, William Rucker, R. B. Jetton, L. H.
Carney, James W. Hamilton, S. B. Christe, John Leiper, W. J. Lytle and
John Jones, trustees. The new building was erected at a cost of about
$5,000. Preaching was begun in the basement in June, 1843, the Rev. T. W.
Randle then being pastor. The dedicatory sermon was preached by Rev. M. L.
Andrews, on June 23, of the same year. In 1862 services were discontinued
on account of the war, the church having been used at first by the
Confederates as a hospital for the sick and wounded, afterward by the
Federals. During the period of the war the church was greatly damaged, but
in 1873 the house was completely remodeled and rededicated. This church
now has the largest membership of any in the city. Special mention should
be made of the Rev. Sterling Brown, who held one of the most remarkable
religious revivals ever hold in the State, at the old Windrow Camp Ground,
about the year 1824 or 1825. At this there were over 300 conversions.
Meetings were held at that place regularly from about 1812 till 1873,
except during the interval of the war. It was long the Mecca
of the Methodists. The churches of this denomination now dot the entire
The organization of this very popular branch of the church in this county
dates back to about1812. At that time there was held a camp meeting at the
Windrow Camp Ground, at which there were many professions of religion.
Other camp meetings were held at which itinerant ministers of the
Methodist faith were present and worked with that zeal that was peculiar
to the pioneer ministers of that faith. Rev. Robert Paine, who became
bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church, was a circuit rider over a
district embracing Rutherford County. During the session of the General
Assembly, he preached in the court house, and many members were present
and took a part in the exercises, among them Felix Grundy, the
distinguished lawyer and statesman. A class was organized at a house on
College Street in 1821. The following are the charter members: Benjamin
Blankenship and wife, Edward Fisher and wife, Thomas Montague and wife,
John Lytle and wife, Martin Clark, Willis Reeves, John Jones, William
Ledbetter, G. A. Sublett, D. Henry Holmes, Dr. W. R. Rucker, Levi Reeves,
J. D. Neugent and David Hannis. Preaching was furnished by traveling
preachers at first, and services were held either in the court house or in
private dwellings till the year 1823. In 1823 John Lytle deeded a lot,
near where Soules College now stands, for the purpose of having a church
erected thereon. The lot was deeded to John R. McLaughlin, Samuel
McLaughlin, Simpson Simons, Benjamin Rucker, S. Ogden, A. Childress and
Edmond Jones as trustees. A brick house, one story high, with gallery for
negroes, and bell, was completed at a cost of about $1,800.