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"E, F & G" Family Histories

Thompson's Station

Williamson County

The following Family Histories have been taken from the book by Sue Oden titled "Hold Us Not Boastful - History of Thompson's Station, TN." This biographical collection includes 86 histories of pioneer families of Thompson's Station and Southern Williamson County. The stories are about families who are proud of their roots and their place in history. We hope that you will be able to connect your roots with ours, and become part of us.

If you are just beginning your search, this will be a good place to start.

Please note the following:

"The correctness of this biographical material cannot be guaranteed. It was obtained through interviews with family members, research they had done and my own research at the Williamson County Archives. Research in such detail is always subject to error. Everyone must validate the facts for their own use."

Individual Family Histories are found on the following pages:




The Early family has been known in Thompson's Station since 1830 when Thomas Early (1779-1848) and his wife, the former Susannah Rucker, came from Bedford County, Virginia to make their home here. Their land was next to Solomon Oden, who lived where the Riverbend Nursery is now located.

Thomas married Susannah, daughter of William Rucker and Sarah North, in 1801 in Bedford County and had the following children: Sarah, Joshua, Harriet, Spotwood, John W., Abner, William B. and Martha.

He was well thought of according to an article in the Review Appeal in 1848 which states:

"Thomas Early, Wed. night the 12th. The deceased was one of our most estimable citizens, of kind and amiable manners and was for many years a prominent member of the Methodist Church, living a life of consistent Christian readiness and preparation for the solemn scenes of eternity."

Another article found in Early Obituaries of Williamson County, Tennessee by Louise G. Lynch states:

"Early, Thomas; died Jan. 12, 1848, age 68 years; member of Methodist Church; native of Bedford County, Va.; emigrated to this county about 20 years ago; by his skill in medicine, though he was not a regular practitioner, he was able to do much in suffering and sicknesses of others; in Williamson Co. about 20 years."

Thomas was the son of Joshua Early, Sr. and Mary Leftwich (1746-1818), daughter of Augustine Leftwich, Sr. Joshua was born in Culpepper County, Virginia in 1738. He and Mary were the parents of fourteen children, Thomas being the ninth.

Joshua Early, Sr. was the son of Jeremiah Early, Sr. who married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Buford, in 1728. The Bufords were all of Middlesex County. Jeremiah and Elizabeth Early moved to Orange County about the year 1735 where he died in 1786.

Jeremiah Early, Sr. was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Johnson Early. The parish records of Christ Church, Middlesex County, Virginia gives the names of Thomas Early and his wife Elizabeth; the birth of their son, Jeremiah in 1705; the death and burial of Elizabeth Early in 1716; the marriage of Jeremiah Early and Elizabeth Buford in 1728 and the birth and baptism of their first child, John, in 1729.

This Thomas was the son of John Early and his wife, Margaret Loyall. Since records of this couple are found along the eastern shores as early as 1661, it is reasonable to assume that this Early came directly from Ireland.

Abner, son of the Williamson County Thomas, was born around 1815 in Virginia and married Martha Rucker, daughter of James Rucker. In the 1850 federal census, Abner and Martha were in Williamson County living in the household of his brother, Joshua. Susannah, the mother, was living there as well. In the 1860 census the family is living in Marshall County, Tennessee. It lists Abner's occupation as "marketing". Their five children, Scott McDonald, Abner, Mary E., James Henry and Joshua, were all born in Tennessee.

In the 1870 census the family is in Maury County and has added two more daughters, Susan and Betty. In 1880 the family is still in Maury County.

James Henry Early was born about 1858. He married Nancy (Nannie) Rucker. Their children were Robert Early who married Elizabeth Kincaid, Tolbert Early who married Mamie Kincaid and Leanna Early who married Murray Johnson.

Tolbert and Mamie Kincaid Early are the parents of Vester and Erskind Early. Vester married Lois Smith and had a daughter, Evelyn, who married Marcer Williams. Evelyn and Marcer have two daughters, Donna and Janice. Janice married Hanes Sparkman and has a son, Hanes Sparkman, III.

Erskine married Edith Whitney and has two sons, Douglas W. Early and Stephen R. Early who married Mary Shepard and has the following children: Samuel Anderson Early, Joseph Mason Early and Martha Ann Early.

Vester and Lois Early operated several stores in Thompson's Station over the years. The last one was Early's Country Corners Store which they ran for 42 years. It was the same building that Gus Watson moved to the highway from its original location by the old Thompson's Station Bank building.

The present Country Corner Market and BP Station sits on the site of the Earlys' old store which burned in 1976. It is owned by Ron Christian.

Erskind and Edith Early owned and operated Early's Honey Stand near Spring Hill for many years. It was a landmark for anyone traveling the Columbia Highway. It became a successful mail order business for country hams, sausage, jams, jellies and other mouth-watering treats to customers who kept coming back over the years.



John Fitzgerald (1778-1858) bought the John Neely place, Hilltop Manor, in tracts over a period of years. John and Ellender (1780-1844) had five children mentioned in his will: Bird Fitzgerald (1803-1873), Elizabeth Fitzgerald (1806-before 1858), Mary (Polly) Fitzgerald (1811-before 1858), Nancy Fitzgerald (1814-1871) and John Fitzgerald, Jr. (1816-1884). In the Fitzgerald-Dodson family Bible, two more names are listed in the birth section - William R. Fitzgerald born October 17, 1822 and Melvin Fitzgerald born November 25, 1825. It is not known who these individuals were.

Bird Fitzgerald married Julia, last name unknown. Andrew Jackson was a family friend of the Fitzgeralds and when Bird and Julia's daughter was born a few days before Jackson's beloved Rachel's death, Jackson asked them to name the child after his wife. To honor his request, the baby was named Mary Agnes Ellen Rachel Jackson Dodson Fitzgerald.

As the child grew older, she tired of the long name and decided to do something about it. Her grandfather, John Fitzgerald, owned a slave known as "Mack" whom the child dearly loved and refused to answer unless called Mack, also. As time passed, the chosen name, Mack Fitzgerald, remained and the other forgotten except for the record in the family Bible.

This little girl probably visited Jackson many times at The Hermitage. It is only reasonable to assume that she may have met John Boyd Ridley there as his father, James Ridley, owned the farm next to Jackson's. Mary Agnes Ellen Rachel Jackson Dodson Fitzgerald married John Boyd Ridley on January 9, 1835.

Elizabeth married Eli Dodson on August 30, 1820. Eli was the son of Joshua and Ann Chilton Dodson who had ten children: Allen Dodson (b. 1780) married Polly Gardner; Dicey Dodson (b. 1782) married Ezekiel Cheney; Elizabeth Dodson (b. 1784) married Lemuel Waters; Elias Dodson (b. 1786) married first, Maria Marshall and second Frances Roland; Dorcas Dodson (b. 1788) married James Toon; Lydia Dodson (b. 1791) married John P. Dix; Nancy Dodson (b. 1794) married John Ferrell; Joel Dodson (b. 1797) married Nancy Clark; Bird Dodson (b. 1799), wife not listed. Could this be the Bird Dodson (1790-1869) who married Judith Holland (1799-1873)?

The above Bird Dodson married Judith Holland June 6, 1817. They had three daughters: Nancy W. Dodson (1818-1848) who married Timothy Terrell April 22, 1835; Jane Dodson who married James Campbell; and, Martha Sophronia Dodson (1829-1891) who married Oscar Reams in 1847. After Reams' death, she married Charles A. Merrill.

In some of John Fitzgerald, Sr.'s papers, it was learned that his daughter, Elizabeth, who had married Eli Dodson, was deceased and had the following children: Bird F. Dodson, Ann Dodson who married a Wooldridge, William H. Dodson and Susan Dodson. In the 1850 census, there is a three month old baby, Gustavus A. Dodson in the household but no Elizabeth. She possibly died at the birth of this last child.

Polly married a Dodson, first name unknown but could have been Timothy. There was a Timothy Dodson on the 1850 tax list. Since their first child was named Timothy and born in 1840, this individual was not he, but could have been his father. Their other children were Andrew J. Dodson, Elizabeth Dodson and Bird Dodson. Timothy married Mary (Mollie) Fitzgerald, his first cousin, daughter of John Fitzgerald, Jr.

Nancy Fitzgerald (1814-1871) married John Bowden who was born in Georgia and had at least two children, Elizabeth E. Bowden (1833-1865) who married W. W. Burnett and Matilda born about 1834.

John Fitzgerald, Jr. married Frances whose last name was possibly Mays. Children of this couple were Bird Fitzgerald born 1844, Elizabeth or Bettie (1851-1889) who never married, Nancy or Nannie (1853-1917) who married Alexander Hamilton Stephens (1847-1918) and Mary or Mollie who married Timothy Dodson (1840-1909). Nancy (Nannie) and A. H. Stephens' family is continued in the Stephens sketch of this book.

Hilltop Manor and surrounding land was bought from the Fitzgerald heirs in 1926 by William Hamilton and Frances (Dolly) Green Sedberry. At this time William Hamilton, Jr. was two years old. The other four children, Barbara Faye, James Franklin, Jessie Zulieme and Frances Carline, were born in this house. After the death of the senior Sedberry, his son, William Sedberry, Jr. bought the property. It has changed owners several times since.


William C. and Berneice Dudley Fredrickson moved to Thompson's Station from Chicago, Illinois about 1973 when Mr. Fredrickson retired. He had been a policeman with the Chicago Police Department. One daughter, Beverly Hennings lives in Guntersville, Alabama with her husband and two sons.

A few years ago the Fredricksons moved to Tullahoma, Tennessee to be near Berneice's sister, Vera Blanchard. Berneice passed away a couple of years ago and Mr. Fredrickson lives near his daughter in Alabama.


Minor R. and Verda Velma Huff Fulghum came to Thompson's Station in later years but were active in the community until their deaths. Minor died January 3, 1980 at the age of 87. He was survived by a sister, Mrs. Elbert Tatum, Madison, Tennessee and a nephew, Paul Wright.

Verda died January 29, 1990 at the age of 91. She was a native of Williamson County and died at Willow Brook Retirement Center in Madison. She was a member of the Thompson's Station Baptist Church. Survivors include a sister, Mrs. Louise Fitzgerald of Nashville, a sister-in-law, Mrs. Beatrice Huff of Brentwood and several nieces and nephews. They are both buried in Burwood Cemetery.



In 1994, Benjamin Walter (Ben) Gary was inducted into the Tennessee Auctioneers' Association Hall of Fame. Ben has been in the auction business in Williamson and surrounding counties since 1966. This award is presented to auctioneers who have contributed to the auction business and their community. Of the 1600 licensed auctioneers across the state in 1994, only 31 had been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Gary received his auctioneer's license 22 years ago after extensive study at an Illinois based auctioneer's training school; and now his son, James Paul, is his assistant, holding both auctioneer and real estate licenses. Country music singer, Leroy Van Dyke, who hit it big with "Auctioneer's Song" years ago, was an instructor at this school.

Ben Gary was born March 30, 1932 in Williamson County and married Burnetta Jane House, daughter of Paul Phillip and Myrtle Louise Swaney House, on September 4, 1955. Ben has a sister, Sara Jane, who married Joseph Steele Mefford.

Ben and Burnetta Gary have two children: Julie Lynn Gary who was born March 12, 1958 in Franklin and is a teacher; and James Paul Gary who was born March 30, 1961 in Franklin. On August 11, 1995 James married the former Pamela Jean Sowell, daughter of Joe Schiel and Wilma Taylor Sowell. They live at the Walter Petway home on Critz Lane in Thompson's Station.

Ben's parents were James Spencer Gary (1890-1983) and the former Elsie Densmore Petway, daughter of Walter Petway (1866-1947) and the former Cammie Church (1869-1952). Spencer and Elsie were married December 7, 1916. The Petways had another daughter, Sara Elizabeth who married Robert Jones Russell. Sara and Robert are the parents of Bobby Russell of Spring Hill. Sara was a teacher at Thompson's Station School for many years.

Spencer and Elsie Gary were prominent residents of Thompson's Station, supporting the Thompson's Station School and attending the Thompson's Station Methodist Church. Mr. Gary was baptized September 14, 1908 and, over the years, held positions of leadership such as lay leader and Sunday School teacher. Elsie Gary's parents, Walter and Cammie Petway were also members of this church. Elsie and Ollie Redman often sang duets, both at the church and other social gatherings.

James Spencer Gary's parents, Ben Spencer Gary (1849-1929), a native of Maury County, and the former Louise Jane Porter (1855-1944) from Blount County were married in 1874. They bought a farm of 142 acres near Thompson's Station and lived there many years. Ben and Louise Jane Porter had the following children: Mary Lillian Gary (1875-1954) who married Washington Miller Jameson; Susie Henry Gary (1884-1885); Julia Saunders Gary (1879-1967) who married Charles Phillips Southall; William Porter Gary (1882-1955) who married Adaline Reburg; and James Spencer Gary. This family also attended the Thompson's Station Methodist Church.

At the age of 86, Louise Jane Porter Gary gave an interview for one of Jane Owen's Who's Who columns. She tells of being the youngest child of Stephen Porter and the former Mary Eluira Henry. When she was two and a half years old, her mother died and her father married Catherine Peck of Cannon County. This couple had three other children.

The Henry family came to East Tennessee from Virginia, having received a large land grant. The Porter family also came to settle there from Virginia when Stephen was 14 years old. When Stephen Porter became an adult with a family of his own, he sold his land in Blount County and came to Maury County, settling near Port Royal.

Ben Spencer Gary's parents were John W. Gary (1825-1884) and the former Elizabeth Jane Graham (1828-1897). Their children were: Jim Gary who married Vira, last name unknown; Sam Gary who married Ruth Buford; Julia Gary who married Ross Alexander; Maggie Gary who married Knox Lee; and Ben Spencer Gary.


Martha Irwin hosted an afternoon social on Sunday, June 2, 1991 for 60 or so of Malcolm and Tommie Gibbs' closest relatives and friends. The occasion was to celebrate the Gibbs' 58th wedding anniversary.

Deborah Irwin made and decorated cakes for the occasion. Larry Davis and his fiancee, Judy Derryberry, sang "How Deep Is the Ocean", the Gibbs' favorite song. Mrs. Gibbs said it was an event the two of them will always treasure.

The Gibbs family are direct descendants of Francis Seymour Giddens and Mary Pointdexter White, daughter of Moses and Sarah Elizabeth Pointdexter White who came to Williamson County from Louisa County, Virginia in 1800 and settled in Thompson's Station. Their home, Homestead Manor, presently owned by Dr. and Mrs. William J. Darby, Jr. was started in 1809 and completed in 1819.

James Giddens (1784-1818), son of Francis and Mary Giddens and his wife, Priscilla Buford (1789-1856), daughter of James and Priscilla Ragsdale Buford, built the house at Moss Side Farm, home of Mr. and Mrs. Gibbs, in 1814 on 174 acres of land given to James by his father. James and Priscilla Giddens had seven children: Louisa Augusta, Amanda C., Marcus Tullus, Sarah Elizabeth, Mary White, Priscilla and James Monroe Giddens.

Sarah Elizabeth Giddens married William Hillard Moss in 1833. One of their children, William Giddens Moss married Margaret Amanda Ross. These were the parents of Evie Moss, Irene Moss, Charles Moss, James Moss, William Henry Moss and Margaret Moss. Evie Moss who married Dr. Alphonso Gibbs (1867-1953) were the parents of Malcolm Moss Gibbs.

Other children of William and Sarah Moss were Edwin Moss, Evalina Priscilla Moss, Martha Louise Moss, Mary Frances Moss and Priscilla Giddens Moss.

Evie Moss, great, great granddaughter of Francis Giddens, inherited Moss Side Farm from her aunt, Martha Louise Moss Kennedy. Dr. and Mrs. Gibbs and their young son, William Moss Gibbs, moved to the place in 1903 from Union City where Dr. Gibbs was a dentist. Two other sons were born to them in Thompson's Station, Kennedy Moss Gibbs and Malcolm Moss Gibbs. Evie Moss Gibbs had wanted each of her sons to have a part of her name.

Dr. Gibbs' parents were William Little Brown Gibbs and Harriett Elizabeth Pierce, daughter of Thomas Miles Pierce and the former Margaret Jarvis Blacknall. William had a brother, also named Alphonso, who contracted thyphoid fever and died just as he completed law school at Harvard University.

Young Alphonso was a handsome, brilliant, young man of 22 who was engaged to seventeen year old Adelicia Hayes, daughter of Oliver Bliss Hayes and Sarah Clements Hightower. She later became the mistress of Belmont Mansion, the site of present day Belmont College.

Their portraits had been painted in anticipation of their marriage. The original matching portraits of the two were preserved by Mrs. John Bell (Margaret Lee Gibbs, sister of Dr. Alphonso Gibbs) of Washington, D. C. Copies of these were painted by the artist, Washington Cooper, and now hang in the house at Moss Side Farm along with portraits of other family members of past generations.

The parents of William Little Brown Gibbs were General George Washington Gibbs and the former Lee Ann Dibrell who had 12 children. General Gibbs owned the home "Waverly" in Davidson County. General Gibbs parents were Nicholas Gibbs who came to America from Germany on the ship "Phoenix" and married Mary Efland, daughter of Peter and Catherine Efland about 1764 in Orange County, North Carolina. Nicholas and Mary Gibbs are both buried in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The house at Moss Side, one of the oldest in the community, has 18 x 18 foot and 20 x 20 foot rooms which still have the original hand-hewn sills under them. Some of the doors are four feet wide.

This home is beautifully furnished with antiques handed down through the years. Each piece holds many memories for the present occupants. The place was designated as a "Century Farm" by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture in 1976 for being in continuous operation for a hundred years. Malcolm Gibbs' first memories of living on this farm were at four or five years of age. He went into the barn to nail floorboards; but because the lumber was oak and resisted the nails, his best efforts failed.

The family milked cows and shipped the milk to Louisville, Kentucky on the train. They had to have two and a half gallons of milk a day for drinking. One time the cows were not producing this much. Dr. Gibbs decided to buy another cow. Malcolm told his father there was no need of that - he had a solution to the problem.

The next day, on the way back from the milking barn, he stopped by the spring and added a gallon of water to the milk, making the necessary two and a half gallons. To a ten year old boy, this was a very simple solution of which anyone should have thought.

This worked for a few weeks until his mother made ice cream. She could not understand why it was icy -- there had never been this problem before. Upon further investigation the reason for "icy" ice cream was brought to light.

Mrs. Gibbs raised chickens for meat and eggs for the family. There was a hen house with two cedar trees near by. Half the chickens roosted in the house, half in the trees. It was Malcolm's job to clean out the house.

One evening he could not be found for supper. Later he was discovered sitting in the door of the hen house. He did this so the chickens would roost in the trees and not mess up his clean hen house.

During these early years of this boy's life there were no automobiles, electricity or running water in most homes. The Gibbs family were one of the first to have water piped into the kitchen. There was a big water tank outside the kitchen door which held 800 gallons of water. Once a week a gasoline pump brought the water into the tank from the spring. Today this same spring furnishes water for the bathroom, but city water is used for the kitchen. Before 1915, the average family in the community lived on three or four hundred dollars a year. There were no utility bills to pay, food was grown on the farm, many articles of clothing were home sewn and food was preserved.

Malcolm went to the first white, frame schoolhouse in Thompson's Station. Cyrus Dement was the principal. Grace Brewer and her father, as well as Mack Critz, were teachers there. Some of the students were the Bufords, Jennettes, Tomlins, Jones, Veevers, McCandless, Tom and Charlie Mefford, Oscar, Claude, Harry, Larry and Grace Sanders, Ed and Margaret Howard and Everette Bales.

One Friday morning in 1918, Malcolm had leaned his head on his desk and gone to sleep. Someone shook him awake saying the school was on fire. It had started where the roof and chimney met --coming from the fire in the potbellied stove. There was much excitement while everyone was trying to save what they could.

The children were pleased that they would not have to go to school anymore. However, school resumed on Monday in the Church of Christ building.

Malcolm remembers watching Webb Fuller load logs on flatcars on the trains that came through Thompson's Station. He would wrap chains around the logs and pull them up onto the cars by skidboards and pulleys, powered by a team of mules. The mules obeyed every command promptly; otherwise, the logs would have tumbled back down on top of their driver.

Hog killing time was a big event in the early life at Thompson's Station. One of the main reasons for killing hogs was to get the lard for the year used by the ladies in cooking. Families would go together for this job because hogs, at that time, would weigh as much as five hundred pounds. It took several people to move the carcasses around and hang them up.

Dr. Gibbs paid his three boys for working on the farm. Corn was the main crop. They also raised wheat, millet, hogs, sheep and a few cattle. One year they raised Seven-Top turnip salad greens. The crop did so well they sold 40,000 pounds of seed at 15 cents a pound to the D. M. Ferry Seed Company. The seeds were shipped to Detriot on the railroad.

When Malcolm was about fifteen years old, his father let him take over the thrashing machine operation. Mr. Ragsdale had previously been doing this. He would stop in the evening and take his mules home every night. The next day, by the time he got back to the field and oiled the thrasher, he did not start work until about nine o'clock in the morning.

Young Malcolm did things differently. He hired Ed Patton to cook for the crew, and they camped out. This way they were in the field working at daylight.

The tractor used to power the thrashing machine was an old Titan International. It did not have a radiator - a 30 gallon water tank sat on top and cooled the motor by circulating the water by a ciphon system. The boys would put ears of corn in a mail sack, place the sack in the water tank and the hot water would cook the corn.

The grain crop was good that year, and the boys made a lot of money. They got to keep half of the profits.

Malcolm remembers his mother making beaten biscuits using the lard they rendered. There would be a couple of gallon cans of biscuits for the boys to eat when they came home from school.

They walked to the Station to pick up the mail and the Nashville Banner, which came on the train every day. The post office, at that time in 1922, was on the right side of Will Mefford's store.

Besides Mefford's store, there was Gus Watson's store and John Edward Howard's store. Tom Brown also had a store, but it was only open on the week-ends.

Some of the boys in Thompson's Station went to Branaham and Hughes Academy, but Ewell Station in Spring Hill was a half mile from the school. It was more convenient for Malcolm to go to Battle Ground Academy. At that time, the tution at BGA was seventy-five dollars a year.

After BGA, Malcolm went to Vanderbilt University and graduated in 1928. The first time he saw Tommie Anderson was in his last year at BGA. There was a picnic at the home of Dr. Laws' on Columbia Highway which both the young people attended. At the time Tommie was sixteen years old.

She had come to the West Harpeth community with her family from Linden, Tennessee in Perry County. Her parents were William Thomas Anderson and Jennette (Nettie) Sutton. Her paternal grandparents were Robert Drake Anderson and Sarah Womack. Her maternal grandparents were Joseph Martin Sutton and Carolyn Stevens.

There were five children in the family and Mr. Anderson was determined they would all have a good education. Three of the children were riding the train to Vanderbilt and BGA. Tommie and her youngest brother attended school at West Harpeth. In the seventh grade she went to Franklin. She attended Peabody for three years and began teaching school at eighteen.

Tommie taught at Barnett School, which was located between Thompson's Station and Franklin, and at Choctaw School at Bethesda. While teaching at Bethesda, she boarded with John and Carrie Trice of that community.

Both the Gibbs and Anderson families attended the Thompson's Station Methodist Church. There was a missionary group for both boys and girls that met at the Gibbs' home. Evie Moss Gibbs' aunt (Martha Louise Moss Kennedy) was elderly by this time. She would invite the young girls into her room and try to pick out the ones who would marry Evie and Dr. Gibbs' sons.

Mrs. Malcolm Gibbs remembers she was never invited into Aunt Martha's room and never even got to meet the lady; however, she did marry Malcolm, regardless.

After graduating from Vanderbilt, Malcolm went to work for the telephone company in Washington and Baltimore making twenty-five dollars a week. After a year he came back to Thompson's Station and started courting the young girl he had seen at Dr. Laws' picnic. They were married in 1933 at the Anderson home which was the former home of Maj. James H. Akin and his third wife, Selena Oden (daughter of Dr. Hezekiah Oden) on Columbia Highway north of Thompson's Station.

After their marriage the young couple returned to Washington where they lived in one room. Their first son, John Malcolm Gibbs was born here. John later married Valerie Didden and they made their home in Maryland. John died in November, 1995 and was buried there.

Malcolm's uncle (also named Malcolm who married Maude Foot) founded the People's Drug Store chain in Washington. Young Malcolm became associated with this company and remained so for thirty-one years. Malcolm and Tommie returned to Thompson's Station to live after their son, William Campbell Gibbs, died in 1962.

When Mrs. Gibbs was giving information for this sketch, she said an article about she and Malcolm would not be complete without writing about their dearest and best friends who helped them for twenty-two years, the Nevils.

Malcolm Howard (Chink) Nevils was born on the place and lived there all his life except for the five years before his death when he had his own home in the Station. He was named for Malcolm Moss Gibbs and was the son of John and Deliz Nevils from Southhall. They came to Moss Side when Malcolm Gibbs was four or five years old.

Malcolm Howard Nevils married Annie Mai Lockridge. His son, Willie B. (Cricket) Nevils helped on the Gibbs farm. Another son, Malcolm Howard Nevils, Jr. and a grandson Malcolm Howard Nevils, III live on School Street in the Station at this time.

Little has changed at Moss Side Farm during the 177 years of its existence. The little beech tree planted by Evie Moss is now a towering forest tree on the front lawn. The families have changed, but the old house stands as tall and proud as it did when it was home to James Giddens, his wife, Priscilla and their seven children.

Tommie Anderson Gibbs died June 9, 1994 and their other son, John Malcolm Gibbs, died October 17, 1995.

Another Gibbs home in Thompson's Station is owned by Mrs. Kennedy Moss Gibbs. William Hillard and Sarah Elizabeth Giddens Moss founded the Mockingbird Hill Farm in 1852. They purchased 174 acres, but later expanded their land to 191 acres. The Mosses were some of the first organizers of the Methodist Church at Thompson's Station and freed their slaves before the Civil War.

In 1888, Martha Moss Kennedy acquired 39 acres of the family land from her parents. She and her husband, Dr. Thomas H. Kennedy, eventually farmed 125 acres raising grains, swine and cattle. They sold the farm in 1909 to their niece, Irene Moss Bales, wife of E. E. Bales. Irene was also the granddaughter of the founders.

Kennedy Moss Gibbs, the founder's grandson, acquired the family's 125 acres in 1964 and left it to his widow when he died August 20, 1974.

Kennedy Moss Gibbs married Elizabeth Horn. Elizabeth was born in the West Harpeth Community in 1907 to Etheldred Phillips Horn and the former Mary Lelia Williams (Layne) who had come from Lebanon, Tennessee.

Etheldred Phillips Horn's ancestors had come from Edgecombe County, North Carolina, both the Horns and the Phillips are documented in Estate Records of Edgecombe County, North Carolina, 1730-1820, by Joseph W. Watson, 1970.

Upon finishing school Elizabeth taught school at the West Harpeth School on West Harpeth Road on the Robert Pitner farm. In 1929 Elizabeth married Kennedy Moss Gibbs. After their son, Kennedy, Jr., was born she went back and taught one more year.

She taught all eight grades as was the custom then. She had a hot lunch for the children before the beginning of the school lunch program. She brought a three gallon kettle and a piece of meat. The children would being different vegetables. All this was put in a kettle to simmer on the potbellied stove all morning to be ready to eat at lunch. Elizabeth brought milk from home and made cocoa for the children. Three of her first grade students were C. K. Mclemore, Jr., John B. Ridley, III and John Ben Simmons, Jr. There was a stable behind the school for the ponies which some of the children rode to school.

Sarah Petway taught at West Harpeth before Elizabeth Gibbs. When Elizabeth started teaching at West Harpeth, Sarah went to teach at Thompson's Station. She drove a horse and buggy from the Petway home on Critz Lane to the school at Thompson's Station.

From the History of the Spencer Gary Sunday School Class by Ocye Buckner:

"Another couple, loved and honored by all is Kennedy and Elizabeth Horn Gibbs. She is a former teacher of the class and has taught `Love your enemies; do good to them that hate you'. He is a jolly good fellow and shows friendliness to all alike. He is a member of the Official Board and she a member of the W. S. C. S. The church and community would be at a definite loss without these two fine people."

Elizabeth was leader of the Methodist Youth Fellowship of the Thompson's Station Methodist Church for a period of time. She was a member of the Thompson's Station Home Demonstration Club while a resident of the community.


Francis Giddens was born April 1, 1753 in Virginia and died May 11, 1830 in Thompson's Station. He was the son of James and Margaret Giddens, Sr. He married Mary Pointdexter White on October 3, 1782 in Louisa County, Virginia. She was the daughter of Moses and Elizabeth Pointdexter White of Louisa County, Virginia. He served in the American Revolution (1775-1783). He applied to the government for pay due him for repairing a large number of public arms on Feburary 24, 1784 in Louisa County.

The children of this couple were Elizabeth (1780-1832) who married Spencer Buford December 9, 1801; Sarah (born 1786), who married Charles Buford October 27, 1804; Mary (1790-1853), who married James Buford, Jr. October 6, 1812; James (1784-1818) who married Priscilla Buford April 3, 1806; Nancy (1790-1851) who married Samuel Word; Francis, Jr. (1795-1829) who married Rachel Gilchrist; and Marcus (1800-1821).

Francis and Mary Giddens sold their land in Virginia in 1800 and moved, with other family members, to the area now known as Thompson's Station.

Shortly after arriving, Francis Giddens purchased land along Murfree's Fork. This creek, like Murfreesboro, was named after Colonel Hardy Murfree. It is one of the largest tributaries of the West Harpeth River, beginning in the vicinity of Thompson's Station.

Also in the area at the time were three of Mary White Giddens siblings: Chapman White, William White and Mrs. Caleb (Nancy) Manley and their families. Giddens built a log house in which the family lived until their plantation house "Homestead Manor" was completed in 1819. The original house was replaced in 1870 by Mrs. W. D. (Nannie) Lavender and now occupied by the Benson family.

In 1819, Francis Giddens was granted a license as "owner and proprietor and keeper of the mails" of an "ordinary" or inn for $2500 for the entertainment of man and beast south of Nashville. The place was called "Giddens", or sometimes "Stagecoach Inn", by travelers and drivers from the Ohio River to the Gulf of Mexico. Weary travelers could find good food, bedding and stables for their horses here.

Owners of this house, after Francis and Mary Giddens, were: their daughter, Mrs. Samuel (Nancy) Word; Mrs. Charles (Mary) Lyle, daughter of Nancy; Major James and Sophia Kernan Akin; Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Jefferson Timmons; Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Naff, daughter and son-in-law of the Timmons; Mrs. Jim (Mary C.) Tanner and her sister Miss Winifred Hagerty; and, Mrs. Hazel Giddens Morton who sold to the Darbys.

Dr. and Mrs. Darby have restored the house to its original splendor and added a modern kitchen wing to the back of the house. In 1974 they moved the old West Harpeth School house approximately 100 yards north of the manor house. This building was restored and serves as farm and professional office for the present owners.

A cemetery on the back of the property is the "burying ground" for members of the Giddens family and extended family relatives.

A complete description of the house and other interesting information is found in the Williamson County Historical Society Journal No. 15.


Dr. John William Greer was born May 19, 1870 near Bellevue, the youngest of five children. His mother, Rhoda Amelia Taylor Greer, died while he was an infant. He was raised by his father, George Washington Greer, and an older sister. He attended the district, ungraded schools near his home.

In 1892 he entered school at Edgewood, Tennessee. Because of financial reverses at home, it was necessary for him to postpone his education and teach at a country school in Cheatham County near Pegram. He often had to swim the river on a mule to reach school.

With the money made teaching school, he entered Dickson Normal College in 1894 where he made an enviable record.

For several months he carried a mail route out of Pegram and raised a crop to earn enough money to enter the medical department of Vanderbilt University. After a year he passed the State Board examination in 1897 and practiced for eighteen months at Grassland, near Nashville. Later, he entered the Memphis Hospital Medical School where he graduated with honors in 1899.

Dr. Greer related an incident concerning his graduation which shows the open countenance that characterized him throughout life. His best clothes were badly worn and in need of repair. He went to a large dry goods store in Memphis, where he was a perfect stranger, and asked for the owner. When shown into his office, the young student told him of his circumstances and asked if he could buy a suit of clothes and pay when he made the money. The proprietor agreed and had him well fitted out. Dr. Greer said later that one of his most prized possessions was the letter received from this man when he sent the check for the clothes.

Dr. Greer practiced medicine for about two years at Clovercroft in Williamson County. After graduation in November, 1900, he came to Thompson's Station where he married Miss Elizabeth (Bessie) Seal Mayberry, (1880-1969). She was the daughter of Fulton Americus Mayberry and the former Nannie Seal whose mother was a Pennington from Pennington Bend in Nashville. Her paternal grandparents were Americus Vespucius Mayberry and Elizabeth M. Dodson.

Dr. and Mrs. Greer had four children: John William Greer, Jr., Nancy Amelia Greer Miller, Sarah Elizabeth Greer Pitner and Judge Fulton Mayberry Greer, Sr. Their grandchildren are: John Greer and Betty Greer Vance; Stanley Miller; Nancy Pitner and Mary Pitner Lampley; and, Dr. Fulton Greer, Jr., Juliet Greer Randolph and Lila Greer Bickley.

Judge Fulton Greer, Sr. attended the Thompson's Station Methodist Church from childhood where he met his wife, the former Lila Mary Dodson who he married September 5, 1938. Their former home is on the corner of Columbia Highway and Kittrell Road.

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Noel C. Matthews

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This page updated October 14, 2010.