The following is a result of research for two Queen Anne houses in East Nashville on Meridian Street. They were likely constructed at the same time by a local builder. The project would have been under the direction of James H. Williams who owned the property. Williams was a native of Davidson County born in Antioch in 1857. His parents were Elmore W. Williams and Susan Hamilton Williams. James H. Williams was married to Fannie M. Bridges in 1885. Fannie was born in the Goodlettsville community of Davidson County in 1859. She was a daughter of Frances Patrick Bridges and Margaret Bowers Bridges. The family genealogy is given here to dispel the myth that the houses were built by members of the McGavock family or McGavock descendants.
|Meridian Street, Lots 59 and 60, Lindsley's Addition. Google Image Feb 2016.|
In 1889 James H. Williams purchased lots 59 and 60 from C. O. Jackson as a single tract of land. The deed recorded in book 137, page 147, stated that the parcel had originally been the North Edgefield Street Railroad lot. An atlas of Nashville in 1889, shows that there were no buildings on the lots. Williams purchased several lots on the north side of Grace Avenue, then Josephine Avenue around that same time. One of the lots, at 305 Grace Avenue became the home of James H. Williams and his wife Fannie Bridges Williams. James and Fannie were parents of three children, Nellie, Clifton, and Corrine. The Williams family never lived in the houses on Meridian Street. The family rented the houses for all of the years that they owned them.
|Atlas of Nashville 1889, showing part of Lindsley's addition.|
Finding out exactly when a house was built is not an easy task. Pinning the construction date down to ten years is an accomplishment. Some building permits were published in newspapers and in Nashville Annual Reports. Building permits for these houses have not been located. The style of the twin houses in Queen Anne, popular between 1880 and 1910. We know these were built after December of 1890 and before early 1903. Sidney Caldwell is listed as residing at 710 Meridian in the Nashville City Directory for 1903.
In summary, the houses at 708 and 710 Meridian were built between 1891 and 1902. The owners of the property at the time the houses were built were James H. and Fannie M. Bridges Williams. The Williams family did not build the houses to live in, but instead as rental property. There is no apparent connection of this family to that of James McGavock who owned the land from 1816 until his death in 1841. The tract was called Fountain Blue and at his death consisted of 352 acres. His daughter Lucinda McGavock Harris inherited the home place. Lucinda's daughter Lucie Harris Lindsley became the sole heir to the section of land that was later divided to contain lot 59 and 60 of the Lindsley addition. In 1908 the houses are shown on a map of Nashville.
|Hopkins Atlas of Nashville, 1908.|
An advertisement by a realtor offering to sell the house in 2007, stated that the house at 708 Meridian was built by the McGavocks for one of their twin daughters. The myth may have originated in an attempt to add a bit of colorful but untruthful history.