Thursday, August 22, 2013

Brief Annals of Nashville

Nashville History <!--BODY

Nashville History

Brief Annals of Nashville

By Anson Nelson Recording Secretary of the Tennessee Historical Society

Very large tribes of Indians must have occupied the country around Nashville for many miles, and possibly for several hundred years previous to the seventeenth century. This is attested by the numerous places of interment for the dead, covering several acres in each place. An immense "burying ground" was on Harpeth river, another at the mouth of Stone's river (not many miles from the city), another in what is now North Edgefield, just across the Cumberland, another in what is now North Nashville, and still another in and around the sulphur spring bottoms, in the city. In fact, at almost every lasting spring, graves can be found all over this section of country.
So far as we know, the Suwanee, or Shawnee, tribe were the original possessors of the soil, but were driven out by the Chickasaws and Cherokees, who made it a hunting ground for all the tribes, until the whites came and took possession.
A Frenchman, whose name we do not know, was here as a trader in 1710, who had a cabin or trading post near the river, a little north of the Lick Branch. Living with him was a lad about fifteen years of age, named Charles Charleville, who eventually succeeded the Frenchman in business, and who died at the age of eighty-four. When the first American hunters came here, which was in 1770, or thereabouts, they found Mons. Timothy De Mon Breun, occupying the place left by Mons. Charleville. Hence the name of French Salt Lick was given to the Sulphur Spring. Mons. De Mon Breun lived here for many years, and died in 1826, at a good old age, His descendants, the Demonbreuns, are still with us, and Demonbreun street was named in honor of the venerable Timothy.
The first white settlement made in Nashville, was in the winter of 1779-80, a winter remarkable for its severe coldness. The immigrants crossed the river, with their baggage and cattle, on the ice. General James Robertson headed one party, John Rains another, from North Carolina. A small party from South Carolina soon followed. Captain John Donelson's party, from the settlements in East Tennessee, arrived in the spring Of 1780. A few rude cabins were built where the city now stands, whilst others were erected in the vicinity. Necessity soon compelled them to erect forts, and the principal one was built at the foot of Church street, near the upper wharf, because a large, bold spring from the bluff. This post was agreed upon as the headquarters, and the name of Nashborough was given to it, in honor of General Francis Nash, of North Carolina, who was mortally wounded in the battle of Germantown, October, 1777. It was at this fort that a compact for their self-government and protection was voluntarily entered into, on the memorable first day of May, 1780. This compact, or form of constitutional gov ernment, can be found in Putnam's "Life and Times of General James Robertson."
In the summer of 1780, Robert Gilkie sickened and died, and was the first man of the white settlers that died a natural death. Philip Conrad was killed by a tree falling on him, near the junction of Cherry and Demonbreun streets, the same summer.
Captain Lieper was the first man married in the settlement, and his was the first wedding west of the Cumberland mountains. The ceremony was performed by Col. Robertson, who was at the head of the Government of Notables, in the summer of 1780. No spirits were used on the occasion although there was a feast and dancing. The great delicacy for the ladies was roasting ears, while the men eat dried meat, buffalo tongues and venison.
The first male child born in Nashville was Felix Robertson, whose birth occurred on the 11th of January, 1781. He became a noted physician, was mayor of the city in 1818, and also in 1827 and 1828.
The Government of Notables, of which John Montgomery was the first sheriff, and Andrew Ewin first clerk, passed away in 1783, and the State of North Carolina spread her motherly wings over the settlers, and established an Inferior Court, vested with extraordinary powers. A court-house and prison were ordered to be erected-of hewed logs!
The first survey of lots in the new town was made by Thomas Mulloy (for whom Mulloy street is named), in 1784. The original copy of the survey was lost, and Mulloy made another survey in 1789 for Judge John Overton, a copy of which is now in the archives of the Tennessee Historical Society.
The first physician made his appearance in 1785, in the person, of John Sappington, who compounded pills, covering them with mystery and a coat of sugar, and they were extensively used and known as "Sappington's pills." They had a wonderful reputation. Lardner Clark, " merchant and ordinary keeper," was the first man to open a dry goods store in Nashville, which he did in 1786. His stock of goods was purchased in Philadelphia, packed on ten horses, and came through the State of Virginia, East Tennessee and part of Kentucky. Mr. Clark's goods consisted of cheap calicoes, unbleached linens and coarse woolens; and be combined liquor selling and tavern keeping with his dry goods operations. Wearing apparel, until then, was composed almost entirely of dressed skins. Other licensed taverns were soon opened, and rates of charges for food and spirituous liquors were established by law.
In 1787, the twenty-six one-acre lots, which bad been sold for four pounds each, North Carolina currency, were taxed at one dollar-total, $26. This was the first assessment of real estate.
In 1788, the Constitution of the United States, which had been adopted by ten States, was voted upon by this settlement and almost unanimously rejected. In 1789, North Carolina adopted the Constitution. The State of Franklin arose in East Tennessee, and then expired, and all wheeled into line as members of the confederacy of States.
January 12, 1789, Andrew Jackson was admitted as an attorney at law, and was appointed ' Attorney General in 1790.
In 1796, the first church was erected in Nashville, on the Public Square, near the courthouse, jail and stocks. It was known as the Methodist Church, and was torn down or removed in 1807 or 1808.
In 1796 or '97, Thomas Bailey, an Englishman, reached Nashville from Natchez, passing through these western wilds on a tour of observation. After returning home, he wrote an account of his journey, and in speaking Of Nashville and the early settlers, he mentioned the fact that he saw more wheeled vehicles here than any one could have supposed in such a new, wild settlement. He said the early settlers were strong-minded, as well as strong-bodied, and capable of carrying on a government of their own if need be. He said they were becoming wealthy, and were rapidly improving in education, manners and dress. Mr. Bailey was afterwards the first President of the Royal Astronomical Society of London.
In May, 1797, three dashing young Frenchmen arrived in Nashville, who attracted a good deal of attention, and afforded the greatest joy to old Mons. De Monbreun. They were broth ers, sons of the Duke of Orleans, and the eldest was subsequently known as Louis Philippe, King of France. They left here in a canoe, proceeding down the Cumberland river to the French settlements in Louisiana.
The first newspaper published in Nashville was "The Tennessee Gazette and Mero District Advertiser," in 1797, by a printer from Kentucky, named Henkle. The following year he sold the paper to Benjamin J. Bradford, who changed the name to "The Clarion," and soon after sold it to his cousin, Thomas G. Bradford. The Historical Society has a copy-No. 81, vol. 2, bearing date November 2, 1801-of "The Clarion," though not in a good state of preservation. The Clarion was afterwards enlarged, and called "The Clarion and Tennessee Gazette," by a union of the two papers. In 1807, another paper was published here, called "The Impartial Review and Cumberland Repository."
In 1801, the town was placed under the government of an Intendent and six Commissioners, and a law was passed by the General Assembly at Knoxville, to authorize them to build a market-bouse. Water street was laid off and opened this year. In 1804, the population was four hundred, and the Legislature empowered the authorities to sink a well on the Public Square, and also to draw a lottery for the extension of the northeastern boundary of the lots on Water Street to the Cumberland River. The Commissioners were authorized to make certain deeds, etc.
Aaron Burr arrived in Nashville May 29, 1805, and was the guest of General Jackson. A public dinner was given him, and be was caressed and toasted by every one. He came again August 16, the same year, and had great honor and attention paid him, and was again the guest of Jackson. But when his schemes began to be developed, his name became odious, and be was burnt in effigy by the citizens in the autumn of 1806.
In 1806 the town was incorporated, with a mayor and six aldermen. Joseph Coleman was the first mayor, and held the office for three years. Charles Dickinson was killed by General Jackson, in a duel, this year.
In 1810 the population was 1,100. The Legislature assembled here for the first time. It subsequently met in Murfreesboro', Kingston, Knoxville, etc., until its final location in Nashville.
In 1811 and 1812, a great many men volunteered for the war against Great Britain. Thomas G. Bradford printed, in 1812, a book entitled " The Military Instructor," containing Baron Steuben's tactics. Four years afterwards " Clark's Miscellany, in Prose and Verse," was printed.
In 1813, the celebrated fight between Jackson and Hays, and the Bentons, took place at the City Hotel.
General James Robertson, the old pioneer, died on the 1st of September, 1814, universally regretted. The volunteers from the Creek campaign returned in May, 1814, and a public dinner was given them at the Bell Tavern. Felix Grundy delivered an address of welcome, which was responded to by General Jackson on behalf of the volunteers.
The Nashville Female Academy was incorporated in 1816, and had a successful career from that period until 1861, when the operations of the late war destroyed it. The Rev. Dr. C. D. Elliott was its honored conductor for many years previous to its cessation. Thousands of the best ladies in the South were graduates of this excellent institution.
In the spring of 1818, the people hailed the arrival of the first steamboat at this port. She was 110 tons burthen, built at Pittsburgh for General William Carroll, and was named "General Jackson." He sold the boat for $33,000 to Messrs. Fletcher, Young & Marr. Freight from here to New Orleans was then five cents per hundred pounds. In the course of two or three years the steamboat business increased considerably, wharves were built, and commission and forwarding houses were opened. The pioneer boat was snagged and sunk in Harpeth Shoals, June 20, 1821. The steamers " General Robertson," " Rifleman," "James Ross," " Fayette," and "Feliciana," were running the river, but the latter boat exploded near Eddyville, May 3, 1821, and six or seven lives were lost.
President Monroe arrived in Nashville on the 6th of June, 1819, and was the guest of General Jackson, as was also Major General Edmund P. Gaines, at that time. A public reception was given to the distinguished visitors, addresses of welcome, a public dinner, a ball, etc. Wilkins Tannehill made the address of welcome on behalf of the Masonic fraternity, Hon. John H. Eaton on behalf of the city, and Col. Williamson on behalf of the military. The President took his departure on the 11th, through Kentucky, accompanied by General Jackson as far as the residence of Col. Richard M. Johnson, in that State.
The financial panic of 1819-20 caused the Farmers' and Mechanics' Bank to suspend specie payments on the 18th of June, 1819, which example was followed by the Nashville Bank on the 22nd, and the Bank of the State of Tennessee on the 29th. The Legislature was convened at Murfreesboro', by Gov. McMinn, and the Bank of the State of Tennessee was chartered, with a capital of one million of dollars, with a branch at Knoxville.
A substantial and elegant bridge was built across the river from the northeast end of the Square to the Gallatin Turnpike, in 1822, at a cost of $85,000. It was taken down in 1855, because it obstructed navigation. It is said to have been the best bridge that ever spanned the Cumberland.
In 1822, the City Cemetery, on South Cherry street, was opened for interments. The Sulphur Spring bottoms had been previously used as a burying ground.
In 1823, the population was 3,460, and in 1830, 5,566.
In 1825, there were from 15 to 20 steamboats running from Nashville to New Orleans, Louisville and Pittsburgh.
Gen. Lafayette, son and suite, arrived here on the 4th of May, 1825, and were received with the greatest demonstrations of joy. An immense procession was formed, the streets were decorated with arches of evergreens, and patriotic mottoes were inscribed upon them. The General landed on the grounds of Maj. Wm. B. Lewis, above the Water Works, where Gen. Jackson and a number of citizens received him, and Gov. Carroll addressed him in behalf of the State, tendering him a welcome to Tennessee. The procession, with the military, escorted him into the city, where Robert B. Currey,, Esq., the Mayor, addressed him in behalf of the city, and tendered him its freedom and hospitality. The joy of the people knew no bounds, and Gen. Lafayette ever after spoke of his reception in Nashville as one of the most pleasant events of his life. He was taken to the residence of Dr. Boyd McNairy, who threw open his doors to the distinguished visitor and his suite. The next day the General went to the Masonic Hall, where he received the ladies of Nashville in that polite and cordial manner for which he was remarkable. A public dinner was given him at the Nashville Inn, at which Gen. Jackson acted as President, assisted by George W. Campbell, Henry M. Rutledge, John Somerville and Felix Grundy, as Vice Presidents. Our old friend Timothy De Monbreun was at this dinner, and was toasted by Col. Andrew Hynes, as the patriarch of Tennessee, and the first white man that settled in the country. Gen. L. visited the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, the Royal Arch Chapter, and the Masonic fraternity generally, and welcomed by Wilkins Tannehill, Esq., as a friend and a brother. A collation was furnished on the occasion, and all bands had a " good time" generally. Before his departure, the General called on Mrs. Jackson, Mrs. Littlefield, (the daughter of his old companion and friend, Gen. Green, of Revolutionary memory,) Gov. Carroll, Rev. Dr. Philip Lindsley, and others.
Over one million of dollars worth of cotton were exported from this port in 1825. The Branch Bank of the United States was established in 1827.
The city was divided off into six wards in 1826.
In 1829-30, our physicians commenced using quinine in fevers, and Dr. Felix Robertson has the credit of introducing it here.
The highest state of political excitement existed here in 1832, on the subject of nullification.
The city received a wonderful impetus in the way of business and progress in every department in 1830-31-22, and part of 1833-cheeked then by the first visit of cholera to this city.
Christ Church was built in 1831-32, at a cost of only $16,000. The McKendree Church was built in 1832-33, and dedicated the last Sunday in 1833. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church was dedicated in May, 1832. The first Catholic Church on the north side of Capitol Square, was built in 1830-31. Rev. Dr. Edgar was installed as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, December 25th, 1833, and was its pastor for nearly twenty-eight years. A Baptist Association was formed here in 1820.
The Union Bank of Tennessee was chartered in 1832, and went into operation in 1833. The Planter's Bank was chartered in 1833, and went into operation in 1834. The Tennessee Marine and Fire Insurance Company was chartered by the Legislature in 1833 and its capital stock subscribed in twenty minutes--no person being allowed to subscribe over $5,000 of stock in his own name. The steamboat " Lady Jackson," of 200 tons burthen, was built at our lower wharf, and launched August 4th, 1832. The penitentiary was built by the State in 1830-31. The Lunatic Asylum was built in 1833-34, south of Vauxhall garden. Vauxhall garden was a place of considerable resort for political meetings, social gatherings, etc., of the most respectable character.
The First Baptist Church was built in 1837. Rev. Dr. R. B. C. Howell was its pastor, and occupied that position over a quarter of a century.
The establishment of the Water-works was decided upon by the Board of Aldermen in 1831, and the work soon commenced. It was completed in 1833, and began to furnish a supply of water on the first day of October of that year. The cost was $5,5,000. The engine was built at West Point, New York. A new engine was built in 1853, in Nashville and Pittsburgh, at a cost of $50,000. Much additional expense was incurred to enlarge tile reservoirs, engine-house, etc. This engine, put to work in 1853, is still in use, but nearly worn out. The city authorities have contracted with Dean Brothers, of Indianapolis, for two sets of new engines, which are now being built at a cost of $26,000, and are to be put to work on the 10th of November, 1877. The enlargement of buildings, connecting pipes, etc., (work now going on), will cost $20,000 more. The new engines will be capable of furnishing the city with ten millions of gallons of water every twenty-four hours. The new stand-pipe, to be used in connection with the new engines, will be one hundred feet high, which will raise the water ninety feet above the present reservoir. There are now over forty-nine miles of water-pipe laid in the streets of the city, and the average consumption of water amounts to two millions of gallons for every day in the year.
Our people, and the Mayor and City Council, have been for some time past exercised in regard to the muddy water obtained from the river, and various suggestions have been made to remedy the evil. Captain James Wyatt, our excellent and efficient Superintendent of the Water-works, last year devised a plan by which to run the water into the city from the upper island, so as to use the island as a filter, and by means of which only clear water will come into the reservoirs and the city. This plan has been adopted, and a contract for the work will be made early in September, 1877. It is supposed that this great improvement will cost about $70,000. The cost of the water-works, pipes, fire-plugs, etc., to the city, considerably exceeds one million of dollars. There are two hundred and eighty fire-plugs in the city.
Duncan Robertson, who came to Nashville in 1806, died May 1st, 1833, aged 63 years. He has the reputation of having been the best man that ever lived in Nashville. "In imitation of his Divine Master, he literally went about doing good."
The Convention to revise the Constitution of the State, met in Nashville on May 19th, 1834.
Our townsman, W. B. Cooper, the artist, painted the portrait of Hon. John McLean, of the U. S. Supreme Court, who was holding Court here at the time.
The steamer "John Randolph" was burnt at our wharf on the 16th of March, 1836. Three lives were lost, and over $200,000 worth of goods was destroyed. This was one of the largest and finest boats in the trade, and was owned by J. & R. Yeatman & Co.
General Armstrong's brigade met an enthusiastic welcome on their return from the Florida campaign, February 4th, 1837.
The House of Industry, for females, was established in 1837. About this time, (date not known), the Sisters of Charity founded their hospital.
The great financial revulsion of 1837 caused the banks to suspend specie payments, and a considerable depreciation in the price of real estate took place. A great many persons left the State, the majority for Texas, bankrupt.
The Hon. John Catron received his appointment as one of the Supreme Judges of the United States in 1837.
The Hon. Hugh Lawson White died at Knoxville on the 10th of April, 1840, and a public meeting was held here on the 15th, to testify the respect of our people for his memory. He re ceived the electoral vote of Tennessee, in 1836, for President. He was one of the purest statesmen this country has produced.
Soon after the tornado at Natchez, in May, 1840, the citizens made contributions to the sufferers, and C. C. Trabue, Mayor, forwarded them $1,500.
The I. 0. 0. F. made their first public parade on the 1st of June, 1840.
The great Whig Convention was held on the 17th of August, 1840. Henry Clay was present, as well as many other distinguished visitors.
The Hon. Felix Grundy, the best criminal lawyer in the Southwest, once United States Senator, and Attorney General in Mr. Van Buren's Cabinet, died at his residence in Nashville, on the 19th of December, 1840.
A series of popular lectures were delivered in the Masonic Hall in the winter of 1840-41, under the auspices of a library society then in existence. The Rev. Dr. Phillip Lindsley, the Rev. Dr. R. B. C. Howell, Prof. Gerard Troost, Dr. Thomas R. Jennings, Prof. Nathaniel Cross, Prof. J. Hamilton, Rev. Dr. John T. Edgar, Hon. Abram P. Maury and others, were the lecturers, and the course was remarkably successful.
A large public meeting was held in April, 1841, in relation to the death of Gen. Harrison. Ex-Governor Newton Cannon died in 1841, and his death was appropriately announced in all the courts, and a public meeting held, which fittingly expressed the sorrow of the community.
The first daguerreotype likenesses taken in the city were by an artist named Moore, who stopped at the Union Hall Hotel, in 1841, and had quite a run of custom for a short time.
Mr. Clayton, the celebrated aeronaut, made a successful balloon ascension on the 13th November, 1841.
The Morus Multicaulis excitement raged in this section in 1840-41-42; and a silk manufacturing company was established here, but subsequently failed.
Ex-President Van Buren arrived here April 25th, 1842, and the next day, in company with his traveling companion, James K. Paulding, went out to the Hermitage to see Gen. Jackson. They all came into the city two days afterwards, and had a grand reception. A public dinner was offered and declined. Mr. Van Buren went from here to Columbia to visit Ex-Governor Polk. He returned and took his departure for Lexington to pay a visit to Henry Clay.
The banks, which had suspended specie payments in 1837, resumed in August, 1842.
A shock of an earthquake was felt on Wednesday night, January 4th, 1843, and another on the night of the 16th.
Payne, Carroll and Kirby, for the crime of murder, were hung on the commons, then south of the city, (now in the 8th Ward), February 10th, 1843.
The Fourth of July, 1843, was celebrated with unusual vigor and animation.
Marshal Bertrand, of France, arrived on the 29th September, 1843. He was accompanied by his son, Napoleon Bertrand, and his aid, M. Mansoe. After visiting the Hermitage, the party partook of the hospitalities of Chief Justice Catron. They returned the visits of Gov. Jones, Gen. Carroll, Gen. Armstrong and C. C. Norvell, editor of the Nashville Whig.
The seat of Government was permanently fixed at Nashville on the 7th of October, 1843, after a severe struggle in the Legislature. The city bought Campbell's Hill for the State House, at a cost of $30,000, and gave it to the State. Major Henry M. Rutledge, only son of Hon. Edward Rutledge, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, died at the residence of his son-in-law, Hon. Francis B. Fogg, January 20th, 1844. The Legislature, and all the courts of law then in session, adjourned, and participated in the formal obsequies. Thomas Crutcher, who had been a citizen here for half a century, died on the 8th of March, 1844, and bad the largest funeral procession that bad ever been seen in Nashville. He was a benevolent, good man, the best friend the Nashville Female Academy ever had, and in life had occupied several positions of trust and honor. Wm. McNeill, who had been a resident here for more than half a century, died on the 21st of the same month, and on the next day Gen. Wm. Carroll expired. He had lived here thirty-four years, twelve of which he was Governor of the State. His military services are well known to the country. The death of these old and esteemed citizens, following so closely one upon another, caused a profound sensation among our people, and the writer well remembers that the morning after the death of Gov. Carroll, he went to Capitol Hill at daylight, for purposes of meditation, where he was soon joined by the memorable Robert Farquharson (himself an old resident), who spoke feelingly of the rapidity of Death's doings, and lamented the departure of friends who bad been so long familiar to himself and the people of the city. He mentioned many, many changes on these streets since he first came here, and remarked that "you young men will see greater changes than those in half the time, but whether for the better or not, is doubtful." The conversation, though brief, made a strong impression. On the 6th of April, the mortal remains of Senator Porter, of Louisiana, arrived here for interment among his relatives.
The Institution for the Instruction of the Blind went into operation early in 1844, the Rev. Dr. Edgar, the Rev. Dr. Howell, and the Rev. John T. Wheat acting as trustees under an appointment from the Governor.
The corner-stone of the Second Presbyterian Church was laid April 25th, 1844.
The Presidential campaign of 1844 was characterized by an excitement little less than that prevailing ill 1840. Large meetings, by both political parties, were held, and most of the distinguished political speakers in the United States were here at one time or another during the campaign.
The steamer "Belle of Clarksville," a Nashville boat, was sunk in December, 1844, by which thirty-three lives were lost, principally deck hands. The accident occurred near Old Town landing, on the Mississippi river. For several years the merchants and business men of Nashville owned the largest and finest boats that floated on the bosom of the Mississippi.
Hon Thomas H. Fletcher, who had lived here from 1809, died of apoplexy, alone in his office, on Sunday, January 12th, 1845. He was a successful lawyer and writer of ability.
Col. Robert Weakley, who bad occupied many posts of favor in military and civil life, and who had arrived here before a single house had been built, died at his residence in this county, February 3d, 1845.
In April, 1845, our citizens contributed nearly $1,200 for the relief of the sufferers by the great fire at Pittsburgh.
Louis Philippe, King of France, sent the artist Healy to paint the portrait of Gen. Andrew Jackson. The portrait was completed in May, 1845. Gen. Andrew Jackson died on Sunday evening, the 8th of June, 1845, and various meetings were held on the subject. Gen. Sam. Houston, of Texas, arrived here the same day, but reached the Hermitage after the death of his distinguished and life-long friend. His funeral was attended by an immense number of people.
The corner stone of the Capitol was laid, with imposing Masonic ceremonies, on the 4th of July, 1845. Hon. Edwin H. Ewing was the orator on the interesting occasion. Wm. Strick land was the architect. The Board of Commissioners, of which our fellow-citizen, Samuel D. Morgan, was chairman, and who devoted a great deal of time personally to the work and the purchase of material for its execution, received the appropriations made by the State, from time to time, and faithfully accounted for every cent expended. The State required no security or bond from her Commissioners, and no thought of dishonesty, mismanagement, or negligent waste was entertained on either side. Col. Morgan yet has possession of the books containing an account of the expenditures for the entire work. The building is a parallel ogram, 138 by 238 feet, with an elevation of 74 feet 8 inches above the ground. It has four fronts, each side graced with noble porticoes, supported by twenty-eight Ionic columns in all, four feet in diameter, thirty-three feet high. The house contains a large chamber for the use of the House of Representatives, another chamber for the Senate, rooms for the valuable State Library (in one of which are the curiosities, relics, and papers of the Historical Society of Tennessee), rooms for all the State officials, committee rooms, and in the basement the State Arsenal. The entire height of the building, from the ground to the top of the tower, is two hundred and six feet five inches. Cost, something over one million of dollars. The architect, Mr. Strickland, died on the 7th of April, 1854, and his funeral services were held in the hall of the House of Representatives. He was entombed in a recess in the north-east corner of the building, left by himself for that purpose. He lived to see his work nearly completed. The last stone of the tower was laid on the 21st of July, 1855, and the last stone of the lower terrace on March 19th, 1859. Work has been going on either on the building or the grounds, to a greater or less extent, nearly ever since. The entire work, with the adornment and arrangement of grounds, fencing, walls, gate-ways, etc., are now about completed, and presents a beautiful and tasteful appearance, with one of the most commanding views, from the tower as well as the rooms, that can be found in the United States. Time and space prevent a more detailed notice of this great work of art-the pride of every Tennessean.
Gen. Robert Armstrong, who had been Postmaster here from 1829 to 1845, resigned that position, having been appointed Consul to Liverpool by President Polk.
John Somerville, who came to Nashville in 1799, and who had occupied various positions in the Banks of the city, and especially as Cashier of the Union Bank, died in April, 1846.
The war with Mexico, and a call for volunteers, caused the organization of a great many military companies through all this section, not one-half of which could be received. The two military companies here were fortunate in being accepted, owing to their military training. Several of the Mexican veterans remain with us, though a large number of those who first went were killed in battle, or died from sickness. The living returned in June, 1847.
Major Joseph Norvell, who founded the Nashville Whig in 1812 (in connection with his brother Moses Norvell), and who was for several years City Treasurer, and P. G. M. of the Masonic Grand Lodge, died on the 7th of January, 1847.
The sum of $3,600 was raised for the relief of the starving population of Ireland, in the spring of 1847.
On the 12th of October, 1847, a powder magazine, situated west of Capitol Hill, was struck by lightning and exploded, by which four persons were killed and twenty wounded. Fifty houses were demolished, or rendered unfit for use, and the destruction of window glass in the city and in the suburbs was immense.
The first telegraphic dispatch received in Tennessee was in March, 1848, on Henry O'Reilly's line from Louisville to Nashville, and Mr. O'Reilly sent his compliments to the people of Tennessee, among the first dispatches.
On the 14th of September, 1848, the First Presbyterian Church was a second time destroyed by fire, on the site of the present large and elegant church edifice. The corner-stone of the present edifice was laid April 28th, 1849.
The Tennessee Historical Society was re-organized in May, 1849. Prof. N. Cross, President, and Col. A. W. Putnam, Vice President.
The Hon. James K. Polk, tenth President of the United States, died at his residence in this city on the 15th of June, 1849, and was placed in a vault at the Cemetery with Masonic honors. The cholera prevailed here at the time, but nevertheless a very large assemblage attended to pay a tribute of respect to their distinguished deceased fellow-citizen. On the 22d of May, 1850, his remains were deposited in the elegant mausoleum prepared for the purpose, on his own grounds, on the eastern front of Polk Place, with solemn and impressive ceremonies. The Masonic fraternity, Governor and staff, Mayor and City Council, Fire Department, Judges of Courts and members of the bar, and an immense number of citizens, attended in procession. Minute guns were fired, and at the tomb the Rev. John B. McFerrin offered an impressive prayer, an original dirge was sung, an appropriate discourse delivered by Rt. Rev. Bishop Otey, and the Masonic funeral rites performed, conducted by Charles A. Fuller. Every demonstration possible was made to testify to the public grief.
The Nashville Gas Light Company was chartered November 14th, 1849, and the city was lighted by gas on the night of February 13th, 1851. The city has now over 600 lamps to light the streets.
The steamer " James Dick " was burned May 7th, 1850.
May 22d, 1850, the first wire was stretched across the river for the present suspension bridge, and on the 28th of June the first horse and buggy crossed over. The bridge was soon afterward completed.
The Southern Convention met on the 3d of June, 1850, and was in session eight days. The Adelphi Theater was opened July 1st, 1850, under the management of John Green.
On the 15th of August, the celebrated geologist and mineralogist, Dr. Gerard Troost, died, universally respected in this country and in Europe for his great attainments in geology. His col lection of specimens amounted to over twenty thousand in number, and some years after his death was sold to an institution in Louisville.
The first Hoe power printing press was introduced by B. R. McKennie, publisher of the Nashville, Whig, in 1845. The first cylinder Hoe printing press was by the "Christian Advocate" office, in 1850.
Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nightingale, gave two concerts and a matinee, March 31st and April 2d, 1851, under the management of P. T. Barnum. Such a musical treat had never been experienced here, and none since. Immense preparations had been made to pack people into the Adelphi by building new galeries and utilizing space generally. Choice seats were sold at auction, the highest bringing $200. Tickets $6, stabling room $3, etc. The house was packed to overflowing, and every one seemed wild with enthusiasm. Her singing Was the best ever heard in Nashville.
The first passenger train the N. & C. R. R. was run out as far as Antioch on the 13th April, 1851, and the first through train to Chattanooga on the 18th of January, 1853. The road now runs to Chattanooga, south, and to St. Louis, northwest. A large portion of the track has recently been laid with steel rails.
On April 22d, 1851, the corner-stone of the first public school was laid in South Nashville, with Masonic rites, conducted by the venerable Wilkins Tannehill.
A post office was established in South Nashville April 26th, 1851, W. W. Parks, Postmaster. South Nashville had a separate corporate existence for several years, but finally united with the old city, 16th July, 1854, by a popular vote.
The old bridge fell at 6 o'clock, November 14th, just after the workmen who were tearing it down bad left off work.
A coal famine existed from January 1st to the 16th, in 1852.
The fire bell, weighing 2,100 pounds, was hung in the Court House March 16th. On the 28th of July impressive funeral obsequies, in honor of Henry Clay, were held; Col. Ephraim H. Foster was the orator of the day. The demonstration was unusually large, and the ceremonies impressive.
The fight (really a private duel) between John L. Marling, editor of the Union, and Gen. Felix K. Zollicoffer, editor of the Banner, took place on the 20th of August, 1852. The first named gentleman was seriously wounded, the latter slightly.
The Presidential campaign of 1852 was very spirited, and party excitement ran high. Processions, the marching of military campaign companies, etc., were constantly going on, and a number of street fights occurred. One man was killed. After the election, a large torchlight procession moved through the streets, in honor of the election of Gen. Pierce.
The numbering of the houses was completed Feb. 1, 1853.
March the 24th the city and county subscribed one million dollars to aid four railroads coming into the city. April the 7th, Ole Bull and Adelina Patti gave their first concert here. Nashville had, this year, six daily newspapers. Hon. Morgan W. Brown died March 7th; Judge Alfred Balch on the 22nd of June. July 6th, young Watkins jumped into the river from the suspension bridge, in the presence or a large crowd of sightseers, and was picked up by some fishermen not much injured. W. M. Paulding made a balloon ascension on the 15th of October, and landed four miles from the city. Col. Wm. Walker, of Nashville, was declared President of Lower California on the 16th of October, 1853. His Nicaragua expedition is a matter of history.
Ex-President Fillmore arrived in Nashville, May 4, 1854, and was handsomely entertained. W. S. Whiteman, who had been engaged in the manufacture of paper for several years in Nash ville, completed a large new mill October 1, 1854. The steamer "Rock City," built in Nashville, departed for Paducah October 15.
The funeral services of Gen. Robert Armstrong occurred on the 8th of January, 1855. On the 10th of March, an unsuccessful attempt was made to burn the Penitentiary. June the 18th the South Nashville Furniture Factory was destroyed by fire. October 1st the State Fair was held, and the Mechanics' exhibition of wares, fabrics and handicraft took place at Odd Fellows Hall. Mount Olivet Cemetery was laid off into burying lots in October, 1855.
A large fire occurred on the Public Square March 16th, 1856, by which thirteen houses were destroyed. Another destructive fire took place July 9th, by which eight buildings were burned, including the Masonic Hall. August 15th the Grand Union Association of Steamboat and Ship Engineers met in Nashville. The Hon. John L. Marling, United States Minister at Guatemala, died October 16th.
In May, 1857, the Hon. Randel W. MeGavock presented the Historical Society with a life-size portrait of Hon. Felix Grundy, in the presence of a large audience.
April 12th, 1857, the Court House was destroyed by fire May l0th, the American Medical Association met here, being. their tenth annual session. The Siamese Twins were on exhibition October 9th, 1857.
The talented and venerable Wilkins Tannehill died on the 2nd of June, 1858. He was a great Masonic light, and a literary writer of more than ordinary brilliancy. The corner-stone of the new Masonic Hall was laid October 6th, 1858.
The steamer "Quaker City," was burned at our levee February 17th, 1859. On the 4th of March, the funeral obsequies of Ex-Governor Aaron V. Brown took place. He bad been a prominent politician for many years, Postmaster General, Governor, etc.
Gen. Wm. T. Haskell, the finest orator in all this region of country, died March 13, 1859, in Kentucky. Dr. John Shelby died at his residence, in Edgefield, May 17th. By a popular vote the City Council was instructed to levy a tax of $270,000 to aid the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad, June 4th. The first sermon in the new Central Baptist Church, South Nashville, was preached by Rev. Dr. W. H. Bayless, July the 3rd. The Mulberry Street Methodist Church was dedicated July the 22nd. The first passenger train from Nashville to Bowling Green went through, August 13th. August 24th a meeting was called of the subscribers to the new hotel project, when Maj. R. C. McNairy offered a resolution appointing John Kirkman and Sam. D. Morgan Commissioners to act for the subscribers to the hotel, to be erected by John Overton, Esq., on the corner of Cherry and Spring streets, which was adopted; and the first spade pierced the soil for the present Maxwell House August 17th. The presentation of General Jackson's gold snuff box to General Ward B. Burnett, of New York, took place on the 19th of August. The celebration of the opening of the Winchester & Alabama Railroad to Fayetteville took place the same day. A great "Opposition" meeting was held in Watkins' Grove, August 30th, and ten thousand people were said to be present. The remains of Lieut. Chandler, who died in 1801, were removed, under the auspices of the Historical Society, from the Sulphur Springs bottom to Mount Olivet; an immense procession; Hon. E. H. East orator of the day.
The excavation of the foundation of the Church of the Advent was commenced September the 3rd. The Hon. M. F. Maurv delivered his celebrated lecture on the geography of the sea, before the Historical Society, September 8th.
The railroad draw-bridge was completed October 1st, and the first passenger train came through from Louisville October 27th. George T. Poindexter, one of the editors of the Union and American, was killed by Allen A. Hall, editor of the News, in a street fight. On the 23rd of November, 1859, Major Elbridge G. Eastman, principal editor of the Union and American, and the most influential political writer in the State, died suddenly at his residence in this city.
Street sprinklers were introduced March 24th, 1860. Dr. Henry Carow was killed by a young man named Truett, from Sparta, Tenn., who was intoxicated at the time. April 9th, a large fire occurred on Union street, the loss amounting to $30,000. The National Typographical Convention was held in the Capitol, May 7th. A grand parade of firemen occurred on the 17th. St. Cloud Hotel was burned May 21st; loss $10,000. Corner-stone of the Church of the Advent laid May the 21st by Right Rev. Bishop Obey. It was opened for services on the 17th of April, 1870. The great National Temperance Association met here on the 22nd of May. On the 24th of July, the Board of Aldermen passed the ordinance to establish a paid steam fire department, which was promptly signed by the Mayor. Capt. John S. Dashiell was the first Chief. November 13th, the Rev. John Todd Edgar, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, died suddenly, universally beloved. On the 30th of December, a large meeting of citizens was held at the Court House, and great excitement prevailed in consequence of the election of Abraham Lincoln to the Presidency, and the secession of South Carolina. Great excitement prevailed in the early part of 1861 in regard to the secession of South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia, and the election of Jefferson Davis as President of the Confederate States. Military companies were organized for home protection, the courts were suspended, and everything was in confusion, even the United States Post Office being discontinued on the 6th of June. August 13th, W. D. McNish was appointed Postmaster for the Confederate Government.
It is, simply impossible, in a brief paper like this, to go into ,detail in regard to the war, commenced in 1861. The State, as well as the city of Nashville, was decidedly opposed to separating from the other States, as expressed by a popular vote, as well as in other ways, until the firing on Fort Sumpter took place, which forced the people to take the Confederate side. A volume would be necessary to give the history of the struggle in this State, and of legislative action prior thereto. We can give only a few meagre items, simply to preserve dates of important events.
Intelligence of the capture of Fort Donelson reached Nashville on Sunday morning, February 16th, 1862, and produced the utmost consternation. The Legislature was convened, but speedily adjourned to Memphis, whither the public archives and money were also removed. Gen. A. S. Johnson's army, concentrated at Bowling Green, commenced passing through the city and continued until the entire force went through. Gen. Floyd was left to cover the retreat. It was a real panic. On the 18th, at night, the troops destroyed the Suspension Bridge and the Railroad Bridge, against the earnest protest of the leading citizens. On the 23d, the rear guard of the Confederate army left, and Gen. D.C. Buel occupied Edgefield with Federal troops. The next day Mayor Cheatham, and a committee of citizens, surrendered, the city, and the surrender took place on the 25th. Gen. Buel and his army conducted themselves, as did the citizens, with "marked propriety." The newspapers, whose publication had been suspended, resumed operations. Gov. Johnson acted as Military Governor from March 12th, 1861, to the close of the war. He ousted the Mayor and City Council for refusing to take the oath of allegiance to the Government of the United States, and appointed others in their place. A great many citizens, most of them leading men in society, and several of them ministers of the Gospel, were arrested by order of Gov. J. and put into prison., A Union meeting was held in Nashville on the 12th May. On the 24th, several newspaper offices were confiscated and their publication stopped. Gen. Forrest, Gen. Morgan and others made occasional sorties about the neighborhood, which only frightened the citizens, without doing any particular harm. But the city was sometimes cut off from all communication with the outside world. Gov. Johnson levied specific contributions on the wealthy, to aid the poor in procuring food. It is proper to say that he did not himself even see the money thus collected and disbursed. He entrusted it to others. Gen. Buel and his army had left the city for the Tennessee river, and Gen. Rousseau took command in the latter part of August, but was succeeded by a man named Negley-not the regular officer, Gen. Neglee, but a volunteer General. The battle of Lavergne, fifteen miles from the city, was fought October 7th, a signal little victory for the Federal troops. Gen. Rosecrans was in command in November, and made his headquarters here till the close of the war. Gen. Grant, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Army of the Cumberland, made his headquarters here for a considerable length of time. The result of the battle of Nashville, commanded by Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas on one side, and by Gen. Hood on the other, is well known. After the struggle was over, a military force was kept here for several years. The army officers and people got along very harmoniously together, and the removal of the troops was generally regretted.
Oct. 20, 1865, Champ Ferguson was hung, at the Penitentiary, on account of war operations. On the 20th Nov., Wm. Heffran was dragged from his carriage and murdered by some ruffians, who were subsequently apprehended, tried, convicted and hung. Their execution took place January 26th, 1866.
During the latter months of this year, the city was full of thieves and robbers, and deeds of blood and robbery were frequently. It was unsafe to go out at night, without arms. A committee of safety was appointed, and extra policemen placed on duty, until the turbulent spirits were arrested and imprisoned or driven from our midst.
The system of letter carrying was introduced January 1, 1866. The Stacey House, now the Battle House, was opened the next day. A destructive fire occurred on the Public Square, Jan. 9th, and Chas. H. Moore was burned to death. Dr. David T. McGavock, a life-long citizen here, died January 7th.
Street cars were introduced in March, 1866, the South Nashville line, of which Anson Nelson was President, being the first.
The new Suspension Bridge, destroyed in the early part of the war, was completed June 21st, 1866. The Board of Health was established June 27th. Prof. Hayes made a balloon ascension Sept. 20th. Rev. Dr. Samuel D. Baldwin, author of "Armageddon," died Oct. 9th. A fire occurred Oct. 24th, on Cedar, Cherry and Deaderick streets, by which more than twenty houses were destroyed. Loss $300,000.
On the 8th of March, 1867, the funeral obsequies of Col. DeBow, the founder and editor of DeBow's Review, and of Bishop Joshua Soule, took place. Ex-Mayor Andrew Anderson, died April 15th, aged 72 years. He was for more than twenty years connected with the city government, and was highly esteemed.
On the 14th May, a mutiny occurred in the Penitentiary, and there was an uprising of three hundred convicts. The mutiny was suppressed before any escapes were made. The east wing of the Penitentiary was burned on the 24th June. Loss $50,000.
The large bell (the largest and finest in the city) was placed in the western tower of the First Presbyterian Church on the 10th July. It was a present from Mrs. Adelicia Cheatham, wife of Dr. W. A. Cheatham. July 26th, Wm. N. Bilbo, Esq., a lawyer, an orator, and a writer of considerable note, departed this life. Ex-Gov. Wm. B. Campbell died Aug. 19th, and Judge John S. Brien on the 6th of November. The Alloway residence, next to the McKendree Church, was destroyed by fire December 22d, 1867.
Nothing worthy of note occurred in 1868.
Col. A. W. Putnam died on the 20th of January, 1869. He was the President of the Tennessee Historical Society, the author of the "Life and Times of Gen. James Robertson," and a lineal descendant of Gen. Israel Putnam, of Revolutionary fame. Work on the Tennessee and Pacific Railroad commenced June 17th, 1869. In the summer of this year, the City Government was placed in the hands of a receiver, owing to the bad management of those who acted as mayor, aldermen and councilmen. Hon. John M. Bass was appointed by the Chancery Court receiver, and gave a large bond for the faithful performance of his duties. He discharged the trust committed to him with great fidelity, and to the entire satisfaction of the tax-payers. In the latter part of the year, the people elected men of their choice as mayor and aldermen and councilmen; Mr. Bass made a full report, and turned the affairs of the city over to K. J. Morris, Esq., the new Mayor, and his colleagues of the City Council.
The Hon. John Bell, one of Tennessee's noted politicians, died at Cumberland Furnace, Sept. l0th. His body was brought here, laid in state in the Capitol for one or two days, and buried in Mount Olive Cemetery. The Maxwell House was opened for guests on the 22nd Sept., 1869, by M. Kean & Co.
The Post Office was removed to the corner of Cedar and Cherry streets, January 14th, 1880, its present location. Ex-Mayor John Hugh Smith died July 7th. The College Hill Foundry was burned Sept. 11th. Loss $27,000. The improvements on the Capitol grounds were resumed, after ten years' neglect, Oct. 26th, 1870.
The Nashville Industrial Exposition committees were organized on the 26th February, 1871, the building commenced on the 17th March, and the Exposition was formally opened on the 8th of May.
Dr. Wm. H. Wharton, a physician and minister of the Christian church died May 8th. Christina Nelson sang in Nashville, May 4th. The General Assembly of the Cumberland Church met in Nashville, May 18th, 1871.
On the 10th April, 1871, our German Citizens had a grand jubilee procession in commemoration of peace between France and Germany. The death of Rev. T. V. Moore, D. D., pastor of the First Presbyterian church, occurred August 5th, 1871. Judge W. K. Turner died on the 10th of the same month. On the 19th November, the large and elegant Cotton Factory, in North Nashville, was put in operation, running over 75,000 spindles. Col. Sam. D. Morgan was President of the company, and had superintended the building from the very beginning, looking after the minutest details, as he had previously done in the erection of the Capitol. He was for many years one of our leading wholesale merchants.
January 22nd, 1872, a great fire occurred on Market street; loss $200,000. Col. G. C. Torbett died February 14th. Mrs. Francis B. Fogg, one of the best and most benevolent ladies that ever lived here, died on the 14th of March. A destructive fire took place on the corner of Market street and the Public Square. Loss $50,000. The epizootic, or horse disease, made its appearance in November, and nearly all the horses in the city were attacked. The street cars stopped running, and oxen were in demand for hauling goods to different depots.
January 1st, 1873, a fire on the Public Square destroyed property to the amount of $25,000. McCrae, Maury & Co.'s distillery was burned January 28th.
The Industrial Exposition was again opened, May 1st, 1873, and was carried on with remarkable success for one month.
The Tennessee Historical Society was re-organized in May, 1874, and has been in successful operation ever since. Its present officers are: Dr. J. G. M. Ramsey, President; Hon. John M. Lea, Vice-president; Gen. G. P. Thruston, Cor. Sec.; J. S. Carels, Treasurer; Dr. J. B. Lindslev, Librarian; and Anson Nelson, R. S.
The new Cumberland Presbyterian church was completed, April 22nd, 1874. The corner- stone, of the new Odd Fellows Hall was laid, with imposing, ceremonies, on the 30th of June. September 16th, the Fourth Annual Industrial Exposition was opened, with an imposing procession of societies and citizens. November 1st, the wholesale house of T. J. Hopkins & Co. was destroyed by fire.
The funeral procession to do honor to the memory of Andrew Johnson, ex-President of the United States, ex-Governor, etc., in January, 1875, was unusually large. The Hon. Joseph S. Fowler was the orator of the day.
Policeman Frazer was killed April 30th. The celebrated Whittle and Bliss meetings were held in April and May, in the old Exposition buildings, and created a profound impression. Vice-president Henry Wilson visited the city in May. Work on the Custom House was commenced November 17th, and the cornerstone will be laid about the 1st of October, 1877.
Luck's Block, on Church street, was destroyed by fire, January 13th, 1876; loss $20,000. Five buildings were burned on South Market street, January 21st; loss $80,000. Mr. A. H. Hicks, the oldest queensware merchant in the city, and for more than forty years Librarian or Treasurer of the First Baptist church Sunday-school, died March 5th. The heaviest snow storm that had been known here for thirty years, occurred on the 19th March. A convention of colored people, to benefit the race, was held in the Capitol, April 5th. On the 26th May, the Jewish temple, on South Vine street, was dedicated. A grand Tobacco Fair was opened on the 13th June.
The Centennial was celebrated with great eclat, by ringing of bells and other demonstrations of joy. All business was suspended. The post band was at the Capitol before 5 o'clock, where 5,000 people were assembled. The exercises of the Historical Society of Tennessee were exceedingly interesting. Prof. Thos. H. Huxley, the great English scientist, was here in the early part of September, visiting relatives. Isaac Paul, Esq., one of our oldest and most benevolent citizens, died October 21st, aged 72 years. The first grain elevator was finished October 29th, by O. F. Noel & Co. Another was completed and put to work in 1877, with improved machinery, by Holding, Wilkes & Hancock. Seven and a half inches of snow fall during Christmas week, followed by very cold weather.
A balloon ascension, by Prof. Samuel A. King and Dr A. C. Ford, was successfully made on the 3rd of April, 1877. On the 18th June, the mammoth balloon, " Buffalo," the largest in the United States, went up with Prof. King, Dr. Ford, J. B. Lillard, D. R. Dorris and J. M. Andrews in the basket. They landed in Gallatin, and the next morning Prof. King and Dr. Ford ascended again and were above the earth Dearly all day, landing in Wilson county. They returned to Nashville next day. On the 7th of May, the corner stone of the new McKendree church, now in process of erection, was laid by the Bishops of the M. E. Church, South, with appropriate ceremonies, in the presence of a large assemblage of interested spectators. On the 26th of June, the Merchants' Exchange was re-organized and opened for business.
On the 29th August, the twenty-sixth annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, opened its sessions in the Capitol. The history of their acts and doings,, the cordiality of their reception, the dinings and the excursions, are too fresh and familiar to require notice; besides, want of space prevents any proper reference to this meeting of the scientific and educational lights of the country. It would require several pages to do justice to the subject.
The annual meeting of the Chiefs of the Fire Department of different cities of the United States, will assemble on the 4th of September. They, also, will be elegantly entertained, and our people will make it a visit to be remembered. Our own department has four steam fire engines, as many hose carts, one hook and ladder truck, with horses and all necessary appliances, including 7,000 feet of hose. Capt. Win. Stockell is Chief, and has been since the summer of 1869. Forty men are constantly on duty, to manage the four fire companies in different parts of the city, and the hook and ladder company. Hall's telegraph alarm has twenty miles of wire on poles, divided into four. districts, united by an automatic repeater. Connected with the wire are forty alarm boxes, nine gongs and three large bell strikers. The Fire Alarm Telegraph went into operation on the 30th of January, 1875; cost $22,500. The cost of the de partment is about $35,000 per annum.
The city government consists of a Mayor, ten Aldermen, twenty Councilmen, and the necessary public officers to carry on the business of the municipality, including 39 policemen. The city is composed of ten wards. There are two telegraph companies, two daily newspapers, two tri-weeklies, eight weeklies, seven monthlies, and two quarterlies.
Nashville and Edgefield has at this time forty-four churches, as follows : Methodist-white 10, colored 3 ; Baptist-white 5., colored 3 (one of which has 1,600 members); Presbyterian-white 5; Episcopal-white 6; Christian-white 3, colored 1 ; Cumberland Presbyterian-white 2; Hebrew-white I ; Lutheran white 1 ; Congregational--colored 1 ; Catholic--white 3.
The first experiment with a telephone in Nashville was made at noon on the 1st of September, by Prof. Nipher, of St. Louis, and Prof. Lovewell, of Wisconsin. The experiment was made by connecting the residences of Mrs. Ex-President Polk and Mr. A. G. Adams, on Vine street, the battery being at the house. of the latter. It was entirely successful. The Professors were in attendance on the A. A. A. S.
The new Merchants' Exchange, J. P. McGuire, President, is to be opened with appropriate ceremonies on the 6th of September. President R. B. Hayes, with two or three members of the Cabinet, are expected in Nashville on the 19th.


The University of Nashville was founded by the State of North Carolina, December 29, 1785, as Davidson Academy. Its name was changed to Cumberland College in 1806, but was incorporated as the University of Nashville in 1826. It is an eleemosynary, self-perpetuating corporation, and is under the control of neither Church nor State. In 1855, Montgomery Bell bequeathed to the institution a fund of $20,000. This now amounts to nearly $50,000, and endows a grammar school. In 1850, the Medical College was organized, and the attendance averages 175 to 200 students. It is supported by fees alone. In 1875, the collegiate department was suspended, and its grounds, buildings and funds appropriated to a Normal College, sustained mainly by the Peabody education fund. Tuition is free to young women and young men alike. Twenty-three acres of land, and four large buildings, constitute the property of the University, and are valued at $150,000. The Normal School is the only first-class school of its description in a region of 800,000 square miles.
The heads of the University have been as follows: James Priestley, LL.D., President, 1809-15 ; and again 1819-20; Philip Lindsley, D.D., President, 1824-50; John Berrien Lindsley, M. D., LL. D., Chancellor, 1855-70; Gen. E. Kirby Smith, 1870-75; E. S. Stearns, D. D., appointed in 1875, and now in service.
The Public Schools of Nashville.-In 1850-51, a few citizens agitated the question of establishing a system of genteel and elevated free schools, which finally aroused the Board of Aldermen, who, in the spring of 1852, selected Alfred Hume, long an eminent private teacher in Nashville, to visit various cities in which public schools were in operation, to see how they worked. He did so, and made a report to the Aldermen and the public on the 26th of August. The city then bought the lot on the corner of Spruce and Broad streets, to erect a building. The cornerstone was laid on the 19th of May, 1853, Dr. W. K. Bowling being the orator of the day. The house then and now known as the Hume building, was completed in 1854, and formally opened for pupils on the 26th February, 18,55. M. H. Howard, Esq., long a resident here, but now living in the city of New York, gave the lot on which the Hynes' building now stands, in 1859. The lot on which the Howard building now stands was purchased with the proceeds of the sale of lots donated to the city by Col. Andrew Hynes. The Hon. John Trimble donated the lot on which is erected the Trimble School building. The city now has seven school houses, with an average attendance of nearly three thousand. Joshua F. Pearl was the first Superintendent; S. Y. Caldwell is the present Superintendent. Both were very happy selections. There are not over 500 scholars in Nashville that attend other than the public schools-so well conducted and popular are they in every characteristic that makes up a good school. They are maintained by taxation, at a cost of $55,000 to 60,000 per annum. Value of school property belonging to the city, $150,000.
Vanderbilt University.-This magnificent institution, located in the western suburbs of the city, owes its foundation to the munificence of Cornelius Vanderbilt, of New York, who, on the 27th March, 1873, made a donation of $500,000, to which he afterwards added about $200,000. Earth was broken for the main edifice September 15th, 1873, and the cornerstone was laid April 28th, 1874. The University opened October 3-4, 1875, on which days suitable dedicatory and inaugurative services were held. The sermons, addresses and proceedings were published in a volume at the time. The cabinet of minerals and rocks comprise about six thousand specimens. The apparatus for astronomical observations, for the school of physics, the chemical laboratory, etc., are not surpassed in this country. Professors N.T. Lupton, J. M. Safford, Alexander Winchell, W. L. Broun, L.C. Garland, J. C. Granbery, M. W. Humphreys, W. Arnold, E. S. Joynes, A. A. Lipscomb and J. M. Leech, occupy chairs in the departments of Philosophy, Science and Literature. A competent corps of teachers are in the Biblical, Law and Medical departments.
Ward's Seminary.-The seminary for young ladies, under the control and management of Rev. W. E. Ward, occupies a fine, spacious building on Spruce street. It was chartered in 1867. The attendance is about three hundred pupils. Grounds and buildings cost about $,50,000. It is patronized by young ladies from almost every State in the South.
Dr. Blackie's School.-The school for young ladies, conducted by Dr. George S. Blackie, on South Cherry street, is a new institution, comparatively, but well patronized.
St. Cecilia's Academy.-This institution, under the management of the Sisters of the Order of St. Dominic, (Catholic), is situated on an elevated and lovely eminence north of the city, overlooking the valley of the Cumberland river. It was founded in 18601 and is well sustained.
St. Bernard's Academy.-This is a Catholic institution, located immediately south of the Capitol, and is conducted by the Sisters of Mercy, who own the fine property occupied by the school.
A school for boys, on Vine street, known as St. Mary's school, is also a Catholic institution, well conducted and liberally patronized.
Fisk University was established by the American Association in 1866. It was known as the Fisk School till 1867, when it was incorporated as a university. It makes no distinction of race or sex, but the institution was especially designed for colored youth, and the students are composed almost entirely of colored persons. In 1871, a number of the students were organized as a singing band, known as the "Jubilee Singers," who, by concerts in the Northern States and in England, made clear of expenses, $130,000, which was devoted to the purchase of a permanent site for the University, comprising twenty-five acres, in a beautiful suburb of the city, and to the erection of a fine building called Jubilee Hall. The singers are now engaged in their work in Europe, raising an endowment of $100,000 for the institution. The number of instructors is fourteen; the property of the institution is valued at $200,000. The school has been remarkably successful. Prof. John Ogden was Principal of the University from 1866 to 1870; Prof. A. K. Spence 1870-75, when Rev. E. M. Cravath was elected President, and is now in service.
The Central Tennessee College, located in the southern part of the city, was organized in 1866, under the patronage of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and is supported almost entirely by the Freedman's Aid Society of that church. The buildings, valued at $45,000, are large and imposing. The school has been very successful, and has an average attendance of over two hundred. The Rev. John Braden, D. D., is the President.
The Nashville Normal and Theological Institute, for colored pupils of both sexes, was opened by the American Baptist Home Mission Society in 1866. The Rev. D. W. Phillips, D. D., was then, as now, the Principal of the Institution. From an humble beginning, in obscure quarters in the northern suburbs of the city, it has grown to almost gigantic proportions, and now occupies ,one of the largest and most elegant houses in the southwestern suburbs, situated on a lovely and beautiful site. The grounds alone cost $30,000. It is in sight of, and not far from, Vanderbilt University. It is well patronized.
There are several schools for very young children, where the little ones are prepared for the public schools, which we have not time to notice.
From all of which it will be seen that Nashville is indeed a great educational center.


We regret very much that we cannot refer to our numerous manufacturing establishments, our magnificent wholesale and retail storehouses, our numerous charitable secret associations, our banks, insurance offices, railroads, our Tennessee Historical Society, our medical schools, our private libraries, our orphan asylums, our noble institutions for the Insane, for the Blind,-etc.
One word we must say in regard to the School for the Blind, sustained by State aid. They have, ever since the war, very much needed a suitable building for their poor unfortunate in mates. The appropriations by the Legislature being too small, one of our most enlightened and liberal citizens (the Hon. John M. Lea) came to the rescue, and bought and gave the State an elegant house, with fine grounds attached, at an expense of $15,000, the buildings on which have been enlarged by the State. This timely benefaction has been an incalculable blessing to the blind throughout Tennessee. J. M. Sturtevant is the Principal of the school for the blind.
It will be seen that many matters of small importance have been mentioned in the sketch, even to the exclusion Of matters of perhaps rare interest. This is done for the reason that it is important to save the minor items from oblivion, while more important things will surely be perpetuated. The object has been to point an index finger for others to write a better sketch in future.

Anson Nelson was born November 19, 1821 in Washington County Tennessee. He was married, to his first wife Eliza Grady, in 1839 at Knox County, Tennessee. He and Eliza moved to Nashville in the 1840's. After Eliza's death, he married Fanny Howell at Nashville in 1868. Nelson was in the banking and insurance business. He owned and served as publisher and editor of several local newspapers, including the Nashville True Whig and the Nashville Christian Record. He was a civic leader who served in many capacities for the City of Nashville. He had a real estate company and bought and sold property across the county. He served on the Board of the Tennessee Historical Society. He was a founder and served on the first Board of Directors of Mt. Olivet Cemetery. He was a founder and first President of the South Nashville Railway Company. Nelson was a member of the First Baptist Church in Nashville, serving as deacon and superintendent of the Sunday School. Nelson was an author and wrote about the history of Nashville. He and his wife co-authored a biography of First Lady, Sarah Childress Polk. Nelson died August 5, 1892 in Nashville and was buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Davidson County.

The "Brief Annals of Nashville" was transcribed from Report of the Board of Health of the City of Nashville, 1877.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Mrs. Clark's School, East Nashville.

Mrs. M. E. Clark's Select School For Young Ladies

written by Debie Oeser Cox

Mary Eliza Wilson was born in Paris (Henry Co., TN) May 25, 1848.  Mary married Achilles Venable Clark of Paris, a Confederate veteran, on December 4, 1866.  Achilles Clark died on July 29, 1874, leaving his widow with a young daughter, Caroline.  Mrs. M. E. Clark decided to pursue a career in teaching.  She lived and taught school in Franklin, TN, for about ten years.  In 1880, Mrs. Clark leased the Tennessee Female College, in Franklin, from Methodist Bishop R. K. Hargrove.  She oversaw the operation of the school for five years.  At the expiration of Mrs. Clark's lease, in 1885, Bishop Hargrove decided to sell the school property.  

In January of 1885, Mary E. Clark came to Nashville and purchased lots 6, 7, 8, and 9, in the plan of Brownsville, in East Nashville, a total of about fourteen acres of land.  She payed $3400 in cash for the property at the corner of Scott and Greenwood Avenues.  Mrs. Clarks property was bound by, and just east of, the site of Hobson's Chapel Methodist Church.  

Plan of Brownsville

Mary soon had a substantial house constructed to serve as a school for girls.  Mary's school was a three and one half story building of red brick, designed as a suburban home. The Victorian, Queen Anne style house had turrets and towers, with bay windows, and a multi gabled roof.  A large wrap around porch at the front of the house, and a smaller porch toward the back, were adorned with fancy lattice work.  The house, with the appearance of a grand mansion, was as fine as any, of that era, built in Nashville.  Soon after the school was built, Mary received a bill from the tax assessor, the amount of which she felt was too high.   Mary wrote, in an appeal for lower taxes, to the county assessor's office, that she was owner of property "on which was erected a building for school purposes exclusively."  She stated that on June 8, 1886 this school was incorporated by the name of "The Mrs. M. E. Clark Select School for Young Ladies." 

The Board of Advisers, for Mrs. Clark's School, was headed by Charles Forster Smith, noted author and professor at Vanderbilt University.  Other members were the Honorable J. M. Dickinson attorney and president of the Tennessee Bar Association, Mr. Edgar Jones a banker and grandson of Rev. William Hume, Maj. J. S. Bransford, a land developer who lived at Edgefield near Mrs. Clark's School, Rev. G. W. Wilson, a well known Evangelist of the Methodist faith., and Maj. T. P. Weakley. Major Weakley's brother was a prominent Methodist minister.  Although not affiliated with the Methodist Church, the influence of that denomination was certain. Mary Clark worshipped, next door, at Hobson's Chapel as did some of her staff.  Mary's students also attended services at Hobson's Chapel. 

The girls were welcome residents in the attractively furnished home which featured the most modern conveniences.  School was in session from the first Tuesday in September until the first Wednesday of June. Classes were offered in English, Mathematics, and Art, with special emphasis given to French, German, Public Speaking, and Music.  

Mrs. Clark's School, ca 1890

In 1891, it was reported that the school had 6 teachers and 45 students. Tuition was $170 per year, with an additional fee for the study of piano or vocal music. The large campus provided plenty of room to explore outdoors.  There were tennis courts on the grounds and outdoor sports of every kind were encouraged.  Walking was a healthful means of entertainment and transportation. The Nashville public square and business district was near, only a couple of miles to the west.  Yet the area around the school was rural, a forest like setting, with huge trees on the grounds.

1891 Nashville City Directory

 Mrs. Clark's School was highly regarded as an educational facility.  Young women from prominent families, all across the country, attended the school.  The Principal, Miss Bessie Johnson, and faculty members were among the best educators in the south.  In the 1890's, Mrs. Clark's School continued to thrive.  She traveled to Europe, to study the latest methods in educating young women.  She, and her staff, worked to ensure that the curriculum was broad, balanced, and up to date.

In 1896 Mrs. Clark was involved in a terrible carriage accident. She died from her injuries on July 1, 1896.  Her remains were carried to Paris, Tennessee where she was buried next to her husband, Achillies Clark.  The school was closed soon after.  Over the next few years, Mrs. Clark's daughter Carrie Clark Crockett, wife of Sidney Scales Crockett, divided and sold the property.  Today, the site of Mrs. Clark's School is home to Cora Howe School, on Greenwood Avenue, in East Nashville.

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Mrs. Clark's School, East Nashville by Debie Oeser Cox is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.