Monday, January 25, 2016

Dickerson Road

A question was posted on my Nashville History Facebook page asking about the history of the Hunter's Lane area.  I am slowly researching and writing about land owners along Dickerson Road but will confine this article to the area nearer to Hunter's Lane. Forgive typos and other mistakes and don't be shy to point them out.  Put this together in a hurry but will go back later to edit.

Be mindful, as you read, that Hunter's Lane and the surrounding area is not North Nashville, but instead lies in Northern Davidson County. North Nashville is an historic community name, reserved for the area just north of downtown, as East Nashville is an historic community name reserved for the area just east across the river from downtown.  With the consolidation of Nashville and Davidson County governments, the lines between city and county were blurred.  However, North Nashville did not move to Goodlettsville and East Nashville did not move to Hermitage.  

Hunter's Lane, as a community name, is recent.  It began with the opening of the high school in the late 1980's and so it is not an historical community. The name for the school was taken from an historical road that runs beside the school property. Many road names come from landowners who live nearby.  Research shows that this road was likely the lane to the small farm of David Hunter, who moved to the area in 1808 and lived there until his death about 1860.  The road has also been called Dale Road, for the Dale family, who owned land along the road at a later time. The earliest map, showing Hunter's Lane by name, is a 1919 Davidson County public works road map. The area on both sides Dickerson Road from Trinity Lane, out to Hunter's Lane, and beyond was rural until the early 1950's.  In the latter half of the 19th century and into the 20th century, this area was known as District 22 of Davidson County. There was a network of farms fanning out on each side of Dickerson Road, towards Gallatin Road to the east and towards White Creek Pike to the west. Many small country lanes cut through the farm land allowing access to landowners.

Among the land owners of the neighborhood were the Phillips family, whose farm is now covered by the Bellshire subdivision.  The Phillips home was called Sylvan Hall. The Phillips family cemetery is on a hill, in the subdivision, overlooking Dickerson Road. Dickerson Road was originally known as Dickinson Meeting House Road.  It was changed to Dickerson Road, most likely through a mistake in spelling.  Old Hickory Blvd was called Bell Lane on the west side of Dickerson Road and Hall's Lane on the east side, named for families living there.  In early times the land across Old Hickory Blvd from Bellshire was owned by Duke W. Sumner.  It was later owned by the firm of Morris & Stratton and by W. H. Binns.  A. C. Dale bought the section up near Hunter's Lane and lived there until he died in 1918.  Across the highway from the Dale place was the farm of Robert Cartwright.  Jacob Dickinson was an early landowner on the both the west and east sides of Dickerson Road.  Mr. Dickinson gave the land for the church for which the road was originally called.  A Watkins family also lived on the east side of Dickerson Road.  Ebenezer Titus, one of the first settlers in the area lived just beyond the In this area.  His home was at one time on the west side of the old road, originally called Dickinson Meeting House Road. The path of the road was changed over time and eventually, the Titus home ended up on the east side of the road. Titus died in 1807, and was buried on his land.  His family grave yard has been lost to time. 

These maps from 1871 and ca 1900, show the area around Hunter's Lane.

Foster's 1871 map of Davidson County

Davidson County map showing Hunter's Lane, date unknown


Included below is an excerpt from a history of Davidson County, giving details about District 22.

Taken from

History of Davidson County, Tennessee
with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers
by Prof. W. W. Clayton
J. W. Lewis & Co., Philadelphia

District Number Twenty-two is one of the original districts. The boundary-line established in 1859 begins at a point on Sycamore Creek a little above John C. Puckett's, and runs down that creek and with the Robertson county-line to a point between Asa Adcock and Wilkerson's old burnt steam-mill; thence southward with a ridge and passing between Loggin's Spring and the house of M. A. Newland; thence southward with the dividing ridge between Clay Lick and Earthman's Fork of White's Creek; thence passing west of Mrs. Adkinson's house to White's Creek, below Marshall's mill; thence eastward with a ridge between Hunter's, on Sugar Fork, and Coffman's Hollow, passing north of Jefferson Waggoner's mill and through the lane between W. D. Phillips and Mrs. C. Bell to the Louisville Branch turnpike-road; thence with that road northeast to Dry Creek, near E. Cunningham's house thence up Dry Creek to the old line between the Twentieth and Twenty-second Districts; and thence northward, passing east of' G. W. Campbell's, Thomas Haley's, Jonas Shivers', and John C. Puckett's, to the place of beginning. July 2, 1860, a portion of Robertson County was annexed to this district. This includes all the land east of a line beginning at a point on Sycamore Creek, near Wilkinson's burnt steam-mill, and following the road by Warren's Pond north to Samuel Smiley's and to the east of his land until it intersects with the Williamson county-line. In 1860 the elections were ordered to be held at Cool Spring.

There is a church at that place and another at Beach Grove, both Methodist Episcopal; a third, at Mount Hermon, is Cumberland Presbyterian. The lower room of the Cool Spring church is occupied as a school-room.

Napoleon B. Willis has for many years been a prominent citizen and a magistrate of the district. Gilbert Marshall, father of Dr. Marshall, now above eighty years of age, is the oldest resident of the district and an early settler. David Ralston and John Cloyd were prominent men and descendants of pioneer families. 

The post-offices are White's Creek and Ridge Post.

The following persons were assessed for land-taxes in 1816 : George Fly, Henry Bonner, Elihu S. Hall, Jacob Dickinson, Sr.

The greater part of this civil district is included in the Twenty-second School District. This contains four schoolhouses, and maintains three white schools and one colored one. The attendance for the year 1878-79 was one hundred and eighteen white and forty-seven colored pupils. The enrollment of the district for 1880 included two hundred and seventy-seven school children. The directors for 1880 were J. C. Helums, N. J. Cummins, and A. T. Shaw. A portion of this district is included with parts of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Civil Districts to form the Twenty-sixth School District, which contained a white school of forty-three and a colored school of fifty-seven members in 1878-79, and had one hundred and forty-six resident children in 1880.

Some of this information was taken from History of the Dickinson Road by L. C. Bell.
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Dickerson Road by Debie Oeser Cox is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


  1. So, do we know where the Dickinson Meeting House was located?

  2. Not exactly. It was on property that belonged to Jacob Dickinson. Deed records indicate that his property was on the west and east sides of Dickerson and on the south side of Old Hickory Blvd. He owned several hundred acres of land. Duke W. Sumner bought land from Dickinson. I did not locate a deed for the church property.

  3. Would you have any history on a church in Antioch called Pilgrim the Baptist. It used to sit down on the creek close to Blue Hole Rd. I'm looking for a picture of it.

  4. There was a great little book at the Goodlettsville branch library called The History Of the Dickerson Pk, by Ms L.C. Bell, writtin I think in the 20s,, very good,,i made a photo copy of the whole thing years ago,I wish it could be reprinted

  5. Kent that is a great resource and I also have a copy of the book. I use it often for reference.


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