Friday, February 10, 2017

Wm. Sutherland & Company Supplement

After being contacted by a William Sutherland descendant, it seemed appropriate to share more of the findings of the research into William Sutherland & Company.

There were two Sutherland brothers, Robert and William, who settled in Nashville in the late 1850's.  

Robert and William Sutherland made their declaration of intention, to be naturalized, at the August Term, in the Davidson County Criminal Court.  They stated that they came to the US in 1848.  It was decreed by the court, that both be admitted as citizens on August 25, 1860. (Davidson Co. Criminal Court, vol. H, pp 199/200. Contact Metro Nashville Archives 615-862-5880 for ordering information.).  

Smith, Mary Sue. Davidson County, Tenn Naturalization Records 1803-1906. Nashville: Byron Sistler and Associates. 1997

Robert Sutherland

Robert Sutherland married Sabina O'Donnell.  Sabina, born in Ireland, was living in Nashville, when they were married in August of 1860.

Davidson County, TN marriage record book, August 22, 1860

Their children were; Robert, Jr. Bessie, Nettie, Arthur and Sabina. Robert operated a saloon, The Eagle, on Church Street, in the mid 1860's. 

The Nashville Daily Union, October 13, 1864

In 1867, Robert's building caught fire.  Robert, his wife and child lived in the second story and escaped by climbing down a ladder.  

Eagle Saloon fire, Nashville Union and American, August 10, 1867
After the fire Robert worked in the lumber business, at times for Sutherland & Co. and also for other lumber mills/yards.   

Robert and William Sutherland, Nashville City Directory, 1868

His son, Robert, Jr. also worked for a time at Sutherland Mill.  Robert apparently believed he was a partner in Sutherland & Co. and filed suit against his brother for a division of profits.  According to the suit filed, with the Tennessee Supreme Court in 1888, William and Robert were brothers.  Robert Sutherland's death certificate lists his parents as John Sutherland and Margaret  Mathews.  [Case name; Robert Sutherland v. William Sutherland & Theodore B. Plummer, 1888, Middle Division, 379 pages. You may order a copy online -]  

Sabina Sutherland died in 1876, and was buried at Calvary, the Catholic Cemetery.  Robert and family, lived for many years in their home at 719 Boscobel Street. Robert continued in the lumber business until his death in 1908.  He was buried at Calvary Cemetery, alongside Sabina. Their children were also buried at Calvary.  More records of this family might be found by contacting the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nashville,

William Sutherland

William Sutherland married Julia Hendrix/Hendricks, before settling in Nashville.  Their first child Sarah was in South Carolina in June of 1856 [US census records].  When the second child William was born in 1857, the family was living in Tennessee.  The earliest record found for this Sutherland family is a deed, for a lot, on McLemore Street, filed Nov. 3, 1859.    By September 1st of 1860, when the census taker came around, there were three children in the household, Sarah, William, Jr.  and Charles. Charles is not found again.  Charles was probably the male child listed in the Nashville City Cemetery interment books as "infant of William Southerland."  The record says, the child was buried on September 14, 1860 and that he died of the flux.  Another male "infant of Mr. Southerland" was also buried at Nashville City Cemetery on July 27 of 1860. Other children of this couple were James, Lavenia and Jessie.

1860 US Census, Nashville, Tennessee, William Sutherland family.

 An 1864 newspaper notice refers to Sutherland's Restaurant near post office. This is probably the same as the confectionary mentioned below.  It was an advertisement for the first annual ball of the Fenian Brotherhood. At this time William, Julia and family were living on McClemore, near Cedar St.

The Nashville Daily Union, March 8, 1864

William Sutherland is first found in the Nashville City Directory in 1865 (no directories 1861-64 war years) and he is listed as a confectioner in 1865, 66 and 67. His Confectionary was located on Church Street near Cherry Street adjoining the post office. He also is listed as a clerk at the address of Robert's saloon in 1866.   

William and Robert Sutherland, Nashville City Directory 1866

In 1868 Wm Sutherland Co. is listed as a steam sawmill, Gallatin Pk near the Cumberland river.  William and Robert are listed as working at the mill.   

William and Robert Sutherland, Nashville City Directory 1868

In 1869 William bought a tract of land, designated as lot 14, on the plat of the estate of John Shelby (Davidson County Deed Book 42, p 550).   

Nashville City Directory, 1871.

William sold this tract to the Edgefield and Nashville Manuf. Co. in 1874 (Davidson County Deed Book 52, p 152).  During this time, William took on partners, Joseph Ross and George W. Jenkins.  Each held a one third undivided interest in the land and business.  Ross later sold his interest to E. R. Driver.   It was also in 1873 that William and Julia moved into their new brick home at 225 Fatherland Street.

The Republican Banner, March 22, 1874

In 1875, William partnered with J. W. McCollough, with plans to erect a saw mill between the suspension bridge (Woodland Street) and the old bridge pier (Main Street).  A tract adjacent to his first mill, was leased from Priscilla Shelby Phelan.  It was designated as lot 15, on the plat of the estate of John Shelby.  In 1882, William purchased this lot from Phelan (Davidson County Deed Book 75, p 393).  William Sutherland operated at this location from 1875 until his death in 1897. William was buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

The Nashville American, August 8, 1897

After his death, under the guidance of his wife Julia, the company continued with son James, grandson Clarence.  Julia died in May of 1899 and was buried at Mt. Olivet. Son in law Charles A. Graves partnered with Clarence Sutherland about 1902.  In January of 1903 Charles Graves and wife Sally and Clarence Sutherland and wife Jenny transferred the mill property to the partnership of Graves, Sutherland & Co.  In December of 1903, Graves and Sutherland sold the mill property and equipment to Standard Lumber and Box Company (Davidson County Deed Book 291, p 26). With this sale Sutherland & Co. was out of business.  The company had operated on two adjacent tracts from 1868 until 1903.   

This did not end the Sutherland family connection to the lumber mill industry.  Clarence Sutherland, grandson of William, carried on in the family business.  Clarence, son of William Sutherland, Jr., became involved with the Union Lumber Company, located a block to the south of his old family business, on South First between Russell and Woodland Streets.   

1905 Nashville City Directory

A charter was filed in February of 1904 for the Union Lumber company. The new business partners were W. V. Davidson, T. J. Chistman, Clarence G. Sutherland,  Claude Bellamy, M. F. Greene, C. B. Benedict and J. N. Hicks.  A building permit was obtained, in April of 1904, to erect a brick office building. A 1908 news article, stated that the company was owned by well known lumber dealers.  The company was a manufacturer of sash, doors, blinds, interior finishings, flooring, siding and shingles. The Union Lumber manufacturing plant was located at "the foot of Russell Street on First Street. Officers listed in the article were W. V. Davidson, president; Clarence G. Sutherland, vice-president; M. F. Greene, secretary; and Claude Bellamy, treasurer.  

The Tennessean April 19, 1908

In 1910, the firm of Davidson, Greene and Hicks took over the operations of Union Lumber Company.  Clarence Sutherland continued as manager of the factory and yards at First and Russell. In 1916, there was another change when the Sutherland Manufacturing Company was chartered.  

Charter for Sutherland Manufacturing Co. 1916

Clarence Sutherland, W. V. Davidson, J. N. Hicks, W. M. Greene and B. G. Hicks were the principals. Once again the Sutherland name was at the top of the letterhead.  This new company was located adjacent to Davidson, Greene and Hicks, at South First and Russell.   By 1926 the company was called Clarence Sutherland Company, and was still adjacent to Davidson, Greene and Hicks. I did not locate a charter with a name change.  Clarence Sutherland managed the company on South First Street until his death in 1953.  His sons, Clarence Sutherland, Jr. and William T. Sutherland, continued in business.


  This plat shows the location of the first business operated by William Sutherland on lot 14, 1868-1875.  It also shows the second location on lot 15, 1875-1903.

The company had operated on two adjacent tracts from 1868 until 1903.   Chancery Plan Bk 1, p 11.

This section of the 1888 Sanborn maps shows the mill property of William Sutherland.  This is lot 15 of the plan of the Shelby Estate above.  The property is bordered on the west by the Cumberland river on the east by First Street on the north by Main St (Gallatin Pk) and on the south by Woodland St. (Bridge Ave.)

1888 Sanborn map.

  This section of the 1908 Hopkins Atlas of Nashville shows the mill property of William Sutherland, after the sale to Standard Lumber and Box Company in 1903.  This is lot 15 of the plan of the Shelby Estate above.  The property is bordered on the west by the Cumberland river on the east by First Street on the north by Main St (Gallatin Pk) and on the south by Woodland St. (Bridge Ave.)

1908 Hopkins Atlas of Nashville


Abstracts of some of the deeds of property owned by Sutherland & Co.
Deed book 42 p 550,  Lot 14
Recorded Nov 3, 1869
Ann Shelby Kendrick to William Sutherland and Joseph Ross
Tract of land in Edgefield on the north bank of the Cumberland river known as R McClay's mill property, lot No 14 in the plan of the estate of John Shelby.  Fronts on Gallatin Pk on south, Mills Street on the east, on Cumberland river on the west and adjoins Shelby heirs undivided lands on the north. Three thousand dollars.
Deed book 43 p 23 Adjoins lot 14
Recorded April 7, 1870
W. A. Hartwell sold to William Sutherland and Joseph Ross
One acre on the north side of the Cumberland River, on which was once erected the building known as the Foundry building but now used as a steam saw mill and lumber yard by R MClay.
Deed book 48  p 483  Lot 14 and adjoining lot
Recorded Jan 22 1873
William Sutherland and Joseph Ross sold to George W. Jenkins an undivided one third interest in lot 14 of Dr. Shelby's estate, conveyed to us by Ann Kendrick bk 42 p 550.  The second lot adjoins the first, on which was once a building known as the foundry, conveyed to us by W. A. Hartwell, bk 43 p 23.
Deed book 75 p 393 Lot 15
Recorded Nov 2, 1882
For in consideration of the sum of six thousand and fifty dollars to me in hand paid and secured to be paid as herein after set forth by William Sutherland. I Mrs. Priscilla D. Phelan of Davidson County, Tennessee, have bargained and sold…unto the said William Sutherland his heirs and assigns a certain tract or parcel of land in Davidson County, State of Tennessee as follows. It being the tract of land on the north side of Cumberland river in the city of Nashville, heretofore leased by the said Priscilla D. Phelan to the said William Sutherland on which his mills are now located it being lot No 15 in the Shelby estate as recorded in the plan book of the Chancery Court containing two acres one hundred and forty three poles also nine lots east of the above tract …each fronting fifty feet on main street. Written 26 day of October, 1882.  Signed P D Phelan
Deed book 291 p 96-99  Lot 15

It is with this deed that Charles Graves and Clarence Sutherland sold the site of the William Sutherland's Mill to Standard Lumber Co.
Registered Dec 26 1903
For and in consideration of Fifteen Thousand and Five hundred dollars paid and to be paid as hereinafter set forth we Charles A Graves and wife Sallie Graves and Clarence Sutherland and wife Jennie Sutherland hereby transfer and covey to the Standard Lumber and Box Company a tract of land on the northeast side of Cumberland river on which is now located what is known as the Sutherland Mill property being a part of lot 15 in the Shelby estate containing two acres one hundred and forty three poles… beginning at a post in the northern margin of Woodland Street, 632 feet west from the western margin of First Street…to the low water mark of the Cumberland river… down said river to a point on the of southern line of Main Street, with the southern line of Main Street 747 feet to a point 210 feet from First Street… then southerly 145 feet to a 16 foot alley,… along margin of alley 450 feet,… then southerly 172 feet to beginning.
Also all the buildings thereon, also planing mill machinery consisting of on double surfacer, one flooring mill, one circular re-saw, one self feed resaw, two swing cut off saws, one line of shafting and pulleys, thereon all on the first floor of the planing mill building. Also one engine and boiler and piping, also one heater, one cyclone and water tank, one --- pump, one feed pump, two oil tanks in engine room, one elevator, fan and spouting to machines mentioned, hangers on the said line of shafting, also belts to the mentioned machinery that are now on them. The right is hereby reserved to said conveyors to remove from the premises herein conveyed all personality not herein named without --- or hindrance. To have and to hold the said tract of ground and herein mentioned personality to the Standard Lumber and Box Company…mentions right of way previously granted to Tom Ryman for railway…
It is hereby expressly stipulated that full possession of said real estate and machinery shall be given on Feb 1, 1904, and that in the meantime all said property herein conveyed shall be at the risk of the conveyee.  The possession of the conveyors is not to interfere with the conveyees, piling lumber on the yard or putting up any buildings… It is further stipulated that the conveyee may have use of the above named equipment….  signed Charles A. Grave signed Clarence Sutherland - Dec. 17, 1903

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