Monday, December 28, 2015

Morgan - Reeves Building, Nashville Public Square

North Side of the Nashville Public Square ca 1959, Nashville Public Library.

A few years ago I wrote about the Nashville Public Square and the changes that had taken place in the 20th century.  The buildings that formed the four sides of the square were all demolished by the early 1980's, with the exception of one.  The Ben West Municipal Building, built in 1937 as the new Nashville Market House remains, along with the 1937 Davidson County Courthouse, in the center of the square.

The Morgan-Reeves building, which stood on the north side at 208-210 Public Square North, may have been the oldest building on the square, in the latter half of the 20th century. Many Nashvillians remember the structure, which stood until 1975. Originally called the Morgan building, it became known as the Morgan-Reeves building in the 20th century, because of the long term occupancy of the J. S. Reeves Co.

Morgan-Reeves Building 208-210 Public Square - LOC HABS

Although modern published accounts of the Morgan-Reeves building, state it was built after the fire of 1856, recent research has shown that it was actually constructed in 1854/55.  The address of the building was originally No. 49 Public Square.  The numbering system used on the public square was changed over time and by the 20th century the address was 208-210 Public Square.

Nashville Union and American.  July 06, 1856

The building was owned by Nashville merchant Samuel D. Morgan.  Construction had begun by June 16, 1854, when an article appeared in the Daily Union and American, detailing the plans for the building. 

"The building is 180 feet deep by 42 feet in width and five stories high, including a well lighted and fully furnished basement story… The style of architecture is Corinthian, as is the finish of the main story, or sales room… The entire height of the building is 67 feet above the pavement in front, and 76 feet in the rear. The principal rooms are to be finished in magnificent style, with elaborate cornices, &c. The whole extent of the floors is 43,200 feet, or just above an acre.  There are used in the construction of the building between 600,000 and 700,000 bricks, 2835 joists, and 2160 feet of large girders.  A large amount of cast and wrought iron is used with other building materials corresponding with the quantities given.  The architects are WARREN & MOORE…The house is an ornament to the public square…."

The building was completed by the late summer of 1855, when the advertisements began to appear in newspapers.

On September 3, 1855, an article appeared in the Daily Nashville True Whig, about the new building, describing the merchandise within and naming Samuel D. Morgan as the "projector and builder of this fine edifice."

On April 13, 1856. a fire started in the basement of the Nashville Inn, on the public square.  A strong wind blowing from the north soon spread the flames across the square, onto the roof of the courthouse and to the south side heading toward Broad Street.  A news article from the Nashville Union and American, on April 15, 1956, described the fire.

"The spectacle presented by the two burning buildings, and the flying sparks was fearfully sublime.  Since the memorable meteoric shower of 1832, we have seen nothing so grand, and yet so awe inspiring.  It seemed the city was doomed… Before the Courthouse was more than half burnt the large ware houses on the corner of Market street and the square, and on Market street, belonging to H. & B. Douglas, and occupied by Hugh Douglas also took fire, and in succession the stores of H. G. Scovil, druggist, Strickler & Ellis, and  Gardner, Shepherd & Co, on the square, shared the same fate, the lofty brick wall of Morgan & Co's store checking the further progress of the fire in that direction." 

Davidson County Courthouse burned April 13, 1856, Metro Nashville Archives

The stores mentioned above, Douglas warehouse, H. G. Scovil's drugs, Strickler & Ellis and Gardner, Shepherd & Co. were all on the north side of the square running west from Market Street to the Morgan building.  The fire stopped at the Morgan building.  An accounting was given in the paper of losses suffered, naming the businesses and the amount of the loss.  The Morgan building was not listed and it suffered little or no damage from the fire. Buildings along the south side of the square were saved by persons on the rooftops, with buckets of water, keeping the fire to a minimum, halting the spread of the fire to the south.

A summary of the losses from the fire;
Douglas & Co.                        $175,000
Court House                            $ 30,000
Gardner, Shepherd & Co.       $ 10,000
Strickler, Ellis & Co.              $  5,000
H Ewing                                  $  3,000
W. R. Elliston                         $  8,000
H. G. Scovel                           $ 25,000
Elliston & Evans (Inn)           $ 10,000
S. J. Carter                              $ 10,000
Guests at the Inn                     $  5,000
Hollins & Co.                         $  2,500
Evans & Co.                           $  1,500                                              

On August 14, 1856, four months after the fire, a notice appeared in the Nashville Daily Patriot, announcing that the business house of S. D. Morgan & Co. is under a regular transformation in color. We must say we admire the taste displayed, and that this fine building shows to much better advantage, than it did previous to the change.  An adjacent notice, told of the new buildings under construction on the north side of the square.

S. D. Morgan's building survived the great fire of 1856 and prevented the progress of the fire to the west. It was a Nashville landmark for more than 120 years.  It could not escape Nashville's version of progress and fell to the wrecking ball in 1975.  That block on the north side of the square is now home to Metro Nashville's Criminal Justice Center.

Metro Nashville Justice Center - Visual Photos
Update - The Criminal Justice Center was demolished in 2016.  The site will be used for a new Davidson County Jail.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Sunny Point and Edgefield Junction

Tennessee Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1876--7

Sunny Point
A hamlet and post office, 9 miles north of Nashville and 3 miles from Madison station on the L&N and G.S.R.R.  It has 200 inhabitants, contains a country store, wagon shop, Baptist church and common school.  Export, fruits.  Mail once per week.  T. L. Raymer, postmaster.

Edgefield Junction
A thriving village of 400 people located on the Cumberland river in the northern part of Davidson county, and the point of junction of the St.L.&S.E. Ry, and the L&N and G.S.R.R., 10 miles north of Nashville.  It has a steam grist and saw mill, some smaller industries and 3 stores, a Roman Catholic church, Colored Baptist church and a common school.  Corn, wheat and other grain are marketed.  Settled in 1864.  Telegraph, Western Union.  Express, Adams and Southern. Mail daily.  James Galvin, postmaster.

1871 Map Davidson County
Edgefield Junction is shown on the map portion above.  I have not located another reference to Sunny Point.  Three miles north of Madison Station would be just north of where J. E. Sloan is noted on the map, about where the School house is.  This would be near the original location of Amqui Station.  The Amqui Station of today is actually located near the original Madison Station.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Nashville City Cemetery, 1927

This information is from an article published in the Tennessean newspaper, Sunday, September 18, 1927. There was a full page layout on City Cemetery including several photos. The newspaper is available on microfilm at the Tennessee State Library and Archives.
Nashville Tennessean
September 18, 1927


A partial list of noted people buried in the City Cemetery follows:
Joseph Coleman, 1806-7"9; Wilkins Tannehill; Robert B. Curry, 1822-23"25; Charles C. Trabue, 1839-40; P. W. Maxey, 1843-44; W. B. Shapard, three days, in 1854; Felix Robertson, 1818-27"28; Thomas Crutcher, 1819; Wm. Armstrong, 1829-30"31-32; T. B. Coleman, 1842; Andrew Allison, 1847-48; Robt. L. Castleman, 1854-55


Isaac Paul, 1851-53; W. R. Wilkerson.

Andrew Ewing, clerk to the government of the notables, 1783-1813; Nathan Ewing, son of Andrew, clerk of Davidson County Court for many years.


Ann Robertson Cockrell. She taught the little school on board the Adventure and was the first teacher here.
Dr. Felix Robertson, professor of medicine, University of Nashville.
The Rev. Wm. Hume, second president of Nashville Female Academy.
Thomas Crutcher, Nashville Female Academy.
C. D. Elliott, President, N. F. A., 1840-61.
Francis B. Fogg, first president of education, city schools.
Robert P. Curran, commissioner of public instruction.
Dr. Charles Winston, medical department, University of Nashville.
Gerard Troost, first geologist of Tennessee; professor of chemistry, University of Nashville.
Pamella Kirk, a noted teacher, primary school.
Andrew Hynes, Hynes school.
Joseph Knowles, Knowles school.
Porter Howard, son of M. H. Howard, Howard school.
Frederick F. Foy, student in medical department of University of Nashville, 1858.
George Thomas Bowen, professor of chemistry, University of Nashville, 1825.


George R. Forsyth, first Grand Treasurer.
Col. George Wilson.
Timothy Kezer, first Grand Master, Tennessee.
John Coltart.
Wilkins Tannehill, Past Grand Master, Masonic Fraternity of Tennessee.
Charles C. Trabue.
Joseph Norvell, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee Free Masons.
Moses Stevens, by Grand Lodge of Tennessee, Grand Royal Arch Chapter.
James L. Howell, Woodmen of the World Memorial, and many others.


Gen. James Robertson.
Capt. John Bradford.
Samuel Chapman, Revolution Soldier.
Lipscomb Norvell, Revolution Soldier.
Anthony Foster, Revolution Soldier.
Col. Joel Lewis, Revolution Soldier.
A. Marlin, Revolution Soldier.
Henry Marlin, Nashville Blues, 1812, Creek War, New Orleans.
Gen. Samuel G. Smith.
Col. Wm. B. Ramsey.
Col. John Tipton.
Gen. and Gov. John Sevier.
Gen. Robert Armstrong.
Gen. Wm. B. Carroll.
Charles Longenotti, interpreter, Battle of New Orleans; now called Charles Maddis. Tablet, Daughters of 1812.
Terry H. Cahal, Florida War.
Dr. Samuel Hogg (see remark of his mother to General Tarlton after the Battle of the Cowpens).
Capt. William Driver.
Admiral Paul Shirley, U. S. A.
Gen. Felix K. Zollicoffer, C. S. A.
Gen. R. S. Ewell.
Col. William B. Reese, C. S. A.
C. D. Elliott, C. S. A.
Lieut. J. W. Gould, C. S. A.
Capt. Alpha Kingsley.


James Robertson.
John Cockrell.
Ann Robertson Johnson, widow, afterward Mrs. John Cockrell.
David Shelby.
Andrew Ewing.


Judge John McNairy.
Judge Robert Whyte.
Judge Thomas N. Morgan.
Alexander Porter, Judge of Supreme Court.
George W. Campbell (served in a great many ways).
Francis B. Fogg, lawyer.
Ephriam H. Foster, lawyer and senator.
Terry H. Cahal, chancellor of Tennessee.
John Somerville, banker.
Joseph Vaulx, banker.
James Woods, banker-Iron Furnace.
William B. Shapard, banker.
Robert Baxter, Cumberland Furnace.
Richard C. Napier, "Oldest Iron Master in State."
A. Johnson.
Judge William B. Reese.
Anthony Foster.
David Shelby and John Shelby.
Captain Belsnyder.
Robert B. Curry, second postmaster, 1800.


John L. Marling, Nashville Union.
Felix Zollicoffer, Nashville Banner.
Col. George Wilson, first editor west of Cumberland Mountains.
Wilkins Tannehill, editor and famous book store.
Col. W. B. A. Ramsey, historian.
Col. and Judge William B. Reese, historian.
Thomas W. Erskine, Irish essayist.
George W. Harris, author of Sut. Lovingood.
Wm. Edward West, famous artist.
Edward Ewing.

Wilkins Tannehill.
Timothy Kezer, by Grand Lodge.
Dr. Duncan Robertson, by City of Nashville.
Gen. William Carroll, by State of Tennessee.
Abram Husle, by State of Tennessee.
John Sevier, by A. W. Putnam.
John Tipton, by 49th General Assembly.
John Kane, stone cutter of State Capitol (designed by Strickland).
Robert Wilson, by fellow workmen.
Robert Armstrong, by a friend.
The Rev. Alexander A. Winbourn, M. E. Church Conference.
Alexander G. Brown, by Nashville Fire Co. No. 1, 1839.
William Sneed, by a numerous circle of friends, 1827.
The Rev. William Hume, by the citizens of Nashville.
Rev. William Hume, Presbyterian.
Rev. Obadiah Jennings, First Presbyterian Church.
Rev. John Rains, son of Pioneer John Rains.
Rev. Aex. A. Winbourn, M. E. Church.
James A. Diggons, first male member of Christ Church.


Charlotte Reeves Robertson.
Mrs. Hester Jefferson McKenzie, aunt and foster mother of Joseph Jefferson, Tennessee Robertson.
Rebecca Ewing, wife of Edward Ewing.
Harriet Campbell, daughter of first Secretary of Navy.
Hannahetta West Norvell.
Bamella Kirk.
Mothers of many of us.
An old Southern "Mammy".

The City Cemetery contains monuments to the following persons who are not buried there:
William Gilliam (lost at sea).
John Sevier
John Tipton.
David Crockett. (Was this the famous David or his son? The lot is owned by Mr. Putnam, the historian.)




In the early settlement of Nashville the dead were buried on the open ground that overlooked the Sulphur Spring bottom and at two or three country burial places in the neighborhood, and even on the public lot (our Public Square).
Joseph Hay, the first member of the little settlement killed by Indians, was buried a short distance to the east of the Sulphur Spring—not where it now appears, but a hundred yards toward the Capitol where it issued from a rick beneath the surface of the ground. Robert Gilkie, the first who died from sickness, is said to have been buried in this ground.
In a communication to the Tennessee Historical Society, 1850, Nathaniel Cross said: "Being on the bluff immediately above the Sulphur Spring this afternoon, which as is well known was formerly a place of burial for our city, as we now consider it, I observed that there was but one stone left with an inscription on it to tell who lies beneath, as this will disappear like the others.

"I was induced to copy this sole remaining inscription:
"Erected by Sundry Brother Officers and Comrades"
"To the memory of Richard Chandler, late 1st Lieutenant and Paymaster, 4th Regiment of Infantry. In the Army of the United States, who deceased on the 20th day of December, 1801, aged 37 years, 7 months, and 10 days.
"He lived esteemed an honest man and brave soldier.
"He died regretted by all who knew him.
"Exalted truth, and manly firmness shown.
"Conspicuous in him beneath this stone."

A few of the dead were buried on the Public Square, between the courthouse and the site of the Old Inn. The dear old Thomas [p.2] Crutcher, who saw the last one buried there, was heard to say, years after, that the earth was so shallow it was difficult to obtain a sufficient quantity to cover the coffin.

The City Cemetery was first used in 1822, and many bodies were removed from their first resting places for permanent burial there. When located it was thought to be beyond the reach of the city.
The twenty-seven acres inclosed are regularly laid out in streets named like those in a city of the living.
"The soft sunlight here falls through the delicate foilage of Southern evergreens and deciduous trees upon grand monuments, picturesque shrubbery, grassy mounds, and bright green carpets of trailing myrtle. A last palisade of cedar excludes the outside world, whose only approach is through the massive iron gates by which its sleeping tenants enter."
After the War of the States during that terrible readjustment time the Old Cemetery was neglected. Later many families removed their dead to the beautiful new Mt. Olivet. Then an agitation arose to induce the city to remove all the graves and turn the place into a park, or divide it into lots to be sold.
That aroused the sleeping spirit of sentiment and common sense all over the city and county. The fight was on in the City Council. It lasted through many months. The newspapers of that time partially reflect it. In the end, as we thankfully see, the so-called progressive spirits lost, and this precious old "God's Acre" is ours today.
The women of the South Nashville Federation gave the strongest aid in that work. To them also we owe the beautiful entrance gate and through the influence of our present mayor who was the mayor at that time the city built that beautiful and appropriate stone fence.
The names of those who gave freely of their time and money to the cemetery at that time, the workers in the federation and those who planted the roses and some of the trees, will be published later. Mayor Howse is now intensely interested in this movement and is ready to assist in every practical way. Some families have given loving care to their old lots. The Belsnyder, the McCrory, the Winston, the Baxter, the Ewing lots, and several others have been well preserved.
And now the James Robertson Chapter, D. A. R., have taken the cemetery under its special care and protection.
The Gen. James Robertson tomb is the first to receive attention. The work of restoring and beautifying it is now in progress. The Cumberland Chapter, the Campbell Chapter, the McCrory Chapter, D.A.R. and S.A.R will be asked to cooperate. Then it is hoped that a cemetery association will be formed. But all that will bide its time and come when due.



Near the monument of Gov. William Carroll there is a large rock with a graceful iron ornament on top. No name nor date can be found upon either rock or iron to show its meaning. In true legendary style its story has begun to branch out into different versions. Here is one told me when I was a child:
A beautiful young girl lived up the river in the Hermitage neighborhood. On which side of the river I was not told. She had a devoted lover. They were young and very happy. Their favorite place of meeting was among the rocks on top of one of the highest bluffs of the river bank.
The place became very dear to them. It was sweet up there in every season of the year. From it they watched the sunset or the moon rise. They loved it in the sunlight or moonlight or starlight.
There was no objection to their marriage. It gave happiness in the homes of both. But one day something happened; we know not what. A little lover's quarrel followed. It must have seemed to the young girl that the end of all things had come for in her misery and hopelessness she jumped from the bluff into the river below.
Her body was recovered and she was buried in this place. Then the miserable young man had this rock from the top of the bluff removed from its place and hauled to the cemetery. He allowed no name or date upon it. He knew and that was to him sufficient.
This story ended: "And he never "
The other version is in the beginning the same as the foregoing. But it says that they were married and that after a short time the young wife died that she requested that the rock near which "their courting was done" should be placed at her grave. And this the sorrowful young husband did. It is said that she is buried near the boulder.
This article was originally transcribed by Debie Oeser Cox and published on her website for the Friends of Metro Archives on Feb. 6, 1999.  It was retrieved by the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

Nashville A Hundred Years Hence

There is a useful and fun website called Internet Archive Wayback Machine that takes snapshots of
 websites and save them for the future.  Once upon a time many of made web pages, many web pages in some cases, on hosted on free sites, like geocities aol.  These free sites closed, as time passed and the web pages seemed lost forever.  But, Internet Archive was at work and today many of the web pages can still be retrieved. The article below is one that was found in a file at Metro Nashville Archives.  I transcribed and added the article to a website that I had begun when I was a volunteer at the archives.  I was overjoyed to find this page and many other from my days as a volunteer.  I later was employed by the archives, but continued to volunteer my time for the website. The link to the archived page follows the article.

Nashville A Hundred Years Hence

This article appeared in the "Nashville Spectator" in May of 1896. It was written during the Tennessee Centennial festivities.
On next Monday and Tuesday during the opening ceremonies of the Tennessee Centennial many curios old people will be looking forward, and for their benefit I venture a brief catalogue of prophesies extending to the close of the next century.
First (which should make no one sad), we, who take part in this Centennial, will have long since gone back to dust. The babies of to-day will then be great great-grandfathers and mothers. The five millions of citizens claiming citizenship of Nashville will be strangers to us, and we (except a very few) will be unknown to them.
Nashville will include in its corporate limits Gallatin in the east, Franklin in the south, Kingston Springs in the west and Springfield in the north.
Families of immense wealth will live in palatial residences on the ridges and hills of the city.
All the streets and alleys will be paved and kept so clean that a pedestrian may walk through the city and not soil his slippers.
As the destruction of the family would be the destruction of religion and civilization, families will live to themselves in houses as they do now, but the conditions of living will be radically changed. There will be no cooking done in any private house. Firms for furnishing meals and also for furnishing light and heat will be established and regulated by law in every block of the city. There will be firms conveniently located for training and hiring of servants. All the necessities of life will be furnished very cheap.
Cleanliness will not be an optional as it is now, but all families will be forced to keep their houses and premises in perfect order. People who have rats will be severely punished and dogs will be heavily taxed.
There will be no more hotels or boarding houses in proportion to population than now, but they will be smaller and conducted on the European plan.
The law will forbid the herding together of a great number of persons in schools and factories, but as the size of public institutions and industries is reduced, the number of buildings will be increased.
As to education, only the ordinarily English branches will be taught free of charge.
There will be no contagious diseases or fevers of any kind, and, instead of the citizens going to the country for health, the country people will come to the city for cure and recuperation.
As the fuel used in the city will make no smoke, all the house-tops will be utilized as flower gardens and dormitories in the summer, so that at a distance the city will appear as a vast flower bed.
Electric towers placed at convenient points will illuminate the whole city and surrounding country. The city will be governed by retired business men of ample means and honest report and not under sixty years of age.
There will be no saloon or bar where liquor is sold by the dram, but any kind of strong drink may be purchased from druggists and grocers in a package with the proviso that the package must not be broken in a public place or given away in whole or in part. The churches will be more numerous in proportion to population than at present, but smaller and more attractive. The largest membership of a church will be 400, for the reason that religious people will then be very practical and pastors will not assume the care of a greater number of souls than they can employ in charitable work and know personally.
As to the courts, I prophesy only a few changes. A drunken, profane, dishonest and unclean judge will be unknown in our city. Trial by jury will have been abandoned and all criminal cases will be tried at the expense of the State.
As to transportation in the city, one can go anywhere in the corporate limits of Nashville for one cent.
Electric engines will be used on all the larger railways and the Cumberland River, with it locks and dams, will be navigable all the year from Point Isable to Smithland.
No business will be transacted in the city before 9 a.m. nor after 5 p.m.
As to the burial of the dead, our present system of graveyards will be unknown. Cremation will be practiced by many, besides great vaults, beautiful in construction, will be erected in the numerous city parks. The thick walls of these death temples will be honey-combed so that bodies may be inserted and sealed. Every ten or twenty years these vaults may be renewed by cremating all the unknown and unclaimed bodies.
One hundred years hence our children’s children will laugh till they cry when they see our pictures in an old yellow "American," and when they are told how we dress and how we live, they will say, "It is so funny," they cannot see how we lived at all under such circumstances and "so ignorant of every thing." Never mind! Let them laugh! We know that the girls and mothers of that day cannot be any sweeter or more charming than our own blessed maidens and mothers without whom our Centennial would be a mockery and life not worth living.
Who will say that what I have prophesied is false? I am not willing to swear to it, and yet every word of the above may be true. Is it not just as easy for 5,000,000 in the same length of time to come out of a 100,000 as for 100,000 to come out of nothing?

 Old webpage archived by the  Wayback Machine.