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S3.50 The Copy 

Rutherford County 
Historical Society 


Suiiimcr 1978 




The State Capitol 1819-1826 1 

by Alice N, Ray 

From Jefferson to Elkhorn Tavern 7 

The Story of Ben McCulloch 
by Homer Pittard 

Petition of Michael Lorance, Revolutionary 31 

furnished by Mrs. Peggy Herriage 

A Country Store (1912-191^) 36 

by Jack R. Mankin 

^ Soule College e;8 

by Eugene Sloan 

Index IQil 

LIBRARY 79-03209 


The Cover 

This sketch is a version of the First Presbyterian Church 
that stood in Murfreeshoro on East Church Street (now East Vine) 
between 1820 and I863. Alice Ray, a member of the Rutherford 
County Historical Society and a considerable authority on struc- 
tural antiquities, developed a pencil sketch principally from des- 
criptive materials found by Dr. Ernest Hooper in his research on 
the church. Artist Jim Matheny, another Society member, converted 
this rendering to the sharp ink sketch which appears on the cover. 

The building was razed some time in I863 during the Federal 
occupation of the town and was never rebuilt on this site by the 
Presbyterians. The most intriguing aspect of the structure was its 
service as the State Capitol in 1822, after the courthouse burned 
during that year. 

Recently, the Preservation classes at Middle Tennessee State 
University, acting under tlie supervision of Dr. James Huhta, made 
considerable archaeological explorations in the area of the Old 
City Cemetery where the building supposedly stood. The "digs" re- 
sulted in the exposing of a rather distinct line of foundation 
stones and other data which have added considerably to the know- 
ledge of the architectural design of the structure. 

Our thanks to Judge Ben Hall McFarlin for his continuing in- 
terest in and assistance to the Rutherford County Historical Soci- 
ety. Through his efforts, Mrs. Donna Newlon was assigned as secre- 
tary to the Society's office and in this capacity performed innu- 
merable duties for the Society, including typing for this and 
other publications. 


Published by the 


President Dr. Homer Pittard 

Vice-President Mr. W. H. Westbrook 

Recording Secretary Miss Louise Cav/thon 

Corresponding Secretary and Treasurer htrs. Dorothy Hatheny 

Publication Secretary Mr. Walter K. Hoover 

Directors Kiss Mary Hall 

Mr. Robert Rarjland 
Mr. William Walkup 

Publication No. 11 (Limited Edition~350 copies) is distributed to 
members of the Society. The annual membership dues is $5.00 (Family—??. 00) 
which includes the regular publications and the monthly NEV/SLETTER to all 
members. Additional copies of Publication No. 11 may be obtained at $3-50 
per copy. 

All correspondence concerning additional copies, contributions to 
futvu*e issues, and membership should be addressed to: 

Rutherford County Historical Society 

Box 906 

Murfreesboro, Tennessee 3V130 



This volume represents the second publication for 1978 and, 
follovdng past practice, each member or family membership, receives 
a copy as a kind of "refund" for the Society membership duos. Thus, 
membership in the Rutherford County Historical Society must be re- 
garded as one of the most conpelling bargains found in any organization 
in the community. 

The Society has lived a life of happy solvency since its found- 
ing a few years ago. This has been made possible through several low- 
key projects which have generated revenue over and above that needed 
for certain community programs and necessary expenses. Too, the wise 
and efficient care of the Society funds is another inportant factor. 
For this, the Society owes a great debt of gratitude to Dottie Matheny 
Patty. Under her close scrutiny, there is never a question at any 
time as to the status of the organization's finances. 

Publication Ho. 11 is another effort to record some of the 
community's heritage, hopefully, for posterity. In doing so, ^he 
Society affirms one of the reasons for its foimding. 


SOCIETY, Box 906, Ihirfreesboro, Tennesjoee, 37130: 

Publication # 1, 2, 3, U, 5, and 8: Out of print. 

Publication # 6: Link Connnunity; History of I^Vergne; Fellov/ship Conanunity; 
and the Sanders Family. 03.00 + 0-50 postage 

Publication # 7: Hopewell Church, 1816-1883; Stones River Presbyterian 
Church; Cripple Creek Presbyterian Church; Early MJJitia Ordor, 
Petition by Cornelius Sanders for Rev. War Pencion. 

$3.00 + C.50 postage 

Publication # 9: History of Dilton $3.50 + 0.5O postage 

Publication #10: 1864- Diary; Peter Jennings; Henderson Yoakum; Early 

Methodist Church; and Overall Family 03=50 + 0.5O postage 

18A0 Rutherford Census ; With index. 05.00 f 0-50 postage 

Deed Abstracts of Rutherford Covinty . 1803-1810 . Names of land ovnero and 
other genealogical infonnation from early deeds. $10.00 + 0.5O postage 

Griffith ; A beautifully illustrated bi-centennial publication. 

$2.00 + 0.5O postage 

The Story of Murfreesboro . A reprint of C. C. Henderson. History of the 
town and county, hardbound with an index. $5.00 + $,50 postage 

Rutherford County Medallion: Approximately the size of & silver dollar 

with Rutherford County coiirthouse pictured on one side and the center 
of Tennessee marker on the back. 02. OC + 0.5O postage 

Commemorative Plates: 

Plate # 2: Pictures old Tennessee College in Murfreesboro 

05.00 + 01. 00 postage 
Plate 4 3; Pictures the Rutherford County Courthouse about 1900, 

before it was remodeled. 06.00 + $1.00 postage 

AVAILABLE FROM WILLIAM WALKUP, 202 Ridley St., Snyrna, Tennessee, 37167: 

Map of Rutherford County showing roads, streams, and land owners, dated 1878. 

03.50 + 0.5O postage 

Cemetery Records published jointly with the Sons of tho American Revolution: 
Vol. 1: Northwest portion of county including Percy Priest Lake area 

and parts of Wilson and Davidson Counties, 256 cemeteries with 
index and maps. 010-00 + $.$0 postage 

Vol. 2: Eastern portion of Rutherford Co. and the weatern part of 
Cannon Co., 2^,1 cematerieo v;ith index and nnps. 

,$10.00 + $.50 postage 
Vol. 3; Southwestern portion of Rutherford County, 193 cemeteries, 

index and maps. $10.00 + $.50 postage 

Prepared by Mrs. D. C. Daniel, Jr. 

IMPORTANT: Publication of queries in this coluisn is free to all members 
as space permits. Each query must appear on a full shcot of paper vhich 
must bo dated and include membor'o name and address , Plenso typo if pos- 
sible. Queries should give as much pertinent data ast pocsiblo, i.e. 
approximate/actual dates of birth, marriage, death, etc. Queries must 
refer to RUTHERFORD COUNTY, TENNESSEE FAJ4ILIES and icmediate connections. 
Address all correspondence relating to queries to the Society, P, 0. Box 
906, Murfreesboro, Tennessee 37130. 

No. 1 WEBB, OWEN, DANIEL. SEAY, HAILEY: Seeking doscendanbe of Aaron 
ViEBB (b. 1775, Pa.) and wife, h'^ry "Polly" OWEM, ved Rutherford 
Co. Jan. 1, 1823. Children: Aeasa, Isaac Sholby (v;ed Mary Ann 
SEAY 1853), Evander (wed Ifery E. DANIEL 1851), Nancy (wed VJilliara 
B. HAILEY 1853), Robert, I^vid, and Lucy J. Plcnoe reply. Mro. 
George F. Dav is, ^752 Oak Cliff Drive. _ElJ?aflo,_';H_7951 2,.. 

No. 2 FELKER, BAILEY: Susan Felker, 1830 census of Rutherford County, 
with two sons ages 10-15, herself age 30-4-0, not in I84O census 
of TN, in 1850 census of Oregon Co., MO in horns of covi John 
Anderson FELKER who married Louisa BAILEY in Rutherford Co in 
I84I (was she daughter ci' HoDjneo BAILEY?). Descendants of John 
Anderson FELKER believe he married Louisa Meissncr. Rebecca 
BAILEY Justice (married Justice 1840's) appears in 1850 census of 
Oregon Co., MO in household of Nancy C. FELKEP. near household of 
John Anderson FELKER (b. Sept. 4, 1819, Til, d. Sept. 11, 1894, 
TX). Nancy (b. ca. 1817) supposedly divorced from ? 
Melvin. Need any information re FELKERS and BAILEYS. Need name 
of Susan FELKER 's husband, apparently deceased by 1830, or con- 
cerning relatives of Susaii FELKER. Puszled as to why her daughter 
(Nancy must have been Joiin Anderson's sister, cinco he held her 
property in MO in his name until her second Earriaf:c in 18S5) did 
not appear \/ith her in 1830 census. Need maiden nancs of Susan 
FELKER or Nancy (if she was not a FELKER befora marriage) or 
Ciiristian name of Nancy's first husband, Molvin being svu:'namo if 
our family legends are true, MissJ^llldred J. Felker. 60 7_E._ P itkin. 
Pueblo. Co 81004 

No. 3 TODD: TODD families descended from 5 original TODDs in Rutherford 
Co. by I8O9 - compilation in progress to be published soon. Anyone 
not previously contacted, please correspond. Particularly inter- 
ested in parents and relation .:hip to other TODDs of William TODD 
b. April 10, 1781 N. C? GA? married Madison Co., KY 1804, Jane 
Douglas, and his brother Heubin TODD b, ca. 1792 GA married #1 
Polly P. (Alexander?) and //2 Jcalca TODD, daughter of Aaron and 
Sally TODD. Both brothers roared large facllles in Rutherford 
County in the old Big Springs area. Sone say they were sons of 
Mary Jane TODD, sister to oldest Benjamcn TODD to come to Ruther- 
ford. ANY data greatly appreciated. Jean Douglas Van Meter, 
2552 W. Stuart. Fresno. GAL 93711 . 

No. 4 DOUGLASS: Desire any information abovit descendant s/parentB of 
Rhodham DOUGLASS b. ca. 1775 VA, and in Rutherford Co, by 1810. 
At least 2 of his sons, Bryant and Joseph were also listed in 
Rutherford and Coffee Co census records. Dooire to knov; other 
children and family background. Was Thomas DOUGLASS Rhodham' s 
brother? 1850 Bedford Co. census shows Rhodhnm. Jean Douglas 
Van Meter. 2552 W. Stuart. Fresno. CAL 93711 . 

A member of o\ir society is a genealogist: Mrs. Lalia Lester 

1307 W. Morthfield Blvd. 

Murfreesboro, Tenn. 37130 
Tel.: (615) 896-9089 


By Alice N. Ray 

The history of a town can be preserved in different ways, and Murfrees- 
boro can certainly share in the architectirral, religious, and cultural forms 
with its historic courthouse, many beautiful hones, and lovely churches. 
There is a variety of architecture that contributes greatly to the rj.chness 
of the tovm. 

A unique place in this commcjiity is the Old City Cemetery, which houses 
the foundation of one of the most historic buildings in this area. Not only 
was it the First Presbyterian Church, but the State Capitol as well. This 
was the kind of building often referred to in the early eighteen hundreds ass 
a "Meeting House". During this time, there was usually a structure in each 
town that seized for regular Svmday services and for town meetings as well. 
In times of trouble or emergency, people would meet there to help each 
other. Much can be learned about a town when we study these churches. 
Here people would come for every purpose, thus, they were called "Meeting 
Houses". "Going to meeting" beca'aas a common phrase for attending church. 

The old foundation of East Vine Street is that of the First Presbyter- 
ian Church, founded in 1812 as the Murfree Springs Church with eighteen 
members. In 1818 the name of the congregation vras changed to First Presby- 
terian, and a new building was erected. TMs new building stood until it 
was demolished by the Union army in 1864. 

The building was constructed of hand-made brick with the exterior 
similar to the larger meeting houses of the period. Builders of these ear- 
ly ftructv.res to.^k pride in their crnft ?.nd \s'orkEianship. Thev used the best 

materials available, and, as a result, many of thcco biiilding hnve ctood 
for hundreds of years. 

In 1779 Asher Benjamin published a book. The Count ry Builders Assistant . 
In this book there appeared a "Design for a Church". Up until th5.s time, no 
one really knew or had any guide lines as to vrhat a church really should 
look like. This design was used throughout New England, where the author 
v/as bom and the book was published. Many of these buildings still stemd 
today and can readily be recognized by the three front doors, two rows of 
windows on each side, octagonal bell tov/ors, balconies, raised pulpits, 
and many other features described in this book. They became known as the 
"Benjamin Design". 

The biiilding here on East Vine Street certainly had many of the Benja- 
min features. In New England the buildings differed in the exterior 
materials, since weather board was used most often instead of brick or 
stone as was the custom in the south. 

Since the foundation is all that remains for us to see of this historic 
structure, we are able to learn about the appearance from the specifications 
that Dr. Ernest Hooper was successfu-1 in obtaining from the National Archives 
in Washington, D.C. The foundation vrns two feet wide of hammered stone four 
feet high with two feet above the ground. The stone was laid with lime and 
sand mortar. The lime was slacked in a pit on the site. Stone was usually 
quarried in the general vacinity of the building site. To transport stone 
from the quarry to the site required a lot of labor and ingenuity. Larger 
stones were secured underneath wagons by log chains to avoid much heavy 
lifting, while smaller stones v/ere hauled in v/agon beds. Stone was hammer 
dressed and cut by skilled stone masons. During this period of time stone 

Sinnott, Edmund W., Meeting House and Church in New En^qland . p. 80-89. 

masons made and sharpened most of the tools that wore used to face stono. 
A greater amount of skill was required to cut and face sillo> oteno, and 
lintels, because they had to be cut to exact dinencions. 

The walls were seventeen inches thick of hand"=-mado brick and laid 
v/ith sand and lime iKjrtar. The exterior walls were of a high grade, hard 
brick usually made near the site. Brick masons not only laj.d the brick, 
but they made them and built the ld.ln as vrell. To mako brick a pit was 
dug and clay was taken directly from clay banks and thrown into the pit 
with the proper amoiont of water. A large wheel operated on a shaft and 
was drawn by a horse or several laborers through this pit to thoroughly 
mix the clay and water. The clay mixtuTe was then pressed into brick molds 
and turned out on boards to air dry, VJhen the desired number of bricks 
were mad^ the kiln was built and fired at a very high temperature until 
the bricks were burned hard. This firing usually required several days 
and nights. The bricks nearest the fire vrcro the hardest and were used 
on the exterior, while the softer ones were used for Interior walls. 

Windows along each side of the building vrero in two rows with five in 
each row, maki n g ten windows on each side. These windows were eight feet 
high and three feet six inches vide vrith sills and lintols of hammer-dressed 
limestone. Blinds or shutters were used on all vrindows, as was the custom 
at this time. 

The roof was put on of heavy material, with the rafters and beams 
being made of eight by ten inch timbers. Sheathing was one inch thick and 
was covered with cedar shingles. Ifeking shingles was a craft that required 
special tools that most often were made by the craftsman, himself. Some 

Andels, Masons and Builders Guide. Vol 1, p. 11-13. 

The Foxfire Book . Vol. 1, p. 33-52. 

tools used were steel wedges, go-devils, froes, mallets, gluts, mauls, 
poleaxes, and broadaxes. Large trees were used for marring the bolts that 
were cut into boards the correct length and then finished into sh5.ngles. 
Dressing boards to make the finished shingle required a shaving horse 
and a draw knife. A craftsman could rive over one thousand boards a 
day, and the average building required about five thousand shingles. 

One of the most interesting parts of this structure was the entrsmces 
with the large stone platforms reaching six feet long and being two feet 
wide and eight inches thick. Steps were over four feet long at each of 
the three front doors. The folding doors had a circular sash, and each 
opening had an entablature supported by pilasters at each side. This made 
a very attractive entrance, similar to the Benjamin design. 

Towers were traditional, and cupolas and be].l towers with steeples 
were almost alv/ays used. The tower had a cornice, as well as the remain- 
der of the building. Tlie bell tower was octagon shaped. 

Plaster was used on the inside vjalls with two or three coats usually 
being the custom. The final coat is very smooth and white, and it was 
often used this way and then painted later. 

The vestibule reached across the entrance end with a partition that 
had two folding doors that separated it from the main part of the building. 
Two large colvuims supporting the back side of the towf?r were near the fold- 
ing doors. Also In the vestibule were the two winding stair ways that were 
used to reach the galleries along each side and across the front of the 
bxiilding. The galleries vxere supported by turned columns ten feet high, 
and the fronts were three fset high with panel v;o:»-k, pilasters, and molded 
caps. The side galleries were laid out in steps wide enough to have pews 
set on each step. The front gallery was arranged for the choir and for an 
or pan . 

Pews were fitted to the space in the three sections foi'ined by the 
tv/o aisles. They had panels in the back with rounded top rails. The 
ends of the pews were also paneled with scroll caps, and each pevr had 
a panel door. 

Pulpits being focal points were, naturally, made very attractive, 
and the one here was no exception. It had a panel front and pedestal 
and was elevated about four feeto The pulpit coiild be reached by two 
small circular stairs on each side. The altar, stair rails, and newel 
post were all cade of walnut. 

With a bviilding so stately and near the center of town, it seems 
logical that it would be selected to become the State Capitol, when the 
need arose. Both houses of the General Assembly could make use of this 
peirticular building, since the Senate could use the gallery for their 
meetings, and the Lower House could meet on the first floor. 

A number of interesting acts that concerned ^-brfreesboro and Ruther- 
ford County were acted upon diiring the time Murfree«boro was the capital 
of Tennessee. 

A special session of the Legislature was begun on July 22 eind ended 
on August 24, 1822, An Act was passed to divide the state into districts 
for the election of Representatives in Congress. At this time Rutherford 
County was placed in the seventh district along with Davidson and Williamson 

On August 17, 1822 authority was given Rutherford County to levy a 
property tax to obtain the amoiuit of $6,000 to build a courthouse. The 
levy was to continue for three years and was levied as follows: 37^^ en 
each 100 acres of land; 75^ on. each town lot; 25^ on each white pall; 50^ 
on each black pall; twice the season price on each stallion; ^10 on each 
pleasure carriage; $5 on each two-v^heel vehicle; sir.d ^10 on each ordinary 
where liquor was sold. 

On August 23, 1822 an Act was passed to create a lottcryj alBo on 
this same date, Acts ooncerning marriage, divorce, end some on the rights 
of vjomen were acted upon. Another Act on August 23, 1822 provided for 
payment of expenses for certain trials. The amount of $200 was paid to 
James K. Polk, clerk of the court, for his services. Not only did this 
clerk marry a Murfreesboro girl, Jiiss Sarah Childress, but he became gov- 
ernor of Tennessee, a Representative in Congress, and our nation's eleventh 

In a special session of the General Assembly held from September 15 
through November 29, 1823, one of the first bills to be acted upon was an 
Act to Preserve the Purity of Elections. In this Act a person could be 
fined for threatening a voter ^Jith spirituous liquors, wagering cr betting 
anything of value, and the fine coiald be $100. The first voting precinct 
was authorized in October, 1823. Many other Acts concerning Rutherford 
County were acted upon during the years the General Assembly met here. It 
was moved to Nashville in early 1826. While here the Acts were recorded 
on a Franklin Hand Press borrowed from a Nashville printing office. 

This brief account of the activities carried ->i at the vmique little 
"Meeting House" on East Vine Street, v;hile it was the Capitol of Tennessee, 
has been taken in part from C G. Henderson's The Storj ££ Murfreesboro . 
published in I929 by the News Banner Publishing Germany in Murfreesboro, 
Tennessee. The book had long '•;8en out of print, but through the efforts 
of the R'-therfurd County Historical Society and the generosity of Mr. Jesse 
Beesley, a limited number of these books have been reprinted and are avail- 
able through the Society, P. 0. Box 906, Murfreesboro, Tennessee 37130. 

7 — - 


The Story of Bon McCulloch 
By Homer Pittard 

Ben McCulloch, a Rutherford Countian, has almost a muted enshrlnement 

in the pantheon of heroes. He gained fame during the Texas Revolution, the 

Mexican War, as a Texas Ranger, and finally as a Confederate general officer 

during the Civil War. let, Texas history has nade only a token curtsey in 

his direction. One rather petulant McCulloch admirer measured his hero 

alongside Davy Crockett, a Texas immortal: 

"Crockett, \rfio was in Texas but a fev; v/eeks and fought but 
twelve days, is known as one of the state's great heroic char- 
acters; McCulloch served Texas a quarter of a century, rendering 
a thousand times more service thpii did Crockett. The former 
fought one battle, the latter fought in three wars, to say noth- 
ing of Indian engagements by the score. Both died a sacrifice 
to the cause which the state espoused. let Crockett is known as. 
one of Texas' greatest men, while McCulloch is all but unknown." 

Also, reference should be made to the fact that the Confederacy appointed 
McCulloch to the rank of brigadier general on hfey 14-, 1861, the identical day 
that the venerable Robert E. Leo was elevated to the same officer rank. 
These two led the vanguard of appointments above the colonelcy level followed 
some thirty days later by storied gray heroes James Longstreet, Albert Sidney 
Johnston, Joseph E. Johnston, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, and Jeb Stiaart. 
Ten nsonths later a minie ball ended McCulloch' s military career at Pea Ridge, 
or Elkhorn Tavern. Despite his considerable friction at times with fellow 
officers and superiors, his star was on the rise. It is conjecture, of 
course, as to what his status in Confederate histoiy, as well as Texas lore, 
would have been had he survived the four-year struggle. 

Ben McCulloch was born near Jefferson in Rutherford County on November 1 1 , 

^Webb, "Exploits of the Texas Rangers", p. 24. 
""Warntjr, Generals in Gray . (Random references) 


1811. His parents were Major Alexander McCulloch of North Carolina and 
Frances LeNoir of Virginia, Alexe.nder was an aide-de-camp to General James 
Coffee in the Creek War and the War of 1812. The Major, inheriting with 
his brother, a large plantation, several slaves, money, and considerable 

unimproved land in Tennessee, came with his brother to middle Teanessee 

near the turn of the century and settled along Stone's River. He v/as a 

graduate of Yale and was described by his son, Henry Eustace, as "one of 
the stern men of his dayj with great decision of character."'* Despite his 
impressive educational background and generous inheritance, his penchant 
for the life of a wastrel and his habit of lavishing his friends with gifts 
and money, left scarce support for the education of his burgeoning family: 
six sons and six daughters. In addition to Ben, there were Henry Eustace, 
who was to win a modicum of fame as a Texas Ranger and Confederate briga- 
dier; Alexander, a Mexican V/ar participant and a colonel of militia in 
Dyer County; John S., a Confederate captain in the quarter-master's depart- 
ment; Samuel, a merchant in Florence, Alabama; and James C, the yovmgest 
brother, a rheumatic invalid who died in 1862. The j^ix sisters were Sarah 
Stokes, who married Albert Keehle of Rutherford County; Mary Annie, who 
married William L. Mitchell of Rutherford County and died in Gonzales, 
Texas; Francis Olivia, who married Charles Parish of Weakley County, Tenne- 
ssee; Harriet Maria, who married Nat Benton, a nephew of Thomas H. Benton, 
captain of a company of Texas Rangers, and an officer in the Confederate 
amy; Elizabeth Julia, who married Robert H. Tarrant, a Methodist preacher 

of Dyer County; and Adelaide Delia, v/ho married Albert C. Pierce, also of 

Pyer County. 

^Rose, Ben McCulloch , p. 14« 

^bid, p. 15. 

Speer, Encyclopedia of the New West, p. 281 . 

General Ben McCulloch. It is 
possible that this is an exanple 
of trick photography with the 
head mounted on a "standard" 

McCulloch marker near Brady, 
Texas city limits. Brady is 
the county seat of McCulloch 


*:, ^♦'^i#^-v-vU 


•'.^ f 

Elkhorn Tavern, 
Arkansas — McCulloch 
was killed near here. 
Note the antlers on 
the roof. 


Alexander worked at the surveyor's trade, and it is conjectured that 
he plotted the county seat of Jefferson for speculators Thomas Bedford and 
Robert Weakley when Rutherford County v/as established in 1803. He is 
listed as one of the petitioners for the forming of the new county on 
August 10, 1803 and as the first trustee of the new political entity. 
Deed abstracts and other records of the period shov; a diversification of 
real estate activities on the part of the elder McCulloch. He served as 
witness for several real estate transfers and bought and sold land himself. 

In the fall of 1820, for some unexplainable reason, Alexander loaded 
his family and household furniture on the plantation wagons and ox carts 
and moved to Alabama » There at J^uscle Shoals along the Tennessee River, 
he continued his surveying activities and efforts at farming. 

Ben, almost ten years of age at the moment of his removal to Alabama, 
augmented his one year of schooling at Jefferson vrith a fev/ months at the 
neighborhood school some three miles from his home. Beyond this, his 
lessons were learned from the practicalities of the frontier life and a 
voracious appetite for reading. Near the McCulloch home was the favorite 
winter cajnping grounds of the Choctaw Indians. From them he learned the 
intricate basics of building canoes, tracking animals and humans, and, in 
particular, the habits and lore of Indians.^ This knov/J edge was to serve 
him well v/hen he later found himself a Redman adversary on the Texas plains. 

In 1830, the McCullochs loosened their roots again and moved back to 
Tennessee, three miles from Pyersburg in West Tennessee, Ben, then nine- 
teen years of age, was sent ahead vrith ox-carts containing most of the 

"Publication No. 2> Rutherford County Historical Society, p. 55. 

Wray, Rutherford Coxmty Deed Abstracts . (Random references) 


Dictionary of American Biography , p. 5- 

'^Gunn, Ben McCulloch . p. 20. 


household furnitvire, the Negroes, and livestock. Major McCulloch had 
calculated to arrive first, but when he arrived, Ben was waiting and had 
selected the site for the cabin, farm, and spring. In addition, several 
house logs had been cut. 

Once ensconced in his new home some twenty miles from the Mississippi, 
his restless and active spirits came into full flower. He built a large 
pirogue and began trapping in earnest, along with operating a low-key trans- 
port business. His constant hunting companion, despite the disparity of 
ages, was Davy Crockett who lived in the neighboring county. In the spring 
of 1832, Ben left for Independence, Missouri, where he had hoped to join a 
trapping party. When he found there was no room for him, he switched to 
Galena where he found employment in the lead mines for some twelve months. 
Following a restless summer in Wisconsin, Ben returned to Tennessee and 
joined with brother Henry Eustace in cutting eind marketing cypress logs- 

These were rafted down the Obion River to the Mississippi and then to Natchez 

where the logs were sold. 

Confinement to a precise occupation for any extended length of time 

appeared to accentuate Ben's restlessness. It was natural that he should 

turn his attention to Texas. On rafting trips to Natchez, he frequently 

visited New Orleans where he had searched for the grave of one of his kins- 

men, St. John Petersen LeNoir, an xincle. In the Crescent City, he heard 

tales about the struggles of Americans in the new land above the Rio Grande 

and, in particular, the report of atrocities by Mexican soldiers. Too, many 

Rose, Ben McCulloch . p. 3A. 

^^Ibid, p. 40. 


Gunn, Ben McCulloch . p. 4-0. 

Reid, The Scouting Expeditions of McCulloch ' s Texas Rangers , p. 24., 


Tennesseans had already left for Texas. Neighbor Davj-- Crockett was poised 
for the trek west. Supposedly, he had confided in Ben that if he were un- 
successful in his re-election campaign for Congress, he would follovj the 
Tennessee exodus to Texas and would invite his young neighbor and some 
other West Tennesseans to accompany him. To complete the story, Crockett 
lost his 1835 re-election bid and shortly thereafter, the first of October, 
he left for Texas. Fortunately or unfortunately, according to one's de- 
gree of preference for immortality, Ben could not leave his farm chores at 
the time. Possibly a month later, with his home obligations completed, he, 
accompanied by his young brother, struck out for the Crockett trail. They 
crossed the Mississippi at Men^Dhis, then to Little Rock, crossed Red River 
at Compton, and then took the Gaine's Ferry at the Sabine to Mexico. At 

this point Henry Eustace was persuaded to return to the family farm in Dyer 

Cotmty, remain for two years, and then join his brother. Early in Janu- 
ary of 1836, Ben set out alone on foot for San Antonio. At the Brazos 
River a kind fate intervened, and he was delayed several weeks by measles. 
On February 23, the Alamo siege began with 169 valiants, including Crockett, 
facing Santa Anna's 5,000 Mexicans. Thirteen days later, the mission fort 
fell with all of the remaining defenders being summarily placed before the 
firing squad. '6 

In the midst of the angry outcry that follovied the butchery at San 
Antonio, Ben MoCulloch entered the portals of his destiny. He immediately 
joined Sam Houston's rag-tag army and thus geared himself for his role in 
the Revolution. He was twenty-foxu* years of age upon his entry into Texas 

"•"^Ibid, p. 35. 

1 5 
Rose, Ben McCulloch . p. 60. 

G'lnn, Ben McCulloch . p. 36. 


and was described as "five feet, ten inches in height, slightly thin, but 
muscular arms and shoulders gave him the appearance of an athlete. Sharp 
blue eyes illuminated his keen features." Ben must be categorized as 
one of the free spirits of his time- Never affiliating himself with a 
religious faith, he also studiously avoided narriage, thus remaining a 
dedicated bachelor during his fifty-one years. Sam Houston who later became 
a close friend of the Rutherford Coiontian, concluded one of his letters to 
McCulloch with this warning: "Never get married. "^^ This was obviously an 
iraploration in jest, but the warning was possibly of no serious consequence 
to McCulloch, since he had already set his course. Some disposition toward 
shyness may have motivated Ben to choose the life of single solitude. Once 
when stationed in Washington, D.C., he visited White .Sulphur Springs, Vir- 
ginia in an effort to escape the searing heat in the nations 's capital. 
This excerpt from a letter to his mother may imply his acceptance of the 
loner's role and his slightly cloaked reticence and discomfort in the com- 
pany of the opposite sex: "People were there (the reaort) for three reasons. 
These were to drink, geimble, and make love. I'm not handsome enough to marry 
to advantage or sufficiently dishonest to be a successful gambler. The only 
advantages offered me were health and knowledge." However, there is some 
evidence that he was not completely oblivious to the allurements of the at- 
tractive female. Ben's patrol duties later as a Texas Ranger carried him 
through many of the Mexican villages. The brownskin native woman, naked to 
the waist by custom, were observed strolling through the streets or staiiding 
agape at the passing horsemen. A companion rider reported that "Hen McCuiioch 

^'^Ibid, p. 4.3. 
'^Ibid,, p. 91. 
^^Ibid, p. '8. 


spoke enthusiastically of the unveiled charms of the Coir?.rgo". Probahly 

the best explanation for his choice of li.fe style v.'as his restlescnccs and 
hxs passion for mobility. Apparently never satisfied vrith a task or activ- 
ity for any length of time, he was forever in search of aev; vistas end 
physical challenges. One observation of McCulloch, if near tho truth, 
pi'obably places him in the proper perspective, thus explaining his intense 
individuality and the rationale for remaining single and unencumbered: "He 
was flamboyant, headstrong, intelligent, coarse, somotimos bnatnl, usually 

McCulloch' s first combat action came at San Jacinto on April 2, 1836, 
a battle that proved to be the deciding engagement of the Revolution. It 
was not difficult for an aggressive, outspoken, and combative young man of 
twenty-four to attract the attention of Houston in his tiny force of no more 
than 80C. Ben was pulled from the line and placed in command of one of the 

"Two Sisters", two pieces of artillery which represented the total heav:y 


ordnance complement of the Texans. The battle was over in fifteen minutes 

with an almost con?)lete destruction of the 1500 Mexican arjjy with General 
Santa Anna among the captured. Ben's courage and ability ddmonstrated in 

directing the maneuver and fire of the "Twin Sister" resulted in his pro- 

motion next day to first lieutencjit. ^ An unknown versifier gave some 

small iaanortalization to McCulloch' s performance in the fray in a poem en- 
titled, "Ben McCulloch at San Jacinto". Here is a saaiple from the nine-verse 
effort: "Hurrah for stout Ben I and hurrah for the band/ That gave freedom 


Ibid, p. 107. 


Rose, Ben McCulloch . p. 101. 

The "Twin Sisters" were contributed by a ladies organization in Cincin.-iati. 


Barker, "San Jacinto Campaign", p. 237. 


to Texas that day/ And hurrah for the gun which so bravely was manned/ 
When the hero was passing that way." ^ 

Ben's military life ended for the moment after San Jacinto. Bored 
with the inactivity of garrison and occasional patrol duty, ho requested 
and received a furlough which led him into an exploring foray to Lavaca 
and Guadalupe. This was followed by a trip to Tennessee to recruit a 
conpany of troops. After retxirning to Texas and finding himself no 
longer obligated to the militai-y, he labored for a few months as a whip- 
sawyer in a Houston Ivunberyard. Ben was soon teick in Toanesoee for the 
purpose of learning svirveying from his father. After a brief "schooling" 
from Major McCulloch, he returned to Texas with residence in Gonzales, 
where he anno\mced himself as a surveyor.^ Brother Henry Eustace followed 
his brother to Gonzales in July, 1838, and they bunked together in a cabin 
two miles from the town. This continued until Henry Eustace was married 
in 1840.2^ 

Surprisingly, Ben McCulloch devoted much of hi 3 time to surveying 
during the next few years. In 1839 when Austin was tapped for the Capital 
of the state, Ben surveyed and plotted the road from Gonzales to Austin. 
However, he always kept a weather eye out for action; tho previous year he 
had organized a vigilante unit which later became a contingent of the Texas 
Rangers, a famed frontier security force which was formed in San Antonio in 
1840. Elected from Gonzales to the first Texas Republic Congress in 1839, 
and, in the process, fighting a duel with one Colonel Alonzo Sweitzer, his 
opponent (in which he emerged second best with an ugly shoulder wound), he 


Rose, Ben McCulloch . p. 45. 

^^Ibid, p. 50. 


fiunn. Pen McCulloch , p. oO, 


served only one term, the political lethar^ at Austin not to his liking. 

Interspersed with his sojourn at Austin was his somewhat eager role with 

other volunteers in subduing a band of marauding Indians near Gonzales in 

March, 1839. This incident, known as the Battle of Peach Creek, served as 

a preliminary to a larger drama: the Great Comanche Raid. The Indians, 

angered by the incursions by the white man, swept across the southern 

plains the following year in a frenzy of stealing, raping, and murdering. 

McCulloch, commanding a detachment of Rangers, met the band of over 1,000 

warriors at PItud Creek on August 12, 184.0 and virtually destroyed them. 

The action at Plum Creek catapulted McCulloch into the Republic's lime- 
light, and thereafter he retained a high visibility in the military affairs 
of Texas. During the early months of 18^2, there were rumors of a possible 
Mexican invasion of the Republic, and McCulloch was dispatched to San An- 
tonio to aid in repelling the invaders. The Mexican troops soon retired, 

but the incident provided, in essence, a kind of dress rehearsal for the 

major conflict that was to erupt four years later. In 18^5, Ben was 

elected to the first legislat\ire of the new state of Texas, possibly as a 

reward for his military prowess and emerging hero statu.:. On April 24, I846, 

the Mexican War "officially" began when sixty-three American dragoons were 

killed on the Rio Grande. 

Responding to General Zachary Taylor's clarion call, McCulloch left 

his desk at the Capitol and raised a company of Rangers, a highly mobile 

unit that traveled lightly and, most Important, required no encumbering 


Smither, Journal of the Fourth Congress of Texas , p. 13. 


Rose, Ben McCulloch . p. 55. 

^Gunn, Ben McCulloch . p. 80. 


^ Ibid, p. 81. 



supply wagons. At this time, Ben was thirty- five years of age and was 
remembered as being "rather lean, sinewy, and a fine horseman."-^ David 
Wilkins Kendall, a jotirnalist who was attached to the Rangoro, v/as on ar- 
dent admirer of the Captain, and his dispatches added much to the McCxilloch 
n^rstique, however minimal. He described his hero as "a man of rather deli- 
cate frame, about six feet in height, with licht hair and coE^lejdon. His 
features are regular and pleasing, though, from long expostire on the fron- 
tier, they have a rather weather-beaten cast. His quick smd bright blue 

eyes, with a mouth of thin compressed lips, indicate the cool, calculating, 

as well as the brave and daring energy of this man." Webb added this 

salute: "His face was a mask and his features under such control as to 

give no clue of his feelings or emotions, or intentions. It was as natural 

for Ben to remain calm in danger as it was to breathe ... His courage 

may best be described as a complete absence of fear." 

McCulloch commanded Ranger units in most of the principal battles of 
the war which included Palo Alto, Resaca De La Paliaa, Monterrey, Buena 
Vista, Cerro Gordo, Churibusco, and perhaps others. The Ranger companies 
under his command "were perhaps the best mounted, armed, emd equipped, and 
appointed units that were out in the ranging service. . . . (They) enjoyed 
more of the trust and confidence of the commanding general than any other 
volunteer conpany of the invadiug arny."-^^ There is evidence that the Ran- 
gers performed little lina duty but occupied their time principally in 
scouting, reconnoitering, and spying. However, at Monterrey on September 21 , 


Rose, Ben McCulloch . p. 75. 


Kendall, Picayune , June 24, 1SA6. 


Webb, Texas Rangers , p. 95. 

-^'Tleid, McCulloch ' s Rangers , p. 38. 


the Reingers in scouting the west sector of the fortress city, foxmd a fatal 
flaw in the defense. Tvjo limestone heights guarding the city had a ninimmn 
of armament on the steep west faces, and this become the vulnerable point 
that led to the storming of the works and the eventual capitulation of 
Monterrey on September 23. In this pivotal battle, the Rangers led the 
onslaught.-'^ Buena Vista also saw the Rangers rise to the attack. At 
this time McCulloch held the rank of major-general in the Texas militia. 

V/ith the fall of Mexico City in 1848, the war wound down and Bon re- 
turned to Texas as a national hero. His response to the wide acclaim was 
reported in this manner; "He bore his honors with modesty and shrank in- 
stinctively from any parade of himself; being at all times the plain, 
unpretentious citizen; yet in spite of himself, he was also the famous 
xinique Ben McCulloch.""^'' At thirty-seven Ben was, indeed, unique. Al- 
ready he had begun to embrace some of the eccentricities that were to set 
him apart during his remaining fourteen years of life. 

In 18^6, during Ben's single-minded involvement in the Mexican War, 
Major McCulloch had died in Tennessee. After the war's cessation, McCul- 
loch returned to Dyer County to assist his mother in settling the estate. 
Retracing his steps to Texas by the way of Huntsville to visit friend Sam 
Houston, he ended his military career, for tho time being, after assisting 
General David Emanuel Twiggs in xocating the United States posts or forts 
along the border of Texas. 

Until 1849 he followed the siirveying trade again vrith a few years of 
unprecendented muting of his wanderlust. During this period, his mother 

^Hardeman, Wilderness Calling , p. H7. 
^^Gunn, Ben McCulloch . p. 67. 
^'^Rose, Ben McCulloch . p. 116. 


came from Cyersburg to Texas to establish residence near Ben and Henrjr 
Eustace. Early in 184.9 liis thoughts turned to the militaiy again, and he 
decided to travel to Washington, D.C. in an effort to exploit his fame or 
prestige, if euxy, gained in the late war. Also, there were rumors that 
an Indian agency was to be formed. The Indian agency failed to develop, 

and his aspiration for a commission in a United States cavalry unit proved 

fruitless. His ambition, however, died a slow and agonizing death, for 

he remained in the Capital City most of the summer and fall and almost 
daily appeared before various military tomes of all description to augment 
his credentials.-^" Ben's failures may have been attributable to his crude 
habits and his personality now bordering on the eccentric. It is possible 
that his persistent and gnawing appearances at the office in the War De- 
partment could have easily been interpreted in the spirit of harassment. 

Disgusted, he left Washington and was in Austin by September. Gold 
had been discovered in California, and all roads led to the Golden State. 
Always drawn to the source of action, Ben made his travel preparations and 
arrived in San Francisco on December 1, 1849. Apparently, for some unex- 
plainable reason, he made no particular effort to try his hand at mining 
gold. Records show that he left for Los Angeles in January, 1850 on a 
mule-buying trip.^ The disposition of the purchase, if any, is not known. 

By September, McCulloch was in Sacramento, possibly to be closer to 
the mining operations. Nearby, Sutter's Mill, the focal point of the gold 
madness, had long passed the boom stage. It was a "city" of some 300 can- 
vass houses with lots in the market place ranging from $4-00 to $20,000. 


Gunn, Ben McCulloch . p. 76, 

^^Ibid, p. 78. 

^ Sacramento Union . September S, 1850, p. 2, 


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Gov, Sa:;. Houston requesting assistance fronj 
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Mexicc . 


Sacramento, a terminus of the short-lived Pony Espress, was the supply 
center for prospectors in the northern mines of the I-lother Lode and became 
the Capital in 1854.* It mushroomed almost overnight as a reunbunctious, 
teeming city of saloons, fandango houses, and gambling dens, all designed 
to separate the gold from the miners. Lawlessness stalked the muddy or, 
conversely, dusty streets, and, undoubtedly, only a lawmaji in the cast of 
a Wyatt Earp could meet the awesome challenges of this frontier town. The 
Sacramento sheriff was Joseph McKinney, whose most onerous problem centered 
in squatters who converged on the mining crossroads like a plague of locusts. 
The sqxiatter regarded all vacant property as public land and at night would 
seize unoccupied lots, enclose the areas with "ribbon fences", and construct 
shanties. One night after a sqviatter had suimnarily been evicted from a lot, 
forty armed squatters moved to regain it. Facing them were Sheriff McKinney, 
the mayor, and several vigilantes rounded up for the occasion. In the street 
battle that followed, Sheriff IfcKinney and several squatters were killed.^ 

A special election was then held to fill the xmexpired term of the 
lawnjEUi who had expired, a common occupational hazard of a frontier sheriff. 
McKinney 's term had some two years remaining. 

Apparently, with scarce regard for the narginal survival record for 
law enforcers, ten hopefuls offered themselves to the Sacramento voters. 
Ben McCulloch was one of these. Prior to this entry into local politics, he 
had foTond a minor government job which required the collection of a twenty- 
dollar tax from all foreigners entering the tovm for the first time. Evi- 
dently the Sacramento citizens, those who could vote, were more favorably 
inclined toward Ben than the 'Washington officialdom, for he led the ticket 
with 678 votes, only one more than his nearest opponent. He was sworn in 

•^^Rolle, California; A History , p. 107. 
^Ibld, p. 118. 


on September 9, 1850. ^ The office was q\iite lucrative. It was reported 
that revenue from a variety of sources inflated the Sheriff's annual income 
to over $4.0,000, more than the salary of the President of the United States 
and three times that of the California Governor sind the judges of the 
Supreme Court. ^ 

Although moderately successful, Ben evidenced little interest in his 
new elective position. Bookkeeping and other office chores were not to 
his liking. He appeared to be principally drawn to the operation of four- 
teen quartz mines in which he had made some investment. Also, he found the 
time to visit Tennessee during the attenviated term and then to Washington 
where he tried unsuccessfully to generate funds to build a mill at one of 
the California quartz mines. 

His term of office ended in 1852, and Ben returned to Texas. One year 
later, March 29, 1853, the long drought of government rejection ended, for 
McCulloch was appointed United States Marshal by President Franklin Pierce. 
His territory was the Eastern District of Texas vdth headquarters at Gal- 
veston. His appointment being well received by the people, he remained in 
the position for nearly eight years. On several occasions his duties 
carried him to Washington, where he continued his study of military subjects 
including, among others, gunnery, fortifications, cavalry, and infantry. 
Hearing that two regiments of riflemen were to be formed, he again sought 
to fulfill his long-time ambition by applying for a colonel's rank. For 
some reason, he failed once more, although he was offered a commission as 
major, he declined. Reacting characteristically, he sat down and 

^^Sacramento Union . September 9, 1850, p. 2. 
^bid, March 15, 1863, p. 2. 
Rose, Ben McCulloch . p. 75. 


wrote an open letter to the Nati onal Intelligen cer in which he chided the 
President for bypassing him in the appointment. VJhethor Pierce ever had 
th«- ''letter to the editor" brought to hin attention is not knovm, but some 
of the sharp edge of disappointment may have been dulled when McCulloch 
was reappointed Marshal for the Eastern District.'*' 

In 1858 President James Buchanan appointed McCulloch and L- VJ. Pov/ell, 
former governor of Kentucky, as the two commissioners to Utah. There were 
grave problems in the Mormon territory, for Brigham Young had literally 
forced Federal troops and their officers out of the territory by the simple 
expediency of refusing to sell supplies to the military. Acts of violence 
were being committed against troops emd Federal property, and two military 
installations. Fort Bridges and Fort Supply, were burned by the Mormons. 
Toung, as a result, remained in virtvial control of the territory'. The jour- 
ney to Utah by the two commissioners v/as not a diplomatic mission but one of 
conveying a proclamation ordering the Mormon leader to desist and to use 
his influence to reestablish law a^d order. McCulloch, in light of past 
performances, was not eqxiipped persoxmlly for the nicetiv-s of diplomacy, 
but, for the purpose of the Utah javint, he appeared to be a logical choice. 
On May 27, 1858, the message was forthrightly delivered at Camp Scott and, 
after two days of conferences, the matter was settled.^ 

During the interim preliminary to the impending sectior^al conflict, Ben 
returned to V/ashington where he was recorded as purchasirig an interest in 
what he described as "an apparatus to bore wells." What practical use he 

Gunn, Ben McCulloch . p. 91. 
'^'^Ibid, p. 80-81. 

^Otis, The Utah Expedition , p. 266. 
Gunn, Ben McCulloch . p. 86. 


subsequently made of this new acquisition is not knovm. Also, dxiring this 
period, he resigned his marshalship and was successful in securing an ap- 
pointment for brother Henry Eustace to complete his unexpired term. There 
were strong efforts made to persuade Ben to become a candidate to replace 
United States Senator Sam Houston who was to become Governor of Texas. 
McCulloch vehemently declined. late in 1858, Houston devised a visionary 
plan to invade Mexico, establish a protectorate over the country, and there- 
by, hopefully, reduce slavery to a secondary issue, at least tenporarily. 
In order to pursue this bizarre plan, he called in several of his friends, 
including McCulloch, for assistance. Ultimately, Ben and two other Houston 
representatives in search of fvmds, met with London bondholders in New 
York City. The idea was soon set aside, for war clouds were now hanging 
menacingly over the country. At the time of Abraham Lincoln's inauguration, 
McCulloch was in Washington, and a north persisted that "he was making ar- 
rangements, at the head of a body of secessionists, to take possession of 
the city; but, owing to the precautions of General Scott, the idea was 

With the coming of the Civil War, Texas cast her lot with the Confed- 
eracy, much to the dismay of Governor Houston. Although secession had not 
been officially declared, the State's Committee on Public Safety was deeply 
concerned about a Itaion pocket of resistance at San Antonio. Ben was ad- 
vanced to the rank of colonel and instructed to capture the garrison at San 
Antonio, With only 4.00 men, he moved and occupied the city in February, 
1861; emd, the hero of Monterrey, General David Emanuel Twiggs, seventy-one 
years of age at the time, siirrendered without firing a shot, not only the 

Rose, Be n McCvaioch . p. 90. 
^^ Davis, An Illustrated History of Sacramento County, p. 34.. 


gaorison but all of the personnel stationed at the various posts in Texas, 
over 2700 troops in all.^ It must be conjectured that the first signifi- 
cant engagement of the Civil War might have been triggered at Sa.n Antonio 
predating the firing on Federal troops at Fort Sumter, seventy-five days 
later. The atmosphere was highly charged in the garrison tovm, and Mc- 
Culloch's little band was thirsting for combat, A defense was at first 
ordered, but General Twiggs, the "Bengal Tiger" of many stirring engage- 
ments in the Southwest, was now old and tired, and the order was counter- 
manded. McCulloch's fame in Texas and Confederate history nay have been 
greatly enhanced if this "early Sumter" had occiorred. Following the events 
at San Antonio, Ben was enployed by Texas to purchase 1,000 Colt Revolvers 
and 1,000 Morse Rifles. He was svicoessful in locating only the revolvers 
and, returning from his assignment, he was appointed brigadier general by 

President Davis on May 11, 1861, after McCulloch had declined a colonel's 

rank. His command, with headquarters at Fort Smith, Arkansas, embraced 

the military district including the Indian Territory went of Arkansas. 

The assignment was specific: "To guard the Territory against invaEions 

from Kansas and elsewhere. "^^ This initiated the nevi brigadier's brief 

service of less than a year as a Confederate general officer. 

McCulloch, subsequently stationed near Wilson Creek, Fissouri, was 

soon to experience his first full-scale engagement. Union Brigadier-General 

Natha n iel I^on began a movement from his position in southeast Missouri to 

attack the forces at Wilson's Creek. Sterling Price's arny combined with 

McCulloch's to face I^yon, On August 10, the battle opened with the Confederate 


Gunn, Ben McCulloch, p. 96. 


Warner, Generals in Gray , p. 200. 

^^ose, Ben McCulloch . p. 175, 


line being driven several miles from its original position. Only the 
tenacious stand and cotinterattack by McCvilloch saved the day, and Vfilson's 
Creek became a Confederate victory. ^^ As was his custom, Ben's abrasive 
personality usually ran afoul of his fellow officers, this time the target 
became the imperious Price, an individxialist in his own right. Price had 
the audacity to sharply censure McCulloch for not pursuing the Federals 
toward Volia and refusing to cooperate with Price in an advance movement 
into central Missouri. 

Ben, never one to buckle tinder any criticism, angrily tvimed over his 
troops to Price and left for Richmond to plead his case with President 
Davis. The description of him as he appeared on the streets of the Confed- 
eracy is in full accord with his habits as a loner and practicing eccentric, 

"His face was nearly concealed by a brown beard and mustache. Keen, 
gray eyes looked with a piercing glance from beneath shaggy eyebrows; a 
brown felt hat placed firmly on iiis headj black and vrtiite checked overcoat, 
pants of blue army cloth, the inside half of the legs being lined v/ith buck- 
skin, and hands encased in soiled buckskin gauntlets, with not a mark or 
ornament to betoken his rank, or attract attention. An observer would have 


little supposed him to be the famed and dreaded Ben McCulloch."-' 

There is no way of knowing just how much or to what degree Davis was 
iopressed with his picturesque petitioner, but an organizational change was 
made in the Missouri and Arkansan troops. General Earl Van Dom was assigned 
to the department with both Price and McCxilloch serving tinder his command. 

It was March, 1862 before there was further sustained action. General 
Sam Curtiss, commander of the Union Army of the Southwest, In February 
succeeded in driving both Price and McCulloch from Missouri into northwest 

^ Gxmn, Ben McCulloch . p. 110. 
^'^Rose, B^ McCulloch . p. 190. 


Arkansas. Van Dorn marshalled both armies into a unit for an attack against 
Curtiss at Pea Ridge near ElkKbm Tavern. The battle opened on March 7 and 
throttled down near the close of the nert day disaotrouo results for 
the Confederates. Ben McCulloch was killed in the first day's engagement 
near Elkhom Tavern shortly after eleven o'clock in the morning. Riding 
in advance of his troops, he vras shot by a sharpshooter who was later iden- 
tified as Peter Pelican, a private in Company B. thirty-sixth Illinois. 
Pelican removed a gold watch from the body and later, in carro, displayed 
the watch and substantiated the report that he had mortally wounded the 
brigadier. To the end in character, Ben, when carried from the battlefield, 
was clothed in a suit of black velvet, patent leather high top boots, and 
was wearing a light colored broad-brimmed Texas hat. toother description 
had him attired in a dove-colored coat, sky-blue panta, and VIellington 
boots. ^^ Whatever sartorial habiliments were present during Ben's last 
moments, it can be assured that they bore little resamblance *o what would 
be regarded as typical officer attire. McCulloch did not die on the battle- 
field as several sources have reported but in a field hospital. This des- 
cription of the last moments possibly depicts the typical McCiilloch: 

He died of his woTinds about 11 o'clock the esame night, though 
he insisted that he wo\ild recover, repeatedly srying with great 
oaths that he was not bom to be killed by a Tanl:ee. A few minutes 
before he e:q>ired, his physa-Cian assvired him that he ha.d but a very 
brief time to live. At this, Ben looked up incredulously and say- 
ing, "Oh, Hell I" tvimed away his head and never spoke after. I 
presume, if Ben be really dead (he is dead, as the order of his 
funeral has been published), the Southern papers will put some 
very fine sentiment into his mouth in his closing moments; but the 
last words I have mentioned are declared to be correct by a pris- 
oner. They are not very elegant or dramatic, but quite expressive, 
and in McCulloch 's case decidedly appropriate.-'^ 

Texas and the Confederacy needed heroes, and McCiaioch was the first and 

most noted to fall, therefore, he became the initial candidate for the state 

^ ^acramento Union . April 19, 1862, p. 1. 
5%bid, April 2^, 1862, p. 3. 


and national pantheon. So, after a battle that saw three regiments of 
"Confederate" Indians, plied with pro-battle whiskey, inurder and scalp both 
friend and foe; a mimerically larger Gray arncr outfought and defeated; and 
a legendary Westerner, "Wild Bill" Hickock, serve as a scout for the op- 
posing Union Array, it was fitting, in the wake of such a bizarre, if not 
epochal occasion, that the body of one of its principals should be carried 
over 400 miles for proper eulogy and enshrinement. Major John Henry Brown 
left Fort Smith, Arkansas on March 10, in an army ambulance with the em- 
balmed body of McCulloch. On April 9, he arrived in Austin. Along the 
way, authorities in several of the coxrnty seats and large towns requested 
that the remains lie in state for brief periods and that time be allowed 
for ceremonies and eulogies. 

The final rites for Tennessean-Texan Ben MoCulloch at Austin is des- 
cribed as follows: 

The remains of General Ben McCulloch, the hero of Wilson's 
Creek, the pride and boast of the amy of the West, were on 
Thursday, with all the usual poiop and ceremony attending such 
occasions, laid by the side of Burleson, Henphill, and McLeod, 
The body laid in state in Representative Hall from four p.m. on 
Wednesday, until fo\ir p.m. on Thursday last. About eleven 
o'clock, after prayer from Rev. Mr. Phillips and Bishop Gregg, 
Captain John Henry Brown, who acted as aid to General McCulloch 
in the action in which he lost his life, entertained the large 
concourse of citizens that crowded the Representative Hall, with 
an address, narrating the thrilling incidents of the battlefield, 
and portraying the military acconplishments, patriotism, heroism, 
and noble single-heartedness of our Ranger General. 

General Henry MoCuD.loch being present, remarked, in a voice 
tremulous with emotion, whose accents reached the hearts and 
filled the eyes of all present, that his brother had, in his will, 
commended his soul to God, and bequeathed his body to hia State. 
The procession at MoCullooh's funeral was a mile long.°0 

As it has already been indicated, Texas may have given only a quiet 

salute to the memory of one of its transplanted heroes. In 1856, while Ben 


Ibid, June 7, 1862, p. 3. 


was a United States Marshal, McCvilloch County was formed. Located in the 
central plains, the political entity was not conpletely organized until 
1876. The county, until the early 1890's, was a central staging point for 
marauding Comanche Indians. Also range problems and mob violence took a 
heavy toll of its citizenry during this period. Today, McCulloch County 
regards itself as progressive with ranching, farming, msjiufacturing, and 
mining serving as the principal economic bases. An historic marker out- 
side Brady, the county seat, relates the essentials of McCulloch' s career. 
In the Texas Ranger Museum in V/aco, there is scattered reference to Ben. 
In one exhibit case is a razor purportedly lifted from the brigadier's 
body shortly after he died at Elkhorn Tavern. In a conjunctional exhibit, 
housed in another building, a few pictures of JfcCuiloch are on display, 
and a mechanical sound-visual presentation focusing on Texas Rangers has 
a few commendatory references to his contributions. 

Rutherford County does not know Ben McCulloch and for good reason. 
When he was bom near the forks of Stone's River in 1811, Jefferson was 
still the county seat, but Jefferson no longer exists in the sense that it 
existed in 1811. Also, the Alexander McCulloch fsunlly left the county for 
Alabama in 1820 when Ben was only nine years of age. Alexander's brother, 

Henry, may have remained at Jefferson for an Alexander McCulloch, possibly 

Henry's son, is listed as local militiaman, first lieutenant, in 1829. 

Too, Beer's 1878 Rutherford County Map shows a McCulloch farm in the 

Jefferson area. 


Spiller (Correspondence), October 27, 1977. 


Publication No. 2f Rutherford County Historical Society, p, 64.. 



Barker, Eugene C, "The San Jacinto Campaign", Southwestern Historical 
Quarterly . Vol. IV, April, 1901. 

Davis, Winfield, Jr., An Illustrated History of Sacramento County . 
(Chicago, 1890). 

Dictionary of American Biography . Edited by Allen Johnson, Dumas Malone, 
and Harris B. Starr. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1928-^, 

Gunn, Jack Winston, Life of Ben McCulloch (Masters Thesis at University of 
Texas, Dept. of History"n~1947. 

Hardeman, Nicholas P., Wilderness Calling . Knoxville, Tennessee, U.T. 
Press, 1977 (Selected by Dr. Fred Brigance) . 

Hartje, Robert G., Van Porn . Nashville: Vanderbilt IMiversity Press, 1967. 

Otis, Grant Hammond (ed.). The Utah Expedition . Concord, N. H. (New 
Hanpshire Historical Society) , 1928. 

Picayune (Microfilm Newspaper) , New Orleans, Louisiana, 1846-1847. 

Publication No. 3 . Rutherford County Historical Society, Murfreesboro, 
Tennessee, Summer 1974., 

Reid, Samuel C, Jr., The Scouting Expeditions o£ McCulloch ' s Rangers . 
Philadelphia (B. G. Zieter and Company), 1847. 

Rolle, Andrew F., California . A History. New York, Thomas V. Crowell Co., 1969. 

Rose, Victor M., _Life and Services of General Ben McCulloch . Philadelphia 
(Pictorial Bureau of the PressTT 1888. 

Sacramento Union (Microfilm Newspaper) , Sacramento, California, 1850-1873. 

Smither, Harriet (ed.). Journal of the Fourth Congress cf the Republic of 
Texas . 1839-1840, II. The House Journal . 

Speer, J. A., The Encyclopedia of the New West (Part I), Houston, 1900. 

Spiller, Wayne (McCulloch Coimty Historian), Correspondence, Oct. 27, 1977. 

Warner, Ezra, Generals in Gray . New Orleans (Louisiana State University 
Press), 1959. 

Webb, W. P., The Texas Rangers . Boston and New York (Houghton Mifflin Co.), 1935. 

Webb, W. P., "Exploits of the Texas Rangers", Reprint from The News (Dallas), 
April 19, 1921 . ^ ~~ 

Wray, Henry, Deed Abstracts (Rutherford County, Tennessee), Vol. I, 1804-1810. 

Yesterday's California . Miami, Florida, E. A. Seemann Pub. Co Inc., 1910. 



Furnished by Mrs. Peggy Herriage 
Pilot Point, Texas 

State of Tennessee 

Circuit Court, April Term, 1833 
Rutherford County 

On this 6th day of April, 1833, before James C. Mitchell, one of the Circ\iit 
Courts of the State of Tennessee now sitting at Murfreesborough for said 
County of Rutherford, personally appeared in open court Michael Lorance, 
resident of said county of Rutherford & state aforesidd, aged eighty-three 
years, who being first duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath, make 
the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the act of 
Congress passed June 7th, 1832. 

That he entered the service of the IMited States, about the month of 
Jvme 1780, immediately after the battle of Ramsours, in a volunteer conqpany 
which went in pursuit of Col. Brytint tAo had collected a coii?)any of Tories 
on the ladkln River in North Carolina. The company of whiggs started from 
Third Creek, a branch of the Yadkin, thence down to the Pedee River, thence 
returned home. Bryant made his retreat into South CaroLlna. ^plicant can 
not recollect the names of his officers in this piirsuit of Col. Bryant, in 
^t^ch he served at least one month. 

About the month of September 1780 shortly after Gates' defeat, he 
again entered seirvice under Col, Davis in Capt. Joseph Dickson's company. 
He believes the regiment contained about five con?)anieB. He remembers Cap- 
tains Coldwell and Cowen. They rendezvoused about 3 miles below Salisbury, 
North Carolina, thence they marched to Charlotte, Mecklenburgh County, thence 
to Six Miles Creek where they remained a few days, thence to the Waxaw 
settlement in South Carolina, and remained there about two weeks. The Brit- 
ish under Cornwallis had left Charlotte a few days before Col. Davis arrived 
there and made their way through the Waxaw settlement to Gampden. The 
Americans returned home. In this canpaign. Applicant served at least two 
months . 

Sometime in Febniary 1781, soon after Morgan had defected Tarlton, 
he again entered service again at Batie's Ford on the Catawba River, North 
CarolinK under Gen. Davidson in Capt. Cowen'e company. From Batie's Ford, 
they marched down to Cowen' s Ford where Gen. Davidson was killed in opposing 
the pasjage of the British under Cownwallis. The Amsricans were scattered 
at this place & collected again above Second Creek where they destroyed a 
bridge to prevent the crossing of the British. The British came to the 
place & were fired upon by the Americans. The British went below & crossed 
the creek at some ford. The Americans were again dispersed. Under Generals 
Davidson and Locke opposing Cornwallis' pursuit after Morgan^ applicant 

served at least three weeks. 


About the first of April, 1781, applicant again entered service under 
John Read, Capt,, Daniel Carter, Lieutenant, in Rowan County, North Carolina, 
thence they marched to the Congaree River in South Carolina where they 
joined Gen, Sumpter in Col. Wade Hajopton's regiment, thence to Orangeburgh 
then in possession of the eneny. The British fired on the Americans as they 
approached the town, but soon surrendered as prisoners to Sunqpter to the 
nvunber of 100 or 150 men. From Orangeburgh the Americans marched in the 
direction to Ninety Six, got in three or four miles of that place, when an 
express arriving that Gen. Green had left Ninety Six. They changed their 
course, crossed Bread River at the fish deun ford, joined Gen. Green. Ap- 
plicant then recrossed at the ford with a detachment of about fifty men 
under Maj. Rutherford, march in direction to Ninety Six to Saluda River, 
thence down the Saluda on one side, while a party of the British marched 
down on the opposite side. The Americans crossed the Saluda about two miles 
above its mouth, made a circuit and surrounded the eneny at the head of the 
Congaree where they made forty or fifty prisoners. Thence they returned to 
Sumpter on the Congaree, Joined Green & went down to the Eutaw Springs where 
the battle was fought well known in history. 

Then applicant under Maj, Moore went to Georgia, swam their horses 
across the Savannah about 3 miles below Augusta, thence down to Ebenezer 
& Joined Col White, thence down towards Savannah then in possession of the 
British. They ranged in the neighborhood of Savannah about three months 
but without any engagement. In this campaign applicant served ten months 
at least. In all the service aforesaid, he served as a private. 

Applicant never received any xjritten discharge from service, and knows 
of no person living by whom he could prove his service, nor has he any docu^ 
mentary evidence whatever to prove the same. 

In the several caaqjaigns before mentioned, he was a volunteer, never 
seirved except as a private & was always in the cavalry and furnished a horse. 

Applicant represents that on account of palsy & inability to speak 
the English language intelligibly together with old age & defect of memory, 
he fears the circumstances of his services, their duration, & the names of 
more of his officers are not so fully set out as the rules of the War De- 
partment require. He believes that he served several months longer than he 
has stated above. But he could not precisely state the length of his ser- 
vices & thereupon does not claim a pension for more than the services before 
stated amounting in all to one year, one month, & three weeks to which he 
can saXely swear. 

As to hla character for veracity & their belief of his services as 
a soldier of the revolution, applicant refers to his present neighbors Nace 
Overall, Robert Overall, Williaa Northcut, Jordan Williford, Arthur Totty, 
Robert Thompson, & James Tucker, to all of whom he is well known & who can 
testify as to his character for veracity & their belief of his seinrices 

Applicant was bom in Germany on the 18th of November 17^9, as 
appeared from his father's record which applicant brought to America with 
him & lost it during the Revolutionary War. Applicant lived in Germany 
until he was about twenty-eight years old, when he was sent with a regiment 
of Germans over to America to aid the British in subduing their colonies. 


He landed in New York on Staten Island 3rd of Juno 1777, remained in the 
British service about one year, deserted them in Rhode Island, escaped over 
to Gen. Sullivan's army as a deserter made himself Imovm to Sullivan who 
permitted him to pass on to Pennsylvania, He cade his way to Spring Houoo 
Tavern 18 miles from Philadelphia whore he resided 1C ncntho ao a barkeeper. 
Thence he moved to Rowan Goimty, North Carolina in 1780 whore ho rooidcd 
about seven years & where he was residing when he entered the sorvico of 
the United States. The County of Iredell v;as in tho ncantimo laid off & 
comprehended his residence. Thence he moved to Mecklenburgh County, North 
Carolina, where he lived until the year 1812 when he coved to Rutherford 
County, Tennessee where he has ever since & now resides , 

He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity 
except the present, and declares that his name is not on tho pension roll 
of any of the agency of any state or territory. 

Sworn to and subscribed the his 

day and year aforesaid. Michael X Lorance 
s/Win. ? nark 


We Nace Overall, a clers^nan and Jordan Williford both residing in the 
County of Rutherford & state of Tennessee, hereby certify that wo are well 
acquainted with Michael Lorance vrtio has subscribed and sworn to the above 
declaration; that we believe blm to be oighty-three years old, that ho is 
believed & reputed, in the neighborhood where he resides to have been a 
soldier of the Revolution, and that wo concur in that opinion. 

Sworn to and subscribed s/Jordan Willeford 

the day and year aforesaid 

s/Vta. ? s/Kace Overall 

(On the outside of document) 
West Tennessee #13820 

Michael Lorance of Rutherford Co. in the State of Tennessee 
who was a private in the company commanded by Captain Dickenson 
of the regiment commanded bj Col, Davis in the North Carolina 
line for 1 year, 1 month, and 21 days. 

Inscribed on the Roll of West Tenne??see 

at the rate of 57 dollars 03 cents per annum 

to commence on the Ath day of Maxch, 1631. 

Certificate of Pension issued the 22 day of June, 1833 
and Vftn. Ledbetter, Murfreesborough 

Arrears to the ^th of March $114-, 66 
Semi-anl, allowance ending 

4. Sept. _28j^ 


Recorded by: Revolutionary Claim Act, June 7, 1832 

Daniel Boyd, Clerk 
Book E Vol. 7 PaRe 84 


State of Tennessee 
Cannon County 


Before me Thos. Elkins a justice of the peace in and for the county 
aforesaid, this day personally appeared Mary Ford, aged Bisrty-five, v/ho first 
being sworn deposeth & saith that she knew llichaol Loranco and Esther Loreince 
in Mecklenburg CoTmty emd state of North Carolinao Sho knew then from her 
earliest recollection to the time of the death of caid Kichaol vrhich occiired 
in Rutherford County seven years ago, tho eighth day of Fobe Iccto (1834) 
She remembers the time vrtien they were married in North Carolina ^ They V7cre 
married in one half mile of vrtiere affiant was Btc3rlDg at tho tinoo Sho was 
at the house of her brother, and taking care of the children vhilo the older 
part of her brother's fandly were at tho vjcdding, £ftcr tho wedding v:ac! 
over, the married couple and the coiroany camo over to hor brother's to play 
and dance. They lived together as man and wifo from tbjit timo till hie 
death as aforecald. The time of their marriage sho cannot eznctly remenbcr. 
The enclosed list of the ages of their children she believes to bo correct. 
She has written her name at the bottom of it, Sho resomboro that tho oldest 
child was born in about ten months after the marriagej and affiant v:ac about 
ten years old, when they married. Affiant moved to Te:jneBcce abou.t thirty- 
eight years since, the said Michael & Esther came out como seven after 
that; she has, with that exception, boen living near then all tho timo since 
their marriage. The widow Lorance nov; resides in Ru.therford County, como 
fifteen miles from affiant. Said Michael was a pensioner of the United 

States when he died. /.. _ , 

E/Mary Ford 

Subscribed and sworn before me this Sept., 
I84.I, and I certify that said Mary Ford is a 
person of respect, ability, and worth of credit, 

s/Thomas Elkins 
Justice of the Peace 

State of Tennessee 
Cannon County 

I, Reain Fowler, Clerk of the County Court of said County of Cannon 
certify that Thomas Elkins who has attested the above deposition, is and 
was at the time of attesting the same, a justice of the peace for our said 
county, diily elected and qualified, that the foregoing signature pixrporting 
to be his, is genuine. 

The testimony v/hereof I have hereunto 
set my hand, and affixed my private 
seal, having no seal of office, this 
25th Sept. A.D. 184-1. 

Reain Fowler 

Clerk of County Court 


Jolm lo ranee vrao bomt September 23, 1787 
Anny loroncg was bornt Auguot Jth, 1769 
Esther Lorance was bom February 18, 1792 
Michael Lorance was bornt October 31, 1794 
Eohralm Lorance was bomt April 29, I797 
Catharine Lorance was bomt December 16, 1799 
Jimmy Ervin Lorance was bomt January 11, 1802 
George W. Lorance was bomt August 13, 1805 
Mary lorance was bomt January 31, I8O9 

s/Mary Ford 


A COUNTRY STORE (1912-1914) 

(Selection from Jack R. Mankin's "Autobiography" written for his 
children in which he describes his brother's store and offers 
some nostalgic impressions of life as he remembers it in the 
surrounding communities of Mankinville and Dilton.) 

When I was a child--some eight or nine years old — Papa 
bought a country store for my older brother Hendrick to run, 
Ilendrick being at that time about nineteen or twenty years old. 
The store was located on the Manchester Pike at the corner of the 
little country road that wound and meandered through the farms, 
across the branch, on to cross Lytle Creek and finally to end in 

the Bradyville Pike at Dilton. On its winding way it passed the 


"Walker place," where I was born, and by Cousin Oscar's, 

although his house set far back from it and was anproached by a 
long driveway. At the road end of his driveway was one of the 
most fascinating inventions my young mind had ever seen, namely, 
a "patent gate." It had long arms sticking out on each side of 
two tall posts and dangling from the arms were ropes that could 
be reached from the buggy seat. When one of these ropes was 
pulled, wonder of wonders, the gate opened! Aladdin's magic lamp 
was no more improbable or exciting! After driving through and 
stopping, the other rope was pulled and the magic gate closed 
itself. If children in this day are thrilled and awed by rockets 
and computers, I was just as thrilled and awed by this wonderful 

"*" Dr. John Benton Mankin (1860-1926). 
Mr. Oscar Mankin. 

gate. The road passed by Frank Overall's place and the church 
where I grew up before losing its identity in the Bradyville Pike. 

But back to the store. It was a long, narrow, and high 
wooden building sitting up on cut stone piers. It had a porch, 
or unloading dock, all the way across the front. The front door 
was in the center of the platform porch, and a large, heavily 
shuttered window was on each side of the door. I think the width 
of the store was twelve feet and the length was fifty feet. It 
was divided into one large room at the front, which was the store ,. 
proper, and a smaller room on the rear for storage. Somewhat 
more than halfway back in the store proper was a large, pot- 
bellied, coal-burning stove. This was the social center of the 
farming community during the winter, that is, for the older male 
members. The women were too busy with their interminable work to 
have any time for socializing. That would have to wait until 
Sundays, the summer "protracted meeting," and possibly hoq-killing 

The store, facing the west, was about one-fourth mile north 
of where we lived--an easy walk, but a dark, cold one on a winter 
night. Of course there were no street lights — there was no 
electricity nearer than "town," which was about four and one-half 
miles away. 

As one entered, he viewed the store from a central aisle. 
There were shelves up to the ceiling on both the north and south 

The Dilton Church of Christ. 


Murf reesboro, Tennessee. 


walls, running about two- thirds of the way back. In front of the 
shelves were two heavy wooden counters on each side of the center 
aisle with a narrow passageway between them and between them and 
the shelves. The counters were hollow where heavier items, such 
as buckets of candy, were stored under them. Part of the tops of 
the counters were taken up v;ith glass show cases displaying the 
most enticing articles and those that were particularly attractive 
which might stimulate sticky hands and lead to shoplifting. By 
and large, however, the people were honest and did not need to be 
deterred from stealing by glass cases. Inside the cases were 
cookies placed there maybe with some intent of keeping flies off 
of them, but more likely to keep samplers' hands off, for sampling 
and eating on the spot was not stealing. Most of the residents of 
the community did not bother much about flies at this time. The 
cases displayed pocket knives, fishhooks and lines, spools of 
thread, chewing gum (not Long Tom, it was out of date by this 
time), papers of pins, needles and thimbles, rick-^ack, bias tape, 
boss balls, and other small items. Of course, V7hat excited my 
child's mind was the candy, the chewing gum, and cookies. 

No description of this country store would be complete if it 
omitted the "punch board," a gambling device that was quasi-legal 
at that time though later banned by law. It consisted of a board 
about twelve by sixteen inches with holes about one-half inch 
apart each direction, making a total of about 660 holes. Each 

A small ball of darning thread that came in a ball about 
an inch in diameter in black, white and brown. 


hole had a roll of paper in it with a number on it. Both sides of 
the board were then covered over with a colored paper. On the 
front side, as I remember, there v;ere three colors across the 
board. One was for 25C punches, the next and larger for 10<? 
punches, and the third and largest for 5<;: punches. Below it in a 
show case were the enticing prizes which could be won. The top 
prize was a handsome watch perhaps worth $25 at retail price. 
It was of course among the numbers in the 25<: punches. I can't 
remember all the prizes, but they were attractive and desirable 
and calculated to whet the greed of the prospective customer. 
The merchant had a chart, which he kept out of sight, of all the 
winning numbers. Of course, like all gambling devices, they were 
rigged to pay a profit to the "house." 

When anyone came in the store, particularly males, this 
attractive display of wanted items and the punch board on top of 
the show case fairly shouted, "Stop. Try your luck. You might 
win a watch or a ten dollar bill." This subtle salesmanship along 
with an inherent desire to get something for almost nothing broke 
down the resistance of many and they would lay dov;n their money, 
the merchant would give them the punch for punching out the 
numbered paper, and then the agonizing decision as to which one 
(within the chosen and paid for color) to punch haa to be made. 
After due deliberation, the punch was made, the paper unrolled 
and the number checked against the merchant's list. If it was a 
winner, the prize was taken out of the shov/case and delivered at 
once. If it was a loser, as most of them were, he had a lesson 
in economics to the effect that wealth comes from productive work 


and not from chance. At the same time the merchant had reinforced 
his knowledge that, as Barnum said, "A sucker is born every 
second. " 

Eventually all the punches were gone, all the prizes given 
out, and the merchant pocketed a neat profit from a minimum of 
effort and risk. 

Most of the merchants in these country stores had a trace 
of New England skepticism about them and this led them to "ring" 
the coins they received in payment. At this time all the coins 
above the nickel were made of silver and if dropped on a hard 
surface would give out a clear, bell-like tone. The proprietor 
on receiving a silver coin, particularly a dollar or half dollar, 
would flip the coin in the air and let it fall on the hard coun- 
ter top. If it "rang true," which most of them did, he accepted 
it and put it in the cash drawer; if it didn't "ring true," he 
refused to accept it. This was a routine thing and no local 
customer took it as a challenge of his honesty. Of course, this 
test, while it is probably more needed now than then, would be 
worthless at the present. Our modern, "two faced" coins have 
about as much music about them as a frog landing in thick mud. 
The ring they make is a dull "plunk" — still another instance in 
which beauty and romance have fallen victim to "progress." Alas, 
how much we sacrifice on the altar of practicality. 

Under the counter on the north was the cash drawer. Cash 
registers were not yet in vogue, at least, not in the boondocks. 
Under the drawer were several keys like typewriter keys. If one 

P. T. Barnum 


pressed the right combination of these keys, the spring-loaded 
drawer would slide open and ring a bell. Presvimably this was to 
warn the proprietor if an unauthorized person was "dusting" the 

In the shelves on the north wall and behind the show case 
was the drug section, loosely defined. It held patent medicines 
such as Cardui, Beef Wine and Iron, Sloan's Liniment, Sarsaparilla , 
Black Draught — what an awful dose it was. It was a finely ground 
black powder made of roots, barks and vegetable matter, and was ^ 
used as a laxative. Also, there were Doan's Kidney Pills, Calomel, 
Castor Oil, Iodine, and small bottles of turpentine — which was 
used as an antiseptic. Two other drugs that are nov/ rigidly 
controlled were paregoric and laudanum, both of which 
contained opium, the latter in considerable amount; but then 
anyone who claimed to have a toothache and who had the money or 
the credit could get them. Presently drug useis would probably 
look on those as the good old days, although the merchant, as a 
matter of principle and also because he personally knew all his 
customers, would probably have stopped short of selling any of 
them a dangerous amount. And by the same token none of them ever 
considered taking it by force. In those pre-World War I days, 
force was a little-used item. Both the merchant and the customer 
had a mutual respect for each other. That was one of the features 
of "the good old days" I would like to have back. 

I failed to mention that on that drug shelf was vermifuge, 
which was one of, if not the vilest tasting concoctions ever devised 
by man. If we could just make every politician whose words and 


acts get us into wars take two doses of vermifuge before he 
threatened, I believe it would usher in the golden age of peace! 
Its merits were alleged to be that it would rid children of pin- 
worms. I guess it would, but there must surely be some easier 
way. Aunt Louella"'" gathered Philip and me up one day and gave us 
a dose of it. The memory still puts a bad taste in my mouth. 

Next to the medicine section was the tobacco. There was a 
great variety of smoking, chewing tobacco, and snuff. Among the 
chewing varieties I remember Brown's Mule, Spark Plug, and Picnic 
Twist. The first two were plug tobaccos, that is, tobacco leaves 
treated with molasses and pressed into sheets. And near them 
stood the inevitable tobacco cutter to cut as much off a plug as 
the customer wanted. As I remember about a fourth of a plug of 
Brown's Mule sold for a nickel. I guess the plugs were scored to 
indicate where to cut. Picnic Twist, though, was a different 
breed of cats. It was pure tobacco twisted into a twist that 
looked like an overgrown periwinkle. It was dry and strong. 
Some advanced tobacco users crumbled it up and smoked it in their 
corncob pipes. When one got to the place that he could use Picnic 
Twist, he had arrived, because his system must be almost saturated 
with nicotine before he could stand it! While it may not have 
been as strong as I described, it nonetheless had a tendency to 
separate the men from the boys! If my memory serves me right. 
Papa chewed Brown's Mule very sparingly. Then there were the 
snuffs in nickel and dime cans. There were two brands, Bruton's 

Mrs. Welcom H. Mankin. 


and Garrett's Scotch Snuff. They were probably both made by the 
American Snuff Company in Memphis. Snuff was used, if at all, 
by the women who before this time had given up smoking pipes and 
had not yet got to cigarettes. My Grandmother Hendrick dipped 
snuff; Mother did not. Most of the men smoked or chewed, or both. 
But cigarettes were in high disfavor with the older men; they 
called them coffin tacks, and subsequent research indicates they 
were just about right. As for cigarettes, those shelves did not 
hold any ready rolled. They were beginning to catch on in town, 
but the country people who smoked cigarettes at all rolled their 
own, partly, I guess, because they were cheaper. There was a 
rather strange notion among the cigarette smokers that it was the 
paper, specifically cigarette paper, that was harmful, not the 
tobacco. To get around that, they rolled them in pieces of brown 
or white paper sacks, which added three or four times as much paper 
as the very thin cigarette papers. Some few of the more audacious 
owned a book of L.L.F. cigarette papers. Whether it was because 
they were not socially approved or because they were illegal, I 
do not know, but they were kept pretty well concealed. I think 
Hendrick generally used L.L.F. 's. The initials were locally 
reputed to mean "last leaf first." Actually, I think they were 
the initials of the French firm that made them. Among the ciga- 
rette tobaccos that were on the shelves were Bull Durham (way out 
the most popular), R.J.R., and Prince Albert. The first two came 
in little flattened cloth bags; the third in a red tin, as I 
presume it still does. Of the pipe tobaccos I can only recall 
Our Pride, which came in a round cloth bag with a red and white 
label, and Tuxedo, and Prince Albert, which were packaged in tins. 


Really experienced cigarette rollers could roll one in one hand 
after the tobacco was poured in the paper, including striking the 
kitchen match (Diamond brand, no less) . I learned how to roll a 
very presentable cigarette, but I never advanced to become a 
one hander! 

Among the other tobacco supplies were some cheap cigars. 
The one that fastens itself on my memory was Virginia Cheroots 
or "threefors," meaning three for a nickel. The box had a picture 
of a big sow rooting and under it cheroots. Even in those days 
of cheap products and cheap labor, I can't imagine that three for 
a nickel cigars could have had much quality. They could probably 
just as well have been named "El-Ropo." It is likely that 
Fleur-de-Melba and King Edward also graced the shelves and touted 
their virtues at five cents each, which were treats for the more 
affluent only. Pipe smoking and cigar smoking were not considered 
to be harmful; they had not yet been associated with lip, throat, 
and tongue cancer. Today they are still regarded as less harmful 
than cigarettes, but not helpful to the health. 

But back to the drug shelves. There were bottles of Grove's 
Tasteless Chill Tonic guaranteed to cure malaria. And it probably 
would, too, if one could stand the taste for sufficient time to 
take enough doses. Little cans of Gray's ointment were there. 
The ointment was supposed to liG a specific for boils. It was as 
black as axle grease and had a peculiar odor. It was almost as 
adhesive as glue. Aspirin had not come into vogue and there was 
little or nothing to console one with a headache, but, fortunately. 


there were not many headaches either. I suppose the more 
leisurely pace removed the tensions that now cause us so many 
pains, or rather, the tensions never built up to the point of 

Immediately behind the drug and tobacco shelves the groceries 
began. There wasn't much rhyme nor reason about the arrangement; 
soap and spaghetti might be side by side. But there was sure to 
be found somewhere in the shelves cans of sardines (cheap American 
variety which sold for five cents). Nigger Head Oysters, Club 
Salmon in tall cans, pork and beans, bottles of pepper sauce, a 
meager selection of spices including black and cayenne pepper, 
maybe whole cloves, allspice, stick cinnamon, and whole nutmegs. 
Since country people canned their own fruits and vegetables, not 
many of these were sold. There were round cardboard boxes of 
Quaker's or Mother's Oats (not the quick-cook kinds, for they had 
not appeared yet), Kellogg's Corn Flakes, Post Toasties, sometimes 
Grape Nuts and Cream of Wheat. Grits came as hominy flakes in 
large burlap bags lined with a cotton bag. They sat against the 
counter in the center aisle along with one or two hundred pound 
bags of coffee (whole beans), a hundred pound bag of sugar, from 
which the merchant dipped it with a scoop and weighed it for the 
customer in a small paper bag. On second thought, I believe the 
sugar was kept in a bin under the counter. Large bags of dried 
beans—pinto, navy, and maybe large butter beans — sat along the 
counter in the center aisle on the north side. The south side 

^ Acetanilide was used by some for headaches but occasionally 
induced unpleasant side effects. It was never popular like 
aspirin or some of the other present-day pain relievers. 


of the aisle was taken up largely with kegs of nails, staples, 
and horseshoes, some opened, some unopened. You might think that 
rats and mice would bother these bags that were sitting on the 
floor. The fact is that they probably did, but no one worried a 
lot about it, unless it was the merchant who lost a little of his 
wares and who had to clean up the mess. 

There wasn't much of an assortment of soap; usually to be 
found was Octagon, Fels Naphtha, perhaps Ivory for the elite, 
and Grandpa's Wonder Tar Soap that the women prized highly for 
washing their hair. It came in a yellow cardboard box. The bar 
was rounded and was almost as black as tar. It lathered freely, 
having a tantalizing odor of pine tar. Along with the soaps were 
Faultless Starch and cans of Merry War Lye, used variously for 
making your own "lye soap" and for putting in pig swill, presum- 
ably to rid them of intestinal worms; but, I suspect, given just 
because we had always done it this way! It certainly makes one 
have a high respect for a pig's innards to think that it could 
stand a dose of lye! Along with these items too was Twenty Mule 
Team Welding Borax, used by the housewives as a water softener 
and by the nearby blacksmith as a flux in welding iron, which was 
to me then, and still is, an amazing process. 

Conspicuously missing from this section, as compared to a 
modern grocery, was toilet paper. The law of supply and demand 
prevailed here, for there simply wasn't any demand for it. The 
people used sheets of old Sears cataloas, newspapers, or even 
sometimes freshly shelled corn cobs. You might infer from this 
that people were tougher then than they are now. If you did. 


your inference would be totally correct. They were tougher both 
physically and morally. 

On the back counter on the north side sat the cheese cutter. 
It was a circular platform some fourteen inches in diameter with 
a heavy knife hinged over it. The platform could be rotated a 
fixed distance at a time. This amount of arc represented the 
value of a nickel's worth of cheese, which was a segment of the 
circle of the cheese. The cut of cheese was wedge shaped. If a 
dime's worth was wanted it could be ratcheted twice, or multiples 
for another multiple nickel's worth. The cheese itself was about 
fourteen inches in diameter and five inches thick and of little 
better quality than the kind we now describe as mousetrap cheese. 
A cheese this size came in a wooden box of the same shape. The 
cheese itself weighed about fifty pounds. I didn't bother about 
it at the time, but I suppose the ratchet was adjustable to take 
care of the varying price of cheese. When not in use the knife 
was left standing vertically and the hoop (the box the cheese came 
in) was placed over the cheese on the cutter platform. I suppose 
that the purpose was to keep the mice from getting their share. 
Flies probably got their share off the standing knife. As far as 
I remember, no one ever bothered to take the knife off and wash 
it, but I also never knew of any case of illness being traced to 
the cheese cutter. 

On the center end of this same counter was the indispensable 
roll of wrapping paper in its stand with a guide to tear the paper 
off by. Most things were not prepackaged and had to be either 
wrapped and tied with string or put in a paper bag and tied with 


string. There were no staplers and no tape. Cellophane and 
polyethelene had not even been dreamed of at that time. The 
string was on a ball or spool in a container on the ceiling and 
the end of the string hung down so that it could be reached. 
Some of the string, I remember, had a red thread and white thread 
twisted together; other was all white. 

In addition to the burlap bags of beans, coffee, and hominy 
flakes, in the middle aisle there might be a barrel of apples in 
season or even a box of oranges. If this seems awfully crowded 
to you, just remember that there was seldom, more than one or two 
people in the store at a time except for the "hangers-on," who 
were either sitting around the stove in the winter or on the front 
porch in the summer. The porch, which jutted out almost to the 
road, was a good place to see who was passing and what they were 
hauling and to enjoy good-natured talk about them. There wasn't 
any continual flow of traffic as there is now; there was an 
occasional buggy carrying one or two people, a tew farm wagons, 
and sometimes old man Ab Wharton walking along with his hands 
clasped behind his back and his wife following some five or six 
steps behind him. Many of the people who passed were Negroes 
who often heralded their approach by singing, particularly at 
night. We almost knew them by their voices, most of which were 
rich and melodious. 

Behind the northeast counter there was a barrel of salt pork. 
It was, I think, taken from the jowls of the hogs and was almost 

Not his real name. 


pure fat. This must have been the same kind that the army bugle- 
call ditty referred to as "porky, porky, porky, without a bit of 
lean." It was a staple among the poorer people who could not 
afford to raise their own hogs. I don't remember what it sold for 
per pound, but I would guess not more than ten cents, perhaps even 
less. This salt pork, hominy, and corn bread, along with dried 
beans, were the main constituents of the diet of the very poor. 
There were no food stamps, no welfare programs, no subsidies. In 
those days, except for a little help from the somewhat better off 
neighbors, you were on your own, and if worst came to awful worst, 
it was the poorhouse for you. There were several people in the com- 
munity, both whites and blacks, who had a daily battle with the wolf 
at the door. It is almost superfluous to say that tuberculosis was 
rampant among them and that the death rate was inordinately high. 
They were caught in the poverty syndrome and there was very little 
hope of ever getting out. Let it be noted, however, that not many 
of them were ever suspected of stealing. By and large, they 
accepted "what can't be cured must be endured," and suffered with 
a dignity that puts to shame our modern complaining. And suffer 
I'm sure they did, sometimes being actually hungry. In the Dilton 
neighborhood, there were one or two cases of pellegra, which is 
specifically a disease of dietary deficiency. 

Sometimes in the winter months when hogs were being killed, the 
merchant might have "a few sets of bones" for sale at ten cents a 
set. A set consisted of a pair of ribs and a backbone. He might 
also have some fresh faces and jowls which, I think, sold for ten 
cents each. This fresh meat was a welcome addition to the diet of 
the very poor and furnished them some much needed protein and 


vitamins. A novelty, and maybe even a revolting kind of novelty, 
in this and other country stores was the sight of rabbits hanging 
by a string from a hook in the ceiling. The merchant had bought 
them from local hunters for ten cents each and sold them, I guess, 
to the more affluent for about twenty to twenty-five cents each. 
They had been "drawn" (innards taken out), but the skin and head 
were still on them. H. K. Mankin and J. B. Preston used to be 
local nimrods who picked up a little spending money this way. 
No doubt they invested a substantial part of it in Bull Durham, 
while most of the rest went for jellybeans. The older, married 
hunters used their rabbits to supplement the families' diet. It 
should be noted that a shotgun shell sold for about three cents. 
But they didn't always use a shotgun. Often they would kill them 
while sitting with a .22 rifle. The shells for it cost about 
one- half cent each. When there was a snow on the ground, they 
would track them to their burrows and kill them with a club. 

Under the northeast counter was one or more stands (50 lb. 
metal cans) of hog lard which the merchant had bought from local 
farmers and which he sold retail to those who did not produce 
their own. There was also shortening manmade from cotton seed 
oil which the local people called compound lard. Generally speak- 
ing, only the poor would use it as it was considered of inferior 
quality and sold at a cheaper price. Some of us have lived to 
see that position reversed, since pure hog laid doesn't find 
much of a market now. Then, as now, it had a tendency to get 
rancid as weather warmed. 


Considerable of the business of the country store was carried 
on as barter. Women would bring in eggs and butter or chickens 
and trade them to the merchant for staples such as coffee, sugar 
and flour, thread, and calico. We children, too, engaged in 
barter with the local merchant as from time to time we could 
wangle an egg from our mothers. With almost drooling anticipa- 
tion, we would rush to the store with our egg to trade it for 
some goody we wanted. But just what goody? There were so many 
enticing choices. There were chocolate drops, jellybeans, 
cookies, fishhooks, and boss balls, and we just had one egg to 
spend, worth roughly one cent. The merchant waited understand- 
ingly while we wrestled with this momentous choice. Finally we 
decided, the deal was completed and we went away as happy as if 
we had made a shrewd deal on a new Rolls Royce. The merchant 
usually gave us more than value received. He was our neighbor 
and friend, not just a dealer and salesman. 

Frequently, too, some adult would bring in a live hen and 
trade her for some staple such as sugar, coffee, or lard. Ready 
cash was scarce and barter took its place. The merchant had a 
coop outside the back of the store that he kept the chickens in 
until he took them from time to time to sell to the poultry 
wholesale dealer in town. 

Part of the business was done on a credit basis also. 
Things would be charged until the fall crop was gathered when 
the customer and the merchant would have a settlement. If one's 
credit was questionable, he would have to get some more acceptable 
person, usually a landowner, to "stand" for him, that is. 


guarantee payment. The poor then, as the poor have always been, 
were "on the short end of the stick, " and occasionally there was 
a grasping merchant who would gouge them. Hendrick was not that 
kind. He had more of a tendency to be softhearted and let them 
gouge him, for often his outgo was more than his income. Busi- 
nesses do not prosper that way, nor did his, but I venture to say 
that he laid up a lot of shekels where "moth and rust doth not 
corrupt nor thieves break through and steal." I doubt seriously 
that he ever knowingly cheated anybody, but I don't doubt that he 
gave long weight to the poor. 

To the east of the counter toward the back of the store, 
there was a barrel of vinegar lying in a cradle with a wooden 
spigot in it. Vinegar was drawn out into the customer's jug or 

Somewhat near the northeast corner of the store was a hanging 
platform to hold the cloth bags of flour and meal. The purpose, 
of course, was to keep thfe rats and mice off it, not necessarily 
for sanitation but to keep them from gnawing holes in the bags 
and wasting the contents. A customer might be more concerned 
about the bag's being a half pound short than he was about any 
germs the rat or mouse might distribute; anyhow, cooking would 
kill the germs! 

There was some variety of flour but small quantities of each. 
Flour came in twenty-four and forty-eight pound bags. I only 
remember the name of the one brand that Mother used. Dainty, I 
think it was, made by Ransom's mill near Murf reesboro. I believe 
there were both plain and self-risina flours. Mother used plain 


flour and made her biscuits (which we had twice a day) with 
buttermilk and bicarbonate of soda. The meal — the brand escapes 
me — came in twenty- four and forty-eight pound cloth bags also. 
The bags were prized for making cup towels and underwear for us 
children after the printing had washed out. 

Among her other duties, Mother made underwear and shirts for 
us. When I think of all the things she did, it makes me ashamed 
of what we call work now, nor is it any surprise to me that she 
wore out and died in sixty-two years. There was no electricity 
nor much gasoline to lighten her load. She did have a gasoline 
iron that gave her a desperate headache nearly every time she 
used it, probably from carbon monoxide fumes. It was a cantan- 
kerous piece of equipment as temperamental as a movie actress. 
When it was good, "it was very, very good, and when it was bad 
it was horrid!" I doubt seriously that Underwriters' Laboratories 
would put their seal of approval on one now, and probably didn't 
then. But in the summertime, as bad as it was, I guess it was 
better than heating the wood-burning kitchen stove to heat the 
sadirons to do a big family ironing including shirts, sheets, and 
table cloths. Incidentally, she kept a green cedar bough to put 
the iron on occasionally to keep it from sticking to starched 
clothes so badly. I suppose the heat extracted oil or wax from 
the cedar needles. Country people were not botanists, but they 
knew many practical things about trees and herbs. 

Across the back wall of the store, hanging on hooks or pegs, 
were work harnesses for horses and mules. Among them were trace 
chains, collars, hames, hame strings, clevises, backhands, curry 


combs, and maybe singletrees and doubletrees. Other farm items 
were kept in the back storage room. 

In addition, the back room contained the coal oil (kerosene) 
barrel with a hand-cranked pum.p on it. Coal oil was one of the 
necessities of life in those days before electricity reached the 
rural areas. We had at our house a metal, one-gallon can with a 
small spout to get our supply of kerosene in. It could be poured 
from the can directly into the lamps without benefit of a funnel. 
Since the small spout didn't have a cap, the merchant would 
usually stick a potato on it so that I would not slosh it out as 
I carried it home. Other people got theirs in a glass jug with 
a cork in it for a stopper. They also had a loop of heavy cord 
or small rope attached to the handle to carry it by. I suppose 
carrying a gallon of oil by one finger for a mile or two got 
rather tiresome. 

The shelves on the south side toward the back were devoted 
to shoes, men's and women's and children's. They were mostly 
work shoes. The men's shoes were high top, lace-up, with hooks 
about halfway. As I remember the women's shoes, they had eyelets 
all the way up and reached almost to mid-calf. No ankle was 
going to be exposed to public view! The clothes then not only 
protected the property; they also obstructed the view. 

Immediately to the west of the shoe shelves were the dry 
goods. The selection was not impressive. It consisted of 
several different calico prints, maybe some ginghams, unbleached 
and bleached domestic, some Indian head, hickory stripes for 
shirts, overalls, work socks, garters, black ribbed cotton 


stockings in weights for women and boys in short pants, elastic 
banding, spools of thread, safety and straight pins, hairpins, 
huck toweling and various other kindred items. The wants of the 
community had not been whetted to such a keen edge by advertising 
as they have been now; therefore, the canny merchant stocked 
accordingly. Somewhere along this side of the store was sole 
leather and "sprigs," which the industrious bought and used to 
half-sole their own work shoes. I often thought how unfortunate 
it would be if a piece of this sole leather got mixed in with the 
Brown's Mulel They looked somewhat alike. The half-soling jobs 
were crude, but they served the purpose and postponed the day of 
judgment on buying a new pair of shoes, a momentous decision to 

It is nearly impossible for us to envision now the tran- 
quility, the sense that tomorrow was going to be very much like 
today, the slowness of the tempo of living, the simple pleasures, 
the almost all pervading calm that enveloped those days, 
especially before World War I. We who lived in those days and 
now have the long perspective needed to assess them can't help 
but conclude that 1914 was a turning point in history. Life 
before that time and after it are almost as different as life on 
separate planets would be. ^s one example, violer.ce was rare and 
was frowned upon by all but those who committed it, and the 
punishment meted out for it was both swift and harsh. Divorce, 
too, was looked upon almost as a scandal and divorcees were not 
glamorized. Shoplifting was practically nonexistent. 


One of the simple pleasures I remember with nostalgia was 
the mournful, sweet sound of the steam locomotive whistles in the 
dead of night. When we lived at the Gamewell place there was a 
switch on to a sidetrack of the N.C. and St. L. Railroad about a 
mile and a half from our house, and in the still of night we 
could clearly hear the whistles. Remember, there wasn't much 
background noise, for there were few automobiles and most of them 
went to bed at dark; there were no radios, no televisions, and 
for all practical purposes, no airplanes, so it was quiet when 
night fell except for an occasional passing wagon or buggy in the 
early hours or the lilting, half-happy, half-sad voice of a Negro 
singing as he walked along the pike. So, late at night — I think 
about midnight--when the Dixie Flyer passed through, the freight 
that met this fast passenger train from Chicago to Jacksonville 
at that siding had to get off. We could hear it coming to a halt 
while the switchman threw the switch, then a short toot from the 

tenor pitched whistle, then the puff puff puff — puff — 

puff — puff - puff - puff of the steam exhaust as the locomotive 
labored to get the heavy train moving again, the low rumble of the 
moving train then when it got on the switch (siding) , the clangor 
of car couplings bumping together as the brakes were applied, 
then silence while the freight lay there waiting for the Dixie 
Flyer to pass. It usually wasn't a long wait until the Flyer 
came roaring and clacking and its deeper-throated baritone whistle 
sounding out an "all's well" to the waiting freight as it 
thundered by and was soon gone. Then the freight with two short 
toot- loots began its laborious chuff chuff chuff -- 


chuff -- chuff - chuff - chuff as it started, then a slowing of 
the chuffing as it slowed for the switchman to throw the switch 
and run and catch the caboose then faster chuff-chuff-chuff- 
chuff-chuff until the individual chuffs were lost to the growing 
roar as the train gained speed. It didn't have far to go, though, 
until it came to the Rucker crossing and there the engineer really 
expressed himself on the whistle, almost playing a tenor solo with 

the W-H-0-0, W-H-0-0, WHOO, W H O with a 

diminuendo toward the end of the last WHOO trailing off into the 
still night as clear as the note of a violin and as plaintive as 
the wail of a banshee. It was a thrilling pleasure that younger 
generations have been deprived of. "Progress" drove the steam 
locomotive to the bone yard, the raucous diesel horn displaced 
the melodious whistle, and music gave way to noise. Perhaps 
Longfellow had the tenor-pitched steam whistle in mind when he 
wrote "and the night shall be filled with music" at least, he well 
could have. I'm sure efficiency has been increased by the change 
from steam to diesel, but the soul went out of railroading with 
the demise of the steam whistle. Shall man live by efficiency 
alone or is there some nobler goal? Is it necessary to swap 
beauty for ugliness in the name of progress? The passing of the 
steam whistle is typical of the passing of many of those charms 
that set the pace of peace and calm which prevailed in the entire 


b7 Eugene H. Sloan 

Traditional Southern education for women in cultural st\idies and social 
graces has long been associated with Murfreesboro. 

A Female Acadeny was organized in 1825 by F. N. W. Burton, Dr. W. R. 
Rucker, M. B. Murfree, and Dr. James Money. Misses ^fary and Nancy Banks were 
employed as teachers. 

The Female Covmty Academy was founded in 1829 and continued in successful 
operation until after 185u. 

Mrs. E. S. Bowles opened a school, Murfreesboro Female Seminary, in 
January, 1835. 

Midsylvania Female Academy, "located five miles southeast of Murfreesboro, 
Tennessee" was granted a charter in 1834. 

Reorganizations and consolidations resulted in the establishment of the 
Tennessee Baptist Female Institute and Batons College for Women in 1853' 

Soule College, the moat long lived and prestigious of all these efforts 
to provide private schools for girls, was the outgrowth of a meeting held 
July H, 1851 at the urging of a local Methodist minister. Rev. Thomas Madden. 

Dr. J. R. Finley was named president of the proposed school, which was 
named for Bishop Joshua Soule of Nashville. 

The school opened work in the "old Female Academy" in September, 1851. 
This gave credence to the Soule College Alumni Association claiming the school 
was fovinded in 1825. 

Work on the new building on Lebanon (North Maple) Street was begun on 
July 3, 1853 and was ready for occupancy in November. The three-story build- 
ing cost $25,UUU. Dr. S. D. Baldwin, pastor of the Murfreesboro Methodist 


■*-,■ : ' '-^ '- ;',' » ,'•,•• 

Bishop Joshua Soule for whoffi the college was n 

t; . - . ; ji.* 


Church, had succeeded Finley as president. He continued as president until 
1856 when C. W. Callendar, a professional teacher, was elected president. 

The Soule College site, four blocks south of the Court Square on Lebanon 
(Maple) Street had been a Methodist church vdth a grave yard located south of 
the church building. Middle Tennessee Electric Membership now occupies the 

Thomas Robertson acquired the church property and used it for the manu- 
facture of cotton gins. He conveyed it to the trustees of Soule College. 

A study of the real property involved in Soule College as recorded in 
Deed Books and Trust Deeds records in the Rutherford Courthouse reveals in- 
teresting changes in street names, real estate ownershl^j, and the flucuating 
value of property over the years. 

Apparently the original tract, which included an old Methodist church, 
with the possibility of an adjacent cemetery^ embraced about four acres. 

On April 8, 1874- there was a conveyance to Joseph B. West from D. D. 
Moore the tract with no metes or bounds description other than a statement, 
"the Soule Female College grounds were bounded on the south by Iffalnut Street, 
east by Lebanon Street, west by Railroad Street, and north by John C. Spence." 

In the transfer by the F. W. Snead et al to A. M. Overall on September 
10, 1907, the property was described as "4 1/2 acres more or less" bounded 
on the east by Maple Street, west by Walnut Street, south by Burton Street, 
and north by the property of James Moore. 

Just two years later in April, 1909 the conveyance gave more minute des- 
criptions. The south boundary was owned by P. A. l4yon and Mrs. C. P. Campbell, 
indicating that some of the Soule property had been sold for private develop- 
ment. This is further indicated by *.he more minute linear boxonds of 370 feet 
along Maple Street and 300 feet westerly to iJalnut Street. This was the first 
conveyance mentioning insurance. The new owners (Miss Hopkins and Mrs. Hyde) 


were to keep the property insured for $5,000 to protect mortgage holders. 

In April, 1909 Martha A. Hopkins et al transferred the property to G. B. 
Giltner, H. 0. Parker and B. L. Sims for the purpose of building a "white high 
school" financed by a bond issue. An interesting clause in this deed conveyed 
"war claims" to the School Commissioners. The property lines defined in this 
transfer begin, "at the P. A. Lyon northeast corner, running with the Maple 
Street line north 363 feet to James A. Moore southeast comer, thence Moore's 
south boundary in a westerly direction 314 feet to the east side of Walnut 
Street thence southerly 363 feet to Mrs. C. P. Campbell's lot, thence easterly 
3H feet along the Campbell, T. L. Richardson and Lyons north boundary to the 
point of beginning." 

The charter of Soule was granted in 1854. Trustees were L. B. Carney, 
B. W. Avent, D. D. Wendel, Levi Wade, W. R. McFadden, Joseph Watkins, Willian 
Spence, W. S. Huggins and W. F. Ly^le. 

Soule College had many scholarly, highly dedicated, and widely recognized 
administrators in its sixty-five years of service to education in the South. 

Dr. J. Randolph Finley, who was a moving force in its incorporation, re- 
signed the presidency of Soule Fecjale College in a formal letter addressed to 
the Board of Trustees December 1, 1852. He suggested that the vacancy be 
filled by Rev. T. W. Randle or the Rev. S. D. Baldwin. 

The Board accepted his resignation "since he had already received a trans- 
fer to the Pacific Coast Conference". The Board voted to release "Dr. Finley 
of his subscription of stock and commend him for his indomitable energy and 
vigilant care to the institution". He was also complimented for his scholar- 
ship, rapport with the community, and "extraordinary architectvural skill in 

drafting the plan and supervising to most speedy completion without 

fee or reward the beautiful, spacious and well-constructed college buildings." 


Some of the frustrations experienced by the Rev, Mr. Finley were re- 
vealed in the research conpiled by Frank Bass in his thesis for the ^faster 
of Arts degree at Peabody College in 194.1. 

Qiioting from the Louisville and Nashville Christian Advocate, July 26, 

1851, and the Minutes of the Board of Trustees Minute Book of 1851, Bass 


"It seems that schools always have had many difficulties and 
Soule Female College was no exception. School was opened in the old 
Female Acaden^y, but owing to disagreement with trustees of that 
institution, plans had to be rushed for a new building. It had 
been agreed in the beginning of the movement for the school that 
fifteen thousand dollars be raised by a joint stock conpany for the 
erection and furnishing of the building. During the winter of 
1851-52, events moved rapidly towards plans for erection of a suit- 
able structure for housing a 'Female Institute of high grade and 
liberal charter'." 

Bass continued his account: 

"On December 3, 1851, Dr. Finley and Rev. S, D. Baldwin were ap- 
pointed a committee to drafl a plan for a building. At the same 
time, in order to speed up the collection of funds, T. W. Randle 
was appointed agent for the collection of such funds, and he was 
allowed 2-^ per cent on $10,000, including the subscription already 
obtained, and 5 per cent on vrfiatever sum he may obtain over 

On December 17, 1851, the committee for drafting a plan for a building 
made its report, and it was approved by the Board. At the same meeting, a 
committee was appointed to see the Tmistees of the Murfi'eesboro Female Acaden^r 
and ascertain their view in reference to subscribing the present groiuid and 
building as stock in Soxile Female College. In a short time, this committee 
made a favorable report, and a building committee was appoxnted. 

The appointment of Rev. T. W. Randle as agent for the College must have 

been tenporary, because on January 30, 1852, the Board rtoeived an application 

for this job from Rev. S. S, Moody. On Febiniary 3, the Board passed a 

resolution to the effect that: 

"Rev. S. S. Moody be enployed as a traveling agent, whose 
duty it shall be to collect fxmds for the erection of the building; 


and to use his best energies to obtain pupils for the school 
provided he vdll do so for ten percent, upon the amount of his 
subscription. His pay to be retained out of said subscription; 
and that the secretary address Mr. Moody and ascertain from his 
views upon the subject." 

On February 18, Mr. Moody appeared before the Board and accepted the 
proposition. This appointment was approved by the Annual Conference, accord- 
ing to the minutes of the Annual Conference of the M. E. Church, South, 1851-52. 

This Board meeting brought the first disagreement among the members. Dr. 

Avent moved that the Board proceed to make contracts "for the brick work of 

the building, and for such wood work, and painting as will preserve the same." 

All of the Trustees present voted for the motion except William Spence, and 

the following week the brick work was awarded to William Summerhill, who had 

made his bid in these words: 

"To the committee of the Female Institute: I will erect the brick 
work of the whole building of the Female Institute, after the 
Banner and form of the drawing in the town of Murfreesboro: the 
brick to be measured and counted according to the ruler of brick 
work for SEVEN DOLLARS AND FORTS" CENTS, per thousand, counting the 
openings out." 

The contract for the wood work was given to Green Clay, who had made the 
following proposition: 

"I will furnish lumber, nails, locks, hinges, and do all the 
carpenter work belonging to the SoMle Female College according 
to the plan as exhibited by Dr. Finley, and either cover the roof 
idth good cedar shingles, or with the conqposition, such as, the 
railroad depot at Murfreesboro is covered with, (except the 
observatory) for the sum of NIIfE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS. 

School was in session, plans were well under way for the new building, 

but it seemed that there was some doubt as to the ultimate completion of plans. 

According to the 1852 Minutes of the Board of Trustees, Clay was awarded the 

contract for wood work but agreed to take a per cent of his contract in stock. 

In October, 1852, the Board made a special call upon the stockholders for the 

first installment of twenty- five per cent upon their subscriptions. Apparently, 

there was some difficulty with collections. In spite of all handicaps, however, 


plans went forv/ard, and President Finley, in announcing plans for the first 

coiranencement season stated thats 

"The comer stone of the new and commodious college edifice, 
which is about to be erected by the Board of Trustees, will be 
laid by the Fraternity of Masons, on Satiirday, the 3rd of July 

Although no description of the interior arrangement of the building in 

1851-52 is available, there is an excellent delineation of its appearance 

appearing in an advertisement for a Chancery Court sale in the Murfreesboro 

Monitor of August 22, 1868; 

"For elegance, unity of design, and adaptation to educational 
purposes this College edifice has but few superiors, if any. The 
form of the house is that of a nassive Ronan cross, three stories 
high, 135 feet long, and 115 feet wide. The brick work is executed 
in the finest style — the wood work on the exterior is tastefully 
adjusted. A fine battlement cornice extends entirely around the 
eaves, with a frontispiece facing the street. On the right of the 
main entrance on the first story, are two family rooms, each twenty 
feet sqxiare, and opposite are parlors corresponding in size. This 
entry intersects a passage, froai which doors open into a chapel, 
laboratory, apparatus, and dining rooms. In the same wing are the 
library and the Juvenile and Preparatory departments. The Study 
Hall is 5U feet square, well lighted and thoroughly ventilated. 
From this hall, glass doors open into the various recitation rooms. 
The dormitories are twenty-six in number, twenty feet square on 
average, and all fourteen feet high. The windows are large, open- 
ing full length on hinges, and protected from without by Venetian 
blinds. There is a beautiful lawn in front and on either side of 
the bviilding, well set in blue grass, and pleasantly shaded. All 
necessary out-buildings, cisterns, etc., on the premises." 

The first faculty consisted of Professor J. R. Finley, J. Hoffman, Jane 
Raymond, Julia Knapp and Jane Wolf. 

Little is known of Dr. Finley's work in the Pacific Coast Conference after 
leaving Murfreesboro. That he retur-ied to the South is evidenced by his being 
listed as president of the Tennessee Conference Female Institute in Athens, 
Alabama in 1885. 

The first class graduated in 185^. It was composed of Amanda (Barlow) 

Headers, Adelaide (Cooper) Malone, Georgiana Thompson (Gill), Keeble Thompson, 

and Sue F. Dromgoole oi' Murfreesboro. I'llss Dromgoole's sister. Will Allen, 
bacfune ono of Tennessee's most famous writers. 




The class of 1855 had 15 members including Kit I^le (Mrs. Doc Ledbetter) 
and Anna Murfree. "Kit" must have been a popular pre-civil war name. The 
only two members of the 1856 class were Kit Barlovr and Kit Hall (Mrs. Thomas 
Fletcher) . 

Mattie, Sallie, Lizzie, Lottie, Annie, and Nannie were other popular 
contractions of given names of the period. Mattie Ready (Mrs. John Hunt 
Morgan) had Ifettie Pea, Mattie Woods, and Mattie Horton as classmates. 

The school suspended operation February 1862 but was reopened in Jan- 
uary 1866, and in June graduated a single girl, Jennie Ford (Mrs. Benjamin 
Sawrie), of Nashville. 

Conditions had apparently returned to some degree of nornalcy by 1867, 
when there were five graduates. There were ten girls receiving diplonns in 

In the decade between 1870 and 1880 the influence of Soule College had 
extended to list graduates from Texas, Florida, Indian Territory, Georgia, ^ 
Arkansas, Illinois, and Kentucky. 

Hard times must have hit the school in the mid 1890*8. The class of 
189A had only Eugenia Neilson of Ilurfreesboro graduating. The year before 
Miss Neilson had been a "Laurel- crowned Student". There were two graduates, 
Stella Cross and Lizzie Bates of Si^yrna, in the 1895 class. Maggie Bock re- 
ceived an "English diploma" in I896. There were no gradtiates in 1897. 

In 1898 one of the largest classes to date was graduated. The class 
included students from Korea, Cincinnati, Ohio, from Port, Oklahoma, and 
Tennessee students from Martin, Cross Plains, Smyrna, Sweetwater, Jackson, 
and Bellbuckle. The fcUoway sisters, Nell and Anna Eliza (Mrs. Richmond 
Jones), were graduates from Jefferson, Tennessee. Elodi© Ross, Smyrna; Ivie 
Mai Smith (Mrs. Guy McFerrin), Rosa Moore (Mrs. Tom Cannon), Adele Kimbro and 
Neina Childress were among the Murfreesboro girls who were members of this 


Dr Samuel Davies Baldwin, then pastor of the Methodist Church in Mur- 
Ireesboro, was elected to lill the unexpired term of Dr. Finley and was 
re-elected in May 18^3. He was to receive an annual salary of $1,20U and a 
"comfortable house to live in". 

A native of iJorthington, Ohio, Baldwin had been graduated from Woodward 
College. He was described as a "Knight Templar, critic, autor, preacher, 
pastor, revivalist and scholar". He had preached at Mt. Pleasant, Clarksville, 
Lebanon and Edgefield in Nashville. His last pastorate was at McKendree 
Church in Nashville, where he died in 1881. 

Dr. Baldwin was a nationally known author and lecturer. Among the books 
he wrote while president of Soule College was Armageddon . The Seventh Trump_et. 
and The Millenial Empire also attracted national attention. His theories on 
The Revelation of St. John was summarized on the title page of Armegeddon , 
which reads: 

"Armageddon: Or the Overthrow of Romanism and Monarchy; the 
Existance of the United States Foretold in the Bible; It's 
Future Greatness; Invasion by Allied Europe; Annihilation of 
Monarchy; Expansion into the Millenial Republic and It's 
Domination Over the World." 

Since his writing and lecture toxir to the principal cities in America 
came to occupy so much of his time, Baldwin surrendered his administration in 
October, 1856. 

Professor C. W. Callendar had been named vice-president in 1855, possibly 
assuming the immediate executive duties. He was a native of Harrisburg, Penn- 
sylvania but had been associated with a Washington College at Hendersonville, 
Tennessee before coming to Soule College. The school prospered under his ad- 
ministration, reaching an enrollment of lUO in 1857. The next year Cqllende-, 


the first professional education to head Souls College, went to Franklin to 
establish a girl's school there. 

Callander was succeeded by the Rev. George E. Naff who came to Soule 
from the presidency of the Tennessee Female College in Athens, Alabama. 

A description of the 1859 commencement at Soule College was typical 
of such exercises. The Sunday, June 19, commencement sermon was delivered 
at the Methodist Church by Dr. Summers. "The examination exercises" were 
conducted by a Conference Committee on Monday, Wednesday, June 22, was 
the formal commencement day. Each graduate read an original poem, essay, 
or delivered an address. President George E, Naff presented diplomas to 
each graduate. Mrs. Naff presented a gold thimble to Fannie S* Allen of 
Athens, Alabama for "having the neatest room during the preceding year". 
The "station preacher" presented a Bible to each graduate. This Bible pre- 
sentation tradition seemed to have been renewed at various times during the 
subsequent years. Petty Bostic of Triune gave the valedictory address and 
two Murfreesboro girls, Martha J. Cox and Bettie S, Hoover, appeared on the 
program at the 1859 commencement. 

President Naff made valient efforts to keep the college in operation 
as the War Between the States approached. The school had an enrollment of 
192 pupils at the close of the school year in 1861. In August of 1861, the 
school was advertised as one "of safety and easy access from the South". 
Opening on September 2, the Christian Advocate reported that the school was 
prepared to "retain our reputation as a school of faithful eind thorough in- 
struction ... in healthful and comfortable quarters". Charges for 10 
months was "about $175". 

An example of the struggle to keep the school open as Federal armies 
moved South, the Christian Advocate reported that: "For the past few months 


women vdth "missions" have been migrating northward like geese in the spring- 
time . . . Soule College is erect and floiirishing". 

But the vicissitude of war caused the school to close in February of 1862, 
after the fall of Forts Donelson and Henry. The school was used as a hospital 
by both Federals and Confederates during the war. There are former students 
of Soule College living in Murfreesboro who state that as late as 191", there 
were blood stains ingrained in the floors of some of the rooms. Before the 
war was over, the fences were destroyed, furniture carried away, and the 
building defaced. 

Six months after Appomatox, the Rev. James R. Plumer, a Methodist preacher 
from Maury County, collected a faculty consisting of Mrs. E. M. Eaton, Jo Eaton, 
Betty Wharton, Mrs. M. Henderson, Anna Ransom, R. T. Steinhagen, Mrs. H. Keeble, 
with Mrs. Plumer as "matron". On January 1, 1866 the school reopened and was 
described as having "no school marms" from the North. The faculty were all 
"Southern magnolias". 

An interesting excerpt from a letter written by a visitor at the i860 
commencement described the Soule College as "alive with girls — well fed, well- 
taught, and well behaved". There were I4.6 students, 114- of which were boarders, 
in the 1866 enrollment. 

Fiscal problems continued to vex Soule under the Plumer administration, 
until it was necessary to foreclose in a Chancery Coiirt sale as recorded in 
Book 22, page 33 of the Rutherford County Register's office. The Rev. R. D- 
Moore took charge of the school in the fall of 1868. 

Records of the Christian Adv-cate and Tennessee Conference reports indi- 
cate that the number of boarding students doubled in 1868-69, and that there 
was an equal increase in students of music. 


Moore's administration from 1868 until 1874 reflected a modernization of 
the physical plant and curriculvun. A reading room was established with "an 
extensive stock of s\il table and tasteful books and selections of v/eeklies, 
monthlies and quarterlies of America and Europe". 

Physical plant inprovements were made. Gaslights were installed through- 
out the building. Apparently the toilet facilities of the school were installed, 
as "modern city improvements including furnace heat for the recitation room and 
study hall were advertized. "Sleeping apartments were more cheerfully warmed 
by grate fires", according to the 1870 advertisements for the school. 

In an advertisement in the July 9, 1870 Christian Advocate . Moore wrote: 

"Having conformed our curriculum to the standards of good 
male colleges, procured the services of some of the ablest and 
most experienced professors in the country, as teachers of that 
curriculum, especially designed as a finishing school for young 
ladies of the South." 

For one of the few times in the hi.story of the school, the men faculty 
members made up almost half the staff. The Rev. D. D. Moore was professor of 
"moral philosophy", Rev. W. H. Bfss A.M. taught Latin and Greek, and the Rev. 
Lorenzo Lee, A.M. taught mathematics and modern languagss. Kate S. Carney was 
in charge of the academic department. Other faculty members were Sallie R. 
Thompson, Mrs. R. K. Keeble, Mrs. G. T. Henderson and Willie Lea. 

A diploma from Soule College hangs in the foyer of Linebaugh Library. 
Apropos to the prevailing collegiate diplomas of the period, it is lettered 
on a verticle 1/+ x 20 sheet of paper with a light blue ribbon in the lower 
left corner, in lieu of a seal. It reads: 


Morfreesboro, Tennessee 

To All Whom It May Ckjncern GREETINGS 

Be It Knovm That 


of Bedford, Tennessee 

Having passed successfxillj the prescribed course 
of English and Mathematics study has been thought 
worthy of this 


by the President and his associates in consideration 
of scholarship and purity of character, June 13, 1870 

D. H. Moore 

Mrs. H. A. Peabody 

E. N, Eton 
Joe Easten 
Kent Gredg 
_______ Dixon 

Gassie £. Deason 

In 1873 a visiting committee from the Conference reported that atten- 
dance at Sotile College was not as large as it had been, and that free schools 
had been established in Murfreesboro. These and other factors may have in- 
duced Dr. Moore to sell the college and grounds to Dr. Joseph B. West on 
April 8, 1874 for $12,000. The transfer is recorded in the Rutherford Coun- 
ty Register's Office, Book 22, page 333. 

Dr. West had been president of Clarksville Acadenc^ before he came to 
Murfreesboro for a four-year tenure (1874-78) as president at Soule College. 
In 1876 the Rev. John R. ThoiiDDSon purchased a one-half interest in the school 
for $6,500. The enrollment dropped to fewer than 90 pupils in 1878, and 
T. A. Z. Adams was brought in to serve as president for one year. The next 
Year J. R. Thompson became the '*^ief administrator at Soule College. 


John Ransom Thompson, a native of Rutherford County, graduated from 
Union University and received a law degree from Cumberland University at 
I^ebanon. He later taught at Union University and then practiced law at 
Shelbyville. In 1859, he joined the Tennessee Conference and was licensed 
to preach. 

In 1879 he became president of Soule College, and over a ten-year 
period increased the enrollment to 175 and established the strongest re- 
ligious code the school had experienced. 

Bible study was reqtdred of each student, and ten minutes of each day 
was devoted to memorizing Bible verses. On Saturday nights the boarding 
students learned and recited the S\inday School lessons for the next day. 
Dancing was prohibited, and Sunday was Set aside for a period of meditation 
witn no callers being permitted. Revivals were held and pupils converted— 
3U in 1884.. In a later report the statement was made that all the 175 
students and the faculty members were Christian. 

Mrs. Thompson supervised the boarding students with a discipline that 
"is strictly Christian and is exercised in the spirit ol kindness". Tlioir.p- 
son was twice married — first to Martha Lou Goodrich, who died in 1867. In 
1873 he married Mrs. Addie Hill Swan, a native of Paris, Tennessee. 

It is difficult to evaluate just how strongly the Methodist doctrine 
was taught the pupils of Soule College before 1900. There are many refer- 
ences to religious practices. As early as 1857, a r^po^t stated that eight 
of the nine graduates were "professed followers of Je&as". 

In 1871 the college reported: 

"Almost every young lady of the College is a church member, 
l^ny were converted during the past year. One of the chief aims 
of this college is true piety, both by precept and example. 'Iny 
young lady who enters here will be surrounded by the pure and 
sacred influences of a well-regulated Chi'isLiun hoir.e." 


At some time during the more than a decade of John Ransom Thompson's 
administration, W. P. Henderson had acqiiired a one-fourth interest in the 
school. In July, 1889 Thompson conveyed his interest in the school for 
$8,000 to John G. Paty. Henderson sold his interest together vdth personal 
property listed in The Rutherford County Register's office Book 30, pp 621-62? 
to Paty. The personal property inventory ranged from four pianos to fruit 
jars. It included "22 small feather pillows, 13 bed comforts, H mattresses, 
13 wardrobes, seven sideboards, eight bureaus, and 4-0 chairs." 

Z. C. Graves, who had been associated with Mary Shap College at Win- 
chester, was secured as president of Soule College by Mr. Paty. Graves 
renained in charge until Miss Virginia Oceania Wardlaw cam'; from the Price 
School in Nashville. She was a "charter graduate of the Wellesley College 
and had taught in Virginia before coming to Nashvillo." Miss Wardlaw and 
her sister, Mrs. Mary Snead, operated the college until the oldest of the 
three sisters, Mrs. C. W. Martin from New York, joined in the operation 
in 1903. 

During the Wardlaw administration much emphasis was placed on concerts, 
lecturers, and visiting teachers. Piano, violin, organ, guitar, and voice 
were offered in music. There were offerings in expression and drama. Dur- 
ing one graduaticHi period, there were four "commencement concerts". 

Although Soule College continued to operate until 1917, if any one 
year could be designated as the apex as opposed to the nadir of 189*7, it 
would be the class of 190^. In February, 1903 Mrs. C. W. Martin, a sister 
of Miss Wardlaw, acqiiired title to the school property for $9,000. Two 
months later the title was transferred to Miss Wardlaw fo; ^^^^,,000 nnd the 
assumption of a mortgage note for $5,000 held by Miss Carmine Collier. The 
school then launched a program that attained wide scholastio recognition. 


Miss Wardlaw's progressive ideas were apparently implemented by pro- 
fessional enthusiasm, as she introduced dressmaking, bookkeeping, type- 
writing, and commercial law into the curriculum. The Visiting Committee 
early in her administration complimented the "practical manner in which 
the sciences are taught in well-eqviipped laboratory in which pupils are 
required to perform experiments". Geological field trips were conducted 
by Professor Safford, the State Geologist. 

"Latin and Greek are read with a fluency we have never seen equaled 
in a female institution", the visiting committee reported. 

Miss Wardlaw brought visiting lecturers from Vnnderbilt. She intro- 
duced the use of the stereoptican in the study of literature and history. 
French and German were taught. Constitutional history for seniors was 
added to a four-year course that covered conventional United States hist0i.'y, 
English, French, and modern European history. Civil government and polit- 
ical economy placed emphasis on "application of principle? to personal 
and home affairs". 

The hiunanities were further einphasized by courses in ethics, aesthetics, 
and Bible. The mathematics courses included arithmetic, algebra, plane 
and solid geometry, trigonometry, analytical geometry, and calculus. Phys- 
iology was designed to be practical with "resident physicins adding lectures 
on eye, ear, brain, digestion, circulation, and respiration". The pupils 
dissected animals to study the vital organs of frogs, chickens, rabbits, nnd 
other small animals. 

The faculty included Miss Virginia 0. Wardlaw, Mrs. Ma.ry Ward Snead, A.M., 
Mrs. Alice Foxworthy Glascock, Albert Charles Snead, Rev. C. S. Ware, Mrs. 
William Browen Hamen, Miss Myrtice Jarrell, Miss I. M. Smith, Miss Anna E. 
McFadden, Miss Elizabeth Gailbraith, Prof. Frany J. Strahn, Miss Abbie Speer, 
Miss Margaret Hatcher, Miss Katherine Jones, Miss Alemeda Hughes, and Sadie 

The course of study outlined in a 1904. catalog stated: "A knowledge 
of Latin and Greek is essential to a critical appreciation of the English 
language". The study of these langviages began in the "academic" class for 
Latin and the sophomore class for Greek. The method of instruction vras des- 
cribed as "electic, embracing features of the inductive and analytic". 
French and German offerings were available but not required. 

The study in English classes required "etymological and sjrntactical 
principles of the language". Much essay writing, the study of parliamenta-^v 
law, argumentation, letter writing, book revievring, journalism, criticism!";, 
and eachaustive reading in literature (including the Bible) were among the 

Miss Wardlaw published a collection of the work of her better stxidents 
entitled, Original Work of Miss Wardlaw 's Pupils , Included in this book was? 
a poetic version of the Book of Ruth, a dramatization of the Book of Esther, 
and six poems based on The Idyls of the King , 

Rules established by the Vfardlaw administration inclvided "Symplicity 
in style and material of dress", the limiting of "pin money" to a definite 
sum for a definite time, and a prohibition of "Sunday callers". 

That students other than those of the Methodist faith were enrolled 
is suggested by the request to parents to provide ''a Bible, a Hymn Book cf 
their own church, and the sending of copies of their own church papers" to 
the stiidents. 

The girls were required to have "one hoxir of recreative exercise each 
day in the open air, in good weather". Regular wallcs were varied with "ten- 
nis, basketball, croquet, and other out-door games", according to the catalog. 

The 1904. commencement wad held in the Soule Chapel on May 25. Dr. H. 
C. Tolman of Veinderbilt University delivered the commencement address with 
Dr. J. P. McFerrin awarding diplomas to 28 women, five of whom received the 


Bachelor of Arts degree. Certificates in Teaching of music were avrarded 
13 yo\ang women. Four qualified for certificates to teach elocution. 

The I9O3-I9O4. school year provided Soule College women with ten major 
social events, the attending of 13 off-campus affairs, and 68 lectures, re- 
citals, concerts, dramatic productions, dinners, and entertainments- These 
included a reception for the Confederate veterans reunion, a reception 
for the students from Webb School and the senior class from Mooney School, 
and an affair honoring former Governor Robert L. Taylor. 

The names Wardlaw and Snead mean little to the present generation in 
Rutherford County. Three quarters of a century ago these names were synon- 
ymous with distinction in education in the South. In the period 1910-1913 
the names were spread in headlines of newspapers over the world in a 
bizarre Svengali horror — a puzzling mystery that has never been solved. 

Virginia 0. Wardlaw was of distinguished ancestry, descended from the 
royalty of Scotland. Her ancestral family included church dignitaries, 
surgeons, bankers, judges, Revolutionary and Civil War military and civil 
leaders. She was a "charter stuaent" at Wellesley College at Massachusetts 
and came to Nashville vith her sister to teach at the exclusive Price School. 

Her parents were John Baptist ./ardlaw and Martha Eliza Goodall Wardlaw, 
There were four daughters, Caroline (Mrs. R. M. Martin), hbry (Mrs. Fletche- 
Snead), Virginia, and Bessie and two sons, Albert and John, in the Wardlaw 

The Rev. John B. Wardlaw was for four decades a prominent Methodist 
clergyman in southern states. In the early 1890's he and Mi-s. Wardlaw 
moved to Murfreesboro, where he died in 1898. The widow, Martha Eliza 
Wardlaw, moved to a room at Soule College. 

Miss Virginia Wardlaw, a brillant woman, according to the testimony of 
those who knew her, locally and professionally, was a woman of fine charactpi 


and gentle demeanor. Her sister, Mrs. Nfery Snead, was a teacher-overseer- 
assistant principal at the school. Two of Mi-s. Snead 's sons, Albert and 
Fletcher, taught at the school. One son, Fletcher, was to play a strange 
role in the events between the 1904 and 1907 period. 

A third sister, Mrs. Caroline B. Martin came to the school from her 
home in New York City. Weii^d tales began to develop among the impressionable 
students at the college and among the black servants. Occult powers were 
attributed to Mrs. Martin. 

Dr. C. C. Sims in his History of Murfreesboro alludes to the bizarre 
situation that developed in the last few years of the Wardl^w-Snead 

Teachers were frightened, and students left the school or failed to 
return. The sitviation worsened until 1907 when the College, in severe 
financial straights, caused the sisters to turn their operation ovp/ to 
local leadership and leave Murfreesboro. 

The three sisters and their ciother next appear in East Orange, New 
Jersey where Ocey Martin Snead was found dead in a bathtub in November, 
1909. On December 22, I9O9 Virginia Wardlaw, Mrs. Snead, and Mrs. Martin 
were indicted for murder and the trials set for the following spring in 
Newark, New Jersey. The sensational affair was extensively covered by 
reporters of the area press. 

In June, I9IO the mother of the three sisters, Martha Eliza Jardlav, 
died. Virginia Oceana d'd^pdi^u died two months later in the House of De- 
tention at Newark, either of heart disease or pelfr-iioDposed malnutrition. 
Mary Martin was found sane by the trial judge and charged vrith ths homicide 
of her daughter. 

Martin's trial in January, I9II resulted in her plea of noa viilb ',0 a 
charge of manslaughter. She vra..T sentenced to a seven-year prison term. 


Two years later she was removed to the New Jersey State Hospital fo- the 
Insane, where she died January 2u, 1913. 

Fletcher Snead has been described as a handsome, blonde youn;^ man in 
his early twenties, while a resident-teacher at Soule College. He Lhrec 
separate wedding ceremonies with his first cousin, Ocey Martin. There w;ts 
conside able speculation that Ocey was really the daughter ol' Virginia 
//ardlaw, who had been reared oy Caroline Martin to avoid a scandle. Th's 
innuendo was vigorously denied by Ifrs. Snead in a lengthy article in the 
Murfreesboro News Banner in I93u. 

Alvin Harlow published a book, h^ysteries Not Quite Solved , in which 
he recounts some or his findings in a chapter entitled, "Three Sisters in 

The Shadow and the '^eb by Mary :\llerton (Estelle Noble Gowan), the 
popular author of children's books, used the Wardlaw-Snead story for the 
basis of her first novel as a mystery writer. The plot and descriptions 
of life in an imaginary Fenale Academy offers an interesting picture oi 
what it may have been like at Soule College about 19U5 to 19U7. 

Factually, the soundest work that has been done on the story is The 
Three Sisters , written by Norman Zierold. It contains pictures of the 
Wardlaw family and a good brief of the legal maneuvering of the Martin- 
Snead-Wardlaw defense. 

After leaving their quarters at Soule College, the './r\rdlaw faiidly 
moved to the house of a Mr. Street located opposite the present site Ox 
Citizens Central Bank. According to Mi's. N. C. Beasley, who lived next 
door, the neighborhood children were frightened 1;/ the elderly women, 
clothed in black and heavily veiled who could be seen wandering about it. 


Soule College as it appeared around I9I6, See contrast photograph on pg, 65. 

Virginia Oceania Wardlav 

Ocej Martin, neice of Virginia 
Ward law. 


Following a few months residence in the Street house, the women moved 
to the upstairs rooms of the Searcey house located on the present site of 
the Murfreesboro Electric Department at the comer of College and Walaiut 

A great aunt, Oceana Seaborn Pollock, was owner of Montgomery College 
in Christiansburg, Virginia. As the clan scattered, Virginia went to 
Christiansburg to head that college. The Snead boys, Fletcher and John, 
went to I^rnnville, Tennessee where they operated a saw mill and married 
sisters. Mrs. Martin returned to New York City where she had been princi- 
pal of an elementary school before moving to Murfreesboro in 1902. Mrs. 
Snead went to Georgia "where she had relatives" to teach school. Bessie 
Spindell, the fourth sister, lived near Christiansburg. John Snead later 
went to Christiansburg to teach in the college and there died in a fire 
under nysterious circumstances. Fletcher's wife in I^ynnville divorced him, 
and he, subsequently, married Ocey Snead. 

The denouement of this strange chronicle of Wardlav clan appeared in 

the Murfreesboro News Banner in 1930 imder the banner headline: 


Mary Snead Places Blame for Bathtub Murder on 
"Irresponsible" Mrs. Martin 

The last chapter in the Wardlaw-Snead-Martin nystery was 
written yesterday when the last of three immediate heirs to the 
Wardlaw diamonds were made known, and Mrs. Mary Snead placed full 
blame for the death of Ocey Snead on her "irresponsible" and "insane" 
sister, Carolyn Martin. 

In less than one week after news broke that the jewels of 
Virginia Wardlaw were reposing in the First National Bank vault 
here, Mary Snead, a material witness in the fairous murder case 


of 1909, was foxmd living in Oakland, California, and word of the 
diamond find brought from her a complete statement that not only- 
exonerated her and Virginia Wardlaw, but threw light upon the many- 
sinister happenings that led up to the weird tragedy of twenty- 
one years ago. 

A brother and sister of Mary Snead were also foiond, the three 
living apparently unknown to each other in different sections of 
the country. Statements were refused by the brother, Albert 
Wardlaw, living in West Palm Beach, Florida, and the younger sis- 
ter, Mrs. R. S. Spindle, living in Christiansburg, Virginia. 

But Mrs. Snead, a principal in the trial of I9IO, spoke after 
twenty years of silence, and told how, out of pity, the insane 
Mrs. Martin was taken into Soule College to live with her two sis- 
ters, and how her increasing insanity resulted in strange happenings 
credited erroneously to all three sisters. And how the tragic 
death of Ocey Snead brought about by her irresponsible mother, 
completely crushed the well-meaning sister, Virginia, and caused 
her suicide. Said Mrs. Snead: "I was so happy when I learned 
that the diamonds were found, but I had rather never see them 
than to have their discovery reopen that chapter of my life." 

"Yet, I think it is better that the simple truth should be 
told, and all the nightmare of rumor and legend cleared away at 

"My sister, Virginia Wardlaw was an angel on earth. She 
was good, almost too good for this world. Her school, Soule Col- 
lege, in Murfreesboro was successful with 300 boardin;^ pupils. 
It was her pity thr.t led her to take Mrs. Martin and her daughter, 
Ocey, a sweet lovely child, into the school to live. The bare 
LruLh ia, that Va-z. Martin wns insane and h;id been so for yvirc. 


She should have been put into an asylum long before. She was the 
only one of the three of us who was queer, but she caused so much 
trouble with her increasing insanity that Miss Wardlaw had to give 
up the school, I imagine that such gossip arose from Mrs. Martin's 
queemess, which gave rise to all sorts of superstitions about the 
place where she lived. We never wore black mits nor dressed 
peculiarly except Mrs. Martin." 

"The marriage between my son, Fletcher, and Ocey was not forced 
but was voluntary on both sides. Mrs. Martin had a very strong 
personality and will, but no occult or hypnotic powers. The terrible 
mistake was in keeping her with us instead of having her committed 
to an institution. When the tragedy of Ocey's drowning in the 
bathtub occurred, all three of us, Mrs. Caroline Martin, Virginia 
Wardlaw, and myself were held because we were all members of the 
household. I absolutely know that Virginia was not guilty of the 
murder of which she was accused. She was the best v/orean in the 
world, but horror of it all simply crushed her. She could not 
bear it, and that is why she killed herself before she came to 
trial. It would be quite true to say that the shock is what really 
killed her." 

"I was never brought to trial. I was held as a material 
witness, but I was able to prove that I was in New York at the 
time of Ocey's death. I do not call it a murder. Mrs. Martin, 
the girl's mother, was absolutely irresponsible and had been so 
for a long time. 

"Fifteen years ago I came to California to join iny son, who 
has a teaching position here. The baby of Fletcher and Ocey is 
dead. Virginia Wardlaw it dead, and Caroline Martin died insane 
before the expiration of her sentence for the mxirder of which she 


v/as convicted. And now after nearly a qioarter of a centvury, 
that act of restitution has shown that after all, the past 
cannot die, unless this explanation will lay its ghost at last 
and forever," said Mrs. Snead. 

The recovery of the jewels is in itself a nystery which 
has p\izzled bank officials who declare that they have no idea 
how the diamonds got into the safety deposit vault where they 
were found and identified as the property of Virginia Wardlaw. 

"I cannot say exactly what happened as a natter of probable 
fact, but I believe that I know," Mrs. Snead said, 

"I believe that I know who stole them from a secret drawer 
in my sister's desk at Soule College in I9O6. I will not re- 
veal that person's name, because she, too, is a member of a 
fine Southern family in educational work, and I have no desire 
to bring pain upon her. She had access to my sister's desk and 
knew where she kept the diamonds, some of which were family heir- 
looms. I believe that they were stolen out of spite and that her 
conscience finally impelled her to attempt to restore them to the 
family in this strange way. Miss Wardlaw never rented a safety 
deposit box at the bank, and no members of otu- family has rented 
one in Morfreesboro. All our connections with Tennessee were 
severed when we left there for New Jersey. 1^ explanation, and 
this is only inference and reasoning, is that the woman wno took 
the jewels so long ago must have rented a box in ny sister's 
name and placed them there. That is the only way I can account 
for their discovery and for the fact that they -..-ere identified by 
the bank as Virginia Wardlaw' 3 property." 


Mrs. Snead did not comment on what course she would follow in estab- 
lishing her claim to the diamonds. 

Thus endeth the loncanny story of the three "black" sisters whc 
terrorized a populace with strange antics that hinted of black magic which 
led to the weird bathtub murder of the daughter and niece that mj'stified 
the country. 

There are those who take the statements of Mary Snead as the true 
story about a deranged woman. This would account for the circumstances 
that brought tragedy into the lives of two benevolent sisters and caused 
Carolyn Martin's death in an insane asylum while paying the penalty for her 
daughter's death. 

The post-Wardlaw era began July 8, 1905 when N. I). Overall bought 
the property from the Wardlaws for $8,000 and became "Regent" of the col- 
lege. Miss Alice Glascock was hired as the "Principal". 

In 1906 Miss Martha Hopkins and Mrs. Ada B. Ryde rented the school 
from Overall. Three years later the women bought the building for 111 i, 300. 

Among the innovations of the new administration was a course in 
"Pedagogies" designed for those who wished to become teachers. 

As early as 1899 the school had laid much enphasis on encouraging 
practical journaliatlc training in original literaiy efforts which were 
published in "The Crimson and Gold", a monthly journal. Other original 
works of students appeared in Miss Wardlaw's Book of Essays . In 1910 and 
1911 yearbooks. The Gleaner , were published. Martha Ordway was editor of 
the 1911 volume. Miss Ordway later became a teacher at Ward Belmont College. 

Athletics were enphasized in "Physical Training" classes, with basket- 
ball, tennis, and croquet being played. A "match game" of basketball with a 
YWCA team was open to the public. The "public", however, was Jimited to 
"ladles and children". For the first time in its history, the school 


The- last, ainainistratiors 0/ 3oule Coij 

The members of the I9IO senior 
class pictured i'rora bop left 
downward were Maud CejHpbel.i , 
.iobbie Ring Hoover ^ Carrie 
ffoorei Second Row: Louise 
Leachj, Minerva Bond, Tessi^je 
Swops I Bottx^ SSH' ^'^argarsv 
•■»iiij Secretaj-j; Ajlne Norfch, 
lYsastxrerj Laiira Clendea^m, 
?.'. cs Presld®nt| and Nadine 
C^'-^'-rali, ! resident.* 


adopted a uniform — white middy blouse and dark blue or brovm coat suit with 
matching hat. 

Altie McKalg Todd of Murfreesboro was a "boarding girl" who said she 
had the best of two worlds. Her father would bring her good things to eat 
from the farm, while she enjoyed the conviviality of living with three 
girls in a big JlP-foot square room. The older girls in the room taught 
her to "do her hair" and the proper method of dress and deportment. 

At "recess", according to Mrs. Todd, a black woman brought in a basket 
of sandwiches which the girls could buy. She and another "boarding girl" 
had roller skates and a bicycle which they could use on the sidewalk for 
the block in front of the Soule College. 

Social activities for the girls were increased. Properly chaperoned, 
the students watched the Mooney School football games. On Wednesday after- 
noons Stanley Overall invited the young ladies to enjoy the facilities of his 
skating rink. 

"Teachers and pupils enjoyed the half hour intervening between supper 
and study hour. Everyone gathered in the library around the open fire. All 
kinds of games were played-flinch, muggins, proverbs, and charades being 
favorites," according to the memory of another boarding student of the 
Hyde- Hopkins era. 

In addition to Mrs. Hyde and Miss Hopkins, the members of the last 
faculty at Soule College were Margaret Rhea Daxji, science; Roxana Whitaker, 
ancient languages and mathematics; Elizabeth Thompson, primary and kinder- 
garten; Martha Quarles, assistant academic department; Daisy Leuhon Hoffman, 
music; Gertrude Richards Schumacher, voice; Jennie Mai McQuiddy, expression 
and physical tradning; Mme. Lorene Gobel, art and modern language; and 
Catherine Reeves Bell, home department. 

In February, 1917 the two women gave up the struggle against the com- 
petition with public schools, Tennessee College, and the Normal. The city 


of Murfreesboro bought the property for $4,000 end the aESV!r.ption of soeo 
debts. The classes were moved to a house at 442 North Chtr.^eh £'t::oct dd 
the boarding students to the Church of Christ minister's building on Enst 
Main Street. The final commencement v/as held in the Grand Theatre building 
on May 27, 1917. 

When Mrs. Hyde and Miss Hopkins took charge of the school, every 
resident pupil for the first time v;as required to wear a school uniform~a 
brown or dark blue coat and hat for winter; the unlforia skirt, white waist 
and hat for spring. To insure uniformity, the uniforms vere ordered by 
the school. The rules also provided that each young lady liave "a simple 
vrtiite dress for school entertainments". Underscored in the catalog was 
the strict rule that on "no occasion are low neck and short slcoves 

Every resident pupil and teacher was required to furnish "a confort, 
a pair of blankets, a white coixnterpane, two pair of sheets, tv.'o pair of 
pillow cases, towels, six table napkins, napkin rings, toilot soap, over- 
shoes and an umbrella" . 

Board, literary tuition, furnished room, fuel. Lights, and laundiy 
cost $275 each session, with additional fees for "optional studies". These 
fees included $70 for individual piano lessons, $60 for voice or violin, 
$50 for expression, $50 for art, and $25 for foreign lan^iages. 

There were literary societies at Soiile as early as 1858, During the 
1909-1917 period, organizations at the college included the Aletlxa Literary 
Society, the Thespian Uterary Society, the Studio Club, tho Dranntic Club, 
the Mozart Club, Choral Club, Y.W.C.A., and athletic teams and social 

The ;:tugfa^'?3)?orQ MoSiS J-aumal of the period had reports of basketball 
games between the "resident pupils an^ to;m pupils" to v/hdch only women and 
children were admitted. 


Ball Tl^,.., ^ouls college. 

athletic teams of 1903. 

The Alethea Literary Society of 1911^ 

High draina at 
Soule College, 
Thespian Society 
production, of 
"Blue Beard" with 
Augusta iiiggins 
and Ethel Ilaney. 

There are reports of "old-fashioned candy pulls, gamus, and charades." 

Description of a "delightful reception" given by the young ladies and faculty 

October 25, 1907 was reported in the Murfreesboro Home Journal ; 

"The spacious old parlors of historic Soule presented a 
charming scene with huge fires glowing in the grates, the man- 
tels banked in flowers and autumn leaves. The young ladies 
were gowned in light colors. The Seniors were assisted in 
receiving by Kdss Hopkins and I'lrs. Hyde. All kinds of geunes 
were played, flinch, muggins, proverbs, and charades being the 
favorites. Delightful refreshments were served." 

Mrs. Leiper (Richardsorj) Freeman, and the Licker sisters, Mrs. Ethel Haney ^'■ 
and I-lrs. Esther Maxwell are among present residents of Mui-freesboro who re- 
count many experiences of life at Soule College. 

Mrs. J. D. McFarlin recalls her experiences at Soule College. Mattie 
Lowe and her sister, Elizabeth, boarded with an aunt who lived in Murfrees- 
boro. They spent the weekends at home. Each Monday morning they would get 
up before daylight for a two-hour ride in a buggy driven by their mother to 
return to the home of the aunt. 

As a former teacher, Mrs. McFarlin is in an especially strong position 
to evaluate the work of Soule College in its later years. 

"The curriculum was more advajiced than children woula encounter today 
in the comparable grade and much more advanced than the "public school" 
children of that time could expect", she said. 

The college work was probably equivalent to the first year of college 
today. Scholastic standards were very high. The grading system was of the 
E (Excellent), 3 (Satisfactory), and U (Unsatisfactory) t^-pe. 

"Moral influence was outstanding", Mrs. McFarlin declared. The teachers 
used the honor system which was meticulously observed by the students. 

In the "Our Family" oonpilation of Fount Henry Rion, genealogist, is 
a description of the effect of the Federal occupation of Soule on the neighborhood, 


"Grandma's (Mrs. Fountedn Jefferies Henry) home at that time, was a 
comfortable little brick cottage located diagonally across the street from 
Soule College, She had a large brick underground cistern filled with rain- 
water, the only source of water other than the 'town pump'. 

Grandma told of the desolation as she stood on the porch, helpless, 
holding the baby in her arms, and my mother by the hand, as she watched every- 
thing she owned in the world being carried away," (Mrs. Henry's husband was 
with the Confederate army in the retreat from Murfreesboro in early Jan, 1863) 

Virtually all the moveable assets of the College were destroyed by the 
contending armies or by vandals. 

After the war, each dormitory room appeared to have been furnished by 
double beds, two wardrobes, a study table, lan^JS, and at least four chairs. 
This bare furnishing was supplemented by various amenities, including some 
type of toiletry accomodation, llrs. Knox McCharen recalls that her mother 
obtained some of the rugs or carpets at a dispersal sale when the school was 

Mrs. Priscilla P. Weathersby of Clarksville has an eight-page hand- 
written essay on "Ireland" coiqjiled by her grandmother. Pearl Frost. Such an 
essay was apparently one of her requirements for gradup.tion from Soule College 
in 1879. Mrs. Weathersby also possesses an autograph album signed by class- 
mates of Pearl Frost, 

Mr. and Mrs. Walter King Hoover have many mementoes of Soule College 
students, including receipts signed by Miss V. 0, Wardlaw for $8 tuition paid 
hy Anne Overall, A report card of Carmine Collier, signed by "John B. Thoup- 
son. President", of Soule College in 1908 indicates the grading system was 
based on points — 180 points indicating perfection and below 100 points 
unsatisfactory grades. 

Andrena Briney owns a picture of the entire student body of 1903 stand- 
ing in front of the inqjosing building. A white fence surrounds the property. 


One amusing incident is recalled by Mrs. McFarlin about 1908 or 1909 
on April's Fool Day. The girls decided to "cut classes", but they dared 
not face the wrath of teachers should homework be unprepared. So the 
girls slipped in early and left their homework on the teacher's desks 
and left quickly. Later they learned the teachers had decided not to have 
classes on that day. 

A horseshoe hanging by the classroom door was used when one wished 
to be excused to the bathroom. As one student replaced it, another would 
take it without disturbing the class or raising a hand in embarrassment. 

Bishop L. Gailor was the commencement speaker for the class of 1908. 
The following year when Mrs. McFarlin graduated, Sawney Webb was the speaker. 
Mrs. McFarlin remembers that Bishop Gailor spoke for only 20 minutes, but 
she considered that address superior lo that of the Webb School head. 

Such joyous nostalgia remains in the minds of alumnae still living, 
yet they marked the beginning of the end. A decade later the headline in a 
Murfreesboro newspaper read: "Soule is not dead, but liv^sl" 

The single significant sentence "impressively uttered by Miss Hopkins 
in her closing remarks before presenting diplomas" to the five last gradu- 
ates of Soule College must have left a lasting impression on sympathetic 
minds of those who witnessed the finale of the sixty- fifth commencement. 

The commencement was formally inaugurated on Friday morning. May 18, 
1917 with Class Day at the Grand Theater. There was the usual baccalaureate 
Sunday morning service at the Methodist Church, with the Rev. Mr. Morgan 
stressing the necessity of "earnest, honest toil, service to the world and 
loyalty to the Savior". 

Sue Gill Riggs, a member of the last class who lives in the Murfreesboro 
Chelsea Apartments, has preserved the class day and commencement programs, 
newspaper clippings of the events, and one verse of the class poem she de- 
livered at the closing exercises. Recognizing the Soule College claim to 


have been founded in 1825 as the "Female Academy", Miss Riggs recited: 

For 93 years has Soule stood here 
Watching the simrise from year to year 
Facing the rain, the wind, the snow 
Seeing the seasons come and go. 

Her classmates were Jean Marie Faircloth, Ollie Mae Harrell, Mary lytle 
Kelton, and Josephine Ramsey. Miss Ramsey was the class valedictorian. Miss 
Faircloth gave the salutatory. Miss Harrell was the class historian, and Miss 
Kelton, the author of the class will. 

The Murfreesboro News Banner reporter wrote; 

"The five beautiful girls in geirments of spotless white . . . 
occupied the center of the stage, Mrs, Uyde and Miss Hopkins, the 
guiding geniuses of the school, sat at the left front, and Mr. R. 
W, Vickers, master of ceremonies, and the Rev, H, J, Mikell of 
Nashville, were on the right front." 

There is little review of the Reverend Mikell 's address, other than the 
statement that it was of "high literary merit whilst presenting a lesson of 
great value". Musical numbers by Mrs, Gertrude Richards Schumacher and Mrs. 
Will C, Hoffman "gave great delight and occasioned prolonged applause". The 
invocation was by Rev, G, Dallas Smith, 

The closing remarks by Mrs, Hyde and Miss Hopkins occupied lengthy coverage in 
the Murfreesboro News Banner, Mrs, Ifyde thanked all the friends and patrons 
of the school, "For more than half a century Soule has closed her doors until 
the fall— but on March 26th we went out and closed the doors of that grand, 
historic old building. Not one stain has ever been upon the fair name. Here's 
to the daughters of Soule, may your lanps shine bright as you shed your light . 
, , . May the Master shower you with His love", she stated. 

Miss Hopkins called attention to the graduates heritage and touched on 
the troubled war years when she said, "Class of 1917, you v,lll enter the 
greatest University in the world—a University that knows no nationality, 
no race, no creed, I bid you be strong, I would not wish you all sunshine 


and brightness, for that would lessen your appreciation for the fulness of 
joy. Shun not the struggle, take it, 'tis God's gift! Be strong in the 
power of his might, and all will be well with you". 

Two tender and responsive sentiments live among the stories of this 
graduation. Oae is a newspaper story of a note penned to a sheaf of roses 
presented to Jean Marie Faircloth that read, "To Jean on her first real 
turn in the road. May she continue as she has ever been, a comfort and 
dependence to her mother," 

There is the episode story of the member of the class who had no near 
relative to share her graduation Joy. A Murfreesboro resident sent her a 
bovquet. The denouement occured many years later when this woman received 
a present mailed from Neiman-Marcvis in Dallas. Such a gift continued to 
come each year vaxtil this Murfreesboro Soule aluiana, who had remembered a 
girl who was graduating without the traditional roses, died only a few 
years ago. 

According to Barbara Prentice, a librarian at Morris Harvey College, 
the I9I6-I7 catalog lists both Mrs. I^e and Miss Hopkins as members of the 
faculty at the Charleston, West Virginia institution. This sviggests that 
the two women left Soule College in I9I6 instead of 1917 as indicated by 
Murfreesboro records and the memory of local people. This same catalog 
credits Mrs. Q^de as holding the A.B. degree from Soule College and having 
"had courses at Peabody College". She taught logic and history at Morris 
Harvey until 1920. 

Miss Hppklns also came to Morris Harvey, according to the same catalog, 
in 1916 and taught Bible and preparatory English until 1920. 

Dr. Leonard Riggleman, president of Morris Harvey from 1932 to I964., 
stated in January 1978 that he remembered Mrs. Hyde and Miss Hopkins when 
he was a student at Morris Harvey. He recalled that in the 1930 's the two 

Lasv Classes of joule College vere held in this b-oixiing locatea on 
Ch.-irch Strict in the spring semester of 1917. 

Jean Marie Fairclotii 
(MacArthur) as she 
appeared in a Soule 
College dramatic pro- 


women were teaching in a small school at Paintsvllle, Kentucky, called Mayo 


Soule College had a very active alumnae organization. As early as 1873, 

The Christian Advocate reported that: 

"At four o'clock a large assembly of the college alumnae 
met in the college for their annual reunion. It was like review- 
ing one's youth to meet with the happy bsmd of former classmates, 
to witness attachment for their beloved Alma Mater. A beautiful 
address was read by Miss Maggie Muirhead (listed in Frank Bass's 
history as a member of the 1870 class)." 

A complete list of gradviates was preserved by the Alumnae Association 
through the class of 1910. Louise Richmond Freeman has supplied the names 
of the class of 1915, of which she was a member. Other members of the 1915 
class were Sophia May Bell, Hilda Margaret Creech, Susie Mae Harrell, Ora 
Lee Haynes, Bessie Lee Hoover, Mamie Mullins, Virginia Patience, and Remina 

Sue Gill Riggs lists other members of the 1917 class as Jean Marie 
Faircloth, Ollie Mae Harrell, Mary Lytle Kelton, and Josephine Ramsey. Miss 
Riggs report card dated May 21, 1917 was signed by Mrs. A. B. Hyde and lists 
grades in Bible 92, ethics 94-, history 90, grammar 98, trigonometry 83, and 
French 96. 

In comparison with modern college requirements, it is difficult to eval- 
uate just how much Soule deserved the designation of a "College". Certainly 
its coiirses included some coiirses still measured as college credit by modern 
standards. In a 1916 advertisement, the school offered courses ranging "from 
primary through one and one half years of college work" . According to the 
evaluation by N. C. Beasley, dean emeritus at Middle Tennessee State Univer- 
sity, Soule credits for transfer varied from year to year vrith individual 
students. Students were accepted at Peabody College and Randolph-Macon Col- 
lege. At least one other institution accepted credits up to two years 
following completion of one year acceptable resident at the transfer school. 

01 1909 

Br K^n when this piec-ore was taken, the Fria&ry Glass raembers had 
ohan.'i^ed frojr. high button shoes ^ uiack cotton stockings and hair 
ribbon bows to white u-nifors! dresses, the appearance of tnodlsh whit 
stockiugSj ar;.,; Bustei- Browrs hair b<:jbs. 


The changing scene in Murfreesboro is dramatically revealed in reading 
the yearbook advertisements in the Gleaners of the first decade of the 
twentieth century. Professional men were not adverse to complimenting the 
young ladies of Soule with free legal advice, dentists provided the best of 
care, and the "Joys of walking" were encouraged by shoe store merchants. 

"Early to bed and early to rise, mind your own business and advertise" 
was an encouraging admonition introducing the advertising section of the 
yearbooks . 

Sam Nirshbnjnner. Hackmen advertised rubber- tired busses that met all 
trains. For those not sophisticated enough to ride the rubber-tired busses, 
there was "livery stable" accomodations by H. H. Good, Butler and Company, 
the Murfreesboro Livery Con^Miny, and Sam Hunt, whom one could call at Phone 
10 or 100 and "save a dime". 

There were mercantile establishments and professional people whose 
names are still seen around town. Among those were Ridley and Richardson, 
attorneys; J. H. Grichlow, insurance; W. R. Bell, jeweler and optometrist; 
Woodfin and Moore, fxmeral directors; Leatherman ' s Women's Wear; A. L. 
Smith, druggists; Christy and Huggins, coal and Coca Cola. This firm 
promised to "please you winter or summer". 

Someii^at unusual for a girl'p boarding school was a full page suggest- 
ing the use of Ox Fertilizers for sale by Spain and Hudson. Misses E and M 
Earthman used old English type to persuade the students to "Home Here and Buy 
Yo\ir Gradviation Hat". E. H. Tatum had a oon^setitor ' s plea to "buy your 
sunmer frocks for seashore and summer resorts". 

The attorneys who offered legal services included E. H. Hancock, Ridley 
and Richardson, 2. T. Caaon, Jesse W. Sparks, A. L. Todd. E. fl. Hancock was 
also aunong the attorneys whose announcements graced the Gleaner . D. E. Logan, 
W. W. Jones, and L. H. Tate were dentists whose advnrtisements were listed. 


The Jordan Hotel with F. W. Miles as proprietor advertised rooms for 
$2.00 per day, with bath $2.50. 

Vickers Drug Store advertised Joy's cut flowers, while the Kerr Dnig 
Store suggested it had the "best soda foTint in town" and urged the use of 
Geny's cut flowers. R. F. Overall appealed to the girls to buy "Hay, Oats, 
Corn and Bran" while shipping "timothy, clover and millet hay". Perklns- 
Crichlow suggested one call phone 3 for "custom sawing". 

Covington & Conpany paid for a full page in the Gleaner to boast that 
it was a "one price house" where one could select from the stock "larger 
than any before shown in Murfreesboro." 

Among the other champions of the Soule yearbook staff were J. T. 
Rather, cotton, lumber, livestock; J. G. Smith and E. M. Littler, men's 
wear; W. T. Gerhardt, merchant tailor; Clayton and Draper, fine shoes; 
I^le and Hanson, produce house; Liveley's Art Studio; Frank Farris, staple 
and fancy groceries; Hooper Shoe Coinpany; Henry Fleming of the Gilt Edge 
Grocery; Home Jo\irnal Printers; C^_H. Byrn, hardware H. H. Morton, real 
estate; Logan and King, real estate and insvirance; J. M. Nay lor and Ellis 
Rucker, grocers; Lewis Maney, confectioner; Blumenthal and Becker, jewelers; 
Butler, Hooper Co., men's furnishings; Baker Lumber Co; E. C. Cannon and 
Son, dry goods; J. B. Matthews, grocer; H. C. Turner, grocer; W. Goldstein, 
dry goods; Spain and Hudson, hardware; A, G. and W. H. Tongjkins, poultry; 
Avent's Drug Store; W. G. Batey, insxiranoe; K5-ng and Ragland, wholesale 
groceries; Cem^ibell and Gannaway's Home Steam laundry; J. B. and J. W. 
Gannaway, groceries; Ransom Brothers, millers; Baker Lumber and Manufactiiring; 
Knox, Overall and Co., furnitvire and leather goods; E. H. Tatum, dry goods; 
P. R. Miller, funeral directors, Cohn's Cafe; and Mrs. W. H. Haynes, milliner. 
The First National Bank listed deposits at $5,000,000 with F. 0. Watts, pres- 
ident. Other officers were D. S. Williams, vice-president; E. A. Lindsey, 
2nd vice-president; J. M. Ford, advisor; Randell Currell, cashier; Frank 


K. Houston, assistant cashier, and J. R. Johnson, assistant cashier. 

The students were urged to visit the "swellest refreshment parlor In 
the South" where they could get "dainty lunches, candies, and ice cream" 
at the Ocean. Apparently the chief rival of the Ocean was the Gilt Edge 
Grocery where Henry Fleming insisted, "College Girls can buy something 
good to eat". Lewis Maney challenged both with his suggestion that 
telephone orders wo\ild receive prompt attention for "table delicacies and 
everything good to eat", inclxiding Lawney's chocolates and bon-bons. He 
also had two phones to answer calls I 

There were numerous Nashville firms represented in The Gleaner ad- 
vertiser. The Methodist Publishing House apparently supplied the books and 
stationery for the school. B. H. Shief Jewelry; Parrish ($2.98) Shoes 
located on 4.21 Union Street; Phillips and Buttorff; Starr Piano Co., 
Royal Shoe Co. ($2.50), 314 Union Street; Ambrose Printing Co.; Standard 
Printing Co.; Jaccard Solid Gold Jewelry of St. Louis nay have furnished 
designs in jewelry and stationery for clubs and literary societies, as 
well as programs and commencement invitations for the college. 

Cumberland Telephone and Telegraph Company took a full page to insist 
on everyone getting Cumberland Telephone service. "We have exchanges in 
every important city in southern Indiana and Illinois and the entire states 
of Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisana", according to the 

In his thesis, Frank Bass paid tribute to the "long existence which 
had influenced the lives of nany fine people". Bass concludes, "Though 
the buildings were torn down, the property sold (to the Murfreesboro School 
Board for the location of the old Central High School Building), the memory 
of Soule College still lives in the hearts of many, and they like to join 
in the Toast to Soule". 

staff members of the 1910 Gleaner posed in a way that a glimpse of the 
study hall wall with its art work is revealed. 



Organized 1625 as "The Female 
Academy by Misses Mory & Nancy 
Banks. & teaching rhetoric, phi- 
losophy, belles-lettres, palntlnq. 
needlework 6 music. It was Improved 
In 1652 <§>. named for Bishop Soulc 
of the ME Church. South. It closed 
during the Civil War. when Its 
bulldlnqs were damaged. Reopening 
thereafter. It closed finally in I9ld. 

I hi 

The Tennessee Historical Association marker on the north boundary of 
the Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation marks the Soule 
College site in 1978. 


Here's to the days we've spent at Soule, 

Here's to the days to come, 

Here's to the hours we've spent in work, 

Here's to the hours of fun; 

Here's to her fame through all the earth, 

Spreading from pole to pole, 

Here's to the College we all love best. 

Here's to our dear "Old Soule". 



Soule Female College . 1930, Master of Arts thesis, Peabody College 
by Frank Bass. 

Minutes . M. E. Church South Annual Conference . 1850 to 1858. 

Reports of the Commissioner of Education . Washington, D. C. Printing 

Reprinted material from the Louisville and Nashville Christian 
Advocate . 

Murfreesboro Home Journal . 1905-1916. 

Murfreesboro News- Banner . 1930. 

Soule College Catalogs, 1899-1901, 1904, 1910, 1915. 

History of Rutherford County . C. C. Sims. 

Rutherford County, Tennessee Registers Office Books, 22, 30, 43, 48, 59. 

History of Murfreesboro . C. C. Henderson. 

The Shadow and the Web . Mary Allerton. 

True Detective >fagazine . Jfeiy 25, 1940. 

The Gleaner . Soule College yearbook, 1910-1911. 

Three Sisters in Black . Norman Zierold. 

Reprints Newark, New Jersey, Evening Star transcripts of trial, 1910-11. 

Original materials and interviews contributed by Miss Catherine Clark, 
Mrs. Leiper, Sue Richardson Freeman, Mrs. Annie Mary Beasley, 
Mrs. J. D. McFarlin, Mrs. Jean Faircloth hkcArthur, Miss Sue Riggs, 
Miss Bertha Licker, Mrs. Ethel L. Haney, Mrs. Esther L. Maxwell 
in the form of letters, report cards, diplomas, pictures and 
personal recollections. 

The Aliunni Office of Morris-Harvey College. 

Photographs by Gene H. Sloan, Dr. Bealer Smotherman. 

Index for Publication NOt 11 




























































































































































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