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MURFREESBORO. TENNESSEE 37130
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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
MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY
MURFREESBORO, TENNESSEE 37130
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
RUTHERFORD COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
PUBLICATION NO. 11
Published by the
RUTHERFORD COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
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
All correspondence concerning additional copies, contributions to
futvu*e issues, and membership should be addressed to:
Rutherford County Historical Society
Murfreesboro, Tennessee 3V130
RUTHERFORD COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
PUBLICATION NO. Vl.
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.
THE FOLLOV/ING PUBLICATIONS ARE FOR SALE BY THE RUTIIi^FGRD COUII?! IHSTOnXGAL
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
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
THE STATE CAPITOL
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
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
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 — -
FROM JEFFERSON TO ELKHORN TAVERN?
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
^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
Arkansas — McCulloch
was killed near here.
Note the antlers on
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.
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
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,
The Magnetic Telegraph Company
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Gov, Sa:;. Houston requesting assistance fronj
McCulloch in the plan for an invasion of
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, whi.ch 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 vd.th 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
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 .
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
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.
PETITION OF MICHAEL LORANCE OF RUTHERFORD COUNTY
FOR A REVOLUTIONARY WAR PENSION
Furnished by Mrs. Peggy Herriage
Pilot Point, Texas
State of Tennessee
Circuit Court, April Term, 1833
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
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
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 ycT.ro 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. /.. _ ,
Subscribed and sworn before me this 24.th Sept.,
I84.I, and I certify that said Mary Ford is a
person of respect, ability, and worth of credit,
Justice of the Peace
State of Tennessee
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.
Clerk of County Court
MICHAEL and ESTHER Moore LORANCE'S GM.ldrcn
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
The contract for the wood work was given to Green Clay, who had made the
"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
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 ,
"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
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
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
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:
SOULE FEMALE COLLEGE
To All Whom It May Ckjncern GREETINGS
Be It Knovm That
MESS SALLIE RAMSON
of Bedford, Tennessee
Having passed successfxillj the prescribed course
of English and Mathematics study has been thought
worthy of this
DIPLOMA OF (21ADUATI0N
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
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
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
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 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 h.id 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-
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
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:
THREE HEIRS TO JEWELS ARE NOW FOUND LIVING
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
"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
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
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
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
"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
"Blue Beard" with
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
The Aliunni Office of Morris-Harvey College.
Photographs by Gene H. Sloan, Dr. Bealer Smotherman.
Index for Publication NOt 11
OE 1 ° '^^
Jfl 1 4 %t
— MAPv 8
Rutherford County^ Higt. . Society
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