by Kathy B. Lauder.
Louise Grundy Lindsley was born March 11, 1858, in Nashville, Tennessee.1 She was the eldest child of Dr. John Berrien Lindsley (1822-1897) and Sarah “Sallie” McGavock Lindsley (1830-1903), and the great-granddaughter of U. S. Senator and jurist Felix Grundy (1777-1840).2 Miss Lindsley, a debutante (1898)3 and a college graduate,4 remained unmarried, devoting her life to worthy causes. She was active in Nashville chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Daughters of 1812, and the Centennial Club.5 When the Tennessee Historical Society opened its membership to women in 1915, she was one of its first female members.6
Louise Lindsley was one of five women who signed the charter of incorporation of the Ladies’ Hermitage Association (LHA), later serving as director and regent for many years.7 In 1889 the LHA gained possession of the 25 acres that included the house and tomb.8 After the Confederate Soldiers’ Home closed in the 1930s, the State awarded the hard-working Association the remaining Hermitage land.9 A 1910 newspaper reporter observed Regent10 Louise Lindsley tending to the Hermitage hydrangeas “planted as tiny shrubs by her mother, the late Mrs. Berrien Lindsley, during her term of Regency.”11
In 1912 Louise Lindsley described the work of the LHA to the Southern Commercial Congress,12 a group of representatives from the Southern states who worked to promote regional economic growth. At the request of the group’s president, Miss Lindsley organized the Tennessee Women’s Auxiliary to the Congress, soon becoming the Auxiliary’s national president.13 The group took a great interest in the economic possibilities of the new Panama Canal, and Lindsley herself traveled to Panama.14 The Auxiliary also worked to bring together women – particularly rural women – in an effort to encourage them to become involved in such local issues as roads, community health, and vocational education.15
John Berrien Lindsley’s handwritten will, dated July 19, 1892, left his interest in the Nashville Medical College to his daughters Louise G. and Annie D. Lindsley.16 When Sallie Lindsley died in 1898, she left a hand-written deed of gift, giving all her “furniture silver and pictures and other household effects” to Louise, “all of my other children being married and provided for.”17 After Annie’s marriage failed, she, her daughter Margaret, and Louise shared a residence for the remainder of their lives. In February 1922, although Annie was still living, Louise petitioned to adopt Margaret so her niece would become her legal heir.18
Louise Lindsley was an active participant in the Tennessee Equal Suffrage Association for many years.19 When World War I broke out, she was appointed to chair the Woman’s Committee of the Council of National Defense.20 She became a Southern representative to the National Bureau of Speakers and was involved locally in efforts to encourage housewives to support the war effort through resourcefulness and efficiency.21
Louise G. Lindsley’s will, dated December 11, 1939, left half her estate to her niece, Margaret Lindsley Warden, and half to her sister Annie.22 Louise died of colon cancer on July 18, 1944, at the age of 86.23 (2014)
1 Lindsley, John Berrien. Diary, Volume 5, October 6, 1856 – January 1, 1866. Lindsley Family Papers, ca. 1812 – [1840-1940] – 1953, Box 1, Folder 23. Tennessee State Library and Archives.
2 Lindly, John M. The History of the Lindley-Lindsley-Linsley Families in America, 1639-1924, Vol. II. Winfield, Iowa: Self-published, 1924, 19.
3 Nashville American, October 27, 1898, 3.
4 Bucy, Carole Stanford. “Quiet Revolutionaries: The Grundy Women and the Beginnings of Women’s Volunteer Associations in Tennessee,” Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Vol.LIV, No. 1, Spring 1995, 47.
5 Bucy, Carole Stanford. “Louise Grundy Lindsley,” Tennessee Encyclopedia, Online edition. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2002-2014.
6 Toplovich, Ann. “The Tennessee Historical Society at 150: Tennessee History ‘Just and True.’” Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Fall 1999, Vol. LVIII, Number 3, 205.
7 Dorris, Mary C. Currey. Preservation of the Hermitage, 1889-1915: Annals, History, and Stories. Smith & Lamar, 1915, 97.
8 Bucy, Carole Stanford. “Quiet Revolutionaries,” 46.
9 “Preservation,” The Hermitage website, accessed June 28, 2014. http://www.thehermitage.com/mansion-grounds/mansion/preservation
10 Dorris, 97.
11 Nashville American, August 7, 1910, 14.
12 Bucy, Carole Stanford. “Quiet Revolutionaries,” 47-48.
13 Bucy, Carole Stanford. “Quiet Revolutionaries,” 48.
14 “Miss Lindsley’s Visit to Panama,” Nashville Tennessean and the Nashville American, November 21, 1913, p. 4.
15 Bucy, Carole Stanford. “Quiet Revolutionaries,” 49.
16 Handwritten will of John Berrien Lindsley, witnessed by Leon Trousdale Jr. and Jos. B. Babb. (original) July 19, 1893. Lindsley Family Papers, ca. 1812 – [1812-1940] – 1953, Box 2, Folder 47, Tennessee State Library and Archives.
17 Handwritten Deed of Gift from Sallie McGavock Lindsley (original), July 5, 1898. Lindsley Family Papers, ca. 1812 – [1812-1940] – 1953, Box 1, Folder 20, Tennessee State Library and Archives.
18 Court Records-Petition for Adoption, February 1922. Lindsley Family Papers, ca. 1812 – [1812-1940] – 1953, Box 1, Folder 19, Tennessee State Library and Archives.
19 The Tennessean, August 30, 1914.
20 “Louise Grundy Lindsley,” Tennessee Encyclopedia of History & Culture.
21 “Louise Grundy Lindsley,” Tennessee Encyclopedia of History & Culture.
22 Hand-written will of Louise G. Lindsley, December 11, 1939. Lindsley Family Papers, ca. 1812 – [1812-1940] – 1953, Box 2, Folder 48, Tennessee State Library and Archives.
23 Death certificate: Lindsley, Louise G. Tennessee Death Records, 1908-1958. Nashville: Tennessee State Library and Archives.
Bucy, Carole Stanford. “Quiet Revolutionaries: The Grundy Women and the Beginnings of Women’s Volunteer Associations in Tennessee,” Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Vol.LIV, No. 1, Spring 1995, 40-53.
Dorris, Mary C. Currey. Preservation of the Hermitage, 1889-1915: Annals, History, and Stories. Nashville: Smith & Lamar, 1915.