Buchanan’s Station and Cemetery

by Mike Slate.

Buchanan’s Station was a fortified settlement established about 1784 during the pioneer era of Nashville, Tennessee. Located on a bluff overlooking Mill Creek in today’s Donelson, the homestead was founded by Major John Buchanan who lived there with his family and other settlers until his death in 1832.1 The station is best known as the site of the famous Battle of Buchanan’s Station, which occurred on September 30, 1792.2

In addition to being situated along one of Nashville’s earliest roads, originally called the Lower Trace3 and later described as the road to Buchanan’s Mill,4 the fort was also near the old Nickajack Trail5 as well as what has been called the First Holston Road.6 Eventually the road by Buchanan’s Station became the southern artery to Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage estate and, by about 1869, the approximate route of the old Tennessee & Pacific Railroad.7

Young reenactor at a 2012 Buchanan’s Station Cemetery event. The orange flags near her mark recently identified graves. (NHN photo)

The fort is known to have been positioned precisely at the northwest corner of today’s Elm Hill Pike and Massman Drive, and a state historical plaque marks the spot.8 A large commercial building now covers the site. Not seen from Elm Hill Pike but clearly visible from Massman Drive is the extant Buchanan’s Station Cemetery, the only vestige of the original settlement and one of the oldest pioneer graveyards in Middle Tennessee. Buried here are Major John Buchanan (1759-1832) and his wife Sarah “Sally” Ridley Buchanan (1774-1831), along with about 65 other family members, affiliated settlers, and possibly slaves. Many graves are marked only by anonymous fieldstones.9 Notably, historical circumstances indicate that at least five frontiersmen who were killed by Indians are probably buried in the cemetery: Samuel Buchanan,10 Cornelius Riddle,11 John Buchanan Sr.,12 William Mulherrin,13 and John Blackburn.14

Largely because it was the venue of the remarkable 1792 Indian attack, Buchanan’s Station has been frequently mentioned or discussed by both amateur and professional historians for well over two centuries.15 Buchanan’s Station was, and continues to be, an archetypal intersection of pioneer culture, involving migration dynamics, settlement formation, land acquisition, conflict with Native Americans, and integration into the developing American West.

1 According to author Laurence Trabue, Richard Buchanan (a son of Major John Buchanan) sold the Buchanan’s Station location to Ralph Smith in 1841. Thus, the station remained with the Buchanan family until that year. I use the 1832 date in order to delineate the years that John Buchanan himself lived there. See Laurence O. Trabue, “Early Nashville Homes, 1780-1830,” in Graham, Eleanor, and Mary Glenn Hearne, Nashville Families & Homes: Paragraphs from Nashville History Lecture Series, 1979-81 (Nashville: The Nashville Public Library, 1983), 111.

2 See the “Battle of Buchanan’s Station” article.

3 Buchanan’s Station was situated on North Carolina land grant #83. The survey warrant for that grant located the land “on Mill Creek Where the Lower Trace Leading to Stones River Crosses Sd Creek.” Apparently, today’s Elm Hill Pike, or a portion thereof, was originally known as “the Lower Trace,” indicating an old buffalo trail. The warrant is transcribed in Drake, Masters, & Puryear, Data Supplement 1 for Founding of the Cumberland Settlements: The First Atlas, 1779-1804 (Gallatin TN: Warioto Press, 2009), 136-137.

4 See the “Major John Buchanan” article, note 7.

5 The Nickajack Trail, which was a segment of the old Cisca and St. Augustine Indian Trail, ran from Chickamauga Indian country near today’s Chattanooga northwest to Nashville. The Indians who attacked Buchanan’s Station in 1792 probably approached the station via this trail, or portions thereof. Today’s Murfreesboro Road may follow the original route of the Nickajack. As the trail entered Nashville it came very close to Buchanan’s Station. Regarding the Nickajack and other trails, see William E. Meyer, Indian Trails of the Southeast (Davenport IA: Gustav’s Library, 2009, reprint from the “Forty-second Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology” 1924-25), especially page 848 and the included maps.

6 The term “First Holston Road” is used in Masters & Puryear, Thoroughfare for Freedom: The Second Atlas of the Cumberland Settlements, 1779-1804 (Gallatin TN: Warioto Press, 2011), especially pages 96-97. Created in the spring of 1788, this was the first trail blazed from Nashville across the Cumberland Plateau to Knoxville. It preceded the Cumberland Road (also called Avery’s Trace) that was soon afterwards built on the north side of the Cumberland River. The First Holston Road proceeded from Nashville “via Buchanan’s Station” according to pioneer William Martin’s account in Paul Clements, Chronicles of the Cumberland Settlements (Nashville: self- published, 2012), 288.

7 The southern or lower road to the Hermitage appears on Matthew Rhea’s 1832 map of Tennessee, and the route of the Tennessee & Pacific Railroad appears on Wilbur Foster’s 1871 map of Davidson County, Tennessee.

19th century house on the site of Buchanan’s Station, Elm Hill Pike at Massman Drive. The log building (right) is a remnant of the original 1780 fort. These structures were later demolished and replaced by an industrial park. (1936 photo courtesy of TN State Library & Archives)

8 Several sources nicely align to present almost incontrovertible proof of the precise location of the Buchanan’s Station main structure. One of the most important is Roberta Brandau, ed., History of Homes and Gardens of Tennessee (Nashville: Parthenon Press, 1964 edition of the 1936 original), 142-144. In the entry therein titled “Buchanan Station,” Ralph Smith’s “Mansion House” is pictured and captioned as “on the site of the original Buchanan structure.” Smith’s mansion became the Knapp Farm Clubhouse (owned by George Peabody College), the exact location of which is known to many contemporary Nashvillians since it was not torn down until shortly after 1980. Brandau aligns with Trabue, 111.

9 See archeologist Dan Allen’s report: Dan S. Allen, “Archaeological Survey of the Buchanan’s Station Cemetery” (Murfreesboro: Dan S. Allen & Associates, 2013), 31.

10 Samuel was the second of Major John Buchanan’s brothers to be killed by Indians (the first was Alexander during the “Battle of the Bluff”). Harriette Simpson Arnow reports that Samuel was killed on May 8, 1786, while out ploughing in the field near the creek, apparently at Buchanan’s Station. See Harriette Simpson Arnow, Flowering of the Cumberland (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996, new edition of the 1963 original), 241-242. Samuel may have been the first person to be buried in the Buchanan’s Station Cemetery.

11 Cornelius Riddle was killed in November 1786 near Buchanan’s Station while hunting turkeys. See Clements, 249. Harriette Simpson Arnow speaks of Riddle (she calls him “Ruddle”) as living at Buchanan’s Station with his wife (the former Jane Mulherrin), and Arnow goes so far as to describe the couple’s cabin at the station. See Harriette Simpson Arnow, Seedtime on the Cumberland (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995, new edition of the 1960 original), 366.

12 John Buchanan Sr. was hacked to death with a tomahawk, in the presence of his wife (Jane Trindle Buchanan), inside Buchanan’s Station in 1787. See Arnow, Flowering of the Cumberland, 6. The foremost account of this tragedy is in G.W. Featherstonaugh, Excursion through the Slave States, Vol. I (London: John Murray, 1844), 205. John Sr. and his wife Jane are believed to be buried in the rocked-in plot in the Buchanan’s Station Cemetery.

The two large stones at center front mark the graves of Major John and Sally Buchanan. John Buchanan Sr. and his wife Jane are believed to be buried in the rocked-in plot on the right. (Photo by Tim Slate)

13 William Mulherrin was killed at Buchanan’s Station during the same 1787 incident in which John Buchanan Sr. was killed. See pioneer Robert Weakley’s account in Clements, 244.

14 John Haywood reports that John Blackburn was killed in 1789 at Buchanan’s Station. The Indians left a spear sticking in his body. See John Haywood, The Civil and Political History of the State of Tennessee (Knoxville: Tenase Company, 1969, reprint of the 1891 edition which was itself a reprint of the original 1823 edition), 257.

15 See the “Battle of Buchanan’s Station” article.


Allen, Dan S. “Archaeological Survey of the Buchanan’s Station Cemetery.” Murfreesboro, Dan S. Allen and Associates, 2013.

Arnow, Harriette Simpson. Flowering of the Cumberland. Lincoln, University of Nebraska Press, 1996 edition of the 1963 original.

Arnow, Harriette Simpson. Seedtime on the Cumberland. Lincoln, University of Nebraska Press, 1995 edition of the 1960 original.

Clements, Paul. Chronicles of the Cumberland Settlements. Nashville, self-published, 2012.

Drake, Masters, & Puryear. Founding of the Cumberland Settlements: The First Atlas, 1779-1804. Gallatin TN, Warioto Press, 2009.

Haywood, John. The Civil and Political History of the State of Tennessee. Knoxville, Tenase Company, 1969 edition of the 1823 original.

Masters & Puryear. Thoroughfare for Freedom: The Second Atlas of the Cumberland Settlements, 1779-1804. Gallatin TN, Warioto Press, 2011.

The Duelists: Jackson and Dickinson

by Kathy B. Lauder.

Charles Henry Dickinson was born around 1780, the year Andrew Jackson, a scrappy 13-year-old, ran off to fight in the American Revolution. The two youngsters could hardly have been more different. Dickinson was born into wealth and privilege on a Maryland plantation; Jackson’s parents were immigrant Irish pioneers. When young Dickinson arrived in Nashville in 1801, he carried a letter of introduction from Chief Justice John Marshall. By late spring 1806 he owned a thriving law practice; had married Jane Erwin, the daughter of a prosperous Nashville family; and was the proud father of a two-month-old son. Jackson, 39, a self-taught lawyer married to the former Rachel Donelson (who had come to Nashville in 1780 with the town’s founding families), had already become a key figure in regional politics: he had been a judge and district attorney in the Mero District; had taken part in the state constitutional convention; had served in the U.S. House and Senate; was Major General of the State Militia; and had spent six years on the Tennessee Supreme Court. He also raised cotton on his plantation, The Hermitage, and bred racehorses. It was apparently a conflict over a horse race that led to Jackson’s fatal duel with Dickinson on May 30, 1806.

Horse racing in the 19th century

The details of the argument vary with the storyteller, but it seems that Jackson took offense at an insult (directed at his wife, his horse, or his integrity) uttered by Joseph Erwin, the father of Dickinson’s wife. Dickinson, who some think may have tipped the balance with a cruel comment aimed at Rachel, took up the challenge in Erwin’s stead. Jackson himself later told a friend, “I had no unkind feeling against Mr. Dickinson . . . My quarrel had been with his father-in-law, Col. Erwin.” Since dueling was illegal in Tennessee, the two men and their companions set out on horseback to Logan County, Kentucky, near the Red River. Afterward Jackson admitted to being “badly frightened” – “I knew Dickinson to be the best shot with the pistol I ever saw.  I therefore went upon the ground expecting to be killed.”

Dickinson would shoot first. To alter his profile, Jackson, who was six feet tall but weighed only 145 pounds, wore a large, bulky coat with a rolled collar, and apparently turned his thin frame sideways. Dickinson aimed and shot. When Jackson did not fall or cry out, Dickinson, startled, believed he had missed. Then, very steadily, Jackson took aim and fired. Later someone would claim that the gun had misfired and that Jackson broke the rules by re-cocking and firing again, but, in fact, the seconds reportedly accepted the second shot. Jackson himself was quoted as saying, “Under the impression that I was, perhaps, mortally wounded, and upon the impulse of the moment, I fired, and my antagonist fell.” The future president had indeed been shot as well. Surgeons were never able to remove the bullet, which was lodged near his heart. It would cause him intense discomfort for the rest of his life. (Several scholars have suggested that Jackson may finally have died, 39 years later, of lead poisoning from that bullet, so Dickinson’s shot may have been responsible for his death, after all!) Young Dickinson lingered for several hours in excruciating pain before his own eventual death. Jackson would always feel deep remorse over the outcome: in his last years he confessed to his old friend General William G. Harding that he regretted nothing in his life so much as this duel. 

Although dueling was illegal in much of the country, it was nonetheless a popular subject for artists.

Dickinson’s companions carried his body back to Nashville, where he was buried on Joseph Erwin’s estate, six miles west of Nashville, on June 1, 1806. For many years the site was marked by a large box tomb, but around 1926, as the land was being developed for housing construction, the tomb’s marble slabs disappeared, as did, gradually, local memory of the exact site of the grave. Meanwhile, Maryland historians insisted that a faithful slave had carried Dickinson’s body back to Caroline County and buried it in a lead coffin there. Decades later, when a metal casket was discovered on family property, the remains were examined by experts at the Smithsonian, who declared they were likely those of a female. 

Tennessee historians, meanwhile, were convinced that Dickinson was still in Nashville. On May 23, 2006, almost exactly 200 years after the duel, State Archaeologist Nick Fielder conducted a high-tech probe of a West End property and determined there was a “50-50 chance” that the grave was there, but no digging occurred at that time. The obliging new property owners, Mr. and Mrs. James Bowen, sought Chancery Court approval for the archaeological investigation and exhumation of any remains discovered on their land, asking permission, in so many words, for their front yard no longer to be a burial ground! On a cold December 15, 2007, neighbors and historians huddled in the sleet, watching as an archaeology team dug in several promising spots, but with no success. In a subsequent dig, in August 2009, archaeologist Dan Allen, guided by historical documents, located the angular outline of a coffin, a number of rusty coffin nails, a screw, and two small bone fragments, probably finger bones. Dickinson had been found!

A crowd gathers at the site of the first Dickinson dig, December 15, 2007.

Researchers knew that Dickinson’s in-laws, Colonel Andrew Hynes and his wife Ann, had been buried at City Cemetery. (Ann Erwin Hynes was Jane Dickinson’s sister.) On Friday, June 25, 2010, in the presence of more than 300 witnesses, Charles Henry Dickinson’s remains were laid to rest in the Hynes plot at the Nashville City Cemetery. The funeral eulogy was delivered by the Reverend Kenneth Locke, Downtown Presbyterian Church. And great-great-great grandsons of both duelists attended the dedication: Dickinson’s descendant Charles Henry Miller, along with Andrew Jackson VI and his daughter Rebekah. (2010)

The Jackson quotations are taken from “Gen. Jackson as a Duelist,” The Daily American (Nashville), February 18, 1877. 

For another look at this story, you may enjoy Betsy Phillips’s delightful article from the August 1, 2022, edition of the Nashville Scene: “On the Hunt for the Jackson-Dickinson Dueling Site.”

My gratitude to Dr. Wayne Moore, Jim Hoobler, Fletch Coke, Mike Slate, Carol Kaplan, and James Castro for their input.

Previously published in Monuments & Milestones, the Nashville City Cemetery Newsletter.

‘Til Death Do Us Part: Love and Devotion at City Cemetery

by Carol Kaplan.

The tales of political and military leaders abound at City Cemetery – these influential citizens are often the focus of our research and knowledge. However, beyond the public and civic life of Nashville, private stories show us another more personal life of love and devotion, loss and memory.

Grave of Ann Robertson Cockrill (Nashville City Cemetery Association)

Two married couples may be found on the Foster family plot in section 29.2. The more famous pair is Ann Robertson Johnston and John Cockrill, who fell in love as they traveled with John Donelson’s party on the flatboat flotilla bringing settlers to Nashville in 1780. Ann, the widowed mother of three little girls, and bachelor John Cockrill were both 23 years old when they were married at Fort Nashborough, where Ann’s brother, James Robertson performed the ceremony. Despite the threat of Indian attacks, everyone celebrated the wedding on that spring day with feasting, dancing, fiddling, and bear meat. Both Ann and John received land preemptions, and they settled where Centennial Park stands today. The parents of eight children, they enjoyed a long life together. Ann died in 1821 at 64 years of age; John lived until 1837. They were originally buried near their home, but due to encroaching development, they were brought together to City Cemetery in the early 20th century.

Maj. John Cockrill (1757-1837) built the first brick house in Nashville (Tennessee Portrait Project)

Ann S. Hubbard Foster and her husband Robert C. rest nearby. They had been married 51 years, 6 months, and 12 days when he died in 1844. His vault was reopened when Ann died in 1850, so that the couple could be buried together as she had wished.

Robert Coleman Foster (1769-1844) (Tennessee Portrait Project)

True love sometimes needs a helping hand, as Margaret Nichol discovered when she fell in love with Robert Armstrong, an aide-de-camp to Andrew Jackson. Her wealthy banker father, Josiah Nichol, forbade their marriage, insisting that the life of a soldier’s wife was not what he and Margaret’s mother wanted for their daughter. Not to be denied, Margaret and Robert eloped in 1814, asking for help from the couple they knew would be on their side: Rachel and Andrew Jackson. At the Hermitage, where the future president and his wife were still living in a log cabin, Old Hickory took command, sending for a pastor to perform the marriage and writing to the bride’s father. Jackson reminded Nichol of their own “lack of fortune” when they first came to Nashville together, and vouched for Armstrong’s character. He encouraged smiles, tranquility, and acceptance of the marriage . . . and then invited everyone to a festive dinner party at the cabin.

Margaret Nichol and her beloved husband Robert Armstrong are buried side by side (Nashville City Cemetery Association)

Two of Nashville’s prominent architects designed monuments at City Cemetery. Adolphus Heiman, just beginning his career in Nashville, carved the marker for Nancy Bailey Maynor in 1836. She and her husband, painter Pleasant Maynor, had been married only eight years. Heiman marked the stone with a butterfly, symbolizing a brief, beautiful life.

Architect Adolphus Heiman created this monument for Nancy Bailey Maynor (Nashville City Cemetery Association)

Grieving husband John W. Walker commissioned William Strickland to design a monument for his 28-year-old wife, Sarah Ann Gray. Strickland described the monument as “very elegant . . . constructed of pure white marble from Baltimore . . .. The lachrymal vase is an exact copy of vases found in the ruins of Pompeii.” It was completed in July 1846.

Monument of Sarah Ann Gray Walker, designed by architect William Strickland (Nashville City Cemetery Association)

These stories remind us of the importance of recording the inscriptions and caring for the tombstones of City Cemetery. Without these markers, much of what we know about these people would be lost. The purpose of the monuments, as created by those left behind, was to ensure that their loved ones would always be remembered. Our care of the cemetery keeps that hope alive. (2008)

Previously published in Monuments & Milestones, the Nashville City Cemetery newsletter.

Readers will enjoy exploring the City Cemetery website for tombstone photos, inscriptions, obituaries, and much more:  http://www.thenashvillecitycemetery.org/

Sarah “Sallie” McGavock Lindsley, 1830-1903

by Kathy B. Lauder.

Sarah Malvina Bass McGavock, usually called Sallie, was born July 17, 1830, in Nashville, Tennessee.1 Her father was Jacob McGavock (1790-1878), a county, circuit, and U.S. circuit court clerk for fifty years.2 Jacob had served as Andrew Jackson’s aide during the Creek War,3 and the two men remained close friends throughout their lives.4 Sallie’s mother, Louisa Grundy McGavock, was the daughter of noted jurist Felix Grundy,5 Chief Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court, U. S. Representative and Senator from Tennessee, and U. S. Attorney General under President Martin Van Buren.6          

Sallie McGavock Lindsley

On February 9, 1857, Sallie married Dr. John Berrien Lindsley (1822-1897),7 one of Nashville’s most eligible bachelors. Lindsley’s journal reports, “At 4 & 10 minutes P.M. was married by the Rev. J. T. Edgar, D.D. to Miss Sallie McGavock . . . only the immediate family and a very few friends present. All very happy.”8

Sallie Lindsley gave birth to six children: Louise Grundy Lindsley (1858-1944); Jacob McGavock Lindsley (1860-1925), nicknamed “J. Mac,” who married Kittie Kline; Mary McGavock Lindsley (b 1861), wife of R. C. Kent; Margaret Elizabeth Lawrence Lindsley (1863-1936), who married Percy Warner, and whose descendants bore the names Frazer, White, Mallison, and Lea; Anne “Annie” Dickinson Lindsley (1864-1958), who married Dr. Carl Warner; and Randal McGavock Lindsley (1870-1871),9 named for Sallie’s brother, a former Nashville mayor (1824-1825), who had died in the Civil War.

Dr. John Berrien Lindsley

The Lindsley family remained in Nashville during the War, moving to Sallie’s parents’ home after Union troops seized the Lindsleys’ property during the Battle of Nashville.10 Sallie later became active in various charities of the First Presbyterian Church. She was a charter member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (founded in1894) and served as the group’s first corresponding secretary.11 The work closest to Sallie Lindsley’s heart, however, was the creation of the Ladies’ Hermitage Association (LHA), organized to protect and preserve Andrew Jackson’s home, a state property scheduled to become a rest home for aged and needy Confederate soldiers.12 When attorney A. S. Colyar determined that only unmarried women (femmes soles) were eligible to sign the LHA charter of incorporation,13 the committee members selected five unmarried women, including Sallie’s daughter, Louise Grundy Lindsley,14 to sign the document.  Meanwhile, John Berrien Lindsley, then Executive Secretary of the State Board of Public Health, was attempting unsuccessfully to craft a compromise between the Confederate organization and the LHA. At his urging, Sallie met with Representative John H. Savage, a former Confederate officer and the chief opponent of the amendment that would cede the women’s group 25 acres that included the house, family graveyard, and tomb.15 Sallie persuaded Savage to change his vote, the amendment passed, and the Association opened the property to the public in July 1889.16  The group’s first major undertaking, restoring Jackson’s original log home, “First Hermitage,” was Tennessee’s first historic preservation project. 17

“First Hermitage,” Hermitage, Davidson County, Tennessee

Sallie Lindsley was elected Second Vice Regent of the Ladies’ Hermitage Association (1891-1899), then served as Regent18 until her death by heart failure on July 5, 1903.19   (2014)


1 Her birth and death dates are inscribed on her tombstone in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

2 Gray, Robert. The McGavock Family: A Genealogical History of James McGavock and His Descendants from 1760 to 1903. Richmond, VA: William Ellis Jones, Printer, 1903, 21.3 Gray, Robert, 20-21.

4 Gray, Robert, 14.

5 “Mrs. Lindsley Dead. Passes Away Quietly after Brief Illness.” The Nashville American, July 6, 1903, page 4.

6 “Felix Grundy.” United States Congress. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-2005. Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office, 2005.

7 Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002. Nashville: Tennessee State Library and Archives.

8 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. February 9, 1857.

9 Lindly, John M. The History of the Lindley-Lindsley-Linsley Families in America, 1639-1924, Vol. II.  Winfield, Iowa: Self-published, 1924, 19.

10 Lindsley, John Berrien. Diary, Volume 5, December 1-24, 1864.

11 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, 45.

12 Bucy, Carole Stanford. “Ladies’ Hermitage Association.” Tennessee Encyclopedia Online. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2002-2014.

13 Dorris, Mary C. Currey. Preservation of the Hermitage, 1889-1915: Annals, History, and Stories. Smith & Lamar, 1915, 35.

14 Bucy, Carole Stanford. “Quiet Revolutionaries,” 46.

15 Bucy, Carole Stanford. “Quiet Revolutionaries,” 46.

16 The Hermitage, Home of President Andrew Jackson website. Accessed 6-23-2014. http://www.thehermitage.com/mansion-grounds/mansion/hermitage

17 The Hermitage, Home of President Andrew Jackson website. Accessed 6-23-2014.

18 Dorris, Mary C. Currey. Preservation of the Hermitage, 1889-1915, 219-220.

19 Tennessee City Death Records, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Memphis, 1848-1907.  Nashville: Tennessee State Library and Archives.

My Hermitage Experience

A Reminiscence by Houston Seat.

My first visit to The Hermitage, at the age of five years, was with my grandfather in a borrowed Model A Ford. I had to remain in the car and be good, and I didn’t get to go into this big brick house even though I really wanted to see what was inside. Perhaps I should explain.

My grandfather, Samuel H. Seat, was a blacksmith adept at working with iron and fashioning hand-wrought objects. The quality of his work was well known and he was often occupied in some special project. It was 1935 at the time, and The Ladies’ Hermitage Association had contacted my grandfather about reproducing the latch assembly on the window shutters of the mansion since time had taken a toll on the original iron pieces. I had to remain in the Ford while he was inside meeting with the ladies in charge of the restoration. Memory brings back the wasp that came through the open car window, buzzing around me for a few moments and then flying on toward the big house with the loose, sagging shutters.

As time passed, I learned that this was the home of Andrew Jackson and his wife Rachel, who died suddenly on December 22, 1828, the year Andrew was elected President of our country. Rachel is quoted as saying, “I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of God than to live in that palace at Washington.” Was her wish granted?

On a return visit thirty years later, I had a five-year-old with me – my son. We toured The Hermitage together. The Model A Ford is past history, along with the grandparent who let me tag along. Memories can last a lifetime and those with whom we experience special occasions live on, too.

Lost Nashville: The Second Presbyterian Church

by Kathy B. Lauder.

Nashville began to attract streams of visitors almost from the moment it became a frontier trading post.  As time passed, tourists and settlers came for the music and theatre and food, for history and politics and education, for the casual atmosphere and friendly people.  It was educator Philip Lindsley (1785-1855) who first referred to Nashville as the “Athens of the South” (Philip actually said “Southwest”), for the city has long been a center of educational and cultural activities.  And high on the list of attractions is the intriguing variety of architectural styles to be discovered here.

 One’s first impression of Nashville, the downtown skyline, features the “Batman” and “R2-D2” building silhouettes, several tall hotels and banks, and the dear old L&C Tower, whose 31 floors made it, at the time of its 1957 opening, the “tallest commercial structure of its day in the Southeastern United States.”1 Church Street and Broadway feature some of our most interesting church buildings: the First Baptist Church; Christ Church Episcopal; McKendree Methodist, its earlier façades buried beneath layers of renovations; Downtown (First) Presbyterian with its rich and compelling history; and, a little farther out, the graceful Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on Sixth Avenue. 

This 1880-era photograph, taken from the State Capitol looking east, shows the railroad bridge over the Cumberland River and the steeple of Second Presbyterian Church (right center), which stood on 3rd Avenue near where the Criminal Justice Center stands today. (TSLA photograph, used by permission)

 Many tourists come to Nashville specifically to visit historic homes, and the city has a lovely collection of these as well: The Hermitage, fourth most-visited Presidential home in America (after the White House, Mount Vernon, and Monticello); Belmont, former home of one of the country’s richest women, and now the centerpiece of the Belmont University campus; Belle Meade and Travellers Rest, renowned for the breeding of magnificent horses; Cheekwood, with its exquisite gardens and galleries; and the wedding-cake charm of Clover Bottom and Two Rivers.  Equally unforgettable are the stand-alone architectural delights of the Tennessee State Capitol, the Customs House, Union Station, Ryman Auditorium, and the splendid Parthenon, the crowning glory of Centennial Park and the only full-scale replica of the ancient Athenian temple in the world.

Yet if we could visit the Nashville of earlier days, we would be astonished, not only at the number of public buildings that have been transformed into more modern spaces, but also at the number that have disappeared forever.

Not all the stories have tragic endings, of course.  Union Station was saved from impending destruction a few years ago, as was the Ryman.  Moreover, the Metropolitan Historical Commission encourages preservation activities by presenting a number of awards each year to individuals and groups who have rescued and restored public or private structures throughout the city.  But the very word “progress” conjures up an image of bulldozers, and Nashville, like many American cities, has seen far too many beautiful buildings destroyed to make room for, among other things, motels and parking lots!

One of the city’s loveliest lost buildings was the Second Presbyterian Church, once part of our riverfront skyline, but now only a fading image in a handful of old photos.  The church stood on Third and Gay Streets, not far from the spot where the James Robertson Parkway crosses Third Avenue before swooping across Victory Memorial Bridge.  Dr. John Todd Edgar and Dr. Philip Lindsley spoke at the church’s 1844 dedication.2

There are significant differences of opinion about the history of “2nd Pres,” as John Berrien Lindsley called it in his 1859 diary.3 Many Nashvillians believe that William Strickland, architect of the Capitol, designed the church.  However, according to James Patrick, author of Architecture in Tennessee, 1768-1897, the architect was James M. Hughes, a man the Nashville City Directory lists as a carpenter.4 Patrick refers to a silver plate deposited in the cornerstone of the church naming Hughes as the architect.   In 1844 the Nashville Whig listed the full text of the inscription:

The Second Presbyterian Church
of Nashville,
erected in the year of our lord 1844.
Rev. Robert A. Lapsley, Pastor.
Samuel Seay, William B. Shapard, William H Marquess,
James M. Hamilton, and Adam G. Adams, Elders.
Samuel Hill, Foster Williams, Abram Stevens,
and John McCrea – Deacons.
Organized February, 1844, with 32 Members.
JOHN TYLER, President of the United States.
James C. Jones, Governor of Tenn.
P.W. Maxey, Mayor of Nashville.
Population of Nashville, 8,000.
James M. Hughes, Architect.
Engraved by D. Adams.5

Adding further weight to Patrick’s assertion, Nell Savage Mahoney, a lifelong student of Strickland’s work, omits Second Presbyterian from her list of his creations.   

Support for Strickland’s involvement, however, may be found in “William Strickland, Architect,” a 1986 article from the Tennessee Historical Quarterly.  Author James A. Hoobler, Curator of the Capitol, compares the altar area of the Second Presbyterian Church with a Strickland drawing labeled “Second Presbyterian.” 6 The structural similarities of shape and dimension cannot be denied.  (Hoobler has also discovered compelling evidence that St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, long attributed to William Strickland, was, in fact, built by Adolphus Heiman, but that’s a story for another day.) 

Actually, a fairly strong case can be made for the possibility of a collaboration between the two men, with Strickland as teacher/adviser and Hughes as apprentice/contractor.  Mahoney herself provides evidence of an earlier such alliance between Strickland and one of his students.  Strickland is believed to have drawn the original elevation used by his former pupil Thomas U. Walter when the younger man was appointed to design a building for the Girard College campus in Philadelphia.7 

Further evidence of a Strickland-Hughes partnership comes from Circuit Court records, January term 1857.  Strickland had been engaged by H.R.W. Hill “to serve as an architect for and superintend the erection of a Methodist church [in New Orleans] . . .. William [Strickland] was put to great expense in going to and from said city during the progress of said work . . .. The church was built at the same time that the St. Charles Hotel was erected – both the St. Charles and the Methodist Church on Pozdras street were burned in February, 1850 . . .. Strickland and Hughes were here at the time, as this witness learned from Hughes, to get a contract for [re]building the St. Charles.”8

So even finding James Hughes’ name inside the cornerstone does not rule out the possibility that the original drawings for Second Presbyterian came from Strickland.

 Newcomers may wonder why William Strickland’s buildings are so valuable.  In fact, many people consider them national treasures – Strickland is widely considered to be one of the most influential architects of the nineteenth century.  Prior to his move to Nashville, he built so many notable buildings in Philadelphia, he was sometimes called “the city architect.”9 Among his important designs there are the Second Bank of the United States (His best-known portrait places him in front of the Bank, which strongly resembles the Parthenon.); the Merchants Exchange; St. Stephen’s Church; Masonic Hall; and dozens more.  In Nashville Strickland contributed to the design and re-design of many private homes, burial monuments, and a wide variety of public buildings.  Best known, however, are the Downtown (First) Presbyterian Church – now widely considered America’s finest surviving example of church architecture in the Egyptian Revival style – and his masterpiece, the Tennessee State Capitol.  Many of Strickland’s buildings have been designated National Historic Landmarks.

In 1902, convinced that the neighborhood was becoming too commercial, the Second Presbyterian congregation sold the building and relocated to North Nashville, moving again in 1929 to better oversee the Monroe-Harding Children’s Home in Green Hills.10  They left behind not only the classical simplicity of the building’s exterior, but also the beautiful interior, which included a painted fresco behind the altar suggesting a classical porch with a view of distant hills, and a network of intricate trompe l’oeil panels and columns adorning the ceiling and walls.  For many years thereafter, the original building – described at the time of its dedication as a “new and beautiful edifice . . . an ornament to that part of the city”11 – was used by the Standard Candy Company as a warehouse.12

By the late 1970s the church building had become the property of Metro Nashville.  The city’s plans to build a new Criminal Justice Center involved razing the old church and other nearby structures.  Although preservation advocates from the Metropolitan Historical Commission and the Tennessee State Museum pleaded with city officials to be permitted at least to salvage significant architectural elements from the building, their requests were denied.13   In 1979 Nashville’s historic Second Presbyterian Church was bulldozed into rubble in order to provide a handful of parking spaces for the Criminal Justice Center.       

Sources consulted:

1 Zepp, George. “Nashville L&C Tower once offered bird’s-eye view of Nashville,environs,” Nashville Tennessean, 16 Feb 2005.

2 Nashville Whig, April 27, 1844.

3 Lindsley Family Papers, ca. 1600-ca. 1940.  Tennessee State Library and Archives.

4 Patrick, James. Architecture in Tennessee, 1768-1897.  Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1981.

5 Nashville Whig, April 27, 1844.

6 Hoobler, James A.  “William Strickland, Architect,” Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Spring 1986.7 Mahoney, Nell Savage (1889-1986) Papers, 1825-1972.  THS Acc. No. 457 & 681. Tennessee State Library and Archives.

8 Mahoney.

9 http://www.greatbuildings.com/architects/William_Strickland.html

10 http://www.secondpresbyterian.net/Home/ChurchHistory/tabid/14992/Default.aspx

11 Nashville Whig, September 2, 1846.

12 Hoobler, James A.  A Guide to Historic Nashville, Tennessee.  Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2008.

13 Hoobler, James A.  A Guide to Historic Nashville, Tennessee.

This article was first published in The Nashville Retrospect. We thank publisher Allen Forkum for his permission to republish it here. Much gratitude also to Jim Hoobler, Cathi Carmack, Lori Lockhart, and Mike Slate for helping me untangle the knotted threads of this story.  KBL      

Louise Grundy Lindsley, 1858-1944

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

Postcard photo of The Hermitage from NHN collection

            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.

Buchanan’s Station: A Stirring Reminiscence of the Olden Time

Primary Source Document, transcribed by Kathy B. Lauder.

Republican Banner, November 17, 1869

To the Editor of the Banner:

In company with the Vice-president of the Pacific Railroad, a few days since, I rode along the first six miles of the road. The work is in a forward condition, and but for two or three injunctions, the grading, masonry, etc., would be finished by the first of next January ready for track-laying.  The masonry of the bridge at Mill Creek is finished and the iron bridge will be erected when the track-laying reaches that point.  The object of this communication is to call public attention to the fact that this bridge crosses the creek at the point where was fought one of the most remarkable Indian battles that characterize the early settlements of Tennessee.

Nearly fifty years ago, the writer became familiar with the spot, and often heard from those who had participated in the battle an account of the gallant and successful defense of the fort, then called Buchanan’s Station.  The eastern abutment of the bridge rests on the bluff near the spot where stood the stockade and block-house.  It should be commemorated by some suitable tablet and inscription erected upon that end of the bridge.  This and many similar events are passing out of the memory of our people, and I am afraid that the rising generation are not at all familiar with the early history of our State.    In 1792 General Robertson, the father of Middle Tennessee, received intelligence which led him to believe the Indians would visit his neighborhood.  He sent out one of his trusty scouts, Abraham Castleman, to reconnoitre and find out what danger, if any, was impending.  Castleman made a circuit of some sixty miles, going south and returning by the place where Murfreesboro now stands.  He reported traces of the Indians at that point.  Other scouts reported that no Indians were about and none appearing.  Castleman was jeered for his report to such an extent as to cause both himself and General Robertson great mortification.  Events, however, proved the correctness of his reconnoisance [sic].  On Monday, the 30th of September, the people in the fort were awakened by the running in of the cattle and other noises which betokened a large force of Indians at hand.  Before daylight a vigorous attack was made by a large body of savages.  They attempted to fire the fort before the little garrison were in position for defense.  In the fort were fifteen gun-men and a few women, who did their full share of the fighting, running bullets, loading the guns, and firing, as the occasion required.  The heroic conduct of Mrs. Buchanan, exhibited in her coolness, bravery, and the spirit in which she animated the men, was common talk long after her death. 

Reenactors portray Sally Buchanan and a wilderness preacher at a 2012 event to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Buchanan’s Station. (photo from NHN collection)

This station was on the old road to the Hermitage, and until the turnpike was built visitors to the Hermitage were shown this place as one pre-eminently entitled to notice.  With the people of this section, Mrs. Buchanan was as much a heroine as General Jackson was afterward a hero. 

The battle lasted an hour. The Indians, from the brisk and incessant firing kept up from the fort to their destruction, believed it was defended by a large force, and retired, leaving some of their dead on the field, but carrying off their wounded.  They left a large amount of guns, swords, tomahawks, kettles, etc., on the field.  The celebrated John Watts, a noted Cherokee Chief, was wounded.  Kiachatalee, a noted Indian warrior, was killed, as was also a hostile half-breed, known as “Tom Turnbridge’s step-son,” who was shot while attempting to fire the fort.  Thirty balls were fired through one port-hole into the roof of the fort, and were found in the area of a man’s hat.  Governor Blount, in his official account of this battle, estimated the number of assailants at three or four hundred.  Both Ramsey and Putnam, in their histories, say the Indians acknowledged their force to have been seven hundred, and that they were dispirited by the constant fire, which led them to believe that the fort was defended by a very strong force.

Not a man, woman or child in the fort received the slightest harm.  Surely such an event as this is worthy of some commemoration.  A simple tablet of iron, with a suitable inscription, could be placed by the railroad company on this bridge at a trifling cost, which they can well afford to pay, as the owners of the land neither charge damages for running the road through it, nor ask pay for the fine stone quarried from the bluff for the erection of the bridge.

(No author is listed.)

Theodore Roosevelt’s 1907 Nashville Visit

by C. Michael Norton.

Theodore Roosevelt’s rise to the Presidency was meteoric. In 1897 he resigned from his position as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to lead the Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War. Returning from Cuba a hero, he was elected Governor of New York in 1898. In 1900 he was chosen to serve as William McKinley’s Vice President, and, when McKinley was assassinated a year later, Theodore Roosevelt became President. He was 42 years old. In 1904 he was elected President in his own right.

This dynamic man visited Nashville on October 22, 1907, and received a warm welcome. After he arrived at Union Station about 9:00 a.m. in his own rail car , a parade formed on Broadway behind the President in a horse-drawn carriage, accompanied by 25 to 30 automobiles. The escort of honor was Troop A of the Confederate Veteran Cavalry. The procession moved down Broadway to Eighth Avenue. At that corner were some 2,000 students from schools including the University of Tennessee Medical School, the Hume and Fogg Schools, Buford College, Belmont College, Radnor College, Boscobel College, and St. Cecelia Academy. The parade then wound its way through downtown, ending up at the Ryman Auditorium.

Theodore Roosevelt at Peabody College (postcard image courtesy of C. Michael Norton)

At the Ryman, Roosevelt delivered his principal address of the day. He touched on such current issues as turning the Mississippi River and its principal tributaries into navigable waterways, as well as more enduring issues, like the necessity of preventing stock manipulation (in his words, the need to “punish successful dishonesty”). Leaving the Ryman, Roosevelt changed vehicles to a 50-horsepower Peerless automobile and headed toward the Hermitage. The procession stopped at Peabody College, then located on “College Hill” at Second and Lindsley. This area also included the University of Nashville Medical College and Montgomery Bell Academy.

After a few brief remarks, Roosevelt and his entourage left again for the Hermitage.  On the trip out Lebanon Pike, the vehicles passed the site of the Clover Bottom horse racing track where Andrew Jackson had raced his horses.  Arriving at the Hermitage where a crowd of over 10,000 had gathered, Roosevelt met with officials of the Ladies’ Hermitage Association.  After a tour the President spoke to the crowd on the grounds and promised to secure federal funds to be used toward the preservation of the Hermitage.

The procession’s final stop was at the Confederate Solders’ Home, where the President also made a few remarks.  Finally, he returned to his rail car at the Hermitage Station and left Nashville a little after 1:00 p.m., heading south to Chattanooga.  During the trip he stopped and briefly spoke from his rail car at several towns, including Murfreesboro and Tullahoma.

An interesting aside concerning this visit involves the advertising campaign later developed by Maxwell House, which attributed its slogan “good to the last drop” to Roosevelt, based on a comment he allegedly made at the time.  In fact, it is unlikely that he made such a statement.  Nashville newspapers reported that, during his visit to the Hermitage, Roosevelt did ask for a cup of coffee; none of the reports, however, indicated the brand of coffee that was served to him.  The Nashville Banner reported that Roosevelt enjoyed the coffee and said, “This is the kind of stuff I like, by George, when I hunt bears.”  One can hardly imagine a successful advertising campaign based on that slogan!

Nashville Tennessean, October 23, 1907.
Nashville Banner, October 22, 1907.
The Nashville American, October 23, 1907.
Carey, Bill. Fortunes, Fiddles, & Fried Chicken, Hillsboro Press, 2000, pp. 47-48.

Slavery at the Hermitage: Fascinating Finds

by Ashley Layhew White.

The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s imposing home, survives today as a memorial to American history, to the old days of Tennessee, and to true love. Still standing proud and stately, it has endured poverty, the War Between the States, and the 1998 tornado. Today, perhaps more than ever before, The Hermitage serves to inspire and instruct us.

Recent archeological work at The Hermitage has uncovered some significant details of everyday 19th century slave life. Interesting finds in and near slave cabins on the property include sewing items, toys, and bits of money. The discovery of pencils and slates in every excavated cabin, indicating that Andrew Jackson’s slaves were literate, is surprising and leads us to re-examine some of our ideas about slave life. Good luck charms found at the dig sites are also fascinating, especially the Hand of Fatima which was used to ward away evil spirits. Underground “hidey holes” have also been great sources for archeologists at The Hermitage. Items stolen from the main house or passed along from a slave on a neighboring farm were commonly hid in these secret places.

Though it has become more or less expected to find them on plantation digs, the excavation of gun parts at The Hermitage is nevertheless startling. Hammers, flints, and lead shot have been found, pointing toward gun possession among the slaves. Why would Andrew Jackson allow slaves to bear arms? One plausible explanation is that the slaves used guns to hunt game which included raccoons, squirrels, turtles, and deer. By allowing slaves to hunt, plantation owners could promote self-sufficiency in the slave community.

Archeologists at The Hermitage are optimistic about what the future will teach us about the past, and their successful work reinforces the role of the great plantation as a national treasure. The many fortunate discoveries they have made tempt us to ask: Has the Hand of Fatima had something to do with it?

Ashley Layhew White was a junior at McGavock High School in Donelson, Tennessee, when she wrote this essay for the May-June 2000 newsletter. Since that time she has become a respected historian in her own right.