December 30, 2019, Susan Harber, The Daily News Journal
The name Jarman has a pre-9th Century Old French origin and is interpreted in Latin as the baptismal name ‘Germanus’ or German. In ancient history, Jarman was first recorded in a family crest in Suffolk, England before the Norman Conquest of 1066 A.D.
The historical and stunning Jarman Home and farm on Cainsville Pike in northeastern Rutherford County is an incredible and authentic destination in Lascassas. The beautiful two-story frame house is an exemplary archetype of antebellum architecture in Tennessee. The agricultural complex epitomizes the migration of settlers to Tennessee in the 18th century. Six generations of Jarmans have resided in this home. The property was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 6, 1987.
The Greek-Revival farmhouse was established 1850-1860 for Robert Hall Jarman, who owned nineteen slaves by 1860. Several of the slaves were under the age of 18 years old. There were three slave houses on the Jarman farm constructed after 1850. One slave house measured 23 feet by 17 inches and was a two-room saddlebag building with a rear addition added after 1860. These same slaves were soon freed with the coming of the Civil War.
In 1860, the farm was comprised of 250 acres with a value of $12,000. There were advanced farming implements, twelve horses, mules, dairy milch cows, sheep, and swine on the premises with livestock valued at $1,600. Bushels of wheat, Indian Corn, sweet potatoes and Irish potatoes were harvested. Wool was produced, along with homemade butter.
Proprietor Robert Hall Jarman’s parents, Susan and Robert H. Jarman of North Carolina, emigrated to Wilson County in 1796, which was the banner year Tennessee became a state. In all, Robert and Susan had a family of 13 children. By 1799, Robert owned 4,800 acres between Murfreesboro and Lebanon. In turn, Robert, Jr (1822-1884) built his house south of his original home place just over the Wilson County line into a village of Lascassas. He is buried in the Jarman Cemetery, surrounded by a low stone wall with wife Christina Jones, who was born 1829. Their son Rufus Enoch Jarman (1850-1936) was laid to rest at Evergreen Cemetery in Murfreesboro alongside his wife Elizabeth.
The magnificent antebellum home included the farm, three log buildings and three frame outbuildings, a log cabin and the Jarman Family Cemetery. The saddlebag plan cabin lay a quarter mile to the northeast of Cainsville Pike and a part of Jarman Farm. The cabin retains a sheet metal gable roof and stone chimney.
The Jarman Home is two-bays deep by three bays wide. Two brick chimneys with corbelled shoulders and stone bases are on the gable ends. The central bay on the front façade has a two-story pedimented portico. Four square columns support the second story balcony, and another four columns support the pediment. The central bay is a double-leaf entrance with three-pane sidelights and adorned by a six-pane transom. The second story balcony has a wooden balustrade with turned balusters. The north gable end has a six-over-six window on both the first and second story.
The historical home was constructed with walnut studs and has a central hall plan with two rooms on each floor. The rooms flank the central hall that contains the initial staircase on the first floor along with floor-to-ceiling gun cabinets on both sides of the Greek Revival entrance. The dining room, parlor, and hall have original white ash floors, while the second floor rooms have bona fide black poplar flooring. Authentic mantels and woodwork are within these elegant rooms.
Behind the house is the original detached kitchen that is a log structure with gable roof and half dove-tailed notching and brick chimney. On the northwest end of the home is the original log smokehouse. In the yard lay two one-pen log outbuildings, a two-pen log barn and original wooden watering troughs.
The design of Jarman House is an I-house form, center portico, and rear ell and is a vernacular farmhouse of frame construction.
With the passing of Robert Hall Jarman in 1884, the estate passed to his son Rufus Enoch Jarman. Rufus’ wife Elizabeth Baird was from the Baird Farm where MTSU stands today. Rufus was highly visible in community and instrumental in building both the Lascassas School and Lascassas Baptist Church. Rufus’ children included William, Rufus, Robert Hall, Martin, Fred and Nellie. Will Baird and Alice Brown Jarman had a daughter Alice Brown Penuel, who had fame in Tennessee. Her brother Rufus E. Jarman wrote for the Tennessean as a police reporter, and later for Atlanta Journal, St Louis Post, New Yorker, and Saturday Evening Post in New York City. His obituary states Rufus was the most prolific humorist and writer gifted to the national writing industry. Rufus was also a producer and frequent guest on the ‘Alfred Godfrey Show’ with the tune ‘Take me Back to Lascassas’ performed on the show. Alice wed Jack Penuel, a recipient of both a Purple Heart and Bronze Star in the Army. Alice’s final vocation was in Nashville at a Public Relations Department with cooking demonstrations for Martha White Foods. She retired 24 years later and was known as the original ‘Miss Martha White.’ Alice also appeared on the ‘Flatt and Scruggs Country Music Show.’ In recent times, this special home was owned by Jack and Alice Jarman Penuel, great-granddaughter of Robert Hall Jarman. Lascassas resident Hooper Penuel, former Rutherford County election official, is the nephew of Alice and Jack Penuel.
The Jarman home and farm is a meticulously preserved 15-acre historical site in Lascassas shining with sheer beauty and deep narrative over two centuries.