Murfreesboro Mayors: 21-25

November 1, 2019, A Series by Barry Lamb

Hanna, Dr. William H. was born circa 1805 in Tennessee. He is possibly the son of John Doak Hanna, who died in Rutherford County in 1835, as he was involved in the administration of his estate. Our subject moved to Mississippi as a young man and was married there to Ann C. Hanna, perhaps a cousin, on March 13, 1826 in Wilkinson County, Mississippi. To their union was born: Mary, Louiza, Prudence, John, and William H. Hanna Jr. Mr. Hanna had moved back in Rutherford County by 1834.

Professionally, he was a physician, and was one of the trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Murfreesboro. He served as alderman in 1838 and when Mayor Gilliam resigned, he was given the nod of becoming the fourth mayor to fill that post during that year. He served in that capacity for the remainder of the year. His last documented existence in Murfreesboro was in June 1843 and had moved to Harrisonburg, Louisiana by 1850. Mayor Hanna died circa 1858, according to family members.

Farmer, Bailey W. was born circa 1811 in North Carolina. His ancestry is unproven, but he is possibly the son of Joseph A. Farmer, who died in Rutherford County in 1839, as he was the administrator of his estate. The subject of this sketch married Catherine Hartwell, daughter of Armistead and Martha Ann Gholson Hartwell, on March 3, 1835. He was a brother-in-law of former Mayor Edward Fisher, whose sketch appeared earlier.

Farmer was a merchant tailor in Murfreesboro during the 1830s and 1840s, and at one time was a partner of Rufus B. Jetton, who later served as an alderman. By 1850, Farmer had gone into the grocery business. He served as mayor of Murfreesboro in 1841, 1842, 1845, and 1846. He also served as town alderman in 1840, 1843, and 1844. He and his wife were the parents of the following: Susan, James C., John, and Alford Farmer.

Mayor Farmer died in January 1851. He was possibly buried in Murfreesboro’s Old City Cemetery but there is no stone there to mark his spot.

Thomas, Wilson J. was born circa 1805 in Tennessee. His ancestry is unknown. He came to Murfreesboro in 1828 and married Selina Ann Oliver, daughter of George W. and Jane Oliver of Murfreesboro, on May 8, 1834. The subject of this sketch was a saddler by trade and at one time was partners with Charles Niles, former mayor of Murfreesboro during the early 1830s. He continued in that occupation until the 1880s. Thomas was elected mayor in 1844 and also served as an alderman in 1865 and 1866. He also served as county ranger from 1844-1846. His wife died in 1846 and he married the first wife’s sister, Sabrina Oliver, during the 1850s. He and his first wife were the parents of Elizabeth and Ellen Thomas and were members of the Baptist Church. Mayor Thomas died on June 2, 1888 and is buried in Murfreesboro’s Old City Cemetery.

Leiper, John, a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was born there in May 1809 to James and Sarah Taylor Leiper of that city. The time of our subject’s arrival in Murfreesboro is unknown, but by 1834, he had established a grocery business in Murfreesboro with his brother, William F. Leiper, a partnership that existed until 1844, when our subject operated a similar business on his own. In 1850, Edward P. Menefee joined him as a partner in the firm of “Leiper and Menefee”, a grocery establishment located at 107, east side of the square. In 1852, the business relocated to Depot Hill, where they built the first store house there. Mr. Leiper married Elizabeth A. Rucker, daughter of Samuel C. and Lucinda Alexander Rucker, on July 14, 1835. They were the parents of Samuel C., William F., Lucy Leiper Darragh, John, and James A. Leiper. Involved in local politics, Mr. Leiper was elected mayor of Murfreesboro in 1847 and in 1848. He had served as alderman of the town in 1839 and 1845. His business interests were suspended during the Civil War, but he and his partner, Ed Menefee, reestablished their grocery firm in 1866. Mayor Leiper died in Murfreesboro on November 7, 1881. His place of final rest is unknown, although it is likely that he was buried in either the Old City Cemetery or Evergreen Cemetery.

Henry, Fauntleroy was born on October 25, 1801 in Culpeper County, Virginia to Joel and Susanna Allen Henry of that county. He married Celista Green in Culpeper County, and the couple came to Rutherford County during the 1820s. Henry served as county trustee in 1837 and again in 1858. After his wife’s death, he married Mrs. Sarah Elizabeth Edwards Elliott, widow of William Elliott, on September 23, 1844. His first marriage produced the following children: Virginia Henry January, Mary Catherine Henry Burrows, Benjamin, and James Henry. The second marriage was without issue. Mr. Henry’s occupation was that of a railroad contractor. He was elected mayor of Murfreesboro in 1854. He also served as town alderman in 1852, and from 1855-1857. His second wife died in 1860 and he lived the remainder of his life as a widower. He went to live with his daughter, Mary Catherine Burrows and son-in-law, Thomas W. Burrows, during the 1860s and remained with them for many years. Mayor Henry died in May 1891. His final resting place is unknown, though it is probable that he was either buried in the Old City Cemetery or Evergreen Cemetery.

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