Murfreesboro Mayors: 31-35

March 3, 2020, A Series by Barry Lamb

Reed, Robert Donnell was born on May 3, 1832 in Rutherford County to James and Eleanor Rankin Reed. His paternal grandparents were Revolutionary War soldier John Nash Reed and Mary Barksdale Reed, who came to the Jefferson area of Rutherford County from Charlotte County, Virginia in 1806. His maternal grandparents were David and Anne Moore Campbell Rankin, who came to Rutherford County from Rowan County, North Carolina in 1804. He first went into business on the Murfreesboro square as the owner of the town’s first bookstore. Soon after, he opened a jewelry and watch selling establishment on the east side of the square. He was married to Mary Alice Peebles on July 31, 1855 in Henry County, Tennessee. She died in Murfreesboro the next year without issue. Reed’s second wife was Martha Knott, daughter of Learner Blackman and Mariah B. Cooper Knott of Shelbyville, Tennessee, the marriage taking place in Shelbyville in 1857. He and his second wife were the parents of Lillie B., Minnie Reed Smith, Ella, Wiley, George, Lula, Emma, Wyman, Jane Reed Geistman, Robert I., and William C. Reed. He and his wife were members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Murfreesboro. Our subject was installed as recorder of the town in May 1862 by Union authorities, replacing David D. Wendel, who had served as recorder since 1850. Reed became Murfreesboro’s first post war mayor in 1865 and served until the end of 1866. After the war, Mayor Reed published the Murfreesboro newspaper, “The Monitor”, when it was reestablished in 1865. He also became cashier of the new, “Murfreesboro Savings Bank”, when it was established in 1866. Mayor Reed died in Murfreesboro on November 21, 1881 and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

Jordan, Edward Leland was born on July 23, 1817 near Triune, Williamson County to Archer and Elizabeth Walker Jordan. His paternal grandparents were William Jordan, a Revolutionary War soldier, who came to the Triune area from Lunenburg County, Virginia before 1800, and his wife, Sally Wood Jordan. His maternal grandparents were Henry and Susannah Jeffries Walker of Lunenburg and Amelia Counties of Virginia. Our subject first entered business at Triune at the age of eighteen as a clerk in the store of Thomas F. Perkins. Three years later he became partners with William P. Cannon, son of Governor Newton Cannon, purchasing the interest of Mr. Perkins. Mr. Jordan married Martha H. Fletcher, daughter of Montford Hall and Mary Washington Moore Fletcher of Rutherford County, on July 24, 1840 in Rutherford County. He moved his family to Murfreesboro in 1851, where he conducted a mercantile business in partnership with William Yandell Elliott until the commencement of the Civil War. He was also one of the directors of the “Planters Bank” before the war. He and his wife were members of the First Baptist Church of Murfreesboro. His wife died in 1852, giving birth to four children from their union: Alderman Montford F. Jordan, Mary Jordan Nuck-olls, Leland, and Fannie Ann Jordan. His second marriage, to Mrs. Volantia Jane Carothers Cook, widow of Thomas I. Cook, daughter of James Carothers, on September 21, 1853, was without issue. His third marriage, to Mrs. Mildred Hopson Williams, widow of John P. Williams, and daughter of Dr. George Boyd Hopson and Elizabeth Warner Reade Hopson, of Port Royal, Montgomery County, Tennessee, took place on September 28, 1859 in Murfreesboro. This marriage resulted in two children, Maggie Jordan Taylor, and Edward L. Jordan. He, along with others, established the “Murfreesboro Savings Bank” in 1866 and served as its first president, continuing in that office until the bank was merged with “First National Bank” in 1879. The following year, he became president of “First National Bank” and continued at that post until his death in 1899. He was elected mayor of the town in 1868, serving until the end of 1869, and had previously served as one of the aldermen of the town in 1854. Joining forces again with William Yandell Elliott in 1880, they opened the “Grand Opera House”, located in the Jordan block (north side of the square), and operated it until it was destroyed by the great fire of 1886. He purchased the old “Ready House Hotel” in 1885, which began operations as the “Jordan Hotel” the following year. After a long and eventful life, Mayor Jordan died on October 9, 1899 and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

Darragh, Thomas Benton was born in 1838 in Kentucky. His ancestry is unknown. He served as 1st Lieutenant in Company I, 4th Kentucky Mounted Infantry Regiment, CSA, and later as a staff captain, during the Civil War, and came to Murfreesboro soon after the war ended. Having the credentials of an attorney upon his arrival to Murfreesboro, he joined the Murfreesboro Bar in 1865. He was known as Captain Darragh by his associate members of the Bar. Darragh married Lucy Leiper, daughter of former Mayor John Leiper and his wife, Elizabeth Rucker Leiper, on November 7, 1865. This union resulted in two children: John L. and Thomas B. Darragh Jr. Our subject was elected mayor of Murfreesboro in 1870 and served his full term. Mayor Darragh died in Murfreesboro on October 7, 1875. His place of burial is unknown. It was written of him: “He was a man of uncommon natural endowments. His mind was unusually clear and accurate and he was surpassed by few in lucid and logical statement of facts in his addresses before the bench and jury, a quality which among his other endowments made a successful advocate. He was a man of fine personal appearance and most winning address. All these advantages secured him a good practice. No member of the Bar excelled him in the courtesy of his bearing”.

January, Joseph Andrew was born circa 1830 to Dr. Robert W. January Sr. and his wife, Harriet January, who came to Murfreesboro from Kentucky before 1850. He married Virginia Henry, daughter of Murfreesboro Mayor Fauntelroy Henry and his wife, Celista Green Henry, on February 3, 1854 in Murfreesboro. That union produced two daughters, Catherine “Kate” January Danley and Harriet January Hardin. He worked as a brick mason in Murfreesboro before the war. Our subject enlisted in Company D, 11th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, CSA, on November 3, 1862 in Murfreesboro as a private. He was described as being 5 feet, 11 inches in height, having dark hair, hazel eyes, and a fair complexion. He was captured near Auburntown on January 20, 1863, was sent to the Federal prison at Fort McHenry, Maryland, but was soon after exchanged and rejoined the company. The last company record for him from December 1863-June 1864 stated that he was on detached service in the brigade commissary department. He surrendered at Washington, Georgia on May 11, 1865 and came home to Murfreesboro. He resumed his work as a brick mason in Murfreesboro after the war. He served as alderman in 1870 and 1878 and was elected mayor of Murfreesboro in 1871. Mayor January died on October 17, 1888 in Murfreesboro. His place of burial is unknown, but he was likely interred in either the Old City Cemetery or Evergreen Cemetery.

Collier, Ingram Blanks III was born near the battlefield of Murfreesboro on September 10, 1838 to Ingram Blanks Collier II and his wife, Martha Covington Collier. His paternal grandparents were Ingram Blanks Collier I and Susanna Browder Collier of Brunswick County, Virginia. His maternal grandparents were John and Jane Davis Hankins Covington, who came to Rutherford County from Pittsylvania County, Virginia before 1810. Mr. Collier was a cotton broker and Murfreesboro merchant. He married Louisiana Cushman Jones, widow of Benjamin F. Jones of Hardin County, Kentucky, in Hardin County, Kentucky during the year 1869. That marriage resulted in the following children: Nama, Carmine, and Ingram Blanks Collier IV. He and his wife were business partners in the firm of Collier and Jones, and built the storehouses located at 121, 123, and 125, west side of the square. Collier served as alderman in 1869 and was elected mayor of the town in 1872, serving until the end of 1873. In 1878, Mayor Collier began work on his impressive second empire home, located at 511 East Main Street, but died of leukemia on January 22, 1879 before the home was completed. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

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