POPLAR GROVE ACADEMY 1852 was “on the turnpike road leading from Nashville to Jefferson, three miles west of the latter place, on Stewart’s Creek, Rutherford County, Tennessee.” The school was one mile north of the Smyrna depot and one mile east of the Nashville and Chattanooga
railway. It was across the road from the Nelson home, later on the airbase northeast of the fuel tanks, and north of the 8th and 14th tees.
Speculation is that it might have been on the edge of Dr. Gooch’s property or within one-half mile of Goochland. In 1844 the address of Dr. Gooch was Poplar Grove, Tennessee. Both Goochland and the Nelson home are
shown on the 1878 Beers Map.
Managers were E.C. Jobe, Ben J. Batey, I.R. Peebles, Luck Davis, Dr. L. Davis, Robert Cook, Jackson Smith, and S.B. Boring. Dr. John C. Gooch of Stewartsboro was business manager or director.
Most of the information about the school is found in an 1852 brochure.
Robert Morrison, a graduate of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, was principal in 1852 and Head of the Male Department; T.W. Lindsley was principal, December 1852; and Miss J.E. Miller, formerly of the Nashville Female Academy and a graduate of Washington Female Seminary, Washington, D.C., was in charge of the Female Department. The brochure assured: “The duties of each department are attended to in rooms entirely separated from each other.”
The 1852 year of study was divided into two sessions. The second term would ubegin on the first Monday of January and close on the 17th of June.”
The leaflet explained:
The Course of Study will be as thorough and complete as that of any similar institution in the country; amply qualifying the Student for Mercantile,
Agricultural or Mechanical pursuits; or fitting him to enter the Junior or Senior classes of the best colleges in the U.S. . . The last days of each
annual session are devoted to a Public Examination and other appropriate exercises, with the friends of Education respectfully invited to attend.
Good boarding including lodging, washing, and etc. can be procured at a convenient distance from the Academy for $30 per session or $24 where washing is not included and pupil returns home on Friday and remains until Monday morning.
Tuition for Orthography, Reading, Penmanship, and Mental Arithmetic was $9; for Practical Arithmetic, English, Grammar, Modern Geography, Modern History, and Declamation was $12; and for Ancient History, Geography, Analytical Geometry, Differential and Integral Calculus, Mental and Moral Philosophy, and Chemistry was $11 per session.
It is thought this school may have been the predecessor of the SEMINARY SCHOOL–the STEWART’S CREEK MALE AND FEMALE ACADEMY. Many of the managers and trustees are the same.
SOURCES: *Gene Sloan, “Dream Comes True,” The Daily News Journal Accent, June 26, 1977. *Louise Hilliard. Virginia Gooch Watson, “Goochiand” RCHS, Pub. no. 12, Winter 1979. From the files of Walter K. Hoover in Thurman Francis Junior High School, Smyrna, Tennessee.