January/February Froe Chips, Researched and written by Barry Lamb
A notice in the October 6, 1932 edition of the Daily News Journal piqued the curiosity of this writer. The notice stated that a two story home was constructed during the 1840s by Ed Arnold and was the former home of George Ransom, I. H. “Teck” Butler, and Gran Batey. It also stated that it was purchased lately by ex-sheriff, Bill Bragg, who is tearing it down to build two modern dwellings.
Exhaustive research conducted by myself found that the home was once located at 532 North Spring Street and sat near the southeast corner of Spring and Chestnut Streets. The home was built by Edwin A. Arnold, a brick-mason, who built many of Murfreesboro’s finest brick homes from the 1840s until the outbreak of the Civil War. Arnold served as a lieutenant in Company I, 45th Tennessee Infantry Regiment, CSA, at the beginning of the war and later led a company of cavalry under General Nathan Bedford Forrest during the conflict. He also served two terms as sheriff of Rutherford County during the 1870s.
The house was a two story brick L shaped edifice with the longest portion of the home, being the left side of the home, facing Chestnut Street (known as Carney Lane during the late 1800s), and the front of the home facing North Spring Street. Deed research seems to indicate that the home was built by Edwin A. Arnold for Legrand Hargis Carney around 1851. Carney resided in a two story brick home named “Hillcrest”, located just northwest of the home under discussion between Church and Maple Streets.
What did Mr. Carney do with this home built on the southeast section of his property? Did one or more of his children live there? Did he use it for rental property? There is no one around to tell the story of the home or the residents of the house from 1851 until 1869.
Due to financial hardships that Mr. Carney suffered during the Civil War and afterwards, his property on the corner of Spring Street and Carney Lane was sold by the Carney family to Thomas A. Elliott in 1869. Elliott was a stock broker and served as a Murfreesboro alderman from 1868-1869. He remained in the home just over one year before selling the place to William J. Anderson and his wife, Mary L. Marchbanks Anderson, in December 1870.
William J. Anderson became engaged in the mercantile business in Murfreesboro following his marriage to Mary L. Marchbanks, a native of McMinnville, Tennessee, around 1855. Anderson and his wife were mentioned frequently in the diary of Kate Carney, daughter of Legrand H. Carney. She described the Andersons as being defenders of the Confederate cause during the Civil War and of having trouble keeping their horses due to Yankee encroachment.
The place was afterwards purchased by George W. Ransom and his wife, Margaret Buchanan Ransom. Mr. Ransom was a former Confederate soldier, having served in Company D, 11th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War. He owned a lumber business in Murfreesboro following the war and served as town alderman from 1880-1881 and 1883-1884.
The home was purchased by Edwin Hickman Ewing in 1885. Ewing was a former congressman, scholar, writer, attorney, and associate justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court. He also owned the Jordan-Ewing-Nelson-McElroy home, located at 512 High Street (now Highland Avenue), at the same time that he purchased the Anderson place. It is not known whether Mr. Ewing ever resided in the old Anderson home or used it as rental property.
Following the death of Mr. Ewing in 1902, the place was sold by his heirs to Granville Crockett Batey. Mr. Batey was a descendant of Captain William Batey, a Revolutionary War veteran, who came to the Blackman area of Rutherford County from Brunswick County, Virginia around 1808 and settled there.
Granville Crockett Batey began his career in the grocery and dry goods business on the square in Murfreesboro during the 1880s and remained in that line of business for several decades before moving to Jacksonville, Florida later in life.
William Benjamin Bragg, a former sheriff of Rutherford County, purchased the house from the Batey heirs in 1932 and demolished it to build a modern dwelling which still stands at the corner of Spring and Chestnut Streets at the present time.
Thus, using the language in the book of Job, one sheriff giveth, and one sheriff taketh away. Sheriff Arnold built it, and Sheriff Bragg destroyed it.
If anyone has a photograph of this home, please let us know.