Murfreesboro Mayors: 36-40

July 8, 2020, A Series by Barry Lamb

Overall, John Marcy was born on March 2, 1854 in the Trimble (17th) district of Rutherford County to Nathaniel Sims Overall and Dicey Crutchfield Cartwright Overall. His paternal grandparents were Robert and Mary Espey Overall, who came to Middle Tennessee before Tennessee became a state. Our subject went into the grocery and dry goods business in Murfreesboro during the 1880s, owning a store on the west side of the public square. He was elected mayor of Murfreesboro in 1884 and served until the end of 1885. He later served as alderman from 1901-1902. He married Leila Buford Eakin, daughter of Albert and Cyrena Buford Eakin of Shelbyville, Tennessee, on April 20, 1892 in Shelbyville. To this couple was born Marion B., John M. Jr., and Albert E. Overall. Mayor Overall was associated in business with William E. Knox, T. W. Lowe, and Thomas R. Hollowell Jr. He was also in partnership with Clifford Coteswoth Henderson in the Stones River Bottling Works around 1915. Mayor Overall moved to Chattanooga later and died there on February 21, 1925. His remains were brought back to Murfreesboro for burial in Evergreen Cemetery.

Palmer, Horace Edward was born in Murfreesboro on September 26, 1855 to General and Mayor Joseph B. Palmer and his first wife, Ophelia Burrus Palmer. He attended Murfreesboro’s Union University during the early 1870s before entering the University of Virginia. He then enrolled in the Lebanon, Tennessee Law School and graduated there in 1877. He was admitted to the Rutherford County Bar that year and practiced law in Murfreesboro alone until 1879, when he joined the law firm of Palmer and Palmer as partner with his father. On May 15, 1879, our subject married Willie T. Mason, daughter of William Taylor and Margaret Ballantine Mason of Giles County, Tennessee. To this union were born William M., Joseph B., Horace E., Margaret B., Mary G. Palmer Daniel, Ophelia M. Palmer Stokes, and Barrington Palmer. Mr. Palmer was elected mayor of Murfreesboro in 1886 and served in that capacity for two years. He also served in the Tennessee State House of Representatives from 1889-1891. He later served as judge on the Court of Appeals for several years and as president of Stones River Bank before his death, which occurred in Murfreesboro on June 11, 1912. Mayor Palmer is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

Wood, Thomas H. was born on April 28, 1838 in Rutherford County to Hughes and Sarah Kelly Wood, who came to Rutherford County from Virginia during the 1830s. At age sixteen, he began learning the cabinet making trade, which he performed until the outbreak of the Civil War. He was married to Lucy McKnight of Bedford County around 1858 and that union was blessed with a daughter, Elizabeth Wood Vickers. On November 3, 1862, our subject enlisted in Company D, 11th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, CSA, at Murfreesboro as a private. He was described as being 5 feet, 9 inches in height, with light hair and complexion, and having grey eyes. He was with the company until July 1864, when he was captured near Atlanta. Wood was sent to Camp Douglas prison where he remained until he was released on March 16, 1865. After the war, he worked as a clerk in a mercantile business in Murfreesboro until 1875, when he started a furniture and mortuary business there. He served as alderman of Murfreesboro from 1874-1875 and was elected mayor of the town in 1888. His length of service as mayor lasted until 1895, the longest such tenure of any Murfreesboro mayor until that time. He also served as county coroner. Mayor Wood died in Murfreesboro on February 7, 1897, and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

Rather, James Taylor was born on November 15, 1849 in Murfreesboro to John and Martha Fletcher Rather of Murfreesboro. His maternal grandparents were Jeremiah Fletcher, the first brick mason of Murfreesboro, and his wife, Frances Fletcher. Our subject began his professional career as a bookkeeper. He married Kate Margaret Currin, daughter of Robert Shipton Currin and his wife, Sophronia Williams Currin, on November 17, 1880 in Murfreesboro. To this union were born five children: Mary F., Floyd, Kate Rather Bell, Robert C., and Marguerite L. Rather Gass. Mr. Rather went into the grocery business during the 1890s and was involved with that concern until 1902, when he went into the lumber business with alderman, and later Mayor Newton Cannon Maney. He was elected mayor of Murfreesboro in 1896 and served in that office until the end of 1897. He later served as city commissioner from 1918-1919. Mayor Rather died in Murfreesboro on July 31, 1919 and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

Lytle, Thomas Blanks was born on February 3, 1866 in Rutherford County to Colonel Ephraim Foster Lytle and his wife, Julia Searcy Lytle. His paternal grandparents were John Taylor and Mary Ward Sills Lytle. His maternal grandpar-ents were William and Sarah Morton Searcy. His grandparents were early settlers of the county. He graduated from the University of Virginia law school and set up a practice in Murfreesboro. He was married to Lizzie E. Robertson, daughter of former Alderman Thomas Robertson and his wife, Elizabeth Elliott Robertson, on November 8, 1893 in Murfreesboro. To them were born four children: Elizabeth Lytle Ragland, Juliet, Harriet Lytle Alexander, and Ephraim Lytle. Our subject was elected mayor of Murfreesboro in 1898, but served for only one month, as he resigned on February 7, 1898. He was appointed chancellor of the Fifth Chancery Division in 1919, serving as such until 1941. Mayor Lytle died in Murfreesboro on January 8, 1955 and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

Oslin, James O. was born on September 22, 1835 in Rutherford County to Lucas and Mary Arnold Oslin, who came to Rutherford County from Mecklenburg County, Virginia in 1825. His paternal grandparents were Samuel and Martha Bugg Oslin of Mecklenburg County, Virginia. His maternal grandparents were Joseph A. and Frances Drumright Arnold, who came to Bedford County, Tennessee from Mecklenburg County, Virginia during the 1830s. Our subject worked as a brick mason in Murfreesboro before the Civil War. At the commencement of the war, he enlisted in Company A, 2nd (Bate’s) Tennessee Infantry Regiment, CSA, on April 27, 1861 at Murfreesboro as a private. He was seriously wounded in the left leg at Chickamauga which necessitated the amputation of that leg and spent the remainder of the war recuperating in Georgia and Alabama. Oslin owned and operated a livery business in Murfreesboro following the war and served as county court clerk from 1870-1878, the town’s recorder in 1870 and 1889, and alderman during the years 1883-1884, serving only five months during the latter year, 1888-1889, and 1893-1894. He was elected mayor of Murfreesboro on February 7, 1898 to fill the unexpired term of Mayor Lytle who resigned. He held that office until his death on July 8, 1900. He remained a bachelor and lived with his sister, Martha Oslin, for many years. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

Crichlow, James H. was born in Murfreesboro on February 11, 1850 to Thomas Henry and Helen M. Wasson Crichlow. His paternal grandparents were James and Sarah Howell Nelson Crichlow. The grandfather came to Ruther-ford County from Hertford County, North Carolina in the 1810s and opened one of the first cabinet making shops in Murfreesboro, and also served as town alderman. Our subject began work at the age of thirteen in a hotel and restau-rant in Murfreesboro and later worked as a clerk in a mercantile business until 1869. He served as assistant postmaster from 1869-1871 and then entered the grocery business with J. B. Lane. On October 25, 1874, he married Emma Lane, daughter of William T. and Martha J. Collier Lane. To this union were born three children: Laila J., Mayor Newton Collier, and Helen M. Crichlow Earthman. In 1881, he became a partner in the firm of “Clayton, Overall and Company”, with Mayor James H. Clayton and Alderman Asbury M. Overall, in a grocery and dry goods store, located on the west side of the Murfreesboro square. In 1887, he, along with James R. “Cinny” Rice, Newton C. Collier, and Colonel William D. Robison, established “Crichlow, Rice, and Company”, which sold dry goods and groceries at 123, west side of the square. Crichlow was very active in public service, serving as the town’s treasurer from 1878-1883, alderman from 1891-1893, and as Murfreesboro’s postmaster from 1893-1898. He was elected mayor of Murfreesboro in July 1900 to fill the unexpired term of Mayor Oslin, who died on the eighth day of that month. Crichlow served as the mayor of Murfreesboro from 1900-1909, surpassing Mayor Wood’s eight year term as mayor. He was the only mayor to serve as mayor of the incorporated town of Murfreesboro and the incorporated city of Murfreesboro, the incorporation from a town to a city occurring in 1903. Mayor Crichlow died on October 2, 1922 and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

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