July 1, 2019, by Barry Lamb
This house bore witness to two great events in Murfreesboro history. The first event occurred on July 13, 1862 when Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederate cavalry stormed up East Main Street toward the court house and the surrounding environs to attack Union troops who were positioned there.
One hundred years later, it would witness another type of Confederate show of force as a group of men in Confederate uniforms marched down East Main Street during the well attended Civil War Centennial parade that was held in 1962.
It is likely that very few Murfreesboro natives remember this house that once stood on the 400 block of East Main Street between the home of Confederate General Joseph B. Palmer and the Central Christian Church building. Built during the 1850s for Dr. Robert Wilson January Sr. and his wife, Harriet Postlewaite January, it was a fine example of a classic Greek Revival I-house that was common during that time period.
Entering the home under its impressive ionic columns, one would walk into its massive hallway that separated the parlor on one side and the sitting room on the other side of the hallway. All rooms, including the upstairs bedrooms, had the typical twelve foot ceilings so prevalent in its day.
Dr. January was a local physician and minister of the gospel in the Baptist Church. He also served as a town alderman in 1859. His children included: William, Robert Wilson Jr., Joseph Andrew (who served as mayor of Murfreesboro in 1871), James O., Emily, Lucy January Bomar, and Sarah January Tompkins.
Dr. January died in 1866 and the home was sold during that year to another local physician, Dr. Lewis Washington Knight and his wife, Eliza Eagleton Knight. Dr. Knight was a native of North Carolina and had migrated to the Jefferson community of Rutherford County during the 1840s to begin his medical career before moving to Murfreesboro to practice medicine. His wife, Eliza, was a daughter of the noted pastor of the Murfreesboro Presby-terian Church, William Eagleton.
After living in the house for eight years, Dr. Knight sold the home to Adaline Bowman Elliott in 1874. Mrs. Elliott was mentioned in the last Froe Chips edition in an article written by this writer about the home she once owned and occupied at the corner of Lytle and Academy Streets. She had been a widow since 1836 when her husband James Elliott had died. Mrs. Elliott lived in her East Main Street home until her death in 1886, fifty years after the death of her husband.
The home remained in the hands of the Elliott heirs until 1917 when James Dallas Jacobs and his wife, Mamie Rogers Jacobs, purchased it at auction. Dallas Jacobs served as Rutherford County superintendent of schools from 1907-1916 and afterwards was a manufacturer of mattresses in Murfreesboro. Mamie Jacobs died in 1928 and Mr. Jacobs was remarried in 1933 to the widow, Mrs. Annis Jordan Williamson.
Following the residency of the Jacobs family, the grand old home was used as apartments for a couple of decades before being razed during the 1960s.