Nashville, Tennessee   Leave a comment

Day 38-40

What an exciting town Nashville is. The first night most of our group went to the Grand Ole Opry to see Vince Gill, Lee Greenwood, and Jake Owen, among some old timers. The Grand Ole Opry is the longest running live radio show in the world, 85 years.

What a fabulous Memorial Day Weekend show! My highlight of the show was Lee Greenwood with is famous song, Proud To Be An American. I can never hear that song too much.

In 1811, Nathaniel Cheairs III moved his family from North Carolina to Spring Hill, Tennessee and bought 300 acres for $1,800. Nathaniel Cheairs IV, the youngest son, inherited the land and built one of the most prosperous plantations consisting of 1,100 acres producing wheat, corn, cotton, tobacco and oats. They also raised hogs, sheep, cattle, mules and horses. He completed the construction of the 8,000 square foot home in 1855.

Prior to the Civil War, 75 slaves resided at Rippavilla. During the Civil War, troops of both armies camped and fought battles on and near Rippavilla Plantation. The piano room and dining room were set up as a hospital, which was normal for homes near battlefields.

They even had mouse traps back in the day. Check out the picture below. Doesn’t it look inviting?

Four Generals resided in the plantation house, General William “Bull” Nelson, General Nathan Bedford Forrest, General John Bell Hood, and General James Wilson. Can you imagine 4 Generals under one roof? I’ll bet they had some interesting “discussions.”

I n 1893 when Nathaniel’s wife, Susan, died, he sold Rippavilla to his son, William who lived in the home until 1920.

We toured the 1830 Carter House, which was caught in the middle of the Battle of Franklin. Unfortunately, photos were not permitted. Fountain Branch Carter and his wife, Mary, had 12 children, 8 boys and 4 girls, which was highly unusual in those days due to the high rate of childbirth deaths. Their farm grew from 19 acres to 288 acres. In 1860, he was worth $62,000 and owned 28 slaves. In 1861 three of his sons enlisted in the Confederate Army, one of who died in battle.

On November 30, 1864, General John Schofield of the Union army positioned his troops behind earthworks on the Southern edge of Franklin. At 4 p.m. General John Bell Hood launched a massive frontal assault on the Union position, an attack which was bigger than Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. The Carter House was located just inside the center of the Union defensive perimeter. The fighting in the Carter yard quickly became savage and bloody. The battle lasted 5 hours resulting in 2,500 dead, 6,500 wounded, and 1,000 missing. It was a horrible sight of dead bodies in piles. The battle cost the lives of 6 Confederate Generals and 11 Union soldiers were later awarded the Medal of Honor. Below is a picture of one of the outbuildings damaged by gunfire.

F.B. Carter died in 1871 leaving plots of the land to his children, grandchildren and former slaves.

Carnton Plantation was built in 1826 and inherited in 1843 by John McGavock. He married and had 5 children, 3 of who died at early ages. Their home became a field hospital sheltering hundreds of wounded and dying Confederate soldiers. Every inch of the house was used and when it became full, the yard was used. Following the Battle of Franklin, the bodies of Confederate Generals John Adams, Hiram Granbury, Patrick Cleburne, and Otho Strahl were laid out on the back porch as the men of the Tennessee Army paid their respects. The floors in the home to this day are still stained with blood of the men who were treated. Unfortunately, photos were not allowed.

Confederate Cemetery, created in 1866, is adjacent to the McGavock Family Cemetery. Following the Battle of Franklin, John McGavock, owner of “Carnton” collected and buried the bodies of 1,496 Confederates. This is the largest private military cemetery in the United States in terms of the number of burials. John and Carrie McGavock maintained the cemetery for the rest of their lives.

The five general officers killed there were interred elsewhere after being brought to the house.

The 13 year cicadas were out in full bloom during our tour. I think they were worst in the Nashville area. They can be seen all over the tree below.

Our picnic lunch was not exactly enjoyable as the cicadas dive-bombed us. Every time we had to load back on the bus, the driver was doing a “cicada check” as they seemed to like to hitchhike on our backs!!!!

Before leaving the Nashville area, we wanted to see what the “old” Grand Ole Opry looked like, so we went downtown.

Nashville is such an exciting town. It was the place where so many music stars began their careers.


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