MAURY COUNTY TENNESSEE, JACKSON COLLEGE HISTORY
was chartered by an act of the General Assembly in November 16, 1829 first as the old
Manual Labor Academy and was first conducted by Dr. Hardin and Prof. Hardin. On
November 30, 1830, James T. Sandford deeded eleven and three fourths acres of
land near his home for the site to John Brown, Obediah Jennings, Ephriam W.
Foster, James T. Sandford, Phillips Lindsey, Newton Cannon, James W. Brooks,
Duncan Brown, William Wilsford, Robert Hardin, G. M. Martin, Thomas J. Hall,
Samuel J. Calvert, Hugh Brown, John Allen, Matthew Rea, Hugh Bar, D. A. Smith,
John White, John Hall, Amizie Bradshaw, Robert M. Ewing, George Newton, Daniel
Gilchrist, James M. Linn, John Glass, George W. Askbridge, James Ellett,
Ebeneza McEwen, Alexander Campbell, David Weir, Thomas Lynch, Edward Ward, James
Campbell, Benjamin Carter, Benjamin McCullough, W. J. Frierson, Thomas Brown,
William Leach and Moses Stephens as trustees of the school. On October 28,
1833, 268 acres adjoining the lands of the Cheairs Home near the old Davis
Ford Rd were purchased. It was located in the Sanford neighborhood, a couple
miles southeast of Spring Hill. On May 8, 1836 the building was sold to P. H.
and B. W. Jenkins and was relocated to Columbia. When the institution was sold
in 1836. The original 11 & 3/4 acres were retained from the Rutherford Creek
site. A school was continued in the old location by the name of Union Seminary.
In 1840 fifty three acres of land were purchased. Dr. Hardin was the first
President, succeeded by R. C. Garrison and J. H. & G. H. Blair as teachers.
That school continued for several years. but soon declined. The first
teacher at Jackson College the college was Prof. Benjamin Laribee. While as an
instructor there tragedy befell him in 1835. As a consequence of childbirth his
wife died leaving an infant son. She is buried under a tomb in the churchyard on
the nearby hill there in the Old Brick Presbyterian Church Cemetery (also known
as the Jackson College Cemetery). Prof. Laribee eventually moved back to
Stoughton Mass. The son grew up to become a Captain in the Federal Army during
the Civil War and fought in engagements. He visited his mothers grave at the
cemetery while stationed here in the south. It was a paradox that no more than
50 feet west from Laribee's mother's grave was the grave of Captain B. H.
Holland who as a flag bearer for the Confederate Army fell in the battle of
Murfreesboro. Holland's family was also from here.
By the early 1900s the 300 acres of the school grounds and buildings were still
standing together, but the brick school buildings were being used as barns on
the 800 acre W. H. Brown farm.
Columbia location was opened in 1837 near the
old L&N Rail Road Depot. It was kept up and patronized for several years
until the breaking out of the Civil War in 1861. The building stood near the
Railroad in the southern part of the city. In 1863 the building was entirely
destroyed by fire (appears to have been a fire started by the U.S. Army by their
scorch and burn policy). No attempt was made to rebuild the school. In 1876 the
grounds are found laid off in residential cottages. The first President was
Benjiman Laribee, next came President Joseph Sherman, then Dr. William Mack,
next was B. Ragsdale, then Joseph Crawford, next was Dr. William Mack again,
then Benjiman F. Mitchell who was the last president. Professors of the
institution known to have served were McClary Blair, Dr. C. N. Ordway, O.H. O
Bennett, S. W. Mitchell, David Maxwell and James Griffith. There were others not
enumerated here. The Professors were James O. Griffith, David Maxwell, Dr. C. N.
Ordway, McClairy Blair, S. W. Mitchell, O. P. Bennett. Many prominent
southern men who were Scholars, Politicians and Military strategist were
educated at this school. A nearby estate belonged to the wealthy statesman an
benefactor James T. Sandford. His family including his beautiful daughter Ann who
was a conspicuous part of the outstanding social life of the times. A mile to
the west stood the home of Esquire James Black whose two beautiful
daughters won the hearts of such distinguished men as Harvey Watterson.
destined to succeed in Congress James K. Polk who became the eleventh president
of the US. They became the parents of Harvey Watterson also a member of
congress. Matthew Matthews a Columbia Lawyer married another daughter of the
Sandfords and became a US Supreme Court Judge.
The Jackson College
Cemetery is about all that remains of the site today(2001). When the author
visited there in 1989 it was sadly abandoned and grown up. Noted were
beautiful and massive marble memorials to those of the times though some were
fallen and broken. Your help is
needed to get this cemetery cleaned up! Sources: MAURY COUNTY HISTORY by William Turner. Century
Review of Maury County Tennessee 1805 -1905. [WA 11/24/2001}]
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