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MAURY COUNTY TENNESSEE, JACKSON COLLEGE HISTORY

Jackson College 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.
                                                                                               Jackson College 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. Harvey was 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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