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Benjamin Rucker Home/ Maple Grove/ The Betty Place

Photo by rossograph

Built in 1832 at 3978 Betty Ford Rd. in Compton, the Benjamin Rucker Home sits near the East Fork of Stones River.

Benjamin Asbury Rucker (1790-1866) and Temperance Weston Bass Rucker (1786-1830) constructed the 2 story brick house on 300 acres inherited from his father. They wed in 1825. Benjamin was a very wealthy Virginia landowner (3,000 acres near Amherst Co.),a substantial amount of British pounds and a veteran of the Revolutionary War. After Temperance died, Rucker married Elizabeth Waller in 1832. Benjamin was a member of Rutherford’s antebellum planter class. Benjamin was friends and involved with James K. Polk and supported him politically. His farm was focused on cotton and was one of the largest in the area. In the early 19th century, the property was known as Maple Grove through at least the Civil War years.

Four sons came with his family: Thomas, James, Gideon, and Bennett. The sons began expanding the family holdings in Davidson and Sumner Cos. In 1798, Gideon bought 640 acres and 500 acres near Stone River East Fork. They became the Milton and Porterfield communities. He eventually owned several thousand acres in eastern Rutherford. Gideon built a 2 story log home that was called Ruckers Knob. Later in 1802, he built a Georgian style brick home. That same year, Thomas and James purchased a 5,000 acre area which included both sides of East Fork between the current Lebanon Pike and Halls Hill Pike. It stretches from Walter Hill to the Veteran’s Hospital in Murfreesboro.

In 1817, Gideon sold Ruckers Knob plantation to his brother Bennett. Gideon moved to a new 2,000 acre plantation east of Readyville on the commercially busy Stage Road and founded the Culpepper community.

After Benjamin died, their daughter, Sophia Burrus Rucker Betty (1839-1866) inherited Maple Grove. Her husband was William Francis McClanahan Betty (1829-1902). Sophia and William had two daughters: Florence and Willie. Willia Betty Newman (1863-1935) married J. Warren Newman in 1882. The marriage was short-lived. Willie went to Cincinnati and then to Paris to build an influential painting career. She was a very famous portrait painter for nearly 30 years with subjects among the most prominent in Tennessee. She did return to Nashvillle at the turn of the century. The Betty family owned property for several generations but has also been sold out of the family. The home has had at least 2 owners: 1975 and 2015. In 2022, it appears to be owned by Gay C. Schendel. NRHP 1991

[After Bennett died in 1862, Ruckers Knob went to his stepdaughter and her husband Henry Goodloe. It remained in Goodloe hands through James T. Jetton, relative by marriage. He paid the mortgage and sold it to a local family about 1911. Six years later, in 1917, Houston Hare, great grandson of Henry Goodloe, bought back Ruckers Knob. After Hare died three years later, his widow Margaret Smith Hare and daughter Ruth moved to Murfreesboro and rented the property out. In 1969, Ruth and husband Robert Mason took the title and then moved to Ruckers Knob in 1973 when Prof Mason retired from teaching at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. In 2005, Greg Tucker, Rutherford County historian, and Carl Montgomery bought Ruckers Knob and the plantation of 315 acres to preserve it. Ruckers Knob is thought to be the oldest home structure in the Stones River watershed. It was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. Tucker and Montgomery sold the house and 40 acres in 2017.]

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