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Beverly Toon House/ Riverside

Updated: 6 days ago

4260 Arno Rd. Franklin, TN

Circa 1857. 2-story frame home.

Photo by rossograph

It is a 2 story frame home built in 1857. Beverly Barksdale Toon (1816-1897) and Sarah Delana Nolen Toon (1832-1896/1916?) were the owners. They wed in 1848. Sarah’s parents were Stephen and Michal Nolen Toon was a prominent Williamson Co. resident, teacher and farmer. They named the property Riverside as it sits on the Harpeth River. By the 1840s, they had built a sizable farm along the Harpeth River. By 1859, they owned 392 acres. Beverly served in the Tennessee legislature as well as being a magistrate for nearly 35 years. He taught school for a while and later built a small school on their farm to educate his children. That school later evolved to a public school. After the Toons died, Parks purchased the property.

From 1895-1917, the Riverside farm was owned by J. H. Parks. About 1908, Parks gave land for a new Epowrth Church located across the street from the home. Later, Thomas Chapel and North's Chapel were combined into Epworth United Methodist Church - several miles southeast down Arno Rd.

Since 1917, the Riverside homestead has been in the Toon family. In 1917, Florence Milton “Mittie” Toon Pierce (1867-1928) and her husband Jesse A. Pierce (1854-1934) purchased the homestead. Mittie was the Toon’s daughter. They resided at Riverside for 5 years and worked the large farm property they owned in the area. They gave a portion of the land to found the Epworth United Methodist Church on Arno Rd.

In 1922, they sold the property and moved to Mississippi. Mittie and Jesse sold to Mittie’s niece, Sarah Toon Nolen Boxley (1874-1963) and John Neal “J.N.” Boxley (1872-1930). Their daughter, Margaret, inherited Riverside. She lived there with her husband, Theo Bratton. In 1988, the owners were James O. “Jimmy” Lillard (1938-2012) and Sarah Louise Bratton Lillard, daughter of Margaret and Theo. Toon Creek runs beside the homestead. NRHP 1988

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