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Brookland (Brookdale)

Located off Highway 96 in Arrington, Brookland (also called Brookdale) was built by John Samuel Claybrooke (1808-1892) and Mary Ann Perkins Claybrooke (1815-1863) in 1836.


They married in 1834. [Prior to the home construction, the area had been named Clover Forest on early maps. It was later called Hardeman’s Crossroads, then and currently Triune.] Claybrooke was the nephew of Judge John Overton of Travellers Rest and executor of his estate. Claybrooke became a lawyer and then taught at Harpeth Union Male Academy in 1829 for a year. It was then reconstituted as Hardeman Academy in 1830 with Claybrooke as principal. In 1834 he married Mary Ann Perkins (1815-1863). In 1836, he left Hardeman Academy and built Brookland.


From 1853-1868, Claybrooke was a director and President of the Tennessee and Alabama Railroad. At some point later, Claybrooke was president of the Nashville and Decatur Rail Road.

John and Mary Ann established a successful plantation in Williamson Co., had 1,800 acres in Haywood Co. as well as several pieces of property in West Tennessee and Memphis. In 1852, he led the organization and was president of a syndicate to form the Tennessee & Alabama Railroad which eventually ran between Nashville, Franklin, Thompson’s Station, Columbia, Pulaski in Tennessee and Decatur, Alabama and continues in operation through CSX. Despite siring 10 children, no further heirs were produced to continue the family lineage. After an older daughter died after marriage in childbirth, Claybrooke got his remaining 4 daughters to vow never to marry.


After Claybrooke died, most of the family found the large house and property too difficult to manage and left the home. They went to Franklin, and then the sisters built a home on Highland Ave. in Nashville. Brookland was rented out.


A daughter, Susan Fearn Claybrooke (unk-1908), evidently remained at the home until her death in 1908. The remaining family rented Brookland out. The H.S. Rawls family was the last tenant who actually took care of Brookland and worked to restore it. The Claybrooke sisters would visit Brookland once a year and stay in a preserved room.


Brookland burned down in the 1920s. The Claybrooke sisters, Elvira, Eliza, and Virginia, continued living and socializing in Franklin and Nashville society into the 1940s until their deaths. See Travelers Rest


Sources:

Historic Williamson County Old Homes & Sites, Virginia McDaniel Bowman, 1971

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