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Carmack/ Oakes & Nichols

(Francis) Cobey Dunnington (1826-1875) and Ellen Rebecca Ewing Dunnington (1832-1916) built this house in 1856.


The 2 story brick home with a fountain in the front yard is located at 320 West Seventh St. He was a Maury Co. lawyer. Their daughter, (Elizabeth) Coby Dunnington Carmack (1861-1947), lived with them and inherited the house.


Elizabeth married Edward Ward Carmack (1858-1908) from Nashville in 1890. Edward was a lawyer since 1879 and was Nashville city attorney in 1881. He was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1884. Then became publisher of the Nashville Democrat in 1888. That publication merged with the Nashville American and Carmack became editor-in-chief. After marriage, Annie and Edward moved to Memphis where he became editor of the Memphis Commercial in 1892. Edward was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1896, then to the United States Senate in 1901. In 1908, Edward ran and lost the race for governor. Edward was an adamant prohibitionist, and constantly attacked Gov. Patterson and his ally Duncan Brown Cooper in his paper.


In November 1908, Duncan and his son Robin saw Edward downtown near the current War Memorial Building area. Words and tensions escalated, and finally shots were fired. Robin was wounded, and Edward was killed. The backlash from the tragedy strengthened the prohibition movement in Tennessee and the measure was approved.


The widow, Coby, continued living at Carmack for nearly 40 years until her death. Three years later, in 1950, Frank Sowell and Robert Young of Oakes and Nichols Funeral Home purchased the property. When the Bethell House Hotel burned in 1949, Oakes and Nichols owner Frank Sowell salvaged famous urns from the damage and put them at the Oakes and Nichols front. Per their website, Oakes and Nichols are Maury Co.’s oldest continuously operated business.


Sources:

Historic Maury County Places and People

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