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Edgewood: Eastern Edge of Nashville (at the time)

Edgewood was located at 719 North Twelfth St.

Photo from Tennessee State Library and Archives

It was a sixteen room gray brick house sitting on 300 acres built in 1854 by Col. Anthony Wayne Johnson (1797-1888) who had extensive land holdings in East Nashville (about 300 acres) and downtown Nashville. He owned 3 sides of the public market square bounded by Market, Broad and Front Streets. The name Edgewood likely derived from the home location being at the eastern edge of Nashville and in the tree-filled neighborhood.

Col. Johnson married Mary Eliza Smith Cheney (1814-1899) in 1838. Col. Johnson’s first wife was Elizabeth Hobson whom he wed in 1823. Elizabeth died in 1837. Johnson was a colonel, state senator (1855-56), president of Broad Street Bridge Company and of Nashville Insurance Company. He was a partner in several merchant and wholesale firms: Johnson & Rayburn; Johnson, Rayburn & Co., Nashville; Price, Johnson & Co., New Orleans; and Johnson, Weaver & Co. with Dempsey Weaver; and finally Johnson & Smith. In 1865, Maj. Bransford wed Manie E. Johnson, and the families both resided at Edgewood.

About 7 years later, in 1872, their daughter, Mary E. Johnson Bransford, with husband, Major John Sweeazy Bransford, inherited the house when their first son, Johnson Bransford, was born. In the late 1860s, Maj. Bransford was elected president of the Nashville and Edgefield Street Railroad Company, became a director of the Nashville Gas-Light Company, the Broad Street Bridge Company (along with his father-in-law), the Building and Loan Association Co., of other street railroad companies, and cashier of the National Bank in Nashville. Maj. Bransford also was a vice president of the Louisville and Nashville (L&N) Railroad and of the Great Southern Railroad about 1873. He even had a steamboat on the Ohio and upper Cumberland River named after him, “John S. Bransford.”

Thirty-five years later, in 1907, their son Johnson Bransford (1872-1947) and his wife Anna “Annie” Mary Dudley Bransford (1881-1947) were the next generation to inherit Edgewood. Annie was the daughter of Guilford and Mary Brittain Dudley of Hunters Hill. Johnson Bransford, developed many homes in the area and on the new developing West End through his Bransford Realty Co. He was president of the Nashville and Edgefield Street Railway Company, president of Bransford Realty Co., vice-president of Richland Realty Co., Tennessee Hardwood Co. and several others. Johnson was a director of American National Bank, Southern Motor Works, and American Cyanamid Co. Their daughter, Elizbeth Johnson married Francis B. “Frank” Fogg in 1896. His father was Godfrey M. Fogg of Melrose. Frank proved more a dandy than a businessman.

Five years later in 1901, after Godfrey died, Elizabeth left Nashville and divorced Frank. Seven years after inheriting the mansion, in 1914, Johnson sold Edgewood and property, and Johnson and Annie Mary built a new house, Deerfield, in the former Belle Meade Deer Park area of Belle Meade Plantation - part of the trend of affluent families moving to the west side of town. In 1947, Annie Mary and Johnson and friends died in a tragic car accident that rocked Belle Meade and Nashville society. Johnson’s Bransford Realty Company subdivided and sold the land and Edgewood for new neighborhoods. In 1962, Edgewood was torn down for an apartment house - Heatherwood Apartments. The home name is remembered by the cut through street Edgewood Place running beside the apartments. See Deerfield, Hunters Hill, Melrose


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