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Glen Oak: The start of Hillsboro Village

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

The land that became part of Hillsboro Village.


Photo by nyttend


Glen Oak was built in 1854 for Rev. Charles Tomes (1815-1857) and his wife, Henrietta Coleman Otey Tomes (1826-1897). She was the daughter of Bishop James H. and Eliza D. Otey of Mercer Hall in Columbia. Bishop Otey was a founder of the Episcopal Church in Tennessee and involved with the establishment of the University of the South-Sewanee. They married in 1846. It is a 2 story frame home in Gothic Revival style located at 2012 25th Ave. So. Originally, it had 15 acres of land which stretched from Hillsboro Pike to Natchez Trace Rd.


Rev. Tomes served as rector of Christ Church (now Christ Cathedral) in downtown Nashville. Renowned for his service to the poor community, in the cholera epidemic of 1850, he provided outstanding service in caring for the ill. In 1852, he was a co-founder of Holy Trinity Church on Lafayette St. In 1857, Tomes became involved in a controversy at Christ Church: Families paid for specific pews, and Rev. Tomes wanted to remove that tradition with free pews. The majority of the church declined the idea so Rev. Tomes resigned. He and others from Christ Church opened a new Church of the Advent in downtown Nashville with free pews (later Advent first moved to 17th Ave. South and Edgehill ((currently Ocean Way Studio)) and later to its present location at 5501 Franklin Pk).


Before Rev. Tomes was able to give the first sermon at the new church, he became ill after a journey and died that same year. So the priest was only able to enjoy his home for a few years. Lazinka Campbell Brown, daughter of Senator George A. Campbell, bought the home. She used the home as rental property. After the Civil War, Lizinka married Confederate General Richard S. Ewell, and they moved to Ewell Farm in Spring Hill.


In 1867, Edgar Jones (1838-1930) and Susan Foster Saunders Cheatham Jones (1846-1928) purchased the home. Susan's parents were Edward Saunders and Julia Cockrill Cheatham. Susan's brother was Dr. William A. Cheatham whose wives were Mary Emma Ready Cheatham of Murfreesoboro and Adelicia Hayes Acklen Cheatham of BelmontThey wed the year prior. Arriving from Clarksville, Jones opened Planters Bank. In 1865, he became the Cashier for Third National BankHe was a prominent Nashville banker as president of Union Bank and Trust Company. Finally, in 1888, Jones organized Union Bank & Trust and became president. He retired from banking in 1909 and started Edgar Jones Realty Co. He increased the acreage to over 200 acres along Hillsboro Rd. The Jones family kept Glen Oaks well into the 1920s. In the early twentieth century, more households moved to the southwest portion of the Nashville area. About 1910, Jones began selling portions of the land the development became known as Hillsboro Village.


In 1949, Ralph G. Morrissey (1903-1956) and Eleanor Morrissey bought the home and renovated it. Mrs. Morrissey sold the home in 1982 to Rev. Tom and Peggy Ward. Tom is an Episcopal clergy and by 1992 was rector of Christ Church - Rev. Tomes’ parish. In 1994, Rev. Ward became chaplain at the University of the South.


By 2012, Robin and Karen Coble Eaton had purchased Glen Oak. The house was named for a grove of oak trees in the yard. NRHP 1983 See Ewell Farm, Mercer Hall, Belmont


Sources:


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