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Goochland: Vandy Ties

North Jefferson Pike (no longer exists)

Built in 1842. 2 story red brick Greek Revival

Dr. John Claiborne Gooch (1800-1853) and Elizabeth Ann Saunders Gooch (1814-1877) wed in 1831 and settled in Davidson Co. near the Williamson Co. border.  Their home was basically one mile north of the Smyna depot and one mile east of the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad - close to the landing strips of the Smyrna/ Ruth. Co. Airport.

They amassed about 2,155 acres across Davidson and Rutherford Cos. Goochland plantation eventually had 1,600 dedicated acres of farmland. Dr. Gooch practiced medicine and was president and director of the board of the Jefferson Turnpike in the 1840s. He helped found Poplar Grove Academy.

His children inherited his plantation, and his son LTC John Saunders "Col. Jack" Gooch (1842-1915) got the home. His wife was Evalina "Evie" Weakley Hume Gooch )1845-1924), and they wed in 1864. He was a farmer and a breeder of thoroughbred and trotting horses.

The Goochland plantation endured 100 years - 1842-1942. Then George Washington Gooch (1861-1939) and Mary Law MacLaughlin Gooch (1869-1928) lived there.

Mary "Mamie" Elizabeth Gooch Neely (1865-1955) inherited the home. She married William Daniel Neely (1856-1900). After Wm D. died, Mamie and her son William sold Goochland out of the family to Ben F. Johns, Sr. and Helen Johns. The plantation was reduced to 145 acres. Ben died soon afterward and the family never lived there. Helen and her children remained on the property. Then - the connection - Mary Law Gooch married Hubert Johns.

But it took a decade to probate the property (til 1937) for the heirs to officially get the Goochland shares. Then, 5 years later, the State of Tennessee took over the land.

In 1928, Mary Law Gooch Johns(1906-1986) and Hubert Harris Johns (1904-1963) resided there. Hubert was a director of the First National Bank of Smyrna. The Huberts lost their land to the State of Tennessee. They moved to the Knox Ridley home. In 1942, the home was razed by the State of Tennessee for Sewart Air Force Base (1941-1971). Later, in the 1950s, the facilities were repurposed to become the Smyrna/ Rutherford Co. Airport.

Col. Jack's son Jesse Claiborne Neely was a coach and athletic director at Rice University for 27 years. He retired in 1969 and came to Nashville. He became Athletic Director at Vanderbilt University for years. Vandy honored his service by naming a campus street near the athletic facilities for him - thus Jess Neely BL.



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