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Minglewood - the Cunningham homestead (my great, grandparents)


Minglewood was built in 1867 as a 2-story brick home in Second Empire style. Edward Drane (1848-1920) built the home from inheritance of property from the death of his father, Dr. Walter H. Drane of Drane-Foust House. Drane was wed to Rosa Johnson Flournoy Drane (1853-1876). He was a prosperous farmer and cattleman and moved to Nashville. In 1884, he sold Minglewood and its 228 acres to A. R. Hall. Hall kept the property for five years before selling.


In 1889, John Talley Cunningham (1850-1911) and Minor Sue “Minna” Weems Cunningham (1849-1884) purchased the property with the address 1650 Hopkinsville Pike (current physical address is off Fort Campbell Blvd). They had lived on Madison St. Cunningham had opened a business with his brothers, Gilford T. and Elijah W. Cunningham, called Cunningham Brothers Grocery Company and sold groceries and other items from their store on Franklin St. He held a senior position in Cunningham Bros. grocers and was one of the larger grocery merchants in Clarksville. He also had interests in the coal industry. A few years after Minna’s death, in 1887, John married Lucy Ann Holmes Cunningham (1857-1927).


After Cunningham’s death, the home was owned by his son, Judge John Talley Cunningham, Jr. (1877-1946) and his wife, Sarah White (1876-1966). John Jr.. and Sarah had married in 1907, and they bought out the Cunningham siblings to own Minglewood themselves. Starting a law career in Clarksville, he was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1905. He was elected Speaker during his second term - making him the youngest speaker of TN House ever at age 30. Afterward, in 1909, he retired from the legislature, returned to Minglewood Farm and became a leading producer of dark-fired tobacco in the country. Cunningham founded the Eastern Dark-Fired Tobacco Growers Association and served as president until his death. At one point, Minglewood Farm comprised 560 acres. He also continued serving his fellow citizens from 1918 to 1945 as Judge of the Montgomery County Court with varied responsibilities until his death. Judge Cunningham also led the way to the building of a bridge to connect northern and southern portions of Montgomery County which was subsequently named after him in 1924. Their younger daughter, Sarah White Cunningham Brothers wed Mack Prator Brothers, Jr., and they lived in Nashville at Hillcrest - my paternal grandmother and grandfather.


Their older daughter, Chloe Cunningham Quin Northington (1909-1989) wed Watkins Northington (1901-1982) in 1955, and they lived at Minglewood until her death in 1989. Northington worked for the Federal Tobacco Grading Service. Chloe’s first marriage was to Whayne Sherman Quin in 1930. Chloe wed Northington in 1955. Watkins was part of the Clarksville Northington clan who owned Old Oaks farm just to the north in Guthrie, KY and various homes in Clarksville. The couple lived in Louisville until Judge Cunninham died, and then they moved to Clarksville so Chloe could help manage Minglewood Farm.


Afterward, descendents resided in the house with just 17 acres until the 2010s when it was abandoned and razed. Minglewood had been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The family name is remembered through Cunningham Lane, Cunningham Place, Minglewood Dr., Minglewood Elementary School (which opened in 1988 on 21 acres of the former Cunningham Farm) and Quin Lane. See also Drane-Foust House, Drane-Patch-Catlett Place, Drane-Leigh House/ Fairfield Farm, Hillcrest

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