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Mt. Solitude@ Cockrill Spring/ West side Park/ Centennial Park

Updated: Jun 13

About 1822, Mark Robertson Cockrill (1788-1873) built his primary home, named Mt. Solitude, on his Cockrill Spring Plantation close to Charlotte Ave.

In that same year, he married Susan Collinsworth Cockrill (1798-1872). Susan was the daughter of Edward and Alice Collinsworth. They were pioneers in the party with John Robertson. Cockrill was the son of John and Elizabeth Ann Robertson Cockrill and nephew of Nashville founding father James and Charlotte Robertson. Cockrill was a cattleman, horse breeder, planter, and world-renowned Merino sheep breeder. Mt. Solitude was located on Charlotte Pike about 5 miles outside Nashville - likely around the 49th Ave. North area. He managed and then inherited the Cockrill Spring Plantation between present day Charlotte Ave. north into Cockrill Bend and west to West End Ave. - which was also known as Stock Farm. He seemed to have had an enormous tract of what became by century’s end the West End area.

After the Napoleonic Wars, in 1815, he discerned an opportunity to break the monopoly of Merino sheep held by the Spanish monarch. After selling a portion of his inheritance in Cockrill Spring, Mark purchased 13 Merino sheep and brought them to Cockrill Spring. He wove the Merino wool into woolen broadcloth which became standard gentleman’s attire. His increased acreage was called Stock Place on present day Charlotte Pike and was 5,600 acres and raised cattle and horses. He established a cotton plantation in Mississippi. In 1854, he bought Tulip Grove with 1,000 acres from Andrew Jackson Donelson. Their daughter, Harriet Turner Cockrill (1866-?) wed Edward Dixon (E.D.) Hicks III in 1886 and resided at Devon Farm. Their daughter, Henrietta Cockrill Nichol (1838-1859) married Dr. William Lytle Nichol (1828-1901) in 1928. His grandparents were Capt William and Nancy Lytle, one of the founders of Murfreesboro, TN. Dr. Lytle was married three times: Henrietta; Elvira Turner "Evie" Fackler Nichol (1839-1869)(m. 1864); and Martha Elizabeth Johns DeBow Nichol (1839-1915)(m.1870). After service in the Civil War, Dr. Lytle settled and practice in Nashville. He was a member of the faculty of the Medical Dept. of the University of Nashville as a Professor of the Chest in 1868. By 1869, he was Dean of the Medical Dept. of the Univ. of Nashville. Between 1896-98, he retired from the Univ. of Nashville faculty and then from medical practice prior to his death.

After Cockrill’s death, their son, Mark S. Cockrill (1838-1919) and his wife Mary Hill Goodloe Cockrill (1841-1910) got the cattle (and lived at their Richland Place plantation); then their son, Benjamin Franklin Cockrill (1832-1904) and wife Sarah C. Foster (1826-1902) got the horses [Sarah’s parents were Ephraim and Jane Foster of Mansfield]; and their daughter, Henrietta Augusta Cockrill Ewing (1839-1910), got Stock Place with the Mt. Solitude house. She was the daughter of Orville and Milbrey Ewing of Mile End. She and her husband Albert Gallatin Ewing (1836-1924) had received 4,000 acres of land on the west side as a wedding gift.

Within about a decade of her father’s death, Henrietta and Albert sold a large tract of their Stock Farm land that basically encompassed present-day Centennial Park. The land was developed into the West Side Park with a horse track. This occurred as Vanderbilt University was growing and more residential development was pushing westward from Nashville. The West Side Park operated from 1884-1895. It closed and the land was developed for the 1897 Tennessee Centennial Exposition. When that closed, Centennial Park remained.

The property derived its name from the springs that ran through the West End Ave. side of the property. The water feature was buried for decades but recently uncovered in Centennial Park in 2014 and is now a featured part of the park. The spring has been an attraction of the area for centuries as the area was part of the Natchez Trace route. The family is remembered with these names: Cockrill Bend Blvd, Cockrill Bend Circle, Cockrill Bend Way. See also: Belair, Devon Farm, Hilltop, Richland, Tulip Grove, Westover, Mile End


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