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Oaklands/ Oak Manor: Ties to Judy Garland

Photo by rossograph

Oaklands, located in Murfreesboro, was built in stages from 1813-1830 and 1857-60 by Dr. James Maney (1790-1872) and Sarah Hardy “Sallie” Murfree Maney (1793-1857). Its address now is 901 North Maney Ave. in Murfreesboro.

Sallie was the daughter of Col. Hardy Murfree. After Sallie’s death, son Lewis Meredith Maney (1823-1882) and (Rachel) Adaline Cannon Maney (1826-1911) lived with Dr. Maney for years until his death. They wed in 1846. They renovated it from 1857-60 to bring it to current presentation with the Italianate-style that helped make the mansion distinctive. Adaline was the daughter of former Tennessee governor Newton Cannon. The Maney family hosted many notables including Confederate officers before the Battle of Murfreesboro/ Battle of Stones River.

Post Civil War, the family sold portions of the estate leading to the creation and development of Maney Ave. and the establishment of Evergreen Cemetery. Oaklands plantation produced cotton, tobacco,vegetables and other crops. The Maneys also worked two large plantations in Mississippi - Trio Plantation of 2,400 acres and a second one of 2,000 acres. Portions of the estate were sold - the first known as Maneys Addition and the second was their family cemetery to the city to become Evergreen Cemetery.

When Lewis died, there was burdensome debt. To pay off much of the debt, the house and its 200 acres were sold that year to Elizabeth T. Haley Swoope (1824?-1890) of Memphis. Her husband was Jacob K. Swoope (1827?-1870). Jacob’s family had operated a very successful mercantile business in Virginia and developed several plantations in Virginia and Alabama.

Then, in 1890, Oaklands was inherited by Swoope’s daughter Tempe Swoope Darrow (1864-1927) and her husband George Morris Darrow (1855-1941), who were millionaires from Memphis. They modernized Oaklands, became leaders on the social scene, and renamed the property Oak Manor. About 20 years later, in 1910, the Darrows built a new modern house at 450 East Main Street and moved there. George became very involved with St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Murfreesboro. About 1895, George and Tempe ran across an aspiring singer Frank Gumm whose family were in bad financial straits. George helped him and even became his godfather. Years later, Frank’s daughter found fame and success under her stage name - Judy Garland.

In 1912 the Darrows sold to Riley Bradford (R.B.) Roberts and Jennie McGovern Roberts (1868-1945). In 1936, Albert Brevard Jetton, Sr. (1845-1942) and Emma Jane Talley Jetton (1848-1926) bought the property and lived there until 1954. They wed in1867. Between 1954-57, Rebekah Jane Jetton (1885-1981) had moved out to a downtown hotel because Oaklands was too expensive to maintain and the house was vacant.

At some point before 1958, H. C. Elrod owned the property and sold it to City of Murfreesboro with 0.3 acres. The City of Murfreesboro planned to demolish the house to create space for public housing. Preservationists, organized as the Oaklands Association, Inc. in 1959, fought the idea and were allowed to raise funds to preserve the house which was restored and opened to the public in 1963. NRHP 1970 See also Grantlands


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