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Renraw: The Original Warner Home

Updated: Jan 6

Photo from Tennessee State Library and Archives

Renraw was built in 1855 at Gallatin Rd. and McClurkan Ave. (likely 1524 Gallatin Rd.) in East Nashville by Zachariah and Virginia Daniel Stull for their granddaughter Mary Ann Stull Childress (1828-1885).

She and her husband Edwin Hewitt Childress (1824-1896) married in 1853. The Stulls were one of the earliest settlers in the Nashville area and had received land through a Revolutionary War grant.

Photo from Tennessee State Library and Archives

About 1886 James Cartwright Warner (1830-1895) and Mary “Maggie” Thomas Williams Warner (1831-1910) purchased the property from George Stull Childress for a summer home. Maggie was the daughter of Josiah Williams of Maplewood. Her grandparents were Dr. J. Berrien Lindsley, the president of the University of Nashville, and Sallie McGavock, of the large McGavock clan in Middle Tennessee. Her great-grandfather was Phillip Lindsley, a president of Princeton University. James was the great, great-grandson (maternal) of Robert and Pembroke Cartwright. Robert was a co-signer of the Watauga settlement. James’s cousin was Jacob Cartwright of Cartwright-Moss House. They married in 1852. In 1847, James went into the wholesale grocery business with Shepherd & Gordon and then into Kirkman & Ellis hardware dealers. After marriage in 1852, the Warners moved to Chattanooga, and he started a hardware business there. He also served as a mayor of Chattanooga.

Ten years later, 1863 found the Warners back in Nashville. By 1868, James had become a founder and Secretary/ Treasurer of Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Co.; later he was General Manager. He briefly retired because of health in 1874, but was back in a year as president of Tennessee Manufacturing Co. - a cotton goods concern. Six years later, in 1879, he was principal owner of Chattanooga Iron Co. and its large furnace. He started Warner Iron in 1880 with its furnace in Hickman Co. and purchased and operated Rising Fawn Furnace in Rising Fawn, GA. The Warners children were: Leslie Warner who married Catherine Newell Burch; James Caldwell Warner, Jr. who died in 1859; Harry Warner; Percy Warner who married Maggie Lindsley in 1884; Mary Thomas Warner who died in 1853; Joseph and Lillian Warner (Warner family downtown townhouse, then Overbrook); Andrew Warner who died in 1872; and Edwin Warner who married Susan Richardson ??.

In 1895, their son, Percy Warner (1861-1927), inherited Renraw. He married Margaret “Money” Lindsley (1864-1936), of the McGavock and Lindsley families, in 1884. They moved into Renraw. He developed the grounds and had a famous crane named Rufus living with the family. Several generations lived at Renraw: Percy and Maggie; Sadie Warner Frazer and George Frazer; Mary Louise Warner Lea and Luke Lea; 3 grand-daughters, and 4 great grand-sons. All the Warner descendents moved to the western side of the city. In 1909, the Frazers moved to Richland Ave. off West End Ave. In 1910, the Joe Warner family built Overbrook located just across from Montgomery Bell Academy on Harding Rd. Also, in 1910, Money Warner died so Percy was free to change residences.

In 1912, the Percy Warners sold Renraw and moved across town to a new estate, Royal Oaks on Harding Rd. just past Overbrook. Edwin and Susan Warner moved to Elmington, then Brook Hill. Percy headed Warner Iron Corporation in the 1870s/ 1880s. In the early 1900s, he also ran the Nashville Railway and Light Company which controlled all the city’s streetcars. He was involved in utility organizations across the Southeast as well as being a director of the National Light and Power Company of New York.

From 1914-1935, Renraw and its land was owned by Trevecca Nazarene College which used it as the campus until moving to Murfreesboro Rd.

The Nashville Auto Diesel College moved to the former Trevecca site in 1935. It continues (as of 2016) as Lincoln College of Technology. Renwar came from Warner spelled backwards. The local neighborhood is called Renraw. Trevecca Ave. runs behind the property. See Cartwright-Moss House, Royal Oaks, Overbrook, Elmington, Brook Hill

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