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Richland Grove/ St. Anne Catholic Church

Updated: Apr 19

(William) Byrd Douglas (1815-1882) grew up on his family estate, Farmwell, in Virginia. He met and married Martha Rebecca (Beverly) Bright (1819-1848) in Virginia in 1839.


Nine years after their marriage, in 1848, they moved to Tennessee and into their Richland Grove home with 375 acres near 5101 Charlotte Ave. It had been built two years earlier in 1846. Their land was primarily on the southern side of Charlotte Ave. along Richland Creek and included some 50 acres on the north side as well. The northern portion was called the “Robertson Lot” since it had been part of the James Robertson tract. Sadly, Beverly died in the same year. Two years later, in 1850, Byrd married Hannah Lucas Underwood Cook (1818-1854).


In 1847, Byrd and his brother Hugh, had opened Douglas & Douglas warehouse (later Douglas & Son Co.), which became one of the largest wholesale businesses including grain and cotton in the South. At Richland Grove, the Byrd family operated a working farm: wheat, corn, oats, steers, bulls, horses, dairy cows and others. He was a fierce secessionist. Early in the Civil War, Byrd ordered four million dollars worth of cotton stored in Memphis and Montgomery to be destroyed lest it fall into Federal hands. In 1859, Byrd married a third time to Sarah Catherine “Sallie” Cragwell Douglas (1836-1896). A relative Bruce Douglas married a Kirkman of the Oak Hill family and owned Belle Vue on Franklin Rd. near what became known as Douglass Corner.


After Byrd died, the family allowed daughter Mary Margaret “Maggie” Douglas Richards (1847-1919) and her husband, Edward Durett (E.D.) “Ned” Richards (1834-1910) to buy Richland Grove with 218 acres, and she did so by 1883. Four years later, in 1887, she sold the property to Mary Cunningham. Then the Nashville Land Improvement Co., which was trying to develop the New Town area, purchased Richland Grove. The next owners were members of the Joseph Erwin family of the nearby Peach Blossom plantation.


In 1900, the home was turned into the Zarecor Sanitarium by Dr. J. M. Zarecor. The staff treated patients for addictions to alcohol, opium and other drugs. Next the J. L. Thompson family owned it for 14 years. B.F. Thomason owned it in 1916.


He sold it to the Catholic diocese about 1920 which razed the home. The diocese constructed St. Ann Catholic Church on the site which opened in 1921. The name Richland Grove comes in part from the proximity to nearby Richland Creek. See Belle Vue (Franklin Rd.)


Sources:

Nashville Pikes Vol Four: 150 Years Along Charlotte, Clifton and Hydes Ferry Pikes

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