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Ridley-Buchanan House/ Ridley's Landing

Updated: Feb 19

Eighteen oh-eight was an important year for Moses Ridley (1782-1864): He wed Catherine Harwood Buchanan (1793-1841) and shared a 274 acre land grant with his brother-in-law, Maj. John Buchanan.


Maj. Buchanan helped found Ft. Nashboro and later Buchanan Station. After Ridley floated down the Stones River, he found a spot to land and built his home in 1813. In addition to his farmland, he also established a grist mill and a successful lumber business. The property increased to 2,800 acres. At some point, the Ridleys adopted as their nephew the Buchanan’s son. Adopted nephew Moses Buchanan Ridley (1806-1887) helped the Ridley family with the farm. Moses deeded half of his interest in the land to Moses Buchanan.


In the early 1800s, the Ridley family built Ridley-Buchanan House. Moses B. was the husband of Sarah “Sally” Elizabeth Vincent Buchanan (1810-1864) whom he married in 1827. Moses B. built the first mill on Stones River (Ridley Mill) as well as the first lock and dam in Tennessee. Ridley Mill was later called Jones Mills after the next owner. The Ridleys built a boat landing which became known as Buchanan Picnic Grounds and Ridley’s Landing.


Later, about 1958, Christine Sanders Poole Farrar (1903-1998) was the owner. She was married twice: Adam Johnson Poole, Jr. (1902-1952) and to Moulton Farrar, Jr. (1903-1970). Her family was prominent: Fate Sanders Marina and Fate Sanders Barrens natural area. Then the property was bought by Percy Priest but the area remained known as Poole Knobs Campground.


In 1870, Amzi Jones (1841-1878) purchased an adjacent farm. He was raised in Memphis and in 1861, married his cousin, Lizzie H. Miller (1844-1936). Shortly afterward, the Jones purchased neighboring Ridley’s Landing. By the early 1900s, Lizzie rented the properties out. In 1931, she sold them to Alton Wade, a Nashville businessman and realtor. Wade restored Ridley’s Landing.


Next (Verner) Allen Dobson (1889-1969) and Martha May Ballard Dobson (1890-1972) purchased the property for a summer home. They had married in 1912. He was a banker, businessman and philanthropist. He was a partner in Dobson-Hicks, a wholesale seed firm; president, Dobson-Cannon, wholesale grocer; Dobson & Co., chain dry good store; Dobson-Bainbridge Realty Co.; Dobson-Tankard Co. Insurors; Dobson-Johnson , mortgage banker and realtor. From 1934-69, Dobson was a member of the board of directors of Third National Bank. He was president of Youth, Inc., helping develop boys and girls through sports, employment, recreation and camping in 1945. For the next ten years, the Youth Inc. camps were held on property near the Nashville airport. In 1955, after Nashville airport expansion took the property of Youth, Inc., Dobson moved the camp to his summer home at Ridley’s Landing with its 400 acres. In 1950, he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his sponsorship of “Hands Across the Sea” which brought boys and girls from 21 European countries for a 6 week tour of the United States.


In the 1960s, Dobson and Youth, Inc. faced another challenge with the government. When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flooded the area to create Percy Priest Lake, Youth Inc and Camp YI lost 400 acres. The bright side was the result in getting 175 acres of lakefront property instead of the limited riverfront area. Youth Inc. continues operation today. The Ridley-Buchanan Home was destroyed at some point in the 1980s.


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