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Shadowlawn/ Elmwood/ Hughes Place

In 1851, Judge Archelaus Madison Hughes (1811-1898) bought 14 acres from the estate of Patrick Maguire. He and 2nd wife Mattie B. Neill (1825-1909) built a 2 story Federal style mansion on Hampshire Pike (now 917 West 7th St.) which they named Elmwood by 1854. (Hughes’ first wife was Sarah Green Moseley Hughes, 1811-1842.)

In 1859, the railroad came to Maury County, and Judge Hughes gave land for a portion of it. That area bordered Hughes’ property on the west. A railroad crossing existed where Columbia Academy is today, and railroad tracks remain along the east side of the campus. Hughes was a Knights Templar, a 3x Master Mason, an attorney general of the 8th Judicial Circuit for 13 years and a U.S. District attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee 1873-1877). In 1909, Maddie sold the property to John F. Stephenson and (Louisa) May Stephenson with 475 acres. They wed in 1889. He owned the Hampshire Pike toll road.

About 10 years later, in 1921, the property changed hands again with Katherine Towler Shelton purchasing it. In the early 1930s, Charles Frederick (C.F.) Mather-Smith (1863-1941)and Grace Mather-Smith (1884-1962) purchased the property. They had homes in Illinois and Florida. Charles renamed the mansion Shadowlawn and held many parties. Their daughter, Grace Mary Mather-Smith, was trying to make an acting career. She was in “The Millionaire,” “The Spider’s Web,” and “The Girl from Chicago.” In 1927, Grace met and married Bruce Cabot, and their reception was held at Shadowlawn. Cabot was in multiple films including playing Jack Driscoll in “King Kong.” Later, the Mather-Smiths deeded the home to their daughter and her husband, Rebecca and Richard Baldwin III. Only 2 years later, the Baldwins sold to John W. Walton.

After 1940, the next owners were Millard Ernest (M.E.) Queener (1898-1970) and Adeline “Addie” Virginia Armstrong Queener (1902-1967) in 1941. They had three children including Alyne and Lucille. M.E. was a lawyer who attended Yale and came to Columbia. Alyne married Jack C. Massey and they lived at Brook Hill in Nashville. Lucille Frierson Queener Courtney (1930-1991) married Robin Spencer Courtney (1927-2000), son of Williamson County congressman Wirt Courtney.

Starting in 1969, Lucille and Robin lived at Shadowlawn for years. Robin had learned that M.E. was going to sell Shadowlawn to the owners of the Trotwood Apartments to be torn down for more apartments. Robin had a law practice in Columbia. Robin’s great-great-grandfather was George Neeley who was one of the first settlers in Williamson County. He was also a direct descendant on his mother’s side to Elijah Robertson, James Robertson’s brother. Lucille’s family through the Friersons and Armstrongs are prominent local families.

By 1999, daughter Gale Courtney Moore and husband Richard “Dick” Moore were owners. The Moores returned to Columbia in 1992. She is very involved with civic affairs and community and works in real estate with the McEwen Group. The Hughes family called the home Elmwood because of the large elm trees around it. The Mather-Smith family called the property Shadowlawn because of the shade on the grounds from the trees. See Brook Hill


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