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Thomas C. Black House/ Old Black Place/ Evergreen

Photo by rossograph

Also known as Old Black Place and later as Evergreen, the Thomas C. Black House sits at 4431 Lebanon Rd. in Murfreesboro.

A builder constructed the house in 1820, and Samuel Pitts Black (1775-1857) and Fanny Jane Pitts Sanders Black (1773-1854) bought the house in 1822 with 464 acres. They wed in 1805. In the 1850s, the house was extensively renovated and reoriented to the street. Samuel was famous as an educator in early Rutherford County history, and was headmaster of Bradley Academy in 1805 - the first school in the county. After marriage, he briefly had a merchant stint to move product on the water from middle Tennessee to New Orleans but it did not last long. He returned to teaching at Bradley and Murfreesboro Academy.

An heir, Dr. Thomas Crutcher Black (1809-1873), bought out other heirs of the house in the early 1850s. He was married to Catherine W. Morton Black (1817-1891) Dr. Black was a founder of the Rutherford County Medical Society. After Dr. Black died, their son, William Newsome Black (1847-1927) and Rosaline Jordan Black (1857-1936) took 14 years to buy the property from other heirs. He and Rosaline wed in 1877. He completed the purchase with 201 acres in 1892. In 1927, William died and Rosaline inherited the home and then she gave the property to their children. Their daughter Evie Black Brandon bought the other children out. In 1936, Evie sold the property to relatives of Samuel Black with 121 acres. The relatives sold back to Evie’s son, Thomas Black Brandon, in 1941.

In 1954, the Thomas Black Home was sold out of family to Dr. Thomas G. Gordon who lived on the adjacent land. In 1960, Polly Ann Dillon Ridley (1935-2010) and James Allison “Jim” Ridley, IV (1933-2017) purchased the property with 3 remaining acres. Ridley taught art, was a past board member of the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities, and a former President of the Oaklands Association. He was also a retired captain in the U.S. Army. In 1996, it remained owned by Polly and James Ridley, Jr. Polly helped organize the Pilgrimage, the tour of Rutherford Co. historic homes as well as serving as regent and on the board of trustees of Oaklands Historic House Museum. The Ridley’s son, Jim Ridley V was the longtime editor of the Nashville Scene as well as a contributor to a number of national publications. The Ridley family renamed the property Evergreen. NRHP 199

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