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Westover (Stock Place): Part of Robertson Family places

Updated: Apr 28

Westover was a large 2-story Colonial home built around 1800 near Centennial BL/ Charlotte area on what was then Robertson’s Bend on the Cumberland River.





The home was built on a 2,400 acre portion of the original 3,000 acre land grant from North Carolina to General James Randolph Robertson (1742-1814) and Charlotte Reeves Robertson (1751-1843). They had eleven children who lived and grew up on the property.


Eldest son, Jonathan Friar Robertson (1769-1814), and wife Ciddy “Kitty” Davis Robertson (1772-1859), married in 1791 and built their own home, Westover, on a portion of the plantation about 1801. Jonathan helped his family run the plantation.


Their daughter, Elizabeth Davis Robertson Cheatham (1796-1881), inherited Westover when both grandfather Gen. Robertson and her father Jonathan F. died in 1814. In 1817, Elizabeth married Leonard Pope Cheatham (1792-1863). He helped run Westover, was a Postmaster of Nashville in 1840, an attorney as well as a trustee of the University of Nashville. One of the Cheatham children, Benjamin Franklin Cheatham was a major general in the Army of Tennessee and later in life, followed his father’s footsteps in becoming Postmaster of Nashville as well.


Starting in the 1830s, Mark R. Cockrill bought pieces of the property from Robertson heirs. Ciddy, Leonard and their family stayed at Westover until about 1834. In 1850, Leonard Cheatham sold the last portion. With other acreage (Cockrill Springs, Tulip Grove), Cockrill amassed a 5,600 acreage plantation he called “Stock Place.” He was about the most famous farmer in TN at the time – renowned for winning a gold medal at the 1856 World’s Fair for his Merino wool. He earned the nickname “Wool King of the World.” (Side note: He had inherited Cockrill Springs [present day Centennial Park] from his mother Anne Robertson Johnson Cockrill. Her brother was James Robertson. She was married to James Cockrill and as a hardy pioneer woman had helped establish the Watauga and then Nashville settlements. She was the first woman to be given a land grant from North Carolina which was her 160 acre land that became known as Cockrill Springs.)


Their son, Mark Robertson Cockrill and his wife Susan Collinsworth Cockrill inherited the property. In 1867, Mark and Susan gave their son James “Jim” Robertson Cockrill the property. Jim Cockrill was married first to Mary Elizabeth. She died in 1875. He remarried to Frances in 1880.


Then in 1887, James sold the Westover plantation of 1,338 acres to Dr. William Morrow (1839-1910) and Elizabeth Luttrell Morrow (1843-1911). Dr. Morrow was treasurer of the state of Tennessee in 1871-74. In 1880, he was president of Tennessee Coal and Iron Co. In 1881, he helped found the electric streetcar system in Nashville. He also helped found the Nashville school system. Dr. Morrow started William Morrow and Son Cattle Company on the property. Part of the property was used as the Tennessee State Prison Farm on Cockrill Bend when it was established in 1897 and Dr. Morrow served as commissioner. In 1902, the Morrows sold Westover and moved to 2140 West End Ave.


The next owners were Nathaniel “Nat” Baxter, Jr. (1844-1913) and Laura Sharp Lavender Baxter (1850-1935) who purchased 2,400 acres to use as a horse farm. They wed in 1868. Laura's family was very prominent in South Carolina and Ireland. Her great, great-grandfather was the seond son of Lord Kenedy of Ireland who had immense estates in Ireland. Her relatives in South Carolina - Horton, Elliott, and Kennedy - were prominent. They kept a city home on Spruce St. Laura was a native of Mississippi. They made significant improvements to the Westover mansion. Baxter was president of First National Bank, principal stockholder in the Nashville Street Railway Company and head of a syndicate that held control of the Union and American Publishing Company. His interests later included president of Southern Iron Company and of the important regional Tennessee Coal, Iron and Ry. Co. Their oldest daughter, Miranda Louise Baxter, married Robert Jackson and became a sister-in-law to Judge Howell Jackson of West Meade.


Westover burned down around 1920, and the farm was sold to the State of Tennessee. The area is now occupied by Riverbend Maximum Security Prison, John Tune Airport, Carlex Glass Company, R.D. Herbert & Co. American Paper & Twine and multiple other companies in the Cockrill Bend area. See Richland, Tulip Grove, West Meade


Sources:


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