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Yalewood: Cosy Neighbors and Martha White Flour

At 1416 Chickering Rd. sits Yalewood, a 2-story neo-classical mansion.

About 1922, Mamie Craig Howell (1891-1981) and Joseph Toy Howell, Jr. (1884-1929) built their home on 18 acres. They wed in 1916. She was the daughter of E.B & Mary Crockett Craig. E.B. was a founder of National Life and Accident Co. The widow Craig erected Belleforest nest door at 1418 Chickering Rd. The Howells had lived away from Nashville for years and returned about 1922. He was in business and was involved with his family business of National Life and Accident Company as a local loan agent. His family were partners and friends with the Wills, Clements, Fort, and other NLC founders. They were only in Yalewood a few years since they had moved to Kirkwood Lane by the time of J.T.'s death in 1929.

The next owners were Walter E. Richardson, Jr. (?-1982) and Jean Ellen Reich Richardson (1917-2016) from about 1927 to 1968.

In 1968, James "Jim" R. King and Naomi Corrine "Connie" Williams King purchased half of the estate at 9 acres of the property. Richardson sold the other 9 acres to Connie's sister, Linda Williams Dale and her husband Robert "Bobby" - so business partners lived side by side. The Kings enlarged their home considerably. Connie's grandfather, Cohen E. Williams, had purchased Royal Flour Mill in 1941 and renamed it Martha White after its most popular brand, and his son Cohen T. Williams was president.

Williams tied the Martha White brand with country music and the Grand Ole Opry early on and the two entities prospered with one another. Williams sponsored the Martha White Biscuit and Cornbread Time and continues the connection today. Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys; Tennessee Earnie Ford; and Alison Krauss and Union Station have been promoted by Martha White Foods.

In 1967, King became president of Martha White Foods, and later Robert V. Dale succeeded him, Martha White Foods was purchased by Beatrice Companies in 1975 and in 1994 again by Pillsbury Company. After King's death, Connie remarried to the widower Russell White Brothers, Sr.(1910-2002) (His first wife was Mary Kate Troup Brothers.) He was a regional businessman who had started Fidelity Insurance Co. (later Russell Brothers Insurance), a founder of Baptist Hospital, and CEO of Velvet Ice Cream Co. as well as having real estate holdings across the Southeast. He was the brother of Mack Brothers of Hillcrest - who I knew as Granddaddy Russell. He had lived on Deer Park Dr. and then Woodlawn Dr. prior.

In 2022, the property was sold to Victor Giovanetti. He is the retired president of hospital operations at LifePoint. The estate was named Yalewood because it was at the top of a valley with a stream running in the front yard. See Belleforest, Hillcrest


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