Things I have learned tonight:
1. There was a Nashville centennial celebration in 1880. The exposition hall was at the corner of Broadway and 8th Avenue South, where the federal courthouse is now. This should be so very close to Ben and Sue Allen’s house that I can’t help but wonder if I might find pictures in the metro archive.
2. Nathaniel Baxter Jr. lived at 117 North Spruce. The Allens, who were Ed Baxter’s in-laws (Ed being Nathaniel’s brother), were at 125 South Spruce. Perhaps we could put Nathaniel on the list of potential runners away from the Thing.
3. Colonel Colyer’s description of Jere Baxter (another brother–Jones, Nathaniel, Edmund, and Jere were the ones I know about, but it looks like there may have also been a Montgomery and a sister, Mary) in the History of Nashville, Tennessee about makes me blush. Whew, some folks really loved that guy.
4. Looking at other houses in town, I think the thing that makes me nervous about my tentative floor plan is that a lot of the houses look deeper. And certainly Ben would have had a library. But he had to have a garden out back because we know he had a workshop in his garden out back in which he made his jewelry.
5. The authors of History of Nashville, Tennessee seem struck in wondrous awe that Black Bob ran the best tavern in the town and was friends with white people who even came to his house for dinner. It just goes to show you that things can get worse. Not that you’d call life for black Americans great in the 1790s, but the fact that white people in the 1890s were like “what is this strange thing? Who would be friends with a black guy? How could you possibly even go to his house for meals?” is pretty depressing.
6. People used to bury people in the public square but they had to put a stop to it because they didn’t bury them very deep and the bodies would come back up. And, I presume, be eaten by the pigs that seemed to roam around town for much of our history.
7. Speaking of livestock, the fence around Vanderbilt was to keep the cows out. Ha ha ha.
8. Most histories I’ve read of Jere Baxter gloss over how kind of shitty the end of his life was. But here’s something funny. When Jere Baxter died, his friends put up a statue of him where Broadway and West End intersect. One of his detractors then put a statue of John “I’m a haunted thumb at the Tennessee State Museum” Murrell put up at Centennial Park to indicate that Jere Baxter was no better than a horse thief.
I wonder where that statue of John Murrell is now…
Edited to add: I’m kind of bummed more people don’t sit on the roof of the capitol nowadays.