May 17, 2022

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A bit of history on Maury County courthouses from 1807-1907

Sheila Hickman, Columbia

Sheila Hickman, Columbia

Author’s Note: The details in this article was taken from Century Review of Maury County, Tennessee 1807-1907 printed by the County Mayor and Record of Maury County, Tennessee, by Judge William Bruce Turner and her common understanding of our county.

Maury County’s Quarterly Courtroom initial achieved in Joseph Brown’s log cabin on Dec. 21, 1807.

Some sources point out a log courthouse on the east side of the public sq.. In accordance to Nathan Vaught, our master builder, “We had been taken to a shanty of a courthouse on the community sq. in the midst … of massive trees cut down … and brush scattered in just about every path.”

Court minutes show that the setting up was so unsuitable that court satisfied in a big log home on the east side of Glade Street and in non-public households. Alfred Horsley, editor of the Columbia Herald, wrote that no house in Columbia was acceptable to hold general public data.

Having said that, the information had been saved by a Mr. Porter.

The 1810 making, sometimes named the first brick courthouse, was rather an advancement about the log cabins.

It experienced a shingled roof, a cupola, porticos on the north and south and 4 hexagonal columns a few feet thick.

The coloration scheme would seem unconventional with white walls, jet black columns, tea green partitions, darkish mahogany doorways, and bright blue mantels. The outdoors partitions have been later on painted yellow. The lawn was enclosed by dressed cedar railings. That handsome constructing, costing $6,900, ought to have designed thoughts of accomplishment for these who were being residing on the western frontier.

In January 1844, magistrates ended up supplied the task of constructing a new courthouse. The appropriation for the constructing was $15,000. Nimrod Porter acquired the deal. Further adjustments in the constructing enhanced the value to $19,170. This brick framework was 49 x 86 toes, three stories higher with a brick sidewalk close to the creating. There was space for circuit and chancery court rooms and county workplaces.

‘Shabbiest’ in Tennessee to newest

By 1898, the newspaper claimed that Maury County had the shabbiest courthouse in Tennessee.

A new courthouse experienced been reviewed for 20 several years. A group of attorneys and civic minded citizens commenced a marketing campaign to change that aged making. Records exhibit that there was much discussion about making a new courthouse.

Design was delayed by a 1904 lawsuit by an opposing justice of the peace who claimed that the Maury County Quarterly Court was not a lawful entity. Maury County Courtroom was declared a lawful human body by the Supreme Court docket.

An arrangement was attained, and the outdated making was offered for $1,000 dollars. Just after deconstructing the creating, the consumer created a sizeable profit, and the brick was employed to make a new residence on West Seventh.

Architects for the new courthouse have been Carpenter and Blair of New York, and J. E. R. Carpenter was originally from Columbia.

The cornerstone was laid on October 8, 1904, with excellent ceremony. Not only was there a committee for constructing the courthouse, there was also a county court docket committee in cost of laying the cornerstone.

There is an expansive checklist of the items placed there ranging from colonial cash, Union and Accomplice cartridges from the prior courthouse, stamps, silver pounds, publications, numerous publications, and a fish scale from a 160 pound fish caught at Bear Creek. (The cornerstone was eradicated and opened by Bob Duncan and other historians. Alas, the contents ended up a soggy web site. The cornerstone had not been effectively sealed.)

The application commenced at 3 p.m., and it was underneath the directions of Columbia Lodge Amount 31, Historical Absolutely free and Approved Masons. The masons with their aprons and vibrant jewels of place of work made use of their historic rituals to bless and dedicate the building.

Uncle Dick Porter, a previous slave who was 117 a long time outdated, was permitted to position the initial trowel of mortar. He remembered aiding in developing the previous courthouses and was a beloved determine in this neighborhood

Hugger Brothers of Montgomery, Alabama, won the deal for setting up for $83,000. Forster-Herbert Stone Firm of Nashville did the stone perform. Southern Foundry of Owensboro, Kentucky, furnished the metal.

The courthouse is 85 x 108 ft with three stories and a basement. The basement held a boiler space, closets, and storage.

(Right up until Bob Duncan moved all the documents to the Archives in 2001, these data from the very initial days of our county ended up in true danger from dampness and decay.)

The exterior is white Indiana limestone with substantially ornamentation in the Neoclassic model. The 4 sets of doorways open up to the 4 key streets in downtown. The stairs are of iron and marble, now worn sleek by plenty of actions since 1906. The flooring are tile laid in concrete and marble.

The elaborate interior was developed to mirror the prosperity of Maury County. The initial floor contained the county courtroom space, places of work for the sheriff, sign-up, trustee, clerk, and judge. The 2nd floor experienced the circuit court room, two witness rooms, and judge, clerk and master, and circuit clerk rooms.

The 3rd flooring held chancery court rooms, judge and clerk rooms, attorney general jury and grand jury rooms.

The unique appropriation of $100,000 involved resources for furnishings and variations in the options. In accordance to the Century Review, “It is, even so a a lot wanted improvement, nicely worth its charge to the county and will possibly continue to be for hundreds of years as a monument to its promoters.”

The clock tower is 132 toes earlier mentioned the street. Its striking can be listened to all through downtown and even in Riverside.

The clock is a reminder that Maury County proceeds to advantage from the wisdom of our predecessors and an admonition that we much too should really put together for people who appear after us.

Sheila Hickman is a solution of the Maury County Schools. She has a Bachelor’s diploma in English from Lipscomb and a Master’s from Peabody Vanderbilt. She returned to educate English at Columbia Central Significant School, her alma mater.

This post at first appeared on The Day-to-day Herald: Sheila Hickman: