Though I’ve only lived in Smyrna for 10 years, I spent a lot of time here as a child visiting my grandparents.  It amazes me how much the town has grown since the mid 1970s.  As a certified history nut, I’ve always been fascinated by the ordinary history that exists in most towns ie. the old houses and family cemeteries that dot the landscape.



  1. I too am a history buff. I’ve lived in Smyrna since 1968, graduated from Smyrna High School in 1971, moved away for awhile and have now been back for about 12 years. I’ve had family in Smyrna as far back as I remember.
    I have contact with quite a few people who know a lot of Smyrna history and would be glad to ask around about any specific questions. I may be able to help or may not.
    I’m a member of Sam Davis Lodge #661, F&AM in Smyrna and am currently beginning research for a short book I’m planning on writing about the history of the lodge which was chartered in 1911. There was another lodge in Smyrna before Sam Davis, but it lost it’s charter sometime after the Civil War. There was also a lodge in the Mona vicinity called Jeruselum lodge.

  2. Great blog, I lived in Smyrna from 1998 – 2004 and loved the area. I have really enjoyed the history that you have posted. I miss the area and hope to return soon.

  3. Can anyone give me any info on the house thast is in the picture here I live nere it and have been up ther many times, they are building homes all around it any info would ne great

    • This is my grandparent’s house. It was a hospital during the civil war. My grandfather preserved a spot on the wall where a bullet went thru. So many memories and I have lots of other stories

      • Why isn’t anyone living in the house anymore? And why isn’t it being taken care of?

      • Oh! And does anyone know who it is that lives in the small house that is on the same property as the house in the picture? Do they own the house? Just very curious because the house is not being taken care of at all, but still has electricity running to it. People have been breaking glass and stuff constantly it seems. Each time I vist, the house seems to be more damaged. Breaks my heart.

  4. The house pictured at the top of the page is known as the King-Johns home. During the Civil War, there were skirmishes in the area, and I’ve been told there are still bullet holes in the walls. The area around the home is being developed by a family member of one of the early owners. The “Hearthstone” Books at the Smyrna Library contain information about this house.

    • There is only one bullet hole. It went thru a door and a wall. My grandfather preserved the portion of the wall. There was also a bloody footprint in the attic when my great grandparents purchased it.

      • My uncle owns it now. My mother sold it to him about 10 years ago.

      • Is it possible to visit this place?

  5. Thank you so much I would give anything to own that home… I love just going to it now and again.

  6. In response to “leefer’s” post in April, 08, I’d be interested in the short book you do on Sam Davis Lodge. I became a member of the lodge in 2004 after moving here in 2002.
    I find the history of the area fascinating, especially the Goochland homesite and surrounding area. I actually discovered this site while researching JS Gooch, the son of Dr Gooch.

  7. is this house on the old merfesboro (misspelled) highway?

    • Actually, it is on Old Jefferson Pike.

  8. Is King-Johns the house across from Liberty Drive?

    I am wondering how I could find the old sulfur spring out there. Are there any landmarks to guide a person to that area?

    Also, is the Town of Jefferson the same as Jefferson Springs?

    • the town of Jefferson is under Percy priest lake

    • The sulpher spring is underwater now. Jefferson springs and old Jefferson are two different places, not far from each other though. Old Jefferson is still high and dry at the forks of east and west stones river. I’ve been there and many foundations are still visible.

  9. I’m writing a book that includes a history of the John Nash Read family and his pioneering establishment, Templeton Grove. Do you know when the house pictured was built and by whom? Is it on the old Templeton Grove estate? May I use the picture in my book? Do you have a hi rez version you could email to me? Do you have any historic photos that would relate to the Reads or the Barksdales? Thanks. Nathaniel Barksdale Read.

    • Nathaniel, You would have to be related to John Nash Read and his son, Nathaniel? I am restoring Templeton Grove Cemetery at the present time where John Nash Read and many of his family members are buried. The old Templeton Grove Estate was burned during the Civil War. All that is left at the present time is the cemetery. I have a picture of of the Read House which was in Old Jefferson. I have written a book on the John Nash Read family and the Barksdale family. Where do you live? I also have the deeds, wills, etc. from the Read family. I had a surveyor plat the 600 acre plantation. Also, there was a church, Enon Meeting House (Baptist), which was also burned. Nissan USA is now located on most of the plantation acreage. Please contact me! Frances Victory

      • You have done a wonderful job with the cemetery! I was so happy to see it being cleaned up and restored!

      • Hi Frances! First I would like to say how great it is that you’re involved in historical preservation and restoration!
        You also might be able to help me. I’m related to a Lemuel Read, b. abt 1792 NC md. to Sarah “Sally” Jones Fagan who were married 1815 in Rutherford Co., TN and appear on the 1820 census there. Lemuel is a son of my 5th great grandparents John Reed/Read and Sarah Bolin/Bolling of NC who also went to Rutherford Co. in the 1820’s and finally Bedford Co., TN in the 1830’s. I’ve been trying to determine if my Reed/Reads are related somehow to John Nash Read’s family? On the very next census page from the one my Lemuel Read and family appear on in 1820 is a John Read (27-45 yrs, but too young for my John), a Nancy (Reade?) Rucker (> 45 yrs) , and a Nathaniel Barksdale, I believe. Have you run across Lemuel and his wife Sally Jones Fagan Read in your research? Lemuel also had a brother named Jesse Read who lived nearby. I have some information that says Lemuel had a blacksmith shop on the road from Shelbyville to Nashville close to the West Fork of Stones River, just south of Murfreesboro. He was also a gunsmith.
        Thanks for any help!
        Mike Moffitt

      • Hi Mike,

        Nat Read forwarded your inquiry to me today. In my research, I found a John Read/Reed who resided in Rutherford County about the same time as John Nash Read. In the near future, I will visit the Rutherford County Archives and try to find more information on what you included. Where do you live? Would you please send me your email address so I can forward any information I can find. I was born and raised in Bedford County. The Courthouse was burned and historical records were destroyed…sad, sad. I love history!

        Frances Victory

      • Hi Frances!
        Thanks for the help on my Reeds/Reads. I live in Austin, Texas so I’m pretty far away from Rutherford or Bedford counties. You can reach me at cmikem31@gmail.com.


  10. do any you you know where the old jone mill was located? my grandmother was a Barrett that grew up near Jones Mill as a small girl and lived in a ared they all called Jones Bend. She lived there in the ealry 20’s and told me many stories of the area and we recently found a partial pic of the main house of the farm they lived on similar to the one pictured above. She
    told me her family farmed the land and lived in a small house near the creek or river that flooded often. I just started my geneology research and this is the one thing that i have not been able to be for sure of. She thought it was near the Sam Davis home area.

  11. I grew up in Smyrna and am looking to go back and visit an old cavern/100 foot waterfall. It was a beautiful childhood memory that was destroyed when they built the enormous subdivision there. It is located on Wildwood Drive near Almaville Road/Hazelwood. The problem is that they have barb wire fence around the area and signs that say Closed Circuit Television. But no contact information. I’ve tried to access Public Property Listings and find out who to contact for permission into the area. I’m not going to break the law. But everyone I have spoken to so far can not give me proper information. Then I found this website. I was wondering if you may know any info on the area and how I may access it properly?

    • I was at that site before the fence was up. It’s beautiful rock formation. I was there during wet weather. There was obviously a cave at the bottom, but it was full of water. Do you know if the cave was ever accessible?

  12. Do you have any history regarding Dr. William Ward who was in Rutherford County land records as early as September 4, 1804? He received a land grant # 12065 for 540 acres on January 12, 1834 in Rutherford County, TN
    He died July 23, 1835 at Ward Plantation, Old Jefferson, Rutherford Co, TN; his 2nd wife was Mary “Polly” Robertson, d/o Jesse Robertson, she lived until May 1842. According to information I’ve seen, they were buried on the Ward Plantation….but, I have no idea where this would have been. Have you ever heard about Dr. William Ward, his wife or the Ward Plantation? Thank you!

    • I have a pretty good idea where the cemetery might have been. On the land that was once the town of old Jefferson, there were two of them I have located on old maps. However, the graves should have been relocated by the army Corp of engineers prior to the lake being made. Contrary to belief, old Jefferson never got flooded. I’ve been there and many house foundations still exist.

    • The ward cemetery is near the river close to where old Jefferson pike used to cross the river to get to the town.

  13. I am an out of town relative of the Kings. I live in Louisiana. My Mother was raised by Adeline King. Adeline was the sister to Francis King Johns who lived in the big house and her family is who owns the house now. It also breaks my heart to see it in such shambles. Adeline lived in the little cottage down by the big house until she passed away. Every time I come to TN. I try to go by and see the house and remember the good times we had there.

    • It’s hard to believe that we are just allowing such a piece of Rutherford County history and character to slip away right in front of us.

  14. As stated previously, the Johns-King house as it is now known, dates to 1805, or should I say, the original log structure now covered by the white wooden siding dates to 1805. The home was built by the Weakley family on an original Revolutionary War land grant. Robert Weakley who also owned a large plantation across the Cumberland river from Nashville, in what is now east Nashville, was also a founder of Old Jefferson just across the west fork of the Stones river just a short distance away from the Johns-King house. Most people have no idea that this house was a witness to the alternate northern land route of the Cherokee Trail of Tears as well. Approximately 4000 Cherokee passed in front of this house on their way to Nashville after passing through Old Jefferson. The route through Old Jefferson and passing through Smyrna is officially recognized by the National Park Service as the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.

    • The Cherokee detachments passed the house during the last week of October & first week of November of 1838.

  15. I am trying to find out when the building that currently serves as the middle school and was once the high school was built? Also any information on the old Rock school is appreciated. Smyrna resident my entire life from 1976-present. Just curious is all. 🙂

  16. To Mike Moffitt…
    I do not find Lemuel Read in any of the research I’ve done on the descendants of John Nash Read. There is no reference to a Lemuel Read in the 1930 genealogical tome, “Reads and their relatives,” on the descendants of Clement Read/Reade.

    Nat B. Read

    • Thanks for looking into it for me Nat!

  17. i visited the templeton grove cemetary can you tell me about the davis family buried there and what happened to the 4 children that it appears all died in oct nov 1862? tnahk you

    • The William K. Davis and Mary E. Davis – their lineage in the John Nash Read family:

      In the 1850 Census:

      Mary E. Allen (Davis) was listed as living in Jefferson, at age 18
      Sarah G. W. (Read) Allen -37 – (daughter of John Nash Read, married
      William Allen)
      John J. Allen – 20
      Mary E. Allen – 18 (married William K. Davis)
      Julia T. Allen – 13 (married Rufus Johns)
      Nat R. Allen – 10 – (Captain Nat Allen)
      William Allen – 7

      From the 1860 Census:

      William K. Davis, born in Virginia in 1829, was listed as 31 years of age
      Mary E. Allen Davis (District 1, Franklin), 28 years of age. They were married January 17, 1854, in Rutherford County, TN

      In the 1880 census, their children were: (1) William K. Davis (1828-1910) (2) John B. Davis (1868)
      (3) Lucy N. Davis (1871) – born in Longtown, Panola, Mississippi; in 1880 census, she was 9 years old and lived in Mississippi – mulatto (She
      is listed in Julia Allen Johns Will, as her niece whom she loves like her own child (married Oliver Mann who lived on the property until the 1950’s. His sons sold the property in the 1970s. The Manns are all buried in Mapleview Cemetery)
      (4)Cornelia Davis 1875 (5)Stella Davis 1876 (6)Edmund Davis 1878
      (7) Joseph Davis 1879 (8) James P. Davis, born in TN, 1880 census lived in Mississippi

      Julia Allen Johns and her husband, Rufus, did not have children of their own. They cared for family orphans. I believe Julia Johns erected the tombstone for the Davis children who died young. I don’t know their cause of death; however, I believe it was probably typhoid fever or something of that nature. There was no medication at the time of their deaths.

      • thank you very much we went back out there to write down the names and dates today

  18. I

  19. I am looking for information on the Seminary School (1859-1961), first known as Stewart’s Creek Male and Female Seminary. Lynda Lane Paschal

  20. Does anyone know why it is named Templeton Grove Cemetery? I have been there. A Robert Templeton moved from NC to Rutherford County in the 1820s to 1830s. He later moved to Shelby Co. TN. Since there are no Templeton’s buried in this cemetery, I thought Robert Templeton might have in some way been associated with the cemetery. Any responses or additional information on this subject would be greatly appreciated.

    Rex Templeton

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