Historic Structures

Oaklands House, Murfreesboro Tennessee

Date added: June 8, 2021 Categories: Tennessee House

Dr. James Maney, who entered medical practice in Murfreesboro in 1820, was considered one of that community's leading physicians. He had extensive business interests resulting from his own activities, as well as his wife's large inheritance from her father's estate. The Maney home was noted for the hospitality shown to many prominent people of the time. By acquaintance and marriage the family was well connected in Tennessee.

From March until May 1862, Oaklands was the command headquarters for Colonel William W. Duffield of the 9th Michigan Regiment. Colonel Duffield left Murfreesboro in May 1862, but returned on July 12 with Major General Thomas Crittenden, who was to be commander of the Murfreesboro garrison. The morning following their arrival, Confederate General Mathan Bedford Forrest staged his "birthday raid" and captured Murfreesboro. The surrender took place at Oaklands.

Notable guests at Oaklands during the period Murfreesboro remained in Confederate hands included General Braxten Bragg, Colonel William Wirt Adams, and General Leonidas Polk. The most notable guest of the Maneys was President Jefferson Davis who arrived in snow-covered Murfreesboro on December 12, 1862.

From the Battle of Murfreesboro, December 31, 1862-January 2, 1863, until the end of the war, the city was under Federal occupation. Union officers who made Oaklands their headquarters were Major General Thomas Crittenden and Brigadier General Horatio P. VanCleve.

Oaklands stands on land first granted on March 7, 1786, by the State of North Carolina to Ezekiel White. In October of 1798 274 acres of land were sold by White to Colonel Hardy Murfree. Colonel Murfree, from whom the city of Murfreesboro takes its name, eventually owned over 40,000 acres of land in Tennessee. He died intestate in 1809. His land holdings were so extensive that the Tennessee Legislature passed an act in 1812 empowering the Court of Williamson County to appoint seven commissioners to make an equitable division of his lands among his heirs. The Ezekiel White tract was a part of the portioned part allotted to one of his daughters, Sarah Hardy, who was married to Dr. James Maney.

The land remained the property of the Maney family until 1884. At Dr. Maney's death in 1872, it was inherited by Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Maney. In 1884 Oaklands was sold at auction to settle the estate of Lewis Maney, who had died in 1882. The house and 200 acres were purchased by Mrs. Elizabeth T. Swope. Mrs. Swope's will of 1890 left the property to her daughter, Mrs. George M. Darrow. On April 10, 1912, the house and its 29 remaining acres were sold for $18,000 to Mr. and Mrs. R. B. Roberts. In 1936, Mrs. Roberts, then a widow, sold the property to Albert Brevard Jetton and his sister, Rebecca Jetton. Miss Jetton survived her brother and sold the house and its 29 acres to the City of Murfreesboro on September 6, 1957. The acreage became a city park, and the house and garden were deeded to the Oaklands Association on May 4, 1959. The Oaklands Association had been formed to restore and maintain the house and to open it to the public.

The original house, circa 1815, consisted of two rooms, one above the other. Behind was a kitchen, connected to the main dwelling by a breezeway or "dogtrot." This house faced east.

The first addition, circa 1825, was brick, with chimneys on the east and west ends. It faced south. There were entrances on the south and east sides. This structure was added to the original building.

In the late 1850s a second addition, consisting of two large rooms and a hall upstairs and down, was made to the south front of the house. The front center room of the first addition was united with the new front hall and a semicircular staircase placed in it. To accommodate the higher ceilings of the new addition and to relate the exterior lines of the older structures, it was necessary to raise the roof of the middle structure about four feet. The work was probably completed in 1860.

During the occupation of the house by the Darrow family, the front porch was built probably sometime between 1890-1900.

Two rear 20th centurv frame additions have been built.

The house was vacated for a short period after its purchase by the City of Murfreesboro. During this period it was vandalized, and its windows and mantels were damaged. Repairs and replacements have since been made.

The entry hall leads to various first-level rooms including parlors either side of the entry; a sitting room; dining room; and attached kitchen. The central hall on the second level opens into the bedrooms and secondary stair hall on the east side of the house.