Just one block from Springfield Middle School, at the corner of Boren and Fifth Avenue West, stands the S.S. Gause house.
It is also known locally as the “Tower House.”
And it does have a tower.
The Victorian house built by Major Gause is a two-story brick. A cone-shaped roof tops the three-story tower.
According to his obituary in the “Tennessean” on June 7, 1901, Gause was born in Arkansas in 1839.
Samuel Sidney Gause had served during the Civil War in the 32nd Regiment, Arkansas Infantry.
(The Springfield chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy later named the chapter for him, thanks to his loyalty to the Cause.)
He studied law at Cumberland University and then practiced in Lebanon.
Gause married Juvinnila Eliza Davis, referred to as “Portia.”
Her portrait may be seen online as part of the Tennessee Portrait Project.
They had two children – Montelle, born in 1869, and Gemma, born in 1867.
In 1882, S.S. Gause became associated with the “Lebanon Register.” He was co-editor with Dixon C. Williams.
In 1884, he was appointed “storekeeper and gauger” by President Cleveland. His headquarters were in Springfield.
And what is a “gauger”? It is a person who inspects “bulk merchandise” – casks of liquor or tobacco, for example – for excise tax purposes.
In other words, Gause was a Revenue Officer!
According to local historian Bill Jones, Gause also became the postmaster of the little community that is still known as Gause.
When Major Gause and his family first moved to Springfield, they lived in the H.H. Kirk house at the top of Fifth Avenue East. In 1889, Gause established the “Springfield Herald.” His son worked with him there. Tom Crawford and Tip Blackburn were also employed.
S.S. Gause was at his daughter’s home in Laguardo in Wilson County when he died on June 1, 1901.
The obituary listed the cause of death as “dropsy of the heart.”
Gause, who was only 62 at the time of his death, was buried in Confederate uniform. The funeral procession was followed to the cemetery by the Shepard Bivouac.
The Knights of Pythias ritual was used.
In 1902, Portia Gause sold the house to Ella Bell.
Major Gause’s niece, “Miss Bessie,” had come to live in Springfield with his family. She married J.H. Woodard and remained here.
Major Gause was buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Wilson County. His wife and his children are also buried there.
Montelle Gause lies in Oak Cliff Cemetery in Dallas, Texas.
In the Eagle’s Eye is sponsored by the Robertson County Historical Society. Call 615-382-7173 for more information.