Wessyngton, Washington Hall, Glenraven. The names, the places, the families, are intriguing.
Ralph Winters, longtime local historian, visited and wrote about Glenraven often. He called it one of the last of the true plantations – complete with its own post office, store, mill, dairy, school, and church.
Mention has been made in this column that Mrs. J.W. Greene and Maggie Long Batts Adams both taught at the school.
The Episcopal Chapel there was thought to be one of the first buildings completed on the Ewing farm. Winters wrote that the bell at the church had the date 1895 on it. He speculated that this was the date when the chapel was built.
It was completely furnished and even had an organ. Jane Washington Ewing loved music and frequently had Nashville choirs attend services and sing for the congregation.
Members of this congregation were the families of Glenraven employees.
In 1933, the church was dismantled and used as an addition in the back of St. Michael’s Catholic Church near Flewellyn. Supposedly, the bell also was used there.
Pews and other altar furnishings were given to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.
Glenraven School was located in a large room to one side of the chapel. It was used for Sunday school classes also.
The schoolroom was heated and had plenty of desks, a chalkboard, and so on. Mrs. Ewing visited sometimes and attended special programs such as the one at Christmas.
Mable Ruffin of Cedar Hill taught school for 43 years, many of them at Main Street School in Springfield. From 1916-1917, however, she taught at Glenraven. She taught the younger students while Georgia May Batts taught the upper grades.
Miss Mabel remembered happily the fall months when she and Miss Batts went back and forth each day from Cedar Hill to Glenraven. Georgia May Batts furnished the “no-top buggy,” and the Ruffins furnished the horse.
The two boarded during the winter with a Mrs. Bullington. She lived about a half mile from the school in a “quaint” tenant house.
One afternoon, one of the older boys was sent to “hitch up” the horse and bring the buggy around for the ride home.
The horse was gone.
Mrs. Ewing learned of the trouble and invited both women to spend the night at Glenraven. Even after many years, Mable Ruffin recalled the gracious hostess and the wonderful evening there.
She was able to call home from Glenraven and found that “Old Polly” had come home on her own.
In 1920, Glenraven School was closed and consolidated with other county schools.
Felix Ewing is remembered with displeasure by some people. Others saw him with respect, a man before his time, a friend of the farmer.
It was said of Mrs. Ewing that she “devoted her entire life to doing something useful for the Community.”The Episcopal Chapel and Glenraven School were part of her efforts.
In the Eagle’s Eye is sponsored by the Robertson County Historical Society. Call 615-382-7173 for more information.