A memory of E. Main
d n english
Before I get into this story I want to admit when I am writing I sometime leave out words. Always have always will that’s why you will see an edit suddenly appear. It is a case brain completing a thought and me not checking for forgotten words. I just want to get the story out before I forget.. All i want is you to enjoy the story and time gaze with me
Ok that being said I want to tell you about two ladies my Grandmother English knew in Jackson. I met them in the mid 50’s when Grandmother would come visit. They both lived on East Main in grand homes.
The first was Miss Mary Timberlake (1876-1970) at 601 E. Main. This was her family home built by her father William P.
Timberlake in the 1870’s. Mr. Timberlake was a cotton merchant/broker from Mississippi. The house was a big Spanish style home.
Now in the 50’s you did not just drop by (at least Grandmother didn’t ) she would send a note to let Miss Mary she would be in
Jackson shopping and would ask what day would be good to visit. Then she would wait for an answer before planning the trip. Why no telephone call because Miss Mary did not a telephone and Grandmother was conservative and would not pay for a long distant call. The other thing I was always instructed to carry a note pad to record what I heard or interview the ladies we visited so “ I could learn about other individuals history” as Grandmother would say.
Over the years these two ladies had many correspondence concerning both DAR and Daughters of the Confederacy. Grandmother with the aid of Miss Mary would do the research for ladies that would want to join these organizations or just wanted family histories.
The date was set and off we go to Jackson to shop and visit.
Nine times out of ten we would go to Holland’s to get those blasted white gloves grandmother would make me wear to church.
On this day we arrived at Miss Mary’s on a beautiful fall day.
We were invited into this home by the housekeeper and taken
to the Parlor/Library. Miss Mary was sitting at her desk but came around to embrace my Grandmother at this time I was told I could go to the kitchen for a cookie.
Miss Mary was amazing woman known for her research and her speaking at various clubs. She was an officer and known all
over the country for her knowledge in the Daughters of the America Revolution and as the historian for the Daughters of the Confederacy.
Before I left the room I could not help but notice all the books and boxes of papers. Then on the tables were these beautiful stain glass lamps and the candles. As I passed the Dining room there was this massive chandelier holding candles and beautiful candles sticks all over the rooms. The kitchen had a big old fashion wood stove.
As I sat and enjoyed my cookie I looked out the back door there was a house with a covered walk way to it. The lady explained that was the original cook shed or kitchen. The food would be prepared the brought to the dining room on covered serving carts in the old days. Then she explained that this big house did not have electricity, plumbing or gas for many years. She said it had only been less than 20 years that the city made the Timberlake’s to upgrade for sanitary reasons. She added that Miss Mary would not use the lights. “That lady is stuck in the 1890’s my dear she is smart and talented but different.” She said
I was allowed to go up the back stairs to look at the upstairs rooms. There were boxes and books all over the place none of the bedrooms were being used. While I was over by one of the fireplaces it got real cold but it wasn’t a scary cold but you could just feel like someone was there.
As I was coming down the front stairs I heard Grandmother ending her visit. I went back to the parlor to say good bye.
Miss Mary asked me to sit when I did she proceeded to tell me to continue my writing. (Of course my Grandmother had brought one of my stories for her to read.)
She then went on to explain how important the research of the past was so people would not forget. I was in awe that this great lady took time to give this 11 year old girl advice.
I will never forget that day and of course I had my notes.
In the 60’s the family had Miss Mary moved to a nursing home since she was in bad health. The house was boarded up and the ghost stories started kids would dare each other to spend the night on the property.
Then in 1970 she passed away and the estate sold the property to Union University .
After all the beautiful furniture and possessions were sold in an Estate sale. Union held an open house right before they tore the house down. People came from all over the state to go through the papers and books. Books and boxes of information went out the doors that day. Over the next few days the high bidders came and got the fireplaces, doors, windows and other
The dozer came and this piece of Jackson history was gone.
I found this story in a hat box my Grandmother gave me before she died. The box was full of a lot of stories I had written over the years. You know “what did you do this summer? Etc”
Along with many of the letters from Miss Mary dating back to the 30’s and other bits and pieces of our history including “ interview books” and of course there was a pair of those white gloves. Over the years I have lost a lot of those bits and pieces but the memories are still with me.
This is my story and experiences of being in this beautiful home. I mean it was old and needed some repairs but you could just imagine what it looked like in it’s prime. It was also just such a privilege to be in the presence of this great lady, Miss Mary Timberlake.
Next story will be about Mrs. Fred Smith of 601 E Main.
There are pictures and more information on the Timberlake’s of 601 E Main in the Tennessee Room at the JMCL.
Mary Eleanor Timberlake
Birthdate: July 30, 1876
Death: September 1970 (94)
Place of Burial: Riverside Cemetery Jackson Madison County Tennessee
Daughter of William Poindexter Timberlake and Susan Josephine Timberlake
Sister of William Gilmer Timberlake and Charles Richard Timberlake