I went mainly to support Dr. Jack Macon, my favorite historical Nashvillian (followed closely by Timothy Demonbreun and his soap-opera-esque clusterfuck), but I was like a kid in a candy store.Sue Allen's sister and brother-in-law lived during Sue's time as a medium. This part of the house is the original Rutledge house and that side door was probably the front door. The Baxters put on an addition that changed the orientation of the house.
But that wasn't the only Sue Allen connection! Laura Stevenson Archer Turpin, portrayed by Jan Wallace, told the sad tale of her son White who was gravely injured in the Battle of Nashville and then taken to Mrs. John Ewin's house to recuperate (before being carted off by the Yankees, in whose company he died). Mrs. John Ewin? Sue Allen's mom. It makes sense that Mrs. Ewin would have been taking in and nursing wounded Confederates. Her own son, Metcalf Perkins, was killed in the war, as was her stepson, Henry Ewin. Wallace, as Turpin, also sang a beautiful a cappella number.
They even had three kids dressed up and talking about all of the children buried in the cemetery. There are thousands and it was a nice reminder why people had so many children — in those days, so many things could take them from you. I was really impressed by how good the kid that gave the speech was, too.
I also really appreciate that they feature African American Nashvillians. Quatrece McKinney was Sarah Elizabeth Porter, who along with her husband agitated for black kids to be able to go to high school. It seems like there's probably a little more to the story than we got to hear in the short amount of time we had, but it sure seemed like the Porters were arguing for integration at first — that their kids be allowed to go to high school, period. It's a good reminder that things were not all peachy-keen until Northern and communist agitators ruined it for everyone. People like Porter, who were born enslaved, understood what it was going to take for them to be equal citizens.
It's good to hear all these stories and have them shared as a part of Nashville's rich history.
Thompson said that Macon's office — at 20 Front Street — would probably have been where the Hard Rock is. But Tom Wood has me convinced that in Macon's time, 20 Front Street might have been up near the public square. Either way, both were good places for a doctor.
The only part I wish they'd touched on is that, yes, Jack was owned by William Macon down in Maury County, but Jack was a good seven or eight years older than William. William may have owned Jack, but Jack would have raised William. I think it's also only right that we raise our eyebrow to the fact that William's father, son, uncle and great-grandfather were all named "John" and Jack's name is, obviously, a nickname for John. Hmm.
Seriously, people, if there had been some incorporation of Timothy Demonbreun (though I don't know how they would have done it), I would have thought they'd designed the tour specifically to touch on my interests.
It was great.
I also want to mention that early in our tour, our guide spotted an elderly woman who looked like she might need a little assistance. Without making a big deal, he made sure that his arm was available to her to take if necessary and that she had places to sit as needed. He also kept the group moving at a slow but steady pace so that she was able to keep up. He didn't make a big deal of it. If I hadn't been there by myself, I wouldn't have even noticed it. But I thought it was incredibly kind and generous, so I wanted to give him public props.
I have more pictures at Tiny Cat Pants, which are all pretty terrible, but at least you'll get a good idea of things.