At 10:00 o'clock Thursday morning (10/18/2012) a large group of citizens and members of the Daughters of the American Revolution gathered at the Old City Cemetery on Vine Street for a special ceremony involving the renovation of a monument the Colonel Hardy Murfree Chapter dedicated almost 80-years ago.
The monument denoting Murfreesboro's first church, First Presbyterian, was originally dedicated on October 19, 1933, just one-day off of the rededication date. It was placed on the exact location where the church stood prior to the Civil War.
Colonel Hardy Murfree Chapter Regent Andrea Calfee told WGNS News . . .
Calfee said that Margaret Brevard Haynes was the regent of the chapter when the monument was originally dedicated. Years of exposure to the elements created the need to restore the Tnnessee limestone block.
This event was another part of the City of Murfreesboro's Bicentennial Celebration that will conclude in a few weeks.
DAR's Sarah King Arrived In Style
Bubba Woodfin chauffeured DAR's Past Regent and former President General Sarah King to the event in his 1930 Packard. When Bubba's beautiful classic stopped in front of the Old City Cemetery, Murfreesboro Mayor Tommy Bragg welcomed her and thanked her for her past service to the community.
Mrs. King commented . . .
The ceremony included the Presentation of Colors done by the Junior ROTC Color Guard from Riverdale High School.
DAR Rededicates First Presbyterian Monument
Current First Presbyterian Minister John Hinkle did the rededication prayer. After the event, he commented . . .
(Above L-R photo ID) First Presbyterian's Rev. John Hinkle, Chapter Historic Preservation Chairman Glenda Dyer, Murfreesboro Mayor Tommy Bragg.
DAR Compiled History of the Church
The monument's inscription acknowledges the significance of the church in the history of Murfreesboro and the state. It also lists the 18 pioneers who organized the church in April, 1812 under the leadership of Reverend Robert Henderson.
Colonel Hardy Murfree Chapter Historic Preservation Chairman Glenda Dyer shared her research on the history of First Presbyterian.
It was organized as the Murfree Springs Church, with its members meeting in a log school house near the spring where the Discovery Center is now located. The congregation grew, and in October, 1818, they changed their name to First Presbyterian. In 1820 they built a new brick structure about a half-mile away on what is now known as Vine Street, where the Old City Cemetery is located. This was the city's first brick structure. It was built on land donated to the congregation by Revolutionary War Hero Captain William Lytle. He deeded the land to the church for one-dollar.
Dyer told those in attendance to the rededication of the DAR's monument that the church was also used as Tennessee's capitol building in 1822, after the Rutherford County courthouse burned. It also served as a field hospital during the Civil War. In 1864, it was demolished by Union troops with the bricks being used to build chimneys and structures for use around Fortress Rosecrans.
The congregation established the Presbyterian Burying Ground in 1820 on the east and south sides of the original building. In 1837, Murfreesboro purchased the land and created the city's first public cemetery. They closed it in 1872 after the city established Evergreen Cemetery.
In 1868, the congregation rebuilt a few blocks away at the corner of College and Spring Streets, its current location. Only a few reminders of that building remain, because a tornado ripped through Murfreesboro in 1913. They rebuilt and continue to add to the church at this same location.
The Daughters of the American Revolution was founded 122 years ago, and the local Colonel Hardy Murfree Chapter celebrated its 102nd anniversary this past April 25, 2012. Members are women who have a descendant of a patriot who served in the Revolutionary War as a soldier or relative who gave aid to the cause. The service organization emphasizes patriotism, the preservation of American history, and the promotion of literacy.
Check their website for more information: http://www.tndar.org/~colhardymurfree/