Thursday at the 117th SCV Reunion in Murfreesboro included a couple interesting tours, one of the SCV National Headquarters at Elm Springs and one of Gen. N.B. Forrest's boyhood home.
Col. Abrams Looney's family donated Elm Springs to the SCV. Looney was a Colonel in the 27th TN Infantry and was a lawyer and State Senator. he was born in 1820 and dies in 1904. One soldier is actually buried on the Elm Springs property. The home was originally built in 1832 in a Greek Revival style and has what at the time was the biggest parlor in the county. A blight killed 50 elm trees for which the property was named. From the entry foyer, stairs specifically for adults led to the bedrooms upstairs; children and servants had a separate flight of stairs. The piano in the front parlor was at one time in the Governors mansion. That same room has a spiral candlestick holder which allowed for the movement of the candle so that the parents could change and gage the length of time suitors came for their visits with the young ladies of the house. The back left parlor has windows to the floor which allowed for the movement of caskets into the room for those somber visitation occasions. The house contains all period furnishings with shallow fireplaces which helped move the heat into the rooms. The brick used in the house was made on site and the floors were made of wide poplar. One of the bedrooms upstairs is allegedly haunted - it is said the ghost of a woman can be seen gazing out the front window and also that another of a child who was smothered by a Yankee soldier in the child's bed still in the room. The same bedroom has a large four post bed moved here from a nearby home and supposedly at the end of the War, the woman of that house was granted permission to take one piece of furniture from her home before it was burned and razed. The posts of the bed are hollow and she placed all her valuables including silverware and jewelry in these posts and lived off this fortune after the War. The dining room has portraits of Confederate Generals and a period dining room table on loan from the Murray County Historical Society. The board room of the SCV is downstairs in another separate section of the house and includes models of the CSS Alabama and CSA Tennessee. Separate display cases include swords, guns and a pike hung atop the largest of the displays as well as programs and buttons and medals from prior UCV, UDC and SCV Reunions, Confederate money, a CSA Signal Corps frock coat and a crystal set from Gen. Frank Crawford Armstrong.
Forrest's boyhood home was similarly built in the 1830s. The SCV purchased the property when it had fell into ruins after the State of TN allowed it to deteriorate after politically correct legislatures failed to allocate money for the maintenance. 49 acres were originally included with the home and an additional adjacent 7 acres have subsequently been purchased. At the time the house was purchased, the house and barn has literally almost fallen in and the sheds on either side of the barn had completely. The blacksmith shop around the back of the house was actually a structure moved from a nearby farm. A grave can be found in the backyard but it is unknown who or what is buried there. Other families lived in the home until the 1960s despite it not have electricity or running water. A well was located some distance from the house. Dragoons 1st Lt. Waldo was sure to purchase a piece of wood from the original home/barn which were being sold to help raise money for continued restoration and preservation efforts.