Murfreesboro in Rutherford County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
The Maney Family
With a family fortune built upon agriculture, land speculation, slavery, medicine, textiles, and other ventures, the Maneys were heavily involved in the economic, religious, and educational development of Murfreesboro. Like many wealthy Southern families, the Maneys experienced hardship after the Civil War.
Dr. James Maney and Sally Hardy Murfree Maney
Sally Hardy Murfree (1793-1857) and Dr. James Maney (1790-1872) were married on July 23, 1812, in North Carolina, and moved to Rutherford County, Tennessee, by 1820. At that time, Murfreesboro was the state capital and an emerging social and economic center. The Maneys started building Oaklands between 1815 and 1820.
The Maneys had two daughters and six sons. Four of these children died over a year's time in 1838-39.
After Sally Maney's death in 1857, Dr. Maney passed management of the Oaklands estate to his son Lewis and divided the land among his three remaining children. Dr. Maney, Sally Maney and several of their children are buried in the "Old City Cemetery" on Vine Street.
The Maney Sons
The eldest surviving son, Lewis
Newton Cannon Maney (1849-1934), the first son of Lewis and Adeline, attended Kentucky Military Institute. He served as mayor of Murfreesboro from 1918 to 1922 and again from 1929 to 1934. Newton is responsible for refiling Dr. Maney’s war claim in 1907.
Lewis and Adeline, several of their children and many Maney family slaves are buried in Evergreen Cemetery, the lands of which was once part of the Oaklands estate.
Lewis’s brother was David Dickinson Maney, known as D.D. Maney )1828-1899). In 1849, he married Mary L. Bell, a daughter of Tennessee politician John Bell, who ran against Republican Abraham Lincoln in the 1860 Presidential election.
On May 2, 1861, D. D. enlisted in the “Rutherford Rifles,” Company I, 1st Tennessee Regiment, Confederate States of America, making him the only Maney son to fight in the Civil War. D.D. Maney survived the war and became a Tennessee State senator in 1877. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery.
An Early Medical Practice
Dr. Maney was one of the first and most prominent medical doctors in the country. He attended the University of Pennsylvania medical school in Philadelphia, the nation’s foremost medical institution at
Dr. Maney established a medical practice in Murfreesboro by 1825 and by 1830 helped charter the Tennessee State Medical Society, later known as the Tennessee Medical Association. The association was formed to regulate and improve the practice of medicine in Tennessee at a time when medical training and licensing were not required.
Dr. Maney possessed an early and continuing interest in education. He served as a trustee for Bradley Academy, the first school for white boys in Murfreesboro. Bradley became a school for African-American children in 1884 and is now a museum.
Dr. Maney was a trustee for Soule College, the first female-only school in the county. He also helped establish the female-only Eaton College by selling the land for the school. Soule and Eaton colleges no longer exist.
A Fortune Made and Lost
In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Maney was a slave holding planter who owned four tracts of land in and around Murfreesboro, as well as farms in West Tennessee and Mississippi before the Civil War.
Dr. Maney and his sons prospered through land speculation, the slave trade, and agriculture. They operated a cotton spinning factory, a dry goods store and other businesses in Murfreesboro.
During the antebellum period, Dr. Maney owned as much as 5,000 acres
At Oaklands, the Maneys’ slaves grew crops such cotton, tobacco, corn and other products and raised assorted livestock for consumption and sale.
When the railroad came to Murfreesboro in 1851, it brought unprecedented economic opportunity. The Maney family took advantage of new opportunities in land speculation, mercantile enterprise, textile manufacturing and the slave trade.
The Maney’s economic fortunes declined after the Civil War due to the abolition of slavery and the decline of slavery-dependent agriculture, property damages and losses sustained during the war, legal troubles and a national economic depression in the 1870s. After the war, the Maneys subsisted largely through land purchases and sales.
The Maney's economic fortunes declined after the Civil War due to the abolition of slavery and the decline of slavery-dependent agriculture, property damages and losses sustained during the war, legal troubles and a national economic depression in the 1870s. After the war, the Maneys subsisted largely through land purchases and sales.
A devout family, the Maneys worshiped at the First Presbyterian Church, which stood on present-day Vine Street until it was torn down by the Union
The Maney Family War Claim
In October 1872, Dr. Maney filed a war claim with the Southern Claims Commission, a federal body that compensated Southerners loyal to the Union during the Civil War. Dr. Maney’s $27,012 claim sought to recoup losses, specifically wood, timber and fence rails taken by the Union Army during its occupation of Murfreesboro. To receive compensation, the family had to convince the court of Dr. Maney’s loyalty to the Union.
Dr. Maney died before his claim could be heard. Under federal rules, the Maneys had to transport all witnesses to Washington, D.C., at their own expense. Moreover, Tennessee laws forbade estate funds to be used to transport witnesses to Washington.
In 1907, Newton Maney refiled the claim and gathered witnesses to testify on Dr. Maney’s behalf. One witness characterized Dr. Maney as a “Union man…generally considered as loyal during the War.” Although the family did not support secession, they sided with the Confederacy when the war broke out.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Agriculture • Charity & Public Work • Education • Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers • War, US Civil.
Location. 35° 51.289′ N, 86° 23.135′ W. Marker is in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in Rutherford County. Marker can be reached from North Maney Avenue north of Roberts Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 900 N Maney Ave, Murfreesboro TN 37130, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Oaklands Mansion (here, next to this marker); Forrest’s Murfreesboro Raid (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Oaklands Mansion (about 300 feet away); N. B. Forrest's Raid on Murfreesboro (about 300 feet away); Agriculture and Gardening (about 400 feet away); The Civil War (about 600 feet away); Wetland Plants and Animals (about 600 feet away); Evergreen Cemetery (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Murfreesboro.
Also see . . . Oaklands Mansion(Submitted on November 30, 2015.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 11, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 27, 2015, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. This page has been viewed 407 times since then and 33 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on November 27, 2015, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. 6. submitted on June 10, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. 7. submitted on November 27, 2015, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.