On August 11, 1886, a Charter of Corporation was issued, known as the Masonic Widows’ and Orphans’ Home Fund. It was founded by Mrs. Sally Hill Claiborne and the land was donated by Colonel Jere Baxter. The home was designed to offer refuge to Masonic Widows and their children. A school was also established to enable the children to receive a proper education. The home was located on 220 acres outside of Nashville. Many farm products were produced and a dairy herd was maintained to help with the overall operation expense. Other sources of income were made possible by the Grand Lodge and personal gifts. The home continued to operate with a capacity of 400 residents until the early 1930’s when applicants were given a choice of entering the home or remaining in their own area and receiving financial aid. In a few years the home was empty and the property was sold to the State of Tennessee.
Nashville Masonic Widows & Children’s Home
Submitted by Carolyn Garrison
In memory of my Grandmother, Mother, and three Aunts.
My Mother told us stories about the Home while we were growing up. The women at the home had to do all the work of cleaning, cooking, washing, etc. The children had to attend Chapel every morning before they started their day.
My Mother told us they had a sign language of their own to help the others in class when spelling bees were held (and they would talk to one another by sign in class hoping not to get caught). She taught us the signs and just today I tried it and I still remember all the letters she formed with her hands.
Thanks for accepting this photo, perhaps there are others who had family members live there and never saw a picture of the Home.