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Friday, Jan. 20, 2017

Picturing the Past 66: Laying down the law

Posted Tuesday, June 22, 2010, at 8:17 AM

Shelbyville attorneys from around the turn of the century 110 or so years ago. (Photo montage submitted by Jerry Cook)
We're going much further back this week on our main photo, or, actually, photos.

These men are Shelbyville lawyers from, I'd guess, the period 1890-1910, in a photo montage brought in by Jerry Cook.

Four are identified, and note the numbers by each photo: Edmond Cooper, who is in the large photo in the middle (number 7); Walter Scott Bearden (number 5, in the middle on the top row); Clement Jeremiah Moody (number 13, on the right in the third row to the right of Cooper); and Ernest Coldwell (number 14, just below Moody).

I imagine a few readers may be able to identify more of them. Definitely no shortage of chin hair here.

Sorry the photo montage isn't any larger but it's as large as our web setup could get it.


Here's a look at "The Old Rock House" from a photo listed here as by "Jno. W. Ruth and Sons." Where was it? I guess the publishers of the photo were the same Ruth family that operated businesses here into the mid-20th century. Thanks to Don Hoover for the contribution.

Picturing the Past is featured each Tuesday in this blog. Reader contributions are welcome.

Showing comments in chronological order
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David, the Jno. W. Ruth company published many different postcards of Shelbyville scenes. They sold them in their store, located on Deery St. Regarding the Old Rock House, I'm sure someone can chime in more specific information, but it was located on the left out Wartrace Pike (Hwy. 64) somewhere in the neighborhood of Bethany Lane, or just past there. Information about the builder, etc. has been fairly well documented. I have it in my files, but not at my fingertips currently. It seems that the Old Rock House was a favorite of postcard publishers. There are 3 or 4 different views of it in the Bedford County Historical Society's Postcard book published in 2007. There are a couple of real photo postcards made by Ewing Dickerson.

-- Posted by marnold1118 on Tue, Jun 22, 2010, at 8:29 AM

marnold1118, I only remember Jno.W.Ruth Company being on Depot Street across from Daughtery's Drug Store? When did they first open a store in Shelbyville. You are a wealth of information that adds a lot to David's blogs.

I can't imagine so many attorneys for such a small town at the turn of the century. Was the Edmond Cooper the father of Prentice Cooper?

-- Posted by cookie on Tue, Jun 22, 2010, at 8:52 AM

Cookie, Oops, Jno. W. Ruth was NEVER on Deery St. it was Depot St. Somehow, my mind and my typing finger were not on the same page. Thanks for catching that.

-- Posted by marnold1118 on Tue, Jun 22, 2010, at 9:12 AM

bottom row 2nd from the left sure looks like Chris Brown....gosh he's alot older than I thought, lol.

-- Posted by greasemonkey on Tue, Jun 22, 2010, at 9:55 AM

cookie, I am not sure about Edmond Cooper, but I believe that he was a different set of Coopers. Our former Governor was William Prentice Cooper, Jr. His father (W.P.) was William Prentice Cooper, Sr., and his father was James (Jimmy)William Cooper.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Jun 22, 2010, at 10:01 AM

Lawyers of the Shelbyville Bar--Edmond Cooper was not related to Prentice Cooper. He was born in Maury Co., Tn in 1821 and was the private secretary to President Andrew Johnson. He came to Shelbyville about the 1840's to practice law and was a brother to U.S. Senator Henry Cooper of Shelbyville. It is recorded on the wood frame of the picture "This picture was made in the fall of 1890" All the men in the photo identified here are correct but for Walter Scott Bearden. He is in the first photo at the bottom left of the picture. Also Thomas H. Coldwell who died in 1891 and Robert P. Frierson who died in 1893, both of Shelbyville are in the pictures, but do not know which picture.

-- Posted by Highway64 on Wed, Jun 23, 2010, at 7:44 AM

Cookie...regarding attorneys in early Shelbyville, I looked in my oldest Shelbyville city directory--1857--and there were 14 different law firms. However, most were sole practitioners. It seems like a disproportionate number, doesn't it?

-- Posted by marnold1118 on Wed, Jun 23, 2010, at 7:47 AM

marnold1118, I wonder if these attorneys were also farmers, because because of the disproportionate number. It is interesting to see the familiar names like Bearden, Frierson, and Moody.

Would love to hear more about the Rock House. I don't recall ever hearing anything about it.

-- Posted by cookie on Wed, Jun 23, 2010, at 8:31 AM

I will have to look in my historical reference books, but I believe that marnold1118 is correct in placing it just past Bethany Lane on the Wartrace Pike. In the postcard book it is mentioned that it was built by an African-American man.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Jun 23, 2010, at 8:34 AM

Approximately when was the Rock House built, and who were the occupants? When was it torn down? This is so interesting that I hope that someone can comment more on it.

-- Posted by cookie on Wed, Jun 23, 2010, at 8:55 AM

The "Pictoral History of Bedford County"

1994,page 138 also shows the house and says it was built by"Uncle" Joe Frierson in 1860's or 1870's. The lower part was a barn and the upper part was his home. It was torn down in 1939 or 1940.

-- Posted by Cal t on Wed, Jun 23, 2010, at 8:59 AM

I think that Cal_t relayed about all that is generally known about the Rock House. I intend to search thru my files tonight and see if there are any clippings, etc. I do have 2 or 3 postcards or photos...if that would be of any help.

-- Posted by marnold1118 on Wed, Jun 23, 2010, at 11:06 AM

I was just looking again at the "Rock house"

post card pic and was wondering if the rock

fence was removed also or is it part of an

existing driveway right now.

-- Posted by Cal t on Fri, Jun 25, 2010, at 9:12 PM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.