Franklin Civil War Hospital and Barracks
Oldest Episcopal Church in Tennessee
510 West Main Street
Franklin, TN 37064
“St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was founded on August 27, 1827 in a room of the Hiram Masonic Lodge #7 in Franklin, Tennessee. The church edifice was not started until 1831 and when completed in 1834 it was called a “three-decker” building which included the nave, slave galleries, and undercroft.
When the War Between the States commenced the church closed its doors and the rector of St. Paul’s resigned and joined the Confederate Army of Tennessee. In February of 1862 with the fall of Ft. Donelson, Franklin became occupied by Union soldiers who used the church as a barracks. Being winter, the pews and pipe organ were burned for firewood. The interior columns were damaged to build watering troughs for the horses and this evidence is still visible today. The fair linen became saddlecloths for the commanders’ horses. Fortunately, the altar silver and Parish Register were saved—but only because they had been buried across the street.
Following the bloody Battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864, St. Paul’s was used as a hospital for wounded troops—first by the Federals and then later by the Confederates. When it was all over, nothing much more than the thick walls were left intact.
After the war, the church was used as a carpenter’s shop and a stable for horses! It was rat-infested in 1869 when Reverend Bradley from Memphis made plans to restore the sacred place. He went across the country collecting donations and returned with nearly $2,000 in gold (a small fortune for the day). The back taxes now having been paid, the roof was lowered as they removed the slave galleries that were no longer needed and the bricks were recycled to build Founder’s Hall behind the church to be used as a rectory for the priest’s family. St. Paul’s was re-consecrated in 1871 by Bishop Charles Todd Quintard who succeeded Bishop Otey, who had died during the war. Later, in 1902, the church won a lawsuit against the United States government for damages sustained during the Civil War and was awarded a judgment of nearly $2,000”… read more about St. Paul’s
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