Bedford County TN Biographies


A man of broad culture and high mental attainments, Professor Alfred J. Brandon, of Shelbyville, head master of the Brandon Training School, has achieved honor and dis­tinction in his profession, being widely and favorably known not only as a most capable and efficient educator, but for his connection in an official capacity with various county and state organizations composed of teachers. A native of Tennessee, he was born in Rutherford county, a son of Rev. Andrew J. Brandon, and grandson of Joseph Brandon, one of the earlier settlers of Cannon county, this state.

His great-grandfather, Armstrong Brandon, was born in England during the latter part of the eighteenth century. In boyhood, while playing on the beach with his brother, he unfortunately cut him with a blade of grass, making a deep gash on his neck. Although the cutting was purely accidental, the two boys having been at play, Armstrong, fearing the wrath of his father, who was a very stern parent, ran away from home, emigrating to America, and never again hearing from any of his people. He settled in North Carolina, where he married, and reared his family, living there until his death.

Born and reared in North Carolina, Joseph Brandon migrated to Tennessee in pioneer days, making the overland trip with teams, and being long on the way, often having to blaze his own trail Taking up land in Cannon county, he cleared and improved a farm, on which he resided the remainder of his years. He married Sally Tenpenny, who was of German ancestry.

Andrew J. Brandon was born, in 1829, on the home farm, near Woodbury, Cannon county, where he received his rudimentary educa­tion. Joining the Missionary Baptist church at the age of eighteen years, he studied for the ministry, and later held pastorates in the Missionary Baptist churches of Cannon, Smith, Wilson, Bedford, and Franklin counties, being active in his ministerial labors for nearly half a century. He spent his last days retired, in Christiana, Rutherford• county, passing away in the eighty-first year of his age. He married Melissa Lowe, who was born in Rutherford county, a daughter of Alfred Price and Melissa (Jetton) Lowe, and is now living in Chris­tiana.

The only child of his parents, Alfred J. Brandon received his early mental training in the public schools of his native county, after which he continued his studies at Union University, and at the Winchester Normal College, where he was graduated, in 1884, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Immediately beginning his active career as a teacher, Professor Brandon taught for seven years in the Hermitage Institute, and the following two years was president of Woodbury College. Accepting then a position in Union University, he was an instructor

there for a year and a half, after which he was for a year connected with the Bethel Training School at Guthrie, Kentucky. Retiring then to his farm in Christiana, the professor spent a year there, resting and recuperating. Professor Brandon then established the Brandon Train­ing School at Wartrace, where he conducted it successfully for eleven years, when he transferred it to Tullahoma, where he remained for three years. In need then of rest and recreation, the professor gave up teaching for a year, and went to Colorado to recuperate. After spending a year in the invigorating air of the mountains of that state, he returned to Tennessee to accept his present position as head mas­ter of the Brandon Training School in Shelbyville. This institution has flourished under his able management, and in 1912 opened its ses­sions in one of the best planned and best equipped school buildings in the country. In this, its first year, over six hundred pupils are enrolled, representing five states of the Union, and many of the counties of Tennessee.

Prominent and popular in educational circles, Professor Brandon has served as president of the Public School Officers’ Association; as president of the Private School section of the State Teachers’ Associa­tion; and as chairman of the Teachers’ Conference of Cumberland Uni­versity; and of the High School section of the Middle Tennessee Teachers’ Association. He is an active member of the American Geo­graphical Society, and in 1891 edited the Cannon Courier, at Woodbury. Fraternally Professor Brandon belongs to the Wartrace Lodge, No. 536, Ancient Free and Accepted Order of Masons; and is also a member of Pythagoras Chapter, No. 150, Royal Arch Masons; and of the Knights Templar, Commandery No. 10. He is a. member of the Missionary Baptist church at Christiana, where he has served many years as deacon, and while in Murfreesboro he was superintendent of the Sunday School. He was moderator of Concord Baptist Association for seven years.

Professor Brandon married January 2, 1889, Addie Lyon, daughter of Reverend P. A. and Mary (Lowe) Lyon, and they are parents of four children, namely: Lyon W., Hazel P., James Dean, and Alfred J. Jr.
Source: Tennessee the Volunteer State Vol 4

Another Biography:

BRANDON, Alfred Joseph, teacher; born Murfreesboro, Tenn., Nov. 19, 1866; English-German descent; son of Andrew J. and Melissa P. (Lowe) Brandon; father’s occupation minister of the gospel (Baptist); paternal grandparents Joseph A. and Sallie (Tenpenny) Brandon; maternal grandparents Alfred P. and Mary (Kirk) Lowe; educated Union University, Murfreesboro, Tenn., graduated from Winchester Normal College and finished A.B. course in 1884; entered educational work in early life, and became principal of Hermitage Institute, later president of Woodbury (Tenn.) College, headmaster of Bethel Training School; founder and headmaster of Brandon Training School, Wartrace, Tenn., which position he now holds; married Addie Lyon Jan. 2, 1889; Royal Arch Mason; president of Public School Officers’ Association of Tennessee, vice-president of State Teachers Association and president High School Department M.T.E. Association; member and deacon in Baptist church.
Source: Who’s Who in Tennessee, Memphis: Paul & Douglass Co., Publishers, 1911; transcribed by Kim Mohler

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