Juliet Ryall Ashley
Albert Ryall Ashley
The location of Woodlawn Farm, on the old Tullahoma Road in the 23rd district, is a physical reminder of nineteenth century transportation patterns. In the early decades of settlement, roads connected farmhouse to farmhouse. The roads often followed the path of least resistance. Both of these tendencies largely account for the winding nature of nineteenth century roadways. Woodlawn Farm dates to the 1798 land acquisition of Walter Sims, a Pennsylvania native. He willed 600 acres to his granddaughter Elizabeth Scudder Ryall in 1821 and it would be her family who actually established Woodlawn. She and her husband had eight children and their 1820s log and weatherboard homestead was still occupied in 1976.
Albert Prentice Hall, a notable Bedford County doctor, was the third owner of Woodlawn. As a surgeon for the Confederate Army, Albert Ryall commanded the army’s hospitals in Alabama. Ryall also continued to manage Woodlawn and throughout the middle decades of the nineteenth-century the farm produced corn, wheat, hay, cattle, sheep, hogs, turkeys, and chickens.
When Mrs. Albert P. Ryall died in 1945, the great great granddaughter of Walter Sims, Juliet Ryall Ashley, inherited a farm of 300 acres. Today, her son Albert manages the land and produces cattle, tobacco and hay. With the original homestead still standing, along with a cedar log barn more than a century old, Woodlawn retains a nineteenth-century sense of time and place.