4. How Brentwood Got its Name and Was Started
Brentwood got its start as a settlement because of roads. Wilson Pike and Franklin Pike, two of the oldest and original routes north and south in the area, nearly converge at a point in where what is today the north end of Brentwood. All that traffic at the crossroads, as well as a railroad stop, made Brentwood ideal for commercial development and residential settlement.
By the mid-1800s various farms and plantations had sprung up in the area, but it could hardly be called a village or town. There were a few stores and businesses near the area of what is today town center, such as Captain John Frost’s grist mill, general store and post office as well as a distillery. The Crockett family had been operating an iron forge and gunsmithing operation since the early 1800s.
But it was J.W.M. Wall and F.J. Pecantet, two early speculators and developers, who saw the opportunity to create a town out of scratch in the early 1850s.
They bought a parcel of land that lay both in Williamson and Davidson Counties at the confluence of Wilson and Franklin Pikes and the railroad. They laid out a town and dubbed it The Village of Brentwood, dividing up nearly 100 lots. Streets were laid out and named after trees: Elm, Ash, Maple, Oak. Businesses and homes were built up and by the late 1850s the idea had become a bona fide village.
As for why Brentwood, it simply sounded attractive to the early developers, is the most likely answer, according to one story.
The first official use of the name was in 1856, when the first official post office opened. Another idea comes from the historian Richard Fulcher, who notes that the home of a Horatio McNish, built in the area in 1827, was named Brentwood after his ancestors in Virginia, the Brents, who came from Brenton, and Woodstock, another ancestral home.
Brentwood was born.