History of Campbell County, Tennessee
 

Time Line

EACH OF TENNESSEE'S THREE GRAND DIVISIONS HAS ITS OWN DISTINCTIVE MANNERS, CULTURE

By Dallas Bogan

Reprinted with Permission from Dallas Bogan.  This article was published in the LaFollette Press.

    

     The official state flag of Tennessee was adopted on April 17, 1905. LeRoy Reeves of the Third Regiment of the Tennessee Infantry designed this flag. The three white stars in the center symbolize the three different geographical regions or an hour's conservation of Tennessee: the Great Smoky Mountains (in eastern Tennessee), the highlands (in central Tennessee) and the lowlands (in western Tennessee, by the Mississippi River). The white circle binds them together. The blue stripe along the margin was added for when the flag is hanging with the stripe, not only the red shows while the flag is hanging.

     Tennesseans lives are deliberate, they being unhurried. They all occasionally complain about the weather, crops, bad business and politics, but beneath all this they have an immense feeling of security. The farmer will leave his plowing, the lawyer his lawsuit, the business man his accounts, all for a moment's or an hour's conservation with a stranger or friend.
Accumulated in the Volunteer State is a strong sense of family, kin and clan. Blood relationships stand out as the greatest single connection between these hardy people. These relationships surely influence county and local politics and business affairs. When a local politician announces his intention to run for office all his kinfolk start electioneering for him. No one stands in the way of a family relationship.

     Tennessee is an agricultural State with the culture of its people growing out of their struggle with the earth. And still the urban areas are dominated by the traditions of farm life.

     East, Middle, and West Tennessee are the three geographic divisions that lend to the state its belief of three separate states. The residents of the State are alike in their heritage and in general attitude, but there are conspicuous differences in the sections as to manners and customs. These differences range from the people of the Appalachian Mountain regions to those of the Mississippi Delta.

     Between the North Carolina line and the Cumberland Plateau is East Tennessee, an upland region whose high mountains, thickly wooded foothills, broken knob country, and narrow valleys have made it, until recent years, the most shut-in section of the State. In this section are the misty walls of the Great Smokies, the slender ridges of the Unakas and the Clinch Mountains. Within this portion of the Tennessee Valley lies Norris Dam, one of the chief components of the Tennessee Valley Authority's vast projects.

     This region is the home of the mountain folk, descendants of British, Huguenot, and Pennsylvania. These pioneers built their log cabins deep among the ridges. These rugged people, for many years, were content to live their lives, as did the first white men. Throughout Tennessee, for many years, the cabins of old frontier days, with their little porthole-like windows, stood as a symbol to the rugged mountaineers and pioneer who first traversed this beautiful State. In times past, in East Tennessee, the ancient gristmills would rumble their song and call out to the rugged mountain boys to hop onto their mules and take the corn to be ground into meal. Simple pleasures such as quilting and husking parties, fiddling, singing, and dancing all came under the handle of pioneer life.

     The long and meandering Tennessee River borders middle Tennessee. This beautiful country contains a gentle rolling bluegrass heritage. It is well known for its fine livestock blooded horses and mules and its tobacco crops. It is geographically the heart of the State, rich in tradition and history. Customarily, hardly a day goes by that the old timers don't discuss the past and traditions of the Old South. The great Indian mounds of the Harpeth and Cumberland rivers are links with a more distant past.

     Descendants of the State proudly cling to their traditions. Nashville, capital of the State, was in 1780 the scene of the drafting of the Cumberland Compact, whereby 256 pioneers set up an independent government. Places of importance in Middle Tennessee are the Hermitage, home of Andrew Jackson, the town of Smyrna, birthplace of Sam Davis, hero of the American Civil War. Sixty miles south of Nashville, was where the Ku Klux was formed in 1865.

     Located between the Tennessee River and Mississippi is West Tennessee. These lands once belonged to the Chickasaw Indian tribe. This area, with its rugged hills, rich valleys, and deep black bottoms, was the last frontier of Tennessee. The farms have become mostly small parcels of land and are certainly not rivals of the cotton and corn crops. The bottoms are sometimes at the mercy of floodwaters. In this section a great deal of the free-and-easy spirit of the frontier remains. Cotton once dominated its economy, which in turn allowed West Tennessee to have the largest African-American population in the State.

     Memphis is located on the Mississippi River near the Arkansas boundary line; it is the metropolis of the division. It has the atmosphere of the broad-based West.
 

Time Line



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