1. Who was the first white man to be killed in Overton County and who killed him?
2. What Overton County woman helped build the Atomic Bomb during World War II?
3. Name the only Tennessee state park in Overton County and tell who built it.
Most of you probably have no idea what the answers are to these questions now do you probably care. More than likely only those of you who are from Overton County are even remotely interested in the answers. The answer to those questions and a host of others can be found at the Overton County Heritage Museum in my adopted hometown of Livingston, TN.
Every summer, our family goes on a ministry trip/vacation to Canada, New Jersey and other places between. It’s a time of ministry, relaxation, learning and a time away from video games. We read, talk, listen to books on tape and visit neat places that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to visit. We always have a good time together and learn so much but then, it is a big let down when we get back home. We usually fall back into our same old routines of being couch potatoes.
This year I was determined not to allow that to happen. I decided that we were going to go on a field trip every week and that we were going to try to pick someplace that was within an hour or so drive, something that was fairly inexpensive and that we were going to start off with things that were local. My first choice was the Overton County Heritage Museum.
This small but excellent museum was founded in 2003 and is located in the old Livingston jail located at 318 W Broad St, Livingston, Tennessee 38570. It was amazing the things that we learned about Livingston and Overton County. From the Native Americans that lived in the area before the town and county were founded to it’s early days to present days, this museum has it all.
What was even more amazing were the things we learned about history in general. Remember, even if you go to a small town museum that only talks about that small town, you learn about what life is like in most small towns in that region. However, the Overton County Historical Museum was unique in the fact that when it talked about Overton County’s participation in the Civil War, it also educated my boys on the Civil War in general. And, not just the Civil War, but WWI, WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The museum has clothing, weapons, musical instruments, tools and other artifacts from all historical eras. Do you know what a “Shaped Note” is? Do you know what years the Civil War was fought? Have you ever heard of Turkey Boots? All of these things apply to people and places out side of Overton County as well and you can find it all at the Overton County Heritage Museum.
I would highly recommend you visiting this “hidden gem” of Middle Tennessee if you live within driving distance. It is open to the public every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9am – 2pm. The Overton County Heritage Museum’s phone number is 931-403-0909 or 931-498-2551. They have an awesome bookstore as well with many books about the area for sale.
Perhaps you don’t live close to Livingston. Here is my advice to you. Don’t overlook your own area. Look around for small museums, state parks, antique stores, historic attractions, natural attractions, etc. in your neighborhood. Many folks plan the whole year to go to a National Park, major historical area, or major museum but never visit the museums or parks in their own areas. Look around for the unusual and out of the way places in your neck of the woods. You may find a “hidden gem” like we did!
1. Robert Crockett – A Long Hunter – was killed by Indians in the area.
2. Lyda Speck (An awesome lady that I personally knew).
3. Standing Stone State Park in Hilham, TN was build by WPA workers (Works Progress Administration) as part of the New Deal during the Great Depression.
And, speaking of Standing Stone State Park. We visited that hidden gem yesterday and I’ll be writing about that next week!