Tag Archives: American Revolution

The County of Wilson

25 Apr

A new bridge is being built across the Cumberland River, and, the other day, I drove across it for the first time. I guess that means I drove across it twice. First, I went over it. Then, I came back. It was that return trip that I noticed our county seal displayed prominently.

This took me by surprise because I have lived in Wilson County all of my life and had never seen it. Heck, I did not even know it existed. However, that was not the only thing that surprised me. It did not look like a typical seal.County Seal

Most seals that I have seen have symbols that represent the area. There may be some sort of plant that grows in the area. There may be a farmer. There may be some representation of industry. The Wilson County seal looks like something you would see at the post office. The bald eagle is patriotic, but I have not seen many bald eagles around here lately.

It made me think that this must be a more recent creation. The seals with crops, farmers and industry are from a time long past. This one looks more modern. With this on my mind, I called the Wilson County Archives to find out when this seal came into being. They had no idea but agreed that it must come from more recent times.

Anyway, I am on a mission to find out when the Wilson County seal was created and why it does not represent anything special about the area. It is American, but it is not Wilsonian.

That brings me to something that has bugged me for a long time. Why is Wilson County named Wilson? I know why our city is named Lebanon. The settlers saw all of the cedar trees and thought of the Cedars of Lebanon in the Bible. Unfortunately, they are not cedars. They are junipers.

Here is something else. Lebanon, Oregon is named after Lebanon, Tennessee. Some guy from here hopped on the Oregon Trail and named his new town after his old one. That means there is a city in Oregon named for a city in Tennessee that is named after the wrong kind of tree.

Now, back to Wilson. The county is named for Major David Wilson, a prominent man who lived in Sumner County. That is the county that sits on the other side of the new bridge. He was born around Charlotte, North Carolina and fought in the American Revolution. He settled in these parts, which was the western part of North Carolina, and involved himself in many activities of a landed gentleman. Politician, surveyor and other jobs that do not require strenuous labor.

I am sure he was a great man. Wilson County was named in his honor in 1799, a few years before his death. However, I am wondering something. Did he ever make his way across the river and into the land that would bear his name? Did he own property here? Did he help create the new county? What role did this man play in our county’s history?

It is like the seal that really does not represent anything about Wilson County. Did the man who it is named after represent the county?

I guess it does not matter, but it still makes me wonder.


Events of November 25 (My Birthday)

25 Nov

November 25 is my birthday, and, as a good historian, I like to know what happened on this very important date in history. Therefore, today’s post is a list of a few events.

1. 1783: The last British troops left New York City three months after the signing of the Treaty of Paris. (To get this straight, the American Revolution was over, and the British were still sticking around. The United States must have learned something from them. We tend to hang around after the occupied areas want us gone.)

2. 1876: In retaliation for the American defeat at the Battle of Little Big Horn, United States Army troops sack Chief Dull Knife’s sleeping Cheyenne village at the headwaters of the Powder River. (If anyone has a right to protest in the United States, then it is the Native Americans.)

3. 1947: The “Hollywood Ten” are blacklisted by Hollywood movie studios. (I am a staunch capitalist, but the Red Scare was a sad time in American history.)

4. 1963: President John F. Kennedy is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. (People often ask me about Kennedy’s presidency. Their opinions vary from his sainthood to his evilness. Honestly, I don’t think he was in office long enough for anyone to know how good he would have been. However, I think he, like most, was somewhere between the two extremes.)

Other people born today:

1835: Andrew Carnegie (He was slightly successful in the business world.)

1844: Karl Benz (He was slightly successful in the automotive world.)

1846: Carrie Nation (She wanted prohibition of alcohol in the United States. Can you imagine?)

1914: Joe DiMaggio (He owns baseball’s most unbreakable record and married Marilyn Monroe. What else can you say?)

1920: Ricardo Montalban (As Mr Roarke, he offered people the chance to live their deepest fantasies. The show would have been a lot better on Cinemax.)

1926: Jeffrey Hunter (He played Captain Pike in the pilot episode of “Star Trek”, but I like him better in the greatest western of all time, “The Searchers”.)

1941: Percy Sledge (He sang “When a Man Loves a Woman”.)

1960: John F. Kennedy, Jr. (That famous photograph of him saluting his father’s casket was made on his third birthday.)

1983: Joey Chestnut (He is the current world champion in various eating contests, including hot dogs.)

As Walter Cronkite used to say, “That’s the way it is – November 25, 2011.”