The year is 1917 and the United States had just declared war. Americans had not been involved in a world war since the Revolution. But just as their grandfathers had, the men of Cumberland County, in true volunteer fashion, did not shy away from their American duty.
The first courthouse in Cumberland County was nothing more than an old log cabin. It sat across from where the current courthouse is located. It was built in 1856 but the growing town needed a bigger building.
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them” – Walt Disney.
“The dream of a railroad had seized the imagination of the boosters of Cumberland County apparently from the moment of the first track in the United States was laid in 1829. By 1840, there were about 2,700 miles of railroad in the U.S., of which 600 miles were in the South. Apparently, there was some expectation that a railroad would cross the Plateau, for in 1844 the post office at Crossville was renamed ‘Railroad Plains.’ Perhaps the hopes died quickly, for the following year the name was again listed as Crossville….”
The geological paradox that is the Cumberland Plateau caused problems with the Civil War soldiers tasked with controlling the region. As a result a multitude of guerilla gangs and raids took place in the area.
“….when the Provisional Army of Tennessee was formally handed over to the Confederacy, more than twenty-five thousand Tennesseans enlisted in more than fifty regiments across the state.”
In total three attempts were made to establish Cumberland County. In 1837 the attempt created Cheatham County and in 1844 no result came of the attempt. Finally, in 1855 Cumberland County presented its own petition and was granted the county created from the six far corners.
The Wilderness and road that created our beloved county took some time and holds numerous stories. Some unheard of, some unproven, and some almost too gruesome to relive.
“Here’s how I’m going to beat you. I’m going to outwork you. That’s it. That’s all there is to it.”
— Pat Summitt
“All the pioneers were brave, hardy, patient and ambitious. Yet the Tennessee backwoodsman was the sturdiest of all. The daily menace of Indians, the bear, the panther, the wolf, and the rattlesnake, and their isolation from the thickly settled communities of the East caused them to be self-reliant and independent.” (Moore, The Volunteer State, p.320)