Sergeant Alvin C. York, the most famous Medal of Honor winner in WWI history, a Tennessee treasure
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.
Growing up in the south, NASCAR country, fast cars are nothing new. We all remember the day Dale died, but what is fascinating is not long ago these roads through Cumberland County had never seen a car. Once they did fascination grew, wonder ensued, cars came alive, and whiskey soon followed.
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.
A new age had come to Crossville, TN, and it took many by storm: hangings, railroads, industry, prosperity, politics, and war. The simple way of life that many new settlers had moved there for was ending, but the town needed to grow.
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.
“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)