Mental Health – Overview & Advice

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”

– Aristotle

The CDC defines mental health as our “emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.”

Today, mental health awareness has a huge platform. Celebrities of all backgrounds advocate for more recognition and understanding. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions affect not only your mindset, but your physical well-being. The CDC reports that the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and/or stroke increases if depression is a factor. That same report also stated that more than 50% of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime. 

Regardless of the reports and statistics, mental illness can be coped with. There are ways to be successful each day. As Christopher Robin most famously said in Winnie the Pooh: “Promise me you’ll always remember: you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

A few tips to boost your mental health:

  • Don’t beat yourself up when you’re already feeling down. Read that again
  • If you’re having a rough day, go for a walk and breathe some fresh air. Regular exercise, even if only for a few minutes a day, can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
  • Be sure to eat nutritious foods and drink lots of water. Fueling your body with a balanced diet and plenty of hydration is essential to your overall health and well-being. This also helps to improve your energy and focus.  
  • Let your body and mind rest. Being short on sleep never made anyone feel better. 
  • Take a break from electronics before going to bed. Studies show that the blue light produced by our phones and televisions impairs the melatonin production in our body – which results in not getting enough sleep and/or poor sleep quality. We need our beauty sleep!
  • It has been proven that shallow breathing increases tension and anxiety in our bodies. So, just take a minute to slow down and breathe deep – get some oxygen flowing. If you are interested, you could try researching some meditation apps/videos. 
  • Talk to people – whether it’s a friend, family member, or stranger, being social and investing in relationships can improve your mood. Remind yourself that you are not alone
  • Involve yourself in work or activities that make you feel useful or fulfilled. Learn a new skill, develop a different hobby, find a better job, or volunteer in your community. 
  • If you are really struggling to find support, seek out a professional. When you need help, please ask for it.

If you or someone you know is struggling or having thoughts of suicide, call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org. This service is confidential, free, and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In life-threatening situations, call 911. 

“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

– Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)


  1. https://childadolescentpsych.cumc.columbia.edu/articles/11-tips-mental-health-well-being
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/in-depth/mental-health/art-20046477
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm#:~:text=Mental%20health%20includes%20our%20emotional,childhood%20and%20adolescence%20through%20adulthood.
  4. https://parade.com/1037762/kimberlyzapata/mental-health-quotes/
  5. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response
  6. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/caring-for-your-mental-health 

Interstate & Industry in Cumberland County

In 1956 the interstate system came to the United States. U.S. Senator Albert Gore Sr. and Congressman George Fallon introduced the bill to Congress. From there the “National System of Interstate and Defense Highways” or the Fallon-Gore Act came to be. 

President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the legislation funding the interstate system on June 29, 1956. While many car enthusiasts were excited about the opportunities that the Interstate Highway System offered, President Eisenhower’s inspiration came from his illustrious Army career.

The German Autobahn offered a certain simplicity and brilliance to Military Transport that the United States did not have. In 1919 Lieutenant Colonel Eisenhower was assigned to observe the First Transcontinental Motor Convoy. They began in Washington D.C. and ended their movement in San Francisco. The exercise covered 3,200 miles with 79 vehicles of different sizes and 297 personnel. This was the beginning of Eisenhower’s idea for a more connected country and a better protected American people. Without the interstate, large and quick military movement within the United States was nearly impossible.

Trans-Continental Tour

Now promoted to General, Eisenhower was assigned with the duty of defeating Nazi Germany in World War II. In complete amazement General Eisenhower watched how Allies could race with urgency and ease across the German Autobahn. The superhighway ran from Germany to France and was instrumental in mobilizing supplies to Allied Forces and helping achieve victory.

Colonel Eisenhower, WWII, 101st Airborne

In 1953 Dwight D. Eisenhower took the office of President. A few years later the first of the interstate systems to open to traffic was Interstate-65 at the Tennessee-Alabama line on November 15, 1958. Today, Tennessee holds more of I-40 inside the state lines than any other state in the United States. Of the 2,554.22 miles Tennessee holds 455 of Interstate 40 across 20 counties. Cumberland County has more miles of I-40 than any other county in the state with 36 miles.


The next few decades would define the Cumberland County we know today and the businesses that supply our people with jobs. Check back for more blog posts to follow.


  1. https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/presidents/dwight-d-eisenhower/
  2. https://www.army.mil/article/198095/dwight_d_eisenhower_and_the_birth_of_the_interstate_highway_system
  3. https://www.tn.gov/tdot/100years-home/100years-interstate.html
  4. https://teva.contentdm.oclc.org/customizations/global/pages/index.html?srchTerm=interstate
  5. https://www.loc.gov/

History of Cumberland County Schools

“The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life. “ – Plato

The history of school in Cumberland County is hard to track. Education came in many forms and ways, especially in the beginning. 

With farms and homesteads being scattered throughout the county, school was very hard to organize. The Civil War made it nearly impossible, but no one can deny that attempts were made. Wesley and Eliza Stone donated land in the third district for a school house in 1879, at that time 651 people over 10 years of age could not read or write. Multiple similar attempts to hold school were made by teachers and preachers, but more often than not, they only lasted a few months.

In 1873 the Tennessee State Legislature made it so that schools received state aid for at least 5 months of the year. Each district from Woody to Vandever held a school. There were also a couple private schools: Professor Silby’s Grassy Cove and Webster Academy at Crossville. Both private schools charged $1 per month for each student. 

Webster Academy

The American Missionary Association came to Crossville in 1888 and built the Congressional Church which also held a free school from September to December. If students wanted to continue school from January to June, tuition was charged. Students were also eligible for teaching certificates if they completed the schooling through the 10th grade. S.C. Cline was the first to graduate and to receive his teaching certificate. He went on to teach at the school.

James W. Dorton was elected superintendent in 1889 to report the facts to the public about local education. He made it known that while 1,192 kids were enrolled in school only 780 attended, and to make matters worse, 927 were not enrolled at all. 

Lantana School 1911

The land for Pleasant Hill Academy was donated by Mr. Hubbard and Mr. Frey in 1873. Some of the first teachers were Mr. Judson and Mattie Lundy. The school was also funded by the American Missionary Association. The Academy was the only one to offer advanced education in all grades and was sought after by many in the community. In 1947 the association sold the academy and land to Cumberland County so that Pleasant Hill School could be built. Pleasant Hill Academy has a unique history all its own. I encourage you to read Dr. Wharton’s, Doctor Woman of the Cumberlands.

Woodcraft Shop at Pleasant Hill Academy 1940

Changes came in 1907 to education in Cumberland County. First one school board was formed, and then in 1908 a county high school was established. It was built where the old court house had burned and Reverend Frank March was placed as principal. Miss Hall and Miss Rose were the first teachers.  

The Tennessee Conference of the Methodist Church established Cumberland Mountain School in 1921. This was a private boarding school. Minister Robert Hall founded the school with liberal and vocational arts in mind. The school building still stands and is located off of Old Jamestown Highway.

Cumberland Mountain School

Homestead School was built as a part of the “New Deal” presented by President Roosevelt in 1932. It held school for all ages. Until Cumberland County High School was built, students attended higher grades here. The school is still standing today as Homestead Elementary. Its history, like Pleasant Hill’s, is extensive. The Tower houses a museum dedicated to the Cumberland Homesteads and its unique story.

Homestead School

The building we know today as the Justice Center was once a school. It was built after a year of debate in 1930. At the time high school students were attending school at the small building across from the Courthouse. The new Cumberland County High School held its first year of classes beginning on August 22, 1930 as home of the Red Devils. By the late 50s the high school was becoming overcrowded and was no longer fitting demands of a growing community.

Home of the Red Devils

Total enrollment in Cumberland County Schools from 1955-56 was 5,093. The county held three high schools: Homestead, Cumberland, and Pleasant Hill. There were 25 elementary schools: Alloway, Bakers, Big Lick, Cline, Crab Orchard, Crossville, Pineview, Dorton, Grassy Cove, Hale’s Chapel, Homestead, Jewett, Lantana, Linary, Mayland, Moulders, Oak Hill, Ozone, Pleasant Hill, Pomona, Rinnie, Slate Springs, Tabor, Woody, and Midway.

In 1962 Cumberland County became home of the Jets and the three high schools came together as one on Stanley Street. This was the biggest change the Cumberland County School system had ever seen and was one big step in the right direction. The old high school became Cumberland Elementary School housing grades six through eight. 

A new junior high school named after Glenn L. Martin was built in 1976 across the street from Cumberland County High School. Mr. Martin had been superintendent from 1952 to 1960.

Throughout the 70s and 80s much renovation was done to various elementary schools, and a point of emphasis was put on education. North Cumberland Elementary was built to replace Rinnie, Tabor, and Woody school. This was an effort to improve standard and remove deficiencies in learning. The same was done in Pleasant Hill by renovating the elementary school to add more classrooms. Each Superintendent made their mark and encouraged students to learn and prepare themselves for life after school. By the late 80s many Crossville students were going on to earn degrees from Tennessee Technological University. 

Cumberland County Schools 1985-86: Crab Orchard Elementary, Crossville Elementary, Cumberland County High School, Homestead Elementary, Martin Junior High,  North Cumberland Elementary, Pine View Elementary, Pleasant Hill Elementary, and South Cumberland Elementary. Total enrollment was 5,613 students and 290 teachers. 

In the early 2000s overcrowding was once again a problem. Stone Elementary had already opened 1999 but a new high school was needed. With a growing town and population Cumberland County decides to open Stone Memorial. With the land being donated by Mr. Roy Stone, the home of the Panthers, opened on Cook Road, and rivalry began in 2006.

Today Cumberland County holds: The Phoenix School, Crab Orchard Elementary, Frank P. Brown Elementary, Glenn Martin Elementary, Homestead Elementary, North Cumberland Elementary, Pine View Elementary, Pleasant Hill Elementary, South Cumberland Elementary, Stone Elementary, Stone Memorial High School, and Cumberland County High School. There are roughly 6,800 students enrolled in 2022.


  1. Cumberland County Tennessee 1956-1986, Helen Bullard Krechniak
  2. Cumberland County’s First Hundred Years, Bullard Krechniak
  3. The Way It Was Crossville Cumberland County, Bryan Stanley
  4. https://content.schoolinsites.com/api/documents/087816ed51fc444ba0a6016ba500abd6.doc
  5. https://cumberlandmountainschool.com/
  6. https://cumberlandhomesteads.org/homesteads-history/
  7. https://www.crossville-chronicle.com/news/local_news/cchs-celebrates-its-50th-year/article_9559d1de-8c6a-518b-8d00-e5552e9ef72e.html
  8. https://www.publicschoolreview.com/tennessee/cumberland-county-school-district/4700900-school-district#:~:text=For%20the%202022%2D23%20school,in%20Cumberland%20County%20School%20District.
  9. https://www.ccschools.k12tn.net/
  10. https://teva.contentdm.oclc.org/customizations/global/pages/index.html
  11. https://cchs.ccschools.k12tn.net/alumni
  12. https://www.crossville-chronicle.com/community/school_news/stone-memorial-high-school-opens-and-now-the-work-begins/article_48a74276-a389-52d9-9a64-369cc0e00872.html

From Janus to Emerson, It’s a New Year

For many a new year means a New Year’s Resolution. Some may be heading back to the gym and others are trying to quit drinks Cokes. Whatever you choose, if you do, there is nothing wrong with trying to improve yourself or setting goals.

New Year stems from the ancient Roman custom of the feast of the god Janus. He was the Roman god of doorways and beginnings. We also get the name January from Janus. The ancient Roman was known for his two faces: one that looks forward to the future and one that looks back to the past.

The way the calendar is planned out also helps with scheduling agriculture for the Northern Hemisphere. December brings the shortest day of the year, but January brings the lengthening of days. We also find that Earth is closest to the sun in its orbit during our New Year, this event is called perihelion.

Whichever way you look at New Year, whether its by history or by setting a resolution, new beginnings are always exciting. But what is most important is not to wait for a specific date or start of something to begin improving yourself. Each day is a new beginning waiting to be taken advantage of.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote:

“Write it on your heart

that every day is the best day in the year.

He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day

who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every day and be done with it.

You have done what you could.

Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.

Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;

begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit

to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This new day is too dear,

with its hopes and invitations,

to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”


  1. https://earthsky.org/earth/why-does-the-new-year-begin-on-january-1/
  2. https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/427002-write-it-on-your-heart-that-every-day-is-the

Main Street, Crossville, TN Year 1900

First National Bank:

On October 28, 1899 The Bank of Crossville was chartered. The bank’s first directors were James W. Dorton, H.G. Dunbar, Richard Hill, J.U. Wallings, L.D. Smith, James B. Johnson, and Rufus W. Powell. H.G Dunbar was their first president, Dorton was V.P.

The bank began its first day on March 19, 1900 with $25,000, by the end of the day only $20,721 was left. Mr. G.M. Martin was their first customer. 

The Bank of Crossville started their business in the front room of the original Chronicle building. The bank’s future home was being built on the corner of First and Main Street.

On July 9, 1910 the Bank of Crossville received a National Charter and became the First National Bank of Crossville. J.W. Dorton was President and J.E. Burnett was V.P.

C.E. Keyes was the attorney for the First National Bank for 30 years. Keyes was also the first city attorney and recorder.

Later in 1931 the bank absorbed Cumberland Bank and Trust Company. 

In 1953 the bank we know today was built on Main Street.

1st floor bank. Upstairs Snodgrass and Mitchell law offices.


Lawyers on Main Street:

-Dr. Thomas Snodgrass brought his family to Crossville in 1874. He was a doctor and a lawyer. His son, C.E. Snodgrass was elected to Congress in 1898 and 1900, followed by a term as judge in the Fifth Circuit Court of Tennessee in 1905. He also served for ten years as judge in the Court of Civil Appeals before returning to Crossville to practice law and preach at the Christian Church. C.E.’s son, Jonas L. Snodgrass served as his father’s law clerk in Crossville. 

-Elijah G. Tollett and his sons also practiced law with the Snodgrass Family after a term with the State House of Representatives. 

-G.W. Cline practiced law in Crossville as well.

Cline Store

The Crossville Chronicle:

The true beginning of the Crossville Chronicle was in 1894 with Arthur J. Forbes as the editor. A couple years later in 1896 S.C. Bishop ran the Chronicle until he died in 1950. The Chronicle’s first home was in the basement of George W. Cline Store until their building on Main Street was built in 1899. The Chronicle remained on Main Street until 1939.

Chronicle, Bishop Family

Cumberland County Post Office: 

The Crossville Post Office on Main Street was established on August 22, 1836. It was one of nine post offices in the county. The Main Street location’s first postmaster was William Gibson. 

First Train: September 19, 1900


The first courthouse was a log cabin built in 1857. The second courthouse was built in 1886. It burned on February 15, 1905. That same year (1905) the courthouse we know today was built using local sandstone and Indian limestone.  

1905 Courthouse


The jail was built in 1897. It was said to be “mob and drill proof.”


Cumberland Coal & Coke Company:

Coal mining was attempted at numerous locations throughout the county from the late 1800s till the 1950s. 

Main Street


  1. Cumberland County’s First Hundred Years, Bullard & Krechniak
  2. Crossville Newspapers 1878-1888, Kirkeminde
  3. Cumberland County Tennessee, Dickinson 
  4. The Way It Was, Crossville, Cumberland County, Stanley
  5. TN Virtual Archives

The TN Central in Cumberland County

There is something about trains and Christmas. Maybe it’s the Tom Hanks and Polar Express effect or it’s a kid’s delight when they hear that beloved whistle. At one time Crossville had a train that ran straight through town. It did not last long, not even a 100 years, but its story is one to be heard. 

TN Virtual Archives

The Tennessee Central Railway has always been something of interest and mystery to those of us too young to remember it. It unfortunately ended on January 23, 1969 when the Interstate Commerce Commission divided the Illinois Central, Louisville & Nashville, and the Southern Railway. The division caused many of these shorter routes, like Crossville’s to die out quickly. 

Similar to the way that Cumberland County got its start with the Wilderness Trail, the plan was simple: there needed to be a railway that connected Tennessee’s two major cities, Nashville and Knoxville. With that idea in mind, Alexander Crawford set out to charter the railroad across the Cumberland Mountains. That route began in Lebanon and headed east toward Knoxville, but unfortunately Mr. Crawford died on April 1, 1890. Colonel Jere Baxter then took over.

TN Virtual Archives

Colonel Baxter chartered the Tennessee Central Railroad on August 25, 1893. His plan was to buy out the eastern railways and connect them with Nashville. Mr. Crawford and Mr. Baxter were just two of the many men it took to run a railroad through Tennessee.

Meanwhile in Crossville, the town continued to fight for the railroad. A charter had been originally obtained in 1855 but the tracks never seemed to come. The rails had already come to Rockwood, Sparta, and Monterey. People in Crossville felt that the town could not grow without it and to make matters worse, a line had been proposed to connect Nashville and Knoxville through Chattanooga missing Crossville. 

Captain Lina Beecher, who resided in the Genesis area, had his own plans for establishing the railroad in Cumberland County. As a true entrepreneur and businessman he began with the telephone. His “Beecher Wire” ran through Sparta, Cookeville, Gainsboro, Rockwood, and Crossville, but in December of 1890 a heavy snow came and his lines fell. Regardless, Captain Beecher had bigger dreams of a railroad. 

TN Virtual Archives

On August 29, 1890 the “Great Railroad Celebration” was held. A pavilion was constructed solely for the celebration where the new Depot would later be built. Grading began in Crossville thanks to the Genesis & Obed River Railroad Company. While it was a start it was not the end of Crossville’s fight. Jere Baxter planned to finish the tracks.

Baxter had alternative methods in bringing the Tennessee Central to Crossville, but he did succeed. The story goes he road drunkenly on a mule from Monterey to Crossville with ambitions of finishing the tracks one way or another. He campaigned throughout the county for citizens to vote for $50,000 in Tennessee Central stock paid by Cumberland County bonds. The Tennessee Central then promised to have the railroad in operation in 24 months. But only 31 of the 42 miles were completed. Baxter took matters into his own hands one night by taking two crews and several kegs of beer to finish the tracks. The next day the first train came through Crossville, an event the town will never forget. 

TN Virtual Archives


  1. https://teva.contentdm.oclc.org/customizations/global/pages/index.html?srchTerm=railroad
  2. Cumberland County’s First Hundred Years, Bullard Krechniak
  3. Tennessee Central Railway: History Through the Miles, Barton Jennings

Holiday Stress Tips

Overall the holiday season is full of excitement, smiles, and presents. The cheer in the air is undeniable, but for many it is also stressful.

This stress can come from a number of factors: money, travel, work, and high expectations. One study in 2021 found that 45% of adults in the US would rather skip the holidays than deal with the physical toll it takes. Another study found that 56% feel the financial stress of buying presents. That same study also revealed that 67% of adults admit to placing unnecessary stress on themselves for a perfect Christmas Season.

Here are a few tips to help:

  1. Identify the stressor and know what is important.
  2. Set a budget for what you can realistically spend.
  3. Ignore any drama and be the bigger person.
  4. Have a plan, often we get caught in the mess of trying to please everyone.
  5. Take a break when it all gets to be too much, go for a walk and take a few minutes to breath.
  6. Don’t forget to take care of yourself: eat, drink water, and get some sleep.
  7. Most of all enjoy yourself! Enjoy time with family and friends. Don’t forget to laugh, smile, and enjoy the cheer.

“In those days a decree went out from Cesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is also called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” Luke 2:1-7, ESV

scene of birth of christ
Photo by Burkay Canatar on Pexels.com


  1. https://www.claritychi.com/holiday-stress/
  2. https://studyfinds.org/jingle-bell-crock-88-of-americans-feel-the-holiday-season-is-most-stressful-time-of-year/

Cumberland County Playhouse

This time of year the Cumberland County Playhouse comes to mind. My family always went to see Fiddler on the Roof and A Sanders Family Christmas growing up and I remember my elementary school taking us to see Scrooge before Christmas break. It was a tradition I will never forget. The culture the playhouse has created is unique to our town. 

In 1963, Mr. Paul Crabtree came to Crossville after a career in Hollywood. His wife Mary Bishop was a native to Cumberland County, having grown up here. Mr. Crabtree had ambitions of finishing his book, Doby Creek and felt Cumberland County offered a quiet place to write. 

Tennessee Virtual Archive
Tennessee Virtual Archives

Not long after their arrival, Cumberland County School Superintendent O.C. Stewart approached the couple about producing shows in the schools. After some thought, they began with a musical theater he had written with Sister Thomas Gertrude, The Perils of Pinocchio. That schoolhouse production set a new fire in the people of Cumberland County, and shortly after in 1965 the Cumberland County Playhouse was built. Their first act was Tennessee, USA! The play focused on key events throughout Tennessee’s history.

Tennessee Virtual Archives

Mr. Paul Crabtree helped the Playhouse get on its feet for the first six years and produced multiple shows. His wife Mary took on managing the stage and creative direction while her husband went on to write plays for Opryland in Nashville. 

When Mr. and Mrs. Crabtree passed away, their son Jim took over the business and produced over 100 shows by 1988. In 1990 the program received a state grant of $100,000 and capital funds of $400,000 to expand the building and program to what we know today. 

Today the Producing Director and CEO is Mr. Bryce McDonald. Their schedule can be found on their website: https://ccplayhouse.com/


  1. https://ccplayhouse.com/history/
  2. Rural Life and Culture in the Upper Cumberland, Birdwell and Dickinson
  3. Cumberland County, Tennessee Volume II, Krechniak
  4. Cumberland County, Dickinson
  5. https://teva.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/search/searchterm/playhouse

Dreaming about business success?

Dreaming about business success? Considering starting your own business? Or have a business and need some motivation to keep pushing? Here are a few quotes to help:


  1. https://www.iwoca.co.uk/insights/50-small-business-quotes/
  2. https://risepeople.com/blog/quotes-for-small-business-owners/

Small Business, Big Impact

If anything Small Businesses are resilient and will survive. The people who run these businesses are a special brand of person and they deserve our support, not just on Small Business Saturday but everyday because their economic impact is huge!

The money made in a small business goes right back into the community. Shopping small does not only support that business but supports the entire community they reside in. Instead of just going to Walmart or ordering from a big corporation, look into the small side of things and find a unique gift this Christmas season. 

There are multiple ways to shop small:

  • Local shops in your community.
  • Small businesses on Amazon
  • Etsy Small Businesses
  • Boutique apps like Jane
  • Facebook and Instagram Shops


  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2022/03/25/how-small-businesses-drive-the-american-economy/?sh=7d7c8d454169
  2. https://advocacy.sba.gov/category/research/facts-about-small-businesses/
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