Nichols Recalls Presidency

The next meeting of the AHS will be Thursday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of the Auburntown Church of Christ.
The AHS Board of Directors will meet at 6 p.m.

Thursday's meeting will offer the opportunity for fellowship among new and potential members as the AHS launches a new era in the history of the organization. Following a 6 p.m. Board of Directors meeting, the Auburntown Church of Christ Fellowship Hall will open for a potluck dinner and annual business meeting.
"We encourage all members to attend, since we will be electing a new slate of officers to lead the AHS as we proceed with our future archival and publishing plans.," said outgoing president Danny Nichols. "Current members are urged to bring guests who may be good future members for our group. All guests are welcome. Our desire is that all dishes brought that evening will be from recipes in Treasured Recipes and Recollections. With 300 of these books sold (none left), there are plenty of folks who could add to the dinner!"

A letter to our members and supporters:
October 2009
Having served as your president for the past four years, I feel compelled to include my reflections of this period and my vision and hopes for the future of this organization in this issue of the AHS newsletter. We have succeeded in bringing together a group of persons interested in the history of our community and in the preservation of that history. We have learned to work together to bring about three very successful publications as well as working toward creating a presence at each of our past four Red Apple Day celebrations in Auburntown.
Our greatest challenge still lies before us in the writing of our community history. This task will require a great amount of time and energy on the part of our society and will require an even greater effort to complete the project. It is my hope that our publications committee can begin this task during the coming year so that some conclusion can be reached within an acceptable time. Participation of our membership in this project is the most crucial element.
During our four years of existence we have enjoyed many great programs and presentations. We have had numerous guests speak to our group that would bring about envy from any other historical society. The caliber of our programs has been excellent, and we are grateful to all those who have taken the time to share their knowledge with us. Our members have also stepped up to provide programs of interest, and to them we are also most grateful. Indeed, the caliber of our own membership is such to take great pride in. It has been your interest and participation in this society that has brought about any successes it may have achieved.
In looking toward the future we see that our greatest challenges lie ahead. There is much yet to be accomplished, and the greatest achievements of this group are yet to be realized. The foundation of this society is now well established with our corporate status having been obtained from the State of Tennessee and our 501(c)3 Non-profit status pending approval by the U.S. government. We have a world-wide presence on the Internet and a great relationship with all the area newspapers and radio stations. We are positioned to move forward and achieve the goals as outlined and enumerated in our charter.
There are those I wish to personally thank who have been instrumental in assisting this group with the progress it has made. Thanks to Mary Hughes without whose effort and support this organization would not have been possible. Thanks to Richard Jones for his work in maintaining our meeting records, in getting our newsletters circulated and for all his contributions toward making our Red Apple Day booth successful. Thanks to David Dunn for offering the AHS a meeting place that has served us well these past four years. Thanks to my wife, Claudia, for her work in creating our Internet website and for her contributions to our most recent publications. And thanks to our membership who have attended our meetings and supported us through all our projects and endeavors. Without you there could be no Auburntown Historical Society.

With Kindest Regards,
Danny Nichols
President, Auburntown Historical Society

AHS Hosts Archivist

The Auburntown Historical Society is hosting a training workshop for aspiring archivists at its next monthly meeting set for Thursday, Sept. 17, 2010, at 7 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of the Auburntown Church of Christ.
Linda Granstaff of the Wilson County Archives in Lebanon will discuss archiving historical records and materials. She has served as Co-Director of the Archives along with Thomas Partlow since 1998.
“Both she and Mr. Partlow have worked toward making the Wilson County Archives one of the best in Tennessee,” noted Danny Nichols, president of the Auburntown Historical Society. “It is a model that has won much acclaim and one worth visiting for anyone from the Auburntown area with roots in Wilson County.”
Nichols said that the AHS has been collecting materials since its formation four years ago, and the time has come for the volunteers who will be working on the comprehensive history of Auburntown to learn how to utilize the growing collection.
Operated by the county government, the Wilson County Archives was established in 1995 and is located at 111 South College Street in Lebanon.
“This is an impressive research center,” Nichols said. “We hope our volunteers will benefit from the experience gained there.”
Nichols said that any individual who is interested in learning more about historic research, archival endeavors and use of records and documents should attend the meeting, whether they are members of the Auburntown Historical Society or not.
“Of course, as our annual membership drive is beginning this month, we invite interested potential members to attend,” he said. “Members do not have to be only from Auburntown. We have members from Woodbury, surrounding communities and around the country.”
Nichols said that benefits of the $15 annual membership include monthly educational programs January-October, a monthly newsletter and opportunities to participate in projects that preserve the history of the area. Three such projects have been completed with publication of 2007 and 2008 editions of Treasured Memories and Recollections and a 2009 edition called Treasured Recipes and Recollections, which has sold approximately 300 copies.
Nichols reminded those who purchased a recipe book and have not picked it up to arrive at the Sept. 17 meeting at 6:30 p.m. to do so.
Looking ahead, the final meeting of the year is set for Oct. 29 at which time new officers will be elected and installed. Entertainment for the evening will be a potluck dinner comprised of dishes prepared from recipes in the Society’s recipe book.
“Mark your calendar,” Nichols said. “This should be a time of fun and excitement as we welcome the new leadership to the Society and celebrate with our new members.”
For more information about membership in the Society or any of its programs or publications, look to the left side of our blog homepage.

Pick up your cookbook!

For those who paid for but never picked up their cookbook, there will be no additional chance to pick up this book after the Oct. 29 meeting of the AHS, which is the last meeting of 2009. Be at the Auburntown Church of Christ Fellowship Hall at 7 p.m. for a potluck (bring a dish), get your book and enjoy our last meeting of the new year as we elect and install new officers.

Civil War in Tennessee and Kentucky

The featured speaker for the Aug. 20 meeting of the Auburntown Historical Society will be Dr. W. Calvin Dickinson. He will discuss the recently published book Sister States, Enemy States: The Civil War in Kentucky and Tennessee, which he co-edited with two other historians.
“Dr. Dickinson’s presentation to the AHS about historic roadways earlier this year was such a success, the group invited him back to discuss his new book on the Civil War,” said Danny Nichols, president of the Auburntown Historical Society. “We know there is much interest in the Civil War, and we encourage AHS members and visitors alike to attend.”
Socially and politically, the slave states of Tennessee and Kentucky had much in common during the antebellum period. Additionally, during the Deep South's rush to secession in late 1860, strong unionist majorities held sway in both states. Yet, with the firing on Fort Sumter, their fates diverged. Why Tennessee moved toward secession and Kentucky remained in the federal union is just one of the complexities explored in Sister States, Enemy States: The Civil War in Kentucky and Tennessee.
“The book is a collection of essays about when the Civil War erupted and Tennessee chose to secede while Kentucky remained part of the Union,” Dickinson explained. “Loyalties in each state were closely divided between the Union and the Confederacy, making wartime governance, and personal relationships, complex.”
Appointed by the Governor to the Tennessee Historical Commission, Dickinson is professor emeritus at Tennessee Technological University, where he taught history for 30 years until his retirement in 2000. A prolific writer, he has authored dozens of papers and articles on various topics for a large number of journals and publications and is the author or editor of 21 books.
In editing Sister States, Enemy States, Dickinson was joined by colleagues Kent T. Dollar and Larry H. Whiteaker. The book is available on and at Barnes and Noble. Dickinson will have copies to sign at the AHS meeting, which will be held at the Fellowship Hall of Auburntown Church of Christ at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 20.
Nichols said that membership in the AHS is open to anyone and is $15 per year. The Society recently published its third book and has hosted a number of lecturers over the past year on a variety of topics at its monthly meetings. For more information visit

Treasured Recipes and Recollections

Treasured Recipes and Recollections huge hit, more being ordered
The Auburntown Historical Society’s Treasured Recipes and Recollections cookbook was a tremendous success, according to society president Danny Nichols. “We had sold all 150 by 7:30 p.m. Friday night,” Nichols explained, adding that there were numerous requests for additional books from disappointed visitors to the society’s booth.

“We decided to take prepaid reservations for the book’s second and final printing.”
Nichols said that another 75 books are being ordered, and about 60 are already presold.

However, if more than 75 orders are received by the deadline date, all prepaid orders will be filled, thanks for accommodations being made by the printer for a one-time-only special reprinting.
“We had people buying as many as 10-15 books for gifts,” he said. “After people saw it, many of them wanted extra copies. We were amazed at the response, but then we all know how great our Auburntown and Cannon County cooks are.”

Along with dozens of interesting and delicious recipes, the photos, stories and memories shared by the contributors endeared the book to many who saw it, Nichols observed.
“We must have the order no later than Monday, August 10, to ensure that the books will be ready for pickup at our regular Society meeting,” Nichols said.

AHS Recipe Book Big Seller

We have sold almost 300 copies of this book. We have reprinted twice. This is the last chance to buy one of the 15 left.
Send $12 for book and $4 for postage per book, and we will send the book to you. We had an order from Iraq and sent it to a soldier's wife!
Treasured Recipes and Recollections is more than a cookbook

Treasured Recipes and Recollections, the Auburntown Historical Society’s new publication, sold out during the first few hours of Red Apple Day weekend in Auburntown.
“There are approximately 200 recipes and stories, numerous photos and plenty of good memories submitted by people associated with our community,” said Danny Nichols, president of the Auburntown Historical Society and editor of the cookbook. “We wanted this to be more than a cookbook. We wanted it to reflect how food, especially the preparation and enjoyment of it, is so intertwined with our history.”
The call for recipes resulted in a 112-page, spiral bound book created exclusively by AHS members. Nichols and AHS treasurer Mary Hughes collected and prepared the recipes, photographs and stories. Society member Claudia Nichols created and executed the original design for the publication, laying out each individual page to present the recipes most attractively.
“This is a keepsake,” said Danny Nichols. “It is beautifully presented and filled with recipes and photographs that made my mouth water as I edited it.”
The book is divided into five categories: main dishes, side dishes, breads, sweets and misc. There are recipes for many Southern favorites and numerous family specialties. Some Auburn School cafeteria recipes were contributed, and the Auburntown Baptist Church Vacation Bible School ice cream recipes used annually are shared. Instructions for preparing old-time foods such as souse, hominy, mutton, barnyard chicken, minced meat pie (with real meat), groundhog dumplings, poke salat, squirrel and barbequed rabbit are among the more interesting presented.
Hughes worked diligently to type recipes from original recipe books and recipe cards by many of Auburn’s past notable cooks.
“We certainly want to thank those who shared these types of recipe collections,” Nichols said. “They enhanced the value of the book greatly.”
Hughes pointed out that there are also tips on gardening and canning, home remedies, soap making, as well as recipes commonly used from throughout any small community along with several more modern favorites.
“With a full-color cover and the easy-to-read 8½x11” format, the recipe collection will make excellent gifts for future brides or out-of-towners with Auburn connections,” Nichols suggested.
The book sells for $12 if picked up and $15 if the Society ships it.
Nichols said that only 150 of the books were printed, and all sold out by 7:30 p.m. on July 31. He emphasized that if anyone wants to purchase one, they should prepay for the books by mailing a check to the Society at Box 114, Auburntown, Tenn. 37016, no later that Aug. 8, 2009.
“We will not be ordering any more books,” he said, adding, “This third in our annual “Recollections” series will possibly be our final edition before we begin work on a comprehensive history of Auburntown. Proceeds from these smaller books are seed money for the larger project.”

Log Home History

Log Home History Subject of Auburntown Historical Society Meeting June 18

 The Auburntown Historical Society hosted a specialist in Tennessee log homes, iron furnaces and barns at the June 18 meeting. More than 30 Society members and guests attended the free educational multimedia presentation.
Michael Thomas Gavin is the Preservation Specialist for the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area administered by the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University.
“We feel very fortunate to have Mr. Gavin speak to our society and share his slides and expertise on historic log homes,” said Danny Nichols, president of the Auburntown Historical Society. “Mr. Gavin is a respected researcher, speaker and author, whose research and writing is helping educate and entertain those who love the history of Tennessee.”
Gavin’s current research areas include the Civil War, African American history, Tennessee’s charcoal iron industry and vernacular architecture - particularly log buildings.
Recent books include Barns of Tennessee, written with colleague Caneta S. Hankins; Restoration Guide for Historic Log Houses; and Tennessee Iron Furnace Trail: A Guide to the Resources of the Western Highland Rim. His article “From Bands of Iron to Promise Land: The African-American Contribution to Middle Tennessee’s Antebellum Iron Industry,” has been published in the Tennessee Historical Quarterly.
A former adjunct professor in the History Department at MTSU, Gavin received his bachelor’s degree in English from Rutgers University and a master’s degree in History from MTSU. For 25 years he was president of a restoration company that specialized in rehabilitating historic buildings.
The AHS has brought several prestigious programs to Cannon County in the past year, including a lecture by Dr. Calvin Dickinson on historic roadways in Tennessee, a slide presentation on the Smithsonian’s forensic analysis of a Civil War soldier by Claudia Nichols and an overview of a book on area families by author Tommy Webb.
The Society’s charter has recently been approved by the State of Tennessee, and the three-year-old organization expects to obtain federal nonprofit status this year.
“We are seeking members of all types, including individuals, families, businesses and organizations,” Nichols said. “Please visit our website to learn more about membership opportunities and benefits.”
Nichols emphasized that the public is invited to AHS meetings, which are held at 7 p.m. the third Thursday from January through October.

Historic Roads Subject of April AHS Meeting

The featured speaker for the April 23 was Dr. W. Calvin Dickinson. Author of "The Walton Road: A Nineteenth Century Wilderness Highway in Tennessee" and 19 more books.
“We are fortunate to have Dr. Dickinson join us for our meeting,” said Danny Nichols, president of the Auburntown Historical Society. “We invite AHS members and visitors to attend what promises to be an interesting lecture about the period of time when early settlers were expanding across Tennessee via passages like the Walton Road, the Avery Trace, the Natchez Trace and other pioneer roads.”
The Walton Road and the Avery Trail were the main highways between Knoxville and Nashville in the 19th century.
“This book is a collection of travelogues along these pioneer trails in the 1800s,” Dickinson explained. “These travelers had to contend with nasty weather, wild animals, friendly Indians and devious innkeepers.”
Appointed by the Governor to the Tennessee Historical Commission, Dickinson is professor emeritus at Tennessee Technological University, where he taught history for 30 years until his retirement in 2000.
Born in Shreveport, La., and raised in East Texas, he attended Baylor University from which he received Bachelor's and Master's degrees. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina and has also studied at the College of William and Mary and East Carolina University. Dickinson was Instructor and Department Chair at Chowan College from 1961 to 1971 and was Associate Professor and Professor at Tennessee Technological University beginning in 1971.
During his career he has received numerous awards and honors. A prolific writer, he has authored dozens of papers and articles on various historical topics for a large number of historical journals and publications. He is a popular lecturer on historic topics.

Update: Dr. Dickinson's program was well-received, and those present bought many of his books. To obtain a copy of any of Dickinson's books, email him at more information on his published work and a partial list of his books, visit

March Program – Public Invited

The program for our March 19 meeting will be presented by Mr. Thomas (Tommy) G. Webb of Smithville, Tennessee. Mr. Webb has lived in DeKalb County most of his life. He attended the public schools in Smithville before graduating from Peabody College in 1952, and again with a Master’s degree in 1955. He has also attended Vanderbilt University, Brigham Young University, the University of Utah, and the University of Tennessee. From 1952 to 1996 he taught in the schools of DeKalb County, including the high schools at Liberty and Smithville. His main subjects were English, History and German.

In 1953 and 1954 he served in the United States Army in Stuttgart, Germany. In 1976 he was married to Audrey Dean Turner. They live in Smithville and are active members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

In his early teens, Tommy developed a strong interest in family and local history and was appointed official DeKalb County Historian in 1965. He has published two books on DeKalb County history and assisted with a book about DeKalb County’s World War II veterans. His most recent work is newly published and entitled
Early Virginia Families with Middle Tennessee Connections, reflecting more than 60 years of research for several of the families in the book.

Come out and hear Mr. Tommy Webb present a program involving many familiar family names. Tommy is related to many families of the Auburntown community and his recent book showcases their history.

Our next meeting date is Thursday, Mar. 19 at 7 p.m.
See you there.

More about Tommy Webb's new book

Early Virginia Families with Middle Tennessee Connections has just been published by Justin Potter Library of Smithville, Tennessee. The author is Thomas G. Webb, DeKalb County historian, who has spent more than 60 years researching the history of the several families in the book. The result is a 384-page hardback book with a complete first-name index. Besides related families, more than 30 main families are presented.

Among the families are Bennett, Gribble, Robinson, Boykin, Harris, Rowland, Braswell, Jennings, Smith, Cathcart, Magness, Nicholls, Snow, Childers, Spoe, Mason, Cooper, Moser, Struthers, Davis, Tub, Downing, Parker, Washer, Flood, Power, Weldon, Frazier, Rich, Wilson and Yeargin.

Most of the families have been traced to the 1600s in Virginia, then down to the present time. This is more than just a list of names and dates, and many of the people are presented in great detail, so that we can understand their way of life and their reasons for making the decisions they made. All research is thoroughly documented and footnoted, with references to the original documents. The book contains more than 40 pages of family and historical photographs. The hardback cover is done in full color, with photographs of locations in DeKalb County. A limited number of books will be published, and no second printing is planned, so it is important to obtain your book as soon as possible.

The book can be purchased in person or by mail from:

Justin Potter Library, 101 South First Street, Smithville, TN 37166 (Phone 615-497-4359).

The cost is $35.00 or $40.00 postpaid. Checks should be made payable to Justin Potter Library.

The book can also be purchased in person at F. Z. Webb Pharmacy and Gifts, 400 Public Square in Smithville.