Surprising Stories from the History of Nolensville TN

History of Nolensville, TN

The sleepy town of Nolensville, Tennessee has a fascinating past that many people know nothing about. From its beginnings as an 18th century farming village to the rapidly-growing modern suburb it is today, Nolensville has been home to incredible stories and characters throughout its history. Here we’ve compiled just a few surprising stories from centuries ago that help paint a picture of life in this small Tennessee community. So pull up your rocking chair and join us on an informative journey through time – you never know what secrets you’ll uncover!

A Broken Wagon Wheel is Where Nolensville Got Their Start

Nolensville’s history is traced back to a fateful incident involving a broken wagon wheel. The town is named after William Nolen and his wife, Sarah, who were traveling through Tennessee in 1797 when their wagon wheel suddenly broke. Forced to stop and make necessary repairs, the couple discovered the area’s fertile soil and abundant hunting grounds, which prompted them to settle down instead of moving on. They built the first settler’s home, a log cabin that still stands today as a part of the Newt McCord home.

Nolen and Sarah had 16 children and were said to have made them wear cowbells around their necks to protect them from Indian attacks and keep them away from a nearby cave. The town began to grow as others purchased lots in the surrounding areas. In 1838, the Nolensville Plan of Incorporation passed the state Senate, officially making it a town. Despite being far from his birthplace, Nolen lived to be 90 and passed away at home in 1850, content in the town he helped establish.

Nolensville’s Oldest Church

Nolensville boasts a rich religious history, with several notable churches that have served the community for over a century. The prestigious title of the oldest church in town belongs to the Ebenezer United Methodist Church, which dates back to the early 1800s. Originally a two-story frame building, it served as both a school and a place of worship. Today, the current building has been renovated while retaining its historical charm. The Concord Baptist Church began in 1804 as a Primitive Baptist Church in a log structure, and the Nolensville United Methodist Church was established in 1837 as Mount Olivet Methodist Episcopal Church on Williams Road.

It’s beautiful current building, built in 1894, is a significant landmark in the Nolensville historic area, towering above with its majestic 75-foot steeple and splendid stained glass windows. These revered houses of worship are a testament to the resilience and deep faith of Nolensville’s residents throughout its long history.

Nolensville has Survived Disasters

Over several decades from the 1950s to the 1980s, Nolensville encountered several disasters that left their mark on the town. The first tragedy struck in January 1953 when a fierce fire engulfed five buildings and caused damage to three others. Despite having limited resources, three fire departments worked together and successfully put out the flames using Mill Creek as their only water source. Several years later, in December 1968, another fire ravaged three buildings, resulting in a collaborative response from fire engines across a wide area.

In 1979, Mill Creek overflowed its banks and caused a flood that inundated the Nolensville Trailer Park and several homes north of Nolensville. Later in 1984, the situation worsened as floods submerged the highway and lots between the Recreation Center and the Davidson County line, leading to the closure of Nolensville Road. The area was further hit by severe storms with tornado warnings and heavy rainfall, which caused nine inches of rain to fall, leading to the flooding of the Nolensville Elementary School. In response, 200 students were transferred to the Nolensville United Methodist Church. Through it all, the people of Nolensville stood resilient, demonstrating their unwavering spirit and strength even in the face of adversity.

Nolensville Had Civil War Spies

Nolensville’s contribution to the Civil War is not just limited to the Zollicoffer Guards but also encompasses a group of fearless Confederate spies known as Coleman’s Scouts. Led by Captain John C. Coleman, the Scouts operated behind enemy lines and served as General Braxton Bragg’s eyes and ears during the spring of 1863.

Several Nolensville natives made up this spy network, with two of the most famous being Sam Davis and DeWitt Jobe. The Scouts were particularly active around Nolensville when Union forces were encamped near Triune. Despite their perilous work, they remained dedicated to their cause and were willing to endure brutal deaths rather than divulge any information.

The Zollicoffer Guards, led by Captain Joel A. Battle, were formed in April 1861 and participated in almost every major battle in the western theater of the war. Their courage and fighting prowess became legendary, even amongst Union soldiers. A Union private from Ohio wrote that fighting the 20th meant “hard work for the day.”

The unit’s bravery was especially evident during the Battle of Stone’s River in Nolensville, where they played a critical role in holding the line against Union forces. Confederate General John Breckinridge’s wife made a Confederate battle flag from her wedding gown and asked him to present it to the unit that exhibited the “most gallant and conspicuous heroism in every battle” in which they fought. He presented it to the Zollicoffer Guards for their exceptional bravery, which further enhanced their reputation as a formidable fighting force.

Individual soldiers such as Sam Davis and DeWitt Jobe left an indelible mark on the town’s history, inspiring others with their unwavering commitment to their cause and dedication to their fellow soldiers. These brave men and women exemplify the resilience and determination that characterized the people of Nolensville during one of America’s most challenging times, leaving a lasting legacy that continues to inspire to this day.

No matter how much things change, Nolensville’s history still remains an important part of who its citizens are. Whether you visit the Civil War site or just stroll through town learning about some of its past residents, it’s sure to be an experience that one will never forget. The hidden stories from Nolensville’s past provide us with glimpses into not only what our ancestors experienced but also how this place built the vibrant community we have today.

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