Twelve Important Dates in the History of Dickson County

The following items were taken from “Skits and Bits”, an archive of local history information compiled and maintained by the Ragan Family.

  1. June 21, 1793 – James Robertson, the ‘Father of Middle Tennessee’, purchased 640 acres on Barton’s Creek from a private of the Revolutionary War. It was on this tract of land that Robertson built an iron plantation village – the first iron works on Tennessee’s frontier.  The village, now known as Cumberland Furnace, is the oldest community in Dickson County.
  2. October 25, 1803- The Tennessee General Assembly passed an act creating Dickson County, Tennessee. The county was named in honor of Dr. William Dickson, a member of the United Sates Congress, elected in 1801 from Davidson County, at which time included Dickson County territory.
  3. May 10, 1864 – The railroad was finished and the first train passed through Dickson County headed to Lucas Harbor on the Tennessee River with a load on Union troops. The Military Governor of Tennessee, Andrew Johnson, was a passenger on the train.  The completion of the railroad through the southern part of the county brought about the development and growth of towns like White Bluff, Burns and Dickson.
  4. July 23, 1917 – A mass meeting was held in the Alamo Theatre in Dickson to raise $760.00 to pay for the surveying of the Bristol to Memphis Highway through Dickson County. The money was raised in less than fifteen minutes by donations from those present at the meeting.  State highway surveyors began surveying the route on August 14, 1917.  The building of this highway put the county along the route from New York to San Francisco known as the “Broadway of America”, now Highway 70.
  5. December 14, 1923 – Under an effort led by the Dickson County Chamber of Commerce, announcement was made that the citizens of Dickson had raised enough money to construct a building for the American Cigar Company (later known as the old Red Kap Building). Local citizens formed the Dickson Development Company to recruit industry and they signed their names to pay for the construction of buildings on city land for industries to lease.  At that time, municipalities in Tennessee did not have the power to lend their credit for the construction of buildings for industry. 
  6. November 4, 1952 – Frank G. Clement of Dickson, Tennessee, was elected governor for the first time. He served as governor 1953-1959 and again 1963-1967.  His service performed years ago continues to benefit the citizens of Dickson County and the State of Tennessee to this day.
  7. May 9, 1959 – The first Old Timers Day was held in Dickson on a vacant lot on Church Street across from Ragan & Hamilton, General Contractors. The day was organized by Warren G. Medley, Vernon ‘Red’ Hamilton, Henry V. Ragan and others and sponsored by Ragan & Hamilton.  The oldest man attending was Joe Ferguson, 110 years old.  The celebration has continued, uninterrupted, throughout the years and is held on the first Saturday in May.
  8. June 2, 1965 – Hampton High’s final graduation exercises were held at 8:00 p.m. This event brought an end to segregation in the county’s schools.  The board of education unanimously adopted plans for desegregation on May 6, 1965.
  9. September 24, 1966 – Governor Frank G. Clement cut the ribbon at the Tennessee River Bridge for the opening of Interstate I-40, linking East and West Tennessee through Dickson County. The interstate was started on September 18, 1958.
  10. December 9, 1968 – Announcement was made by Dickson County School Officials that eighty acres of land had been purchased to build the new Dickson County Senior High School – bringing about the consolidation of Dickson, White Bluff and Charlotte High Schools in 1972.
  11. December 30, 1998 – The contract was let for work on the Dickson County portion of the southwestern leg of State Route 840. It included 8.6 miles of interstate connecting to I-40 around the 177 mile marker in Dickson County.  The contract was for $47.6 million, the largest ever awarded by the Tennessee Department of Transportation as of that date.
  12. December 19, 2003 – After more than a decade of planning, the Water Authority of Dickson County (WADC) opened the state’s most technologically advanced water treatment plant. It was opened on the Cumberland River in northern Dickson County.  The $29 million plant had the capacity to treat more than 20 million gallons of water per day. 

(H. Alan Ragan is the Dickson County Historian and a full-time Realtor and Auctioneer with Ragan’s Five Rivers Realty & Auction Co.  Ragan can be reached at his real estate office on Main Street. No part of ‘Skits and Bits’ may be reprinted without written permission. © Ragan Family Skits and Bits)