Entries

Obed Wild and Scenic River
Established by Congress in 1976, the Obed Wild and Scenic River protects parts of four different streams--the Obed River, Emory River, Clear Creek, and Daddy's Creek--and is approximately forty-f... Continue Reading »
Obion County
Created on October 24, 1823, and organized on January 19, 1824, Obion County included what is now Lake County until 1870. The county took its name from the Obion River; the word Obion is thought to be... Continue Reading »
Ochs, Adolph Simon
Adolph S. Ochs, along with Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, helped lay the foundation of modern American journalism. He was born March 12, 1858, in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Bavarian im... Continue Reading »
Oconastota
A prominent eighteenth-century Overhill Cherokee civil and military leader, Oconastota resided at Chota on the Little Tennessee River in present-day Monroe County. He was born around 1710. By the 1740... Continue Reading »
Old Hickory
The town of Old Hickory is a planned industrial complex and community in Davidson County that dates to January 29, 1918, when the DuPont corporation and the federal government agreed to build a massiv... Continue Reading »
Old Hickory Division
With America's declaration of war on April 6, 1917, a general mobilization of U.S. Armed Forces was ordered. War Department General Order #95 on July 18, 1917, created a National Guard division, ... Continue Reading »
Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park
The Old Stone Fort State Park in Coffee County preserves a prehistoric enclosure consisting of embankments or "walls" constructed of undressed stacked or piled stone covered with earth. They... Continue Reading »
Oliver Perry Temple
Oliver Perry Temple, author, East Tennessee economic promoter, and trustee of the University of Tennessee, was born on January 27, 1820, near Greeneville. An 1844 graduate of Washington College in Was... Continue Reading »
Omlie, Phoebe Fairgrave
Known as the "godmother" of early Tennessee aviation, Phoebe F. Omlie started her career as a barnstormer, wing walker, and stunt pilot. She and her husband Vernon settled in Memphis in 1922... Continue Reading »
Opera
Operatic music has long been performed on stages throughout Tennessee, although the establishment of permanent local opera companies is a far more recent trend. Famous stars and opera companies of the... Continue Reading »
Opry House and Opryland Hotel
This Nashville entertainment and convention complex began in the early 1970s, when the National Life and Accident Insurance Company, the parent company of the nationally famous country music radio sho... Continue Reading »
Orange Mound
Orange Mound, a Memphis community created for African Americans in the late nineteenth century, is a significant example of how “Jim Crow” segregation impacted neighborhood development i... Continue Reading »
Orr, Anne Champe
Born in Nashville, Anne Champe Orr became widely known at home and abroad for the published needlework patterns she began producing in 1915. A lifelong resident of Nashville, she studied with Nashvi... Continue Reading »
Ossoli Circle
The first women's club in Knoxville and in Tennessee and the first club in the South to join the General Federation of Women's Clubs, Ossoli Circle was organized on November 20, 1885, when L... Continue Reading »
Osteen, Claude Wilson
Claude Wilson Osteen, a successful major league pitcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers and other teams, was born August 9 in Caney Spring, Marshall County, Tennessee. His parents, Claude and Pauline O... Continue Reading »
Otey, James Hervey
James H. Otey, Christian educator and first Episcopal bishop of Tennessee, established the Anglican church in the state and organized its first parish churches. Born in Bedford County, Virginia, on Ja... Continue Reading »
Overhill Cherokees
The term Overhill Cherokee refers to the settlements of the eighteenth-century Cherokee people found in eastern Tennessee. The name Overhill is generally derived from the geographic location of the Ch... Continue Reading »
Overmountain Men
The Overmountain Men were those pioneers who settled on the western side of the Appalachian Mountains during the second half of the eighteenth century. The first group to venture into the region were ... Continue Reading »
Overton County
Named in honor of Nashville judge John Overton, Overton County was carved out of Jackson County on September 12, 1806. With an area of 434 square miles, the newly created county encompassed all of wha... Continue Reading »
Overton, John
John Overton, trusted friend and advisor to Andrew Jackson, was an early Tennessee lawyer, jurist, banker, and political leader. Born in Louisa County, Virginia, Overton moved to Mercer County in pres... Continue Reading »
Owsley, Frank Lawrence
Frank L. Owsley was a noted Vanderbilt University historian and apologist for the Old South. "The purpose of my life," he wrote to a colleague in 1932, "is to undermine . . . the entire... Continue Reading »
Ozone Falls State Natural Area
Ozone Falls is a breathtaking 110-foot waterfall on the Cumberland Plateau near the village of Ozone in Cumberland County. The gorge of the falls features beautiful stands of hemlock, yellow birch, ba... Continue Reading »
Page, Bettie
Bettie Page has been immortalized in bronze sculpture, song lyrics, paintings, comic books, and enough tattoo ink to flood a swimming pool. As the many tributes testify, the Nashville native reigns as... Continue Reading »
Paleoindians in Tennessee
We do not know exactly when the first people entered the "New World" from Asia. However, we do have confidence that they had reached what is now Tennessee at the end of the last Ice Age (the... Continue Reading »
Panther Creek State Park
Six miles west of Morristown in Hamblen County is the Panther Creek State Park. This 1,435-acre park features the recreational resources of Cherokee Lake, the reservoir created when the Tennessee Vall... Continue Reading »
Pardo Expedition
On December 1, 1566, the third Spanish expedition into Tennessee commenced when Juan Pardo left Santa Elena on the South Carolina coast with 125 soldiers. Sent into the interior to further Spain'... Continue Reading »
Pardon, Earl
Acclaimed metalsmith and jewelry designer, Earl Pardon was a major contributor to the rise of American studio jewelry in the second half of the twentieth century. Born in Memphis in 1926, Pardon ser... Continue Reading »
Paris Landing State Resort Park
The Paris Landing State Resort Park is located along the western shore of Kentucky Lake (the dammed Tennessee River) in Henry County. Containing 841 acres, the park is a major recreational center for ... Continue Reading »
Parker's Chapel
Parker’s Chapel is an African American community that was established in Sumner County shortly after the Civil War by ex-slaves. Originally known as “Taylor’s Old Field” or s... Continue Reading »
Parton, Dolly
Dolly Parton emerged from a childhood of grim mountain poverty with formidable singing and songwriting talents, which she forged first into Nashville country music fame and then into international sta... Continue Reading »
Patten, Zeboim Cartter
Z. Cartter Patten, prominent Chattanooga industrialist and capitalist, was born in Wilna, New York, and educated at Lawville Academy. During the Civil War, he served with the 115th Illinois Infantry a... Continue Reading »
Patterns in Presidential Elections in Tennessee
In the ten presidential elections from 1796 to 1832, Tennessee went for the winner eight times. In 1796 (Tennessee's first election for president), the state's three electoral votes were cas... Continue Reading »
Patterson Forge
The Patterson Forge, the site of which is now preserved at the Narrows of the Harpeth State Historical Area, was constructed at the neck of an unusual bend of the Harpeth River where, after approximat... Continue Reading »
Patterson, Elizabeth
Elizabeth Patterson, Broadway, motion picture, and television actress, was born in Savannah, Tennessee, on November 22, 1875. She was the daughter of a Civil War veteran and subsequent judge in Hard... Continue Reading »
Patterson, Gilbert Earle
Gilbert E. Patterson, Church of God in Christ (COGIC) minister and presiding bishop, media pioneer, and religious entrepreneur, was born in Humboldt, Tennessee, the son of COGIC Bishop W. A. and Mar... Continue Reading »
Patterson, Malcolm R.
One of the most controversial governors in Tennessee's history, Malcolm R. Patterson was born in Memphis June 7, 1861, the son of Colonel Josiah Patterson, a prominent local attorney. Patterson a... Continue Reading »
Patton, Mary McKeehan
Mary McKeehan Patton, pioneer gunpowder manufacturer, was born in England in 1751 and immigrated with her family to Pennsylvania in the late 1760s. McKeehan served an apprenticeship, possibly under he... Continue Reading »
Peabody Education Fund in Tennessee
Shocked by reports and letters about the South's Civil War devastation, George Peabody (1795-1869) founded the $2 million Peabody Education Fund (PEF, 1867-69) to aid public education in eleven f... Continue Reading »
Peabody Hotel
Since its opening on September 2, 1925, the Peabody Hotel has been the place to be seen for wealthy and fashionable society in Memphis and the Mississippi River Delta area of West Tennessee, eastern A... Continue Reading »
Pearl, Minnie
Though arguably the most recognizable person in the history of country music, Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon's name was never a household word. It was her alter ego, Minnie Pearl, with her frilly dr... Continue Reading »
Pearson, Josephine Anderson
Josephine A. Pearson, leader of the anti-suffrage movement in Tennessee during the 1920 fight for ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, was born in Gallatin. Pearson grew up in McMinnville, where ... Continue Reading »
Peay, Austin
Austin Peay, a successful and progressive governor during the 1920s, was perhaps best known as the governor who signed the infamous Butler (antievolution) Bill into law. Through administrative reorgan... Continue Reading »
Perkins, Carl Lee
Carl Perkins, the son of Tiptonville sharecroppers, was Sun Record's first certified million-selling artist. Perkins began his musical career by forming the Perkins Brothers--Jackson's hotte... Continue Reading »
Perry County
Created by an act of the Tennessee General Assembly on November 14, 1819, Perry County was named for Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, a naval officer and hero of the War of 1812. The first quarterly ses... Continue Reading »
Peyton, Balie
Balie Peyton, born near Gallatin, Tennessee, was an attorney and colorful political figure whose career included public service in Tennessee; Washington, D.C.; Louisiana; Chile; and California. Throug... Continue Reading »
Philander Priestley Claxton
Philander P. Claxton, the "Crusader for Public Education in the South," was born in a log cabin in rural Bedford County in 1862. He attended several "cabin" schools and received a secondary education ... Continue Reading »
Phillips, Samuel Cornelius
Sam Phillips, most popularly known as the man who first recorded Elvis Presley, is more critically renowned for combining essential elements of Southern vernacular music, black and white, to produce t... Continue Reading »
Phillis Wheatley Club
A group of black women, wives of prominent black leaders in Nashville's church, business, and professional arenas, organized the Phillis Wheatley Club in 1895. The club, established its headquart... Continue Reading »
Phosphate Mining and Industry
In 1886 William Shirley, a stonecutter, discovered phosphate on Gholston Hill near Columbia. This deposit proved to be too limited to be mined economically. In 1891 Shirley found a stratified blue roc... Continue Reading »
Pi Beta Phi Settlement School
The Pi Beta Phi Settlement School in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is one of the best extant examples of the early twentieth-century settlement school movement. The school’s origins date to 1910, when ... Continue Reading »