Entries

DeFrank, Vincent
Vincent DeFrank, founder and musical director of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra (MSO) from 1960 to 1983, was born June 18, 1915, in Long Island, New York. He first studied violin under George Frenz fr... Continue Reading »
Dekalb County
The Tennessee General Assembly established DeKalb County in December 1837 and named it in honor of Johann DeKalb, a German general who died while serving in the American Revolution. The county seat wa... Continue Reading »
Dell Computer Corporation
Dell Computers became an important corporate employer in Middle Tennessee when it announced in May 1999 that it would expand operations from its central Texas base to the Nashville area. In August 199... Continue Reading »
Demonbreun, Timothy
Timothy Demonbreun, a French-Canadian fur trader, first traveled to the springs near the Cumberland River at what would be known as the French Lick around 1769. Demonbreun made frequent trips to the e... Continue Reading »
Dempster, George Roby
George R. Dempster, a leading twentieth-century Knoxville businessman and political figure, was born in Knoxville on September 12, 1887, to Scotland natives John D. and Ann Dempster. After his high sc... Continue Reading »
Dennis, John Bartlett
John B. Dennis, financier and creator of modern Kingsport, was born in Gardiner, Maine, the eldest son of David and Julia Bartlett Dennis. His father was a prominent businessman and president of the M... Continue Reading »
Denny, James R. "Jim"
Jim Denny, music publisher, booking agent, longtime manager of the Grand Ole Opry, and promoter of Nashville's music industry, was born in Buffalo Valley, Putnam County. As a young man, Denny fou... Continue Reading »
Development Districts
Development districts are regional planning and economic organizations owned and operated by the cities and counties of Tennessee. The nine development districts were established by the general assemb... Continue Reading »
Dibrell, George Gibbs
Congressman and industrial entrepreneur George G. Dibrell was born and raised in Sparta and returned to White County after attending East Tennessee University (now University of Tennessee) in Knoxvill... Continue Reading »
Dickson County
The Tennessee General Assembly formed Dickson County on October 25, 1803, from the counties of Montgomery and Robertson and named it in honor of Congressman William Dickson, a Nashville physician. An ... Continue Reading »
Disasters
A number of natural and technological tragedies, as well as epidemics, have shaped the Tennessee experience. Many resulted in massive property damage and/or loss of life and immeasurable human sufferi... Continue Reading »
Disciples of Christ
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) came into being in 1832 in Lexington, Kentucky, with the union of Barton Stone's Christians and Alexander Campbell's reformers. The uniting groups ... Continue Reading »
Disfranchising Laws
In 1889 the Tennessee General Assembly passed four acts of self-described electoral reform that resulted in the disfranchisement of a significant portion of African American voters as well as many poo... Continue Reading »
Dixie Highway Association
Constructed between 1915 and 1927, the Dixie Highway was part of the new road system built in response to the growing number of motorists in the early decades of the twentieth century. When completed,... Continue Reading »
Dixie Spinning Mills
At the turn of the century, Chattanooga emerged as a textile manufacturing center, particularly for cotton hosiery. The 1913 introduction of the process of mercerizing, which gives yarn a fine silk fi... Continue Reading »
Dixon Gallery and Gardens
The Dixon Gallery and Gardens, with paintings by Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists such as Renoir, Degas, Cezanne, and Monet, its collection of eighteenth-century porcelain, and its stunnin... Continue Reading »
Doak, Samuel
Minister and pioneer Samuel Doak founded the earliest schools and many of the Presbyterian churches of East Tennessee. The son of Irish immigrants, Doak was born August 1, 1749, in Augusta County, Vir... Continue Reading »
Dockery, Isaac
Isaac Dockery, an African American brickmason and builder, was born a freeman in the Jones Cove community of Sevier County. Dockery moved to Sevierville before the Civil War, where he worked as a merc... Continue Reading »
Dodge, John Wood
John Wood Dodge, portraitist and photographer, was born in New York City, the son of a goldsmith and watchmaker and his Canadian-born wife. Dodge was apprenticed to a sign painter, under whom he began... Continue Reading »
Dollar General
Dollar General, whose corporate office is located in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, has helped shaped twentieth-century retail patterns in Tennessee and the South since its establishment in 1939. Dolla... Continue Reading »
Dollywood
Dollywood is a theme park founded in Pigeon Forge by Tennessee singer-songwriter Dolly Parton to enhance the economy of her native Sevier County. As the jaunty pun of the name implies, Dollywood invol... Continue Reading »
Donelson, Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson Donelson, son of Samuel and Mary Donelson, was a soldier, lawyer, politician, and diplomat. After his father's death around 1804 and his mother's remarriage, Donelson was rear... Continue Reading »
Donelson, John
John Donelson, land speculator and early settler of Middle Tennessee, led over one hundred settlers on a tortuous water journey to the Cumberland settlement during the winter of 1779-80. Donelson was ... Continue Reading »
Donelson, Samuel
Samuel Donelson, Davidson County lawyer and landowner, was the eighth of eleven children born in Virginia to Colonel John Donelson II and Rachel Stockley Donelson. Samuel Donelson was among the party ... Continue Reading »
Donelson, Stockly
Stockly Donelson, early Nashville builder, was one of thirteen children born to Captain John Donelson and Mary Purnell Donelson of Davidson County. He grew up on the family plantation located on the C... Continue Reading »
Dorn, Earl Van
Confederate Major General Earl Van Dorn was murdered May 7, 1863, in his Spring Hill headquarters by Dr. George Peters, who charged that the short, dapper general had carried on an affair with his wif... Continue Reading »
Dorris, Mary Clementia Currey
Mary C. C. Dorris, a founder and early leader of the Ladies' Hermitage Association, was born in Nashville on January 28, 1850, to Emily Donelson Martin and George Washington Currey. She graduated... Continue Reading »
Dougherty, Nathan Washington
Nathan W. Dougherty, engineer, educator, and athlete, was born on March 23, 1886, at Hales Mill, Virginia, the son of Samuel and Mary Ellen Vernon Dougherty. When he was twelve years old, young Doughe... Continue Reading »
Douglas, Aaron
Aaron Douglas, African American artist and professor at Fisk University, was born in small-town eastern Kansas and displayed an early aptitude for drawing. His mother recognized his talent and support... Continue Reading »
Dover Flint Quarries
The Dover Flint Quarries, listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, comprise one of the most significant prehistoric quarry sites in the Southeast. Located in Stewart County, the Dov... Continue Reading »
Downtown Presbyterian Church
This Egyptian Revival landmark in Nashville is one of only two buildings in Tennessee designed by notable Philadelphia architect William F. Strickland. Constructed in 1849-51, the church is listed as ... Continue Reading »
Dragging Canoe
Dragging Canoe, Cherokee warrior and leader of the Chickamaugas, was born in one of the Overhill towns on the Tennessee River, the son of the Cherokee diplomat Attakullakulla. Historians have identifi... Continue Reading »
Dresslar, Fletcher
Fletcher Dresslar, professor of health education at the George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, was instrumental in rural Tennessee’s school-building reform movement. Dresslar was bo... Continue Reading »
Drive-In Movie Theaters
The drive-in movie theater was the creation of Richard M. Hollingshead Jr., whose family owned and operated the R. M. Hollingshead Corporation chemical plant in Camden, New Jersey. Hollingshead bega... Continue Reading »
Driver, William
Born March 17, 1803, in Salem, Massachusetts, William Driver is credited with nicknaming the American flag "Old Glory." At age thirteen Driver ran away from home to be a cabin boy on a large sailing s... Continue Reading »
Dromgoole, Will Allen
Will Allen Dromgoole was born in Murfreesboro, the last child of John Easter and Rebecca Blanche Dromgoole. When she was six, Dromgoole changed her middle name to Allen, and throughout her life was kn... Continue Reading »
Drouillard, Mary Florence
Born in Nashville on August 23, 1843, Mary Florence Kirkman Drouillard was the daughter of Hugh Kirkman and Eleanora C. Vanleer and granddaughter of ironmaster Anthony W. Vanleer and Rebecca Brady. Ed... Continue Reading »
Du Bois, W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt)
W. E. B. Du Bois was a prolific writer and profoundly original thinker who was influenced by his years in Tennessee as a student at Fisk University and by his public school teaching in rural Tennessee... Continue Reading »
DuBose, William Porcher
Episcopal theologian William P. DuBose was born at Winnsboro, South Carolina, the son of Theodore Marion DuBose and Jane Porcher, both of Huguenot descent. In 1851 he entered the South Carolina Milita... Continue Reading »
Duck River Temple Mounds
More than eight centuries ago a Native American town flourished atop the steep bluff overlooking the confluence of Sycamore Creek, Buffalo River, and Duck River in Humphreys County. By A.D. 1150 this ... Continue Reading »
Ducktown Basin Museum
The Ducktown Basin Museum is located in Polk County at the southeastern corner of Tennessee. The museum documents and interprets the copper mining history of the state. Located on the grounds of the f... Continue Reading »
Dudley, Anne Dallas
Anne Dallas Dudley, a national and state leader in the woman suffrage movement, was the daughter of a prominent Nashville family. She received her education at Ward Seminary and attended Price's ... Continue Reading »
Dueling
Dueling, defined as private combat governed by formal rules, was a manifestation of the romantic spirit that once existed in the South. A relic of feudalism, the duel was popularized among rank-consci... Continue Reading »
Dunavant Enterprises and Hohenberg Bros. Company
These Memphis-based firms were among the world leaders in cotton merchandising at the end of the twentieth century. Cotton marketing has been an important commercial activity in Memphis since the 1840... Continue Reading »
Dunavant Jr., William B.
Memphis cotton broker William Buchanan “Billy” Dunavant Jr. shaped the Bluff City’s commerce and the world cotton futures market during the late twentieth century. Dunavant was bor... Continue Reading »
Dunbar Cave State Natural Area
Located outside of Clarksville, the Dunbar Cave State Natural Area contains 110 acres centered around a historic cave that has been a source of legend and recreation since the early history of Montgom... Continue Reading »
Duncan Brown Cooper
Duncan Cooper, journalist, publisher, and leading figure in Tennessee's Democratic Party in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, was born in Maury County. Cooper served in the Confe... Continue Reading »
Duncan Sr., John J.
John J. Duncan Sr., congressman and mayor of Knoxville, was born on a farm in Scott County, the sixth of ten children of F. B. and Cassie Duncan. Duncan attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville... Continue Reading »
Dunn, Winfield C.
In November 1970 Winfield Dunn defeated Democratic Party nominee John J. Hooker and became the first Republican to be elected governor of Tennessee in a half-century. Before his election to the govern... Continue Reading »
Durick, Joseph Aloysius
Following the directives of the Second Vatican Council, Bishop Joseph A. Durick led Tennessee's Catholic Church into the modern era during the 1960s and 1970s. The eighth bishop of Nashville, Dur... Continue Reading »