Legends and Stories of White County, TN

By Miss Coral Williams

In 2002, I contacted Miss Byllee Burgess, the niece of Coral Williams, and received her approval to rescue her aunt’s 1930 thesis from total obscurity in a Vanderbilt library. 

Abstract by Miss Williams

The purpose of this study is to bring together the legends and stories of White County, Tennessee, and thus to collect and preserve the adventures and experiences of those hardy pioneers who established the country and of those brave characters who endured the fortunes of the Civil War. The legends were gathered from two sources. The first is found in two scrapbooks, copies of early newspapers, and a few early histories and biographies. The second, a more profitable source of information, was gleaned through personal conversation with old Civil War veterans or their descendants, relatives, and friends, and through material collected by the White County High school pupils. The results of the study show that seventeen legends treat of place-names; that the Indian contribution was four main trails, and four minor trails for the settlers who first came into White County; that there were twelve noted schools in the county before 1887, three denominations, four courts, and nine newspapers; that there were fourteen characters around whom legends center; that there were five main battles fought on White County soil; and that the exact number of skirmishes in the country can never be known.

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