“Heritage Days: A Festival of History and Culture”, will welcome ballad singers, Carmen Hicks McCord and her family to the outdoor stage at the Fentress County Courthouse, Saturday, April 27, at 10am. A full schedule of Heirtage Days (April 26-27) will be published in next week’s Courier.

“Heritage Days”, now in its twenty-ninth year, is an annual event presented by the Fentress County Historical Society. Previously held at the York Elementary School, this will be its first year to take place in historic downtown Jamestown, at and around the Fentress County Courthouse. The change in venue coincides with the opening of the new home of the Historical Society, which is now located in the former Reagan Building, directly across the street, on the west side of the Courthouse and diagonal to the Chamber of Commerce and Old Jail Museum Building.

“The Fentress County Historical Society is pleased and honored to have as our guests for this inaugural downtown presentation of Heritage Days, Mrs. Carmen Hicks McCord and her family,” said Martha Wiley, Vice President and coordinator of the event.

The Hicks Family, of Fentress County, has a long and distinguished history of preserving and performing old ballads handed down by their ancestors for many generations. Some of these would have no doubt been lost to the passage of time if the Hicks family had not kept them alive in story and song.

Mrs. McCord credits her father, Bessford Hicks, for committing to memory the words to hundreds of songs. “He was always singing,” she said. She calls to mind the song, “The Cumberlin’ Land”, which was more than likely written in the late 1780s and was included in the concert, “Crossing the Cumberland”, which was presented in Chattanooga, last year, as a fundraiser for the Cumberland Trail Project. It was one of the songs , the lyrics of which Mr. Hicks did get down on paper.

When his daughter sings the song, its haunting lyrics are a reminder of a time long past, when early explorers and the settlers who followed after them through the Cumberlands toward what is now Nashville, endured great danger and hardship from weather, hunger and often hostile Native Americans.

Due to the efforts of former State Park Ranger and current Park Manager of Cumberland Trail State Park, Bobby Fulcher these songs and thousands of others have been preserved for us and future generations to study and enjoy.

Everyone is invited out to meet the Hicks Family and listen to their old-time ballads, Saturday, April 27, 10am, in historic downtown Jamestown. There will be a lot of activities in the area of the Fentress County Historical Society offices (the Reagan Building), the Courthouse and the Chamber of Commerce. The Historical Society offices will be open, as will the Old Jail Museum in the Chamber Building. Nearby restaurants, including the Dairy Mart and West End Cafe, will be serving breakfast and lunch.

It will be a great day to be in historic downtown Jamestown. Plan to be with us for a full schedule of activities, on both Friday evening and during the day on Saturday. A complete schedule of activities will be published in the April 17th edition of the Courier and will be aired on local radio stations up until the weekend of “Heritage Days”, April 26-27.


The Fentress County Historical Society has announced its schedule for Heritage Days 2019, which will be held Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27, in historic downtown Jamestown.

Friday evening events will be held in the large courtroom of the Fentress County Courthouse and at the stage area behind the courthouse (weather permitting). The program will start at 6:00pm, in the large courtroom, with Howard Ray Duncan, a lifelong resident of this area and a retired Big South Fork NRRA park ranger. Mr. Duncan, who retired after thirty years of interpreting the park and surrounding area for visitors and others who have enjoyed his presentations in numerous settings over the years, will speak about Early Jamestown and Fentress County.


At 6:45pm, Jim Buck, a retired local educator, will don the persona of Cal Logsdon, to share the latter’s story of crime and punishment in the late 1800s, for which he paid the ultimate penalty of execution by hanging and is buried in the Jamestown City Cemetery.

Immediately following these presentations, the audience will be invited to move outside to the stage area behind the courthouse, for an evening of bluegrass music presented by Victory Bluegrass. Victory Bluegrass is a much-in-demand bluegrass gospel group that is known around the region for its true bluegrass gospel sound. In case of rain, this concert will be moved into the courthouse.


A full day, Saturday, begins inside the courthouse, with a Welcome to Heritage Days, followed by recognition of First Families of Fentress County and the announcement of the Fentress County Historical Society’s 2019 Scholarship Recipient.

Singer/Storyteller, Leonard Anderson, will open the entertainment portion of the program with some of his unique songs that tell a story about life in Fentress County and the surrounding area, both past and present.

Immediately following Mr. Anderson’s performance, the Hicks Family will perform a a concert of folk ballads handed down in their family from well before Tennessee became a state. Many of these ballads have been recorded and preserved for future generations by Bob Fulcher, a Tennessee State Parks ranger and, now, Manager of the Cumberland Trail State Park.

Music will also be provided in the stage area on the west side of the courthouse, starting at noon; and several vendors will also be located in that area throughout the day.

There will be activities, all day, around the Fentress County Courthouse, including walking tours of downtown Jamestown. Walking tours, guided by maps provided by the Fentress County Historical Society and the Fentress County Chamber of Commerce will take event attendees to locations of historical significance. Maps available at the Historical Society offices in the former Reagan Building and at the Chamber office across the street.

The Old Fentress County Jail Museum will be open for tours; and several activities are scheduled, throughout the day, at the Fentress County Historical Society offices, including genealogy research. Historical Society members will also be providing photo scanning. Anyone having old photographs of people, places and events in Jamestown and Fentress County are encouraged to bring those to have scanned. Those having their photos scanned will keep their original photo and leave a scanned copy with the Historical Society to be kept in its files.

The Tennessee Archive of Moving Images and Sound Presentation will show vintage films, there will be photographic displays, book and CD sales and more to interest those with a desire to learn more about our past or just to enjoy reminiscing about the past in this part of Tennessee that we call home.

Several food options will be available at different locations throughout Jamestown.


The Fentress County Historical Society has announced that it will host a Historic Preservation Conference, Friday, March 8. The event, which will be held at First Baptist Church in Jamestown, will start at 8am and continue through the afternoon, with guest speakers, panel discussions, and more. Additional information will be available on the Society’s website, www.fentresscountyhistoricalsociety.org and its Facebook page.

Conference registration will be open to all organizations and individuals in Fentress and adjacent counties with an interest in preserving our heritage as a legacy for future generations.  To register, please send a detailed message to events@fentresscountyhistoricalsociety.org



The Fentress County Historical Society Museum in Allardt

Saturday, December 8, 2018 10am-1pm


Everyone Invited




All Fentress County Historical Society books will be 10% off  at the Museum during the hours of the Christmas Open House

These will make wonderful gifts for the history lover on your list!


Seasonal refreshments served              Door prizes


We wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!


A program about the history of Jamestown’s First Baptist Church, based upon the book, Footsteps of Faith: The Story of the First Baptist Church, Jamestown, Tennessee, 1930- 2015, written by Patsy Littrell, will be presented Saturday, November 10, at the Fentress County Historical Society Museum, in Allardt.

The book upon which Mrs. Littrell’s program is based, tells the story of the church from its organization in 1930 to 2015. Well researched and written, it vividly recalls the many individuals and groups within the church that have made it a place of worship and a center of service in the Jamestown community for almost one hundred years. Special features of Footsteps of Faith are the dozens of photographs, some dating back to the early 1900s, and the lists of pastors and deacons that note the years of their service.

Mrs. Littrell will have copies of her book for sale at the Museum, starting at 10am, on Saturday. The cost of the book is $10; and she will autograph each book sold, if requested.

Of special interest will be First Baptist’s heritage quilt, which Mrs. Littrell wrote about in the book. Starting at 11am, she will tell its history, how it came to be quilted, what its purpose was and how it made a contribution to furnishing the newly erected church building in 1937. The quilt will also be displayed during her program.

The Fentress County Historical Society invites everyone to come out to the Society Museum, in Allardt, this Saturday, to learn about the historical significance of Jamestown’s First Baptist Church in the Fentress County community. You do not have to register to attend. However, space is limited; and those wishing to hear the program are encouraged to let us know ahead of time that you plan to be there.

Museum tours will be given and a good selection of Historical Society books will also be available for purchase. There will be refreshments and a drawing for door prizes.

Museum hours, on Saturdays, are 10am to 1pm. For more information, email mrobbins45@gmail.com; or visit the Fentress County Historical Society’s Facebook page.

Customer Share grant awarded to the Society by Volunteer Energy Cooperative (VEC),

“The Fentress County Historical Society is very appreciative of the recent Customer Share grant awarded to the Society by Volunteer Energy Cooperative (VEC),” said Thomas Potter, Society President.

According to Mr. Potter, the $1,500 grant will be used to purchase much needed technology for the Society, including a computer and a copier/printer/scanner. As much of the Society’s work involves research, record building, maintenance and dissemination, as well as printing and publishing, its effectiveness will be greatly enhanced by having up-to-date technology in-house.

“The VEC has a strong and solid history of supporting the financial needs of the non-profits in its service area through the Customer Share Program” Mr. Potter continued. “We, in Fentress County, are very fortunate to be in this service area and have this funding opportunity available to our non-profit community organizations.”

FCHS Book and Bake Sale at the Museum in Allardt, Saturday, October 6, During the Pumpkin Festival

The Fentress County Historical Society will have a book and bake sale at the Society’s museum in Allardt, Saturday, October 6, during the Pumpkin Festival. Festival goers are invited to stop by the museum, located near the four-way stop, from 8:30am to 3pm.

There will be numerous baked items for sale, as well as canned goods and some specialty items. All of the Society’s books will be available, including the most recently reprinted – 100 Years in the Cumberland Mountains – by Mr. A. R. Hogue.

Members of the organization’s board of directors will be on site to provide tours of the building and answer questions about the Society and provide information about its programs, including The First Families of Tennessee.

There will be drawings for door prizes and free coffee will be available, as long as it lasts.

The Fentress County Historical Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.



To commemorate the conclusion of the Fentress County Historical Society’s 50th Anniversary Year, the organization will host a picnic at the Jamestown Community Park, Tuesdray, May 22, 5-7pm. Everyone is invited to attend this special event, for an evening of food, music, a presentation about the organization’s mission, activities and plans for the future. Garrett Farms is providing Choice Beef Burgers for the grill and the Grill Masters will be Willie Beaty and John Beaty, who are known for flipping some great burgers. Leonard Anderson, one of  Fentress County’s favorite entertainers will be at the mike with some much requested songs. There will be door prizes and perhaps a surprise or two.

The Fentress County Historical Society has been preserving, promoting and sharing the history of this place we call home since May 22, 1968. The organization was begun with a small group of individuals, led by Mr. Ruble Upchurch, who was elected its first president. Wanda Hatfield, who was a member of that original group, is still a member of the Society, sits on its Board of Directors and is Editor of its Newsletter.

As the Society begins its second half-century of serving as service to the people of Fentress County, it is at a milestone. With its holdings – archives, library, museum – located in separate buildings, FCHS leadership realizes that it is time to bring all its holdings together in one location in order to better preserve, add to and more effectively present them to the public. With a significant bequest from the late Helen Linder Hull, the organization is moving forward with a campaign to raise the remainder of the money needed to construct a building or purchase an existing one that is adequate to meet the needs of today and allow for expansion to meet the needs of the future.

It is with this in mind that, at this important point in the Society’s history, its leadership is hosting this 50th Anniversary Picnic in the Park – to say “Thank You!” to those who have already given to the Fentress County Historical Society Building Fund, to present plans for future growth to the community and emphasize the importance of everyone’s support in this endeavor that will honor the past and preserve it for future generations.

“We look forward to seeing friends and neighbors from all across Fentress County at this important event,” said Willie Beaty, Chairman of the FCHS Building Committee. “Come out to the Jamestown Community Park on May 22, from 5 to 7pm. Enjoy the evening and learn about what your support of this endeavor can mean for Fentress County.”

Reservations are not required. See you at the Park!


The Historic Sites Committee of the Fentress County Historical Society will celebrate Historic Preservation Month with its customary placing of a plaque on a local building of historical significance. The building chosen as this year’s plaque recipient is Ye Old Jail Museum Building on the Courthouse Square.

The building, which houses the Ye Old Jail Museum and the Fentress County Chamber of Commerce, was built in 1898, after the previous jail had burned. It served as the Fentress County Jail from that date until 1979, when a new jail was built and attached to the southwest corner of the Courthouse. The current jail is a part of the Justice Center.

The plaque installation ceremony will be held on May 22, at 12:30pm, with officials of the Fentress County Historical Society, the Fentress County Chamber of Commerce and other local officials participating. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

For additional information about the event, or about previous Fentress County Historical Society historic marker recipients, contact the FCHS at www.fentresscountyhistoricalsociety.org or visit us on Facebook. The Society, now celebrating its 50th Anniversary Year is a 50l(c)3
not-for-profit organization.


2018 is the twenty-ninth year that the Fentress County Historical Society has produced its annual Heritage Day, an event that has always focused on one particular aspect of Fentress County history. This year, the Society’s 50th Anniversary Year, will be very different, as its Heritage Day will be a cumulative look back at previous Heritage Days.
The Heritage Day theme, this year, is taken from the Society’s theme for its 50th Anniversary, “Looking Back – Moving Forward: A Celebration of 50 Years of Preserving and Sharing Fentress County History”. To be held, Saturday, April 28, 9:00am to 3:00pm, in the York Elementary School, Heritage Day will feature many of the themed displays from past years, including those focused on education, business, the Civil War, The Way We Worked in Fentress County 1850-1960, and more. Displays will be arranged by year; and some unique new displays will be available for viewing for the first time.
A highlight of this year’s Heritage Day will be a presentation of First Family Certificates to individuals who have recently completed their First Family documentation, as well as recognition of all First Family certificate holders who are present. With almost one hundred members of Fentress County’s First Families group, this part of the day’s program will be an important part of the event’s activity. The presentation and recognition ceremony is scheduled for 11:00am-11:30am.
The midday program will also include the announcement and introduction of the Fentress County Historical Society’s 2018 scholarship recipient as well as a surprise musical presentation. The Society will have a book sale table and other booksellers are expected to be present.
Lunch will be available. For $5.00, Heritage Day attendees can have a midday meal of sandwich, chips or nuts, dessert and a drink. Door prizes will be drawn for and winners announced throughout the day.
This twenty-ninth Heritage Day will round out the Fentress County Historical Society’s year long 50th Anniversary celebration, which has included several programs and seminars, an open house and other activities. The Society was founded on May 22, 1968, when Ruble Upchurch convened a meeting with about fifteen interested persons for the purpose of organizing a historical society. This group elected officers, drafted a constitution and set about the business of preserving and sharing the history of Fentress County. Since that time, the FCHS has been at the forefront of collecting, preserving and promoting the historical and cultural heritage of this place we call home.