A ‘Summer Soiree’ at the Sam Davis Home

June 19, 2011

The Sam Davis Memorial Association (SDMA) and the Rutherford County Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee invites you to attend the Rutherford County Remembrance for the Tennessee Secession Day event to be held in conjunction with SDMA annual meeting.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, June 23, a Southern-style barbecue dinner will begin on the grounds of the beautiful Sam Davis Home in Smyrna.

Special guest speakers will share the story of Tennessee entering the Civil War in June 1861 as re-enactors dressed as Southern ladies and gentlemen in 1860s regalia stroll the plantation and Civil War-era music is play by the Coleman Scouts Band and the Jimalong Josies Band.

The war came early to Tennessee after the vote to leave the Union occurred on June 8, 1861.  The second time the legislature met to take a vote, only 73 Rutherford County voters chose to keep Tennessee in the Union.  This had been a complete turn around from the vote in April 1861.

It was not too long before war came to the county, when on March 10, 1862 the Union declared Murfreesboro an occupied town.  According to the Civil War diary of John Spence, Union soldiers paraded around town and foraged in the county, taking guns, food, and livestock wherever they could.  This period in history will be on display at the Sam Davis Home and Museum for the month of June and first week of July in the form of an exhibit, entitled “This Cruel War: The Civil War in Rutherford County.”

The traveling exhibit was created by MTSU Public History students under the direction of Dr. Brenden Martin and is sponsored by the Rutherford County Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee.  The nine panel exhibit expands the stories told at these sites focusing on civilian life, particularly highlighting the hardships of individuals and local families while the battles raged literally in their backyards for most of the four years of the war.

“It was difficult to separate the civilian and military experiences,” Martin said, “but we were striving for a balanced interpretation that voices multiple perspectives of residents of the county during the war.”  The finished result is a community focused and interactive group of pictures and storytelling from all around the county and includes a driving tour brochure, educational curriculum, and a Rutherford County Civil War website that will soon be activated.

“I hope everyone will try to visit the exhibit as it travels the county this year.”  Rutherford County Mayor Ernest Burgess said, “Through the work of the public history department at MTSU, the community committee and our historic sites are creating memorable pieces that will help everyone appreciate our Civil War heritage in Rutherford County.”

RSVP for A Summer Soiree at the Sam Davis Home by e-mailing director@samdavishome.org, calling 615-459-2341 or mailing checks payable to SDMA to 1399 Sam Davis Rd, Smyrna TN 37167. The event is $10 per person for dinner (Free for SDMA members with reservations) Please include the name and number of those attending with your reservation.

The Summer Soiree at the Sam Davis Home is a family friendly event and open to the public.

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