MTSU alumni and faculty have been sharing their research and insights on significant people and events from Rutherford County’s 200-plus-year history each Tuesday in October at the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County.
To celebrate October as “Heritage Month” in Rutherford County, the Heritage Center has been hosting free weekly lunchtime lectures Tuesdays at 11:30 a.m. at its location off the Public Square in Murfreesboro, 225 W. College St.
MTSU alumnus Patrick “Pat” Cummins, president of the Native History Association, and association vice president Toye E. Heape were set to discuss the organization’s research into the Trail of Tears during their Tuesday, Oct. 21, lecture at the Heritage Center.
Their talk, “Forgotten Footsteps: Exploring the Cherokee Trail of Tears Alternate Route in Rutherford County, Tennessee,” tracks a little-known route of the forced relocation of the Cherokee people that travels from Readyville, Tennessee, along the east fork of the Stones River to the site of the former Old Jefferson community near Smyrna and on to Nashville.
Tennessee state historian Dr. Carroll Van West, an MTSU alumnus who also serves as director of the Center for Historic Preservation, will speak Tuesday, Oct. 28, on “Murfreesboro’s Historic Architecture.”
His 11:30 a.m. talk will address how the city’s historic buildings and places add to a sense of identity and community and remind us of landmarks lost.
“MTSU always gives back so much to the community,” West said. “We are proud to share our research with everyone in Rutherford County to emphasize how much significant history has happened here over the decades.”
The Oct. 7 lecture, “Rutherford County Cemetery Project,” was presented by MTSU alumni John Lodl, Rutherford County archivist; Michael Fletcher, a graduate research assistant in MTSU’s Center for Historic Preservation; and Catherine Hawkins of the Rutherford County GIS Lab.
They highlighted some of the findings of a countywide cemetery survey currently underway by Rutherford County government with the assistance of the Center for Historic Preservation and the Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center. The goal of the project is to digitally map and record all the cemeteries in the county.
Alex Collins, a student in MTSU’s public history program and the director of collections and education at the Historic Sam Davis Home and Plantation in Smyrna, discussed “Davis Women in Mourning: Customs and Practices of the Victorian Age” Tuesday, Oct. 14.
Collins’ talk included the Victorian mourning rituals prevalent at the time Sam Davis, a Confederate Army scout, was hanged and how the women in his family would have observed the practices.
The Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County is a partnership between Main Street Murfreesboro, the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation, the city of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County Government. The facility is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays.
For more information on activities at the Heritage Center, please call 615-217-8013 or visit www.hcmrc.org. For more information on Heritage Month events in Rutherford County, visit www.nps.gov/stri/planyourvisit/sharingprograms.htm.
— Gina E. Fann (firstname.lastname@example.org)