“Skits and Bits” – Little Bits of News and History – Some you may remember, some you may have forgotten and some you may have never heard of before; but all of which took place somewhere, sometime, throughout the years.

May 19, 1780- At about 10:00 o’clock in the morning, in the northeastern section of the United States, it started to get dark. Farmers came in from the fields, birds returned to their roosts, cows to their barns and people had to light candles. It was feared that the day of judgment had come since the sun was not shining. Many people became so fearful that they abandoned their normal daily activities and gathered in churches to find comfort. The day was clear there was no eclipse of the sun. There are many theories, but the cause have not be definitively proven.

May 19, 1899- The second meeting of the mayor and aldermen of Dickson, Tennessee, after the town was re-chartered. The first ordinance passed by the new city was the garbage bill, the second ordinance was the privy bill and the third ordinance was the hog bill. The mayor ordered the town marshal to see that all business places and meat markets were closed on Sundays.

May 19, 1919- Dr. Watson M. Gentry, the Surgeon in Chief of the Confederate Army, died at his home in Franklin, Tennessee, at 2:10 o’clock in the afternoon. Dr. Gentry was the great grandson of the first doctor in Nashville Tennessee, Dr. Mark Brown Sappington. Dr. Gentry was the surgeon in chief of nine hospitals in Alabama and was the surgeon in chief of the Tennessee 17th Regiment. He was in battles at Rock Castle, Fishing Creek, Corinth, Perryville, Murfreesboro, Hoovers Gap, Chickamauga, and Shiloh. He was born January 31, 1831, near Stockert’s Church in Williamson County, Tennessee.

May 20, 1834- Marquis de Lafayette died in Paris, France. He was given the same military rights in America as President George Washington. Lafayette fought alongside George Washington at Valley Forge and secured the aid of France during the Revolutionary War. Lafayette visited Nashville on May 4, 1825, and Andrew Jackson presided over a banquet in his honor at the Nashville Inn. Timothy Demonbreun, 95 years old, conversed with Lafayette in their native French. Demonbreun was living in the Nashville area before the city was founded.

May 20, 1964- Wrecking crews begin tearing down the old brick building that once housed the Dickson Normal College and later the Dickson Central High School. The building was built in 1892 by Wade and Loggins for use as the main building for the Dickson Normal College. The property was purchased by the town of Dickson and Dickson County in 1919 and was used for the Dickson Central High School.

May 21, 1919- The Dickson County Court voted to purchase one-half interest in the old Dickson Normal College property. The town of Dickson bought the other one-half interest, each paying $8,250.00. The property was to be used for the Dickson Central High School. A wrecking crew began demolishing the old building on May 20, 1964. The building lacked just one day of being used for the DCHS for 45 years.

May 21, 1967- Rommie ‘R.T.’ Reeder died at 10:30 o’clock in the morning in a Nashville, Tennessee, hospital. Reeder was the founder of several business firms in Dickson, among the business establishments he helped to found was First Federal Savings and Loan Association.

May 22, 1845- William Strickland stepped off a stage coach in Nashville, Tennessee, and in less than one month had signed a contract to design the capitol building for the state of Tennessee. The contract was signed on June 18, 1845.

May 23, 1906- A 450 yard tobacco plant bed was scraped by unknown parties on the farm of L. L. Leavell in the Black Patch War. A $500.00 reward was offered for the capture and conviction of the night riders guilty of the plant bed scraping.

May 24, 1844- The first message was sent over a telegraph wire. The message was sent by the inventor of the telegraph method of communication, F. B. Morse. His message was “What hath God wrought?”

May 24, 1956- The site was selected to build the new elementary school in West Dickson. The location was on West Broad Street and Bryant Avenue.

May 25, 1912- The old Bryan home place, the first public school building in Dickson, was sold at auction. S. E. Hunt was high bidder for the house at $155.00, and Theodore Helberg was high bidder on the barn at $14.00. The buildings had to be cleared off the property within two weeks. Construction on the new brick school building was set to begin at that time.

H. Alan Ragan is the Dickson County Historian and a full-time Realtor and Auctioneer with Ragan’s Five Rivers Realty & Auction Co. Ragan can be reached at his real estate office or by e-mail at Alan.Ragan@Ragans.biz. No part of ‘Skits and Bits’ may be reprinted without written permission. © 2017 Ragan Family Skits and Bits

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