Asking Beth Lothers and Vicky Travis to pick their favorite stories discovered when researching Images of America: Nolensville was like asking a parent to pick his or her favorite child.
But in the end, each came up with three. Here they are:
The Butter Story (page 40): In 1921, local dairy farmers formed the Nolensville Co-Operative Creamery. Its slogan was “Better Cream made into better butter.” It operated until 1957.
“You don’t think about those folks as businessmen. They made this massive business that benefited hundreds of families,” Travis said.
An accomplished woman (pages 22-23): If educator Elmer Sherwood Jenkins – great-great-grandson of settler Green Jenkins — had not traveled to Mississippi in the early 1900s, he would not have met and married Minnie Alice Mauldin, a gentlewoman and accomplished artist.
“(She) left family and all that she knew for a rustic Nolensville that must have felt like the wild frontier,” Lothers says. “She brought her genteel roots, grace and painting, and was part of the fabric of what Nolensville would become.”
Meet the real Sam Donald (page 33-34): Countless vehicles have traveled Sam Donald Road but few know the story behind its namesake. Maj. Donald was one of the longest-held POWs in World War II. An Army chaplain, he survived the 125-mile Bataan Death March. He conducted more than 2,700 services for Americans who died by starvation or bayonet while imprisoned.
“So many times he should have died — but he didn’t,” Travis says. After the war, he and his wife bought a farm in Nolensville and became active members of the community. “He took tragedy and moved on from it.”
Nothing civil about war here (pages 26-29): Nolensville was not a Civil War battle site but the war left many scars and stories of survival on and among its residents.
“Everyone suffered,” Lothers says. “The differences that separated sides, by ideology or skin color, came down to being similar in the quest to survive. Those at the end of war, from both sides, who turned their suffering into empathy for, and service unto, others, were the most inspiring of all.”
Integration done right (page 126): In March 1967, about 50 Nolensville school children were invited to meet President Lyndon B. Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson at the dedication of Columbia State Community College to celebrate the town’s smooth integration of its schools. The school was rewarded with a new set of encyclopedias.
“Integration went smoother here than almost anywhere,” Travis says, explaining that being a small town, citizens young and old already worked and played together. Grandfathers of both black and white students gathered at the school to make sure no one from outside the town disturbed the peace.
World War II close to home (page 31): From 1941 to 1944, some 850,000 soldiers practiced military maneuvers in Middle Tennessee. Tanks traveled Nolensville Road before turning to practice military maneuvers in the woods between Kidd and Rocky Fork roads.
“I had always grown up thinking of WWII as something that happened far away,” says Lothers. “Thinking of Army tanks maneuvering in small-town Nolensville preparing for battle, or German POWs working local fields during the day before heading south to their prison camp, has made even that war more local and personal to me.”