Gibson County Tennessee

Gibson County, Tennessee is the location I chose for the Kinsman Redeemer series. Annabelle’s Ruth, the first book in that series, takes place almost entirely in Gibson County–specifically–Trenton, Tennessee. Trenton is the county seat and one of the three main towns in Gibson County.

11666289_10205133027745183_2390596382820159736_nI recently returned from a trip to the area. This photo shows the house my family rented in Trenton (a number of years ago–not telling how many years). Guess what? It’s still a rental! There was a “For Rent” sign in the yard. The weeping willow tree I used to climb is gone, and the green color of the house has changed from a pale green to a brighter, darker one, but little else has changed. Of course, there was no ramp or satellite dish in those days either. There were only two bedrooms in the house, so I–the only girl in the family–got to sleep on the built-in back porch. How many girls get to have a washer in their bedroom? The porch wasn’t insulated, so in really cold weather, I slept on the couch in the living room.

31 mph speed limit in Trenton

After visiting our little house, we headed for the town’s centerpiece – the elegant Victorian-style courthouse. On the way, we passed this speed limit sign, mentioned in Annabelle’s Ruth.

Trenton has tons of interesting history, including David (Davy) Crockett. He was an early resident statesman who started the process to organize the area into Gibson County. In those early days, the courthouse was a log cabin. The present courthouse was erected in 1899.

Note: In these photos, the flags are at half-staff to honor the fallen soldiers in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

TrentonCollageAfter leaving the courthouse, we took a little tour of the town and it’s lovely old houses, including the one pictured below, which I used as a model for Jensen Wade’s house in Annabelle’s Ruth. It’s a Greek revival style home built in 1831. It was said the residents stood on the balcony and watched the Battle of Trenton during the Civil War.

HighStHouseTrentonOh, by the way–this one’s for sale. You can see inside it and check out the details here.

Present-day Trenton is a pleasant little town of approximately 4,300 residents in a mainly agricultural community. But the town does boast a world-famous collection of Night Light teapots. You can view them on display and read their history here.

After our little tour, I paid a visit to the Gibson County Memorial Library and librarian Connie Bates. She has now read Annabelle’s Ruth and told me she loved it, especially the familiar places referenced in the story. The library has a copy of the book, and I’ll be returning in the future to speak to the local book club.

Annabelle's Ruth FRONT final CoverNow I’m all set to begin the second novel in the Kinsman Redeemer series with scenes of the home town fresh in my mind. The cotton is tall and green in the fields, the temps this past weekend topped 100 degrees. Ah, West Tennessee summers! So fry up some fresh okra and put the cornbread in the oven. Call me when dinner’s ready. I can’t wait to see what happens to Annabelle and her family next.

Annabelle’s Ruth is available on Amazon.

Hometowns, Teapots, and Thirty-one Miles an Hour

I suppose you could say Louisville, Kentucky (home of the Kentucky Derby) is my hometown, since I’ve lived here most of my life. But when I was a child, I lived in several small towns in West Tennessee. Places you might think of as hometowns, because they were cozy and small. One of those towns is featured in my latest work in progress, Annabelle’s Ruth (working title).

Trenton, Tennessee, the Gibson County seat, is a lovely town. The beautiful courthouse is built in the Victorian style and though the town is small, it boasts an impressive list of historical homes, mostly built in the town’s center.

Since it is the county seat, many roads lead to Trenton and if you look at the map, you’ll see that many of those roads bear the name of the town or city to which they lead. Milan Highway, Alamo Highway, Dyersburg Highway, just to name a few. My main characters live on a tenant farm located on Milan Highway. The story is set during the early 1950’s when they were surrounded by cotton fields. And it’s hot.

Trenton, originally known as Gibson-Port, is the oldest town in Gibson County, chosen as county seat in 1825. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Trenton occupies an area of about 5.6 square miles and boasts a population of just under 5,000 people (latest census 2000).

Picture by Jordan Lamb

This is an actual speed limit sign in Trenton. It’s not a typo.
This weird but true speed limit was instituted in the 1950’s. It does get your attention.

Trenton is the hometown of John Wesley Crockett, son of David (Davy) Crockett, and member of the U.S. House of Representatives (Tennessee’s twelfth district).

These days, they are particularly proud of their rare teapot collection on display at the Teapot Museum, especially the Porcelain Veilleuse-Theiere (night-light teapots). The week-long Teapot Festival runs the last weekend of April through the first week in May. The Museum and their impressive number of beautiful old homes and mansions makes them an interesting stop, if you’re ever headed their way.

Well, I’ve got to get back to my manuscript. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Trenton and will click through some of the links.

Thanks for reading, and hope your horse wins, if you’re into that kind of thing!