Notable Clarksvillians

"Notable Clarksvillians" is an ongoing project to share the stories of historically significant people who have a Clarksville connection. We are working diligently to share content to the site so please visit often for updates. We also invite your input. Please email your information and ideas to michelle@visitclarksvilletn.com.

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Clarence Saunders
Piggly Wiggly Founder
1881-1953

Clarence Saunders didn’t invent supermarkets. He did, however, make them into what they are today. Born 1881 in Virginia, he moved to Palmyra, Tennessee, working as a clerk in a Clarksville wholesale grocery house at 14. His experience gave him some ideas and he tested his theory in 1916 in Memphis, Tennessee, when he opened the first Piggly Wiggly, revolutionizing the consumer shopping experience. 

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Leonora Witzel
Photographer
1875-1961

Nora Witzel was fascinated by cameras and took Kodak shots of people and places in and around Clarksville. A Christmas gift to her mother in 1905 was an album of her photographs, including the family home, flower gardens, and one of the many pet dogs she would love in her lifetime. Nora documented the people and places of postwar Clarksville. She photographed the usual bridges and birthday portraits, but also continued her fascination with outdoor photography. She climbed railroad trestles for unusual views of the Cumberland, and she began to experiment with light and tinting and other techniques of the American Pictorialists, a group of photographers who consciously separated themselves to become "artists."

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Brenda Vineyard Runyon
Founder and Director of First Woman's Bank
1868-1929

Active in the Clarksville community throughout the early twentieth century, Brenda Runyon was the first woman to serve on the Clarksville-Montgomery County Board of Education. Her efforts during World War I helped to establish Clarksville’s first local Red Cross chapter. Her most significant achievement, though, is her role in the creation and operation of the First Woman’s Bank of Tennessee, which opened its doors on October 6,1919.

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