Clarksville Connections

Clarksville Connections 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.


Dorothy Jordan
Actress
1906-1988

Actress Dorothy Jordan was born in Clarksville in1906. She studied at Southwestern University and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, learning about acting in theater and film as well as ballet. She first graced the stage as a chorus girl in the Broadway musical Funny Face, then in 1923, made her screen debut in the film The Taming of the Shrew.

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Pat Head Summitt
NCAA Basketball Coaching Legend
1952-2016

From the Summer Olympics to the SEC and NCAA, Pat Head Summitt is a name every basketball fan knows and knows well. This Clarksville native was the fiercest of competitors. When offered the job to coach the UT Women's Basketball team shortly after finishing college herself, she had never led a single practice. After 38 seasons with the Lady Vols, she garnered a record 1,098 wins and 8 national championships. Her program maintained a 100-percent graduation rate for players who completed their eligibility at Tennessee.

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Asahel Huntington (A.H.) Patch
Inventor
1825-1909

A.H. Patch moved to Clarksville in 1875 at age 50 to purchase a plow company. As a conservative Yankee outsider, he struggled for 10 years to earn trust. After going broke, he carved a wooden model of a corn sheller he had dreamed of as a child. Cast in iron, it because immediately popular and sold worldwide.

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Big Jay McNeely
Saxophonist
b. 1927

Clarksville was silent in 1950 when Cecil James “Big Jay” McNeely, the king of the honking tenor saxophone himself, was playing a show for the town in 1950. Eager for a reaction from the crowd, he came back from the show’s intermission playing while on his knees, and the crowd went wild. From then on, Big Jay McNeely and his tenor saxophone earned an unparalleled reputation by incorporating never-before-seen over-the-top energy into his sets, going as far as leading audiences down the streets of San Diego.

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Cave Johnson
U.S. Postmaster General
1793-1866

U.S. Representative Cave Johnson successfully managed a presidential campaign for Tennessean James K. Polk and was rewarded with the office of postmaster general, where he served all four years of Polk’s administration. Afterward, Johnson returned to his home in Clarksville where practiced law until 1860.

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Caroline Gordon
Author
1895-1981

On October 6, 1895, Caroline Gordon was born near the city of Clarksville at a farm called Merry Mont. After receiving a Bachelors degree in Greek at Bethany College in 1916, she worked as a teacher at Clarksville High School and then as a reporter for the Chattanooga News. Caroline published her first novel in 1931 and continued writing until she retired in 1979.

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Ida Gray Nelson Rollins
First Female African American Dentist
1867-1953

Ida Gray Nelson Rollins was born in Clarksville on March 4, 1867. Her mother, Jennie Gray, was a black woman, and her father was a white man to whom Jennie was not married. Ida’s achievements are a testimony to perseverance, determination and diligence. Though she was raised by a woman who was unable to read or write, Ida overcame her environment, becoming the first female African American dentist in the United States.

 

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4 Fun Family Favorites

Posted: Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Outdoor Journeys & Winter Fare in Clarksville

Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Local Joints on Clarksville's BBQ Trail

Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Connecting Clarksville through Coffee

Posted: Thursday, December 6, 2018

Rediscover the Magic of Christmas

Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2018

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