"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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frank Sims Sutton and Thelma Sutton met working for The Leaf Chronicle in Clarksville. On October 23, 1923, on S. Second Street in Clarksville, Frank Spencer Sutton was born. He was the typical little boy who enjoyed playing outside and coming home dirty. One day, he used grease to paint his face and put on a theatrical performance for his family; he told them that he was going to be an actor. In 1964, Frank was offered a role in a spinoff of The Andy Griffith Show. Starring alongside Jim Nabors, who played Gomer Pyle; Frank played Sergeant Vince Carter in the television series.Read More >>
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.Read More >>
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.Read More >>
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.Read More >>
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.Read More >>
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.Read More >>
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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