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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Livingston in Overton County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

Heart of Controversy

Bethlehem United Methodist Church

 
 
Heart of Controversy Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, July 22, 2013
1. Heart of Controversy Marker
Inscription.  In 1861, as the secession debate raged across Tennessee, Mary Catherine Sproul taught school here on the church grounds. She was excited to learn that pro-Union leader Horace Maynard would give a speech in Livingston. Then she overheard local secessionists claim they would “riddle his hide” if Maynard spoke. Sproul, shocked, wondered aloud to her students whether their parents were not “heathens and cutthroats? Surely a civilized nation will never tolerate such a course. My God! Are you going to prohibit the freedom of speech in this free, enlightened and blood bought land?” Residents branded Sproul a “Lincolnite,” and longtime friends abandoned her. Others threatened her, and a man offered to tighten the noose if local women decided to hang her. The secessionists prevented Maynard from giving his speech. Sproul’s school somehow continued, but she wrote that students were “casting reproachful glances at me as though I had committed a terrible crime.”

Alvin Cullom, a local leader who was a Tennessee delegate at the unsuccessful Washington Peace Conference that met in February 1861, is
Heart of Controversy Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, July 22, 2013
2. Heart of Controversy Marker
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buried in the cemetery. Former President John Tyler of Virginia led the conference, which submitted a compromise plan to the Senate, where it was ignored.

Sam Cullom, a slave who belonged to Alvin Cullom, is also buried here. Sam Cullom accompanied his owner’s son, Jim, during the Civil War. Decades later, Cullom was among the 280 Tennesseans who applied for and received a state pension under a 1921 law to support former slaves “who served as servants and cooks in the Confederate army.”

(Inscription under the photo on the lower left side)
Horace Maynard, 1859-Courtesy Library of Congress.

(Inscription under the photo on the lower right side)
Peace Conference, Washington, D.C., February 1861, from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, February 16, 1861
 
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #10 John Tyler, and the Tennessee Civil War Trails series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1861.
 
Location. 36° 19.983′ N, 85° 18.55′ W. Marker is near Livingston, Tennessee, in Overton County. Marker is on Bethlehem Road west of Monterey Highway, on the left when traveling west
Heart of Controversy Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, July 22, 2013
3. Heart of Controversy Marker
. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Livingston TN 38570, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Hartsaw Cove Farm (approx. half a mile away); Crockett's Camp (approx. 2½ miles away); Overton County Courthouse (approx. 3½ miles away); a different marker also named Overton County Courthouse (approx. 3½ miles away); Specialist 4 James T. Davis (approx. 3.6 miles away); Staff Sergeant Loval E. Ayers (approx. 3.6 miles away); Overton County Veterans Memorial (approx. 3.6 miles away); Birthplace of Lester Raymond Flatt (approx. 3.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Livingston.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on September 2, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 711 times since then and 36 times this year. Last updated on April 9, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 2, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 25, 2022