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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.
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 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
Heart of Controversy Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 22, 2013
2. Heart of Controversy Marker
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.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails marker series.
 
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. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Livingston TN 38570, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 13 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Overton County Courthouse (approx. 3.5 miles away); a different marker also named Overton County Courthouse (approx. 3.5 miles away);
Heart of Controversy Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 22, 2013
3. Heart of Controversy Marker
Specialist 4 James T. Davis (approx. 3.6 miles away); Camp Zollicoffer (approx. 4.6 miles away); Fisk Female Academy (approx. 8.7 miles away); Camp Myers (approx. 9.6 miles away); John Hunt Morgan (approx. 10.4 miles away); Stokes' Atrocity (approx. 13 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Livingston.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 2, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 408 times since then and 41 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, Md 21234. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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