A Brief History of Decherd
Decherd was founded in 1853. Decherd owes its beginning to the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad which was completed in 1851 through what was to become the town of Decherd. The town is named for Peter S. Decherd, who along with his business partner Ezekiel D. Sanford in 1852, purchased the land and in 1853 developed it into a town complete with blocks and streets. Mr. Decherd, a lawyer from Virginia, followed his parents and siblings to Franklin County in the early 1800's. His family owned a large plantation just south of Winchester where Hundred Oaks Castle now stands. He was on the Board of Directors of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad.
The town was originally incorporated in 1856, then again after the Civil War in 1868. The Civil War dominated life in Decherd during the war years. No major battles were fought in the area, but several skirmishes were fought over control of the railroad. Union General Don Buell established headquarters in Decherd in August 1862 before moving north to encounter Confederate forces under the command of General Braxton Bragg. In 1863 Union troops under Colonel John T. Wilder drove a Confederate force from Decherd and destroyed about 300 yards of the railroad between Decherd and Cowan. The brick depot, telegraph and commissary stores of the Confederate forces were also burned in the raid.
From 1885 to 1901 the town, along with many towns in Franklin County, was officially unincorporated due to the "Four Mile Law", which allowed for the selling of liquor within four miles of schools in incorporated communities only. The town was re-chartered by the General Assembly on April 22, 1901. Governor Benton McMillin signed the private act creating the town. J.F. McGill became mayor in June of that year. R. Ross Powell was the first city recorder. The town also had one Town Marshall. The population in 1900 was about 1000.
In 1889, James Terrill built and established Terrill College on the site where Decherd Elementary School now stands. The college was sold in 1903 and closed in 1905 due to a lack of interest in higher education.
Decherd is proud of it’s three largest employers, Nissan Power Train Assembly, Kroger and Henley Supply & Millworks. We have two schools; North Middle School and the before mentioned Decherd Elementary. Decherd’s Lions Club has been active since 1957 providing glasses and eye screenings to our citizens. Our two city parks provide picnic areas, walking trails, softball and playgrounds for all to enjoy.
We are very proud of our history and this wonderful place to work and live.
Michael Gillespie - Mayor
Learn more about the history of Decherd.
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