County Seat: Lexington

A battle once took place right where Interstate 40 goes through the community of Parker's Crossroads. It was a short cavalry and artillery battle between Union troops under Colonel Cyrus Dunham and Confederate troops under Nathan Bedford Forrest. Although the engagement didn't last long, there were an estimated 700 casualties.

Thanks to community activists, large parts of the battlefield have been preserved in recent years, and there is a visitors center as well. Check it out, and find out the circumstances under which Forrest, with his men surrounded, ordered his men to "Charge'em both ways!"

here to be taken to the official website of the Parker's Crossroads Battlefield Association.

Gov. Frank Clement (left) with William L. Barry in the 1960s

Henderson County also used to be the home of William L. Barry. Mr. Barry served in the Tennessee House of Representatives from 1955 through 1967, and as the House Speaker during his last four years there.

William L. Barry today
About a year before his death, Mr. Barry sat down and did a long interview with Tennessee History for Kids in which he talked about what it was like to stand in front of the Tennessee General Assembly a half century ago.

here to read the interview.

Look how big Henderson County was in 1821
Tennessee State Library & Archives

Mr. Barry knew quite a bit about Henderson County history, and told us about Miles Darden, who lived here for most of his life and died in 1857. Miles was world famous, not for something he did but for what he was. He was a giant – at least seven feet six inches tall and, at the time of his death, weighed more than a thousand pounds (according to the cotton scales on which he was weighed).

According to the book Every Day in Tennessee History by James Jones, “a typical Miles Darden breakfast consisted of a dozen eggs, two quarts of coffee, a gallon of water, and 30 buttered biscuits.” Miles started as a farmer, and later ran a tavern and inn.  "Darden's business prospered since he was an intelligent man with good business sense, who not only provided excellent food but good service too," according to Henderson County by G. Tilman Stewart.

The Lexington High School PTA -- in 1926!
PHOTO: Brenda Kirk Fiddler

A local historian named Brenda Fiddler has created a wonderful website that contains photographs from the history of Henderson and Decatur County. Click
here to explore this site.

Here's a photo of the Henderson County Courthouse.