Grainger County

Medal of Honor recipients Charles Coolidge, Paul Huff,
Charlie Morris, Vernon McGarity and Charles McGaha
PHOTO: Medal of


Tennessee had nine Congressional Medal of Honor recipients during World War II. One of them was Charles McGaha of Grainger County.

McGaha was fighting in the Philippines and crossed a road under a hail of bullets to save an injured comrade. Injured himself, he returned to his men, then removed another wounded soldier. Then he carried a third man to safety, and finally collapsed from loss of blood and exhaustion.

The story doesn’t end there. Charles McGaha survived the war but was stabbed to death in a taxi cab in Columbus, Georgia in 1984. Today there is a small section of road in Columbus named for this Tennessee hero.

Grainger is also the only county in Tennessee named for a woman.

Mary Grainger Blount was the wife of William Blount, who was governor of the Territory South of the Ohio River. Before Tennessee became a state in 1796, it was part of this territory.