Sometimes, an event can turn an ordinary American doing his or her duty into someone famous. Such is the case with Tennessee native James T. Davis.
On December 22, 1961, Davis – an American soldier – was killed in an ambush at a military airfield in Southeast Asia. Not too many people outside of Overton County noticed. But as the years went by, the United States increased its military presence in that Asian country (South Vietnam). Eventually America fought a war there called the Vietnam War. And for many years, Davis was considered to be the first American to die in that war.
The story does not end there.
In recent years, the United States’ involvement in Vietnam has been studied more closely, and we’ve learned that a small number of Americans were killed in Vietnam in the late 1950s. Today Davis is no longer considered the very first American killed there. But he is no less a hero; and the people of Overton County will always consider him the first.
To learn more about the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., click here.
Overton County is also the site of a delightful Mennonite community called Muddy Pond. It’s worth going out of the way to see. And if you would like to buy some molasses and sweet sorghum, this is the place!
Here is something else you probably didn’t know about Overton County: It is one of Tennessee’s top counties when it comes to oil and natural gas production (other top counties including Fentress, Pickett and others on the Cumberland Plateau).
So people from Overton County are used to seeing oil wells!
Livingston is the county seat of Overton County. This has not always been the case. As you can see from this 1832 map, Overton’s original county seat was Monroe. The county seat was moved to Livingston after a contentious vote in 1835.