Sparta's history spans more than 200 years. A brief historical tour of the county reveals many sites commemorating people, places and events.
At the White County Library, on Church Street two blocks from the courthouse square, check out a book published many years ago by the White County Teachers Association. In it is a mapped historical tour of our county.
This is the burial site for Champ Ferguson, a Confederate ranger, guerilla fighter and martyr, according to legend and the Tennessee Division Sons of Confederate Veterans at www.tennessee-scv.org/champ.html.
Ferguson is one of only two Confederate soldiers of higher rank to hang for war crimes allegedly committed during the Civil War. However, folklore suggests that he was not actually hanged. Some people believe his wife paid the executioner to construct the scaffold in such a way that Ferguson would drop through, unharmed, onto a waiting wagon. It is said that the family may have escaped to Oklahoma Indian Territory and assumed new identities.
Perhaps we will never know for sure if Champ Ferguson is buried here.
George Dibrell was born in Sparta on April 12, 1822. He was married to Mary E. Leftwick, the daughter of a Sparta merchant. Their former home is outside the city limits on Gaines St.
The home is full of memories of Dibrell's life -- as captain and commander of troops under General Nathan B. Forrest in the Civil War, U.S. congressman, Union delegate to the state convention, president of the Southwestern Railroad, local government leader, and prosperous merchant.
A visit to the home is a step back in time to 1800s Sparta. Photos
Sparta and White County are key players in the Highlands Initiative, an ambitious economic and community development program of the Highlands of Tennessee, a region that also includes Jackson, Putnam and Overton counties. Together, we share the elevation of geography and economics.