A driving tour through the communities of southern Giles County, Tennessee
In 2006, the Elkton Historical Society began work with Humanities Tennessee on a project entitled “We the People of Tennessee: Stories of Land and Place,” an oral history project documenting daily life in Elkton and the surrounding communities of Southern Giles County. Society members were trained in interviewing techniques, audio recording, and digital photography. Working from the premise that the personality of communities may be uncovered by exploring the places we share through stories about them, the EHS put their skills to use, collecting hours of oral histories from their fellow community members. The result is a living driving tour through the communities of Southern Giles County.
A drive through the area will reveal more than rolling hills and meandering creeks. Homes, schools, churches, and bridges signify family and community to the residents; people connected to place. And the people of Elkton, Bee Spring, Bryson, Bunker Hill, Conway, and Vinta Mill are all of the opinion that they live in the most agreeable place. They tell of rural rituals such as planting and harvesting. Trips to town for supplies and socializing linger in their memories. The rivers and streams played a vital role in work, recreation, faith, and the community’s very existence.
Although a rural area, southern Giles County was by no means exempt from change and larger national concerns such as the arrival of the Interstate Highway System and integration. Indeed, the stories collected here reveal sweeping changes to a rural way of life over the course of the Twentieth Century.