10:07am

Thu November 20, 2003
From WMOT News

SAM DAVIS HOME FESTIVITIES

Smyrna, TN – The long awaited Sam Davis Visitor's Center and Museum will open to the public on November 22, 2003. This $1.25 million expansion will include a museum store, conference room, and most importantly, a 2,800 square foot museum.

Sam Davis was born in Rutherford County on October 6, 1842. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, he joined the Confederate Army as a private in Company I of the First Tennessee Infantry. By June of 1863, Sam was chosen to be a member of the elite Coleman Scouts who delivered information to the Confederate forces from behind Union lines. In November of 1863, Sam was captured near Pulaski, Tennessee by Federal forces. The Union General told Sam he would be set free if he would divulge the name of his source. He refused to do so saying, "If I had a thousand lives to live, I would give them all rather than betray a friend." The Union army hanged him on November 27, 1863. He was twenty-one years old.

The Sam Davis Home opened to the public in 1930. The story of Sam Davis has been told for seventy-three years at his family home through tours of the house and grounds. The museum on the site, however, has been off limits for several years.

"Our original museum was closed in 1994 when it was deemed unsuitable for artifacts," said Bethany Hawkins, executive director. "For almost ten years, visitors have been unable to enjoy our wealth of Civil War artifacts and treasures from the Sam Davis family that had to be placed away from public display. After November, visitors will be able to enjoy these items in a state of the art facility that will place the story of Sam Davis in context with life in Middle Tennessee during the mid-nineteenth century."

The new museum exhibits, designed by LaPaglia and Associates from Murfreesboro, will include The Civil War in Middle Tennessee; Private Sam Davis, CSA; Remembering Sam Davis; The Davis Farm and Family; Slavery in Middle Tennessee; and Beyond the War. These exhibits are designed to expand the story told in the standard historic house tour.

The grand opening weekend festivities on Saturday, November 22 and Sunday, November 23 include:

Half-Price Both Days
Refreshments
Civil War Reenactors
Door Prize Giveaways
Special guided tours of the
New Museum Gallery
Signing by Artist David Wright of his new painting, "Sam Davis Leaving Home" (11/22)
Book Signing and Reading by Tullahoma author Dr. Michael Bradley in the new Henry King Theatre of his new book With Blood and Fire: Life Behind Union Lines in Middle Tennessee, 1863-64 at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Special Civil War Music Concert by Paul and Kim Caudell in the new Henry King Theatre on Sunday at 2p.m.
Also, the work of local artists will be featured in the new museum store along with a great collection of unique gift items and books.

The Sam Davis Home Museum and Visitors Center was designed by Hart, Freeland, Roberts of Brentwood, Tennessee. Dow Smith Contracting from Smyrna, Tennessee supervised the construction of the facility.

For more details, contact the Sam Davis Home at (615) 459-2341. The Sam Davis Home is located at 1399 Sam Davis Road in Smyrna, Tennessee.