One of the displays in the new exhibit at the Robertson County History Museum is a list of communities in the county. The history of these communities, as well as the naming of them, has always been intriguing.
Through the years, many people have connected the name “Springfield” with Black Branch, the “town spring.” This, of course, could possibly be the initial suggestion for the name of the town that would become the county seat.
What is definitely known is that the town was officially named by an Act of Legislature on April 20, 1796. This Act stated that the town would be “called and known” by the name of Springfield.
William Johnson, Sr., James Norfleet, John Young, John Donelson, and Samuel Crockett were appointed as a “locating commission” to “fix the seat of government.”
According to information written by Col. A.L. Dorsey in 1937, many county communities were named for prominent families.
Adams, for example, was named for Reuben Adams, and Sadlersville was named for the Sadler family. They lived in the area when the railroad came through.
Baggettsville and Stroudsville were named in the same way.
Mulloy community was located on the “L & N Pike” – 31W. It was named for Daniel Mulloy. His son, Dr. James Mulloy, was a physician and postmaster there and wrote about the early times in Robertson County.
According to Mr. Dorsey, Gause was named for Major S. Gause, who had owned the “Robertson County Herald.”
Youngville was named for Abe Young, who operated a store in the community. A post office was started in the store before the days of R.F.D. (Rural Free Delivery).
Milldale, of course, was named for the mill there, and Cedar Hill for the abundance of cedar trees near the post office. The post office was moved when the railroad came through, but the post office and the town kept the name.
Orlinda’s name is a bit more unexpected. For many years, the community was known as “Crocker’s Crossroads.” When the town made application for a post office, however, the name was refused.
Supposedly the name “Centerville” was offered, but there was already a town by that name. Finally a federal employee suggested the name Orlinda. There was no other town in the United States by that name – and Orlinda it became.
The naming of Greenbrier is uncertain. Early on, the community was known as Cheatham’s Station. With the coming of the railroad in 1857, however, the town became known as Greenbrier.
Some say it was named for the green briers that cover the ravines crossing the area. According to Ann Moss Betts, however, others say it was named for Greenbrier, West Virginia, which became an important stop in the railroad in the late 1850’s. (Of course, at the time, it was Greenbrier, Virginia.)
But what about White House or Lamont or Calista? Interesting stories can also be told about those names.
In the Eagle’s Eye is sponsored by the Robertson County Historical Society. Call 615-382-7173 for more information.