Sam Davis Museum Re-Opens With New Hours
by Margaret Campbell
As history has recorded, on or around Nov. 20, 1863, young Confederate scout Sam Davis was dispatched carrying information about Union troop movements in middle Tennessee.
The information was to be delivered to Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg in the Chattanooga area. Just south of Minor Hill, at Lamb’s Ferry Road, two Union soldiers, dressed in uniforms of the Confederates, stopped Davis and told him they were conscripting.
Davis showed the two his pass and let them know that he was already a Confederate soldier. After a search that yielded documents from his saddle and boot, he was charged as a spy.
He was taken to Pulaski and jailed, tried, convicted and later executed on gallows erected on East Hill, leaving an indelible mark on the history of our community.
Davis was offered his liberty for the identity of the one who supplied the information he carried. He refused, saying, “If I had a thousand lives, I would lose them all here before I would betray my friends or the confidence of my informer.”
At 10:30 a.m., Nov. 27, 1950, on the 87th anniversary of Davis’ execution, the Sam Davis Museum State Historic Site, created by an act of the Tennessee Legislature, through the efforts of the Daughters of the Confederacy Chapter 257, was dedicated to commemorate his brief but noble life.
The memorial museum is an elegant little structure of white marble with four Gothic columns. Construction of the building had been planned when the lot was purchased in 1941 but World War II delayed it. A gray marble stone had lain for many years on the spot where Davis was executed, this stone was placed by the local camp of the Confederate Veterans.
Owned by the state, the museum is entrusted to the care of the Giles County Historical Society. The museum and its exhibits have recently undergone some renovations and has new hours.
“We are pleased to announce the reopening of the Sam Davis Memorial State Historic Site,” said GCHS member John Lancaster. “The museum has been closed for several months due to the replacement of an HVAC system, fumigation, painting and cleaning.”
Under the newly established schedule, the museum will be open on the third Sunday of each month from 1-4 p.m. unless that Sunday falls on a holiday. Additional openings and tours may be scheduled by calling the Giles County Historical Society at 363-2720 or the Giles County Chamber at 363-3789.