A Rich History
About Wilson County • A Brief History
Wilson County was established October 26, 1799. The county is named for Major David Wilson, a Revolutionary War hero. In 1802, a commission of five men decided the county seat should be built by an unnamed creek near virgin cedar trees. They decided to name the city Lebanon, after the biblical land of cedars. Neddie Jacobs was the first known inhabitant of Lebanon living in a cabin close to what is now the public square. A reconstructed model of the cabin now resides close to the original spot.
During the CivilWar, General Robert H. Hatton called for volunteers and close to one thousand from Wilson County responded. These volunteers were part of the 7th Tennessee Infantry who fought alongside General Robert E. Lee. In 1912, a statue of General Hatton was erected on the square in Lebanon. Wilson County played its part in WorldWar II history as Cumberland University was the maneuvers headquarters for the largest war games ever conducted. A monument at the university honors this part of Cumberland’s proud heritage.
Settled at the same time (1797) as Lebanon and nestled in among the hills of easternWilson County is Watertown. A massive fire in the early 1900s made national headlines causing the town to be rebuilt. Today, it looks much the same as it did back then.Watertown is home of the Original Mile-LongYard Sale and plays host to several Excursion Trains from Nashville.
The latest incorporated town in Wilson County is Mt. Juliet. Located in western Wilson County, Mt. Juliet was formed in 1835 and incorporated in 1973. Mt. Juliet received its name from a castle in Kilkenny County, Ireland. It is known as the Purple Martin Capitol of Tennessee. It is home to country music stars Charlie Daniels and Tracy Lawrence. Today, Wilson County is home to a number of high profile corporate citizens, which include Dell Computer, Genesco, Bridgestone/Firestone, Cracker Barrel, Hartmann Luggage,Toshiba America, Lochinvar, Prime Outlets, Providence Marketplace and more.