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.:: History of the Sam Davis Camp ::.

Recently, I had the good fortune to come into possession of two collections of Sam Davis Camp records, and spent some enjoyable hours going through this material, some of which date back nearly thirty years.

Credit for keeping these records originally goes primarily to two gentlemen: the late Robert N. Herbert, our camp's last Real Son, and long-time member and mentor Robert E. "Doc" McArthur. Without their diligence, our camp's history would be mostly scattered to the winds -- lost with the passing of older members or gone with past members who are no longer a part of the camp. The records have passed through several hands in the intervening years. All who have had custody of the records in past years are to be commended for their stewardship.

The best information available indicates that our camp was first chartered in 1966 or 1967, a time when there were only two other active camps in the entire state: the Joseph E. Johnston Camp No. 28 in Nashville and the N. B. Forrest Camp No. 215 in Memphis. The Knoxville Camp No. 1294, since re-named and re-numbered as the Longstreet-Zollicoffer Camp No. 87, joined the ranks in 1968. Today, there are over 60 camps in the Tennessee Division.

Other than a few items that dip back into the 1970's, the records pick up about 1980 and cover the rest of that decade, the 1990's, and forward from there. Compatriots Herbert and McArthur kept minutes of meetings, and sign up sheets for those attending as well as copies of the monthly camp bulletin, which served as our "newsletter" in those days. These bulletins were more like a letter, and had a few brief comments on the last and upcoming meetings and some camp news items. Beginning in 1990 or so, a newsletter that went by the name of The Sam Davis Courier was being produced by Commander Gene Andrews, and usually stretched out past a single page. James Turner continued the format during his term. Credit for establishing The Hero's Herald goes to Mark Choate, who published issue No. 1 in January of 1994 as he began his term as camp Adjutant. Lin Tacker took over the editor's duties in January of 1996, and the current editor, Allen Sullivant, in January of 1998. In 2003, the name of the newsletter reverted to The Courier, thus restoring the original selection. The camp archives have copies of every single newsletter since early in 1993, and the great majority of those for the previous three years.

In looking over our records, one topic stands out head and shoulders above any other in occupying the camp's time and effort -- Winstead Hill. We first took title to the property in 1982, and within two years were in the process of transferring it to the national organization as the site on which to build a grand, new international headquarters facility. All the grandiose plans came to naught, however, and by 1988 the hill was ours again. In 1989, we leased the park to the City of Franklin for $1. a year, in return for their promise of complete maintenance without disturbing its nature as an exclusively Confederate memorial. The City soon broke its word, and amid a flurry of controversy resulting in dozens of newspaper articles we cancelled the lease in 1992. The hill has been our "baby" ever since, and anyone who visits now will see visible evidence of all the time and hard work which has been invested by our members in recent years. A detailed account of the history of our ownership of Winstead Hill would make for very interesting reading, and may well appear in a future edition of The Courier.

Over the years our camp has benefitted from the services of many hard-working individuals. Quite a number have served quietly from within "the ranks", and others have assumed positions of leadership. From the records available, I have been able to compile the following list of those men who have served the camp as Commander and Adjutant. It is worth noting that we apparently elected officers once a year, in January, until 1990 when the terms were extended to two years. Since I've been a member, starting in 1993, elections have been held in October or November, but I couldn't tell you why they were moved to those months from January. Perhaps a long-term member can tell us that, and supply some names which are missing from this list:

1968 ~ Hal R. Swann, Jr., Commander. John L. Heflin, Jr., Adjutant.

1976 ~ Buford Gotto, Commander. Robert N. Herbert, Adutant.

1977 ~ Hal R. Swann, Jr., Commander. Robert N. Herbert, Adjutant.

1978 ~ Robert A. Ragland, Commander. Robert N. Herbert, Adjutant.

1980 ~ William M. Coates, Commander. Robert N. Herbert, Adjutant.

1981 ~ Jack A. West, Commander. Robert N. Herbert, Adjutant.

1982 ~ George Spence, Commander. Robert N. Herbert, Adjutant.

1983 ~ John T. Herbert, Commander. Robert N. Herbert, Adjutant.

1984 ~ James Knox Trigg, Commander. Robert N. Herbert, Adjutant.

1985 ~ Robert E. McArthur, Commander. Robert N. Herbert and George Spence, Adjutants.

1986 ~ Carl McCarver, Commander. George Spence, Adjutant.

1987 ~ Van Herbert, Commander. George Spence, Adjutant.

1988 ~ Frank N. Davis, Commander. Hume Parks, Adjutant.

1989 ~ Frank N. Davis, Commander. Hume Parks, Adjutant.

1990 ~ 1991 -- Gene Andrews, Commander. Hollice Gilliland, Adjutant.

1992 ~ 1993 -- James K. Turner, Commander. Gordon Pickrell, Adjutant.

1994 ~ 1995 -- Marty Crain, Commander. Mark Choate, Adjutant.

1996 ~ 1997 -- Mark Choate, Commander. Lin Tacker, Adjutant.

1998 ~ 1999 -- Lin Tacker, Commander. Allen Sullivant, Adjutant.

1999 ~ 2001 -- Allen Sullivant, Commander. Gene Andrews, Adjutant.

2001 ~ 2003 -- James Galloway, Commander. John Paysinger, Adjutant.

2003 ~ 2005 -- Jerry Raymer, Commander. Chris Sollmann, Adjutant.

2005 ~ 2007 -- Gene Andrews, Commander. Chris Sollmann, Adjutant.

Dec. 2007 ~ July 2008 -- Richard Rust, Commander. Chris Sollmann, Adjutant.

July 2008 ~ February 2011-- Larry Cockerham, Commander. Chris Sollmann, Adjutant.
Note: Larry Cockerham passed away while in office...

February 2011 ~ December, 2013-- David Eagan, Commander. Chris Sollmann, Adjutant.

December, 2013 ~ December, 2015-- Nelson Boren, Commander. Allen Sullivant, Adjutant.

December, 2015 ~ Decmber, 2021-- Monte McDearis, Commander. Allen Sullivant, Adjutant.

December, 2021 -- Dennis Mann, Commander. Allen Sullivant, Adjutant.

Any list of camp officers would be incomplete without mentioning John Thurman, who has acted as our camp treasurer for 11 years between 1990 and 2003. Thank you, John, for all your work and dedication!