A Brief History of Lebanon, Tennessee

3/18/2019

The City of Lebanon is named for the biblical land of cedars, was laid out as a town in 1802 and chartered as a body politic in 1819. Lebanon is the county's largest city and serves as the county seat.

Lebanon Square Present-day

Lebanon Square Present-day

Lebanon Square 1859

Lebanon Square 1859

About the City of Lebanon

Wilson County was created October 26, 1799, by an act of the Third General Assembly of the State of Tennessee. This act, entitled "An Act Reducing the Limits of Sumner County and Creating Two New Counties" established that the new counties be called Smith and Wilson. It is generally agreed by historical critics that Wilson County was named in honor of David Wilson who served with distinction in the Revolutionary War, was a member of the Territorial Assembly and Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1794. 

The City of Lebanon, named for the biblical land of cedars, was laid out as a town in 1802 and chartered as a body politic in 1819. Lebanon is the county's largest city and serves as the county seat.

Two other incorporated areas--Watertown and Mt. Juliet--are located in Wilson County. Watertown was so named in 1845 after Wilson L. Waters. The town was incorporated in 1905. Mt. Juliet was settled in 1835 and named in honor of "Aunt Julie."  It has the distinction of being the only town in the world to bear the name of Mt. Juliet. The town was incorporated in 1973.

The City of Lebanon, named for the biblical land of cedars, was surrounded by beautiful green cedar trees perfuming the air with their clean, fresh aroma. Today the reforestation work of the Federal Government has provided the 10,000 acre Cedars of Lebanon State Park, the largest forest of virgin red cedar in the United States.

The General Assembly of Tennessee in 1801 empowered and appointed commissioners to purchase land for the purpose of laying out the county seat of Wilson County. A site was to be chosen which would be centrally located and convenient; choice of location was also contingent upon reliable water resources. 

Lebanon traces its founding to 1802, its official birthdate, but pioneers came to the area earlier.

The chosen site was six miles north of the geographical center of the county, six miles south of the Cumberland River and at the fork of two creeks. The county seat thus was accessible to all parts of the county for trading.

Lebanon soon found itself on a great overland stagecoach road, linking Nashville and the East. Over the road rode President Andrew Jackson to the White House, Sam Houston, who practiced law in Lebanon and other notable personages of the day.

Interesting Facts about Lebanon Tennessee

  1. In 1819, Tennessee governor and Texas hero Sam Houston quit the army study law in Nashville. He opened his practice in Lebanon to be close to Andrew Jackson. That same year he was named adjutant general of the Tennessee Militia, and was soon attorney general for Davidson County.

  2. The founder of Cracker Barrel was from Smithville, so it’s no surprise he chose Lebanon to build the first restaurant.

  3. Lebanon is part of Wilson County, the 2nd fastest growing county in the state of Tennessee.

  4. The Wilson County Fair in Lebanon ranked among Top 50 in North America 2018 where over 557,702

  5. American Idol 2019 contestant, Kason Lester, hails from Lebanon, Tennessee

  6. Charlie Sheen recently came through for a visit, stopping at the L&C Market in Watertown, Tennessee while directing a music video for singer Tim Montana.

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