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Wilder, Tennessee
Wilder Post Office in 2010
Wilder
Wilder
Wilder
Wilder
Coordinates: 36°15′58″N 85°05′26″W / 36.26611°N 85.09056°W / 36.26611; -85.09056Coordinates: 36°15′58″N 85°05′26″W / 36.26611°N 85.09056°W / 36.26611; -85.09056
CountryUnited States
StateTennessee
CountyFentress
Founded1902
Founded byJohn T. Wilder
Named forJohn T. Wilder
Elevation
1,506 ft (459 m)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Code
38589
Area code(s)931
GNIS feature ID1274557[1]

Wilder is an unincorporated community in Fentress County, Tennessee, United States.[2] The community is in the Cumberland Mountains near Cookeville, Tennessee.

Population

The community reached a population of 2,350 in 1924 as a coal-mining town with over 10,000 people living in the general area, but had declined to about 400 by 1957,[3] and an estimated population of 249 in 2013.[4]

History

Early development

Wilder was a planned company town, intended to provide housing for employees of the Fentress Coal and Coke Company. Town planning began in 1901, and the first coal mine opened in 1902. The town was named for the company owner, John T. Wilder.[3] It was well established by 1903,[5] including the first school in the area. The town church, Boyer's Chapel, was built in 1922. In 1923, the school began adding high school classes, and the first high school graduates were the class of 1932.[3]

Killing of union leader Barney Graham

The coal company store in 1974, after it had been gutted by fire.
The coal company store in 1974, after it had been gutted by fire.

Wilder was the site of a violent coal-miners strike from July 1932 to April 1933, after wages had been cut by twenty percent.[6] The strike ended shortly after the killing of United Mine Workers union leader Barney Graham in front of the company store on April 30, 1933.[5][7][8] His funeral was attended by almost a thousand people.[9] Company mine guard Jack "Shorty" Green was acquitted of a murder charge.[10] The mine never recovered from the destructive events of the strike, and the seam still contains tens of millions of tons of recoverable coal.[11]

Hedy West's 1965 album Old Times and Hard Times included the song The Davidson-Wilder Blues about the coal-miners strike, and the song Lament For Barney Graham specifically about the killing of Graham.[12][13]

Decline

Notable person

Gallery

References

  1. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Wilder, Tennessee". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  3. ^ a b c Duke, Jason (2003). Tennessee Coal Mining, Railroading & Logging in Cumberland, Fentress, Overton, and Putnam Counties. Turner Publishing Company. pp. 25–26. ISBN 9781563119323.
  4. ^ "Communities". Fentress County. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  5. ^ a b Kemp, Homer D. "Wilder-Davidson Coal Mining Complex". Tennessee Encyclopedia. The University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, Tennessee. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  6. ^ Clayton, Bruce; Salmond, John A. (1999). Debating Southern History: Ideas and Action in the Twentieth Century. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 106. ISBN 9780847694143.
  7. ^ "For Workers' Rights". Tennessee 4 Me. The Tennessee State Museum. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  8. ^ "Hatred flares in Wilder with killing of popular union leader". Herald Citizen. Cookeville, TN. May 4, 1933. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  9. ^ Ansley, Fran & Bell, Brenda (1974). Thrasher, Sue & Wise, Leah (eds.). "Davidson–Wilder 1932: Strikes in the Coal Camps". Southern Exposure. The Institute for Southern Studies. 1 (3 & 4): 129.
  10. ^ Smith, Angela J (2003). "Myles Horton, Highlander Folk School, and the Wilder Coal Strike of 1932". Academia.edu: 18–20. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  11. ^ Duke, Jason (2003). Tennessee Coal Mining, Railroading & Logging in Cumberland, Fentress, Overton, and Putnam Counties. Turner Publishing Company. pp. 8–9. ISBN 9781563119323.
  12. ^ Ansley, Fran & Bell, Brenda (1974). Thrasher, Sue & Wise, Leah (eds.). "Davidson–Wilder 1932: Strikes in the Coal Camps". Southern Exposure. The Institute for Southern Studies. 1 (3 & 4): 134–136.
  13. ^ "Hedy West - Old Times & Hard Times". Discogs. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  14. ^ Sen. Bettye Fahrenkamp Dead of Cancer at 67,' Sitka Daily Sentinel, Brian S. Akre, August 13, 1991, pg. 3