History of Waverly
After Benton County was created from
Humphreys County in 1835, it was necessary to establish a county seat. A line
of survey was run from Reynoldsburgh due east, and the mid way point was found
to be on Blue Creek About two miles south of the present site of Waverly. At this
point in history, the site of Waverly was shown on maps as Pavatts.
the stage line passed through this site, the commission selected Pavatts as the
place to locate the new county seat. The name Waverly was given by Stephen Pavatt
because of his fondness for Sire Walter Scott's Waverley Novels. David Childress
owned and donated the land for the town; Issac Little was the surveyors, and Waverly
was incorporated in 1838. The population in 1838 was a mere handful. Present population
is estimated to be around 4,000.
commissioners were required to located and lay out the new town, reserving near
the center a public square on which to erect a courthouse, jail, and stocks. A
plot was also set aside for construction of a jail. Income received from the sale
of lots was to furnish the means of constructing the courthouse, jail and stocks.
A courthouse costing $6,000
and modeled after the one at Reynoldsburgh was erected in 1836. A
brick jail was also built, costing $3,000. Town lots were sold in 1836; and the
first dwelling, a log structure, was erected by William Draughon in 1837 on the
northwest corner of the public square. A hotel was also built in the same area.
About the same time, John B. Patrick erected a log house in the southeast part
of town. William Teas constructed a double log house in the center of the south
side of the public square, using one side for the first business established in
the town. Teas' business bought and sold hides and whiskey. The firm of Yeats
& Harris operated a whiskey store on the north side of the square.
courthouses have been built in Waverly. The first was destroyed by fire in November
1876; the second was destroyed by fire on June 10, 1898, supposedly by arson,
with all records being destroyed, except those kept in lawyers' offices. The third
courthouse was built in 1899 and served until the present one was completed in
Churches have from the
first played an important part in the life of Waverly. From the time of its founding
to the present, citizens have displayed keen religious appreciation. The first
church, a brick building on the site of the present Cumberland Presbyterian Church,
was built in 1847. This was a common meeting house in which all religious groups
met, and the upstairs served as a meeting place for the Masons.
have always been considered a vital part of town. The first school, the Waverly
Academy, was a subscription school established in 1847. From the school evolved
excellent school facilities and educational programs for both elementary and high
school students. Our educational system compares favorably with any in the state.
The dedicated faculty and skillful operation of the school system, as well as
excellent facilities, contribute notably to development of the county and town.
The economy of Waverly has altered
drastically during the course of its history. Merchandising and the trading of
various wares ranging from whiskey, hides, and staples for an agricultural area
to providing the needs of an industrial region, have been the transformation in
little more than a century.
first means of transportation was by stage coach. The route through Waverly determined
the selection of the site as county seat. People traveled locally in buggies,
wagons, and on horseback. A journey to an adjoining county was at least an overnight
trip. With the advent of the railroad, commercial as well as passenger travel
changed to a pronounced degree. The first railroad, the Nashville and Northwestern,
was constructed to Johnsonville in 1864, making that town a supply base for the
gradually declined after World War ii. The family automobile and increase bus
transportation expanded to a marked degree; air travel was also utilized to a
greater extent. But now, the long freight trains through Waverly display the continuing
economic growth of this commercial region with the railroad giving us shipping
access to all parts of the continent.
its founding, doctors and lawyers have been fit to locate in Waverly. We have
been fortunate in having excellent doctors and capable lawyers residing here.
Professional people have always participated actively in the life of Waverly and
roads to the interstate system is a great leap. The gravel roads of long ago were
maintained by a small road force and by individuals working out or paying what
was then known as road tax; all men were required to pay a certain tax in money
or labor in kind. From the time mule-drawn shovels to the bulldozer and heavy-duty
trucks has been less than a life time.
are immensely proud of our facilities pertaining to a full life - spiritual, educational,
professional and social. In less than 150 years, Waverly has the enormous privilege
of being so situated that it seems our economic development is assured, and we
have become a part of the life required to receive and develop these assets.