National Geographic : 1939 May
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE his party on the barge Adventure arrived from eastern Tennessee after several months of hardship in navigating the Tennessee, Ohio, and Cumberland Rivers. Incidentally, Rachel, the daughter of John Donelson, was to become the wife of Andrew Jackson. Nashville-made barges ply the Cumber land, Ohio, and Mississippi Rivers. In modern factories you see men and women making shoes, hypodermic needles, false teeth, fertilizer, stoves, cosmetics, insecti cides, suspenders, vending machines, floor wax and soap, chewing gum, and golf-club shafts. Publishers of religious literature here produced 117,136,629 pamphlets and tracts and 1,300,000 hymnals and religious books in a single year. At near-by Old Hickory, the du Pont Rayon Corporation, occupying a huge plant built during the World War to make gun powder, contributes rayon and Cellophane to Nashville's generous list of manufactured products. NASHVILLE'S IRIS FESTIVAL Nashville gardens are world-famous for their varieties of iris, the State flower of Tennessee. Each year in May the city holds an Iris Festival and thousands of visitors see the spectacular garden displays and the civic ceremonies (Plate XI). I drove between spotlessly white fences enclosing flocks of browsing sheep. A sign directed me to the Hermitage, the home of Andrew Jackson (Plate X and page 580). Just inside the gate I could see the lower portions of the large pillars of the Her mitage portico, the rest of the mansion hidden behind tall cedar trees beneath which the master of the Hermitage en joyed walking. The peaceful setting and hospitable atmosphere seemed unlike the fiery leader who once occupied it. Yet, as I entered the great hall, I recalled how Jackson played his flute so his neighbors' children might dance on the highly polished floor. Furniture, draperies, and lace curtains, portraits of the general and his wife, a pianoforte, bric-a-brac, and several hun dred books are in the mansion as the gen eral left them. His lounging robe drapes a chair beside his big four-poster bed. Beside the mansion is the garden planned and cared for by the mistress of the Her mitage. On the eve of a celebration in Nashville of Jackson's election to the Presi dency, that garden became the burial place of Rachel. Beside hers now is the tomb of Old Hickory, and, near by, that of Uncle Alfred, the general's faithful body servant. I have mentioned only three names Ten nessee has contributed to America's hall of fame-Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson. To these should be added Sam Houston, first President of the Republic of Texas and later governor of the State of Texas; David Glasgow Far ragut, first admiral of the United States Navy, and David Crockett, of Alamo fame. Cordell Hull, the Secretary of State, is a native of Pickett County, Tennessee, and Alvin York, a hero of the World War, lives near Jamestown. TOBACCO FOR EUROPEAN SMOKERS Ninety-nine per cent of Clarksville's 10,000 residents are native born. The city now is a leading market of the United States for dark-fired tobacco. Between 25,000, 000 and 30,000,000 pounds of tobacco change hands here during the annual sales. "We shipped tobacco to Italy eighty years ago, and other European countries have since become good customers," an editor told me. In factories here you see tobacco ground into snuff, leaves greased the way Mexican farmers like it, and nico tine for use in insecticides made from cheap grades and stems. In East and Middle Tennessee farmers are partial to raising corn, the State's lead ing farm crop. Corn also thrives in West Tennessee, but when I arrived there I felt that I was entering the Deep South without changing latitude, for cotton predominated in the fields on either side of the highway (pages 563 and 581). Reelfoot Lake is startling at first glance. Its site was a forest when, in 1811, during an earthquake, the earth rose, shivered, and fell, and the waters of the Mississippi ran backward, sweeping into the sunken area (Plate XIII and page 582).* Clusters of cypress and willow thrust their full-leafed boughs above the surface of the water, and straggling groups of naked stumps recall once healthy forest giants. Scores of herons and egrets and myriad other birds feed here. Because the lake is on the Mississippi flyway and food is so abundant, ornithologists find here a bewildering variety of winged creatures. * See "Reelfoot-An Earthquake Lake," by Wil bur A. Nelson, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, January, 1924.