Eli Simms Home

The Eli Simms house is about six miles west of town and is believed to be the first brick house built in the county. It is in exceptionally good condition considering its age. The shingles are attached with hickory pegs. Though it is not open to the public, there is a historical marker identifying its location. 


Simms owned and operated what is said to be the first cotton gin in White County. He was also a teacher and later a trustee for White County. 

City Cemetery

The City Cemetery is on the west side of town on S. Church St., on a hill overlooking the old jail. Many old gravestones identify residents from the 1800s and the Civil War. In 1810, White County conveyed this tract of land to Cumberland Presbyterian Church to build Priestly Academy. The school operated for several decades until it was sold to the Christian Church. A small burial ground surrounded the building at the time of the transfer. The building was used as a church until it was torn down in 1886 and the entire plot turned into a cemetery. 


The cemetery is the resting place for many distinguished settlers of White County, including city and county leaders such as Alexander Lowery, who donated much of the land for the city, and Daniel Clark, who contributed greatly to the economic development of the county. 


Several war heroes are buried there, including a captain in the War of 1812; Confederate Colonel Stephen H. Coins; Confederate General George Dibrell, who served with General Nathan B. Forrest; and Anthony Dibrell, a Revolutionary war soldier. 


Dr. Madison Fisk, one of White County's early medical doctors, who also was instrumental in establishing the first Masonic Lodge in the city, is buried in the cemetery. Also buried there are Jesse Lincoln, a nephew of President Abraham Lincoln, and Turner Lane, a surveyor who mapped the city's boundaries and was register of deeds in Sparta and a Revolutionary War hero. 


The cemetery annually attracts many out-of-state visitors seeking information about their ancestry. 


Currently, the University of Tennessee Archaeological Research Laboratory is producing a detailed map of the entire site, including all head- and footstones, depressions that may mark interments, fences, walls, trees and topography. The city recorded all legible inscriptions on the gravestones and photographed and recorded their condition in a renewed effort to maintain and preserve the cemetery and the information it contains. The information is being made available as a resource for historians, genealogists and other researchers.