Local author and historian Danny Nichols will present a program, Buried Secrets, about exploration of historic graveyards to the Cannon County Historical Society on Tuesday, May 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the Cannon County Senior Center in the small dining room area.
Nichols grew up in the Auburntown area of Cannon County, graduating from Auburn High School in 1971. Nichols said that history has long been a passion of his life, and while attending Cumberland College in Lebanon, his first aspirations toward performing historic research emerged.
Family history has always been at the heart of those interests, although he said he enjoys American history – especially early Tennessee history. He particularly enjoys Civil War history and how it affected family, community and country.
Nichols attended Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville and graduated with honors in 1975. During his time in Cookeville he utilized the TTU library to conduct genealogical research, which later led to the publishing of his Nichols Family History in 2005. Soon after, he led a group of 50 Willard descendants from across the country in an effort to update another line of his family history. This work, History of Beverly Willard Family of Virginia and Tennessee, was published in November 2011.
A charter member of the Cannon County Historical Society, Nichols has remained a member since its 1976 founding. He co-founded the Auburntown Historical Society in 2006, leading the organization during his presidency through publication of two books on local history and one containing favorite recipes of Auburntown citizens. The AHS is currently undertaking the writing of Auburntown Community History.
While growing up near a small family cemetery, Nichols developed an interest in the history such cemeteries contain.
“I enjoy discovering what Mother Nature has hidden from those who find cemeteries of great interest and historical value,” he said, observing, “It is our history, our story that is recorded on the tombstones that now lie beneath the ground. I feel a certain comfort in knowing that finding and raising them brings back to life a certain part of our history.”
Nichols continues to work toward finding the graves of his own ancestors who settled in the Auburntown community in 1803.
Nichols presentation, ‘Buried Secrets,” highlights the cemetery research and discoveries made during his own quest of locating ancestors buried in Cannon County and the surrounding area.
“I will speak of lessons learned so that others interested in this subject may also engage successfully in this type of historical research and preservations efforts.
The May 8 meeting is free and open to the public.