White County Public Library

Cathy Farley Director 


   Staff Says -  

     Since my illustrious boss placed me in charge of the Genealogy Department of our Library, and because I wasn't raised here, I've had a lot of "catching-up" to do concerning the history of White County.  One of the most interesting historical events that I've learned is the story of Joseph Kerr: a Revolutionary War soldier who lived out his post-war years and "died at a ripe old age in Sparta, Tennessee."
     Crippled since infancy, Kerr managed to enlist in the Continental Army by convincing General McDowell that the British would never suspect a man with his disability as a spy.  Kerr quickly demonstrated considerable skill in obtaining vital information, and McDowell assigned him to assist Colonels Sevier and Shelby and the Overmountain Men.   Kerr reconnoitered the camp of the infamous Major Ferguson and relayed its exact location and numerical strength to Sevier and Shelby.  
     The resulting American victory at Kings Mountain caused the British General Cornwallis withdraw his troops from the South and concentrate them at Yorktown, Virginia.  Although the Revolutionary War lasted another 3 years, most historians agree that it was the defeat of Cornwallis at Yorktown by Washington that resulted in our independence.
     Wow!  And this man living and dying right here in Sparta.  He has a nice monument that graces the front of our courthouse, but where is his grave?  I can't find any indication of it in the cemetery records.  Does anyone know where this great American is buried?
                                     Will Jordan