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Cannon County, Tennessee (U.S.)

Last modified: 2023-11-11 by rick wyatt
Keywords: cannon county | tennessee |
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[Flag of Cannon County] image by Jens Pattke, 13 June 2019

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Description of the flag

Cannon County, Tennessee, USA adopted a county flag in 1993. The authority to do so was challenged locally and upheld by the Tennessee Supreme Court in 1994.
Danny Nichols, 21 March 2011

On July 17, 1993, the Cannon County Commission voted unanimously to adopt an official flag with the intentions of flying it regularly on the flag pole in front of the court house.

The flag immediately became the center of controversy and after a lot of negative publicity, on October 16, 1993, the County Commission amended their previous action by providing for the flag to fly 362 days a year at the Confederate Monument erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1926; and directed that the flag be flown at the County Courthouse on Robert E. Lee Day (January 19), Memorial or Confederate Decoration Day (June 3) and Nathan Bedford Forrest Day (July 13), all of which are official Tennessee days of special observance.

Although I first came to Woodbury in 1993, and move there shortly after, I have never seen the flag fly from the court house. County Executive Harold Patrick refused the commission's order to fly the flag at the courthouse because he thought tensions in the community were too high.

A judge ruled that the action by the County Commission creating the flag and flying it would be legal after lawsuit was filed against the county by a group of residents opposing the flag. For some, the ruling came as a relief, but others refused to give up the fight and appealed the case losing in 1995. "It's been a frustrating experience for everybody because of the insensitivity of the county commissioners," said Vince O'Brien, a member of Concerned Citizens of Cannon County, the group that sued to prevent the county's adoption of the flag.

"I wasn't the least bit surprised at the ruling," said attorney Mike Corley, who represented the county. "The county was well within its rights in adopting this flag, and it's an event that needs memorializing. Nathan Bedford Forrest was a noteworthy person who touched our aunty's history, and I'm proud of that fact"
County commissioners and historical society members appear to stand by the design. They have said the battle flag was included to honor Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest's rescue of Confederate soldiers from a Murfreesboro jail.

About Nathan Bedford Forrest:

July 13, 1862 was an important day for Forrest, it was his 41st birthday and he celebrated with the first independent victory of his controversial military career. Col. Nathan Bedford Forrest came knocking on the Rutherford County Courthouse door and liberated a number of citizens who were facing the hangman’s noose. Several were from Woodbury.

Forrest, who was born in nearby Chapel Hill, has been both been mythicized and demonized by history. To followers of the “Lost Cause,” Forrest was a brilliant commander who would have won the war for the Confederacy, if only he had been placed in charge. To his detractors, Forrest was a racist responsible for the worst massacre of the Civil War and is still vilified for his part in the founding the Ku Klux Klan.
Ivan Sache, 14 June 2019


[Flag of Cannon County, Tennessee] image located by Paul Bassinson, 4 March 2019

Paul Bassinson, 4 March 2019

Sheriff's Office

Cannon County Sheriff’s Office; Woodbury, Tennessee, has confirmed it does not have a flag.
Paul Bassinson, 17 October 2023

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