In has been less than two years since Cheatham County library director and current archivist Walter Pitt began the task of bringing the Cheatham County archives to life.
In ceremonies held on Aug. 3 the archives which are located in the lower level of the Cheatham County Public Library was officially dedicated to honor the memory of the late James Baker “Bud” Hallums, who served as Cheatham County Historian for 40 years.
“It was a good day for the county to celebrate having an archive so all records will be saved and restored for generations to come,” Cheatham County Mayor Kerry McCarver said. “We have lost many records over the years, and to know that Cheatham County will not lose another record should make us all proud. Our archivist Walter Pitt has the county on track to set the new standard in preserving current and future records.”
The archives are located in the basement of the Cheatham County Public Library next to the Cheatham County Historical and Genealogical Association. Hours of operation for the archives are Monday-Wednesday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. For now, people can call the library for archival inquiries at (615) 792-4828.
McCarver also addressed the passion and love of history that was demonstrated by Hallums, who died on June 6, 2005, at Baptist Hospital in Nashville. He was 86 years old.
“Growing up I knew of no one who had more of a love of history of Cheatham County than Bud Hallums,” he said. “He worked with veterans in a volunteer position helping many throughout this county, long before the county received the office and position of a (Veterans Services Officer).
McCarver told a story of his own newspaper in Pleasant View doing a story on local history claiming that a bank had closed during the Great Depression, with the writer saying nobody lost any money.
Hallums corrected McCarver one day in Ashland City near the courthouse.
“ ‘Let history stand where it stands,’ he said to me,” McCarver said. “ ‘Don’t lean it, don’t try to interpret it or try to rewrite it. Just let it stand, and it will stand on its own.’ ”
Many of Hallums’ descendents were at the ceremony, including his two daughters, Genese and Jamie.
“Jamie wrote what’s on the plaque,” Genese said. “Daddy did genealogy. Whatever he did, he did for nothing.”
State Rep. Mary Littleton read a proclamation from the state honoring the work and support of Hallums, who was a 1937 graduate of Cheatham County High School and served as County Historian from 1965 to his death in 2005.
He was the county’s first historian and was also an Army veteran who was decorated after action in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.
“He also worked for 39 years in the Department of Tennessee employment security,” Littleton said.
Pitt, who grew up in Cheatham County, reflected on his relationship with the Hallums family.
“I have known the Hallums all of my life,” Pitt said. “We grew up on the same street. my parents knew their parents when they were young. They are a wonderful family. They were so happy that the room was dedicated to Mr. Bud. That is what really stood out was their pure happiness and pride in their father. He was a wonderful person, and their mother was one of the sweetest persons I have ever known. I cannot say enough good things about them.”
Another longtime friendship
Pitt and McCarver are both CCCHS graduates from the Class of 1979.
“We met when we were freshmen and were in a play directed by drama-mama Joyce Mayo,” McCarver said. “I had four lines in the production of ‘Our Town’ and Walter was a dead man in a cemetery.”
McCarver reiterated the importance of the archives in preserving history and noting events and many accomplishments and citizens over the years.
“This is indeed an honor, and it brings together two years of work and effort and planning by a lot of folks,” McCarver said. “I want to thank the County Commission. I want to thank first off Pat Smith. He worked on getting the resolutions and funding resolutions together. We now have funding so when somebody registers a record with the county, we get $5 that it comes to support this so it’s not coming out of your property taxes.”
McCarver talked about incidents over the years where records had been lost.
“I was in Robertson County years ago and learned that Cheatham County’s records were found in an old schoolhouse on Bell Street where snowfall had damaged the roof and the records,” he said.
“We now have a way in place to keep records going forward, so that 100 years from now they’ll not know that we were here today talking about this, but they will have the records in place each and every time.”
Pitt outlined what the future of the archives may look like.
“The biggest challenge will be to continue to lay the foundation for the future,” Pitt said. “I want to make sure this archives grows in the right way, and hopefully one day it will be on the level of other counties of our size. By consulting with other county archivists, and by getting their feedback, I hope to do this. It is a continual learning process.”