The city of Memphis, Tennessee, was the site of the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968. The Lorraine Motel, where Dr. King was staying, is now the National Civil Rights Museum.
Rutherford County, located in the central part of Tennessee, has a rich history that dates back to the early settlers in the late 1700s. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, such as the Cherokee and Chickasaw, before European explorers and settlers arrived. One of the first settlers was William Lytle, who established a fort known as Lytle's Station in 1803 to protect against Native American attacks and provide a place for other settlers to take refuge.

The county was officially established in 1803 and was named after Griffith Rutherford, a Revolutionary War general. During the early years, the economy of Rutherford County primarily relied on agriculture, with tobacco and cotton being the main cash crops. The building of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad in the mid-19th century boosted the region's economy and opened up opportunities for trade and transportation.

Rutherford County played a significant role in the American Civil War. The Battle of Stones River, one of the bloodiest battles of the war, took place in Rutherford County in December 1862, resulting in a Union victory. The Battle of Stones River National Battlefield now preserves this important historical site, attracting visitors from far and wide.

In the 20th century, Rutherford County experienced rapid growth and urbanization. The establishment of Middle Tennessee State University in 1911 brought educational opportunities and attracted students from all over the state. Over the years, Rutherford County has seen significant development in industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, and technology, making it one of the fastest-growing counties in Tennessee.

Overall, Rutherford County's history is marked by its early settlement, contributions to the Civil War, and subsequent growth and development. Today, it continues to be a thriving community with a mix of historical significance and modern amenities.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Rutherford County, Tennessee.

  • 1803: Rutherford County was established on October 25.
  • 1811: Murfreesboro, the county seat, was incorporated on November 9.
  • 1823: Middle Tennessee State College, now Middle Tennessee State University, was founded.
  • 1861: During the Civil War, the Battle of Stones River took place in Murfreesboro from December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863.
  • 1865: Freedmen's Bureau Office was established in Murfreesboro to provide assistance to newly freed slaves after the Civil War.
  • 1881: The Courthouse in downtown Murfreesboro was completed.
  • 1920: Middle Tennessee State Normal School changed its name to Middle Tennessee State Teachers College.
  • 1965: Middle Tennessee State College became Middle Tennessee State University.
  • 1981: The Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce was established to support local businesses.
  • 1995: The Nissan manufacturing plant opened in Smyrna, contributing to the economic growth of Rutherford County.