From The History Files – Zollicoffer Is Real

History doesn’t just have to be about your own family, it can be about anything – famous generals, places, and even trees!

In Last In A Long Line of Rebels, Lou lives in a town named Zollicoffer. In reality, there’s no such town. There is, however, an “area” called Zollicoffer by the locals. There’s not a post office, or town square, but most people living outside Livingston, TN can point you there. The area was named for General Felix Zollicoffer, the first Confederate General killed in the western theatre, because it’s believed he camped nearby during the Civil War.


What Lou learns about General Zollicoffer is correct, he really did mistake a group of Union soldiers for his own and get killed for his efforts. You can read all about Felix Zollicoffer and the Battle at Mill Springs, KY, but I found something else interesting during my research. There was a large oak tree where Felix was killed, and throughout the years it became an unofficial monument to the battle and his death. It was called The Zollie Tree. Felix had an oak tree, Lou had an oak tree – it’s almost like there are a lot of oak trees!

In 1902, a woman named Dorotha Hudson began placing a wreath on the tree as an annual memorial.



Zollicoffer Marker



Unfortunately, the tree was hit by lightening in 1995. The rings were counted and it is estimated that the tree was close to 300 years old! A seedling was taken and planted near the spot and still stands today. I like that – a tree with a family tree.

Speaking of family trees, if you haven’t had a chance to sit down with a younger person in your family and fill one out, you can download a blank tree HERE.


Spread the history love!













One Comment

  1. Emily Haverkamp said:

    Just found your wonderful history musing. Have you read TTU professors Dr. Birdwell and Dr. Dickenson’s book of the Cumberland People? Rural Life and Culture in the Upper Cumberland ? Excellent. My family is from the Higland Rim. Unique and fun to research.

    February 1, 2019

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