If a picture’s worth a thousand words, Linda Granstaff’s got a million of ’em.

Now releasing volumes two and three of her Wilson County Archives “Collection of Images” series, she has compiled 1,300-plus photos that share a pictorial history of the county that captures portions of three centuries.

The latest two, following up on 2015’s “From the Wilson County Collection of Images,” are titled “Looking Back at Precious Memories” and “Looking at More Precious Memories.”

Her first book contained more than 650 pictures but left her with a dilemma.

“I still had all these other pictures and I had to do something with them. I got to looking around at the pictures I had of school teachers and school groups and family groups that I had not been able to include in the first book. It was going to be one book but got too thick so I had to make two,” Granstaff said.

Thus, books two and three are now available, as well as volume one, at the Wilson County Archives. Price is $40 each.

The chore of poring over the photographs and writing the captions proved to be a labor of love for Granstaff, who established the county archives in 1998. Here, a block off the Lebanon square, she is surrounded by books, pictures, maps, microfilm, artifacts and files filled with countless articles that preserve the history of Wilson County families, communities, businesses, schools, churches and more. 

The themes covered in volume two include Lebanon, Mt. Juliet, Watertown, schools, students and churches. Volume three features families, houses, elected officials and the military. These are hefty books. All total, the 8X11-inch books weigh 6½ pounds and promise hours of pleasure as one flips the pages, taking a visual tour of the county from the mid-1800s through today. 

“It was fun doing but a lot of work, knowing I was preserving something for the future for people to enjoy,” Granstaff said.

The archivist could not pick any one image as being her most favorite. “All of them are so special to me,” she said, however, the cover on volume two features her father-in-law, Frank Granstaff.

“My first book had horses and mules on the cover so I wanted one with a tractor. It’s a picture of my father-in-law on his 1950 Farmall Super A from the 1990s. We still have it and use it on our farm,” she said.

The cover photo on volume three shows young brothers William Gwynn Baird and Coleman Baird feeding corn to their chickens in about 1920. 

The archivist was born Linda Gannon in Martha Gaston Hospital, which today is Cedarcroft Home, two blocks down South College Street. Her father, Walter Gannon, was a tenant farmer and construction worker, and Linda grew up in Watertown, Taylorsville, Greenvale, Leeville and Mt. Juliet before she graduated from Lebanon High School.

She and her husband, Buddy, who live in Rocky Valley, have been married 54 years and have three children, Sharon, Cindy and Scott, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


The “Collection of Images” books are available at the Wilson County Archives at 111 S. College St. The two new books cost $40 apiece or $60 for both or $100 for all three. Funds from the sales will go to the non-profit archives. Archives hours are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday. Phone: (615) 443-1993.

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