Rick Warwick – the longtime historian at the Heritage Foundation in downtown Franklin – was named county historian on Monday night by the Williamson County Commission.
Warwick takes over for Virginia Bowman, who resigned in June. She had held the office since 1972.
“I consider it an honor. Since 1965, there have only been two historians and now I make the third,” Warwick said. “So those are pretty good odds of longevity.”
Naturally, Warwick went on to provide a short history of the historians of Williamson County.
“Col. Campbell Brown was the first,” he said. “He was the secretary of the Tennessee Centennial Civil War commission in the 1960s, and responsible for placing a lot of the markers across the state for the Civil War. Then when he retired in Franklin, he was appointed historian. When he got old and had to move to the VA hospital in Murfreesboro, the County Court (contemporary name for the County Commission) appointed Ms. Bowman to take his place.”
“He and Virginia Bowman are two people I respect very much, and I hope to do justice to the title,” he said.
Warwick has spent the past 21 years gathering stories about Williamson history and serving as editor of the Williamson County Historical Society Journal. He moved to Franklin in 1970 and taught at Hillsboro School for 24 years. Following retirement from teaching, Warwick volunteered as the Heritage Foundation’s historian. He spends a great deal of his time researching archives and assisting residents with discovering the history of their property.
Warwick is the author of several publications including Historical Markers of Williamson County: A Pictorial Guide and Wish You Were Here: A Postcard Tour of Franklin and Williamson County. He has served on the boards of the Tennessee Historical Society, Carnton Planation, Carter House, the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County, and the Williamson County African American Heritage Society.
He was nominated by Mary Pearce, Heritage Foundation director.
“I have worked with Rick for over 20 years and I assure you there is no one in our county that has spent more time learning about the history of our community and sharing it others,” she wrote to the commission in support of Warwick’s nomination. “Daily, Rick greets citizens and visitors seeking to learn more about their family history, and more times than not, Rick can tell them more about their family than they know. His dedicated service as a volunteer historian and his astonishing knowledge make him the clear choice for being named Williamson County historian.”
Warwick plans to offer to give lessons on county history to those interested, and do his best.
“I can’t say I know everything, but I will always give you an honest answer,” he said.
Zach Harmuth reports on Thompson’s Station and Spring Hill for the Spring Hill Home Page.