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Dolittle, Doolittle, Do-Little or Whatever?

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012, at 3:14 PM

I'm probably going to spell most or all of this wrong.

Hopefully, someone from the Unionville area can straighten me and others out on this matter.

Several years ago the Unionville area was often referred to as Dolittle, Doolittle, Do-Little or however it was spelled.

Does anyone know the correct spelling? How did the area get that name? What area was specifically referred to when that name was menioned?

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Even though there was a doctor by the name of DoLittle, there was also a store by the name of Little Store. The owner was Peyton Little. He lived next door in the house that is still standing today. The store is still there also. My grandmother told me that DoLittle got its name by farmers in the community coming and sitting on the store porch widdling on a piece of cedar while their wives shop for groceries. The men would catch up on the community news. I remember going into that store when I was a little girl with my grandparents.

-- Posted by pjnoblit on Tue, Jan 24, 2012, at 10:13 AM

I did a quick internet search and found a website, www.united.net/community, that provides sources for many of middle TN town names.

To paraphrase, it claims that Doolittle got its name from a Dr. Doolittle that lived there and served the area. It also claims that it was re-named Unionville when the two post offices there were "unified."

Is it true or accurate? I don't know, but it is all I could find. The site also provided explanations for other town names in the Bedford County area. Check it out and judge for yourself.

-- Posted by amalphia on Sat, Jan 21, 2012, at 9:06 PM

Bo, I cannot answer any of those questions, however, both my Mother and Father were born and raised in that general area, and I was born in Longview. My parents always referred to Dolittle with a great amount of pride such as Dolittle store, Dolittle school house, and Dolittle ball team.

As for the name I have a couple of ideas right off the top of my head. There were a relatively large number of people named "Little" in the area.

Another thought is that Unionville was strongly Confederate as opposed to the town of Shelbyville which was strongly Union, and possibly could have been a rejection of Union in their town name. A side note is that General Nathan Bedford Forrest raised his much renowned "Forrest's Escort" in Dolittle.

-- Posted by leeiii on Sat, Jan 21, 2012, at 7:32 AM

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Bo Melson is a retired sports and police beat editor of the Times-Gazette. He passed away November 15, 2014, at age 81.
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