Local photographer tells the story of Franklin’s ‘unknown soldier’ in new book


Local photographer tells the story of Franklin’s ‘unknown soldier’ in new book

Regularly behind the counter ringing up customers at Landmark Booksellers, local photographer Debbie Smartt has rung up several recently buying copies of her own book.

With little copy, Smartt said she wanted to tell the story of Franklin’s “unknown soldier,” discovered during the construction of the Chick-fil-A on Columbia Avenue.

Found with both Confederate and Union buttons, historians weren’t sure which side of the war the soldier fought for.

Photographing the event in 2010, Smartt finally decided to compile her collection of moments in a book called “Franklin’s Unknown Soldier,” tracking the historical event through the funeral procession that went through downtown.

“I decided to do this book because no one else has done a book about the unknown soldier,” she said, sitting on the couch inside Landmark Booksellers. “So I call it a visual journey home.”

An easy book to go through, Smartt said when she shot the event she didn’t necessarily have a book in mind. The order of the photographs wasn’t obvious to her, either, but she knew it was a story that she wanted to convey.

I thought it was a moving event and the images were very moving,” Smartt said. “So it all falls into place. I basically wanted to start at the beginning, but the beginning was the end, where he was lying in state at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.” 

Smartt said her interest in history isn’t new. She’s always cared about Williamson County’s past, given its where her family started.

“I am passionate about the history of Franklin because my family has been here 200 years,” she said. “On both sides of my family, they were pioneer families of Williamson County.”

For those wanting see her images and buy a book, find a copy at Landmark Booksellers.

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