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A Visit with Historian Mary Beth Pruett in Hickman County

Updated: Jan 17, 2023


At the Hickman County Historical Society in Centerville, Tenn., we had the honor to sit down and visit with Mary Beth Pruett, the great niece of Sara Cannon, better known as Minnie Pearl. Mary Beth is a wealth of knowledge and history not just with her Great Aunt but also with the history of Hickman County. She works hard to educate people about the rich history they are so blessed to have in this area.


When we arrived, she was admiring a quilt on the wall that had been lovingly made by residents long gone. Each square hand sewed represents communities in Hickman County. Her great-aunt Sara Cannon had worked on this quilt, what a beautiful legacy for the people of this area.

She has an infectious attitude toward history and family life. Mary Beth always wanted to be a writer and was encouraged by her family to follow this dream. She does a Blog "sit a spell with Mary putting her talents to good use.


Sara Cannon catapulted her career with an episode of "This is your Life" in 1957. Originally, she wanted to be a dramatic actress but this character she created is what made her famous. Without this character, she would never have met all her friends in the Country Music Industry who were like family to her.

Minnie Pearl was created while she was producing and directing local plays. In the late 30s while in Aiken, S.C. She dressed in the costume that made her famous and started feeling like Minnie Pearl. The signature hat she bought new flowers to put on it, forgetting to remove the price tag off a bunch of flowers it fell down and hung to the side. People loved it so much that it became her signature. One of Sarah Cannon's best-known legacies is The Sarah Cannon Cancer Center in Nashville. So many have hope now that they didn't have because of the research done there.


Mary Beth is an icon herself and made a big impression on us with her love of history and her community.

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