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West Tennessee Treasures - Dresden - Governor Ned McWherter

By Brittany Patterson
By bpatterson@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn. - Ned McWherter grew up a sharecropper's son in rural Weakley County.

"He went to school in a one-room school house, and he finally graduated from Dresden High School," said McWherter's long-time personal assistant, Madelyn Pritchett.

Although he had no formal education, McWherter went on to become the 46th governor of Tennessee, and pushed strongly for education opportunities for Tennessee children - especially in his hometown.

"One of his dreams and goals when he came home to Dresden and Weakley County was to build a library in his hometown for the children of Weakley County," said Pritchett.

The library was built right next to his home.

"He'd stop by in the mornings on the way to the office," said Pritchett. "He would come and read stories to them in the summertime."

McWherter also donated an office building to the Weakley County Department of Education; just another way to show his support for his community.

"They take great pride that this is the home to former Governor McWherter," said Pritchett. "On his 80th birthday, there was the statue erected at the courthouse, and when he got through with his speech, he said, 'I want everybody to come to my home for lunch!'"

McWherter's legacy still lives on in his hometown.

"He was a people person," said Pritchett. "He wanted to make things better for Tennessee and for his community."

The Ned Ray McWherter Room at the Weakley County Library has memorabilia tracing his life from childhood to governor.