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West Tennessee Treasures - McKenzie - The Gordon Browning Museum

By Laura Bannon
By lbannon@wbbjtv.com

MCKENZIE, Tenn. - Governor Gordon Browning lived a full life and had a lot to show for it.

Executive Director, Jere R. Cox, of the Gordon Browning Museum explained, "Gordon Browning left his memorabilia to Mary Ruth DeVault to take care of it for him." He said, "She didn't have anywhere to display everything he had given her."

In the 1930s, she bought a local post office to display his most precious items.

Cox explained, "We bought it back in 1987, Marty Ruth bought it and was the director at this time, she bid on it, $10,000 and the post office said no way... we'll let you have it for $20,000... So she kept the money and talked to local politicians and moved the genealogy and the library to the post office."

Almost everything that Browning owned is on display.

During a tour of the museum, Cox explained the first thing he shows them is a cigar. He says, "It was his own personal testimony that we have his memorabilia in these vaults of his military and political life many uniforms, reserve uniforms, pictures... books of them."

Over the years, the old post office has become a historical site for Carroll County.

"She did a good job getting it started and people have added to it." He said, "They bring in memorabilia they don't have room to display and we try to display it for them."

The museum hold precious documents from the pre-1900s through the 1970s.

Cox said, "The main focus is to hold memorabilia for Carroll County but other counties have brought other stuff too. A lot of what we have is Gordon Browning's stuff."
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