In April 1791, Edwin Hickman, a native of North Carolina, led a surveying party into what is now Hickman County. Hickman’s party included James Robertson, later known as the Father of Middle Tennessee; Robert Weakley, who also played a prominent role n the early history of the state; and others. The party camped at the mouth of a small creek on the north side of Duck River opposite the present site of Centerville.
The next morning, as Hickman and Robertson built a pre-dawn fire, Indians fired on the party, killing Hickman and wounding Robertson in the hand. The party retreated to the Cumberland settlement, but returned several days later to bury Hickman’s body in a shallow grave at the spot where he was killed.
In December 1807, when the Tennessee General Assembly created a new county, then Representative Robert Weakley attached an amendment to the bill specifying that the new county should be named in honor of Edwin Hickman. In 1994, the Hickman County Historical Society placed a monument at Hickman’s grave and built a fence around the gravesite.