Barretts donate Joseph McMinn Bible to the Heritage Museum
Apr 14, 2013 | 1279 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Joseph McMinn Bible
Tom and Joan Barrett look at the Joseph McMinn Bible with Tom Biddle of the McMinn County Living Heritage Museum and Dick Pelley, Tennessee Wesleyan College professor and Athens City Council member.
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ATHENS — The McMinn County Living Heritage Museum was the recipient of a significant artifact of remarkable value to the history of McMinn County and the state of Tennessee.

A Bible belonging to Joseph McMinn was donated to the museum by Tom and Joan Barrett of Cleveland.

The Bible was purchased by Joseph McMinn in 1819 and contains important information regarding the McMinn family record. The gift was facilitated by Tennessee Wesleyan College professor and Athens City Council member Dick Pelley.

Joseph McMinn (1758–1824) served as governor of Tennessee from 1815 to 1821. A veteran of the American Revolution, he had previously served in the legislature of the Southwest Territory (1794–1796), and as speaker of the Tennessee Senate (1805– 1811).

Following his term as governor, he served as an agent to the Cherokee for the U.S. government.

The Barretts purchased a home in Cleveland from the Harle family in 1990. The Harle family left a portion of their library and other items in the home for the Barrett family to watch over.

The Barretts discovered a Bible in the home with the inscription of purchase in 1861 from Joseph McMinn for $16. The museum will have the Bible on display by early summer.

Tom Barrett is retired from the City of Cleveland Parks & Recreation Department and Joan Barrett is retired from the state of Tennessee. The couple donated the gift to the McMinn County Living Heritage Museum because they felt strongly this was the proper home for the Joseph McMinn Bible.

The McMinn County Living Heritage Museum works to preserve our community’s distinctive history and to share the rich heritage and unique culture of southeastern Tennessee.

Explore more than 10,000 artifacts in 30 permanent exhibits representing the culture and history of our region from the 1700s to the 1940s. Check the museum website for the 2013 rotating exhibit schedules that feature contemporary photography and art, as well as traditional crafts, at

The Museum is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.