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1980-1981 Clarksville and Montgomery County Consolidation Charter

Identifier: 2021.037

Scope and Contents

The 1980 Clarksville and Montgomery County Consolidation Charter Collection includes records of the Consolidation Charter Commission and the professional records of the donor Ross H. Hicks. This collection, which dates from 1980 to 1981, consists of the charter manuscript, meeting minutes, committee reports, and correspondence, documenting the Consolidation Charter Commission’s unsuccessful bid in 1981 to consolidate the government of Clarksville and Montgomery County. This collection documents Ross H. Hicks’s perspective as chairperson of the charter commission, and much of this collection retains Ross H. Hicks’s original arrangement.

This collection evidences that attempts to consolidate Clarksville and Montgomery County date back to 1980, and Ross H. Hicks’s personal records clarify the local attitude toward the charter commission and government consolidation. Equally, the detailed account of the charter commission’s meeting activity includes insight on the processes of local government. Researchers interested in local government and future consolidation projects will find this collection valuable.


  • 1980 - 1981


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

While the Montgomery County Archives houses an item, it does not necessarily hold the copyright on the item, nor may it be able to determine if the item is still protected under current copyright law. It is the user’s obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Upon graduating law school at the University of Tennessee in 1971, Ross H. Hicks served the city of Clarksville as a partner at the law firm Cunningham, Mitchell, Hicks and Wedemeyer. Running unopposed, Hicks served as the chairperson for the Clarksville Montgomery County Metropolitan Charter Commission in 1980-1981, and he would have served as the president of the Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce had the commission’s proposed charter not been rejected by the public in February 1981.

Hicks and prominent members of the Metro Charter Commission aimed to streamline local government through consolidation, as Hicks believed that Clarksville and Montgomery County would operate more efficiently as one governing body. Effectively, the commission’s proposed charter removed duplicate government positions in the interest of making local government more economical. Hicks’s interest in civic affairs stemmed from his background as an attorney, and Hicks’s former position as a deacon at First Presbyterian Church, a prominent local institution, prepared him for a leadership position with the Charter Commission.

The proposed charter was met with hesitation, as citizens believed that government consolidation would mean government intrusion. However, Hicks and the Charter Commission remained adamant that consolidation in Clarksville-Montgomery County would have the same positive effect as the Nashville and Davidson County consolidation of 1962. The proposed charter took influence from Davidson-Nashville’s modernized structure of government, but Clarksville was ultimately unwilling to depart from the established governmental structure.

After the unsuccessful bid for government consolidation, Hicks continued his law practice. Notably, he served as a judge for the Nineteenth Circuit Court of Tennessee, a position he held from 2002 to 2021. After 40 years of public service, Hicks announced his retirement in February 2021.


.63 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Ross H. Hicks served as the chairperson for a government consolidation commission in 1980. Over the course of 10 months, the commission drafted a proposed charter for a consolidated government in Clarksville and Montgomery County. The proposed charter was rejected by the public in February 1981. This collection includes commission documents, meeting minutes, and personal documents from the desk of Ross H. Hicks.


The materials in this collection are arranged into three series: “Proposed Charter,” “Charter Meetings,” and “Personal Documents of Ross H. Hicks.” Documents in series 1 and 2 are arranged in the donor’s original order. Series 2 is arranged in reverse chronological order. Documents in series 3 are arranged by function.

Custodial History

This collection was created in 1980 and includes documents dated from 1980 to 1981. This collection was gifted to the Montgomery County Archives by its creator, Ross H. Hicks, in August 2021. No items were removed from this collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was gifted to the Montgomery County Archives by its creator, Ross H. Hicks, in August 2021.

Processing Information

Materials in this collection were placed in new acid-free folders and boxes. All staples and fasteners were removed from this collection, and all documents received light surface cleaning. The donor’s original folder and container titles were retained whenever possible. A portion of the collection was pulled from a three-ring binder labeled Metropolitan Charter Subcommittee Minutes, and all folders with documents that correspond to that binder are subtitled “Metro Charter Minutes.” Series 1 and 2 are arranged in their original order.

Series 3 includes materials from an unlabeled folder, so items in series 3 are arranged by function. Items that were stapled together are housed in the same folder, and their connection is marked by acid free paper.



Inventory of the 1980 Clarksville and Montgomery County Consolidation Charter Collection
Robert Spingler
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Montgomery County Archives Repository

350 Pageant Lane
Suite 101D
Clarksville Tennessee 30741 United States