A prominent African-American soldier, minister, and educator, Peter Vertrees was born December 16, 1840, in Edmonton County, Kentucky, as Peter Skaggs. At age five he was apprenticed to Jacob Vertrees whose name he assumed. From 1861-1865, he was a cook and bodyguard under Dr. John L. Vertrees in the Orphan Brigade, the Sixth Kentucky Infantry C.S.A., for which he received a pension from the State of Tennessee. After the war, Vertrees came to Gallatin where he began a sixty-one year Baptist ministry establishing churches area wide.
In each church he established a chapter of the Sons and Daughters of Charity to defray members' medical and burial expenses. In 1875 he organized the East Fork Missionary Baptist Association. Educated at Roger Williams University in Nashville, he opened a subscription school in the 1880s and with funding from the Rosenwald Foundation established several public schools. One block east of here, he built a Victorian Cottage in 1888. The Reverend Peter Vertrees died January 18, 1926, and was buried in the Gallatin Cemetery.