November, 2009 Vol. 1 No. 4 Published by
Martin Methodist College Pulaski, TN.
Many Mis sions
O ne Gre at De pre ss ion Three Wa rs
Co un tl es s G oo d De ed s
F ou r Pro ud Dau ghter s By Kathy Smith and Bonnie Scheuchenzuber Community Storytellers
Morris Looney 2009
Some people live a short life full of life-shaping experiences. Others live a long life full of life-shaping experiences. Our father, Morris Looney, falls in this second category. In his 92 years, he’s experienced the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He’s seen the advent of television, the internet, and man landing on the moon-just to name a few things. Our Dad started life in February 1917 in Lawrence County, Alabama. He was the first surviving child of Morris Lloyd and Laura Geneva Looney. Their first son died in infancy. About 1925, the family moved to Ohio where his dad worked as a supervisor in the Firestone plant. Then the Depression hit and his parents moved back to farm in Alabama. They did it because “at least we wouldn’t starve,” dad said. The family survived the Depression. He remembers it being a difficult time where “no one had much, but we were eating.”
In school there was a girl who only had 2 dresses to wear. “She’d alternate them. I could reach out and touch her dress in the morning. It would still be wet from being washed out the day before,” he said. By then the family included his parents, his brothers Quenten and Jack and sister Lorene. His dad eventually became the Chief of Police of Hartselle, Alabama Dad grew up farming in Alabama. As he reached adulthood, he contemplated his vocational choices. As he saw it there were 3. He could farm. He could get a factory job in the knitting mill, making socks. And because he was a good athlete, he could play baseball or some other sport for the factory to supplement his factory salary. His 3rd choice was to join the Army. He decided to see the world with Uncle Sam.
Dad as a baby in 1917. On the right, dad is on right. This was taken in Fort Shafter, Territory of Hawaii. When he was stationed there, Hawaii wasn't a state yet. He and the other Military Police were "beat walkers." They helpedmaintain order among the troops at night. Mom remembers him sending his MP friends to walk her from the restaurant were she worked to the bus stop. So, he enlisted and started his training in Fort McClellan, Alabama. The
enlistment options were Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery. He’d “had enough
of 4-legged animals,” so he chose the Infantry. After this training, he was stationed in Fort Moultrie, South Carolina.
He became a boxer for his regiment, but his boxing career came to an abrupt
end when the results of his intelligence tests came back. The Army realized
he had a lot of potential for a farm boy from Alabama and decided to invest
more training in him.
There have been changes to the modern Army since dad enlisted. Back in
1936, the Army still had a true Cavalry.
“This meant officers had to qualify shooting targets while riding a horse,”
remembers dad. “There was one particular horse all the officers liked because it had a smooth gait making it easier to hit the target accurately.”
One day while on the range watching officers qualify, he saw one instantly
become the most unpopular man in their regiment. He shot and killed the
horse while trying to qualify.
“Another time a horse fell on Lieutenant Burke and broke his leg. Since the
Cavalry boots cost $125, Lt. Burke wouldn’t let them cut his boot off,” recalls dad.
By 1940 both his brother Quenten and dad were in the Army. Quenten was
on a short stint with the Foreign Service in Panama. Dad was on a boat to
Hawaii going through the Panama Canal. The Looney brothers arranged to
meet there and spend a couple of days together. When the ship docked, dad
was on KP (Kitchen Patrol.) He rolled the garbage cans down the gangplank and met Quenten.
“Quenten brought sergeant uniforms for me and Norman Lastinger. Since
we both had about 3 years of service, we didn’t look like new recruits. So, the
MPs (Military Police) couldn’t find us and take us back,” says dad.
Several days later, when the ship was ready to leave, dad went back, grabbed
the trashcans and pushed them back up the gangplank.
“The Sergeant looked at me hard and said Looney, it sure took you a long
time to take the trash out,” he said.
Morris Looney and Korean orphans. Dad took candy to orphanages in Korea and Vietnam. He said he knew all kids liked candy.
After arriving in Hawaii, dad became a Military
have Master Degrees. He promotes education for
“we’ve got what you asked for, come teach.” Dad
in Iran. During this period, the Shah implemented
schools didn’t have many school supplies. I could-
Police (MP). He was the smallest one (5”10”) com-
everyone whenever he can.
ways believed that if you look like a good soldier,
mandatory 18 months of service for all Iranians
pared to all the others (over 6”). But he made up
for his smaller stature with toughness. He’s alyou are a good soldier. As a Company Com-
mander, he reinforced this philosophy to his men.
During the early to mid-1960s, he was stationed
who were 18. It was similar to the Peace Corps. If
they were a high school graduate, they could get
I think his work as an MP and investigator
training to be a medic, school teacher or city ad-
One time we were talking about education and ca-
a practice in Tehran (the capital city). I spent a lot
turned him into one of the first feminists. He and
mom have always been big believers in education.
reers. It was very important to him that his 4 girls be able to support themselves. He said he’d seen
too many cases of women trapped in bad marriages.
He’d ask them “Why don’t you leave?” Invari-
ably they’d say, “I can’t. I don’t have any way to
take care of myself and the children.” He vowed
he’d never let his girls be in that position. This
meant he saved enough for all 4 of us to get college
educations. And he did this (for the most part) on
Army pay. And our parents are proud all of us Americana 104
ministrator. If they were a doctor, they’d do 18
months of service in the villages before setting up
of time in the rural areas, so I saw how the teachers worked and started a village school.” he explained.
The teachers visited the villages. They’d tell the
villagers to provide a school building with desks and chairs. When you have that, let me know and
I’ll be back with the books and start teaching. They would also tell them, both girls and boys will go
would visit every school because he was interested in how they were developing.
n’t take paper because it was too bulky, but I could
take pencils,” remembers Dad. “One of my friends
was the Sergeant in charge of Genmish supplies.
He would donate a box of pencils for each school.
The teachers would cut off the eraser and divide the pencils into 2. When I asked why the erasers
were cut off, the teachers told me, “they learn exactly and make fewer mistakes.” One of the teach-
ers asked him, “Agga Looney, we appreciate these very much. What can we do for you?” Dad told him, “I don’t need a thing.” The teacher, kept
pressing, so finally he said, “Teach the kids to sing
me a song.” The children were taught the Iranian
national anthem. The next time he visited the kids
to school. As girls were not usually educated, this
lined up and sang.
village would quickly catch up with them and say,
start singing” he says with a grin.
was a big change. The teacher would then head
back to the county seat. Usually someone from the
“I noticed the
“Word traveled fast and at every school I went
to, the kids would jump up, get in a group and
Dad and Mom had 4 daughters, left to right: Bonnie, Kathy, Susie and Penny. The photo was taken at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana about 1962.
“One of my friends was the Sergeant in charge of
Genmish supplies. He would donate a box of pen-
cils for each school. The teachers would cut off the
eraser and divide the pencils into 2. When I asked
why the erasers were cut off, the teachers told me, “they learn exactly and make fewer mistakes.” One of the teachers asked him, “Agga Looney, we
While in Hawaii, he started his own family. He
“let me talk to the parents. Luckily, I talked to the
tells of going to visit her on Sundays.
figured it would take 3-4 days of eating money. At
senior in high school and working in a family
friend’s restaurant. While they were courting, he “I’d sit out on the porch with her father. Marge
would come out with an apron on. She’d talk a lit-
tle bit, and then go bustling back to the kitchen,”
kids to sing me a song.” The children were taught
out of there. In a while, we’d be called to eat. I al-
teacher, kept pressing, so finally he said, “Teach the
the Iranian national anthem. The next time he vis-
ited the kids lined up and sang.
“Word traveled fast and at every school I went
to, the kids would jump up, get in a group and
start singing” he says with a grin.
he’s ever been and has no desire to go back- even
for a visit.
care of that,” said Dad. “When she told her son,
he ran like a scared jack rabbit and had to be
was only a small scar. After that it was no problem.
Our Dad believes in improving the world one per-
was already packed and ready to go.”
we got married, I found out she was only cutting
the vegetables up and didn’t know how to cook!”
son at a time. He does what he can to make that
surgery. He told me if I could find the kids who
and POWs. He recalls it being the coldest place
that time it was probably less than $10. So, I took
ways thought she was doing the cooking. But after
pans rattling, and good smells would be coming
routes, running checkpoints and handling refugees
his unit was responsible for traffic control, supply
finally agreed, but said I don’t have any money. I
chased down.” In about 3 days, Mom and son
happen. While in Sadec, Vietnam he became ac-
rean War. He was north of the 38 parallel. Here
mother. She couldn’t believe it could be fixed. She
said dad. He remembers, “I’d hear the pots and
Dad spent 18 months in Korea during the Koth
met our Mom, Evelyn “Marge” when she was a
appreciate these very much. What can we do for
you?” Dad told him, “I don’t need a thing.” The
parents will never allow that,” dad said.
quainted with an Australian doctor.
“He was a surgeon and he liked to do cleft palate
needed the surgery, he’d do it for free. I figured
there was probably at least 1 in each village. Sure
enough, I found one. The interpreter told me the
were back in the village.
“The cleft palate was gone,” said Dad.. “There
When I ‘d go to the villages, the parents would be
there with their child. And sometimes, the Mother Dad learns life lessons from a variety of different
people. While serving in Italy, he met an Italian
policeman who rode in Mussolini’s Cavalry. He
was in the last cavalry charge in the world. The cavalry were attacking Russian tanks. He had five-
horses shot out from under him. After the 5th one
went down, he told Dad, “I laid there a minute and
thought the Lord is trying to tell you something.
Stay here until he tells you.”
Morris Looney, Bonnie (Looney) Scheuchenzuber, Captain Masgara's wife, Captain Masgara, Marge Looney. This was taken at the wedding of Captain Masgara. Capt. Masgara was killed during the 1973 Iranian revolution when the Shah was overthrown. Many of the Iranian gendarmes Dad worked with were killed during this time.
Dad laughs as he tells the story.
“I thought that was pretty smart. So when I
don’t know what to do next, I tell myself, the Lord
is trying to tell you something, stay here until he
does. And he usually tells me,” says Dad.
For being a farm boy from Alabama, Dad can
come up with novel solutions to situations. He recalls helping solve a tax problem in Tripoli, Libya.
into town for the accounting with a much lower
stop to thank him for his service to our country.
of the first tribe while they went into town. ”
recognition even happens overseas. When he was
tax basis. Then they would come back to the oasis.
They’d watch over the the horses, camels and tents He knew the Army Corps of Engineers hap-
pened to be in the desert mapping the parallel from Norway to Australia. He suggested they take
aerial pictures of the tribes in transit. The police
He met a sergeant in the Tripolitanian Police Force
could compare the pictures with what was seen in
underreporting their assets and not paying all the
They quickly learned to pick out an unusual col-
who was responsible for tax collection. This ser-
geant knew the North African nomadic tribes were
taxes they owed. The sergeant knew sending a spy
would only end up in the informant being killed.
Dad explains “These tribes have been enemies
for centuries. They can’t even remember why they
are enemies any more. But one time a year they
got along- tax time. The tribes had to report to towns to pay their taxes. They would journey to
transit and was brought in to be counted. He and
the sergeant sometimes went on these plane rides. ored horse or tent. If it didn’t show up in town for
the counting, they would ask. This significantly
increased the tax revenues. “The Corps of Engi-
neers would only do it under the condition no one
mentioned their part. They didn’t want to get shot down in the desert,” says Dad.
Since a large part of his career was in the United
the town. Along the way, the tribes would meet at
States Army and State Department, he proudly
the second tribe. Then the second tribe would go
Survivor license plates. People notice these and
an oasis. One tribe would keep about half the tax-
able assets, like the horses, camels, and tents for Americana 106
wears his World War 2 and Pearl Harbor Survivor caps. And my parents’ vehicles sport Pearl Harbor
Sometimes they show their appreciation by paying
for his meal or buying him a tank of gas. And this
89 he took a trip to Uzbekistan to visit our oldest sister. As he boarded a Russian plane wearing his WW2 cap, flannel shirt, blue jeans and cowboy boots, he looked like the typical Tennessee farmer.
The Russian passengers began clapping as he came
down the aisle.
An older Russian gentleman
pointed to his World War 2 cap and said, “Me, too!
Me, too!” It is amazing how the life of one person
impacts so many people.
We think of our Dad as a man of action. Our
childhood memories include watching him rappelling down rock walls with the gendarmes in Iran or drilling with his men on the parade ground.
On one vacation trip to the Grand Canyon, another visitor wondered out loud, “How did this happen?” Our sister quickly answered him, “My Daddy and Buffalo Bill dug it.”
And then there was Pearl Harbor Stories of our Dad’s experiences in Hawaii during World War II as a mem-
was happening, they could see smoke and the airplanes above them, but they
ent from those in his native Alabama. He briefly walked the beat with James
blocked their view. They hoisted each other onto the roof at the point where
ber of the Hawaiian Department of Military Police described his motorcycling around the island, experimenting with new foods, and meeting people differ-
Jones, who talked openly of writing a book about Hawaii. But like his bud-
still couldn’t tell what was going on. The mess hall, which also contained their arms room, was dug into the side of a hill behind Tripler Hospital, which
it jutted out of the hill. Still thinking this was all an exercise, they paced across
dies, he didn’t believe Jones was serious - after all, what was so exciting about
the roof trying to make sense of the noise and smoke. The engine sounds in-
thought he was another GI, but he wrote a darn good book!” We heard these stories
perience, but both were familiar enough with live fire to know those red
When the trailers for the movie Pearl Harbor appeared in 2001 we saw the
ied the arms and munitions to hand out. For 48 hours he helped direct an
the lives they led? His reaction when From Here to Eternity won the National Book Award and showed on the big screen? “I was really surprised – I just
repeated over the years and met a few of the men who shared those adventures.
characters, Rafe and Danny, on a rooftop peering up at a Japanese plane as it
rose up over a building. As the pilot spots them, he lets loose a salvo of fire
and they dive off the side in a hail of bullets. The scene had such an uncanny
similarity to my father’s account of December 7 - had I not already heard th
tensified and as they turned, they saw the nose of a plane coming up over the hospital, sending streams of tracers toward the roof. Neither had combat ex-
flashes would slice through them. “Then we knew it was no drill.” Jumping
from the roof one ran to the barracks to wake everyone, while the other readendless string of ambulances and medical personnel vehicles going into the
area first, followed by heavy equipment used to clear the mangled machinery and buildings.
Later they responded to an alleged report of parachutes landing in the hills
his story so many times I would have believed he simply adopted it as his
at night but they never found anyone. There were many changes after the at-
starting breakfast, they were interrupted. “We could hear the explosions and all
room was packed up and sent to except some *+*!*&* stole my hat!”
own. As he left the office where he had been duty officer overnight, he ran into his friend “Buck” Buchanan and they went to the mess hall to eat. After
the racket, but couldn’t see anything.” When they went outside to check what
tack. “We were really thin – the senior sergeants were transferred out to counter in-
telligence and other duty. I never got back to the Fort Shafter, All my gear in my
A schematic from Vietnam showing an attack plan.
Dadâ€™s Tours of Duty United States Army
Fort Moultrie, South Carolina Fort Shafter, Territory of Hawaii Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania Fort Gordon, Georgia Korea Fort Myers, Virginia Libya Wheelus AFB, Tripoli Italy, Camp Darby, Livorno Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana Iran Fort Meade, Maryland
State Department Vietnam Laos
Dad in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Americana 108
The history of the house on the hill
The Wilkinson-Martin-Sims House By Vivian Sims Community Storyteller
On a chilly October morn in 1838, more than tattered, sick and weary Cherokee Indians, slaves, and government agents, with wagons, carts and 500 animals, straggled north on the â€œTrail of Tears.â€? At a curve in the road out of the small town of Pulaski, the Benge Contingent meandered past an elegant two-story Federal style house resting on the crest of a hill. In the early eastern sunlight, it was sparkling white with rich green louvered shutters. The inviting double front glass doors were surrounded by a large ornate transom and sidelights.
Above, Henry Sims in the restored bedroom of the Wilkinson-Martin-Sims home. Henry was born in the bed in the foreground. Below, the South Room of the house.
The grand house was encircled by acres of golden undulating hills and lazily grazing animals framed by towering forests blazing in autumn colors. The shining metal roof could be seen from the courthouse cupola. Its owner, F.H. Wilkinson, was later to assist in building the fourth Giles County Courthouse. When Francis H. Wilkinson built his home with slave labor, in the early 1830’s, Andrew Jackson was president of the United States. For the next 179 years this white house on the hill witnessed the election of 43 presidents, and 24 states added to the Union. It withstood numerous traumatic events during the Civil War, having been strategically located on a main north-south highway from southern Alabama to northern Michigan. Through remarkable changes in the South and in America, the white house on the hill has sat sturdily on the west side of U.S. Route 31, which traverses 1280 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to Lake Michigan. It greeted southerners migrating north to Nashville, Louisville, Indianapolis into Ben Harbor, Michigan, and northerners relocating, vacationing or going back home to Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile, Alabama. Francis and Angeline Wilkinson were the parents of six children, three boys and three girls, of which two daughters, Josephine McNairy and Mary Martin survived into adulthood. Upon his death on July 17, 1875, Francis willed the house and 140 acres of land, valued at $2,975, to Mary. Mary was married to David S. Martin, a mayor of Pulaski, who died March 3, 1887. Mary lived to celebrate the incoming 20th Century, and remained in the house until her death on June 3, 1908. She willed the property to Willie McNairy Martin, and upon Willie’s death, to her children. One of Willie’s children, David E. Martin, was deeded the home and surrounding land on December 29, 1922. David married Martha Abernathy late in life and they had no children. They lived in the house until David’s death, March 6, 1966. Martha remained alone in the house until she sold the property to their next door neighbors, Henry and Martha Sims. The house had belonged to the Wilkinson-Martin family for more than 135 years. The story takes a colorful turn After graduating from Tennessee A.&I. State College in 1945, Henry H. Sims came to Pulaski from Humboldt to teach Industrial Arts and coach at segregated Bridgeforth High School. He roomed and boarded with Mrs. Addie Boyd who lived next to the school and across the highway from David Martin’s home. Henry admired the beautiful antebellum house and particularly the hill it rested upon, as the land in west Tennessee was flat and he had grown up in a small house on a truck farm. Upon inquiring about who owned the stately home and expansive rolling land, he was told by Mrs. Boyd, “That’s white folk’s property. Don’t you ever dare think about it!” David Martin’s brother, Dr. W.W. Martin, a dentist, built a small house 100 yards north of David’s house for his son, Edward, who didn’t return to Pulaski after graduating from dental school. Dr. Martin sold the house to Owen Daniel, who sold the property to Henry and Martha Sims in 1957. David, who had been a member of the Ku Klux Klan in 1919 (we possess his original manifesto), was not happy when these “colored’ people became his next door neighbors. He built a chain link fence between the properties, “To keep the cows off of your yard,” he told Henry, who inquired why a fence had suddenly become necessary after he moved next door. At first, David was non-communicative, though he was never openly hostile. Late one night David became ill and fell out of bed. His wife was unable to get him up, so she called her nearest neighbors, the Sims, to help them. Henry and Martha jumped out of bed, quickly dressed and drove down the highway and up the hill to the Martin’s house and entered the back door. Henry picked David off the floor and put him back into bed, while Mrs. Martin called Dr. Speer to come to the house to treat David.
There’s good ‘prospects’ here
Giles County speck on the map rekindles memories for former resident By Mary Cordell Community Storyteller
If you have never lived in a
small town, and by small I mean less than two hundred people, you have missed a special treat.
The three years I lived in the small town of Prospect, Tennessee
during the Great Depression pro-
vided me with some of my most
First memories of Prospect were formed when I was very young, as we would visit there quite often. Two of mother’s sisters and their families lived there when my family lived in Decatur, Alabama. My brother James and I loved visiting there and playing with our cousins. Under President Hoover, everyone enjoyed a certain amount of prosperity, that is, until October 1929 when the bottom fell out of the stock market. President Hoover fell into disgrace and our businesses and farmers were facing one of the most difficult times in our history. Daddy was forced to close his U-Drive-It business and seek employment in the North. Mama, James and I were left in Prospect with Mama’s sisters. What a happy day it was when the three of us boarded a train in Prospect to go to my daddy in Cleveland. Ohio. But after two years, the Depression spread to Cleveland and the North. Daddy lost his job and we moved back south, settling in Prospect. A new baby sister had joined our family by that time My parents rented a large two story house right in the middle of the small town. It was known as the John D. Reed house. Mrs. Reed had gone to live with her son because of advanced age and shrinking resources. It was a wonderful old house to grow up in, complete with a library stocked with one wall of book shelves filled with books. That room became my favorite place. Actually, we had a miniature farm where Daddy could have a garden; Mama had a cow and chickens and life was good again. Daddy opened a garage behind the Malloy Gilbert store and was soon busy keeping the local farmers’ Americana 10
equipment in working shape. We settled down there shortly after my eighth birthday. I started school in Prospect in the fourth grade, a very different environment than my Cleveland experience. The school was both an elementary and high school but there were few students. It was located about two or three city blocks from our house on the east side of the town. A school for the black children was on the west side of the town. There were no paved streets or sidewalks, just dirt roads. We walked everywhere , including to school. From the best sources available, most of them word of mouth, Prospect was the first settlement in Giles County. The county was formed in 1809. In 1806, a small fleet of boats made its way down the Tennessee River, then up Elk River until coming to a creek where they decided to settle. There is no known record of the first settlers, except for a man named James Ford, who led the small armada of boats in search of good farming land. When they arrived at the good level strip of land at the intersection of Elk River and a creek, James Ford reportedly said, “This land has good prospects for what we need.” So the settlement was named Prospect, and the creek was named Ford Creek The settlers began to build a village. This was the location of Prospect until the railroad that connected Birmingham and Nashville was built in the mid1800s. When that happened, a man named Thomas Abernathy Westmoreland moved closer to the rail tracks and built a large home, a small Methodist church, a school and a grocery store.
It was not long before other settlers arrived and stores, shops and other businesses were built along the railroad and a depot was built. The town was known as Prospect Station at that time. The farmers became quite prosperous due to the availability of freight cars to haul their produce to the markets. Some days a farmer could make as much as $2,000 by bringing his fresh farm foods to the depot for loading. When we moved to Prospect in 1932, there were four trains that passed through the little town. Two went north and two traveled south. You could catch the train going north in the morning to Nashville, then you could get back home later in the day by boarding the southbound train or vice versa. One of the pastime events was to walk down the hill to the depot to see the train arrive. There was a pretty steep hill leading down to the town district. Going down was not bad, but it was a job to climb back up the hill. Prospect was a place where everyone knew everyone else and all about everyone’s business. Families helped each other. It was not long before we were nicely settled in the Reed house and felt at home. Across the road from the Reed house there lived an elderly couple, Mr. And Mrs. Walter Whitfield. We called Mrs. Whitfield “Miss Fannie“. The couple had been raised in prosperous families. Even though they had lost most of their money in the stock crash, they still managed to live in the manner to which they had been accustomed. They were the only people I have ever known personally who had both a maid and a butler, an older couple who lived in a little house behind their home. Miss Fannie was aristocratic and precise. She was always dressed as if she was going somewhere important. Her hands were gnarled from age, but she always had an array of diamond rings on her fingers. Miss Fannie turned out to be one of my angels along the way. She took me under her wing and demanded all the time I could spare as she had decided to educate me to the finer things of life. Miss Fannie taught me to do things to the best of my ability and to take pride in what I was doing. Under her critical eye, I learned to play the piano, recite and write poetry, to sew and how to feel good about myself. There were other wonderful people in Prospect at that time Our teachers were strict but devoted to seeing that their pupils were taught rather than just occupying a seat. Colonel A. D. Carter and his wife, Golda, were among those who have a special place in my heart. They had no children, and “Aunt” Golda borrowed mama’s girls every chance she got. By that time Mama had added another little sister to our family which made four children. The Carters were more prosperous than most of us, so “Aunt” Golda enjoyed buying things for me. Two Gilbert sisters, Esther and Ruth, lived alone in a big two story house which had been handed down to them. I do not remember it ever having any paint on it but at the present time, it has been refurbished and looks almost new outside. Andy and Marilyn Shaver are the proud owners of that home now, known as the Gilbert-Shaver home.
Above, the Dr. Luther L. Gilbert house built in the 1800s.Nothing remains at this time but the chimney and some rubble. Below, the site of the early Methodist church in the 1800s. It was called “the campground.” There were several log cabins on the site and a two-week meeting was held every summer.
The Blankenship family lived in what was known as the Dr. Gilbert house. There was a widow and her daughter who lived around the corner, and the town kept a close eye on them as it was rare for a single mother to be raising a child alone at that time. There are certain sounds I hear even now that bring up memories of Prospect. When I hear a train blow in the night, which is seldom these days, it brings back the lonesome sound of the midnight train blowing to warn any strays walking along the tracks to seek a safer place immediately. We finally got to the point where the whistle of the train did not disturb our sleep, but sometimes it would blow longer than usual and would wake us up. I remember what a lonely sound it was. There was another sound unique to Prospect. There was a wonderful man named Harvey Overton, Sr. who lived across the road from the Reed house. Harvey had the most beautiful voice. Sometimes when there was a full moon and you could see your way to go anywhere in the town, Harvey would wander around and sing to everyone who would stop to listen. He could be heard all over as the town was so quiet at night. Most of the homes in Prospect were built on a hill. Wells provided the main source of water. In dry summers, the wells might not provide enough water so it became standard practice to have barrels to catch and preserve the soft rain water. It was wonderful for washing your hair as it was clean and pure with no pesticides or other impurities. The rain barrel was usually put at the corners of the porches and covered with clean cloths to keep the dirt out. Some people had a cistern in the ground or up on log posts. The boys could hang a sheet across the posts and take a shower. My grandfather, W. A. Whitlock, owned a grocery store in the town district at the foot of the hill. He had two rain barrels at the store. They provided water for the business. Halloween night always put the barrels in danger of being turned over and the water dumped as a prank. One Halloween, my grandfather sat all night in front of his store with a loaded shotgun, determined that the pranksters would not deprive him of the precious water. We did not learn about this until sometime after the event, but needless to say, Grandpa did not shoot any spooks. Grandpaâ€™s store was one of three grocery stores in Prospect at that time. Prospect had been a prosperous town until the Depression. It had a mill, a cotton gin, three grocery stores, a barbershop, a hardware store, a blacksmith shop, a pharmacy and two doctors, L. L. Gilbert and Joe Mason. Dr. Gilbert owned the pharmacy. There was also a bank, a post office, a telephone switchboard in the Powell home, a tennis court behind the stores and a place where the young folks could go to swim called Whitfield Island. Ford Creek ran through the lower part of the town where we could go and splash around during the hot season. I was baptized in that creek the summer I was 12. We did not have a church building, but the Church of Christ met in a room over the bank building (later the post office). We sat on kitchen chairs and had a visiting preacher once a month.
Above, the building that was originally a bank, then a Masonic Lodge, then the post office. The steps on the side led up to the second floor where the Church of Christ met every Sunday. We had a preacher once a month and we sat on an assortment of kitchen chairs. On the right, the first mail service for the area around early Prospect.
Prospect was, and still is, predominantly Methodist. The group that followed James Ford up the river was supposedly Methodist. The first meeting place in the 1800s was called â€œThe Campgroundâ€?. It consisted of 15 to 20 log shacks, dirt floors and rough roofs. They were built in a circle with a pulpit and rough seats in the center . That existed for years and people came from all over to have a large meeting every year at The Campground. When the town had to be moved because of the railroad, the small church Mr. Westmoreland had built was not large enough so a place on the top of the hill was purchased to build a larger meeting house. That building was later sold to the Taylor Carter family and became a combination residence and funeral home. It was still a funeral home and residence when we lived in Prospect. Mr. Wilson Carter and his sisters, Gertrude and Mabel, lived there and ran the funeral home. It has now been restored and refurbished and is the home of C. T. and Peggy Ivey Smith. In 1907, a lovely brick church building was constructed and is still in use as a Methodist Church. There was a wonderful celebration in 2007 to commemorate 100 years of worship. The church originally had beautiful stained glass windows that lasted until 1946. A storm with baseball sized hail broke most of the windows and flooded the church. All of the windows were restored to their original beauty, most of them paid for by the parishioners. The windows now display names of prominent members of the church at that time. Over the years, time took its toll and the town began to deteriorate. During the Depression and World War II, people left and moved to larger cities. When the arsenal was opened in Huntsville, new people came from far away places. They sought quieter and smaller places to live. They discovered Prospect. Even though the business area was not flourishing, Prospect became a wonderful place to get away from the hectic work world, becoming a bedroom community. The old houses were either refurbished or torn down and new buildings put in their place. There is a wonderful two story home, called the Dr. Gilbert house on Circle Drive, that has been allowed to just fall in. Nothing is standing now but the chimney. The Reed house was demolished and a new, smaller one story home is there now. In 1994, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Carey arrived in Prospect from Tampa, Florida. Mrs. Carey was native to this area but Mr. Carey had come from Key West. They were in the business of selling and refurbishing pianos and organs. Their son, Michael, is a wizard at repairing old pianos and organs and wiring them electronically so they can be played by remote or using a piano roll of music. They had a thriving business in Tampa. But Mrs. Carey longed to come home to Giles County. She and her husband purchased a store building with an apartment above it in Prospect. That building belonged to my aunt and uncle, Coleman and Gladys Whitlock Davis. Mr. Carey started selling his musical instruments from that building. Business was so good he called Michael, told him to sell everything, close the business in Tampa and come to Prospect. The Careys bought all of the old store buildings in the town district. Americana 14
Some newcomers to Prospect have lovingly restored old homes. Here, the old Gilbert home, which was occupied by Ruth and Esther gilbert in the 1930s, has been given new life by Marilyn and Andy Shaver.
One Prospect building has had many lives. Above left, the building was originally a grocery store, then used as a church and now it is a museum for musical instruments accumulated by the Carey family.
The Careys have a Music Museum in the store building that once served as a church for a short time. You can spend hours and not see everything in it. Old Victrolas play old records and there is also a wire roll instrument which was the forerunner to the Victrola. There are all kinds of old telephones, music boxes and radios. There is a Philco radio that looks almost new, but it is exactly like the first radio my parents were able to buy when the Depression ended. There is a rustic looking building that houses an antique shop operated by the Careys. The old post office (bank) building was so deteriorated it had to be torn down. The empty space is used as an outdoor eating facility, furnished with round concrete tables and benches. The bricks from the old building are buried at the site. Next door to that is an original store that has been turned into an ice cream parlor. It is no longer open for business but the
Careys will open it for showing. Michael has installed an old player piano in which he has tambourines, drums, triangle, cymbals and a xylophone. When he pushes a button, you are transported back to the 1920s and the Flapper Age. That piano alone is worth a trip to Prospect. Across the road from the parlor, the old Malloy Gilbert store building has been restored and is now used as a flea market and storage building. The depot is gone, having burned several years ago. The site looks lonely as the tracks have all been removed as well. Prospect is now a sleepy little town with well kept houses and yards, but few people out visiting as we used to do. Most of the residents work in nearby cities and come home to peace and quiet at night and weekends. Some people are spending their retirement years in the small southern town. It is a place that holds precious memories for me. Americana 15
Above, the product of early Prospect; James and Mary Cecil Whitlock and cousin, Genever Petty, 1934. Right: the author as she looks today. Below, Prospect as it looks today. Top right, Mrs. Mary Cordell 2009. Below, the sleepy little town of Prospect today.
On the opposite page, â€œnamelessâ€? children of yesteryear giggle and pose for the camera. On this page, a montage of wedding photos that make up part of my old photo collection.
‘Please don’t take my Kodachrome away’ Janet Shaver Community Storyteller Photograph Montages by Jessica Feltz
Kodachrome They give us those nice bright colors They give us the greens of summers Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day, Oh yeah I got a Nikon camera I love to take a photograph So mama don’t take my Kodachrome away - Paul Simon
Old photographs can take you to a different era, another city or country. They document the daily lives of families. They capture style and culture unlike your own. They show a landscape lost to time and development. Sharing these snippets of frozen time lures collectors like myself to keep an eye open for old photos. On June 22, 2009 Kodak retired the Kodachrome line of color film. This announcement officially retired the 35 mm of my early years of photography. When Simon and Garfunkel wrote the song “Kodachrome” they could not have imagined that Kodak (not moma) would be taking away the film: It also made me think about my own collection of Kodachrome photographs of family taken by me, by my family, and more particularly, the large collection of old photos of people I am not related to, and the ‘value’ of these strangers’ photos. Some photos purposely or accidentally capture history, famous people, the infamous, these all have obvious monetary ‘value’ for a wide variety of collectors. For others the items they stand near or holding is the focus of their collections. Old car photos become more relevant then the person sitting on them or old toys are more interesting then the child holding it.
Some collectors want a link with their other valued items. Old books might have a photo of a woman reading a similar book nearby. Linens flapping in the wind in one photo might sit near a linen collection. Old photos are being culled and gathered at a rapid pace today for all the variety of other collections they represent. The piles of photos you might find on a table at a flea market or yard sale have gone from cheap to expensive given the trend toward collecting them. What makes someone like me collect strangers’ photos? It is as difficult to answer as it might be for any collector. Sometimes the photo itself ‘speaks’ to you from the expression on the faces to the scenery. Other times it feels as though these photos need to be rescued from “uncaring” sellers .
Over 30 years ago those were considered less than desirable collectibles. The frames had a value, the more ornate the higher, but not the portraits. She could get the frame at a great deal if it held a portrait while the piles of old photos rejected out of frames were in my price range. She coined the phrase ‘adopted family’ for me by keeping the strangers in those frames and hanging them on her walls. If someone asked she might joke that these are family she adopted. Today you pay for both the frame and the photo equally if not higher depending on the photo and piles of old photos in boxes are becoming less likely to be found. Sometimes family is not born into your life but come in by accident. Photos are reminders of our likes and differences of every era. It is life and living frozen in one click of time. One encapsulated shot that when it was taken the focus might have been on the person but later it becomes greater than that. It becomes the landscape, the house, the items on a table, the animals, and just about anything seen, or not seen, by the photographer who took the photo. The object of attention is as diverse as are the collectors hunting them. A quote by Edward Steichen expresses my need to collect best when he wrote: Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face, the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited, and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man. Hopefully this has inspired you to save your own photographs and record who that is in the photos, where it is, and even what is going on. Someday if your family cannot appreciate your table top trinkets, toy collections, old books, or being in the family photograph there will always be a generation that will find that photo and gladly appraise it as ‘adopted’. Even if the digital photo is retired (and whatever form recording an image takes) no one will take away the human need to view ourselves and others and the world we live in.
Above, photos in a time when the sequence of events was documented on film and passed along to family or friends. A trip for three gals to the sunshine state from start to end are just part of my “adopted family” photo collection.
One night opens eyes and hearts By Josiah Po’e Martin Methodist College Community Storyteller
MMC student Josiah Po’e participates in the campus Social Justice Awareness experience held each year on the campus greens.
It had been a long day of school, so I was more than a little excited as I slipped into some comfortable jammies and plopped myself down on my nice soft bed. Snuggling down under the warmth of my covers I smiled to myself and drifted peacefully away into dreamland. I never thought twice about how lucky I was to enjoy things as simple as comfortable clothes and a warm bed. At least, not until I attended the “Homelessness on the Green” experience. On the Religious Life calendar at Martin Methodist College, March 23-27 marked Social Awareness Week, and this year’s topic was homelessness. I had never considered how this issue could impact students like me, so I decided to par-
ticipate. I even resorted to promoting the event by dressing up like a bum and telling students about the event. Many were put off by the idea of sleeping outside, but a few seemed interested enough to check out what we had planned. We met in the Red Hawk Café around 8:30 pm. There were about 15 of us in all. Taking our seats, we grew quiet as the people in charge of the event (students Katie Cooper, Alyssa Beavers, Simone Coleman and Religious Life Co-ordinater Mariellyn Dunlap) started off by showing us a slideshow presentation about homelessness. I was appalled as each new slide brought with it horrifying statistics concerning the issue. In Tennessee, there are approximately 11,210 homeless people wandering
the streets. I looked about the room as students shifted uncomfortably as the presentation wore on. A picture of a wheel-chair ridden elder holding a flag was accompanied by a caption that said there were approximately 200,000 veterans roaming the streets of America. Following this, we watched a 30-minute video clip showing Simone Coleman interviewing a homeless couple, Regie and Rose. These two people had been homeless for years and had taken refuge in an abandoned Bank of America building. Regie, 49, talked about the struggles he and Rose had to endure on a daily basis. To survive, Regie was forced to resort to stealing. “I hate it, it hurts my soul. But that‘s what I do.” Americana 22
Throughout the course of the interview, I noticed a bowl of pret-
concrete surface, it is one I would not recommend trying inten-
not eaten a decent meal in weeks. Tears streamed down Regie’s
comfortable position to sleep in and I quickly realized that there
was so cold!” And if that wasn’t enough to sadden the audience,
turning restlessly in their sleep (or rather their attempt at sleep.)
zels on the table slowly diminish to nothing, as if these people had face as he relived the worst of his experience on the streets. “It it was more of a blow when Simone ended the video by reporting
the day after the interview had been conducted, the abandoned
tionally. I tossed and turned in a feeble attempt to find the most
wasn’t one. I was not alone as I noticed many of my companions All the while the rain did not cease or let up. In fact, as the night
wore on it only increased in ferocity, the howling wind accompa-
bank had been raided by the police and Regie had been arrested
nying the storm. The shriek of a police siren in the background
we readied ourselves for bed.
to change into dry clothes as she had been drenched by the rain in
Around 10 pm, the group grabbed cardboard boxes that were
provided and headed outside to the green to settle down for the night. Ten minutes later we were forced to move under the over-
pass of the Johnston Center to take refuge from the onslaught of
the rain. “Wow, I really do feel like a homeless person now,” I heard an over enthusiastic student say. Although
transition from the green to the library entrance might not seem to be much of
a change to those not involved in the
event, for the 15 of
us it was a whole
did nothing to help the situation. One of the students had to leave
her spot. It seemed that is when the event took an unexpected turn.
I had decided long before that point that I was not going to be
drifting off to sleep anytime soon, so I leaned my back against the
wall and was soon lost in thought. It seemed to me that the gen-
for stealing and sent to jail. It was a sad thought to contemplate as
eral excitement of the group for the homelessness event had worn
Thinking back on the event, I reflected on how fortunate
students like me really are in life.
off. I watched as one by one, members of
the group departed
from our cardboard
for leaving, but giving some reason that
from staying. In the
world of difference. We went from relatively soft grass to rock-
end, when the event ended at 5 am, only eight of the original
and we spent the next few hours settling our cardboard boxes and
Thinking back on the event itself, I reflected on how fortunate
solid concrete. However, the general morale of the group was high
trash bags into some form of bedding. It was amazing how valu-
students like me really are in life. Thirty-three million people in
dinators had purposely provided a limited supply, so many of us
And, unlike the students from the night before, those people could
able a commodity blankets became in that situation, as the coor-
had to share, and a few of the unlucky ones (myself included) had
to make do with the clothes on our backs.
As the night dwindled on, the general chatter of the group died
down to whispered murmurings of a few who could not sleep. It
didn’t take long for even that to be silenced. If a person has not
had the experience of sleeping on a thin layer of cardboard on a
America suffer on the streets and have nowhere to go at night.
not simply shrug off their shoulders, get up and take refuge in a
warm, comfortable home elsewhere. They had to live with those
conditions on a daily basis and for them there is no escape. It took
a night living the life of a homeless person for me to truly see the seriousness of the issue and take it to heart.
Geese in the Kaiser’s Kitchen Becky Yannayon Community Storyteller
August in Holland builds a sweat on the walls of Ursula’s home. The windows won’t raise, and she opens the doors to a breeze. Fraulein Woudenberg’s geese see the open doors and come quickly, single file, every time. Across the threshold and into the kitchen they gather and soil the floor coverings made of reeds. Ursula holds her child and tries to shoo them out through the back door but they turn on her, hissing and threatening, as though she were the intruder. The spinster landlady, Fraulein Woudenberg, lives on the upper level above the kitchen and is inclined, in summer, to rent out even her own narrow space to travelers, and sleep in the enclosure beneath her stairs. Come winter, the Fraulein will not heat her quarters, but wears a knitted scarf and woolen coat and absorbs a little rising heat from the kitchen below. However, she gives her downstairs tenants a slaughtered goose at Easter. Ursula takes it to her mother, back in her hometown of Kassel, Germany between Frankfurt and Berlin. Fifteen years after the Second World War, a fat goose is a treat in a town still mostly flattened, but she is filled already with such dislike of geese she cannot take a bite. She boards a bus back to the kitchen in Doorn, Holland with two brown cooking pots and a head of cabbage on her lap. “I still have the pots,” Ursula says. German Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II (better known as Kaiser Bill in the United States during the first World War) spent the years after the war in exile in Holland. Post WW II found most of Europe in ruins and housing in short supply. The Kaiser’s kitchen in Doorn Holland, which later belonged to Fraulein Woudenberg, was rented to Ursula in her first year of marriage to an American soldier. Another family lived in the washhouse beside the kitchen.
Ursula and Fred in Taiwan...one of the many countries they lived in. She bought a brilliant red belt and matching sandals for a photograph to send Fred in Vietnam
Ursula was born in 1939, three months before Hitler invaded Poland. Kaiser Wilhelm died in 1941, shortly before Pearl Harbor and the U.S. declaration of war against Germany. One of Ursula’s earliest memories is of her mother running to the basement clutching her in her arms while houses burned around them from bombs on Germany. Her mother had been wonderful in needlework but never sewed after that. Throughout her childhood years, neighbors were still being discovered in their basement graves. Ursula learned survival early. As a young child, she sold ice cream from wooden boxes with her father in the streets of Kassel. By the time she met Fred Curtis, the man she would marry, she was the mother of little Andrea and was working by day for a German telephone company cleaning out relays and reassembling them. At night she did paperwork for an artist friend, and through her, she met Fred when he was stationed in Germany. They married a year later. Ursula traveled and lived with her husband Fred in many countries from Taiwan to Italy and in the United States from South Carolina to California. Finally, they came to Southwest Giles County in the 1960s to the homeplace of his parents and grandparents.
Ursula remained in Giles County while Fred served in the Vietnam War. When his 23 years of military service were over, he served with the Giles County Sheriff”s Department until his death in 1990. Little Andrea would grow up to marry another Giles County law enforcement officer, John White. Ursula still lives in the home they built on family land. Now, from the comfort of her home, when Ursula speaks of Holland in her still-strong German accent, she is less inclined to remember the geese and their mess on her floor; rather, she remembers the recently war-ravaged Holland as more like one gigantic park. The history of Europe in the first half of the 20th century was dominated by two men: The atrocities of Hitler in WW II so eclipsed the excesses of Kaiser Wilhelm in WW I that the latter is largely forgotten. “The Kaiser was dead and I just happened to move into his kitchen….he didn’t mean anything to me,” Ursula says. She never met either man, yet her life was intertwined with both. In her little corner of Holland, the Kaiser’s kitchen became a place to begin a new life. Eventually, even the geese became a distant memory. Americana 29
Americana Magazine Stories Matter
Published by Martin Methodist College Americana Magazine can be purchased in Giles County at Reeves Drug Store, Walgreens, Green Valley General Store and the Martin Methodist College bookstore. In Marshall County, it can be purchased at H&S pharmacies, Victorian Melody, The Bookshelf, Emporium on the square and Spencerâ€™s S&D in Cornersville. 433 West Madison Street Pulaski, TN. (931) 424-3800
Executive Editor Grant Vosburgh
Director of Communications Martin Methodist College
Community Editor Fern Greenbank
Media Education and Production Coordinator Martin Methodist College (931) 424-7353 firstname.lastname@example.org
Authors and photographers retain copyright of their work. Martin Methodist College reserves the right to use the magazine and/or contents for promotional and educational purposes.
Printed by Holleys Printing Pulaski, TN.
Copyright ÂŠ 2007 All rights reserved.
Cover: Veteran Jim Harrison ran a general store at one time. Here he poses with a prized giant watermelon. Americana 4
Above, Ursula with Vickie Ray, her pastorâ€™s wife. Ursula currently is an active member of the Historic Giles County Choates Creek United Methodist Church and the United Methodist Womenâ€™s Association (UMW) and Bodenham Community Club. For her part in church ministry, she has knitted more than 160 prayer shawls for people in Giles County, and across the U.S. and Canada.
Left: The Kaiser would turn his withered arm from the camera. (He and Hitler had shared certain eccentricities. Hitler would be photographed only from the left). Americana 30
J.B. Harrison chilled a 50 pound watermelon, then sliced it and gave it to customers when he ran a country store.
Behind every veteran, there is a story you can’t see Cynthia Ripp Community Storyteller
"When the United States entered World War II, the U.S. government turned to ordinary Americans and asked of them extraordinary service, sacrifice, and heroics. Many Americans met those high expectations, and then returned home to lead ordinary lives....It was a life of service that hundreds of thousands of other World War II veterans were living in their hometowns across America....They became once again ordinary people, the kind of men and women who always have been the foundation of the American way of life."
--Tom Brokaw, ‘The Greatest Generation’
If you didn't know Mr. John Benjamin Harrison, Jr., the first time you met him you would probably notice his artificial right hand. If you've been reading the local newspapers over the years, you might know that he is, and has been, an active member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. You might think he lost his hand during World War II, and you might think his active patriotism is due to his war experience--but you'd be wrong. "Doing my part, doing what's right, doing what's expected of me, we all pitched in." These are words you would probably hear Mr. Harrison say if you talked with him for any length of time. But if you ask him about "duty," he doesn't call it that. Though J.B. (as he is known to most people) would never say it, throughout his life, his call to service seems to have taken precedence over every other consideration. Growing up in the Cedar Grove and Liberty areas in Giles County, J.B. was the fourth generation of farmers. His great grandfather, Johnathan Luke Harrison, gave each of his four sons a parcel of land. J.B. ‘s father still worked a fairly large farm when J.B. was a boy. His dad started J.B. out milking the cow when he was only five. At first, they used "real" horse and mule power to pull the farm implements. Later, J.B. moved up to harder jobs, eventually driving motorized equipment to plant, cultivate and harvest wheat, corn and other crops. After J.B. graduated from Prospect in 1941, a druggist in Pulaski, Mr. Ed Ezell, helped him get a job at Genesco, the local shoe factory. At the time, Genesco had a large contract with the government to make shoes for the military. For 18 months he enjoyed the work and the pay. Then one day in 1943, the local draft board called. Only 19 at the time, J.B. thought about whether he would stay home or go to war. Since his father owned a farm and J.B. helped his dad, he
could have legally and honorably been exempt from the Army. "I was a patriotic guy, always tried to be," said J.B. "I decided I was going to be patriotic and go. Really, I didn’t want to go, but I did." J.B. and another young fellow from Pulaski, Victor Parker, met up on the day they were leaving to go to Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia to be inducted into the U.S. Army. Though they had no idea at the time, J.B. and Victor would serve together during the war years and would remain lifelong friends until Victor’s death in December 2008. Throughout 1942 and into the first half of 1943, German submarines threatened and attacked military and commercial vessels along the eastern coast of the United States and in the North Atlantic. In the first seven months of 1942, more than 35 ships had been sunk off the Florida coast. Because of these German U-boat sightings, J.B. and his coastal artillery outfit were mobilized to that area as soon as their training was over. They set up camp on the coast with their six inch diameter "Long Tom" guns. With a twinkle in his eye and a smile playing at the corners of his mouth, J.B. quips, "There was no fightin’ or feudin’ or anything like that. We never did see ‘em. I reckon when they saw us there, they just turned around and went back home." No further attacks from U-boats were reported along the U.S. coast. But that was only the beginning. The Army then determined more field artillery units soon would be needed as the U.S. continued strategic planning for invasion of Japan. To help meet this need, J.B. 's coast artillery unit was transferred to Fort Bragg in North Carolina. By spring of 1945, his unit had been thoroughly retrained in the use of the largest mobile field artillery guns used in World War II. An entire cadre of men were required to move, erect, load and shoot each gun. The barrel alone measured 10 inches in diameter and had a 25 mile accuracy range.
In a 2007 edition of the Pulaski Citizen, Mr. Harrison, left, is seen bowing his head at a ceremony on Veteran’s Day.
To the right, four generations of Harrisons; J.B., his father Johnnie, Clarence Benjamin and great grandfather Johnathan Luke in 1926.
At left, the class of 1933 to 1935 from Rockwood School, grades 1-8 in Prospect. In the fourth row, second from left, J.B. Harrison is standing next to his teacher, Ms. Eva Petty.
The Harrison Family in 1941. Left to right: J.B., his mother Esther Alsup Harrison, his father Johnnie, sister Jean and brother Joe. Americana 34
In June, the 778th Field Artillery Battalion left San Francisco with a Navy transport group of half a dozen ships. J.B. 's unit was among this group aboard a small freighter which had been refitted to carry GIs overseas. For 31 slow and torturous days and nights, they steamed through the rough waters and storms of the Pacific Ocean to the Philippine Islands. Scuttlebutt among the GIs had it that one of the ships in the group had been torpedoed, but no official word was ever given. "Going over, everybody got sick, just about, including me. When we left, we were slated to go to Japan, but we ended up at Manila Bay," said J.B. The U.S. had taken back the Philippines earlier that year but the remaining uncaptured Japanese soldiers were hidden out all over the islands in caves and up
Pvt. J.B. Harrison in his summer and winter uniform in 1943.
in the mountains. These enemy troops continued their fierce resistance. Once off the ship, J.B. 's mobile artillery unit and the rest of the battalion quickly boarded a freight train to be transported to the northern end of Luzon, the largest of the 7200 islands. Their job was to clear these Japanese hideouts and to hold their territory. Night after night they fired their guns at enemy targets. In the daytime they cleared ash out of the barrels, then cleaned and oiled the guns to be ready for the next night attack. One day in early August 1945, they were out in the middle of a field cleaning their guns. As they worked, they listened to a radio one of the guys had. Suddenly there was an announcement. "They told on the radio that the U.S. had dropped
a bomb on Japan and the war was over, and we couldn't believe it," remembers J.B. Soon after the fighting ended, J.B.'s outfit transferred to a camp on the southern end of Luzon and a large group of French and American Air Force pilots and crew arrived at the new barracks in extremely poor condition. "They were about starved to death, down to 75 or 80 pounds. They had been prisoners, shot down over Japan and had been kept in the prison camp on Luzon. They were released and transferred to our camp," said J.B. "We helped take care of them. We fed them. All they had to do was eat and sleep. The mess hall stayed open twenty-four hours a day and those guys could eat as much as they wanted," he remembers.
He pauses a moment, then quietly reflects, "You know, if we hadn't won World War II, we would have been living under some other regime." J.B. is proud of his service and doesn't hesitate to tell anyone listening he served three years, one month and eight days. When I ask what his family thought of his going into the Army, he shrugs and simply says, "They were all for it, I reckon. I just more or less did what I was supposed to do." Of course, he was glad to get home to see his family and friends. He wanted to return to his job at the shoe factory, but his father wanted him back on the farm. "I didn't care for that kind of life," he said. "It was hard work and not much money in it, but my daddy out talked me. Daddy just said, 'I wish
you'd farm with me.' I always did what he asked me to do." So, he went back to the farm. One day a friend and fellow veteran, Bob Wiseman, the U.S. soil conservationist who worked with local farmers, told J.B. he ought to be a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Bob signed him up and he's been a member ever since. J.B. is quick to tell you he's a life member of the VFW and a 60 plus year member of the American Legion. Five years after his discharge, J.B. was still working on the farm with his dad. It was late fall and harvest time. He was 29 years old and only a few days away from his wedding, when a farming accident changed his life. Americana 35
Mr. J.B. Harrison
"The corn picker got my arm," is all J. B. says about November 5, 1951. Not one to dwell on problems or difficulties, he explains that he and Geraldine Murray delayed their wedding until December. Only later, when I ask him to identify the hardest times in his life, does he give voice to the natural shock and disbelief he experienced after his accident. "You can't imagine how I felt when I woke up the next morning in the hospital and I looked over and had no hand," J.B. said. What he does not talk about says a great deal to me about his courage and perseverance. What he does say is his arm healed quickly and easily and the Veterans provided him with an artificial hand and taught him how to use it. While J.B. was still in the hospital, Mr. Floyd White, a family friend and the city alderman in charge of the Pulaski Water Department, came to see him. Mr. White told him that a man was about to retire from the city water purification plant and asked if J.B. would want the job. "I told him, 'I sure would,' even though I didn't know what or how to do the job. I wanted to make money even though I was handicapped. When I started work for the city, I had a good job," J.B. said, "Something I could do, and I liked it."
During this time J.B. and his wife were blessed with two children. Their son, Ritchie was born in 1955 and their daughter, Jan was born in 1969. Though he and his wife divorced when Jan was about three, J.B. maintained contact and tried to impart his values to his children. J.B. says he hopes he has taught them "respect." By the way he uses the word, it's obvious he's talking about a great deal more. After 16 years with the city, J.B. ran for, and was elected to, a term as the county property assessor. Four years later after losing his bid for reelection, he had an opportunity to go into the grocery business. A small grocery store in the Bellview area became available and J.B. bought it. He didn't have the stock or variety available in the bigger stores in town, nevertheless, he kept the things his customers wanted. "I called it a 'country store in town,'" J.B. says. During the store years, when J.B. 's daughter was seven, her mother died and Jan came to live with him. Ritchie, by that time, was working and living on his own. Though J.B. had some concern about his ability to raise a daughter and make a home for her by himself, he determined it was what he should do and what he wanted to do. But the store was "a long hour deal," and after seven years, when the opportunity presented itself, J.B. sold the store. J.B. 's working life was not over, however, for as he says, "You can't quit work when you're 40 or 50 years old." Besides that, his daughter was still only 10 years old. He next bought a monument business and continued as owner for 12 years, then later as a salesman. Throughout his life, J.B. has taken an active interest in several community service organizations. J.B. sang and traveled with the Giles County Methodist Men's Choir for 14 years. In a story from The Giles Free Press in February 1996, one of the men
from the choir was quoted as saying the only requirement to be a member, if there was any, was loving to sing and wanting to serve folks. J.B. agrees with that. They went somewhere to sing nearly every week. "We sang all over, in Baptist churches, in all the churches. We went to Lawrence County, Alabama, Maury County, Bedford County, Murfreesboro," J.B. remembers. He laughs when I ask if they got paid their expenses. "It cost money to be a member. If we needed something we all pitched in and bought it, equipment, two trailers, all the music. We taped the music. It was 'canned'. He points to a picture of a group of men dressed in red jackets and black trousers. "We all dressed alike. We had two outfits and everybody had to buy their own," said J.B. "We didn't take any money for singing. We loved the singing and enjoyed the traveling, but we finally quit because we were getting old and our voices weren't as good." The JOUAM, a fraternal order, similar in symbolism and ritual to the Masonic Lodge, has been another important influence on J.B. 's life. He has been a member of "the Lodge" as he refers to it, for more than 60 years. The Junior Order of American Mechanics was founded in 1853, in part to support free education through the public school system. Until recently, the local group donated money to help support a children's home and school in North Carolina. The JOUAM's purposes have changed over the years. Today, with only seven local members, the Lodge is more like a family. J.B. misses the fellowship when, due to illness, he is unable to attend the monthly meetings. Although J.B. has been actively involved with both the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, he shows special satisfaction in his work with the VFW. He was elected as Post Commander of local
VFW Post 4577 six years in a row. He also served as District Commander and District Captain for two terms each. During his tenure as Post Commander, the local post started the "Man of the Year" program as a way to honor a prominent citizen and to generate funds for their service projects. Then they came up with another project. "We sold flags to any and everybody all over town," said J.B. "We would set them up and keep the flags at the VFW. Then on all the holidays we'd put the flags out in town and even out to the edge of town," said J.B. "The businesses liked it and we're still doing it." His face shows his concern as he tells how difficult it is sometimes to get some of the younger veterans to help set the flags. "You can think of anything nowadays, churches, clubs, anything like that. The members don't seem to want to help or get involved. They just fall away, quit participating, lose interest," he said. I ask him what keeps him loyal to the VFW. He hesitates before he answers. It seems as if he's never tried to put what he feels into words. "I like to see the American flag flying around town ten or twelve times a year," said J.B. "We don't do it enough." Perhaps now if you meet J.B. Harrison, you'll notice his lively blue eyes, his friendly smile, and the warm grasp of his hand as he greets you. You will have some idea of the many friends he's made in his 87 years through various jobs and community activities. You will know too, that his love for his country, his decency and his respect for doing the right thing, comes not from a particular experience, but from a lifelong exposure to and practice of, those ideals. And you'll be able to say, along with me, "J.B., it's a pleasure to know you." Americana 36
Nominate a Veteran
Veterans of War have important stories to tell. Only they can really offer an accurate glimpse of the sacrifices made by our veterans. They are people, not just soldiers, and their lives stories help us see our soldiers as sons, daughters, fathers, friends, mothers.
If you would like to nominate a veteran that is willing to tell their story to one of the story group members, please contact Fern Greenbank at the Story Center, Martin Methodist College, (931) 424-7353. We canâ€™t guarantee all stories will be published at once, but we are committed to an ongoing effort to document as many veteran stories as possible over time.
School Days at Bunker Hill By Helen Merrell Currin Community Storyteller
I started to school in July, 1932, when I was 5 years old. I would have been 6 in September. I had a traumatic experience the first week. The announcement was made that the Cucumber Hollow bus was loading. I said, “I don’t live in Cucumber Hollow,” and I didn’t get on the bus. I was right. I didn’t live in Cucumber Hollow, but that was the first segment of the route that finally passed my house. My frantic father arrived looking for me just as my first grade teacher, Miss Virginia Buchannan, was putting me in her car to take me home. I remember that experience to this day. My parents never forgot it to their dying day either. My mother blamed the older kids for not doing a better job of looking after me. I loved Miss Virginia, and I loved school. I remember the flash cards and the first story in the Primer, “Mother rabbit went into the woods, hop, hop, hop,” etc. With the coming of winter, there also came an epidemic of Whooping Cough. It was a dread disease in the ‘30s. No vaccine had been discovered. So, I became a victim and was not able to finish the term. The coughing spasms would cause me to lose my
breath. I remember how scary that was. That probably was for the best. I was too young to go to school that year anyway. Getting to school was quite an ordeal. I only lived 2 ½ miles from the school, but the bus route went along Bradshaw Creek and through Cucumber Hollow over unpaved country roads for many miles it seemed to me then. The seats in the cold, drafty school bus were three long benches (two on either side and one in the middle) attached to the floor. When the bus came to a sudden stop, all the kids would slide into one pile. Most of us had book satchels made of denim with a slit on one side. We put our books and school supplies in both ends and carried the thing over our shoulder. They also fit well over the middle seat of the bus, and that is where most of us put them. Some years later, I developed pain between my shoulders. The doctor had no idea what caused it. He suggested removing my tonsils. That procedure seemed to cure a lot of ills back then. Those operations were about as prevalent as cataract surgery is now. My parents never had it done, however. Thank goodness they didn’t! Americana 39
On opposite page, a third grade school picture from Bunker Hill School in 1935. Above, 8th grade in 1940.
Then years later I was told that I had a slight curvature in my upper spine. So to this day, I think it was my heavy book satchel that caused the problem and the pain. Bunker Hill School was a four-year high school when I started. There was a home economics department, a science lab, and a library. We had assembly on Fridays in the auditorium. We sang the old songs from the “Golden Book of Favorite Songs.” Favorites of mine were the patriotic ones, and “My Old Kentucky Home” and “Home on the Range” to name just a few. Later came the “Grey Book of Favorite Songs.” I have a copy of that one. It included “When You and I Were Young, Maggie” which was another favorite. I was on a tour of the British Isles in 1994. When we were crossing the Irish Sea, I heard that song being played. I didn’t know that it was “Irish” until then. Frank Patterson, the Irish tenor, sings the song on a record that I have. I am listening to it now, as I write this on November 2, 2004. I got a late start entering the fourth grade. We had heard that the opening of school was postponed due to an outbreak of polio. The disease was a crippler and killer, and no vaccine had been found at the time. So my family and I made a trip to Texas to visit Mama’s family. When we got back we heard that school had already started and that I had missed the first two weeks. My teacher was Miss Americana 40
Louise Roberts, a good teacher but very strict. I think it was in her class that I became interested in far-away places. I remember especially the geography book. The first unit was the “Belgian Conga.” The little girl in the story was named “Isa,” and she had a brother whose name I don’t remember. We did role playing and I remember what fun it was to this day. We read poetry in our “Reader” and did role playing also. “The Pasture” by Robert Frost was a favorite of mine. We had two grades in each room back then. So when it was time for fourth grade reading, for example, we would go to the front of the room and sit on recitation benches as they were called. When class was over we would go back to our seats and work on homework or study for the next class while the other grade went up front to recite. I think my love for American history probably started in the fifth grade. My teacher was Miss Anabell Gordon. I loved her dearly. We had an indepth study of the United States. I learned all the states and capitals; there were 48 of them. We also learned the mountain ranges, the plains, the natural resources and the river systems. I knew then that I wanted to see every part of our great country. I realized my dream of visiting every state when I went to Kansas in 1995.
The third and fourth grade classes together at Bunker Hill School in 1935.
Miss Gordon was also an excellent pianist, and she taught me the little that I know about the piano. My daddy was on the School Board and Mama was always hoping that we could get a teacher who could teach piano. Miss Gordon was the only one who ever did. She only taught at Bunker Hill one year. The next year she went to Washington, D.C., and worked for the FBI. She sent me a postcard that became part of my present collection of over 900 cards. Recess and lunch time were always fun. In summer we played outdoor games and jumped rope. There was also an outdoor basketball court. In winter my favorite indoor game was jacks. When I first started to school we did not have a hot lunch program. So, on pretty days we would eat our lunch on the creek banks and give our scraps to a beautiful flock of white ducks. The source of the creek was a cave (there were two caves in Bunker Hill). The stream ran beside the school yard, under a bridge, and where it went from there I don’t know. It may have been called “Little Indian” but I am not sure. I think it was during this time that I joined the 4H Club. That was a lot of fun and a good learning experience as well. We had to have a project. One year I raised baby chicks; one year I had “room improvement” and made a skirt for a dressing table;
and one year I even made a dress for a county-wide contest. I have remained interested in 4-H work to this day. My sixth grade teacher was Lavonia Mansfield. It was in that class that we learned about Europe. I knew that I wanted to go there. That dream came true in 1998 when I made my seventh trip, which included Italy. I had then visited all the countries in Europe except the Eastern bloc. By 1939 ominous war clouds were forming in Europe and many of our young men were joining the National Guard for military training. Bunker Hill was affected as well as other places. Two of our finest teachers, John Aymett and Frank Barnes, left at Christmas 1940 to join the service. Mr. Aymett was our eighth grade teacher. I remember how sad we were when he left. Because of those interruptions with the teacher leaving we somehow missed Tennessee History and South America social studies. I was aware of these gaps in my education all of my life, especially the South America thing. A very nice lady from Pulaski finished the term, and we had a graduation service. I was so proud of my eighth grade certificate. I couldn’t wait to start high school that fall!
Catastrophe Tim Dempsey Community Storyteller
This is the story of the Bee Spring community and how it persevered after a devastating natural tragedy 100 years ago. The first settlers came upon Bee Spring almost as an afterthought. The secluded hollow below a high summit in what is now southeastern Giles County was formerly part of the Indian hunting grounds, but the Chickasaw Cession of 1805 had opened the land for settlement. Early pioneers in search of reliable sources of water were first drawn to the area along Indian Creek and the “Pipe Spring” at Bryson, then known as Bethany. Restless as these folk tended to be, some of them decided to strike out for new land just to the northeast, away from Indian lands. On this advance into the wilderness, they traced a small branch up a hollow to its source, a spring of cool, sweet water gushing from the side of a ridge. In these bottomlands they chose to settle, below the spring that in warm weather attracted the bees that would give the spring and the community its name. These were not hard luck ne’er-do-wells in search of an easy life on the frontier; indeed, some of the first pioneers to live in Bee Spring had admirable ancestry. The widow Mary Wright Stovall, matriarch of subsequent generations of local Stovalls, was the daughter of a Revolutionary War corporal who served with General Washington at Valley Forge. Elam Stevenson, a famed Methodist preacher for 62 years who begat four minister sons
of his own, was the son of a Revolutionary War captain. This was the stock that helped launch this nation. Bee Spring has the distinction of being home to the second Methodist Church in Giles County, a log house subsequently lost to fire in 1815. It was promptly rebuilt as Bee Spring Methodist Episcopal Church South, with Elam Stevenson among its founders. This house of worship would stand for nearly a century. The late Sterling E. Stovall, Stevenson’s great-grandson, spoke proudly that the congregation’s “strength of membership, loyalty, and all other qualities” exceeded that of most other rural churches in the area. There is an interesting anecdote about the land on which the church stood, owned by Alexander McDonald of Pisgah. In 1830, McDonald put the 15-acre tract up for sale, and a prospective buyer, traveling through the hollow en route to Pisgah, stayed over for the night with a Bee Spring family. He told his hosts of his intent to use the spring water to feed a distillery he planned to construct on the site. But as the buyer slept, word spread to Rev. Stevenson, who promptly mounted his horse and rode the ten miles or so to Pisgah before dawn. The prospective buyer was stunned when he arrived at McDonald’s only to find that the land had already been sold to Stevenson for 20 dollars. The minister then gifted the land to the Methodists, ensuring that no liquor would be made in Bee Spring’s hollow.
at Bee Spring
Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow! You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout Till you have drench’d our steeples, drown’d the cocks! You sulphurous and thought-executing fires, Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts, Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder Smite flat the thick rotundity o’the world!
King Lear Act III, Scene ii, lines 1-7
On page 57, neighbors came from miles around Bee Spring to help with search and rescue; the pile of corn was all that remained of Bud Guffey’s barn.
On the left, first responders sift through debris of a demolished house.
Photo by Fred Stovall, Jr.
The red sky that greeted Bee Spring at dawn on Thursday, April 29, 1909, was an omen.
The airless humidity of summer was trying to displace the remnants of winter’s chill throughout the Mississippi and Tennessee Valleys. The unrest in the atmosphere seemed most evident to animals. Livestock were restless and went to their stables grudgingly or loitered, anxious, in the fields. At dusk, birds instinctively sought deep cover in heavy foliage or close to the ground. In the skies over north Alabama, rising air within a line of thunderstorms began spinning, first horizontally, then vertically. The spear of destruction, dangling in the clouds like a pendant, pierced the low-hanging cumulonimbus, touching ground in Limestone County before skipping northeast across the Elk River into Tennessee. It first destroyed the house in the Bethany neighborhood in which former governors John C. and Neill S. Brown had lived. The school at Conway was blown apart, desks flying into the night. The roof was peeled from Vinta Mill. The twister would remain on the ground for another 25 deadly miles. It was just after 11 at night. The only way the people of Bee Spring could see what was approaching was when the cyclone was backlit by lightning against the surrounding dark green wall cloud. By that time, in any event, it would be too late. Americana 60
And there was a calm before this storm. The winds subsided; the air grew still. Heavy sleepers sighed with relief and rolled over in their beds, only to be awakened by the sound of the tornado tearing their houses apart. The home of Irby Scruggs was demolished, its tree-lined lawn swept clean. Hood Wilkinson’s home and barn were knocked from their foundations, and his handsome apple orchard was wrenched by the revolving winds as if forced through a wringer washer. One tree was found where it had been ripped up by the roots, stripped of leaves and bark, and carried two hundred yards away. The winds tore apart the home of T.J. “Bud” Hardy, severely injuring Mr. Hardy and his two sons, George and Joe. Joe Hardy was blown like a rag doll through a barbed wire fence. The gin and barn of I.L Shapard were next to disintegrate; his home was damaged but not dismantled. Henry, Ed, and Foster Watson lost their homes, Ed Watson just escaping into his cellar with bruises before his house took flight. The storm continued its fury, with unparalleled lightning and a deluge of rain. It swept along Bee Spring Hollow, destroying every residence in its path—those of Will Lackey, Mrs. Ella King, Mrs. Payssinger, Mrs. Sam Gaultney, the Rev. A.J. Pope, John Bryan. Will Lackey’s son lost his life, as did Rev. and Mrs. Pope. Bud Guffey kept a substantial amount of cash in his home. The storm, indiscriminate in its frenzy, took the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Guffey, their son and daughter, and sister-in-law Mrs. Thad Reese and
her two children. Only $65 of Guffey’s estate was later found, $15 sorely mutilated. All that remained to mark the Guffey household was a pile of corn from the ruined barn. Later conjecture suggested that the Will McGrew family had the best chance of riding out the storm, as their house was located near Loyd Cave. Had they been alerted promptly enough, they might have sought shelter and suffered a different fate. As it was, the cyclone decimated their home, killing Mrs. McGrew and five of their eight children. The tornado swept toward the head of the hollow, demolishing Lee Smith’s home and peeling apart a nearby locust grove. After damaging the homes of Tom Stevenson and Tom Stovall and flattening the Otha Young residence, the storm wrecked the home of Mrs. Mary Harwell. Her son Alvis was prone on the floor when the winds soared from underneath, delivering him and that section of the house in mostly one piece to a spot a hundred yards away. Both Harwells were injured but survived. The cyclone then took aim at the schoolhouse, the parsonage, and the Bee Spring Church, wiping them from the landscape and claiming the life of Mr. and Mrs. W.S. McLaurine’s baby. The summit of Bee Spring Hill loomed ahead of the storm. The tornado slammed into the ridge, stripping each tree of every leaf. It then skipped across into Lincoln County, where it razed the town of Millville, killing another seven people.
Photo by Tim Dempsey
Two centuries of Giles Countians repose in Bee Spring Cemetery, pictured here during the 2009 Homecoming.
Though clever and enduring, man is, at heart, a delicate machine.
An account in the May 6 Pulaski Record lamented of the storm’s aftermath: “It will be after the youngest child born this year has gone on to its eternal home before signs and marks will be gone.” When the sun rose into the cerulean sky across Behind the killer storm loomed a mass of arctic the ridge April 30, 22 residents of Bee Spring lay air. Though small in comparison to the havoc spent and shattered across the landscape, testawreaked by the tornado, a killing frost two days ment to the brute force they had encountered, later added insult. Even outside the path of the their bodies commingled with splintered timber, storm, apple blooms and the tender shoots in fractured masonry, and new gardens were all shattered family picwiped out. In this chill, tures. the remnants of the Hiram Uselton’s famcommunity gathered at It seemed that a veritable devil incarnate endowed ily had been injured by Bee Spring Cemetery to with all the satanic power possible to command had been the storm. He carried inter their dead. The turned loose to do his worst and that he had succeeded his five-year-old son in cemetery had to be his arms several huncleared of debris before in the superlative degree. dred yards to his fathe graves could be dug. ther’s house, which had The Rev. Charles E. John H. Stevenson, Pulaski Citizen, May 20, 1909 suffered less damage, to Sullivan said rites for 18 await medical care for people that day. More his broken leg. When than 300 buggies were the doctors arrived in the morning, Uselton in- the Flat Creek community of Bedford County. parked beside the cemetery grounds. sisted that they see to his son and wife. It was On one was the name “Iva Mitchell” written in As patriarch, Will McGrew sat by, forlorn in a only after they had been treated that physicians pencil. Miss Mitchell had attended Bee Spring wheelchair. The six McGrews were buried in the examined Uselton and discovered a green poplar School; her brother saw the plank and confirmed same grave. Mrs. Thad Reese and her two chilspike about four inches long and an inch wide his sister’s handwriting, dropped by the winds dren shared a coffin. driven into his back, narrowly missing his spine. two counties and nearly 50 miles away.
When word of the devastation spread, John Poston of Bunker Hill mounted his horse and rode through the hollow, amazed that he never once had to dismount to cross a fence; no fences remained. Rocks were accumulated in ridges as though piled by hand, and some as large as eggs were seen lodged in tree trunks as though they were minie balls. One live chicken doddered about, plucked clean of every feather. Two pieces of weather boarding fell to earth in
Giles County Library Archives
The deadly storm dominated local news throughout May 1909.
It has been determined that the Bee Spring tornado ranked as an F4 on the Fujita scale of storm damage, with winds between 207 and 260 miles per hour, the next-to-the-highest level of storm damage possible. Tornadoes of such caliber are seen only one percent of the time, and they are known to cause devastating damage, with wellconstructed, whole frame houses completely leveled, and homes with weak foundations blown some distance. Cars, wagons, and unsecured farm equipment become mere playthings, the wind turning them into small missiles. This single tornado produced the third largest loss of life in recorded Tennessee history, surpassed only by the 35 dead in a 1933 cyclone in Overton and Pickett Counties, and 38 killed in a 1952 storm in Chester and Hardeman Counties. The only confirmed F5s to have touched down nearby were the 1974 storm in Tanner, Alabama, and the 1998 tornado across Wayne and Lawrence Counties in Tennessee; both these storms formed during daylight. The word catastrophe comes from the Greek language meaning “an overturning,” or a change of fortune. The term came to be used in Greek drama to signify a turning point in the plot of a tragedy, the final act underlining the enormity of what has been lost and arousing fear and pity in the audience. Americana 62
But the Bee Spring tornado was not the final act for this community. Greater towns than this had buckled under far less pressure, folding up and leaving only a footnote in history. It was left to the sheer force of will and the character of the survivors to prevent this from happening here. It seemed as though the community was turning its back on the storm-ravaged region when it was decided to rebuild the Bee Spring Church three miles southwest, at Bryson. Known as the Bee Spring Memorial Church, it hosted Methodist services for some years until its congregation dwindled and the building was torn down. However, the spirit in the hollow would not be denied, and the Bee Spring Southern Presbyterian Church was erected in 1915-16 on the edge of the slope across the road from the cemetery. The Bee Spring School was also rebuilt; however, it burned in 1922 and was not reconstructed, marking an end to education in the hollow. Regular worship services at the church ended around 1961, but an annual community homecoming has been held each Memorial Day weekend for over 60 years. Gov. Frank Clement, having campaigned at Bee Spring in 1952, returned to address the throng in 1954. Former Gov. Jim McCord and Adjutant Gen. Joe W. Henry Jr. also journeyed to Bee Spring to speak to the homecoming crowd. In
preserving this tradition by inviting such renowned figures to the secluded hollow, much of the credit goes to Sterling E. Stovall (1879-1964), an interesting figure in state and local history. Son of Confederate veteran Tom Stovall, Sterling had lived through the storm. He represented Giles County for two terms in the Tennessee General Assembly (1917-21), where he voted yes in the crucial vote for women’s suffrage. He also served for 44 years as a county magistrate from the 23rd District. What earned him national attention was his campaign strategy, stumping for votes not by car but from the back of his mule, Huldah, accompanied by his coon hound Ol’ Bluestreak. As much as anyone, he was responsible for keeping a sense of community in a place where the ties that bind could have simply blown away. Still, many today know Bee Spring only for the stream that flows from its namesake. The water from the spring flows by gravity down the hill through hundreds of feet of galvanized pipe into a concrete trough in the front yard of the church. People “in the know” come from miles distant to fill their jugs with Bee Spring water. On a recent afternoon, a couple and their young son filled a large tank in the back of a pickup. “It’s good stuff. Yes, it is!”
Photo by Fred Stovall, Jr.
Photo by Tim Dempsey
Left - Tennessee Gov. Frank G. Clement, left, is welcomed by Bee Spring stalwarts J.R. “Jimbo” Stevenson and Sterling E. Stovall to the 1954 Homecoming Right - The natural spring giving Bee Springs its name still spills sparkling clean water into a trough across the road from the cemetery..
The church sits mute witness to the waterbearers and the dead.
At this year’s homecoming service, Tom Stevenson proudly pointed out that the structure was built by his grandfather, Will Stevenson. Inside, those with deep and fond memories of the community, such as Larry Stovall, Adrian McCowan, and Carolyn Robertson, glance upward and wrinkle their brows at the creeping water damage from the leaky roof; they fret about termites. Isolated as it is, the building also suffers the occasional insult of vandalism—graffiti and broken windows. There is an active fund for the upkeep of the Bee Spring Cemetery at the Bank of Frankewing, with excess monies disbursed for the upkeep of the building. However, in times when there are no additional funds, the old
church is left to capricious nature and the occasional hammer and nail wielded by one of its benevolent curators. Those with roots in Bee Spring are swift and sure in their communal pride. Tom Sumners led the movement to pay tribute to Sterling Stovall through the naming of a bridge on the Bryson Road over Indian Creek. Fred Stovall Jr. would like to see a historic plaque recognizing the history of Bee Spring. And Ted McCowan is quick to note that the English holly growing beside the steps of Bee Spring Church has earned an entry on the Tennessee Champion Tree List. The holly, a fine specimen of ilex aquifolium, has a crown measuring thirty feet around and is twenty-six feet tall. In the shade of the church, across from the cemetery and adjacent to the trough into which Bee Spring flows, the tree is a testament to the durable nature of the landscape, fed by the waters, caressed by the winds, and nurtured by its people.
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‘Treat the customers like family’
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The names and faces have changed over the years, but our values haven’t. We want to be your pharmacy. 521 West Commerce (931) 359-2534
The Rose that grows beyond the fence Tradition of sharing continues
The year was 1959. For five years I had lived in Needmore on what is now Finley Beech Road. This early morning I made up my mind I was going to go up the alley to the area known as “the cut.” It was about a half block from me. I was going to visit Mrs. Sally Crawley, known as mother Crawley. She was the widow of the late Rev. Lewis Crawley, a Presbyterian minister. Mother Crawly lived in a setting that said “home” and “welcome.” Her house was not a big brick bungalow, just a simple siding home. Her yard was adorned with flowers. I especially loved her miniature pink rose bushes; they kinda covered the fence. Her grandchildren and their friends would visit and talk with her. Back then, the porch was a place to meet. Everybody enjoyed the porch. Mrs. Crawley sat on her porch and brought joy to others. She loved her flowers.
Mary Ewing Community Storyteller
In 1960, Mrs. Crawley gave me a cutting of her miniature pink rose bush. I was so excited that day. I had always loved looking at her rose bushes bloom each year. She also gave me some bulbs of her miniature Iris. I still have mother Crawley’s roses blooming in my yard today. When I think of Mrs. Crawley and others who shared their Needmore flowers with me, it reminds me of them even though a lot of them are no longer with us. I look out and watch the plants they gave me grow, bloom, die and the next year come back. I am reminded of the rose that still grows beyond my fence. Mrs. Crawley, I am told, worked hard to make a living. She milked cows, sold milk and butter, washed and ironed clothes for the wealthy. Mother Crawley did not sit out in the porch dressed in finer; she sat in her cotton dresses with her braids, but the young people gave her respect
same as if she was a queen. Today we seee a lot of new additions coming to Needmore. As new subdivisions develop and grow, I remember there was once all kinds of beautiful wild flowers growing there, beautiful blooming trees, walking paths through rock and bushes. Many of those who lived in the area years ago have moved away. Mrs. Crawley’s home location has a new home on it now. A new family lives there; a father, mother and four lovely boys. The yard is adorned with new flowers. New memories are being made there each day. The old memories are preserved in the rosebush that grows beyond my fence. Recently, I shared a cutting from my miniature rosebush with Mrs. Crawley’s granddaughter, Jacqueline Crawford. Now Mrs. Crawley’s roses can bloom beyond another fence. Americana 65
The deadliest day in American aerial combat history and the day James H. Jones became a Prisoner of War over Namsi, North Korea “Were you scared?” I ask.
Fern Greenbank Community Storyteller
The question is met with an unexpected si-
lence. Jim stares at his lap, but I can still see
scribes the day his B29 went down over North Korea.
That day is known as Black Tuesday, Octo-
his eyes are welling up with tears and his
ber 23, 1951. Nine planes went down that day,
hushed voice as he turns his head to the side.
went down and remain missing.
hands are shaking just slightly.
“I’ll be alright in a minute,” he says in a
When he finally looks up at me, hr seems
composed, so we continue.
“I didn’t want to bail out. I was scared but
I knew I had to bail out,” he said as he de-
Jim recalls. One made it back to Okinawa.
Two landed in South Korea safely. Six planes Black Tuesday was the deadliest day in
American aerial combat history.
“Ours was the only one that anybody got
out of alive and lived,” Jim says.
This is the picture taken by the Red Cross to present to Jim’s mother as evidence he was alive and returning home.
Long before Black Tuesday,
and on his second try, a year later,
when he enlisted in the army. Of
time and pilots weren’t needed, so
Jones was a boy on a farm near Law’s Hill. He farmed until 1944
the five Jones boys, three entered
Jim pursued the next best thing; he
became a gunner. He was dis-
five years old. His father was from
overseas. He joined the Reserves
Law’s Hill in 1926 when Jim was
Cedar Grove near Unionville and
his mother grew up in Texas. Jim attended and graduated from For-
rest High School. There were nine
children in total, which included three children from Jim’s father’s first marriage.
Jim’s brother Richard started a
“junkyard” in Chapel Hill, then moved it to Lewisburg. That
“junkyard” has grown into a successful business known as Tucker
Auto Parts. Richard sold the busi-
ness to his daughter, Evelyn and her
Today, Evelyn’s son, Terry, helps run the business.
Jim and his
niece, Evelyn, are close and it was
a phone call from Evelyn that lead to this story about Jim Jones.
“Please write his story,” Evelyn
said. “It’s important.”
Jim’s four brothers and two of
his four sisters have passed. His
sister Nannie Belle lives at Village
Manor and another sister, Jeannette, lives in Chapel Hill, still spunky at the age of 90, says Jim.
Even though Jim was part of a
large Southern family, he had no real desire to farm. He wanted adventure and a good job. When he
was 21, he tried to enter the service but was turned down because he
was cross-eyed and wanted to be
WWII was almost over by that
The Jones family located itself in
Before entering the military, Jim Jones was a farm muscled young man. As a POW, he lost almost 70 pounds.
he was accepted.
a pilot. He was given eye muscle exercises to correct his condition
charged in 1946. But, Jim was rest-
less and wanted to be sent
in 1949. In 1951, he was deployed to Okinawa, which led to air missions over North Korea.
“I don’t remember rolling out of
the plane,” he says. At 22,000 feet,
and little oxygen, Jim lost consciousness as he jumped from the
Jim says he regained conscious-
ness at about 15,000 feet. His hand was clutching the D-ring, and he
thinks he must have pulled it
when he jumped but doesn’t remember doing it.
He had just enough time to ma-
neuver his prachute to land in
mud rather than water. It was October and cold in North Korea. He knew he wouldn’t last long in the
water. He cut his fingers to the
bone trying to maneuver the parachute and the force of the para-
chute straps hitting him in the jaw broke all of the front teeth of his dentures.
“I just spit em out and kept my
eye on the landing,” he remembers. “When I did land, in knee
deep mud, there were two North Korean soldiers waiting for me with AK47s.
The next day, Jim’s mother re-
ceived the official visit that
mother’s dread. For the next 22
months, Jim’s family believed he was dead.
Jim Jones is a soft rock. He’s a pa-
triot, but not a pushy one. “You’ll
find my house,” he said. “It’s the only
one with the flagpole.” He’s coura-
geous yet he cries.
“Oh, I cry every day,” he said.
When he watches the news, he finds it unbearable to see young men and women coming home in coffins.
“I saw a funeral on TV last week
for a Navy Seal that had been given
the Medal of Honor for dying,” says Jim, voice again shaky. “There was a line of Navy people and they all came
forward and put their medals on his casket.”
He cries for himself, too. He isn’t
“When I left in 1951, I knew I’d
never see my father alive again. I
shook his hand. I wish I had hugged
For the first few weeks, Jim said
soldiers held a .45 to his head daily and pulled the trigger even though
there was nothing in the chamber.
“I did get to the point where I
thought, just go ahead and do it,” he admits.
Soldiers had been briefed on situa-
tions just as this. They were told they had about a 10 percent chance of sur-
vival if they were captured.
“When your own people tell you
that you have only a 10 percent
chance of survival, you pretty much think you’re not going to survive,” said Jim.
He didn’t see an American for
three weeks. When he reached the Prisoner of War camp in Northwest
Korea, he was relieved to see Ameri-
him,” Jim says regretfully, again tear-
cans alive. He met up with three pris-
brothers never talked about what
diers from around the world: British,
Jim and his mother, sisters and
happened to him in North Korea.
And he means not even once. He says
he came back emotionless and numb.
oners from his downed B29.
In the prison camp, Jim met sol-
Turk, South African, anyone helping
the United States.
“We were interrogated, but we did-
“You never get over it,” said Jim,
n’t know anything they wanted to
ally I became an extrovert. That’s one
other prisoners who were talking to
Six of the 13 people on board Jim’s
and rice, and he will say that he en-
“Though you get on with your life. I used to be an introvert, but eventugood thing I can say came out of my experience.”
B29 survived. Five of those soldiers
know,” said Jim. “They really just
wanted to see if we would squeal on
Jim will describe the food, cabbage
joyed sitting in the sunshine. Because
ended up Prisoners of War. Eight sol-
he was 215 pounds of farm muscle,
“The first night I slept on the floor,
pounds during his captivity. Jim says
ders in total were captured on Black Tuesday.
he fared better than a lot of the other soldiers. He lost more than 70
which was a Godsend,” remembers
they survived by living day to day,
steam under the houses and out the
long they might be captive. He didn’t
experience for the next 22 months
“Most of the time, I wanted to be
Jim. Most village homes were built
with a system of cooking that ran other side to a chimney, which kept
the floors warm. The floors he would
which was hard, because they had no
sense of the outside world or how
know if the intention was to kill the prisoners or use them as leverage.
When Jim baled out of his B29, the parachute harness knocked him in the jaw breaking his upper teeth. “I just spit them out and kept falling,” he said.
left alone,” said Jim. But, being
fices soldiers make, but he doesn’t
placed in solitary confinement is not
want to be the one to tell that partic-
Korean arsenal, he said.
story,” said Jim. “The part that isn’t
what he means by alone. That was the “best” torture tool in the North “It wasn’t so much physical as it
was emotional torture,” said Jim.
Prisoners were often placed in a
tiny cell with no windows. They had
to use that cell as a bathroom and a
bedroom and food was slipped under the door. The longer a soldier
stayed in there, the more emotional damage was done.
“I saw many men come out of there
as zombies,” Jim said. “But, they got well. They did eventually. I saw it happen.”
Jim was placed in the solitary cell
for three weeks, and chooses not to
“That’s the biggest trouble with the
in it. We walked around most of the
time like robots, like we were asleep. I can tell you how it was, but it’s not
the same as if you’d been there. Two people can be in the same place at the
same time and it will affect them differently.”
Twenty-two and a half months
drifted by. Jim said they did keep track of the days and months, but
they didn’t talk about their situation. They talked a lot about food. They
would describe the food they wanted to eat first if they ever got out.
As those 22 and a half months
say more. He says talking about what
rolled by, the prisoners had no con-
ple knew more about the actual sacri-
happened in there only brings up
“misery.” He does wish young peo-
tact with the outside world and no information about the war.
One day a “commandant” and a
had a dream on that day in the prison
photographer stood on an elevated
camp. His sisters confirmed that their
to be elevated, Jim says). The North
dead. Jim says he believes the stress
hill and the prisoners were told to get in formation (the North Korean liked Korean officer, in broken English, told the POWs that an agreement had
been reached and they would be
father had passed on that day; he
passed away believing his son was of losing a son without knowing his fate contributed to an early death. “He just gave up,” said Jim.
But, Jim didn’t give up. Like all re-
“They had the photographer there,
turning prisoners of war, he was ad-
just stood there with no emotions,
Carolina. In effect, he went from one
hoping we would jump for joy and it
would look good in pictures, but we and that photographer didn’t take a single picture,” Jim remembers with
a hint of betrayal. They didn’t want
the truth, he says, just a picture to
send to America that showed the scene they wanted to believe.
“Weren’t you overjoyed that you
would be going home,” I asked Jim.
“I suppose we were, but we were
numb. We didn’t react. I think deep
down we felt it, but it took a long time to begin to trust and think normally again,” he answered.
The prisoners were put on a train
and then a boat. Ironically, the ship
was named U.S.S. Black. After days
of travel, they arrived in San Fran-
mitted to a psychiatric ward, first in
Memphis, then in Greenville, South prison to another.
“We would go out to bars at night
and date and have lives and would
go back to the hospital to sleep,” Jim says. “We didn’t think there was any-
thing wrong with us, but they kept us there anyway.”
Eventually, Jim wrote a letter to
Tennessee’s then United States Senator Estes Kiefaver to complain about
the veterans’ situation.
“What do you know?” Jim laughs.
themselves and he watched prisoners
wife Margaret on a blind date. Ironi-
ple right away, or I can get a bad
Jim and his new bride took that
port to Columbus, Ohio.”
There, Jim where met his future
cally, her birthday was October 23,
was just too overcome with confused
malformation that caused one leg to
emotions to travel.
“Were you excited to see your fam-
ily?” I asked, hoping this would be
the question that elicited a joyful re-
“I don’t know,” Jim answered. “I
think I was happy to see them, but we just didn’t show emotion.”
The one thing Jim does remember
is asking his sisters if their father had
died on February 13 because he’d Americana 70
fade when they didn’t believe in
from my experience is that I became a
the same day as Black Tuesday.
when Jim got off the boat. His mother
“One of the good things to happen
“A few weeks later I got orders to re-
cisco. Jim’s sisters and their husbands
traveled across country to be there
Recently Jim had a chance to reconnect with his fellow Prisoner of War Jerry McClean. Jim had not seen Jim since the day they set foot on American soil. Above, Jim and Jerry disembark from their ship, ironically named the U.S.S. Black.
Margaret had three children from a
good observer of human nature,” ad-
mits Jim. “I can see the good in peofeeling about someone right away and I’m almost always right.”
If you are placed in captivity and
previous marriage. She had a hip
your life depends on good judgment,
of five feet tall “if you stretched her,”
an afternoon with Jim, he is a man
said. “I have this discussion with my
be shorter than the other. She was all said Jim.
As I would come to conclude after
that judges people based on character
observation and a keen sense of char-
acter, you either survive or you don’t, “I believe first and foremost that
you have to believe in yourself,” he
stepdaughter, an Episcopalian priest,
and he does it quickly. He loved Mar-
all the time. I tell her that I believe
a complicated family situation be-
His stepdaughter doesn’t always
garet’s personality, her sweetness and
her spunk. He didn’t mind taking on
cause Margaret was worth it, he says.
you can’t believe in anything unless
you believe in yourself first.”
agree with him, but Jim sticks to his
theory. He said he watched prisoners
survive because they did. This is a life
philosophy that he lives by.
philosophy and moved to Kansas,
then Maine, then Florida, then Michi-
Despite experiencing the worst war
has to offer, Jim remained in the serv-
ice until 1969, flying 75 missions in
Vietnam as a boom operator.
“I didn’t tell my wife what I was
going to do,” he said. “I didn’t have to fly over Vietnam, but I wanted to.
I told my pilot that if we went down,
I was changing my name to something else. I told him I would throw
away my dog tags because the Kore-
ans wouldn’t look kindly on someone that had already been a prisoner of North Korea.”
Jim and the love of his life, Margaret, before she passed away in 1999.
During his Vietnam tours, Jim
Housing Department and then as a
mid-air. After surviving a Prisoner of
lost his job. He and Margaret made
served as a boom operator, lowering
the refueling hoses for fighter jets in
War camp, Jim said he felt he could
overcome anything. He knew there
was a chance that his plane could be shot down and he might end up a prisoner again, but he pushed those
thoughts to the back of his mind
where they stayed, most of the time.
“I remember seeing a plane go
said he doesn’t really know where to
brick salesman. In 1976, when At-
call home because he’s lived in so
their way to Charlotte, North Car-
place to hang his hat.
Chapel Hill with his memories. He
a teenager by one of his grandsons.
whippersnapper, a hoot, a codger, a
lanta’s business district crashed, Jim olina where they stayed for 24 years.
Jim was a regional salesman for a manufacturing company, which gave
him some freedom to travel.
Over the past few decades, Jim has
traveled pretty much around the
world. When Margaret suffered a
many places, but his sisters were here, so this seemed like the right
His hat doesn’t hang quietly. Sev-
eral years ago, Jim was introduced to
Jim felt compassion for the boy and
wanted to offer him guidance and
help. He used those observation
skills of his and saw something good
down and the pilot ejected, landing
stroke, that didn’t stop the couple
in the young man. One day, the
help and I just felt so bad for him be-
her that things could be worse. That’s
simply, “I want a hug.”
Jim tries to compose himself again.
things could be worse makes you ap-
in a tree,” said Jim, with his eyes red-
dening. “I could hear him calling for
cause I knew what was going to hap-
pen if they didn’t get to him in time.”
“I never heard what happened to
Jim officially retired from the Air
Force at the age of 47 and his wife
chose Atlanta as the place she wanted to settle.
At first, Jim worked for the Atlanta
quest from a man that has lived a
from traveling. Jim said he could always cheer Margaret up by telling
another thing Jim learned from his
young man asked Jim what he wanted in return, and Jim answered
Jim says that with love and advice
service experience; knowing that
and some financial assistance, the
The love of Jim’s life died in 1999 at
“It’s a good feeling, knowing you
preciate the moment.
the age of 80. Margaret’s children
were off and grown with lives of their
own. Of all the places he could have chosen to spend his retirement years,
Chapel Hill is the place he landed. He
boy has grown into a fine young man.
helped someone,” said Jim.
That’s what he wants to be remem-
bered for when he’s gone, that he was
a man who tried to help people whenever he could. It’s a simple re-
Today, Jim is a scrappy 88-year-old
man living alone on Depot Street in
has a full social calendar with travels planned months in advance. He’s a
comic and a teddy bear all rolled into one. He doesn’t look or act his age;
the only evidence of age is a remote
controlled hearing aid, some age
spots and a cough that is easily sup-
pressed with a sip of whisky. He’s a
whiz on the cell phone and computer.
Even though his Margaret is no
longer with him, his house seems to
have remnants of her presence, from
draperies to knick-knacks that a man
wouldn’t normally choose. On the
wall of his office hangs a barbwireframed certificate attesting to the fact
that he was a Prisoner of War. The background photograph for the cer-
tificate shows North Koreans dressed
in white robes.
in May, Jim traveled to Tampa to meet up with his old buddy Jim Strine, left, and another Prisoner of War he hadn’t seen since their release Jerry MacClean, middle. “The government made us pay for those certificates,” he
said flatly. “They didn’t give them to us.”
left in somewhat of a huff.
In May, he traveled to Tampa to meet up with two of them,
sion of events becomes their truth.”
Without Margaret, Jim now finds friendship in the form
of fellow Prisoners of War. They have a permanent bond.
one of which he hadn’t seen since they were released from
The visit had a surprising twist. Two of the former
POW’s got into a discussion about the presence of lice in
their camp. Jim says he didn’t join in, he just listened with
“For some reason, these guys were debating whether the
lice problem was really that bad,” said Jim.
Jim says Jerry insisted that he had lice the entire time
they were imprisoned and Jim Strine said it was short lived
Before Jim had a chance to really catch up with Jerry, he
“This just proves my point,” said Jim. “Each person per-
ceives their experience differently and, over time, their ver-
With so many versions of “truth,” says Jim, it’s hard for
people to get along sometimes. Jim says the world would be a better place if we all just accepted this multiple reality phenomenon and looked for commonalities instead.
When I got up to leave Jim’s house, we stood face to face
a bit awkwardly, not knowing how to say good-bye. I
couldn’t just shake his hand, not after he’d trusted me with his story.
“Do you need anything else?” he asked. “I just need a hug,” I said.
The Korean War is often referred to as The Forgotten War. That makes battles fought during the Forgotten War, forgotten twice. The men that flew over Namsi, North Korea on October 23, 1951, have been forgotten twice. History has not properly recognized that day, aptly named Black Tuesday. But, in 2008, Earl J. McGill, Lt. Colonel USAF (Ret.) published the first in depth account of an air battle that many call the “greatest jet engagement in the history of aerial warfare.” Of the nine B-29s sent on a daytime mission, three were shot down over the target area, three managed to land and only one escaped major damage. Six bombers and 27 crewmen were lost. Twenty crewmen were wounded. Eight crewmen were taken prisoner. McGill writes that based on percentages, Black Tuesday “marked the greatest loss on any major bombing mission in any war the United States has ever engaged in.” He says the battle over what was named MiG alley, is perhaps the greatest jet air battle of all time. Jim Jones was a gunner on Baker Flight #2 with captain James Foulks. Thirteen men in total were on board that B-29. Of those 13, only one was safely rescued. One soldier’s remains were retrieved from Korean Bay. Five were taken prisoner and six were never found. McGill gives the soldiers of Black Tuesday a voice and he deconstructs backward to answer questions about what happened and why. It is a great service he has offered to the forgotten airmen. His detailed research is interwoven with the voices of those that saw battle on October 23, 1951. His book is one more piece of proof that stories matter. Black Tuesday over Namsi, A True History of the Epic Air Battle of the Korean War, is available from Heritage Books at www.heritagebooks.com.
The Many Lives of Leftwich Bridge Clay Derryberry Community Storyteller
“They also serve Who only stand and wait,” they say, And I guess that’s true; For here I stand ankle deep In Duck river Arms outstretched Grasping the abuttment rings and rods; Standing – waiting. The concrete cross I hold Is ceaseless – my muscles have long Since locked into place. My arms once were busy; Farmers drove across them With tractors, balers, trucks And loads of hay and corn and wheat. I was a suspensive supportive span.
I felt badly in a way When they stood me here. Ophelia had reached From bluff to meadow Since 1903. Delicate lady of angled iron lattice, Her fatigue worried some folks So, they set me here beside her For relief as she retired. Many a day and night we chatted About sunrises, sunsets, wind and rain; About fish and birds and noises in the night; About horses, buggies, children, The beginning of cars and trucks; About the changing sounds of living And the glaring white of snow: About the angler’s cackling catching: About the rush of water and calm lipid pools; About floods and droughts; About the angled sun in fall When most of the living is done; About the inevitable downward force of weight. Life was good: We hummed in the daylight And sleepily sighed at night.
The rocky history of the Leftwich Bridge[s]
Although the Leftwich Bridge is technically a hundred feet or so outside the Marshall County line, its life and death and reincarnations have been felt by those who live near it and have depended on it. Leftwich Bridge spans the Duck river in the far eastern section of Maury County, Tennessee, almost at the Marshall County line and is the only existing reminder of the Leftwich community which was demolished to prepare for flooding of the area by the ill fated Columbia dam and lake. A bridge across Duck River was first built in far eastern Maury County in the 1850’s near the Thomas S. Leftwich place and became known as Leftwich Bridge. This bridge was burned by the confederates in 1862 to detain pursuing Yankee troops. It was rebuilt after the war only to be washed away in the mighty flood of 1902. In 1903 a fine new iron structure was built at a cost of $8000 to the county. Sometime in the late 60’s, a more modern concrete bridge was built along side the 1903 metal bridge which was later cut up and hauled away as scrap. The newest bridge was built somtime in the 1980’s to provide passage above the Columbia Lake which would innundate the former Leftwich community and “Leftwich Bridge.” Back in the 70's, the Tennessee Valley Authority planned to dam Duck river at Iron Bridge Road just east of Columbia, creating a lake which would control flooding, provide a supply water for Columbia and other cities and supply a source of recreation. The project went well for awhile until some an environmentalist found the endangered Pearly Wing Mussel in the river near Hardison Mill. Lawsuits were filed
and after years and years of litigation, the dam and lake project were stopped. Sadly, people's property, houses, stores, mills and church buildings had been taken by condemnation and demolished. The dam had been completed and was about ready to back the water up for the lake. If it had been closed, the lake would have come as far as the Leftwich community and would have, it is assumed, covered Old Sowell Mill Pike, Leftwich Bridge and the Leftwich community. The new Sowell mill Pike was constructed to be above the lake level and the newest bridge would have spanned the water at that point. When the dam project was stopped, TVA gave all the land to Tennessee Wildlife WRHA) for development of a wildlife refuge.
Above, an aerial view of the two concrete bridges shows the newest concrete bridge in the foreground and the blocked off older bridge in the background. One can see how the young bridge might shout over to the older bridge. Information provided by Wayne Sharp, the Columbia Herald and Clay Derryberry Special thanks to the Marshall County Archives for information and photographs.
Then, one day Some long – armed surgeons Disected her And hauled her away. I’ll never forget The blood curtling screams and screeches and grindings From glowing scalpels and lava like blood. They didn’t even use anesthesia! Then, there was the silence; I still have trouble sleeping at night.
But then, there was my work. The cars and trucks were shinier; Even saw some motorcycles now and then. There was the clattering chime of children Fishing off the sides of my arms. I held them close so they wouldn’t fall. None ever did. I’m proud of that. Some swam around my feet. And the fishers and canoers floated by. Life seemed ok again. Although the country store On the eastern shore Closed, Vehicles continued to come and go; The old Antioch church drew traffic on Sunday And folks would stop and gaze into the water. I feared someone might get a wild hair and jump, But no one ever did – I held them back with all my strength. When the killers came though I couldn’t hold them back. They were just too many as they lobbed the murdered guilty gambler Over the side like a loose lumpy sack of potatoes and sped away. Everybody wondered who they were and what happened. I could have told them if they had only asked. Some couples at night might stop For a quick kiss above the moon filled water And sometimes – well, you know. How shocked some folks would be To realize what I know about them, But their secret is safe with me.
Above, a rare photo showing the two bridges together; the 1903 metal bridge and the blocked off bridge. You can see how they conversed so easily. Below, the bridge to nowhere sits unused and blocked off. Americana 76
Then, I guess, someone decided the Old Sowell Mill Pike Couldn’t flow traffic for the new lake Which would inundate it And the new industry And the new people And the new cars And the new trucks And the new view of things. So, a new Little wider Little straighter Sowell Mill Pike Was built just a little southwest of here. And since I was Too narrow, Too short, Too immovable To span the gap I could only watch as The new guy took his place – Or rather, My place. “Hey old timer!” he chattered When the first cars roamed his arms and hands, “What you gonna do now? Bet you been Looking for retirement for awhile. Eh? Glad I can be a relief. Guys like you Can’t bear the weight anymore. Young ones like me got to Bear the burden now.” And sure enough, a few years later They covered my hands with rocky dirt mittens And cut off the circulation through my arms. Now I have to hear his chortling everyday; The whistling; the confidence; the little Sideward glance now and then. “Hey old partner, how you doin’? Don’t worry I’m handling everything just fine; Just try to rest and enjoy yourself.”
I’m lonesome here And embarrassed And feeling useless Except as a canvass For graffitti the young ones Paint and scratch on me. Art? No one shall see or should, Except for the crazy parties And mini bonfires and the….. Well, I’d rather say no more. But, I continue to stand; Ready if I’m needed again someday. Maybe during a war I could be The “secret way” weapon; The forgotten corridor; The one who saved the war.
One day A fellow crossed the burm On my west hand and walked Up and down my arms ecstatic at seeing such a sight; Finding such a stash. He took pictures and talked with me Shaking his head that such an adequate one as I Should be disabled in such a way. Petting my rails he promised to return, But, he hasn’t yet. So, here I stand and wait.
Copyright Clay Derryberry, June, 2009
Below,scratched graffiti marks the spot where Leftwich Bridge served as Lover’s Lane.
The Hospital Marion Bone Community Storyteller
Before and after: Top: the hospital as it stands today. Below,, Taylor始s Hospital was renamed Lewisburg Community Hospital. Americana 78
My fascination with hospitals started at an early age. I clearly remember as a three-year-old walking with my mother close to a large building, when I enquired, “What is that smell?” My mother replied,“That is the hospital.” The aroma was exotic to my senses and I liked it very much. I wanted to explore further and asked my mother whether we could go inside. “No,” answered my mother, “children are not allowed.”
Leonardʼs Hospital was located on East Commerce. Brownʼs Hospital, below, was located on First Avenue.
The uniqueness of that odor and the excitement it generated has remained with me ever since. Little did I know that my future would be inextricably intertwined with hospitals of all shapes and sizes in vastly different locales. By age 21, I was a registered nurse working in a 600-bed university teaching hospital. At age 22 I was appointed Ward Sister, equivalent to Head Nurse, on the Urology Floor in charge of 30 beds. These included beds for both National Health and private patients. By the time I came to Lewisburg, I had experienced nursing in three countries and on two continents. I had visited hospitals around the world and still the romance of the hospital remained with me. It is not surprising I was interested in the hospital here in Lewisburg and its history. A hospital is universally recognized as an institution where people are treated for various diseases by members of the medical profession. We tend to take them for granted and have little curiosity of their evolution, assuming they have always been part of medical care. In fact, hospitals, though not a new concept, emerged after thousands of years of primitive treatment. This is a change from times when the sick, injured and handicapped were isolated or banished from the community. The word hospital is derived from the Latin word hospes, meaning host. In the past, travelers or the destitute could find refuge and hospitality at such a place. They were usually cared for by members of a religious order. Since ancient times, medicine and religion have been closely linked. The medicine man or shaman was a feature of stone age culture—part physician, part soothsayer and part priest. Medical intervention consisted of prayers, rituals and herbs. Disease was attributed to evil spirits, malignant divinities or spells cast by enemies. The same beliefs are held today in some populations practicing Voodoo. Americana 79
Slowly over eons, scientific principles were established along with medical texts to guide treatment. The ancient Egyptians had writings prescribing the best treatment for various ailments over 4,000 years ago. There were no hospitals at that point in time. The nearest approximation to the concept was the congregation of sick people at the temple seeking relief of their symptoms. One physician, Imhotep, was revered as a God. Eventually the role of priest and physician began to diversify and treatments changed from divinity to pharmacology. Still, most people were treated in their homes. It was not until the Persian Empire that the idea emerged of bringing sick people together under one roof so their treatment could be supervised by medical personnel. The early Christian Church embraced the concept at the “Council of Nicaea” in 325 AD in North West Turkey where it ordered the construction of a hospital in every cathedral town. Patients were to be cared for by nuns and monks. This accounts for the fact that until 30 years ago, senior nurses in British hospitals were given the title “sister.” A tradition now eliminated by progress. In the middle ages, medical schools were established and medical care became more secular but churches were still involved in the establishment of hospitals. With the discovery of America and the advent of the Conquistadors and the Roman Catholic Church, hospitals appeared in both North and south America. The first was in Santa Domingo, now the Dominican Republic, in 1503 The first incorporated hospital was in what is now the United States of America— Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, which obtained a charter from the crown in 1751. One hundred and sixty nine years, later Lewisburg got its first hospital. Americana 80
Lewisburg was established in 1836 and the 1850 census of Marshall County listed a variety of practitioners of various sorts, including eight doctors, 13 physicians and six botany physicians (herbalists), but no hospital. The citizens of Lewisburg had to wait until 1920 for their first hospital opened by Dr. Luther E. Wheat . He initially had a hospital in Cornersville from 1917 before deciding to move it to Lewisburg. An interesting entry I read in the minutes of the Cornersville Hospital dated August 6, 1917 stated the following: 1. It was voted that the fee for the operating room be raised to $5.00 and that each patient be required to pay same in advance. 2. That the price to be paid by patients occupying private room in hospital be raised to $3.00 per day (this to include board ) 3.That beds in other rooms be charged for at the rate of $2.50 and $2.00 per day (this including board ) 4.That charges for rooms ( or beds ) and board be paid for one week in advance. I have written this exactly as it appeared in the minutes. It is very interesting that a prepayment was required. I imagine this was necessary to generate some up front capital though by today’s hospital costs it sounds extremely small. As more doctors came to practice medicine in Lewisburg they opened their own hospitals. These included: Dr. J.T. Gordon, of Gordon’s Hospital, Dr. Kenneth Brown of Brown’s Hospital, Dr. T. A. Wheat of Wheat’s Hospital (he was the son of Dr. L.E. Wheat who opened the first hospital in Lewisburg), Dr. J.C. Leonard of Leonard’s Hospital and Dr. William Taylor of Taylor’s Hospital now Marshall Medical Center. In 1966 there were four hospitals serving the population of Marshall County.
Wheatʼs Hospital in 1924 on 2nd Avenue North.
Gordonʼs Hospital, West Commerce
The Jelly Man Kathy Alexander Community Storyteller
I call Foster Norwood “The Jelly Man” because he spends most of his spring and summer days making jelly which he sells to earn money for mission work in Mexico. However, the children of the Siglo XXI (Century 21) neighborhood in Los Mochis, Mexico call him Dulce Grandfather, which means Sweet Grandfather. They use this endearing blended Spanish/English name for him not because of the sweet jelly he makes, but because of his bighearted love for them. He has earned their love with his generosity. Foster cannot talk about his “kids” without tears welling up in his eyes. On his first Mexico mission trip some five years ago, he travelled with a team of volunteers from the Baptist Associations of Giles and Lawrence counties to help with the construction of Iglesia Bautista Shalom (Shalom Baptist Church). He questioned why God would send him to the far side of Mexico and wondered what he could accomplish there. But Foster says within ten minutes of being on site where the mission team was building the new church, he knew why God had sent him.
As he worked at the church site, two little girls from the neighborhood came by to watch. Whenever Foster’s hands were free the little girls would go to him, take hold of his fingers and walk with him. Foster was immediately hooked. It tugged on his heart to see the poverty these children lived in. Every year since he has traveled to Los Mochis on a mission to give the children he has come to love a little extra blessing and to do what he can to make their lives better. After his initial trip to Mexico, he and some other men from the mission team discussed what could be done to raise money for the mission work in Los Mochis. That’s when The Jelly Man came up with the sweet idea of making and selling jelly. Foster Norwood was born in 1938 to a sharecropper father, the ninth of 10 children. Until he graduated from high school, Foster helped his father work the eight farms he rented. His family always planted a large garden and raised hogs. He was 14 years old before he ever ate a hamburger. That first hamburger cost ten cents.
Above, Dr. L. E. Wheat in 1924. By that time, his hospital had been moved to Lewisburg.
These hospitals and their predecessors responded to the medical necessities of the time. In the 1920’s through the early 40’s medicine was relatively low tech and could be administered in a small facility efficiently at low cost. Penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928 but one has to remember that antibiotics did not come into general use until the 1940’s and the pharmaceutical armamentarium was tiny when compared with today. Physicians were still relying on naturally obtained medications such as aspirin and digitalis. Successful treatment depended on sterility and tender loving care which could be administered anywhere. Most of the diseases encountered by residents of Marshall County during the early to mid twentieth century could be handled by a competent general practitioner especially if the physician had a hospital for admission of the more serious cases. Even more people could be served if the family doctor delivered babies. Some of the doctors in Lewisburg performed general surgery so their hospitals covered the complete spectrum of medical practice from pediatrics to geriatrics. In this way the hospitals in Lewisburg prospered. Medicare was introduced in the sixties which added a measure of governmental support. These were the halcyon days of the small hospital but the explosion of medical progress, which started in the 60s and continues today with ever increasing velocity now threatens their existence. Medicine fragmented into specialties with specialists only practicing their particular branch of medicine. Specialists tended to work in larger population centers to guarantee a sufficient patient load. Even the specialties divided into sub-specialties. The amount of new information accumulating each day is staggering and no one person could have a complete knowledge of all the aspects of medicine.
The treatment of many illnesses improved to the point that many cases which were once admitted to hospital are now treated as outpatients. ( eg; pneumonia. ) Patient care has become more technical and the equipment involved is highly sophisticated and more expensive. In 1920 a physician would have little more than a stethoscope, sphygmomanometer (blood pressure machine) ophthalmoscope, a microscope and possibly access to an x-ray machine and that was it. All affordable. Now physicians rely on CT and MRI scans as well as sophisticated ultrasound and nuclear medicine scans. All expensive. To provide a satisfactory standard of care, the community hospital has to invest huge amounts of money in these devices and keep them up to date. Add to that the new instruments in surgery and anesthesiology, and soon it becomes impossible for a small facility to do this. Dr William Taylor had the foresight to recognize this inevitable trend and in 1968 he sold his hospital to Hospital Corporation of America, which was a company being formed in Nashville by Dr. Thomas Frist. Taylors Hospital became the second hospital in the HCA nascent chain, the idea being that a hospital group could better handle the costs of modernization. As we know now, HCA became a giant and Nashville became a major center of the hospital industry. Of all the many hospitals in Lewisburg, only Taylor’s Hospital survived. By 1984 Marshall County was back to one hospital; Taylor’s Hospital was re-named Lewisburg Community Hospital. The presence of a hospital in your community meant you did not have to be transferred for less serious conditions which removed the risk of transportation and delay in treatment. Americana 81
The announcement of a new coronary care unit at Gordonʼs Hospital in 1970. Above, Dr. K.J. Phelps Sr. and staff demonstrate the latest equipment technology had to offer.
I heard the story of a 13-year-old girl having to ride the train to Nashville in 1911 for surgery when she was very sick with appendicitis. Fortunately for her, she made it to the city and survived to tell the tale. Small hospitals still have their niche. They can provide good care close to home and they are an important source of emergency care. They are able to stabilize emergency cases prior to transfer to major medical centers. Rapid critical care is crucial and can be life saving. For example, when bleeding from an injury or suffering a heart attack or stroke. Traveling to bigger hospitals is so much easier than it was in times past. We have better roads, well equipped ambulances and helicopter service in acute emergencies. During my research, I discovered that funeral homes originally provided transportation for patients. A lady told me she traveled in a hearse in the 1960’s to a major trauma center after a road traffic accident in Marshall County. This was a very painful bumpy ride especially as she had multiple broken bones. The possibility of a head injury meant she could not have any medication to relieve her pain. She said she screamed with pain all the way to Nashville. Looking back, I noted Dr. Tom Wheat died on March 11, 1933, at age 36, of a brain abscess which was diagnosed at his post mortem. There were no MRI’s in his day for early diagnosis and prompt intervention. A situation that caught my attention occurred at Gordon Hospital in 1970. At the time, they were adding a Coronary Care Unit with the latest equipment technology had to offer. A patient arrived experiencing a heart attack. The new equipment had just arrived and was still in cardboard boxes waiting to be unpacked. The staff quickly unpacked the defibrillator, which they used immediately on the heart attack victim. The
patient survived and was able to go home after a period of recovery. Over the years, many babies were born at the hospitals in Lewisburg however, at this time we do not deliver babies at Marshall Medical Center. The birth of a child is an important event and when the birth takes place in a hospital, then the hospital becomes part of that memory. Everyone knows where they were born. They speak with pride of the facility and the doctor who delivered them. In Lewisburg I hear people say, “ I was born at Wheat’s Hospital, Brown’s Hospital Leonard’s Hospital, Lewisburg Community Hospital” or whichever one it happened to be. One Marshall County resident said she moved to California after she married. She has three daughters and was determined that they would be born back home in Lewisburg. Each time she was near her due date she raced across country to fulfill her wish. She made it home for the birth of her babies. Two of the girls were born at Wheat’s Hospital and the third one at Brown’s. We are very fortunate to live in America in the 21st century with an unsurpassed level of medical care which is the best in the world. I am grateful to the pioneers of ancient times and to the medicine men of Marshall County for having the foresight to steer medicine in our community in the right direction by recognizing the need for a place to treat the sick instead of isolating them from the community. Our generation has been able to improve on their bold innovative actions and as a result at this time we have Marshall Medical Center. Let us celebrate our ability to have access to medical care at our own hospital right here in Marshall County.
Timeline of Marshall County hospitals •
1917 Dr. Luther E. Wheat opened hospital in Cornersville
1920 Dr. Wheat moved his hospital to Lewisburg He bought the P.D. Hous ton homeplace plus an ajoining house and lot. It was known as The Wheat Hospital Property. 1933 Dr. Wheat’s hospital closed.
1942 Dr. Thomas Adrian Wheat (son of Dr. Luther E. Wheat ) opened his hospi tal on First Avenue in Lewisburg.
1951 Dr. Wheat died and his hospital was closed.
1984 Leonard’s Hospital was purchased by Republic Health care closing it at that time.
1939 Dr. J.C. Leonard opened his hospital on East Commerce.
1942 Dr. Joseph Tyree Gordon opened his hospital on Third Avenue across from Church Street Church of Christ.
1946 Gordon’s Hospital was expanded
1972 Gordon’s Hospital closed.
1978 Brown’s Hospital closed.
• . •
1969 Gordon’s Hospital was sold to Healthcare Inc.
1952 Dr. Kenneth Brown opened his hospital in the building that Dr. Thomas Adrian Wheat previously occupied 1966 Dr. William Taylor opened his hospital on North Ellington Parkway.
1968 Taylor’s Hospital was acquired by Health Corporation of America.
1971 Lewisburg Community Hospital • was formed between Taylor’s Hospital 52 beds and Gordon’s hospital 57 beds at the North Ellington Parkway location.
1972 The 119-bed Lewisburg Commu nity Hospital owned by Hospital Corporation of America was sold to Hospital Affiliates later that year.
1981 Republic Health Corporation was formed from some of the senior man agement of Hospital Affiliates International. 1993 Lewisburg Community Hospital joined Republic Health Corporation.
1984 Republic Health Corporation pur chased Leonard’s Hospi tal, closing it at this time. 1992 Republic Health Corporation changed its name to Ornda Healthcorp.
1994 Maury Regional Hospital acquired Lewisburg Community Hospital and the name was changed to Marshall Medical Center. 1995 The Hospital became officially named Marshall Medical Center on March 25th, 1995.
Official Minutes of the board of the Cornersvile Hospital in 1917. It is difficult to read, but worth the effort.
Choices II By Waverly Ann Harris Community Storyteller
Waverly Ann with Evas and Harriet, two young girls who worked for Song Industrial. Evas is one of the hardest workers I got to work with and Harriet was one of my closest friends. Harriet is now teaching at a small school in Uganda.
In the November 2008 edition of Americana, Waverly Ann Harris wrote about her choice to travel to the African country of Uganda to help run a recycling company. Waverly Ann returned home in April 2009, long before her time commitment was completed. She had difficult decisions to make. Waverly Ann shares the choices she has made since her last essay in Americana.
Every day is a patch worked sequence of choices. Some choices are about what we are going to do
and some are about how we are going to deal with what has been done. And tomorrow we will all
have new decisions to make. If we are smart, we will use what we have learned from the previous outcomes, the good and the bad, to make even better choices.
The women who make the Acholi Beads are a beautiful example of community. They gather together to talk and support each other. They work together to make the company stronger and to encourage each other.
In the November 2008 issue of Americana, I told a story about my life in Uganda, East Africa. I wish it was easier to recall the exact feelings and thoughts one experiences when making huge decisions. I had never wanted to go to any country in Africa. I specifically remember hearing a missionary speak in church one time while I was in college. He had been to Africa and despite any inspiring stories he may have told, all I remember is praying that God would not send me to Africa. I contribute most of that to the distance from comfort and irrational fears such as the multiple shots that are required for travel. However, what makes this life-long patchwork so beautiful is it maps out who we are and how we got there. We learn to say, “I was wrong,” and we stretch ourselves in new directions. I have a love/hate relationship with the Garth Brooks song, “The Dance.” I find truth in it, and at the same time, it brings up some painful memories of heartache. “I’m glad I didn’t know, the way it all would end… our lives are better left to chance, I would have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.” I wonder how many choices we would change if we had been given the chance to see the outcome. There are several people in my life that have implied that I made the wrong choice by moving to Uganda. These people are only being protective of me, focusing on the tears of frustration and heartache I experienced. However, I believe these trials are all
a part of growing up; there is a reason why we talk about “growing pains.” I don’t think we ever grow out of feeling them. My time in Uganda was cut from the expected two years to a little over eight months. The hardest decision I can remember making was to leave the company I was working for in Uganda. Unfortunately, I was not receiving any support from the company CEO and owner who was living outside the country and I felt I was being asked to run the company against my intuitive ethics. Despite these challenges, I had fallen in love with the people I worked with and I was able to learn about business and I definitely learned a lot about myself. It was difficult to leave. During my time there, I got to experience the logistics of running a company and learned much from trial and error. I also sought out a mentor and was able to learn from several business owners who had successful and ethical business models. I personally believe that sustainable business is the most effective way to collaborate with developing countries. As Americans, we have access to so many resources through technology and education. This knowledge goes far beyond monetary giving. The opportunity to lead and to take responsibility for one’s own life and family provides a person with dignity. While a person grows in confidence, he or she will feel a sense of hope and will have the motivation to not only reach goals but to also influence others.
Waverly Ann with two children from the Acholi Quarter. They are so loving and so playful. The children in Uganda are brought up to be strong but to have an innocent relsiliance about them that transcends understanding.
Though aid can be essential for immediate need, it is not sustainable and it reminds people that they are dependent on others. I have been back in Tennessee for three months now. I am thankful forl the choices I have made and especially for what I have learned through them. My community in Uganda is never far from my thoughts. I think about the people there daily. In order to stay connected to my friends there and to grow in my knowledge of business, I am working with a socially proactive business called Acholi Beads. A friend of mine set up the company with a group of beautiful women living in the Acholi Quarter of Kampala. While he was setting up the logistics, I got to meet the women and see firsthand how the small business was being run. Now the business runs as a coop where the Acholi women have full ownership of their own business. They make beads from recycled paper, string them into necklaces and bracelets and then Acholi Beads buys the product from them to sell in the United States. It is a sustainable business model that is not dependent upon donations or fundraising. These women have such pride. Before I left Uganda, my mother came to visit me. I took her to the Acholi Quarter to visit the women there. As always, we were welcomed with open arms and a table full of food. These women live in a slum area; very few of them have electricity or a house bigger than one room. Nonetheless, they always treat their guests with hospitality and love. We got to sit in on their weekly meeting. Each Sunday the whole group meets to receive their cash paycheck. Next, they all have the option to put some of the income away for savings. They had been collecting their savings for three months at this point and had collectively saved about $1,000 between about 20 people. Out of this money, each person has the opportunity to borAmericana 88
row, like a micro loan. They have a certain amount of time to return it with low interest. The families have been able to use this money to pay unexpected medical bills, emergency needs and even start other small businesses. Because they were given hope and someone believed in them, they have been able to pull themselves out of poverty. These women inspire me daily. They have chosen to work hard every day and to reach outside their comfort zone to make money for themselves and their families. They also chose to run a successful business outside of corruption and unethical business practices. This is definitely not the easy way to go in Uganda. I also admire the man who started the company, James Pearson, as he had many opportunities to take advantage of running a company outside the US. However, I can tell a dramatic difference between the two companies and the morale of everyone involved. In the end, I believe that love wins, always. When we choose to do what is right, acknowledging that it is sometimes the harder road, we gain more in the end. It is inevitable that we will have to make choices today, tomorrow and the next. Some will tell us that we have made bad choices and others will tell us to have no regrets. All we can do is make the most out of every opportunity we are given. I have a record of leaping first, fearing later. Though there are probably easier and safer ways to go about things, I believe fear keeps us from many life-changing decisions. On the other hand, sometimes we are not given a choice over what happens to us or we were never prepared for the unknown consequences. We will always have the choice of how we view our situations. Life is an adventure. Those who dwell in the negative will always have nightmares. Those who are able see what a beautiful mess we live will be able to find the hope to keep dreaming.
Come Along! By Jeannette Warren Community Storyteller
Weâ€™re headed down the 31A Treasure Trail
Foster Norwood gets a hug from the little boy willing to part with his prized Matchbox cars as a gift of love and thanks to his American friend.
Foster learned how to make jelly when he was a kid growing up in Giles County. His grandmother was an avid jelly maker and taught Foster how to make it. “Grandmother was my protector,” he says fondly. “Whenever I would get into trouble I knew if I could get to my grandmother she would save me from a whipping. So I stayed close to my grandmother.” During the days he spent with his grandmother, she would show him how to make jams and jellies. “Of course, then we didn’t use fruit pectin. We just cooked the jelly for a long time until it got thick,” he says. Foster makes jelly from just about every fruit that grows in and around Giles County. His jelly flavors include blackberry, apple, grape, cherry, plum, raspberry, elderberry and muscadine. His jams and preserves include peach, pear, strawberry, blueberry and blackberry. The only kind of jelly his grandmother made that he doesn’t is rhubarb. He says he has tried to grow rhubarb but has never succeeded. Of course, the Jelly Man has a lot of help from friends who assist him in his ministry. Many who attend churches in the Giles Baptist Association donate fruit, sugar, fruit pectin and jelly jars. He and others who pick fruit with him can be seen along the roadsides in Giles County picking blackberries in the summer and in the fields and yards picking strawberries, raspberries and grapes. In the four years he has been making jelly, Foster has raised more than $30,000. During the summer of 2008 alone, the jelly sales earned more than $10,000. Most of the 2008 money was used to purchase a much needed van for the director of missions in Los Mochis, Marco Vallejo. The rest of the money was used to purchase equipment for a seminary that is being started in the nearby city of Guasave. The Jelly Man’s goal for the summer of 2009 is to Americana 8
make 3000 pints which would bring in approximately $12,000. Dulce Grandfather loves to talk about his mission experiences in Mexico. Most of the stories, of course, center on the children. He has practically adopted the youngsters who attend Shalom Baptist Church, the church that was being built on Foster’s first trip. Every spring when Foster goes to Los Mochis, he provides a fiesta at the church. The neighborhood children and their families celebrate with lots of tortillas and cookies. Foster tells of one little girl named Fanny who came to the fiesta the first year. She was so small you could almost surround her tiny waist with your hands. Foster watched her eat six tortillas with meat and cheese. When Foster asked Pastor Abner how the little girl could eat so much, the pastor replied that she was probably very hungry and was eating enough for the next day, too. The next year this same little girl attended the fiesta and ate several cookies after the meal. When Foster asked her if she wanted more she shook her head and touched underneath her chin with her hand flat to indicate she was “full up to here.” Another treat Foster has provided for the Mexican children is a trip to McDonalds. The downtown Los Mochis McDonald’s is only five miles from the area where these children live but none of them, and some were as old as 12, had ever been to McDonald’s. They had never been for two reasons. One reason is that they had no money to spend there and the second reason is that they would have had to walk ten miles round trip to go there. On his second trip to Los Mochis, Foster made friends with a little boy named Jorge. When it was time for Foster to return to America, Jorge hugged Foster and began crying because he did not want to say goodbye. Jorge then ran back into his house and brought back three matchbox cars, most of which had wheels missing.
Starting in Lewisburg and progressing up 31-A (Nashville Highway), you’ll find lots of junk/vintage/antique shops, places where you can while away an entire day, searching for that one BIG find. Along the way, you’ll undoubtedly stop at a few yard sales - you never know! Come along on a preview tour of the 31-A Treasure Trail. First, we come to 31-A Flea Market, where we find owner, Billy Shelton. He has just returned from an auction and has brought some of the items in to sell. He tells us he has been in business for four years, and has items ranging in price from fifty cents to $250.00. He mixes the newer gift items with vintage so there is a variety from which to choose. His store is open Tuesday through Sunday, that is if Billy is not at an auction. We drive next door and peruse the items at 31-A Auction, owned by George and Roxie Gilley of Hampshire. The Gilleys do a lot of benefit auctions for locals who have medical bills mounting from injuries, birth defects, diseases and fires. We applaud the effort they put forth for such worthy causes. There is an auction here every Friday and Saturday night, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Visit here for surprises; there are great bargains for bidding and buying. Next we visit The Willow’s Nest in Chapel Hill, where Miss Chapel Hill 2009, Missy Minor, might just greet you at the door. We slowly check out the lovely displays in each room, spotting some beautiful paintings by a local artist hanging on the walls. Temptation is strong to buy a lighthouse painting, which reminds the mermaid in us of the many hours spent playing in the waters around Florida. At Willow’s
Old is in and we’re looking for it. Yep, that’s right. Antiques are what it’s all about.
(1) 31A Flea Market
31-A Treasure Trail Nest, you will find both crafty new items and old alike. Proceeding up the highway, just a few short blocks, we shop F & S Consignor’s Mart, owned and operated for the last 14 years by Joe Spino, who moved to Tennessee from Ocala, Florida. The parking lot is lined with mini-barns for sale. You might just need one to hold all those bargains. Joe says vendors in his store sell items from five cents to $500, though we found a lighted display cabinet for $900+. Items here include new and antique, big screen TVs, dressers, tables, tools, records, and much, much more. Making a jewelry purchase, we move on as we have lots more ground to cover. Stopping in College Grove at Joy in the Morning Antiques, we discover this store is located in an old bank building with vault holding tools, et cetera now, instead of the cash it once held. Making our way past all the items for sale, we spot a lovely vintage box just right for holding one of the pearl necklaces we have at home, inherited by a dear friend some years back. Joan Gregory is the owner of Joy in the Morning Antiques. Her daughter, Amanda, explains that her mother makes trips to New England and Ohio, purchasing many of items she sells here, both old and new. Prices range from $5-$500. Hours are 1-4 p.m. on Fridays, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturdays. Outside the store on the sidewalk are items you can purchase by paying for them at the store next door during the week. Traveling on, we come to Kirkland. What a surprise! A country music video is in the making here at an old service station. Guess they like vintage, too, as we see a 1950s International pickup truck through the open door of the garage. We stop long enough to snap a photo and proceed on.
(2) 31-A Auction Americana 91
(3) Willowâ€™s Nest
(4) Consignorâ€™s Mart
31A Treasure Trail
(5) Joy In The Morning
(6) Expect the unexpected on the 31-A Treasure Trail. Filming of country music video in Kirkland
(9) The Feed Mill
(10) Hills Chapel Antiques
31A Treasure Trail
(11) Gattis Antiques
on the historic Lewisb urg square Antiques, giftware, Amish food products Private auctions, estate sales Old-fashioned cafe
Tea Room for private bookings Upstairs consignment booths Childrenâ€™s consignment area Mon-Fri 10-4:30 (931- 270-5989 Family owned and operated
The Bookshelf New and Used Books
A cozy atmosphere for book lovers of all ages.
The only book store in Marshall County. 15% discount for students on new books
Book Club meets 2nd & 4th Thursday of each month @6 pm
212-A South Hor ton Parkway Chapel Hill, TN 37034 (931) 364-4126
Jamie Ford - owner email@example.com
The Jelly Man passes on his jelly making secrets to his new friends in Mexico. On the right, the village women are given instruction in making fried pies, a Southern tradition.
“You’re rushing the season, aren’t you?” asked the cashier, indicating it was too early to buy Christmas gifts. “These are for my kids in Mexico,” replied Foster. The Jelly Man’s love for these children has led to a sponsorship of four of them. In Mexico, although education is free, the students are required to buy uniforms, books and meals. If a family cannot afford these required items, the child cannot attend school. Foster’s sponsorship allows these children the opportunity to get an education. Foster’s generosity extends beyond the children though. He tells a funny story about a time when he brought dresses from America to give to the women of Siglo XXI. The pastor had pointed out on a previous trip that the women sacrificed so the children had clothes by not buying clothes for themselves. So Foster packed one of his suitcases full of dresses for the ladies. Foster says the inspector at the airport raised his head and gave him a strange look when he opened that suitcase full of women’s clothes.
In March of 2009, on his most recent mission trip to Los Mochis, Foster taught a class of 25 ladies how to make jelly and fried pies. Before leaving Giles County, Foster had taken lessons from Doris Campbell on how to make fried pies. The jelly and pie making classes benefited the families living in Siglo XXI. Nine of the ladies who took the class wanted to start a business selling fried pies to earn money. Others just wanted to learn to make the jelly and the pies for their families. Now Los Mochis, Mexico has a little taste of the American South. The mission work in Mexico is accomplished by many people working hard. One person alone could not accomplish as much as many working together. Making jelly is the way Foster Norwood has found to fund his passion for the poor and to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Dulce Grandfather is a man with a sweet mission.