yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee
History of Henderson Co.

From Auburn Powers, History of Henderson County, Tennessee, 1930. Reproduced with permission for personal use only. No further reproduction can be made without written consent of Andy E. Powers and Sherode B. Powers.

LEXINGTON [and other communities]

Chapter XIV


Lexington is near the center of Henderson County and is 720 feet above sea level. It was chosen the County Seat in 1821 and named in honor of the historic town of Lexington, Massachusetts, where the untrained Americans defeated the British Regulars in the first battle of the Revolutionary War.

Before the entering of the land of Samuel Wilson in the spring of 1821 where Lexington now stands, the forest was undisturbed by a woodsmans ax; the soil was unbroken by a single furrow of the plowman. Everything was as nature had planted it. The huge oaks lifted their branches high into the air and left a space vacant between them and the mother earth except for their own bare trunks. Hovering closely upon the ground were wild peas and grasses. Animal life was plentiful, the wild pigeons, turkeys, and deer ranging at will. Nature, indeed, ruled supreme.

As has already been stated, the settlers following Samuel Wilson were Dr. John A. Wilson, Abner Taylor, and others. The town of Lexington was laid off in accordance with the position of the house of Samuel Wilson. That is the reason that the town is not sitting "straight with the world". The streets were given a bearing north forty-seven degrees east and were made eighty feet wide. The lots were laid off in rows around the square beginning at the northeast corner and numbering 1, 2, 3, etc. around the square to the place of beginning. Then another row was started and numbered in the same order, the total number amounting to 104. [See Chapter III for other information upon the organization of the town of Lexington, and Chapter IX for the schools and churches of it.]

Lexington has almost always been blessed with church services. The first Sunday School was conducted perhaps by Mrs. Hellen C. Jones, who had come south from Burlington, Vermont to be a governess in the home of Judge Henry M. Taylors father and who soon afterwards married J. W. S. Jones. Mrs. Jones would invite the children to her home for Sunday School and would even call the children in from the streets. This was some fifteen years before the Civil War.

The town has been favored with a newspaper for many years, however, most of the old records have been destroyed, and we cannot give accurate account of them.

A man by the name of Musgrove published a newspaper about forty-five years ago in a frame building near the present site of Stegalls. Captain S. A. Mynders published a monthly magazine called the "Public Educational Review". There was published the "Lexington Eagle" at an early date. Mr. Will Teague of north of Lexington, who lost a leg about thirty years ago, worked in connection with these papers. About 1857 the 'lexington Dispatch" was established with H. C. Henry as editor and proprietor. The "Advance" was published by G. B. Davis and later the "Advance-News" by W. T. Hawkins.

The "Lexington Progress" was established in April 1884. W. V. Barry was its publisher. Since that time it has been owned and operated by W. V. Barry and Sons.

The "Lexington Republican" was established January 1, 1894 by H. P. Barnes and Felix Creasy. The machinery was brought to Lexington by Rev. J. W. Drake, who published the church paper, "Central Methodist," for about six months. Barnes and Creasy bought the machinery from him, but later sold it. Mr. Creasy bought it back in 1904 and has published the "Lexington Republican" ever since. Rev. Fleetwood Ball is very active in its articles.

Lexington has had many noted activities, and has been and still is a flourishing town. But dame fortune has not always smiled on it. Many disastrous fires have poured out, as it were, their pented wrath upon the little city, and with the possible exception of one or two buildings, its entire business section has been utterly destroyed, to say nothing of some twenty or thirty desirable homes and residences, including three hotels.

But the citizenship of Lexington is not composed of the kind that are ready to fold their hands and quit, because adversity has more than once knocked at their door. In the face of almost unsurmountable financial, and other difficulties, they set about to rehabilitate their fortunes, and to retrieve their loss, and today we point with pride to some one hundred business enterprises of more or less importance, listed as follows:

The Central State Bank was organized in 1907 by E. J. Timberlake, who first served as cashier of the Bank of Lexington, which was the first bank ever organized in the County. After about two years service in the capacity as cashier of the Central State Bank, Mr. Timberlake died, and was succeeded by R. A. Lewis, who, for several years, had been associated with him as assistant cashier of the Bank of Lexington. About 1911, Mr. T. Edwards was elected president and remained in that capacity until his death in 1929, when he was succeeded by R. A. Lewis as President, with Geo. H. Maxwell as cashier. At present Claude A. Fesmire is assistant cashier, and R. 0. Pope, bookkeeper. The Bank has a capital stock of $40,000.00 with $12,500.00 undivided profits, and total assets of more than a half million dollars. And from the outset, the institution has enjoyed a successful career.

In 1923 The First National Bank was organized by John A. McCall, with J. W. Stewart President, C. H. Johnston Vice-President, John A. McCall Cashier, W. B. Wilkinson assistant cashier. This bank has a Capital Stock of $25,000.00, with surplus and profits of $50,000.00 and with resources amounting to $550,000.00. Its officers deserve praise and credit for its unprecedented success.

Lexington also has one mammoth wholesale grocery firm, with new and well equipped bottling works and an ice cream factory operating in connection with same; eight retail groceries and feed stores; five dry goods and clothing dealers; three general stores carrying mixed stock; three drug stores; two variety stores; five hardware, furniture, and implement dealers; two undertaking establishments; one poultry and produce house; two meat markets; three barber shops; one dry cleaning and pressing shop; one jewelry and optical store; two hotels; four regular cafes and restaurants; and four dispensing founts.

In addition to the foregoing, Lexington has one big lumber concern carrying a full line of builders material of all kinds, including plumbing and electric fixtures. This company also operates a planing mill in connection with its yard and sheds, and is one of Lexingtons most outstanding and successful business enterprises. Beginning in a small way about twenty-five years ago with limited capital, Threadgill Bros. engaged in the lumber business, and the ever increasing demand for building material has forced them from time to time to seek larger and more commodious quarters, until finally two large brick sheds were erected, a or in 36,000 square feet of floor space and storage room. Afterwards the Threadgill Lumber Company was organized, which now occupies their spacious office and store room on the corner of Main & Henry Streets.

Lexington also has an ice plant; light, power, and water works; a machine shop and strainer factory; two gins with six and three unit capacities respectively; four authorized auto sales agencies; four wholesale gas distributing stations; three repair garages; fifteen gas and oil filling stations; two blacksmith and repair shops; two shoe hospitals; two large and adequate sheds for sorting, packing, and shipping tomatoes; two coal yards; two grist mills; one radio shop; and one picture show.

This year the town has erected a magnificient fair building and gymnasium and a new city hall. These two buildings are for the benefit of the people of Lexington and the County. They are buildings that any town or county should feel proud of.

Lexington was first incorporated by an act of the legislature October 9, 1824. Its charter was to run fifty years, but it has been renewed several times. During the seventies and at other times it has been without a charter. At present it has its Charter with Mr. W. R. Holland as its Mayor. Mr. Holland is one of Lexingtons leading citizens and is worthy of many remarks here, but space will not permit.

In 1922, with the railroad terminal being moved from Lexington to Bruceton, the town lost over 500 people, yet it has increased in population over a period of ten years including the time of this misfortune. The census of 1920 shows Lexington to have a population of 1,792. That of 1930 a population of 1,823, or an increase of 31 despite the loss of over 500 in 1922. This speaks well for Lexington.

This year the town sold its franchise to own and operate electric power and light to the Tennessee Electric Power Company for the sum of $250,000.00, which sum has enabled it to provide better for its citizens. And so far as the author has been able to learn, Lexington is the only town its size in the State totally out of debt and with money in its treasure. Lexington is a good town and a fine place in which to live.


Wildersville, on the northern side of Henderson County, situated on Big Sandy River, the Nashville Chattanooga and St. Louis railroad, and reached by highways from three directions, is a town of approximately 500 people. This town was founded about one mile north of the present location about 1837. It was known as Pleasant Exchange until after the Civil War, when the community center was moved on the hill, (Old Wildersville Hill), west of the present site. The town was named for Ed. Wilder, a St. Louis pharmacist, who manufactured a well known medicine by the name of "Wilders Bitters." The first store on the hill west of the present site became a distributor of this then famous remedy, and its use was so universal in the community that the people generally thought of the store as "Wilders", a name that was used for a while, until the late Priestly Parker, owner and operator of this first store, decided to call the town, which was destined to become the second in size in the County, "Wildersville".

Priestly Parker was a good man and possessed merchandising ability that attracted attention in his day. Although he lived in a day when miles had meaning, he was known far and near. Markets in New Orleans, St. Louis, and many other points found his wares good and relations with him pleasant. Among the best reminders to the present generation of Priestly Parker, however, is that he was the father of Joe P. Parker -- a name dearer to the people of Wildersville than any other. Though the efforts of Joe P. Parker Wildersville enjoyed the reputation for many years in being known as the best market for cotton and other farm products in Henderson County, and in the State when size was considered.

Among other early settlers in Wildersville community were the Bolens, Cozarts, Wilsons, Carringtons, Hodges, Britts, Williams, and many others whose names we do not recall.

In 1921, just as Wildersville had begun to show itself to be a real town, with sidewalks, electric lights, good schools, three well-attended churches, and more than 20 flourishing business houses, one of the greatest conflagrations that had ever before been known in the County swept the entire business district, leaving only one small grocery store.

Through the energetic efforts of such citizens as M. C. Rosser, Dr. C. E. Bolen, C. W. Scott, and W. R. Wilson, the town was raised from its ashes to become again a good town in one of the richest agricultural sections in the County.

In mentioning Pleasant Exchange in connection with the early history of Wildersville we might add that one of the largest race tracks of pre-Civil War days was here, and trace of the old right of way can still be seen. Here also was the famous fight so much talked of for many years between Reeves Bolen, grandfather of W. R. Bolen, one of Wildersvilles present citizens, and Demps Cain. Tradition says that Cain, a fighter with the reputation that he could not be whipped and was feared by officers and citizens alike, publicly announced on one of the gala days at Old Pleasant Exchange that he would whip any man there and that if he didnt he would leave the country, whereupon Bolen accepted and soon had the champion down, beating him, and had his hair almost pulled out when he begged to be let up. True to his word, Demps Cain left for Texas the next day and was never again the terror of Pleasant Exchange. Also we might mention that the first brick school house in the County was built here about 1837. The first saddlery in the County was also located here. Contention was strong in making Pleasant Exchange the county seat, but being on the edge of the County caused better judgment to locate it at Lexington.

Wildersville, like all other towns in the County and State, suffered much brawling and bloodshed during and following the Civil War.

The town was incorporated in 1920, and Hon. W. R. Wilson was made its first mayor.

Wildersvilles chief industries today are its schools, churches, dairying, cotton raising, and agriculture in general.

Wildersville Items in Lexington Republican January 5, 1906.

Dr. C. P. Kennedy is in Nashville.

S. W. Scott and wife visited in West Point Sunday.

U. H. Scott of Fulton, Ky., visited relatives here Monday.

Mrs. B. G. Maxwell spent the holidays with her parents at this place.

0. H. Priddy and family spent the holidays at Luray visiting relatives.

Mrs. Carrie Wallace of Gibson is visiting relatives here and at Chesterfield.

W. D. Lawes, our efficient R. F. D. carrier on route 1, went to Lexington Monday.

Dr. Atkerson and wife of Merkle, Texas visited F. M. Orr and wife the past week.

Rev. C. H. Bell filled his appointment at the Baptist Church Saturday and Sunday.

Miss Essie Pearson returned to Huntingdon Monday after spending Christmas with home folkes.

Joe McCall and family of West Point visited the family of S. J. Walker from Saturday until Monday.

Tommie R. Murphy, who has been very low for the past two weeks, is thought to be some better at this writing.

Dr. L. D. Murphy at Buena Vista visited relatives here this week. Dr. Murphy attended his sick brother, T. R. Murphy.

L. J. Parker and J. T. Rosser are in Mississippi this week making preparations to move their stave factory there in the near future.

Christmas passed off very quietly here, there being no drunkenness as on former occasions. It is to be hoped that our people will do better in the future.

Emmett Parker was painfully hurt Monday afternoon. He was enroute to Huntingdon and someone threw a brick through the window of the coach he was in, the rock striking him just above the left temple, making an ugly wound and filling both eyes full of glass. The railroad physician was on hand when he arrived in Huntingdon and attended his wound.


Scotts Hill, a town of about 250 inhabitants fourteen miles southeast of Lexington and near the Decatur County line, is a thriving little town. It has some twelve or fifteen places of business, a post office, one gin, one bank, one hotel, three churches, and a good high school. It also has a number of blacksmith shops, grist mills, and garages, and is supplied with electric lights.

Scotts Hill was first settled in 1825 by Cager M. Scott from North Carolina in whose honor the town was named.

Among his early neighbors were Ralph Holms, Joe Clenney, Buck Murphy, J. H. McKenzie, Dr. Win. Brigance, Luther Helms, Ephram Austin, and others.

The Lexington-Clifton Road ran through the town and was the first road opened up through that section of the County. It was also known as the Stage Road because many stage coaches traveled it. Just when the first stage coach came through Scotts Hill no one knows, but it must have been very early. The last one passed through in 1870.

With the introduction of the stage coach came the post office service. The coaches carried both passengers and mail. When the coach would stop, the passengers would alight and stroll over town until the postmaster could sort out the mail. When the coach was ready to go, the driver would sound a horn or ring a bell for the passengers to assemble.

Mr. Ephram Austin was perhaps the first postmaster. He would ring a bell or blow a horn also when the mail, which consisted chiefly of letters, circulars, and a few newspapers, was ready to be delivered. The people would gather around the postoffice, which was then a compartment of Austins store, for any mail that might be called out for them. The mail was delivered directly from the lot as it was gone through.

The postmasters following Ephram Austin were John and Henry Austin, Ephrams sons, W. A. Helms, J. T. Bagby, Henry Miller, A. L. Goff, S. R. Hefley, J. W. Patterson, J. N. Tucker, and W. A. Austin, who is the postmaster at present.

The mail carriers on the rural routes from Scotts Hill have been John Fanning, Henry Davenport, Elbert Butler, Sam Walton, Ben Deere, Coy Johnson, and Iley Austin.

Cager Scott opened the first store in the town. Following him came Ephram Austin. After Ephram his two sons, John and Henry Austin, continued the business. J. E. Austin, a grand-son of Ephram, ran the same business until about 1926, when he left the town. His son M. C. Austin, however, is still in business.

Ephram Austin built the first grist mill in Scotts Hill about 1860. It was a water mill and of the "over-shot" type. He built the first cotton gin also. This gin was operated by horse power and was able to gin about three bales a day or about 100 bales a year.

The gins that followed were a gradual improvement, each over its predecessor. John S. Pratt owns and operates the present one. It is strictly modern and has a capacity for ginning thirty or more bales per day. It gins on an average 1200-1500 bales a year.

About 1880 a Mr. Rilie opened a hotel and feed stable and had a good business for a long time. Since then the following have owned hotels; J. S. Turner, George Davis, Mary White, Elsie Austin, and Ellar Mitchell, who still owns the hotel.

Scotts Hill has had a few livery stables, but they soon gave way to the automobiles and garages. The owner of the first automobile in Scotts Hill was J. A. McClenahan. Next Dr. Keeton and Dr. Wylie bought one and then J. M. Brasher.

In 1908 the people in and around Scotts Hill organized the Peoples Telephone Company. They hoped at first to connect with the Commercial Company then operating an exchange in town, but satisfactory terms could not be reached. So a mutual company was organized, the Peoples Telephone Company. This company serves a wide section of both Henderson and Decatur Counties. One of the most diligent supporters of this enterprise was P. W. Holms.

The Company now has about 325 subscribers, an office well equipped with switchboards and other necessities, and contracts with other telephone companies granting it free service. This company operates at a reasonable cost (25 cents per month for each subscriber) and gives excellent service.

The Farmers State Bank of Scotts Hill was chartered November 20, 1906. It has a capital stock of $10,000, a surplus of $8,000.00, and resources (October 1929) of $175,000.00. On October 14, 1929 it took in $22,000 as deposits. It has had only one small loss during its entire existence, $1,000 in the Citizens Bank when it burst.

The Church of Christ was set in order in 1877. Mr. B. F. Austin was the first Elder, Jesse Helms and Frances Austin were the first Deacons, J. S. Turner is one of the first members yet living in Scotts Hill.

Years later the Methodist Episcopal Church South was established in the west part of town. It is now the head church of the Scotts Hill Circuit.

The Pentecostal Church was established only recently. It, however, is in Decatur County.

About 1880 a log schoolhouse was erected, in which Ras Tucker taught the first school. In 1894 B. A. Tucker, one of the outstanding teachers of his time in the whole vicinity, came to Scotts Hill and opened what would now be called a high school. His success as a teacher was shown in the school he built up and in the success in life of his pupils as preachers, educators, doctors, and lawyers. He made Scotts Hill the center of educational activities for a time.

After his influence died away, the school dwindled down. Immediately after the World War, however, Ira C. Powers, a conscientious and diligent school worker came to the town and attempted to improve the school. His first year there was marked with hard work and a constant fight with the two counties to induce them to support the school. He had only three high school pupils the first year, but by the end of six years he had established a good junior high school.

In 1926 a new building was erected of concrete blocks. In 1927 P. H. Murphy was elected principal of the school. Through the effort of him, Mr. Powers, and the other teachers the school has grown considerably. Mr. Murphy is a thoroughly competent teacher and a wonderful booster. The school is now a four-year high school with modern equipment and an enrollment of 115 high school students.

On May 17, 1916 a tornado swept through the east end of town and destroyed four dwellings and damaged many others. On the sixteenth night of October of the same year a mighty fire destroyed the entire business section. The fire originated in the store of J. M. Brasher and swept clean the entire business section. Not a store was left. Twelve stores, the barber shop, the I. 0. 0. F. Hall, a blacksmith shop, the cotton gin, the post office, the bank, the hotel, and four residences, were consumed in the flames.

The town was completely destroyed, but that which makes towns was left -- the sturdy and unconquerable inhabitants, who have built it back more beautiful and more substantial than before.

Scotts Hill Items in the Lexington Republican February 23, 1906

Eli Rogers is preparing to sow oats.

W. E. Fanning of Lexington is here.

John Smith has re-entered school.

Health in our community was never better.

Ben McClanahan has moved back to his farm.

W. F. McCollum is having his business house repaired.

Will Hay made a business trip to Warrens Bluff this week.

C. P. Wilson went to Beacon Tuesday to help unload staves.

Tommy Bright passed through this place last Sunday night.

This has been the finest weat or February in many years.

Mrs. A. Fanning, who has been dangerously ill, is improving.

Perry Murphy of Serepta writes that he is having a nice time teaching.

Mrs. M. M. McCollum visited her sister, Tennessee Chumney, last Sunday.

Edgar Fanning of Gleason was called home to see his mother, who is very low.

E. K. McCollum was in Lexington last week looking after business matters.

W. A. Bartholomew has returned home from Saltillo and is clerking for his father.

If you want to know anything pertaining to logging ask A. S. Goff and Fate Hensley.

Dr. C. H. Johnson of Lexington was here Saturday night on professional business.

Jake Taylor and Ky McCollum carried a fine herd of cattle out of this place Saturday.

R. C. Roocks moved to town last week and has been initiated as one of our inhabitants.

A very sad accident occured here on Thursday of last week. Luther Kings little baby got burned fatally and died on Friday.

One of Scotts Hills oldest inhabitants passed away on the 8th of this month. She was known as Granny Swift, wife of Parson Swift. She was ninety-three years old, and had been an invalid for a number of years before her death. We extend our sympathy to the bereaved ones.


Sardis is in the southeast corner of the County and eighteen miles from Lexington. It received its name in 1875 from the Sardis Camp-Grounds, which was one-half mile east of the present business section and which was a favorite place for religious worship as early as 1830. It was Methodist in belief, but other denominations were made welcome. A Mr. Quinn was the first person buried there. It later became the Sardis Cemetery.

A few years later a log church was erected and was also used as a schoolhouse. This building is now used as a kitchen by Al Wilhite, and is the first residence on the Lexington Street.

The first settler is unknown, but among the first were the Hannas, the Hassels, the McBrides, the Bryants the McNatts, the Englands, the Smiths, the Crabbs, the Faggs, the Williams, the Presleys, the Wilburns, the Blantons, the Hamms, the Mooneys, the Johnsons, the Stanfills, the Hawkins, the Craigs, and others.

The first store was a stock store opened in 1870. In 1875 Isaac W. Hassel opened another and became the first postmaster. The first cotton gin was run by horse power and was built by George England, (some say by I. W. Hassel), in 1865. The first steam gin and mill was owned and operated by Field, Powell, and Parker in the early eighties. It was located where Arthur A. Hannas mill now stands and sawed more virgin timber than any other in that part of the County. It also ground corn and wheat.

Issac W. Hassel owned the land where Sardis now stands and sold off lots to those who wished to buy them. T. M. Hanna perhaps built and owned more homes in Sardis than any other one man. He built and owned more than twenty-five homes and business houses. Mr. W. M. Holland was made the first mayor of Sardis and Mr. M. F. Pearcy the first marshall.

Sardis has long been noted for its schools. During the early years of the present century or perhaps as early as 1890 it was an educational center. Prof. C. P. Patterson and J. W. Williams were outstanding teachers. By 1906 we find the Sardis Normal College, as it was then called, so outstanding that students for a radius of many miles attended it. It received students from various counties, and was of widespread renown.

Sardis has also been active in its church work. At present it has four church congregations meeting regularly for service and Sunday School. They are the M. E. Church, the M. E. Church South, the Missionary Baptist, and the Christian Church.

The Civil War took its toll from this section also. Mr. W. M. Weaver was one of Andersonvilles prisoners. He was caged in that terrible place eleven months and eleven days. During this time he became so near starved that he helped eat a dog. The author has had in his possession for some time the bone off of which Mr. Weaver ate the dog flesh. During the same period guerillas ravaged this section as was seen in Chapter V.

The first and only newspaper ever published in Sardis was edited by J. F. Howser, the first issue appearing January 22, 1897.

The present places of business with their managers, or owners, are as follows: a general merchandise store by J. S. Johnson, a general merchandise store by George Meddlin, a general merchandise store by Phillips Brothers, a general merchandise store by W. W. Willis, a general merchandise store by A. W. Blevins, a drug store and postoffice by J. A. Meddlin, a cotton gin by G. H. Spelling, a grist mill by A. A. Hanna, a garage by Meddlin Brothers, a blacksmith shop by Henry Bivens, a blacksmith shop by Fate Tubbs, a blacksmith shop by Jim Montgomery, a barber shop by B. V. Bivens, a barber shop by W. A. Schrivner, a telephone office (240 phones) by C. W. Rice, (owner and manager.)

The Peoples Bank was organized December 13, 1920 with a capital stock of $10,000.00 and with E. A. Weaver cashier and J. G. Ricketts president. It is now under the management of W. R. Tolly as president and J. W. Newman as cashier and has resources amounting to over $80,000.00.

With its thriving business, its good schools and active Churches, its good roads, its rich land surrounding it, and its some 300 contented people, Sardis is a good place in which to live.

One of its leading and outstanding citizens, Mr. Charles P. Little, has this to say about his home town. "No better place on earth can be,/Than that of Sardis, Tennessee."

Sardis Items in Lexington Republican, February 23, 1906.

Reader McKenzie was seen on his way to Mr. Bakers last Sunday.

Arthur Stanfill from Sardis is visiting home folks and his best girl.

A. E. McNatt and wife of Lexington visited relatives here last Sunday.

The boys and girls of Sardis rendered a play at Saltillo last Saturday night.

Misses Beatrice and Vergie Williams of Lexington are visiting friends in our city.

Sol Lipe and J. R. Montgomery have been attending court at Lexington the past week.

Several new boarders have entered school this week and we hear of more coming.

Miss Mattie Richardson, who is teaching school at Roby, is visiting relatives and friends here.

J. P. Stewart of near Reagan and new bride visited relatives here last Saturday and Sunday.

Misses Edna and Cora Benson entertained quite a number of young people at their home last Saturday night.

M. F. Pierce has converted the old college building into a hotel and is now occupying it. If you want something good to eat, call on him.

Cage Stanfill, son of Jacob Stanfill, and Miss Mattie Bailey, daughter of T. J. Bailey, were married last Wednesday, Squire Pierce officiating.

Ed McNatt, son of M. F. McNatt, and Miss Ethyl Newman daughter of J. W. Newman, were married at the brides home on last Thursday, Squire Pierce officiating.

On the first Saturday night in March the I. 0. 0. F. will give a supper free to the wives and children of the members, and will be entertained by graphophone music by T. M. Hanna.


One of the most noted villages in the County is Middleburg eleven miles east of Lexington on the old Lexington-Decaturville Road. It was so named because it is midway between Lexington and Decaturville.

Its first settler was a man by the name of Thomas. Following him came the Powers, Deeres, Moodys, Johnsons, Longs, and others. John Dees opened the first store about 1865. Some ten years later W. B. Long bought him out and opened a grocery and saloon. Mr. Long ran a good business for some forty years during which time he owned and operated cotton gins, saw mills, and grist mills. He made Middleburg the center of much interest and business and at the same time accumulated much wealth. In 1880 a post office was established. There being another post office in the State named Middleburg, the name of our town was changed to "Long" in honor of its leading citizen and first postmaster, W. B. Long. However, when the post office went down, the name was changed back to Middleburg.

Since Mr. Long went out of business, the following have run general merchandise stores: J. W. Riles and T. H. Johnson, Jim Jones, L. L. Powers, Cecil Todd, and T. H. Johnson again. Mr. Johnson is the present merchant and is doing a fair business.

To leave one thing out of this sketch would be to leave the one thing out that the people of Middlebrug feel proudest of. The prople in and around Middleburg still have that good old feeling toward their fellow neighbors that existed in pioneer days. When a person happens to misfortune or accident, his neighbors go to his assistance. If a person is taken sick and his crop needs work, the people work it for him. This was illustrated in the summer of 1930 when the good old people of Middleburg worked Edd Weatherfords crop out for him when he was unable to do so himself.

There is a very sad tragedy connected with the history of Middleburg. On the presidential election day, November 4, 1924, D. G. Powers went to the Middleburg precinct to attend the election. He and George Johnson, a Democrat, had been at "outs" with each other. Powers felt that Johnson had treated him unfair in previous cases and that he had been conducting the elections dishonestly. It appears that Powers went to the precinct to "see that things went right." So, on his arrival at the precinct he saw how things looked and proceeded to take charge of the ballot box. When he did this, "Took" Bartholomew, a Democrat and friend of Johnsons, took it upon himself to get the box. Powers warned him not to bother him, but that did no good. Mr. Bartholomew kept advancing. Again Powers warned him to stop, this time threatening to shoot him full of holes if he did not stop. But again he kept advancing and demanding the box. He had been smoking and had his large pipe in his hand. Powers, on seeing the pipe, thought it was a knife, he claimed, and shot him. As this occurred, "Tooks" son, "Bud", rushed in. Powers again seeing danger -- this time from a new foe -- shot "Bud". Coming from behind him was his old friend, "Bill" Rodgers. Rodgers, it seems, had his hands outspread beseeching Powers to stop. But again Powers saw nothing but danger believing Rodgers an enemy attacking from the rear. So, he whirled and shot Rodgers through the head.

After shooting three men in rapid succession and neither of them being his arch enemy, he looked about for some one, Johnson, no doubt. But Johnson, it is said, departed through the back door of the house used for the election and escaped through a corn patch. It was reported that Johnson tore down quite a bit of corn in his flight for safety. Who blames him?

When Powers looked upon the scene, he turned and left. No one followed him. He was believed to be gone within a few hours, but the fact is that he remained in the community for weeks visiting his friends and spending nights with them.

After finally leaving home in the night and secretly boarding a train, he roamed over the country at will, usually under the name of "W. B. Coady". He crossed the border into Mexico, then doubled back across the Southern States and into Cuba. But not being satisfied, he returned home and was taken without resistance. He must have come home to give up.

His trial was had at Lexington and he was given a life sentence. He did not serve long, however, before he committed suicide by cutting his throat with a razor. He was buried in the Methodist Cemetery at Scotts Hill. There were more people at his funeral than had been in that cemetery for many years.

The use of bad judgment at that fateful moment on November 4th at Middleburg cost the happiness and union of four homes, his own and those of whom he killed. It ended the lives of four useful men.

Long (Middleburg) items in Lexington Republican April 13, 1906.

Little Alton, son of Joe Rogers, is on the sick list.

Willie Ferguson has entered school at Sardis.

Rube and Lonnie McPeake were in Beacon Friday.

There will be preaching at Judson next Sunday.

Hubert Johnson visited J. M. McPeake Saturday night.

The crowd at Browns School house last Sunday was very small.

Miss Lillie White visited Miss Dona Lockhart last Saturday night.

J. W. McPeake and wife were guests of T. H. Johnson last Sunday.

W. A. McPeake and Arthur Grimsley were in Scotts Hill Saturday.

Misses Lizzie and Ada Robins were guests of Miss Sallie White last Sunday.

Sill Deere and Misses Lizzie and Ada Robins were in Scotte Hill Saturday.

Monia, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R. S. McPeake, has been on the sick list, but is better at this writing.

There is a talk of consolidating Judson, Brown, Bartholomew, and No. 4 school houses and building a college at this place.


Chesterfield, eight miles east of Lexington, was settled by the Essarys from East Tennessee formerly from Virginia, by the McCalls from South Carolina, by the Dennisons from Virginia, by the Walkers from North Carolina, and by the Ingrains. All these settlements were made in and around the present site of Chesterfield.

The Essarys floated down the Tennessee River on a flat boat to Perryville and settled in what is now Decatur County. Soon, however, Joseph Essary, the father of William Essary, moved to Henderson County and settled where William Essary now lives just north of Chesterfield.

Joseph became very influential in the County. He was one of the first Chairmen of the County Court and was justice of the peace in the old sixteenth civil district.

When the early settlers came to the Chesterfield neighborhood, they found only woods and wild animals. There were no schools, churches or cemeteries. Soon a wife of one of the Ingrains died and was about to be buried at the back of her own house. Philip Walker advised that she not be buried there. He said that he had planned to give land for a church and cemetery to be built upon. So she was buried in what later became the Union Cemetery. It was in this manner that the Union Church and Cemetery were arranged.

These early settlers bought up large tracts of land when it was cheap and have given to their children small farms and have thereby perpetuated the neighborhood. The intermarrying of the families has also helped to keep them united in friendship and common interests.

The business activities started at Cheap Valley, about one mile east of the p resent site of Chesterfield. It was so named because of the cheap goods that were sold there. There the

Masons organized a lodge and called it Cheap Valley Lodge. It still bears that name, but is moved to the Baptist Church of Union.

Later the trading center was moved to Lone Elm, when in 1869 it took its name. It was so named by P. J. Howard Jr. because of a large elm tree that stood there. The first merchant was P. J. Howard, and the first postmaster was R. L. Brag.

When the railroad was opened up the business center moved to Chesterfield, where it has since remained. John Moore owns and runs a large merchandise store there and does a good business. The neighborhood contains about fifty inhabitants.

Chesterfield Items in Lexington Republican January 5, 1906

New Years Greetings -- A. L. Dennison killed some very fine hogs Friday.

Dr. and Mrs. Bray of Darden visited in Chesterfield Sunday. Miss Cora Gooch returned to her school duties at West Point Monday.

Miss Callie Walker spent the holidays with her cousin, Georgie Wallace, in Jackson.

R. W. Wallace was the guest of his son, P. H. Wallace, in Gibson during the holidays.

Mrs. Monroe Brown of Buena Vista was the guest of her sister Mrs. L. L. Walker, Thursday.

Prof. Henry Essary and Clifford Neely returned to their school duties in Knoxville Monday.

E. W. Essary and wife spent Christmas with home folks. Ernest enjoyed a bird hunt with his old friend and cousin, Henry Essary, while here.

Mrs. Frank Watson and baby, accompanied by Essie Hillard of Huntingdon, were the guests of Mrs. Watsons mother, Mrs. Clay Williams, during the Christmas holidays. They were present at the Christmas tree on Saturday night, December 23, 1905.

Mr. and Mrs. Will Neely of Parsons took dinner with Mrs. Neeleys mother Thursday. Will returned to his duties that night leaving his wife and baby to enjoy the remainder of the week with relatives and friends.


Lurays first name was Utah. It was located on the Tennessee Middlin Railroad, now the N. C. & St. L. Railroad. But from some criticisms the road changed the name to Luray. At the crossing of Miffin and Juno public roads, the depot was built. The first house was a grocery store built by J. C. Bell. Later Wheeler Edwards and Company built a general dry goods store. Wesley Bain erected a residence which is now owned by J. R. Pope. Next Charlie Bell built a residence now owned by H. W. Harris.

About 1892 was a gloomy time for the town; the two business houses failed and were closed down. There was no active business in the town for a year; then Hanna and Patrick opened a general store and everything began to pick up. The timber and stave business was good and P. W. Moore opened a general store. Several residences were erected. School and church houses were built. The Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches were organized. A cotton gin and saw mill were built. More cotton was raised than had been. So, another up-to-date cotton gin was erected. G. W. Priddy built and opened another general store, and G. L. McHaney opened a grocery store. Things became more prosperous.

At the present time the population has grown to about two hundred fifty, with four business houses, a doctors office, a barber shop, two cotton gins, two blacksmith shops, a garage, a grist mil, a saw mill, a stave mill, two Delco Light Plants, six artesian wells, which flow from five to thirty gallons of pure, freestone water a minute, and two hydraulic rams, which convey water from wells into residences. Luray is modern, indeed.

Dr. C. B. Chaffey has located in the town, and he and C. E. Priddy have each built themselves neat six-room residences. Good roads, automobiles, and fox chasing are now the fad. There has just been completed a hard surfaced road from Henderson, in Chester County, to Luray, and the people hope to get it extended from Luray to the number 20 at Broadway, a distance of seven miles.

By 1911 business had increased to the extent that the citizens decided they needed a bank, and by very little effort a capital stock of $10,000.00 was raised. The bank was organized and chartered at once and the contract let for a brick building twenty by forty feet. This institution is doing a good business.

Luray is in a favorable location.


Bargerton was founded in the year 1885 one mile east of the present location, and named after its first postmaster Ausburn Barger.

Some of the pioneers of this community were; James

Bobbitts, John B. Wilson, Thomas E. Sellers, James Pigream, John D. Coffee, Basley Young, A. B. Cunningham, William Hayes, Zachariah Bevel, John Ballard, A. W. Wilson, Richard

Williams, Henry Wilson, Dr. Giles Waller, Z. B. Ballard, John Meals, Daniel Meals, Henderson Meals, Patric Douglas, and others.

At the time of the location of the postoffice the place was called "Possum Trot", and had one general merchandise store owned by Ausburn Barger and one saloon owned by Mitton Teague. The postoffice was served by a star mail route from Juno on Tuesday and Friday of each week. Before this time people received their mail at Juno and Lexington.

In the year 1895 the postoffice was moved to the present location on the Lexington-Trenton Road nine miles northwest of Lexington. The Ross Ferry Road crossed at this junction.

The post office was placed in the general store of William H. Pugh and Mr. Pugh made postmaster. He held the office until the rural free delivery mail route from Lexington was started.

Bargerton is now served by two R. F. D. mail routes, one from Lexington and one from Juno. It has a population of about 100, has two general merchandise stores, one grist mill, one blacksmith shop, one cotton gin, and a good school. There are several churches near the place.

Bargerton is situated in one of the good farming sections of Henderson County. The land is mostly upland with small creek bottoms. The upland is red clay subsoil and slightly rolling with more than a thousand acres terraced. The bottom land is very fertile. The principal crops are corn, cotton, and hay with some trucking in tomatoes, cabbage, and sweet potatoes.

Some of the best water in Henderson County can be found in this community. Bargerton is noted for its good water and its a healthful location.

In 1921 the citizens of Bargerton, seeing the need for better education, established what is known as the Bargerton High School. This was the first junior high school in Henderson County and has continued to be one of the leading schools in the County since that time. The following principals have assisted in keeping the school on a high standard; Hubert L. Jones, Dorsey Stanfill, 0. A. Douglas, J. B. Jones, Paxton Montgomery, and James L. Douglas.

After the establishment of the good school the people needed something to help in cooperating with school work and entertainment. In 1922 they organized a community club, and through this organization they have been greatly benefited. The club sponsored a terracing school and with the County Agent, H. A. Powers, and four of the leading citizens purchased a farm leveler. These citizens are Fred S. Sellers, 0. A. Douglas, J. J. Lawrence, and 0. C. Sellers. They have loaned this leveler to the people for use in terracing their farms. This is one reason that farmers have so many terraced farms in the Bargerton vicinity.

The club has had five annual fairs each covering two days and nights of entertainment. They have been a great success. With these fairs the people have been paid near $1,000.00 in premiums. Through this club the citizens have had community picnics and other work pertaining to the betterment of the place. Through this club, in 1925, the leading citizens purchased a registered Jersey bull which has helped to improve the cattle. And at this time there are several fine jersey cows in the community.


In the earlier days a little settlement here was first called "Pinch". Here are yet signs of old stores, old groceries with saloons in rear end of the building. In the early days saloons often were located without any grocery store. The name "Pinch" was applied because of an old "tight wad" who lived here and who would never buy a drink, but would never fail to take one when the other fellow paid for it. He was always present when men went to drink. They winked and pinched each other in laughter to see the old "tight wad" ever ready to take a drink, but never ready to return one.

When the postoffice was located here, the name "Juno" was applied. Juno and "Pinch" together had soon won a bad name, probably worse than it deserved. Travelers often sought a way around "Pinch", afraid to pass through it. Many drunken fights could be related because the people found all the whiskey they wanted and under its influence sought to find their enemy and to seek revenge.

One very noted case that happened probably fifty years ago was a few miles south of here. Three men rode into the woods one Sunday in the spring of the year, all drinking. They were gambling men also. About noon two other men found where two of them had shot each other to death in a few feet of each other. Cards and whiskey were found. The horses were tied near by. The third man called for an inquest. It was revealed that neither of the dead men had any money. So, the third man left the country very soon. Those dead men were buried at different grave yards the next day. The wagons carrying them to the cemeteries met in the road.

Now Juno has a store, a church, a school building for two teachers, a post office with two rural carriers, and is a nice little village just off the main highway number 20, well located with good farm land near the head of Forked Deer River.

Juno Items in Lexington Republican on January 6, 1906.

Mrs. A. L. Waller, is on the sick list.

Mrs. Clem Coffman is convalescent.

George Payton has moved to Humbolt.

D. B. B. Liles returned to Nashville last Monday.

Corzie Hopper left last Sunday to enter school at Sardis.

H. C. Coffman made a business trip to Perryville last week.

Prof. N. N. Coffman of Memphis was visiting here last week.

Mrs. R. T. Hart of Lexingto~ is visiting her parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Owen.

Prof. Meeks of Luray was in town last week looking after school interest.

Mrs. Brooks Beal is visiting her daughter, Mrs. Elmer Threadgill at Sitka.

Mrs. W. T. Parsons and little son Coy of Molber, Ky. are visiting friends and relatives at this p lace.

The Christmas tree at the Christian Church was a success, and every one seemed to enjoy the many presents.

Claud Yarbor, Will Morgan, and Misses Eula Yarbor and Pearl Owen spent last Saturday and Sunday at Bargerton.

On last Sunday afternoon, at the residence of J. M. Hearn, Fluch Black, and Miss Bertie Keath were united in the holy bonds of matrimony.


Farmville in the old ninth, now first civil district, situated on the old Brodies Ferry and Jackson Road, and about four miles east of Wildersville is now but an echo of the past. Some time in the forties Farmville was established, and up to the Civil War was a very important trading point, second in importance to Pleasant Exchange, now also lost in the archives of the past. Farmville was surrounded by one of the best farming sections of the County, and many of the farmers were slave owners and considered wealthy. Among them were the Owens, Mossers, Jordans, Morgans, Cozarts, and Walkers. A Mr. Culliver, a member of the Culliver family of Lexington, Tennessee, conducted a general mercantile business in a building that occupied the present site of the Dr. Boyds residence. Mr. Terry Weaver also operated a general store on the site of the Hester, now Scott, farm. The last dry goods store was conducted in the old Masonic hall by a Mr. Terry.

The saloons, or groceries, as they were then called, were run by the Therrell Bros., Eph Jordan and J. I. Hester. With the closing of Mr. Hesters saloon the business life of Farmvile ceased.

Mrs. Hanna was appointed the first postmaster of farmville and was incidentally the first woman postmaster in the United States.

A Masonic lodge was organized in the late forties or the early fifties but was moved to Yuma in 1901. The Dabba operated a tobacco factory here before the Civil War.

The medical doctors who practiced here were McKaney, McCauley, Still, Townes and Boyd. Dr. Boyd being the last with his death on March 25, 1926.

Dr. Boyd was a practicing physician for a half century and was one of the most beloved men that ever lived in Henderson County. Dr. Boyd served well in his day and generation and was a true and faithful citizen of his county, State, and Nation....

Farmville Items in the Lexington Republican on January 5, 1906

Christmas was merry.

W. B. Hester is on the sick list.

Rennie Rush visited here during the holidays.

Misses Unice and Eron Hester visited relatives Friday.

Bird hunters, Walker and Linderman, killed ninety birds last Tuesday.

Erbie, the little son of Frank Lenderman, is suffering from a wound caused by a fall, but is rapidly improving.

R. Umstead, a prominent farmer, has lost his pocket book which contained $448.00 and can hear nothing of its whereabouts.

J. T. Hester and R. L. Johnson jointly discussed northern rivalry against southern chivalry at Yuma Friday night, January 5.


Warrens Bluff took its name immediately after the completion of the Tennessee Middlin Railroad. It received its name from being on a bluff near Beech River and from the lands being given by Dr. Warren for the station and town. This place is claimed to have been a camping. ground for the Chickasaw Indians.

The first post office was managed by W. F. Stuberfield, who is now living at Lexington.

The early amusements were corn huskings, log rollings, house raisings, and the like. They were usually followed by dances with plenty of red liquor. The people wore home spun clothes.

The first schoolhouse was at Rock Hill, constructed about 1880 of hewed logs and built largely by the McPeaks and Deeres. It contained one room, with one little board window

and a chimney of sticks and dirt. Its seats were wooden slabs. Among the early teachers were the McCollums and Austins. The chief subjects taught were arithmetic and spelling. There have been four houses erected near the same place. Now the school and church houses are modern and convenient.

Among the early settlers in the Warrens Bluff community were the Reeds, the Deeres, the Garners, the McPeakes, and others. The McPeakes came from Ruthefford County and the Deeres from South Carolina.

Slaves were owned by only one family, J. H. Fuller, who soon felt that slavery was wrong and freed his. This feeling partially accounts for the communitys politics.

The first mill for grinding corn was on Harmons Creek and operated by the Shacklefords. People would go for miles to this mill. They usually went once a week.

The town proper is not making the progress it once made, but the community surrounding it is very active and is composed of high grade people.


Reagan is a small village eleven miles southeast of Lexington. Perhaps a Mr. Pierce was the first settler in the Reagan vicinity, which was in its early days known as Barren Springs. However, John M. Taylor, a congressman from Lexington, named it Reagan in honor of Senator Reagan from Texas. Congressman Taylor helped to establish a post office at the place and so named it in 1881.

Reagan has long been known as a place of business. Its gins and mills have brought a good trade to the place. A. M. Powers, the leading merchant and one of the most outstanding citizens of the County, owns and operates a big merchandise store and does a good business.

At present, Reagan maintains a good school, one of the two three-year high schools in the County, the other being at Sardis.


Shady Hill is a little hamlet of about forty people. It is six and one-half miles southeast of Lexington on the Lexington-Scotts Hill Road, formerly known as the Stage Road. Some of its early settlers were the Bucks, Whites, Milams, Davidsons, Fergusons, Byrds, Middletons, and others.

This, as was the other sections of the County, was an unbroken forest when the first settlers came. Wild game in abundance could be found almost anywhere. In 1829 Andrew McCall passed the present site of Shady Hill on his way to Haleys Creek to settle. A drove of wild deer dashed by him, scared his team and caused it to run away and seriously injured him.

The community is still occupied by the grand-children and great-grand-children of the early settlers. It is on a state-aid road, has a good school, and enjoys an age of simple prosperity. Mr. Cook Middleton has for many years done a good business in his general merchandise store, and is still an active and well known citizen.


Not much of the early history of Moores Hill community has been preserved, but perhaps Issac H. Davis was the first settler in that neighborhood and settled there about 1825. At one time Wiltz King owned almost all the land in that section.

In 1867 Mt. Ararat church was organized and Henry Newman made its pastor. The church was named by Washington Walker in respect and reverence to Mt. Ararat of the Bible. The Moores Hill School must have been organized about this time. It was an outstanding school and had upwards of a hundred pupils with one teacher, Rev. T. M. Boyd.

The first stores were owned by J. D. Evans, and W. P. Davis, the latter being near where Central School now stands. E. L. Bradfield, father of J. T. Bradfield, was captured during the Civil War and was put in Andersonville Prison.


Broadway, four miles west of Lexington and on highway number 20, was established in 1904, when a cotton gin and a small store were built. It went thus until 1922 when J. L. Webb built a store and when the second cotton gin was built. In 1926 A. R. Appleby put up a store. Broadway now has three stores and two cotton gins. It is a flourishing little hamlet.


Darden is a small town in the eastern part of the County near the Decatur County line. It contains about seventy-five inhabitants, three stores, a post office, and a bank. The present merchants are Berry Moore, W. R. Powers, Edgar Thomas, and J. B. Miliner. The postmaster is Berry Moore and the cashier of the bank is W. 0. Hill.

When the railroad was opened up and a post office established, a name had to be given the place. A man spoke up and said "Mills Darden is undoubtedly the largest man on earth. So lets name this place Darden". With that, the place was so named.

It has been the conception of the people that Mills Dardens home was at Darden, but it was not.


Huron, is located in the southwest part of Henderson County. It was so named by the Railroad Company in honor of Lake Huron, one of the Great Lakes. The Railroad was known then as the Tennessee Middlin Railroad. At that time, Huron, like Washington City when its location was selected by George Washington, was a town in name only. The community was sparsely settled. The land being covered with fine virgin forest.

The pioneer settlers were John A. Smith, Esq. Arch Joyner, Joe Joyner, Rev. Clayborne Bell, E. T. Flake, James Flake, Bob Odell, J. H. Wilson, J. W. Baughn, Bill Askew, E. T. Lawler, S. A. Blanton, Allen Threadgill, M. H. Fesmire, Jasper Diffee, John B. Cawthon, William V. Taylor.

Those who have been merchants are as follows: W. T. (Bud) Smith, John Taylor, J. S. Teague, L. F. Hanna, J. W. Plunk, Hugh Courtney, W. L. McHaney, F. H. Gilliam, T. N. West, Walker & Son, Henry Linton, Huron Grocery Co., Adcox & Melton, Threadgill & Melton, R. C. White, and

Farris Bell.

The Depot Agents have been Frank Smith, a Mr. Hogan, W. S. Hurst, H. V. Denver, G. T. Dickerson, Robert Kelly, W. S. Hurst, second time.

A Missionary Baptist Church was built about 1885 in which regular services have been held every since. A literary school was taught in the church for many years and was one of the very best in the County. Its teachers were as follows: Emma Kimbrough, Minnie Spellings, Katie Skipper, Nannie Crook, Ross Crook, C. C. Smith, Ela Pearson, W. R. Wilson, I. N. Chamberlain, Belton McCelvy, W. E. Johnson, and Dora Smith. The school was discontinued about 1901. Hurons post-masters have been J. S. Teague, J. W. Plunk, J. M. Threadgill, M. H. Fesmire, J. M. Evans, and Mildred Perkins. Two rural routes were established in 1903. The carriers have been W. E. Johnson, E. W. Bailey, M. L. Austin.

Many changes have come with the passing years but today Huron is still a thriving little town of some seventy-five people. It enjoys the general prosperity of our southland and is looking forward through the rainbow of promise to the good that is in store for all good people.

  1. Take each town and community in the order given and give its history, mentioning its early settlements, interesting events, places of business, progress, and present history. Also locate and give size possible.

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