yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee
History of Sardis, TN

From Beulah Hanna and Carra Holland, History of Sardis, Tennessee, Sardis Homecoming '86 Committee, May 1986.


Book Club

The Sardis Book Club was organized in 1941 with about fifteen members. Its purpose was to enrich the lives of its members by having a good book report at each monthly meeting. The meetings are held in the homes of the members. There are three members still attending the meetings who were charter members. Beulah Hanna, Carolyn Moore and Carra Holland. We have tried over the years not to be a club that only helps itself, but reaches out to help others. We assisted the library at school with money and the donation of books. We gave a donation to our Fire Department. Each year at Christmas instead of exchanging gifts we give a donation to the Foster Children of Henderson County.

Lions Club

The Lions Club in Sardis was organized in 1949 and continued until 1955. Their aim has always been to help people with eye problems and they helped some who lived here. The only ones that we learned about who served as president are these: Cyle Thompson, McCall Lewis, and Bon Hayes.

Sportsman Club

This club was organized in the early 1960s. George lsacc was the game warden at that time and was instrumental in its organization. Manuel Pipkin was the first president. They had a dinner monthy to provide fellowship for the members and their guests. Some of the members raised pheasants and others purchased quail, which they turned loose in this area to provide more game for the hunters. They also purchased a shell loading machine and reloaded shells for the members. These are the names of some of the others who served as president: Royce Phillips, Bobby Robertson, and Dr. O'Keeffe.

Little League Baseball

As soon as the ball park was finished in 1959, concerned adults began to form groups of boys into ball teams. There was T-Ball, Little League, and Dixie League. It wasn't just boys from Sardis but youngsters from other communities came and participated. It drew large crowds and Sardis became a nucleus for sports in this area. Ball is still being played here and interest and enthusiasm is still exhibited.

The adults who gave their time and talent in this endeavor are due a great vote of thanks from the parents and citizens of this town. These are the names of leaders we were able to obtain: Van Smith, Herbert Hayes, Royce Phillips, Roy Phillips, Dean Davis, Claude Smith, Don Bridges, Danny Johnson, Larry Creasy, Rickey and Peggy Clenney, Bruce and Sharon Northcutt, Van and Dianne Carter, Jimmy and Beverly Adams, Ted and Mericia Phillips, Danny and Debra Polk, Kenneth Scott, Billy and Judy Duck, Paul Bailey, Jimmy Barrels, Randy Brown, Joe Morris, Bobby Jones and Doc Lipford. Some who played on teams in the early 1960s are now coaching other boys. This is their way of showing appreciation for the leaders who worked with them.

Independent Baseball

In the early 1960s Sardis had one of the best non-professional independent baseball teams in this area. Each year on the Fourth of July weekend the team would play a double header with Ripley and Corinth, Mississippi, in our park with barbecue and all the trimmings. This engendered a lot of enthusiasm for Sardis and a large surrounding area. One season they had thirty-eight wins and five losses. Some of the players on that team were Lauton Lewis, Sammy and Ralph Fisher, Paul and Rob Aaron, Mack Chandler, Ted Wade, Stan Little, Roy Brasher, Don Martin, Danny Johnson, Herbert Hayes, Carey Johnson, and Jimmy Wayne McBride. The manager was Raymond Jones.

Civic Club

The Civic Club was organized almost by accident. A group of ladies from Lexington came down and invited us to organize a Business and Professional Women's Club. But, after lengthy discussion, we rejected the idea because of the amount of money we would have to contribute to the state organization. In its stead we organized a Civic Club. We had twenty charter members and we agreed to meet monthly. One of the first things we did was to buy a spin-around for the playground at school We put up welcome signs at the city limits on Highway 104. The next project was to buy Christmas lights for the town, since the town had never had any. These were used for about three years and made the town very festive looking. We awarded a prize for two years for those with the best decorated door and best decorated house at Christmas. The first winners were (for the door) Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Medlin and (for the house) Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Oldham. The next year (for the door) Mr. and Mrs. Tom Holland and (for the house) Mr. and Mrs. Hobart Craig, Jr. We also had a sign painted with the "Lawn of the Week" and this was placed in different yards during the summers. The yard it was placed in each week was chosen by secret committee. We gave a contribution to the P.T.A. to help pay for air conditioners for school rooms, contributed to Little League and the library. We repainted all the playground equipment at school and the school sign at the front of the school building. We bought and painted barrels to be used in various places over town for garbage collection and thus have a cleaner and more attractive town. Street signs were purchased and installed. In 1970 we published a Sardis Cook Book. It sold so many copies that we had to have a second printing. One of the last things we did was install a sign at the cemetery. Many had expressed the wish that we have one and it has brought a sense of pride to all who care about the cemetery. Those who served as president were Carra Holland, Roberta Robertson and Pat Pruett. Many have remarked that the Civic Club did more good things for the community than any other organization that has existed here.

Sardis Extension Homemakers

The Sardis Club was organized in 1968 with Alleene Meadors as the first president. They met in the city hall at the beginning. Mary Butler was the extension agent and during her tenure she conducted workshops on basic dressmaking and tailoring. Many almost professional looking garments were made by this group. When Mrs. Butler retired, Anna Worley became acting agent. Besides her regular duties she conducted workshops in basket making and putting bottoms in chairs with cane. When Miss Worley retired, we functioned without an agent for a year. Then Betty Neilson was appointed. She is the daughter of Fred Colvett, who taught agriculture here in the 1940s. She has conducted many workshops countywide and also these at Sardis, on hat decorating, making Christmas tree ornaments, and making teddy bears.

Members have participated in community projects. They have cleaned the cemetery more than once and are planning now to place flowers in containers at the front of the Senior Citizens Center, where they have been meeting since it came into being in 1976. Those who have served as president are Alleene Meadors, Gollen Stanfill, Carolyn Moore, Rosa Presley Boose, Andrea Graboshki, Ellistine Meggs, Frances Stanfill, Glenda Joshlin and Carra Holland.

Henderson County Fire Department Station No. 5

The station here at Sardis was organized in 1978. Melvin Montgomery was the first captain of the newly organized group. Several names were given to us as those who were helpful in getting the station started. Some of them are also volunteer firemen: Larry Creasy, Alan Phillips, J. W. Creasy, Selma Goff, Lanny Redding, Willie Milam, Dr. Pat O'Keeffe, George Maxie, Jimmy Presley, Tom Holland and Roy Austin. Others who have served as volunteers (not continously but some at one time or another) are Danny Polk, Larry Hudson, Tommy Smith, Robert Wood, David Bivens, Frank Grabowski, Donnie Craig, Ted Phillips, Rickey Clenney, Dale Medlin, Gene Robertson, Arnold Davis, Joe Ross, Jerry Clenney, Paul Wood, Harold Wade, Jeff Pipkin, Dale Ross, Ron Boyd, Steve Stanfill, Don Bridges, Wendell Milam, Randy Brown, and Ronnie Brown. We believe Alan Phillips and Melvin Montgomery are the only ones who have served since the beginning.

Those who have been captain are Arnold Davis, Larry Creasy, and Jeff Pipkin.

Station Number 5, according to their by-laws, is to handle alone all grass, wood and auto fires. But if the fire is considered hazardous, Number 9 is the next station to respond. Others are called when needed by a county dispatcher. We have had one local dispatcher, Mrs. Ann Little, but no one is serving now.

The Henderson County department is funded by county government and is tax supported. However, this money is never enough to supply all the needs, so fund raising projects are needed. They have had several barbecues and many donations and they now sponsor the Fiddlers Contest.

The service rendered by this organization is available to everyone without charge. We as a community should appreciate this service they render on our behalf. To be on tentative call, day or night, isn't an easy job. To show in a very small way, our appreciation, we have a dinner in their honor at least once each year. Volunteer Fireman -- we appreciate you.

Sardis Parent Teachers Association

A strong arm that is of great importance to any school is the support given by an active P.T.A. Always very aware that it is only a supportive group and has no authority except as it relates to that unit.

There have always been those who are willing to serve as leaders, but just as important is the fact that there have been hosts of people who have worked long, tiring hours on behalf of this school. But, all feel well repaid as we are able to see the many ways we help in building a better school.

A meal has always been cooked and served at Thanksgiving each year. The past few years it has been primarily a take-out meal. But many remember it as a Thanksgiving banquet beginning in 1939 and going into the early 1970s. The money derived from it is important, but in the past the greater emphasis was placed on fellowship that was enjoyed by those who participated.

The first one was in 1939, before the new school was finished. Home economics that year was taught in the Masonic building where they had one stove. The food that year was partially prepared at home and finished on this one stove and then served in that building. After the new building was finished, this banquet was planned and anticipated with great pleasure by many people. It was planned primarily to be served at school. In fact, for many years, tickets were scarce for those who wanted to dress in their best and be present and be a part of the festivities. Our seating space was limited, so we had to only sell as many tickets as we were able to seat. We always tried to have a good, guest speaker, special music and a beautifully decorated table and girls who did a marvelous job of serving the tables. All of this was under the direction of Mrs. Beulah Hanna and the girls in her home economics department. Some of the special speakers were Judge Andrew T. Taylor, Edwin Deusner, Joe Hopper, "Red" Bond, Tillman Stewart, and Gordon Turner when he was a roving reporter for the Nashville Tennessean. He always gave us a good report in his paper and Mr. W. T. Franklin, owner of Lexington Progress was almost always a regular guest, always giving us good publicity. In 1974 Governor Winfield Dunn addressed our P.T.A. He was the second governor to visit this little town. Governor William G. Brownlow was here in 1867.

At this banquet the person who had been chosen, by secret vote, to be Parent of the Year was announced. These people were chosen for some outstanding community contributions they had made on behalf of young people. Many people have pleasant memories as they recall the good times that were enjoyed by all.

In the early years of the lunchroom, the government didn't supply much help, so parents worked out a schedule and one person came each day to help in the lunchroom. In order to help with the supply of food, people gathered during the summer at various places where extra vegetables were available, and prepared and canned them for the school. For the past twenty-five years or so, turkeys have been purchased for the Thanksgiving meal. But some remember it hasn't always been that way. Once, we dressed chickens and then prepared and cooked them. Carolyn Moore says she remembers that one year we were in the midst of cooking for the banquet and decided there wasn't enough chicken. Mrs. Lily Story had said if we needed more chickens she would give one if we would come and catch it. So Carolyn and Douglass went at that late hour, caught and dressed it and we cooked it for the meal that night.

The parents gave time to help the cafeteria in many ways. We painted it more than once, and much of the money earned by the P.T.A. was used to buy much needed equipment so the students could be served with greater efficiency. We believe the only time all the windows in the school were washed at one time was when the P.T.A. did it.

Parents and teachers at Sardis have always felt the need to try to have the best school possible. So whatever it took to accomplish that, we combined our efforts in that endeavor. There were students who lived in areas where they had a choice of where they would attend school. Of course, we wanted them at Sardis, so each year parents and teachers united to go out and see those students and make them feel that we wanted them here. Some came, and we felt this was partially because of our efforts.

One of the things that we hope helped both students and teachers was the appointment of a room mother for each class. This room mother coordinated all the mothers into a combined unit to work for the good of that class. They served refreshments to the classes at designated times such as Easter and Christmas. They served as chaperones for class parties and trips. It helped parents, teachers and students to get to know each other better.

The P.T.A. in the 1950s got together a cookie cookbook and then in the 1960s a regular cookbook was printed, composed of recipes from the good Sardis cooks alone. This was a good money making project, but more important, it was a service because it is still being used by many of us. Those of you who don't own one are missing a lot.

Another thing that we began as a money making venture turned out to be so much fun that we wondered if that wasn't the primary motive in the beginning. We presented a humorous play, "The Podunk Limited." It turned out to be just as humorous for the cast as the audience. Another time we ventured into "drama" and presented a variety show. It was a general consensus of opinion that Sue Goff and Carra Holland came the nearest to bringing down the house with their rendition of "Sweet Violets" with appropriate costumes.

The P.T.A. sponsored two alumni banquets. We were deeply gratified by the response of those who had once attended school here. We are glad that renewing friendship is important to all of us, and that our old alma mater will always be dear to us.

Beginning in the 1960s, we had a community picnic the second week of school each year. Just an opportunity for grandparents, teachers, parents and students to have a time of fellowship. When we know each other better, then a better understanding exists between us.

In my estimation the greatest community effort spearheaded by the P.T.A. was when we exerted all the pressure we could muster, in order for the County Court to see how much we needed a new gymnasium. Someone made the remark that on that day there weren't enough people left in Sardis to put out a fire. All of the community had made an exodus to Lexington. The effort was successful, we got our new gym. This proved anew that when a community will really pull together, great things can happen.

In the early 1940s we bought our first popcorn popper. Down through the years it had to be replaced a couple of times. We always had one going at every ball game, high school or elementary. It wasn't a fast money making source, but it was steady and supplied many needs connected with the school. Two adults were always there to pop and sell corn. It really meant a great deal to those who had the responsibility of leadership to have willing people to serve when asked to do so. Many times people didn't wait to be asked, but volunteered their services, a good community.

In the spring of 1963, we learned Saltillo was completing their last year as a high school. Several of the students there expressed a desire to come to Sardis if transportation could be provided. Henderson County couldn't send a bus there, so the P.T.A. agreed to buy a bus to bring those students here. Again we exerted our efforts to help build a better school by getting more students. This provided us with more students and a broader curriculum.

Some of the latest things purchased by the P.T.A. are air conditioner units for all the classrooms, a fence around the playground and additional playground equipment.

In the mid-1950s the P.T.A. sponsored a Boy Scout and a Girl Scout troop, just to help to make real good citizens of our youth.

For the past eight years, the P.T.A. has sponsored a beauty pageant each year. This hasn't been primarily a money making event but to promote poise and confidence in our young girls and boys.

We would like to mention all the wonderful people who helped to make this P.T.A. such a meaningful part of the school. But that's impossible. But, we will mention all the presidents' names that we were able to obtain: Maude Little, Jessie White, Mary Rice, Mildred Presley, Carolyn Moore, Carra Holland, Anita Johnson, Audry Mae Ross, Edith Hart, Lucille Presley Hanna, Bessie Stanfill, Pat Pruett, Mary Eva Goff, Nada Pitts, Manuel Pipkin, Ann O'Keeffe, Willard Gurley, Donald Martin, Wayne Scott, and Dianne Carter.

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