yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee


compiled by Brenda Kirk Fiddler

The Bank of Darden; Eighth Bank for Henderson County Organized with Capital Stock $12,500

December 5, 1913

Secretary of State R.R. Sneed has granted a charter for the Bank of Darden, said charter having been applied for by Messrs. F.J. Bray, S.G. Parker, W.A. Smith, W.O. Hill and H.P. Webb, all citizens of the Eastern part of the county, except Mr. Webb, who is a resident of Milan, and who organized the bank at Luray, the seventh bank of the county. The new bank capitalizes with $12,500 and has ample backing in the persons of several citizens of the Darden section and whose names are not among those of the incorporators. Darden is a good business point, representing one of the most fertile sections of the county. Asa Davis, former County Court Clerk, and a brother of Esq. CC. Davis, Cashier of the Bank of Lexington, the pioneer bank of this town and county, has already been selected as the cashier and active business man of the new bank, will which will begin business as soon as possible.

Valuable Gin and Cotton Destroyed by Fire

January 5, 1917

The Cotton gin of J.L. Essary & Company, at Darden, with about sixty bales of seed cotton and a car of cotton seed, was destroyed by fire between one and two o'clock Thursday morning of last week, together with the entire building and its equipment in the way of cotton ginning machinery.

The cause of the fire was a lightning bolt by which the building was struck, and so rapid was the progress of the flames that no attempt was made to save any of the contents of the building. On the contents of the gin the firm carried total insurance of $6,000, and the loss above that will be some $2,000 to $2,500.

The firm of J.L. Essary & Co., is composed of Messrs. Larkin Essary and Jack Maness, two of the best citizens of that side of the county.

Fire Destroys Four Stores at Darden

December 17, 1920

Fire originating from unknown origin in the general store of Duke Bros., at about 11 o'clock Tuesday night, completely destroyed the store and stock of goods.

The big general store of J.R. Lunn containing the postoffice, and a building adjacent in which was carried a stock of undertaker's supplies were ignited from the first building and entirely consumed.

A small store adjoining that of Duke Brothers, which was fitted up for resident purposes and used by a family by the name of Wylie was consumed.

Only hard work by volunteer fire fighters saved the residence and barn of L.B. Moore, and in fact the entire town of Darden.

Duke Brothers' loss, $3,000; insurance, $1,200. J.R. Lunn's loss, $15,000; insurance $5,000. Tom Small's loss on small store, $250; no insurance.

The post office has been reopened in the EF. Wilson store.

It is understood that Duke Brothers will rebuild at once. J.R. Lunn has not indicated his plans.

Darden Last Saturday

January 19, 1923

The town of Darden had a big crowd and a good natured one last Saturday, and the turnout of the people covered a wide range of ages from Esq. Jack Duke past 90 and Uncle William Essary in his 90th year down to quite a number of children of tender ages.

We did not have time to do much looking around but did have and use the opportunity to shake hands with several we knew. Mr. Ed Wilson, the grocer, was very kind in letting us use his store front for the Chancery Sale and when that was over we barely had time to pay our respects to those old esteemed friends, Messrs. Riley Lunn and Berry Moore, who have a good business in the old Hancock house down on the railroad. Darden claims to be prospering--and we believe it, for the showing of earnings for 1922 made the Bank of Darden indicate a community where there is considerable business--hence money.

Our lawyers, Davis and Essary, finished their suit, turned it over to the Justices and with Mr. Davis. (We left Mr. Essary to spend the night with his parents.) Charlie Frank got us home before the supper bells rang.

P.S.--Darden claims to have no better business man than its bank cashier, Mr.W.O. Hill.

Darden Makes Progress

May 18,1928

During the last few months this community has been active in promoting new enterprises for the development of the community. A new four-room brick veneer school house is under construction and a company has bought a tract of lumber and will locate a hickory mill and stave mill there in the near future. Beech River canal has been lengthened which will improve the drainage of farmlands in the lower part of this bottom. About 75 acres of tomatoes have been put out within the trade territory of this shipping point and arrangements have been made /for buying and packing here. Sweet potatoes are being grown for the market and will be shipped from here. Poultry is another enterprise that is being pushed in this community and Darden is known as being a heavy producer of poultry products Logs of various kids and cross ties are also marketed here in small amounts. The dairy industry shows a steady growth in the number of cream shippers; cotton, cotton see, corn, hogs, and cattle are some other thins shipped from here. Bill Goff, W.O. Hill, Berry Moore and Ed. Thomas and Frank Mackey are some of the leaders who are going out to make Darden a more prosperous community.

Darden Community Whips Labor Shortage

May 26, 1944

The people in the Darden community met on the farm of R.R. Gabbard and planted his crop, Monday, May 22. Mr. Gabbard's wife has been in bed for 60 days, and he had done nothing on his farm in the way of planting a crop. E.E. Wallace, a Victory Committeeman, contacted the neighbors in that community, and as a result of this, 10 tractors, several teams and extra farmers. prepared and planted 22 acres of corn and beans, four acres of soy beans, cut briars, cleaned up thickets, cut off ditch banks, cut sprouts and fixed fences. After the fences were repaired, they transferred 25 or 30 head of cattle from one pasture to another.

This shows a fine community spirit and the farmers of any community, by working this way, may be able to lick the labor situation. Possibly other communities in the county have done and could do the same thing, provided they have the right kind of leader.

The following men had tractors: Lonnie Hayes, Gordon Tolley, E.E. Wallace, Silas Flowers, Guy Maxwell, Ray Carrington, Elston Wood, Floyd and Martin Davis, Emit and Jethro Tubbs, and Hester Flowers.

The following had teams: Hester Flowers, Edgar Wilkins, Roby Hays, Blane Eads, Ollie Hill, Festus Flowers. Two teams: Jethro Tubbs, Ruben Graves, Ernie Duke, Roby Harris, Erby Kolwyck, Connie Evans, Odie Wilson, Ernest Green and Velton Kolwyck.

The following were present to help drive the tractors and teams and to do anything which became handy: Ray Fiddler, Hooper Blankenship, Luther Renfro, Hugh Greer, Edward Flowers and Billy Wallace.

Out Arizona Way

By J.T. Bradfield

March 19, 1948

I remember the Spanish American war vividly though a boy of eleven years old. There was quite a lot of excitement on the part of the people generally. The last war we had with a foreign country up to this time is sometimes called the "Second War of Independence." During that war our capitol was burned. I remember there was talk of a Spanish Army landing at New Orleans and coming up to the Mississippi Valley. I subscribed for the weekly Nashville Tennessean in the spring of 1898. Most of the citizens got the St. Louis Globe twice a week. I recall how the citizens would gather at old Moore's Hill to get their mail. Someone would make it convenient to go to Darden and get the mail twice a week. A.L. Brodie would usually read out of the papers about the war. Most of the older citizens were sorry readers. Some could not read at all. "Lane" Brodie was a great and good reader.

Home County

By J.T. Bradfield

May7, 1948

A few days ago I was on the road from Midway School to my home. My attention was attracted by the farming land along the highway. This land is on both sides of the road in Big Creek bottom and other runs. I doubt if there is any soil in West Tennessee that would produce more or better corn than this soil per acre. Further, my thoughts went back and I surveyed this land as I knew it when a boy. Just when this somewhat alluvial land was first put into cultivation I do not know. But owing to the fact that there were no farming tools in those days as we have them now after the topsoil became mixed with the heavier soil, nearly all this land was abandoned as far as farming was concerned. The farmers began to cut the undergrowth and deaden the virgin timber on the nearby hills and because of the mixture of the soil, particularly, a large content of sand, this hill soil would wash away. (They call it erosion now.) More and more of the hill soil would be cleared from time to time and this went on perhaps for 20 to 30 years. This fine land served two or three purposes in those days. First, large herds of cattle fed on the summertime grasses of different kinds in the soil from the hills which was moved by the heavy rains would settle on the bottom land. This was not too bad. Thirdly, ticks would multiply by the millions.

Back in those days, we youngsters like to play ball. We could do as well probably, as they do now. Of course, we needed level places for our diamond and as I remember it, it was quite a job to clear the briars and bushes so we might have the proper convenience.

There was not one farmer, however who did not abandon his bottom land in those days. I do not know whether it was because of the this sagacity, or whether he had no hill land to revert to He had a large family, especially some plow boys and some good work stock. This old gentleman was familiarly known to all of us as Uncle Tillman Stephens.

Much water has gone under the bridge since those bygone days when those things occurred, but possibly, it was all for the best. To say the least of it, we have a better county today in every way.

I have always thought that an eavesdropper was a little sorry, but I do not know of a law on the statute books which would compel one to stop his ears. I overheard a conversation the other day about our mail carrier, Mr. Murray Austin. The conversants seem to be sorry owing to a report they had heard about the supposed retirement of our mail carrier two years hence. I am sure, it if so, that Mr. Austin is to retire in the near future, it is not because of age but because of years of service.

This writer remembers clearly when Route 1 out of Darden was first established. Dut T. Reeves was the original carrier. Dut was a fine man and a good mail distributor. Roads were really bad in those days. Reeves was the route man for a long period of years. Carrying the mail in those days necessitated a lot of exposure, and I feel sure

Mr. Reeves' death which was somewhat premature could be attributed to this long period of exposure. particularly during the winter months.

Back to the conversation originally mentioned; they said Mr. Austin would be greatly missed, when and if he quit, and that it will be almost impossible to have another carrier his equal. I might say that I have been a patron of Darden, Route 1, off and on since its incipiency, and desire to further state that the parties I overheard in this conversation were exactly right. I have known Mr. Austin for a number of years. I think my first acquaintance with him was made when he carrying the mail out of Huron. Anyone who would be displeased with Mr. Austin's service (I do not know of anyone who is) would be because of some frailty of his or her own eccentric, relative to a fine, friendly man and an excellent servant.

Home County

By J.T. Bradfield

May 28, 1948

The Third Sunday in May the writer had the pleasure of meeting a large crowd at Corinth Church near Darden. For the past several years the people have been having memorial services and decorations, but I have been deprived of the opportunity of attending many owing to the fact that I have been a busy pastor during this time.

These services are all right, I suppose, but should they hinder anyone from attending his or her own Sunday School or worship service in their home church, it would not be best for all concerned. This is one reason I suggested to the leaders in the community that I speak in the afternoon. I hoped to meet some whom I would not otherwise see. I was not disappoined in this respect.

My family and I had lunch in the home of the Rev. George Kolwyck and family and enjoyed a very pleasant visit.

I was particularly glad to be at Corinth, because in the silent city of the dead near the meeting house there reposes many illustrious citizens. There lived in the Corinth community when I can first remember some notable citizens. We mention a few here, namely: Jess Wood, James Kolwyck, Columbus Davis, Henry Davis, Larkin Essary and others. These citizens were sires of a worthy generation and their grandchildren compose a host of worthy men and women. From the Corinth community in Henderson County there have come lawyers, agricultural scientists, scientific farmers, teachers and preachers. This writer was a pupil of Henry Essary at old Moores Hill when he decided to go to the University of Tennessee and resigned as teacher. Henry Essary afterward became famous not only in Tennessee but throughout the nation. He will be remembered as the originator of "Tennessee No. 76" clover. The fine lawyer and silver-tongued orator, F.M. Davis, played as a boy in this community. Joe C. Davis, Lexington, one of the best lawyers in Tenn., is a son of the late lamented F.M. Davis. Clarence Kolwyck is a highly-educated fine lawyer of Chattanooga. The Rev. H. Newman, an outstanding minister of the earlier days in the Corinth vicinity, spent his life here after the Civil War and reared a large family. He was the father of the late T.M. Newman and a great-grandfather. An uncle of the writer, the late J.T. Bradfield, Sr., who lived to the ripe old age of 84 years, often used to speak to me about the Rev. H. Newman being a good preacher and how he could moderate the Beech River Association with such wonderful tact and grace.

I have lived in towns quite a lot during my later life, and in a large city for the past two years, but I observed the worst traffic jam at Corinth. On occasions like this someone should be appointed to superintend the parking and movement of cars. The worst of it all was the public road was blocked off after the close of the services for some time.

Prof. Farris, a notable singer, was present and led the choir in singing a few fine selections for a few minutes before my little talk which we all really enjoyed. I was particularly delighted with the alto singing of Mrs. Lindsey of Darden. Eb Deere of Rock Hill was present and also an asset.

All in all, it was a great day for us and I hope the Corinth community continues to make progress as they have in the last few decades. As go the communities of our county, so goes the county, and I am sure we hope for Henderson County to be even better. As long as the stars twinkle over our great county of Henderson, there will be room for improvement.

Home County

By J.T. Bradfield

June 4, 1948

In the month of December, 1888, a young married couple moved from Decatur County., to Henderson County. They had been married five years having been happily joined in Holy Matrimony in 1883. Three children had been born to this happy union. The first, a girl, had passed away at the age of three weeks. The two living when the parents moved from Lebanon, Decatur County, to Moores Hill in Henderson County are now Mrs. E.E. Tubbs and Mrs. Ad Blankenship of Darden, Route 1. "Time and tide" does not wait for any of us, of course, and these amiable ones have grown venerable and old. During the intervening years since marriage 65 years ago, there were born twelve children. All are now living except the first born. All the girls are housewives. Besides the three others previously mentioned, the three are Mrs. Ernest Wilkins, Mrs. W.A. Carrington and Miss Myrtle of Darden.

Three of the six boys are in public life and three are prosperous and progressive farmers. They are M. H. Tolley, county register; William Tolley, county agricultural agent; C.A. Tolley, federal meat inspector; A.J. Tolley, Gorden Tolley and Wesley Tolley.

This columnist was glad to be in the home of Mr. and Mrs. M.A. (Mart) Tolley of Darden, recently for a brief visit. Mr. Tolley was 86 years old his last birthday. Mrs. Tolley is 84. Mrs. Tolley is an invalid, however, she was in her easy chair and seemed to be comfortable. In fact, she told this writer that she didn't suffer much and the inconveniences were caused mostly by rheumatism. The venerable Mr. Tolley is practically an invalid, though he is able to walk out of his room at times. Their daughter, Myrtle, is at home with them and seemed to be very devoted to her aged parents.

I interrogated the subjects relative to the reason they moved to Henderson County to rear their family. Mr. Tolley answered by saying he had a chance to buy some land and that he had a brother, George Tolley, who lived here … Mr. Tolley has been eminently successful from a financial standpoint. Though he reared and educated a very large family--eleven children--he prospered, too, almost miraculously. Already in good circumstances financially, in 1905 he erected a building and went into the general mercantile business. In this venture he was successful. It was said at one time during the height of his business that almost as much freight came to him at Darden as to all the other merchants combined.

Mr. and Mrs. Tolley are great church people and exemplary Christians. Years ago when the roads got really bad it would have not been prudent for Mrs. Tolley to have undertaken the trip--Mr. Tolley would walk the more than a mile to Sunday School and was always present if anyone else could get to Mt. Ararat Church where he is a member. Mr. Tolley's education is limited but early in life he and Mrs. Tolley began to "fear the Lord." And of course, "the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Without the wisdom the good father and mother could not have succeeded in every way, particularly like they have financially. They started life as partners without practically any of the world's goods, while many who seemingly had a much better chance, but were nondescript, were apparent failures.

All in all their choice of Henderson County as the place to spend their lives and bring up their family possibly had something to do with their success. Anyone who will live as near right as they know, and practice thrift, can make a go of it in good old Henderson County.

This writer was shown a very fine time last week by our good friend, former school and playmate, J.W. Arnold of Darden, Route 1, former general merchant and mill man. Mr. Arnold drove us first to Simon Elliot's place near Darden. Simon was showing some friends of Lexington a good time fishing on Beech River and was not at home. However, we meandered considerably up and down Big Creek and came home late in the afternoon with a nice lot of fish, but we caught the big one at Perryville with a silver hook. Thanks, friend Arnold, as long as a guy has a friend like you , other things will not amount to much as he plods along life's pathway.

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