yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee

I REMEMBER (Henry C. Graper and John A. McCall)

H. J. Bolen

from other research...

Henry Graper's full name was Henry Elbert Graper.

source:  Brenda Kirk Fiddler

Henderson County Times
April 9, 1980

In your noble efforts to deal with the people and events of Henderson County's historical past, I was impressed with the story about Mr. Henry Graper. I remember Mr. Graper quite well, for he gave me the first opportunity to earn a dollar. I picked up some insurance contracts for him at Wildersville and collected on them for him. I recall the first such one was on the Masonic building which had just been newly built there. My contact with this very able man who was already a legend, and it was amazing to observe him in action. He had a phenominal memory, and he was a wizard with figures. He was recognized as a very astute banker, and his charming personality and friendly manner caused people to trust him. Even with the bank's failure and the loss of $350,000.00 of road bond money, it was hard to find anyone who would say outright he was dishonest. It would have been quite appropriate though to have written as his epitaph this indisputable fact: A MOST REMARKABLE MAN AND A BUSINESS GENIUS.

In my dealings with Mr. Graper I had the opportunity to know Mr. John A. McCall who, as I recall, ran the insurance department of the Graper operations. It seems the office was just above the Citizens Bank of Lexington. I always thought of Mr. McCall as possessing some of the finest qualities any person could possible have. He was one of the state's most successful bankers, and the First National bank will always be a monument to his banking genius. I always told him he learned banking from the best teacher, and he never seemed to resent at all the reference to Mr. Graper. The many intricacies of the banking profession were so well learned by Mr. McCall that they seemed to be natural with him. Of course, his honesty and integrity came from deep family roots. His father, Mr. George McCall, who worked for years in a store in the Fielder Block, and who took measurements for men's suits. He measured me for a suit, and when it came it did not fit at all. He immediately ordered me another, and it fitted perfectly. I was always impressed with his determination to do the right thing about the mistake that had been made. John A. had an uncle, Dr. Pat McCall, who was a dentist, and who used to vome to Wildersville with his pedaling driller for two days a week occupying space in my uncle's drugstore. Another uncle, I believe, was Mr. John I. McCall, who died when he was serving West Tennessee as a Federal judge. I have always thought that another uncle was Mr. Joe McCall who lived at Westport and served in the Tennessee legislature for many years.

The original McCalls came from North Carolina to Henderson County, Tennessee, and settled in the Lone Elm community. John A. bought the old McCall home place and fixed it up and used it as a family vacation spot. John A. used to write me about the old home, and it seemed to have many memories he liked to think about. Just here let me recall the prof. W. R. Wilson, of Wildersville, after completing a course at Masonic and Female College, in Jackson, taught his first school at old Lone Elm, and he often told me that the influence of the McCall family still permeated the atmosphere of the community. The post office is now listed as Chesterfield, and one of these days I hope to write of the contribution of this settlement to the life and times of Henderson County. I would want to tell of two brothers, who left North Carolina for Henderson County, Tennessee, argued and fought over the North and South issue during the migratory journey, and refused to live neighbors when they arrived here, with one stopping at Farmsville and the other going to Lone Elm.

Priestly Parker was the founder of Wildersville, named the town, and the town was moved to the new railroad site in 1890, when the railroad was built, and was burned on May 6, 1921. The old Wildersville and the new Wildersville were only one mile apart on what was known as the old ____ Road, which went by Parker's Cross Roads.

Return to I Remember

top · home · yesterday's · families · schools · links · what's new · memorial · about

This site was created by David Donahue and Brenda Kirk Fiddler.
This site is currently maintained by Jerry L. Butler
Copyright © 2004 - 2010, All rights reserved