yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee


compiled by Jewell Reeves

Note: This history was compiled originally for Tennessee Homecoming '86, August 9, 1986. It was expanded and reissued for the Bicentennial Homecoming, May 25, 1996.


In 1900 Darden had a board walk from the depot to the end of a line of stores on the right side of road going up the hill. There were about four stores and a coffin house at the far end. (Most children shied by this house.) The store owners were Riley Lunn, Parker, Duke and L. B. Moore was Post Master. All these stores burned. Darden really had a big fire. This happened about 1920.

The Bank was across the road from the stores. L. B. Moore and W. O. Hill were the bankers. The old bank was closed during Roosevelt's administration. At this time it is in ruins. North of the bank was a livery stable, where horses were kept for transportation. Also a Blacksmith shop. Mrs. Sally King ran a boarding house just behind the stores. The same lot where Mrs. A. L. Duke lives now.

The Hancock building was a big two story building with living quarters. This store was operated in earlier days by Jazie Hancock and son Bill. This building was then owned by Bill Goff. Mr. Lunn and Moore bought it and moved the store and post office to the Hancock Building south of the depot. There was another store beside the bank that was owned by Arras Smith and Henry Hayes. Later W. T. Small bought the store and Mr. Smith went to Lexington to work in the Post Office. At this time a barber shop was built on to the store on one side and a grist mill was built on the other. Aaron Houston ran the store and mill and Jack Hayes was the barber. In later years a Service Station was built on the same side, by L. .B. Moore and operated by G. C. (Cleavie) Armstrong.

Mr. Andy Roberts owned a little store near the depot. He always had popcorn and parched peanuts. When the train came in, he would go aboard and sell peanuts and popcorn to the passengers. Mr. W. R. Powers bought the business but did not sell peanuts and popcorn.

The train made two trips each day from Lexington to Perryville. Mr. Freeman Wilson had a store next door on the lane going to the Wilson home and Doss Evans house. When the new highway was finished from Tennessee River to Jackson, the train was stopped.

The first depot agent has already been mentioned, but the Boren boys were agents later. Hubert Boren was agent for many years, until his death, about the same time the train stopped. Another store was built by Franklin Mackey joining the Bank building. The first merchants were Edd King and Ad Duke. Later it was managed by Eunice and Shelby Woods. The last merchant was C.G. Hill. Since then it has been turned into a slaughter house.

After the train was no longer running the Post Office and store of L. B. Moore was moved into the old depot. It remained there for several years. J. C. Duke was Post Master for several years. Then John W. Frost. Finally Johnny Frost built a new store and Post Office and tore away the old depot. At the present time the Darden Post Office is housed in a Trailer, but we hope to soon have a new Post Office in the Center of Darden.

Darden had the only Cotton Gin between Parsons and Lexington. Larkin Essary was the owner for many years. It furnished work for several Darden people. There were others who owned the gin but the last owner was Richard Byrd. The gin burned and was never rebuilt. Now we have a store on the same site owned by Myracle and Son.

During 1900-1920's, Darden had several doctors living here. Dr. Neely who once lived in the house where Mike Reeves lives now. Dr. Bray lived where W. T. Small bought in 1919. Later owned by Aral and Plautt Lindsey. Dr. Maxwell lived in the house now owned by Edward Brewer and it is rented out. Dr. Goff lived in Darden for awhile and then moved to Lexington. Dr. Howell lived on the land where Bitsy Reeves now lives. He moved to Lexington. Dr. Maxwell also moved to Lexington and Dr. Bray moved to Parsons.

Many professional people were reared in Darden. A lawyer Clarence Kolwyck, who was a famous lawyer in Chattanooga. Also another lawyer was Edward Duke. He is now practicing in Memphis. Many teachers and other professionals were reared in or near Darden. There were 3 Trustees that came from Darden. John Sullivan was the first rural Mail Carrier and later became Register, W. M. (Bill) Goff was Trustee for several years. Clyde Reeves was reared near Darden. He was Trustee for 12 years and then was elected for County Judge. Plautt Lindsey was elected in 1954 and served for 20 years. Plautt was on school board for 6 years before he was elected for Trustee.

Other County officials came from Darden. Ray Hayes was Sheriff. Ray was reared in Darden. Others served on county boards. M. H. Tolley, Sr. was Register of Deeds for eight (8) years. Rev. Frank Boren lived in Darden. He was a Baptist Minister. He had three sons, Ollie, Fred and Hubert. All served as depot agents here in Darden. Hubert was agent for many years until his death.

At one time Darden had two rural routes. In 1905 D. T. (Dut) Reeves was carrier of route No. 1, which was the longest route. At his death, Troy Chumney was the carrier. W. T. (Tom) Small carried the mail on Route No. 2. He carried the mail for 27 yrs., retired in 1932 and died in 1933. After he retired the shorter route was divided between Route No. 1 and another route out of Parsons. Now Darden has only one mail route. Darden has never had a Post Office that wasn't within a store. Now at the present time 1986 we are expecting to have a new Post Office all by itself.

There are several old homes that were built in or before the 1900's. The Lawson Boren home is now owned by Virgie Moody. The Af Carrington home is now owned by his grand daughter Era Brunt. The Newman home and later owned by Dr. Maxwell, is now owned by Edward Brewer of Memphis. The Coon Kolwyck house is owned by Ray Duke. The Buck Kolwyck place now owned by Milams. The Johnson house behind the Baptist Church is now owned by Rossons. The old Doss Evans house is now falling down. Last owner was W. O. Hill, until purchased in the last few years by Don Franks.

Darden's oldest male citizen is J. C. Neely, who at this time lives in Jackson with daughter Willine. He and Mrs. Willie still have their home here in Darden. Mr. Clifford is now 100 years old and expects to be here for 1986 Homecoming. He was a Surveyor and meant much to our town and county.

Darden's oldest female citizen is Mrs. Buren Moore, who is still living alone at Perryville, and is 93. She also plans to attend Homecoming 86 at Darden on August 9th.

The first car in Darden was owned by Dr. Maxwell. It was a black T Model Ford. He cautioned the boys, that gathered around to see the sight, not to put their hands on his car. At this time we had a gravel road from Perryville to Lexington and on to Jackson.

At the time Dr. Bray moved to Parsons and sold his home to W. T. Small, all the property between the house and the railroad belonged to N C & St. L. This property was used for a log and tie yard. Many tines logs were piled up all the way to the railroad. Just east of the log yard was the stock yard for loading cattle and hogs on to the train.

Darden has a nice Cemetery now. The first person buried there was Bob Lee Maness in 1941. Coon Kolwyck in 1943 and Jimmy Hartsfield in 1949. At that time the cemetery looked like a wilderness.

We still have a good little town and we are proud of it.


Go to Corinth Cemetery
Go to Darden Cemetery (markers)

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