The West Side Of The Court Square

By Nell Morisette
Camden, Tenn.

West Side Of Court Square

Good morning, it's another beautiful day. I know we have our sorrows, as I have lost a very dear friend, whom I have aggravated since I was old enough to tug him and my brother around. My brother passed away in 1998. So I know this isn't a beautiful day for his family and others of you who have lost loved ones recently.

The West Side of Court Square

Lots 19, 20, 21, and 22
Thanks again for permission to use Mr. Blanty Holladay's information. This picture is either Tony Robinson's or the late Jack Ott's. Mr. Ott was the son-in-law of Noah and Julie Melton and made several pictures of the west side of town.

The commissioners, George Camp, Green Flowers, Ephrian Perkins, Lewis Brewer, and John Johnson sold to John Thompson 1/3 of lot 19 on August 8, 1840, deed book A, page 259. And Mr. Lashlee bought lot 19 in 1847. Many transfers were made on all of or parts of this lot. All are recorded and can be found at the Register of Deeds Office.

The Benton County Auto Company built a large metal building and operated a garage. J.S. Barnes, G.B. Holladay, and O.P. Lashlee bought this business, enlarged the building and continued with the garage. Later it was leased to S.L. Bawcum who had a Ford dealership, then J.A. Lashlee opened it again as a garage. W.C. Hartley had a saddle shop, G.F. Bateman a furniture store, and T.H. Bateman ran the store after G.F. and opened a marble yard. Percy Lowry and Jeff Throgmorton had a store on lot 19. In deed book D 1854-1859, pg. 59, on January 9, 1854, W.J. Greer sold to A. Lashlee lot 19. O.P. Lashlee finally bought all of lot 19 and at his death his heirs sold it to the U.S.A. The metal building was torn down and in 1937 a brick post office was built.

In 1846 Anderson Lashlee bought lot 20 from John Travis. Anderson Lashlee sold lot 20 to A. Burton, deed book C. 1849-1852, page 380. Somewhere down the line, Mrs. Laura Hawley, mother of C.V. Hawley, inherited lot 20 and C.V. ran a store. Shroat brothers ran a grocery, J.W. Woody and son had a grocery and produce store. On July 12, 1901, H.C. Pafford purchased the grocery store of C.V. Hawley. R.M. Hawley and A.J. Sanders had saloons on lot 20 from Commie Hawley and on July 4, 1933, opened, "Melton's Barbecue Pit."

On January 8, 1846, the same commissioners sold to R.H.B. Lorence lot 21, deed book A, page 320. In 1858 Judge W.A. Steele bought lot 21. This lot changed hands many times. Mr. Willie Hill owned and ran a grocery, as did Hershell Ledbetter. Others who owned lot 21 were R.M. Hawley to Joe G. Hudson, he sold the north end of this lot to the Camden Bank and Trust in 1891; they built a two-story brick building. This bank was established in 1889 and was located on the north side in Stigall. It was the first bank in Benton. In January of 1900, Benton County Bank was organized by local citizens. Bill Pafford has a picture of the building being town down on February 8, 1960.

In 1903 Charley Watson bought lot 21. It housed Dobson's Feed Mill, Kings Barber Shop which later became Harris Barber Shop, operators were Jessie Cain, Henly Farrar, Herbert Durdin, Elmer King, John Harris and Leahe Wright. Noel Fry had a drugstore, upstairs were Odle and Frazer, S.I. Peeler Law offices. In later years the rooms were used for roomers. Addie Smith ran a telephone company there.

This lot was then bought by Thomas W. and Gay Saunders, they built a three-story concrete hotel and named it "Hotel Theo" after their daughter. This hotel had many managers, changing its name. At one time it was called "Totty Hotel" and "Palace Hotel." Roy Melton bought this property and the name change to "Melton's Hotel." After his death his daughter Laura Melton ran it.

I didn't find a deed to who the commissioners sold lot 22 to, but I did find where W.A. Steele had owned it at one time.

I found a deed book A, page 317, where Jackson Rushing sold lot 22 to James Wyly on June 8, 1841.

In the center of lot 22 an old two story building was used as a post office and Wane Rye was postmaster. Tom C. Rye had a law office, J.D. Roberson, a grocery. This lot was sold to S.W. Lockhart, he ran Scalley's Restaurant, then Hatley McIwillian, Harold Pafford ran the restaurant as Pafford's Cafe. Mrs. G.B. Holladay Millinery, Mrs. Cora Swindell's ladies shop. The south part of lot 22, off Highway 70 (West Main) has been a business place even before the Civil War. A tobacco store was on this lot, as well as Mr. Hudson's brick veneer store. The building was used by him, Huston Hatley and brother, A.J. Farmer and son and Naifer brothers.,p> In 1896 J.A. Holland bought lot 22. In 1912 this lot was bought from Mrs. Patsy Holland by the First National Bank. This bank partly burned and on June 12, 1912 a new building for the bank was being built, a 20X138 ft. one. It was three stories high.

The First National Bank sold to Commerce Union Bank in 1925. Part of it was used for the post office, Dr. A.T. Hicks Clinic and The Camden Chronicle, until 196. These were in the basement. The second floor housed: John Holladay, Sid Peeler, Peeler and Hollis, Warren G. Miller, George McCormic, and William Derington law offices. Edd Lewis Dood Insurance, L.W. Dougherty Dentist and the Department of Public Welfare. Bob Johnson made a picture of this noted landmark being torn down and ran it in his paper.

Now all you see the west wide of the square is the U.S. Post Office, First Bank, and their parking lots as of September 18, 2000.

Thought for the week:

It's better to bite your tongue than made a biting remark.


If you have suggestions and/ or additions for these pages, please feel free to write County Host

Brian Nichols

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