CAMPBELL BUSINESSES FLOURISHED
By Dallas Bogan
Reprinted with Permission from Dallas Bogan.
This article was published in the LaFollette Press.
Many stores sprang
up in the eastern part of Campbell County in early times along the Powell
River. Carter Brown operated a store about two miles downriver from
the Robbins General Store. Baldwin Sweat operated a store near Riverview
School but it became extinct shortly thereafter. Isaac Robbins organized
a place of business below Cannon Bridge from before 1900 until about
Hugh McNeeley operated a business across
the ridge from Powder Mill Hollow for about 50 years, from 1900 until
1949-50. The home of Hugh McNeeley was started in 1903 and was located
where Fast Freddy's Market and Deli is located today. The original McNeeley
store was located on the opposite side of the Alder Springs Road at
the intersection with Powder Mill Hollow Road. Around 1946 this store
was sold to Claude and Martha Robbins Goins and still later to her brother,
Ebb, and h
his wife, June.
After Ford's Chapel school was discontinued,
Riverview School became its successor utilizing a two-room frame building
that was located on the north bank of the Powell River, facing south.
As was Ford's Chapel, primer through eighth grades were offered, which
necessitated a need for housing of schoolteachers.
Of this necessity, beds and daily meals
were utilized. Everyday washing of laundry and bed linens was done by
hand on a scrub board-using Octagon bar soap. The contents were boiled
in an outdoor iron kettle and pressed with aged irons heated on the
wood stove or hearth. Also included was the massive amount of dishwashing.
Cooking of the fine foods was also an
imperative operation. Delicious meals were prepared and eaten with great
Living with the school teachers under
the same roof always meant having your homework done, never being absent
without a good reason, and being on your best behavior.
Hope Dossett was described as a caring
and affectionate teacher. Other teachers who were boarders were Georgia
Bolton Hobbs, Gladys Sharp and Emma Teague. Some of the classmates were
Wanda Marsee and her brothers, Clifton and Burton McNeeley, and Hazel
Sweat. James F. Jones was principal while Ethel Moore began teaching
in 1927. Sam White was a teacher and did not board.
School in session meant there no "weather
days" that kept the doors closed. The schoolmaster and teachers
that did not board walked to work; the students were expected to attend,
rain or shine.
When the classmates graduated from Riverview's
eighth grade, they rode a bus to LaFollette. The students would walk
from their homes to the forks of the creek below Robbins General Store
and wait for the bus, driven by Hugh McNeeley. The bus was uncomfortable
with hard plank seats running horizontally along the interior. McNeeley
drove the Powder Mill students to his store where they were dropped
off to wait outside. Meanwhile, he drove to Alder Springs and gathered
the high school students from that area.
When the weather turned bad, the Powder
Mill students were allowed to wait inside the store, which was warmed
by a wood-burning stove. After the return of McNeeley, the Powder Mill
students would once again climb aboard for the long, winding drive on
Long the Long Hollow Road to LaFollette.
Churches sponsored a few schools. Liberty
Baptist operated a school from 1890 to March 1929, along Powell River.
Victory Baptist provided two buildings for a county school. Bethlehem,
not far away, also supported a county school.
Riverview School was in operation from 1916 until its removal November
28, 1934. At its climax, it supported two teachers per term. Powell
River School, very possibly the oldest school in the river basin, had
become known as Cedar Creek School, and then in 1931, merged with Demory.
Enrollments prior to removal were Riverview,
48; Victory, 50; Walnut Grove Elementary, 68; Alder Springs Elementary,
103; Demory, 136; Agee, 57; Flat Hollow Elementary, 61; Davis Creek
Elementary, 69; Valley View Elementary, 116; Well Springs Elementary
along with two years of high school, 176.
The Robbins women were faithful church
attendees along with the other women in the hollows and ridges. Most
of these women were Baptists. The young men would go to church and hang
around outside hoping to walk a girl home, possibly even hold her hand.
The Powder Mill Robbins favored Liberty
Baptist Church, while others attended Alder Springs, Cedar Creek, Victory
Baptist and still others traveled to Powell River/Cedar Creek Baptist.
Alvis Robbins, in the late 1920s, purchased
for himself a recent invention...the automobile. It seems that he was
not a very good driver and the roads were in an atrocious state. These
avenues of travel were steep and worn by a hundred years of wagon wheels
along with an immense erosion problem. Several times Alvis had to be
pulled out of off-road mishaps.
More times than one the vehicle would break down. Replacement parts,
repair garages and auto mechanics were very scarce. When the first one
broke down it was hauled back to Alvis's place by mule. He later would
buy another one and when that one broke down it was also hauled by mule
back to the reclamation area and parked. It seems that Alvis' barns
were cluttered with a bunch of broken-down disabled vehicles.
The area was hit with another invention
in the 1930s, a new variation of the plow. The newest and best plow
was the "Gee-Whiz" plow, which had about seven or eight spring
teeth. This implement was lightweight, which was a noteworthy improvement
to anyone who had ever had to manhandle a plow. It did not cultivate
deep; its chief use was to turn weeds in spaces between furrows. Because
it did not plow deep, roots of corn and other crops in the furrows were
(This article was taken from a manuscript written by Jocelyn Lavonna
Woods, a descendant of the Robbins family.)