Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN

Kenny Kimbro Houston

From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Brewer Printing Company, Jackson, Tennessee, n.d.).

This People of Action, issued circa 1969, reproduced newspaper clippings about people in Decatur County. Most items probably were written in the mid 1960s. Most, but not all, of the items were written by Lillye Younger herself and most, but not all, appeared in the Jackson Sun. The photographs, which in the book were poorly reproduced from clippings, have not been scanned.

Special thanks to Constance Collett and the estate of Lillye Younger for permission to make these web pages.

Thanks to www.tnyesterday.com for contributing this transcription.

Sam Houston Is Ex-Teacher's Hobby

PARSONS, Tenn. - "My first recollection of Parsons was its mud streets," says Kenny Kimbro Houston, who was the first male child born in Parsons. "I can remember when there were only 10 residences and six business places here, he added. Law and order was not in effect then as it is now.

He was born Nov. 3, 1893, son of Martha Isabelle Long and Jim Houston and the oldest of two children.

"I attended the first school in Parsons, a one room frame building located at the corner of Tennessee Avenue South and Fifth Street. It was a one teacher school with an enrollment of 70. My first teacher was W. R. Landrum, formerly of Trenton.

"I remember the day I slipped off from school but was not quick enough to make my getaway. Mr. Landrum caught me and put me under his arm and carried me back to school."

"I started teaching at Bear Creek School at the age of 15. I was very inexperienced in the field of teaching. I would play with my pupils as we walked to school but when we arrived at school they had to mind me," he said.

Later he continued his education by attending University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He received his degree at Union University in Jackson. Houston taught school for 26 years. He taught three years in Greer County, Oklahoma and 23 years in Decatur County.

When asked how he liked teaching, he said, "I liked it better than anything I ever did, however I could not continue with a family of six to support. The highest monthly salary I received was $190.

"I had just as soon teach boys as girls but you can reason with girls better," was his reply to the question, "which had you rather teach, boys or girls?"

He never gave homework while teaching. "Methods have changed quite a bit since I taught," he said.

"They have added a lot of legislative changes in math. I think perhaps this is the greatest change made since my teaching days.

"I would advise the young generation to study science and learn all you can about it. It doesn't make any difference how far out the comic strips get in the realm of science, don't tell anyone it can't come true, because it will someday. There will be the greatest advancement made in the science field within the next 25 years than man can now comprehend. When I was a boy I would never have believed the accomplishments today."

Besides his teaching career he worked three years at Firestone Tire and Rubber Company as a salesman in Akron, Ohio, and two years with the Standard Oil Company in Hattisburg, Miss. He served as superintendent of schools in Decatur County four years. He was a 2nd Lieut. in the Armed Forces during World War I.

"I helped survey the road from Parsons to Decaturville," he said. In 1942 he went into the mercantile business in Parsons, in which he is still engaged.

"We did not have a school band when I went to school so we organized a town band," he said. "I played the bass horn and we played at Lobelville, Beardstown and Linden. We played for county fairs."

Houston's hobby is tracing the genealogy of the Houston family. "I became interested in this hobby because I wanted to trace my relationship to Sam Houston. I have checked information in libraries at Salt Lake City, St. Louis, Knoxville and the State archives," he said. In the last 12 years he has written 12 books concerning the Houston generation. "Some day I hope to put them all into one big book," he said. He has sold some of his information.

"After contacting 12,000 persons in an effort to find out if I was related to Sam Houston, I discovered there is no relation," he said.

"I have traced the Houston family back to the year 1162. I would like to hear from those interested in genealogy," he added.

"Now I am working on the rolls of each cemetery in Decatur County and listing them in alphabetical order," he said. This will be great help to the churches of our county, he added.

He was service officer for the American Legion for 12 years and helped many persons. At present he is Commander of the West Tennessee Sons of the Revolution.

"There have been many changes in Parsons since I first saw the light of day here," Houston said.

"The greatest improvement has been in the growth of the town and the industries located here have been a lifesaver," he added.

He is married to the former Mable Clare Davis of Chesterfield. They have three daughters and one son; Mrs. Betty Roper of St. Louis, Mrs. Jackie Sperry of Fairbanks, Alaska, Mrs. Jimmy Knowling of Houston, Texas, and Hugh Houston of Parsons.

Return to Table of Contents