Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN

Nola Ivey

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.

By Lillye Younger, Sun Correspondent

Parsons' First Baby Girl Reminisces

PARSONS. Tenn. — "There were very few families living in Parsons Flat when I first saw the light of day," says Mrs. Nola Ivey, the first baby girl born in the little village which preceded modern-day Parsons.

It was January 25. 1891 that the baby was born to Mr. and Mrs. Will Arnold at West Third Street.

"My mother came to Decatur County from Ringo, Ga., to visit her brother, George Partin and met my dad," said "Miss Nola," as she is affectionately called. They were married and lived at Partinville a short time before moving to Parsons.

"I attended the first school in Parsons, a frame structure located at the corner of Tennessee Avenue South and Fifth Street. Schools were quite different in those early days. We only had three-month terms and had to pay a tuition fee to attend.

She vividly remembers two of her teachers. Prof. Jim Wheat and Prof. W. R. Landrum. "I shall never forget the whipping I got from Prof. Wheat. A group of school children serenaded the neighborhood the night before Thanksgiving and made the mistake of serenading the professor's home which he had just moved into, unbeknownst to us. When we returned to school we all got a real thrashing."

The little frame school building was destroyed by fire in 1905.

When a youngster of 16, Miss Nola worked at the Parsons post office. "My cousin, Carl Partin, and I worked for his father, George Partin, who was post master, for $22 a month which was divided between us.

Romance entered her life in 1908 when she and Eb Ivey were married on Dec. 25. Her husband was employed at L. A. R___ {Rains?] & Co. as a salesman. "One of the houses we lived in was built on thc same lot where the little school burned," she recalls. Completing the family circle was two little girls born to the couple, Pauline and then June.

The Ivey home was a gathering place for youngsters in the middle 1920's. The center of attraction was their player piano, "the only one in Parsons" at that time. Groups would spend an entire evening listening to the melodious strains-from the roll music. All the youngsters loved "Miss Nola" and her hospitality was unexcelled.

Misfortune befell this family when in January 1935 Mr. Ivey died suddenly. His death came during an extreme winter snowstorm and it was difficult to "get out even," Mrs. Ivey recalls. She plunged into the field of service.

Later in the year the Work Progress Administration came into being and Miss Nola was employed to run records on old documents at the Decatur County Courthouse. "I enjoyed the work and being associated with the public" she said. She continued there until 1941.

In 1942 she operated the Rustic Cafe in Parsons which was the bus stop at that time. Her juicy burgers became a favorite of all who tried them. She continued to serve tasty food until 1946.

The versatile woman accepted employment as ticket agent for the bus line which ran through Parsons. She worked in this capacity for 17 years. "My lifelong friend, the late Mrs. Pat Long, used to beg me to go with her to Florida for the winter, but I felt like the bus just wouldn't run if I wasn't there to sell tickets. I discovered how untrue this was when I retired in 1963. It continued to make the run just the same," she said with a chuckle.

Miss Nola broke up housekeeping and moved to Memphis to live with her daughters., Mrs. W. R. McNeil and Mrs. W. _. Smith in 1964. "I take time about living with my daughters," she said, "and I enjoy baby sitting with my three great-grandchildren."

Her hobbies include working crossword puzzles, crocheting and reading. "I'm the last in the house to retire," she said. "I retire around 11:30 and arise around 9 a.m. I have always enjoyed sitting up late and sleeping late."

With the exception of arthritis, her health is good. "I am able to eat most anything without discomfort," she said.

A member of the First Methodist Church in Parsons, she encourages youth of today to take an active part in the church of their choice and live good, clean, wholesome lives. "The youngsters of today are not much different from when I grew up. They are just a bit more modern," she smiled and said.

"Even though I am a resident of the city of Memphis now. Parsons will always be :home to me," she said. She is visiting her two sisters, Mrs. Vada Wardan and Mrs. Rubye Jennings and brother, Arnold of Parsons.

Return to Table of Contents