Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN


From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Decatur County Printers, 1983).

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

The Tolley baseball team was famous throughout West Tennessee and Western Kentucky in 1914 through
1918. Front row left to right: David Harrington, Joe Hancock, John Tolley, Martin Herbert Tolley. Second
row left to right: William Madison Tolley, Charlie Arthur Tolley, Andrew Jackson Tolley, Felix Wesley
Tolley. Absent were Gordon Tolley, Arthur Tolley, and Aaron Tolley. (Photo-Mary L. Essary).
[Photograph scanned from Emily Davis and Brenda Kirk Fiddler, Henderson County, Tennessee: A Pictorial
History (Rose Publishing Company, Humboldt, Tennessee, 1996).]

Tolley Team Gained Fame In 1914-1918

How many Decatur Countians remember this famous baseball team? Despite the fact it dates back "Many Moons," I'm sure that players of the opposite team can recall the outstanding record they achieved.

Known as the "Tolley baseball team," which became famous in 1914-18, six of the players were sons of the late Mr. and Mrs. Martin Andrew Tolley. The remaining members of the Champion team were cousins of the Tolley boys.

The team not only gained fame in West Tennessee but also in Kentucky. Among the teams they played were Lexington, Scotts Hill, Clifton, Linden, Lobelville, Sugar Tree, Warrens Bluff, Parsons, Bible Hill, and Fulton, Kentucky.

Arthur Tolley, outfielder, not pictured, said, "We played all the good teams and one of the ones was Sugar Tree." "We won many more than we lost," he continued.

John Tolley, who played infielder, recalls how proud Mr. and Mrs. Tolley were of their six sons as well as the cousins on the team, of which he was included. "We were the best around," he explained with a twinkle in his eyes, but we really practiced a lot and put our whole heart in the game. Our uniforms were white with the team name 'Tolley' on the front," he concluded.

In the winter the sons also played basketball over a wide area and were known for their great skill and good sportsmanship.

The six athletic sons of the late pioneer family were William Tolley, who was a pitcher, however third base was his regular position, Charley, first baseman, Andrew, who played pitcher most of the time, Wesley, shortstop, Herb, catcher, and Gordon, second baseman. The three Tolley cousins included on the game were John Tolley, infielder, Arthur Tolley, outfielder, Aaron Tolley, infielder and Joe Hancock, outfielder, with David Hearington, outfielder.

Uncle Mart and Aunt Fronia, as the parents were referred to, were married January 25, 1883. Mrs. Tolley passed away in 1950 and Mr. Tolley followed in 1952. Besides the six sons who composed the baseball team, a younger son, Charles came along. There were also four daughters, Mrs. Larkin Essary, Mrs. Anna Tubbs, Mrs. Rachel Blankenship and Mrs. Nella Carrington. One child died at birth, thus making 12 in the family.

The last nine children were born in the same room of the home, which had been the couple's bedroom and living room for exactly 60 years.

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