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.

Lillye Younger

Snuggled half in Decatur and half in Henderson County lies the thriving town of Scotts Hill. The recent expansion program has included the 1½ mile stretch from the business section to highway #100 and Taylors Crossing, located on 100 highway.

It was in 1825 that Cager M. Scott moved to Tennessee from North Carolina and settled at this locality. He opened the first store and the town was named in his honor. Although it isn't located on a high hill, it is in the hill country, therefore the name Scotts Hill was chosen.

The first road to run through the town was known as the "Old Stage Road" because many stage coaches traveled it.

With the introduction of the stage coach came the post office service. The stage coaches carried both passengers and mail. When the coach would stop, the passengers would alight and tour the town while the postmaster sorted the mail. When the coach was ready to roll the driver would sound a horn for the passengers to embark.

Ephram Austin was perhaps the first postmaster of Scotts Hill. The mail consisted chiefly of letters, circulars and a few newspapers. The postoffice was located in a part of Austin's store. The people gathered around the postoffice for any mail that might be called out for them. The mail was delivered directly from the stack as it was gone through. This was before the rural mail delivery began.

Not only was Ephram Austin the first postmaster, he built the first grist mill in Scotts Hill and the first cotton gin.

The grist mill was powered by water and was the "overshot" type. The source of power was transmitted to the water wheel to run it.

His cotton gin was operated by horse power and he was able to gin about three bales a day.

Around 1880 Scotts Hill boasted of a hotel, which was operated up by a Mr. Riley. It did a thriving business. After Mr. Riley made his fortune there were other owners. Some of them were J. S. Turner, George Davis, Mary White, Elsie Austin and Eller Mitchell.

A number of livery stables were located at one time in the thriving little town but automobiles and garages electrocuted these businesses. The owner of the first automobile in the town was J. A. McClenahan. After seeing the performance of the "gas horse" Dr. Keeton and Dr. Wylie followed suit and then J. M. Brasher.

In 1908 the "Peoples Telephone Company" was organized by the community. It was a mutual company and had 325 subscribers by 1930. It served a wide section of Decatur and Henderson County. One of the most diligent supporters of the enterprise was P. W. Holmes.

The company operated at a reasonable cost of 25 cents per month for each subscriber and gave excellent service. It had contracts with other telephone companies granting it free service.

With the flow of prosperity the town needed a place to store their finances so in 1906 the Farmers State Bank was chartered. It had a capital stock of $10,000, a surplus of $8,000. and resources by 1929 of $175,000. Woodard Holmes served as first cashier.

The Church of Christ located in Scotts Hill in 1877. The first elder was B. F. Austin. Other churches established were the Methodist, Pentecostal and Baptist Churches.

In 1880 a log school house was built in which Ras Tucker taught. B. A. Tucker moved to Scotts Hill later and started what would now be called a high school. Many who learned from his teaching became educators, doctors, lawyers and preachers. Scotts Hill, at that time, was the center of educational activities. Other figures who have played an important part in the educational department were Ira C. Powers and P. H. Murphy.

Misfortune befell the town twice in 1916. On May 17 of that year a tornado swept through the town destroying property and damaging the area.

Mrs. Ethel Duck of 300 Miller Street in Parsons, lived one mile from the town at that time and she recalls her dad calling the children out to see the tornado. "It was about five p.m. when it swept down," she said. "As a youngster I remember seeing the cedar trees with all the cedar blown from the limbs and tied in a knot," she said.

The effects of the tornado was far reaching. Moss Arnold recalls feathers blown from the feather beds and landing in the mud in Parsons.

On October 16 of that same year the entire [business] section was destroyed by fire. The blaze originated in the J. M. Brasher store. Twelve stores, a barber shop, the I.O.O.F. Hall, blacksmith shop, cotton gin, postoffice, bank, hotel and four residence were consumed by the flames.

Tornado or fire could not completely destroy Scotts Hill. The town was built back by sturdy and unconquerable citizens who refused to give up.

Today it has extended its boundaries a distance of three miles to increase the population. Extensions have been made on the Liberty and Stage Line road as well as at Taylor's Crossing. An extension to the water system was completed last year.

The town has around 34 business places which include anew funeral home. A garment plant is located here which furnishes employment for 300 or more workers.

Another thriving industry is the Scotts Hill Auction Company which has weekly cattle and hog sales. This serves as an outlet for farmers who raise stock.

The Farmers State Bank moved into a new location in 1950 and now has completely modem banking facilities. J. E. Taylor is president of the bank and Fred M. Jones is cashier.

Three miles east of Scotts Hill lies a spot dear to the heart of everyone who ever lived in this vicinity. It is known as "The Granny Austin Cemetery" and received its name from Mrs. Phebie Austin, who was the mother of the late Ephian Austin. Here a large monument is placed bearing the name of and her husband Charles Austin and listing the names of their twelve children on the opposite side.

The plot was selected by Charles Austin at the death of his wife, Phebie. It is located near the old Austin homeplace on a knoll.

Each year the Austin reunion is held here. On one occasion there were 300 direct Austin descendents present at the reunion, representing 43 states. The cemetery is 116 years old and is widely known throughout the country.

The town that refused to die after being destroyed by tornado and fire is once again on the ball. It is a thriving town growing forward under the leadership of its mayor Taylor Powers.

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