Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN

Medical Profession — Doctors

Chapter VIII

From Lillye Younger, The History of Decatur County Past and Present (Southhaven, MS: Carter Printing Company, 1978).
Special thanks to Constance Collett for permission to make these web pages.

In Memory of Lillye Washburn Younger 1912-1998.

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

Among those who came to the new uncivilized region to lay the foundation for a great country were the doctors so often called the "Humanitarians." Diseases were numerous. Antibiotics and vaccinations were unknown. Diseases most difficult to combat were Typhoid Fever, Yellow Fever, Pneumonia, Flu and Malaria Fever. About the only treatment the doctor had was blue mass, calomel, quinine, castor oil, turpentine, tincture of opium and morphine.

Each day, which often overshadowed the night, was a challenge to these early doctors. Their first mode of transportation was horseback, with their saddle bags, chugged full of medicine strapped to their saddle. They often had to travel from 12 to 15 miles to administer to a patient, due to the shortage of doctors. Like the U. S. Mail, they went in all kinds of weather. It never got too bad for them to answer a call. Fence rails had to be laid down in pioneer days to reach the patient's home oft times. In winter, they entered the house with icicles decorating their long flowing beards.

Extreme bad weather or serious illnesses caused them to spend the night. They charged $1 a call, which included all medicine. Even that small amount was hard for the family to rake up. Of course, they ate with the family. The doctor sat beside the patient's bed checking every few minutes throughout the night in an effort to save a life. He demonstrated the greatest skill known to the profession.

Dining rooms were often turned into operating rooms when severe attacks occurred. These doctors were trained to be surgeons as well as medical doctors. His patient's welfare was his chief concern. They never lost that personal touch. It was the day when man looked for peace and satisfaction and found it in his profession.

In the 1850 census of Decatur County is a list of doctors in the county which amounts to 16. It lists Dr. John Parsons whose age was 44 in 1850. He had a wife named Mary and six children and hailed from North Carolina.

Dr. I. Smith, age 32 at that time, came from Virginia and was perhaps a bachelor. Dr. John Henderson, 44, was born in North Carolina and his wife was named Nancy. Dr. P. H. Smith, age 33, wife was Eianus, age 27 and was born in Tennessee. Dr. Lawson Kelley was 28 and his wife was 23. They too were born in Tennessee. A Virginian was Dr. R. L. Gainus, age 55 whose wife's name was Elizabeth. She hailed from Kentucky. Dr. G. H. Derryberry was age 34 and his wife, Louise was 29, they hailed from Tennessee. Dr. Robert Keeton, age 49, was born in Illinois and Dr. J. H. Clardy, age 24 was born in Tennessee. Dr. B. W. Raney was 35 years of age and born in North Carolina. Dr. Amos Yarbro was born in Tennessee and was 32 years of age. Dr. Henry C. Fryaer was 43 and born in North Carolina. Another Virginian was Dr. Wesley Doss, 41 and Dr. Samuel Hill was 80 years of age and hailed from Ireland. Dr. Joel C. Hancock was listed as 44 years of age and hailed from Tennessee.

Dr. J. F. Aydelott was listed as a successful Practitioner of Decaturville, born April 28, 1835, son of Andrew E. and Sarah E. Smith Aydelott, both natives of Tennessee and of Irish descent.

He began his study of medicine at Decaturville and afterward took a thorough and comprehensive course of instruction at the Louisville Medical University in 1878 from which he graduated with honors.[1]

Dr. John Parsons, an early doctor, located in Parsons. He built the first house in Parsons and later sold it to James Buckner. It was located on Buckner Street near the intersection of Bible Hill Road. His house was built quite a while prior to the beginning of the town of Parsons.[2]

He served as treasurer of the Board of Health of Decatur County in 1870s. In 1879, he married Miss Anna C. Jones, daughter of Dr. T. W. Jones of Decaturville. He was a democrat.[3]

Dr. Troy W. Jones is also listed as a successful practitioner at Decaturville. He was a native of Henderson County, born September 14, 1832, son of Matthew and Anna Pinnion Jones, natives of North Carolina. He began the study of medicine under the preceptorship of Dr. G. H. Derryberry and afterwards studied under Dr. Tryar.[4]

He began his practice of medicine in 1856 in Decaturville. In 1859, he married Mrs. Sarah Yarbro who died in 1875. He was a strong Democrat and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. His grandfather, John Jones, served through the Revolutionary War and never received a wound.

Dr. J. N. Houston, son of John L. And Jane Graham Houston, was born in Decatur County, January 22, 1837.[5] His father came to the county when it was a wilderness. He was educated in the college at Decaturville, and attended lectures in Nashville in 1856-57. In the summer of 1857 he began the practice of medicine in Perry County at Brown's Mills. About five months later, he returned to Decatur County, where he had a successful continuation of his profession.

He married Miss Sarah E. Chaney of Cincinnati, Ohio and to this union were born eleven children.

At the out-break of the Civil War he enlisted with the fifty-second Tennessee Regiment of the Confederate Army under command of Col. B. J. Lee and served as assistance surgeon of the regiment at the hospital at the Battle of Shiloh. After twelve months service, he returned to his home county of Decatur.[6]

In the early days of our country doctors put their shingle out so to speak, in their homes and didn't have offices as today. Dr. Houston was located on Cub Creek just off 69 Highway north of Parsons. He retired from active practice and devoted a great deal of his time to farming. He was a Republican and Mason.

Dr. William G. Rains was born in Randolph County, Tennessee, October 26, 1837. His education was interrupted by the breaking out of the Civil War.[7] After the war, he began his study of medicine under Drs. J. H. Hill and J. H. Leonard of Decaturville and completed his course at the Nashville University in 1867.

He practiced medicine first at Sulphur Springs but in 1868, he moved to Decaturville. From Decaturville, he moved to Parsons where he served until his death.

On December 3,1867, he married Miss Joan F. Parker, daughter of John F. Parker of Henderson and had four children. He resided at what is now 400 West Main Street in Parsons.

Dr. William Hancock arrived in Decatur County while it was a part of Perry County. He hailed from North Carolina by stagecoach and hung his shingle out near a cluster of sulphur springs in the southern part of the county known as Bath Springs. Here he started a health resort, built a big hotel and treated patients for all types of illnesses. Many came and stayed here to regain their health by drinking the sulphur water. Bath houses were constructed. He practiced here around 50 years prior to his death.[8]

 Dr. Hancock practiced at the health resort whore he offered mineral baths from 1840 until 1860. He passed away in 1866.

 Dr. George Brasher served as sheriff of Decatur County for two terms prior to becoming a doctor. Intermingled in his career, he taught school for a short time.

It was in 1905 that Dr. Brasher entered the University of Tennessee in Nashville to promote his medical career. After three years, he passed the State Board in Medical School and practiced medicine at Sugar Tree one year before going back to the University for his senior year. He graduated from the University in 1909 and interned for nearly 10 years in the Tennessee River Hill country in the north end of Decatur County and the south end of Benton.

His office, which encompassed two rooms, was furnished with an operating table, kerosene lamps and a few shelves of drugs, which was a replica of the other country doctors.

The young doctor had a wide territory in the rugged hilly Tennessee River County. He traveled either on horse back or by buggy.

In the early days of medicine the country doctor was quite versatile, filling the role of surgery, dentistry, general practitioner and ear, eyes and nose specialist. It wasn't uncommon for a doctor to pull out his forceps after being hailed on a country road and pulling a person's tooth.

An interesting account of the outbreak of typhoid fever is found in a publication by Dr. Brasher's son, Phelan B. Brasher. It reads thus: "One of the greatest enigmas of the early era was typhoid fever, which often swept the whole community, leaving the conscientious country doctor bone-tired and defeated and bitterly resentful of his inability to cope with it. "Although we younger doctors had read about the small germs and had even seen some of them under microscopes, there was little or no information as to how to combat the disease or to provide immunization."

"Since we knew nothing of immunizing our well patients, it was not unusual for an entire family to come down with the disease." Dr. Brasher, during the sweltering month of August, in a particular year, delivered eight babies, while ministering to twenty one families down with the typhoid.

During the last twenty years of Dr. Brasher's life, he practiced medicine in Jackson, Tennessee and was president of the Madison County Medical Society and also the West Tennessee Medical Association.

His first wife was Miss Arbie Bright of Decaturville who died at the age of forty five, a victim of tuberculosis.[9]

Dr. Brasher married a second time. He married Miss Irene Foote, a community health nurse and practiced medicine in Jackson until his death in 1942. He was the father of seven children.[10]

Dr. Robert Wylie was born in Decatur County, September 21, 1877, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Wylie. He received his education by attending lectures at the local Universities, as they were called in the early days, later graduating from the University of Tennessee in 1906.

He hung his shingle out at Scotts Hill and practiced here until his death in 1958.

Married to Miss Maxie Turner June 14, 1908, they were the parents of a son and a daughte#. Like father, like son, his son, Dr. Paul Wylie followed in his father's footsteps and became a doctor, practicing in Jackson, Tennessee until his retirement, which he is enjoying now.

Dr. Robert L. Wylie was a very successful doctor in the rural area and he was greatly missed since he was the last doctor serving this area up to the present time. Highlighting his medical career, he was honored on his 50th medical anniversary with "Dr. Wylie" Day.[11]

A doctor in Decatur County with an interesting practice was Dr. David E. Hill, born near Bible Hill in 1852. He received his education, locally in part and received his training at Vanderbilt University. As was the custom in those days, before a doctor hung out his shingle, he practiced under an older physician. Dr. Hill worked under Drs. Hunt and Beard at Denson Landing in Perry County. Later he called on Dr. C. A. Chaffee for assistance.

He lived near Sulphur Fork Creek in Decatur County but moved to Perry County when he was a lad of fourteen. Later he moved back to his home county and practiced mecidine for almost half a century.

 He rode horseback to visit his patients, with medicine in saddle bags. His price for delivering a baby was from $5.00 to $7.50 according to the financial condition of the family. Ordinary visits were $1.00 however, if he passed another doctor's home in route, the price jumped to $2.00.

He was noted for his good memory and a secret formula which he carried to his grave was that of curing hiccups, which was very prevalent in those early days. Other doctors would plead with him for the secret, but he never revealed it. Another great attribute was the fact that he never lost a baby in childbirth.[12] He compounded his own medicine as did others in pioneer days.

He used an iron flared top container, rounded in the bottom, about 12 inches tall, in which he placed the medicine to be beaten up and mixed. Later he ordered his medicine from Van Fleet in Memphis.

The natural born humanitarian was five feet six inches, weighed 130 pounds and had a beard that extended to his waist. It has been said that he had a sore throat all his life, while riding horseback, making calls, until he grew his long beard and that prevented it.

The early doctor moved near Brodies Landing on the Tennessee River and retired on a farm. He died September 9, 1918.

 An earlier Doctor Hill was Dr. Samuel Hill who hailed from Ireland and was practicing in Decatur County in the early 1800s.

 Dr. J. H. Leonard and and Dr. J. H. Still were early doctors who settled in Decaturville. From previous history, these two doctors served as instructors at Decaturville. Many young doctors started their medical profession under them.[13]

 Decatur County was the stomping ground for a number of Dr. Keetons. The first one listed in 1850 Census of Decatur County is Dr. Robert Keeton who came from Illinois and was 49 years of age at this time. He practiced medicine at Shannonville, which was later named Bobs Landing in the southern part of the county.[14] Later he practiced medicine at Scotts Hill.[15] He married Miss Catherine Keeton of Franklin County and they became the parents of eleven children.

Dr. William B. Keeton practiced medicine at Decaturville. He was married to Miss Ella Brasher and they were the parents of four boys, one of whom is presently a doctor, Dr. Bob Keeton practicing in Bruceton.

After the death of his first wife he married Miss Stella Bagby and they were the parents of a daughter and a son. Dr. Keeton died in 1939.

Dr. John T. Keeton practiced medicine in Decatur County settling at Vise Town but later moving to Saltillo and on to Clifton. He married Miss Cordie Holland of Saltillo and they had three daughters and one son. He died at Clifton in 1954.16

Dr. James A. Allen located at Turnbow Creek in Decatur County in 1866. He practiced here until 1893 when he moved to Trenton, Tenn.[17] Dr. C. B. Warren settled here but didn't stay very long. Dr. B. M. Brooks succeeded Dr. C. B. Warren and moved into the Allen home just after he graduated from the University of Tennessee in Memphis. He later moved to what was known as the Edd Lancaster place and practiced here in the same vicinity and in 1900 he bought land from Mrs. Flora Shannon and built the first two story house in Bath Springs.[18]

The slender, five feet ten, doctor was christened Beauregard Martin Brooks. He married Miss Cora Bruce of Dickson, Tennessee in 1893. To this union was born four daughters and three sons, Mrs. Blanche Turner, Mrs. Mae Homer, Mrs. Flavious Alexander and Miss Nona Brooks who died in 1943, W.K. Brooks, Martin Brooks and Erskine Brooks.

Dr. Brooks practiced at Bath Springs until his death in 1929 and was the last practicing physician in the Bath Springs area.[19]

Dr. Gabe Lancaster was an early physician in Decatur County, practicing in the Dunbar community.[20]

Among the doctors who settled at Sugar Tree were Dr. J. E. Martin. Dr. Jimmy Batten, Dr. J. E. Ingram, Dr. James D. Bradley, Dr. Byrd Barnett, and Dr. John Flatt.[21]

Dr. R. Y. Fisher practiced medicine in Decaturville as well as Dr. J. G. McMillan, Dr. Tab [should be Tav] Rogers, Dr. Hurbert Conger and Dr. Pete Conger.

Among those who were listed in the 70th session of the Tennessee State Medical Association in 1903 are Dr. W. G. Rains, who was president of Decatur County Medical Association, Dr. R. Y. Fisher, Dr. J. G. McMillan, Dr. E. D. Bostic, Dr. R. M. Brown, Dr. L.C. Gates, Dr. E. G. Hill and Dr. J.W. Montgomery. Dr. Ed Bostics address is listed as Parsons, Dr. R. Y. Fisher and Dr. J. G. McMillan, Decaturville, Dr. R. M. Brown, Bible Hill, Dr. L. C. Gates, Vise Town, Dr. E. G. Howell, Swallow Bluff and Dr. J. W. Montgomery, Thurman.

Doctors serving the upper end of Decatur County in the Scotts Hill area during the 1806-1900 period were Drs. Pleas W. Austin, 1870, William H. Beville, 1867, Sam B. Keeton, 1884, W. B. Keeton, 1895, Tav Rogers, 1894, Robert L. Wylie, 1906 and Robert Keeton, 1917.[22]

Dr. James McMillan was an early doctor who practiced at Decaturville. He started his practice around 1904 as did Dr. Tav Rogers. Dr. Rogers practiced at Scotts Hill prior to locating in Decaturville. He had a son and daughter.

Dr. McMillan practiced here until his retirement. His son, Dr.James Logan McMillan began his practice here shortly after his father's retirement and continued until his death in 1937.[23] He was an outstanding physician and well beloved by his patients as well as others.

The sturdy built, brown haired doctor went beyond the call of duty trying to alleviate the suffering of his fellowman until he broke his health down. He had one son, who carries his father's name and is practicing in New York.

Dr. Jim Crowder also practiced medicine for a short time in Decaturville.

Dr. J. E. Ingram hailed from Mississippi and chose the hill country of Decatur County to practice medicine. He arrived in Sugar Tree around 1916 and served the community until the break of World War I. During the war, he claimed his wife, Willie, who was also a Mississippian.[24]

In 1921, he moved to Parsons and practiced here until his death in 1962.

Dr. L. E. Luna, a native of Decaturville, came to Parsons in the early 1930s and started his practice. He was noted for his outstanding work in the field of infants, having been trained in a special course in this field; however, he also was successful with adults as well. His wife, Blanche, who was a nurse, assisted him in his practice. They were the parents of a son and daughter. Dr. Luna practiced here until his death in 1968,[25] after which, his wife moved to Knoxville where her son, Joe Lewis Luna is also a physician.

Dr. John N. McAnerny came to Parsons in 1949 and had an office at 207 Tennessee Avenue. Here he practiced medicine until 1951 when he died from a gun wound.

Dr. Edward Cutshaw came to Parsons and located at the corner of Main Street and North Georgia Avenue in a rock house, having his Living quarters and office combination in the 1960s.

Dr. Max Ray Wyatt settled in Parsons at the same location of Dr. John N. McAnerny. He practiced here only a short time until his health failed.

Doctors practicing in Jeanette, first called Howesville, were Dr. Jasper Bray, Dr. C. H. Chafee, who moved to Cardova,[27] Dr. Sharp, Dr. Alonzo Dickson and Dr. Walls. Their first names are not known by older residents.[28]

Dr. Jasper Bray practiced in Darden but later moved to Parsons and practiced until his death. In his later years he slowed down quite a bit and answered office calls only. He was married to the former Suzanna Hendrix and they had one son and one daughter.[29]

Dr. A. G. Hufstedler practiced medicine here until 1929 when he moved to Knoxville. He had two sons and a daughter.[30]

Dr. Pete Conger of Lexington set up practice in Decaturville in the early 1930s. He later moved back to Lexington and his brother Dr. Hubert settled here and practiced both in Decaturville and Parsons.

Dentists who settled in this section were Dr. J. W. Wall, Dr. Ratcliff, Dr. Leonard Hufstedler, Dr. Fleming Blackwell Cooley, III and Dr. Harry Lynn Long.

Dr. Ratcliff resided at the old Adolph Rains house on Virginia Avenue. Dr. Leonard Hufstedler, dentist, settled in Parsons and served the community here about until his death in 1968.

Dr. Cooley came to Parsons and set up practice but remained only a short time. Dr. Harry Lynn Long, a native of Parsons, practiced here for two years but later moved to Milledgeville, Ga. He is the son of Harry and Rubye Long, was outstanding in the field of scouting, having attained the rank of Eagle Scout under scout master Joe Younger. He and Mrs. Long are the parents of three sons and presently reside at Rockmark, Georgia, where he has a successful practice.

Dr. Fleming Blackwell Cooley III of Joilton, Tennessee, settled here and practiced for a short time, prior to moving his practice to Florida. He married a former Decatur Countian, Miss Carolyn Arnold, daughter of Warden and Opal Arnold, on July 28, 1957. He is practicing in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. at the present.

Dr. Paul Ford Teague came to Decatur County in 1962 and started a clinic on Kentucky Avenue in a residence belonging to Edwin Townsend. Assisting him in the clinic was Dr. Joe Wilhite.

Dr. Teague is married to the former Miss Peggy Maples and they are the parents of three sons. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Teague of Parsons.

Dr. Robert Fisher came to Decatur County in July 1964, after interning in Memphis and joined Dr. Teague. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ollie Fisher of Parsons.

After Dr. Paul Ford Teague began practice in Parsons, plans were formulated to construct the first hospital in the county.

Decatur County General Hospital was dedicated in December 1963 and the first patiet, Mrs. Toka Phillips, was admitted on December 8, 1963.

The 22-bed hospital was financed by the taxpayers of Decatur County without any Federal aid. It is owned and operated by the county.

The hospital was equipped with facilities as good, for the size of the hospital, as money could buy, when completed.

Jack Jordan served as the first administrator and Charley Pratt was the first business manager. Mrs. Betty Henry was the first director of nurses and Larry N. Lindsey, the chief technician. Mrs. Gerald Ramey was head dietician, Billy J. Dailey, housekeeper. Dr. Paul Ford Teague was the first head physician. Dr. Robert Fisher joined the staff in 1964 and later Dr. Dennis Savoie of Memphis joined the staff.

Members serving on the Hospital Board were Joe Gregory, Sr. Chairman, H. L. Townsend, Sr., Secretary and Treasurer, Fred Alexander, Vice Chairman, Kenneth Graves, Bob White, Delmar Ballinger and George W. White.

Dr. Paul Ford Teague resigned from the hospital staff and moved to Memphis in 1969. Dr. Charles Alderson, Surgeon, of Memphis joined the staff in 1970 and Dr. George Shannon and Dr. Jimmy Meeks joined the staff in 1974.

Dr. Robert Fisher resigned from the staff in 1974 and moved to Memphis.

In June, 1966, Charlie Pratt, Business Manager succeeded Jack Jordan as administrator when Jordan accepted employment as administrator at Sevier County Hospital.

On April 3,1967, Decatur County Court voted to issue bonds to finance a 14 bed additional space to Decatur County Hospital. The new $124,000 addition to the hospital increased the patient capacity from 22 to 37.

The one-story 7,800 square feet, air-conditioned building doubled the size of the hospital space. Constructed of block, with steel reinforced concrete floors and aluminum windows, the exterior is of brick veneer.

The approximate cost of equipment for the new addition amounted to around $15,000.[31] Included in the addition were Administrative offices, Administrator's office, Records Librarian Office, Conference and In-Service Room, new lobby and waiting room, emergency waiting room, central supply store room, kitchen supplies storage room and doctor's lounge, plus an increase of 20 patient's beds.

In 1971, a Cardiac Care unit was installed in the hospital, upgrading the equipment. It consisted of a two bed Cardiac Care unit and a two bed intensive care unit.

Other giant steps made by the hospital included the upgrading of the X-ray equipment, adding extra registered nurses to the staff, modern dictaphone equipment, making possible for doctors to dictate from the Medical Center as well as at the hospital operating room. A generator, operated by diesel fuel was a very important addition, It was installed at the cost of $15,000 and operated instantly when there is an electrical failure.

Medicare came into effect at the hospital in 1966 and cut the cost of charity cases. The first Medicare patient was Will Ingram.[32] At first there were more female patients than males.

Decatur County Hospital is the first and only hospital in Decatur County to date. The first Gray Ladies to serve at the hospital was in 1964 when a class completed their Red Cross training. Mrs. Imogene Pratt served as the first president of the class. The class served until the hospital saw no need for them; however, in 1975, a new class, with names changed to Red Cross Volunteers, began working in the hospital under the leadership of Mrs. Mary V. Moore.

In 1972, Charlie Pratt resigned as Administrator of the hospital due to ill health and he was succeeded by Larry N. Lindsey who is presently serving. Mrs. Ruth Helen Pinkley is the director of nurses and Mrs. Donna Hayes is Business Manager. Chief Technician is Mr. Rex Evans and Mrs. Nancy Maness is dietician. Mrs. Gracie Escue is housekeeper and Mr. Bill Dailey, maintenance man.[33]

Ambulance service was discontinued in Decatur County in July, 1973, by Funeral homes and the hospital began this service. Those engaged in this service are D. T. Vise, Supervisor, Teddy Myracle, Mrs. Frances Moore, Larry Marshall, Jimmy Conrad and Dickey Thompson.

The Medical Center, located at 1100 Price Street in Parsons, was opened in 1966 with open house. Dr. Paul Ford Teague and Dr. Robert M. Fisher received guests in the spacious paneled waiting room.

The 2,700 square foot brick building has a reception room, business office, emergency room, EKG room, Ultra Sound Therapy room, X-ray room, laboratory, pharmacy and doctors lounge.

The Staff included Larry Kelley, business manager, Mrs. Jean Kindle, bookkeeper, Miss Olga Wulfurt, receptionist, Mrs. Joyce Kizer, L.P.N., Miss Pat Conely, X-ray technician and Mrs. Brenda Keeton, medical assistant.

Prior to the opening of the new medical center, temporary quarters were located at 605 Kentucky Avenue in a former residence.

Personnel today include Mrs. Judy Alderson, business manager, Mrs. Jean Kindle, bookkeeper, Mrs. Alma Tuten, receptionist, Mrs.Joyce Kizer, Mrs. Sandra Troxier and Mrs. Betty Roberts, nurses, Mrs. Joyce Blasingame, cashier, Mrs. Marie Pratt, insurance clerk and Mrs. Brenda Evans payroll clerk. The center is staffed by Dr. Charles Alderson, Dr. Jimmy Meeks and Dr. George Shannon.

Due to the shortage of doctors in the county, for a population of approximately 10,000, a primary care center was set up at Scotts Hill in a trailer September, 1975. It was dedicated with open house, at which time Mr. Gordon Turner was presented by Mr. Fred Alexander, chairman of Decatur County Health Council. He spoke on medical historical facts and Dr. George Shannon and Dr. David T. Allen of the Tennessee Dept. of Public Health outlined some of the problems of rural health care and steps to provide solutions. Scotts Hill Mayor, Wilson Miller, assisted in the dedication.

Staffing the Prmary Care Center are Mrs. Kay Rickrnan, Receptionist, Mrs. Georganna Coleman, nurse practitioner, Mrs. Jo Lois Tuten, medical assistant, and Sandy Mitchell, insurance clerk.[34]

Dr. George Shannon and Dr. Jimmy Meeks see patients at the care center on a scheduled basis. Dr. Shannon, an intern and Dr. Meeks, an obsetrician were recruited by the National Health Service Corps in 1974 to help shoulder the medical load in Decatur County.[35]

The care center is the nearest Scotts Hill has come to having a hospital. They have been served by nearby hospitals at Parsons, Linden, Lexington and Jackson.

Interest in the welfare of the senior citizens in Decatur County resulted in the erection of the Decatur County Rest Home, located at 300 Kentucky Avenue in Parsons. The home is one of the greatest assets to the county.

The one-story 21 red brick building was made possible by the efforts of the late Judge James Long and his wife, Juanita, who filled his unexpired term and the Decatur County Welfare Advisory Committee of 1958. It was financed by a county bond issue.

No funds were available to furnish the home but the enthusiasm of the citizens solved that problem. Business men, civic clubs and individuals took pride in furnishing a room each with their monetary gifts.

May 1, 1960 was a red letter day when Mr. and Mrs. Buren White opened wide the door to those who desired entrance. The first two patients were Mrs. Elmore Pratt and Ted Arnold. Mrs. Eliza Maxwell was the oldest resident at the home who reached the ripe old age of 97.

In January, 1962, the rest home became a nursing home when a nurse was added to the staff. Bed patients were cared for here after the conversion.

Sometimes romantic scenes are visible as the gentleman and the lady engage in serious conversation. One or more of the occupants have followed the dictates of their hearts to the altar and started their own home again in the October years of their lives.

The home was privately operated until February 1, 1967, when it became a county operated home. Among those who have operated the nursing home after the transition were Mr. and Mrs. Narl Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Troy Moore and presently it is being operated under the supervision of Mr. James W. Ayers.

The home does not meet the necessary requirements to operate and a new Parsons Care Center will be constructed, beginning in April of 1976.

The 65 bed nursing home will be known as the Decatur County Manor and the existing facility will be closed when the new home is completed.

It is being constructed by James W. Ayers of Parsons at an estimated cost of $798,000. It is expected to be completed by October, 1976. Proposed site for the new nursing facility is 3.41 acres in the 100 block of Kentucky Avenue, three blocks from Decatur County General Hospital and a block from the Decatur County Medical Center.[36]

Prior to the present facilities made available for the Senior Citizens there was what was called "The Poor House" which was about the last place a person wanted to go. The poor that were not farmed out to individuals in the very early days were kept at a small place on the original town plot in Decaturville until 1878 when a farm lying in the fourth Civil District was purchased by J. Garrett, D. M. Scott, James Jennings and George Morgan from Robert S. Brasher and others.[37]

The farm consisted of 200 acres and was purchased for $500. This farm was located in the Crawford Community about three fourths of a mile from the Crawford School.

Among those who operated the Poor House for the county were Bill Pratt, Ben Hensley and Walter Goff.[39] The farm is presently owned by Coleman Ivey

This county farm for the poor was later sold and one on highway No. 100 was purchased from Frank Scott.[39]

Operators of this Poor House Farm were Mr. Jessie Myracle, Jim Weatherford, Riley Tucker, Gabriel Maness and Will Dees.[40] The farm was purchased in 1930 and operated until 1949 when Mr.Willie Hugh Tillman bought the farm. Mr. Tillman kept one man who was left there when he purchased the farm until he could be boarded out. Mr. Tillman is still on the farm.

Those in the poor house who were able bodied worked on the county farm and made enough to support the farm, plus other farm products. Their clothes were scant and their food meager. The sick ones were pitiful.

After the great depression and various agencies of help came into being, the county farm faded into history and the very poor fared much better.

  1. Goodspeed History of Tennessee
  2. Carl Partin
  3. Goodspeed History, Biographical Appendix
  4. Goodspeed History
  5. Ibid
  6. Ibid
  7. Goodspeed History, Biographical Appendix
  8. W. K. Brooks
  9. R. L. Haney, Decaturville
  10. From Shadows and Sunshine with Cerebral Palsy, written by Phelan B. Brasher, son of Dr. George Brasher
  11. Gordon Turner
  12. Lonnie A. Hill, son of Bruceton
  13. Goodspeed's Tennessee History
  14. Ibid
  15. Gordon Turner's History in Scotts Hill Sesquicentennial Publication
  16. Mrs. Kathleen Fisher, relative
  17. Martin Brooks
  18. Ibid
  19. Ibid
  20. J. R. Lancaster
  21. George Cotham
  22. Gordon Turner
  23. R. L. Haney
  24. Opal Miller
  25. Death Notice, Parsons News Leader
  26. General Knowledge [not listed in text]
  27. Joe Gibson, Jeanette
  28. Pink Bowman, former Jeanette citizen
  29. Ray Jordan
  30. Ibid
  31. Hospital Report to Author
  32. Parsons News Leader article
  33. Hospital records
  34. Jean Kindle
  35. Parsons News Leader
  36. Jackson Sun.Newspaper article
  37. Goodspeed's History of Tennessee
  38. Bill Morgan
  39. Frank Scott, Sr.
  40. Ibid