Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN

Decatur County Towns

Chapter X

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.

 The largest town in Decatur County is Parsons; however, it isn't the oldest. Located near the center of the county, five miles West of the Tennessee River on State Highways Number 20, 100 and 69, it was first known as Parsons Flat.

Before 1889 Henry Myracle owned a large, flat piece of land, the present site of Parsons. In order to get a town started on his land, Mr. Myracle deeded one hundred and forty three and one-third acres (143 1/3) of land to the Tennessee Midland Railroad Company on April 11, 1889.[1]

The land was divided into lots. Mr. Myracle keeping every other row of lots. By so doing this, he not only made money for himself but also promoted the growth of the new town. The town received its name from a Dock Parsons, presumedly son-in-law of Henry Myracle.

The chief road builder in the young town was Mr. L. H. Burke. He laid out Tennessee Avenue through the business section of town which is 100 feet wide. His idea stemmed from assisting Captain Rae in laying out Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.

Main Street and all streets in South Parsons were laid out at this time; however, North Parsons wasn't laid out until later. Streets running east and west from Main are numbered from First through Tenth Streets. Those running North and South are named for States. The majority of streets in the northern section of town are named for old settlers. They are Readey, Long, Rains, Ezra, Jennings, Buckner, Aiken, Gaff, Miller, Evans, Garrett, and Hays Streets. Streets named for families in the southern section are Wheat, Holley, Marshall, Morgan, Price, Newsom and Penticost. Other streets are named Northwood, Hill, Forrest, Oak, Cedar and Elizabeth Street.

The town was chartered in 1913 by an act of the general assembly. Instrumental in getting the town chartered was G. W. Partin, a big political leader, who saw the need and immediately went to work. He met with other business men of the town and the decision was made. Then he contacted Mr. Acklee Lancaster, Lexington lawyer who drew up the bill. A Mayor had to be named, rather than elected, in the initial plans so Will Neely, Depot Agent at that time, agreed to serve. Partin went to Nashville and presented the bill to his representative, Joe Blount, representing Decatur and Benton Counties and it passed. Governor Tom Rye signed the bill.[2]

Serving as the first aldermen were Frank Houston, Bob Laster, and Wid Long. Jim Averett was the first town Marshall. S. L. Jennings served as an early recorder, as well as Hurst Jennings.

There were no salaries paid city officials and the Marshall drew his pay from the fines collected.

Others serving as Mayor of Parsons were T. P. Bateman, Carl W. Partin, J. J. Wesson, W.H. Partin, Arthur Tolley, Roy Garrett, Herman Rains, J. Madison Scott, Bob White, Parce Collett, Hobart Goff, Will Long, A. N. Graves, J. L. Lancaster and Tim Boaz. Parce Collett was the youngest Mayor in the town's history to date. He was 29 years old and served 1960-1962 term of office.

W.H. Neely served three terms, and Madison Scott is the only Mayor to serve four terms. Some others listed above served two terms.[3]

Tim Boaz is serving as Mayor, having been elected June 1976 to succeed J. L. Lancaster who served two terms.

The form of government was changed from Mayor-Aldermen to City Manager Council form of Government under the Mayorship of Bob White in 1968.

John Young served as the first City Judge of Parsons and Mrs. Lillye Younger served as the first woman city Judge succeeding Young in 1972 and served two terms. In 1976 Madison Scott was appointed City Judge.

Serving as Recorder of Parsons were G.D. Long, who served the office until 1927 when he was succeeded by J. C. Partin. L. R. Carrington served as Recorder under A. F. Tolley Mayor in 1934. Others serving were Joe Crawley, Olan Davis, John Young, Mrs. Nell Rogers and Charlie Pratt.

Leo Yarbro is serving as City Manager having succeeded Buddy Yates.

Early Aldermen were A.N. Baugus, Frank Houston, W.H. Neely, Jack Odle, Hobart Goff, J.D. Porter, Dr. J.E. Ingrani, O.H. Roberts, N.J. Arnold, S.L. Jennings, J.J. Wesson, H.L. Beale, A.G. Hufstedler, Joe Jennings, G.C. Pollard, Paul Rains, Albert Bowman, Dr. L.F. Hufstedler, E.J. Houston and Dr. F.J. Bray.

 Serving as Aldermen in 1976 are Danny Roberts, Vice Mayor, Johnny White, Charles Dickerson, Ab Price, Ronald Wart Dickson, James E. Wood and W.B. Moore.

W.E. Jordan was appointed Marshall of Parsons July 6, 1923.[4] He was succeeded by J.L. Lowe. City Marshall was allowed $25.00 per month salary, which came out of City funds. Bud Anderson was appointed City Marshall after J.L. Lowe resigned in 1923. J.W. Doyle was appointed City Marshall in 1925.

W.D. Bateman succeeded J.W. Doyle as City Marshall in 1926. R.F. Laster was elected to serve as City Marshall in 1927. Upon his resignation, J.M. Bateman was elected. C.L. Hayes was employed as City Marshall December 17, 1927 and was succeeded by W.D. Bateman in 1928. The salary of this office at this time was $1.00 per day, plus a bonus of at least one half the amount of the fines collected. J.L. Lowe served the office again until 1928 when Jim Akin was hired for 12 months at a salary of $50 per month, conditioned upon a subscription of not less than $20 per month from the business men of the town.

Edward Brower was sworn in as City Marshall October 22, 1929. Spike Hayes served as City Marshall as well as John Taylor, Jim Taylor and A.R. Evans.

Parsons was without a jail when Jim Averett served as Marshall. After his resignation, Jim Houston and Mayor Neely, with the assistance of G. W. Partin, had a calaboose constructed over a deep ravine, just across from Holcomb Product Company.

One of the town's young men, who enjoyed more than a nip of alcoholics, was the first to be incarcerated. After an overnight stay, his mother calling his name as she searched the town, discovered he had been locked up in the new Calaboose and immediately paid him out.

By the way of retaliation, the young man secured four sticks of dynamite used at gravel pits and the next night at midnight, the towns people were awakened by the explosion.[5]

An iron jail cage was purchased from the town of Clifton in 1943 when Hobert Goff was serving as Mayor. It was eight by eight by seven feet high and the iron floor measured 1/4 of an inch. This was installed at the present building of WTBP Radio Station at 103 E. Second Street and served until the present City Hall was built.[6] during the term of Will Long, Mayor, 1948-49.

A jail is housed in Parsons City Hall; however, for the past four years, offenders have been transferred to Decatur County Jail.

Five policemen operate eight hour shifts, providing a full-time police protection. The Parsons Police Department operates two cars. They are equipped with two way radios tied in with the County Sheriff and Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Presently James Bowman is Chief of Police. Others serving are Ralph Warren, Albert Miller, Adele Teague, the first black ever to serve, and James Goodman, who works part time.

Unlike the early town marshall, the policemen are hired on a salary basis, with no fees from the town's fines.

The thriving town has a volunteer fire department which is headed by Danny Roberts, Fire Chief. There are fifteen (15) men answering the fire alarm in the town.

 The town's business meetings spiraled from the depot in 1913, later meeting in the K. & P. Hall, then Houston's Lumber Shed, Poolie Bateman's home and Parsons Auto Company.

The second brick house constructed in Parsons was the Jim Lamping home, located at 600 Tennessee Avenue, South. It was a show place, with a wide porch extending the length of the front of the house and a stairway leading to the bedrooms. It was constructed in the early 1900's by Mr. L.H. Nail, an early contractor. The first brick house was the Dr. RY. Fisher home.

 Later the Lamping family moved to Nashville and the Joe Jennings family bought the house and lived here.

In 1946 Mrs. Naomi Jones and Mrs. Lillian Walker bought the big house and opened up the Walker's Hotel. They operated the Hotel until 1974 when they sold it to Brewer, Inc. who is opening up a funeral home in it at the present time.

The first Mortuary in Parsons was established by Arthur Tolley and Royal Pafford of Lexington. It was opened up at the location of the present Parsons Library on Tennessee Avenue, S. in 1926.

 Prior to this date, there was no embalming methods practiced here. Caskets were purchased from G.W. Partin and the family prepared the corpse for burial.

Later the business moved to the E.J. and Mattie Houston house at the corner of Tennessee Avenue, S. and Ninth Street. From here the funeral home located at what was known as the Jennings Building at the corner of Tennessee Avenue, S. and Second Street West.

The present modern Parsons Mortuary was constructed in the early 1940's at 211 W. 2nd Street. In 1959 the chapel was added. At the death of Arthur Tolley and Royal Pafford, ownership of the Mortuary passed to his wife, Mrs. Nellie Colwick Tolley and their daughter, Mrs. Anita Haws and Mrs. Sula Mae Pafford of Lexington.[7]

Serving as the present embalmer is Bill Pinkley and Jack Bowman is an employee.

 Another Mortuary is esculating here. The former home of J. L. Lamping on Tennessee Avenue is being converted into the Decatur County Funeral Home in the near future.

Customs have changed tremendously in ways of showing courtesy to the deceased of a family. In the early days, the corpse was kept at home and prepared for burial and the whole neighborhood came and spent the night with the family. Food was prepared and a midnight meal was served. Today, the body remains at the Mortuary and church groups pair off in twos and take two hour shifts after ten p.m. After that time, friends call sparsely. Oft times, the funeral home closes at 10 p.m.

 In the early days, before Mortuaries, services were held at the churches and as the corpse was being transferred to the graveyard, the First Baptist Church, Southern Methodist Church and Northern Methodist churches tolled the church bells one right after the other, until the body arrived for burial. Wagons and teams were used as modes of transportation and later horse-drawn black hearses. Today limousines are used.

Jim Lamping operated the first Hearse, now called ambulance, in the county. It was a glass bodied vehicle with four wheels like a wagon, and was drawn by two horses.

The black glass had an intricate design resembling curtains imprinted around the sides of the vehicle.

 Lamping kept the hearse at the livery stable, located off Tennessee Avenue. When power driven hearses came into being, the horse-drawn hearse faded away and today it is only a memory in the minds of the December age.

City taxes in 1918 were 30 cents per hundred. Ten cents for schools and twenty cents for the town.

The tax rate in Parsons in 1922 was seventy cents ($.70) for each $100 assessed calculation. Fifteen cents of this was used for schools, twenty cents for the streets and the remaining thirty five cents was used for "The best interest of the Town."[8]

In 1923 the tax rate was hiked to one dollar ($1.00) on the hundred and divided as follows: Fifty five cents ($.55) to City, forty cents ($.40) sinking fund, two cents ($.02) for streets and three cents ($.03) went to the school.

According to demands, the tax rate was set at $1.50 per hundred in 1925 and divided as follows: One dollar for general funds and fifty cents ($.50) for schools. In 1935, the tax rates were raised to one dollar and seventy five cents per hundred ($1.75) and apportioned as follows: $1.00 for bonds and interests, fifty cents ($.50) general purposes to retire outstanding warrants and twenty five cents ($.25) to pay for Fire Hydrants rent which agreement was made at the time of securing water and sewer system.

Present tax rates are $1.75 on the hundred.

On November 28, 1927 privilege license for each power driven vehicle was passed by the City Board. The sum of $2.00 as tax and twenty five cents ($.25) for metal tags were charged. Today the license known as "City Stickers" cost $3.00 and are paper material.

 An ordinance regulating parking in Parsons was passed in 1923.

 It reads thus, "All automobiles parked within the business section of town, shall be facing sidewalk and up or near curb of side walk as possible. No cars shall be allowed to use cut-out nor use car with exhaust pipe out of muffler within the corporate limits of said town." Some years later parking in the middle of the street was passed; however today, the old rule is prevalant. The speed limit in Parsons was 12 MPH in 1918. Today, it is 30 MPH and 40 MPH.

In August of 1923, an ordinance passed that all male citizens in the town over 20 years of age and under fifty (50) years shall pay a street tax of $5.00 for the year of 1923. In 1918, they were required to work seven days each month on the streets or pay $6.00.

 A business tax was imposed in 1923 known as a privilege tax. Taxes were as follows: Soda Fountains $1.50, Filling Stations $2.50, Barber Shops $1.00, Peddlers $.50, Draymen $4.00, Photographers $5.00, Moving Pictures $5.00, Shoe Shops $2.50, Butcher Shops $5.00, Ice house $2.50, Vaudevilles $5.00 daily, Produce Company $5.00 and Pressing Club $2.50.

Sidewalks were built in Parsons in 1923. Motion was made by Hobart Goff and the ordinance passed December 29, 1922.[9] Construction of a concrete side walk along the north side of Main Street going west to the intersection of Bible Hill Road spiraled in 1931. On April 7, 1931 the corporate limits of the town of Parsons were extended.[10]

The Blue Law was passed in Parsons on February 8, 1926 when a resolution stated ‘That all places of business be closed in Parsons on Sunday" with C.V. Maxwell, acting Mayor in the absence of W.H. Neely, Mayor. This new law has been lifted and today business places open as they choose on Sunday.

In the early days of the town, a school board was elected. Serving on the town board of education in 1927 were H.G. Roberts Ezra Jennings and W.D. Malin. Members of the Board of Health in 1923 were Dr. R.Y. Fisher. Dr. A.G. Hufstedler and Mrs. J.E. Ingram. In 1926 Dr F.J. Bray, Dr. A.G. Hufstedler and Dr. J.E. Ingram were appointed. Serving this office in 1927 were Dr.F.J.Bray, Mrs. G.C. Pollard and Mrs. W.A. Partin. In 1929 Dr.J.E. Ingram, Carl Partin and J.C. Duck served the office. Dr. A.G. Hufstedler, Rev. A.U. Nunnery and Mrs. E.C. Houston served this position in 1919.

J.L. White served as city attorney of Parsons in 1928. His salary was 10% of collection of taxes plus a $100 guarantee. In 1934, Elmer Stewart served as city attorney. Attorneys serving in later years were Joe Davis, James Smith and Edwin Townsend.

 The Parsons Cemetery was donated to the town by Henry Myracle, with the stipulation that no gravesite would ever by sold, a rule which has been kept to date. Since that time, an additional parcel of land adjoining the old cemetery has been purchased and lots are sold here.

The first person buried in the old cemetery was Connie Gooch, who was three years old.[11]

The first gravel pit in Decatur County was owned by R.H. Pentecost and was located at the foot of Graveyard Hill in Parsons. He was the first man in the county to send a load of gravel to Shelby County. A tragic event happened in 1907 when Little Joe Lewis, son of Bee Lewis, legs were amputated while playing at the pit.[12]

 Early industries in the town include a heading factory, owned by a Mr. Parsons, who hailed from French Lick, Indiana. This factory turned out barrel heads. R.J. Snider headed a bedspring factory here in 1904.

  It was located at the intersection of Kentucky Avenue and Fifth Avenue adjoining his home. G.W. Partin was the owner of a brick kiln which was located on Tennessee Avenue near the present W.D. Colwick Building. Bricks were made here for his famous Tulane Hotel which spiraled here in the early 1900's.[13]

A clearing house operated here in 1893 but it went broke and the owner cleared out.[14]

Among the first in business places in Parsons include a Jewelry Store operated by Mitchell Gibson. Pinkley Roberts ran the first mercantile store in the young town. William C. Cole owned the first telephone company. It was located in the back of Parsons Bank Building here and Mrs. Maude Arnold was the first telephone operator.[15] T.P. Bateman was the second owner and operated it in his home on Eighth Street in Parsons. Later Jack Odle bought the company and it was located in the upstairs of Maxwell's Dept. Store, 105 Tennessee Avenue, S. He moved it into his home at the corner of north Main Street and 69 Highway North. After his death, his son, Dave Odle continued the business independently until he sold it to Continental Telephone Company Jan. 19, 1966. The new dial system invaded Decatur Co. Apr. 25, 1953.[16] The first Barber Shop in Parsons was owned by Tate Pelley and Mrs. Lorraine Barnette Evans operated the first Beauty Shoppe.

Two old timers who operated a business here were Ike Smith who had a big general mercantile near the present location of Parsons Mortuary and Edd Austin who ran a grocery store here. Authur Baugus operated an ice house in the early 1930's which afforded work for a number of persons during the depression years.

Dr. William Gaston Rains was the first doctor to serve Parsons. He resided at 400 West Main Street in a big two-story house. Other early doctors were Dr. Buster Goodlow and Dr. Trent Haggard.[17]

There were three church denominations, First Baptist, First Methodist Epistocal Church South and the Northern Methodist church. There are nine churches today, United Methodist, First Baptist, Calvary, Cumberland Presbyterian Faith Baptist, First United Pentecostal, Church of Christ, Seven Day Adventist, and Catholic Church.

There were three marble yards, owned by Will Arnold, Jim Partin and Tom Gibson. Rains Brothers Drug Store was the only drug store here. There were two hotels, two livery stables, two banks, one barber shop, a flour mill and cotton gin, eight mercantile stores, one school building, a railroad, postoffice and a clearing house.[18]

An earlier picture of the town of Parsons shows the muddy streets and a pig loitering around on Tennessee Avenue. Business places in the picture include Farmers Bank, Jack Riggs Grocery, Mitchell Gibson Jewelry Shop, The Parsons Messenger Newspaper, edited by Sterling Barry, Tom Hays General Mercantile, Will Arnold's Marble Shop, Tulane Hotel, George W. Partin's Hardware Store, Bank of Parsons, Newt Arnold General Merchandise, Masonic Hall upstairs, John P. Rains Hotel, Rains Drug Store operated by John P. and Adolphus Rains, Milton Houston General Merchandise.[19]

Maxwell's Dept. Store, formerly Maxwell's Variety Store was the first Variety Store in Decatur County, owned by C.V. and Mae Maxwell.

 Farmers Bank opened its door for business in a side room of Milton Houston General Merchandise building. The Charter was obtained on April 15, 1907 and the bank was capitalized at $20,000.

The original stockholders were John H. Jennings, Joe Jennings, W.W. Jennings, S.L. Jennings, Hiram Jennings, Ezra Jennings, Frank Houston, Dr. A.Y. Fisher, Joe Wheat, M.L. Houston and D.W. Lacy.

The first board of directors were John H. Jennings, President, Will Jordan, S.L. Jennings, Frank Houston, Joe Wheat and M.L. Houston, who served as vice president and Joe Jennings as Cashier.

The first depositor was the late Mossie Arnold, former County Historian, who deposited ten cents ($.10). Rent for the building was $2.50 a month and the Cashier received $45 per month.

President John H. Jennings died in July of 1907 and Frank Houston was elevated to President.

In 1911 the first bank building was constructed at 111 Tenn. Ave. S. at the cost of $1 680.67. The bank survived the serious depression of the early 1930's.[20] It was among the first to open after the president closed all banks.

In July 1940 H.D. Pevahouse became president of the bank and H.L. Townsend, Sr. became Cashier.

In December 1944 the bank reached a milestone in operation with a total asset of one million dollars. Raymond Townsend, who had been serving as Postmaster, joined Farmers Bank as a full time officer of Vice President.

 With continued growth and after two additions to the old bank quarters, the directors decided to construct a new building. The bank, located at 121 Tennessee Ave., S., was opened for business April 7, 1954.

 In 1961 H.L. Townsend, Sr. was elevated to President, H.L. Townsend, Jr. arose to Vice President and Cashier and H.D. Pevahouse became Chairman of the Board of Directors.

In 1968 a night depository was installed for the benefit of the customers. The latest improvement is a drive-in window and a walk-up window. At this time in 1972 the interior was completely redecorated with Mrs. Ruth Dodson Townsend serving as interior decorator.

H.L. Townsend, Sr., who was serving as Chief Executive Officer of the bank, was elevated to Chairman of the Executive Committee January 1, 1971 and H.L. Townsend, Jr. became President. John D. Townsend spiraled to Vice President and Cashier. Mrs. Hilda Townsend and Bill Fisher became Assistant Cashiers, Ruth J. Townsend and Ethel Pevahouse are directors. Present personnel includes Miss Carolyn Sewell, Mrs. Iris J. Carrington, Mrs. Dorothy Yarbro, Mrs. Marjorie Maners, Mrs. Lena Sue Roberts, Mrs. Johnnye Smith, Mrs. Laverne Odle, Mrs. Jane Anderson, Mrs. Carol Keen, Mrs. Carolyn Wood, Mrs. Ann Brasher, Mrs. Linda Mathis and Mrs. Betty Johnson. Ray Mills is custodian.

The first bank to organize in Parsons was known as the Bank of Parsons, which was organized by L.H. Burke and Wid Long around 1903. This bank was located on Main Street in a two-story building. The first Cashier was Leslie Rains. Its capital stock was $25,000 and never seemed to grow. Rains moved to Jackson and Ernest Moreland became the next cashier. He moved away and Connie Long became Cashier.[21]

The bank building was destroyed by fire and new quarters were found in a small store building, which is a part of the present Maxwell's Dept. Stor.

 As was the case during depression days, this bank was never able to open after President Franklin Roosevelt closed all banks. Albert Bowman served as Assistant Cashier of the bank earlier. It was closed in 1931.

Another interesting early business was that of W.G. Fonville who was a shoe cobbler and had a small shoe shop in one side of the Roberts Mercantile Company here. He made saddles, harnesses and shoes for men as well as did repair work. His famous work of art was the pair of shoes which he made for Leslie Rains, a dashing bachelor for his wedding outfit.[22]

 The first house built in Parsons was known as the Dock Parsons House, which was a two-story dwelling with a stairway on the outside. A tavern was run in connection with the house. It was built before the Civil War, before Parsons became a town, and was located on the stage road between Perryville and Jackson.

Later Ed Buckner bought the house and his wife, Mary Buckner operated the first boarding house here. Her husband left her with six children, the big house and lots of land; however, she managed to make a living for them.

The house was later known as a "Haunted House" and many persons were afraid to go there. It later became the property of Dee Hayes; however, the house burned.[23]

Perhaps the first hotel in Parsons was known as the Hop Steed Hotel. It was located on Florida Avenue just back of the Carl Partin house. At the death of Mr. Steed, the hotel was sold to Harrison Rains, who continued to run it.[24]

A showplace for Parsons at the turn of the century was the Tulane Hotel on Main Street.

The two-story brick structure was built by George Washington Partin who came to Decatur County from Ringo, Ga. Ike Buckner was the contractor and Horace White was the brickmason.

Completed in 1896, the 12 room hotel was operated by Mr. and Mrs. Will Warden.

Partin ran a hardware store in the lower east side of the hotel building. On the West side was the hotel lobby, a dining area, which seated 50 persons, and the manager's living quarters. The rooms upstairs were for the hotel use.

It received its name from the Tulane Hotel in Nashville. Partin was quite a political figure and put up at the Nashville Hotel. Being so impressed with the hotel, he asked the owners if he might use the name for his new hotel and was granted permission.

The upstairs parlor was where Mr. Partin entertained his dignitaries such as Gov. Ben Hooper and Gov. AIf Taylor. The elaborate furnishings came from Chicago.[25]

Following the Warden's management, Mr. and Mrs. George Partin operated the hotel. Others who operated it at various times were the J.C. Partins, J.U. Sparks, Hugh Powers, Elmer Neals and Ray Jordans.

Mr. and Mrs. W.G. Fonville measured all the carpets for the hotel, which were woven in three feet width and it took them two months to "whip" them together. Needles were pulled through beeswax to keep the moths from cutting the carpets.[26]

The hotel changed hands after the death of its owner in 1920. Mr. and Mrs. Dick Walker operated it from 1920 until 1926. In 1926, Dr. L.F.' Hufstedler bought the hotel and Mr. and Mrs. Ray Jordan operated it.

In January of 1930, Mrs. Artie Bussell took over the management of the hotel. One clear cold October Night in 1931, it was destroyed by fire. Key Bussell jumped up and grabbed his double barrel shotgun and began shooting in the street to awaken the townspeople.

Soon the street was filled but the fire was too far gone to save anything.

The only original hotel building from the early days of the town is still standing today. Built by John P. Rains, it was another showplace in the town.[27]

 The two-story brick building was completed in 1898. Upon completion, a ball was held before furnishings were added. It was a gala occasion when almost everyone in the township attended. At midnight, refreshments were served after which couples continued the dosie do square dance. Mrs. Vada Warden and Mrs. Laura Wheat were among the guests.[28]

Downstairs quarters were used for a business place which the owner operated for a mercantile store. Three downstairs rooms were used for a lobby, dining area and kitchen. There was a side entrance to the hotel.

The upstairs was used for a hotel with the exception of the three rooms over the lobby, dining room and kitchen which were used for the family.

The lower quarters were partitions for two business places. Sid Bawcum operated a grocery store here in the early 1930's.

Rains sold the building to the Colwick family and moved to Memphis. Later W.D. Colwick and son, Glennie, bought the business and continued operation of both the hotel and mercantile company. The hotel operation ceased but the mercantile business continued until 1972.

Located at the intersection of Main Street and Tennessee Avenue, the hotel had an iron fenced garden with benches. In later years, this was used for checker players in the town and old timers who swapped yarns and knives.

This building is presently housing Hill Rug Company here.

A great educational advantage to Decatur County was when the Parsons Public Library became a reality. It is a striking example of what a small town can do for itself by itself.

The project began in 1963 when Mrs. Lerah Washam and Mrs. Lillye Younger, representing civic-minded groups in the community, proposed to Mayor Madison Scott that the town pay one-half of the cost of maintaining a public library. Then the energetic women approached county officials, under Judge Juanita Long and county court members voted to pay the other half of the cost. Maintenance at first was $62.50 for city and $62.50 for county funds.

The library opened in a small building sandwiched between K.K. Houston Company and Maxwell's Dept. Store.

Mrs. Constance Collett and Mrs. Lerah Washam solicited merchants, who assisted in furnishing the library. Tuten Lumber Co. and Tinker Lumber Company furnished the material for the first shelves which underscored the books.

It was originally stocked with more than 1,000 books provided by the Regional Library Service in Jackson. Mrs. Lerah Washam became the first librarian.

Serving on the first Parsons Library Committee were Mrs. Lillye Younger, Chairman, Joe Gregory, Leo Yarbro, C.A. Palmer, Mrs. Hilda Townsend, Mrs. Doris Fisher, Mrs. Alice Reid and Mrs. Lerah Washam.

The library outgrew its initial building and moved into new quarters across the street on Tennessee Avenue, South.

 Mrs. Lelia Conder succeeded Mrs. Washam as librarian. Parsonians continued to work to improve the library. The Rotary Club donated long tables and 30 chairs for the reading room. Mrs. Alice Reid and Mrs. Constance Collett donated electric fans. Home Demonstration Clubs later redecorated the interior and installed new wall to wall carpeting, draperies and shades.

The library has grown tremendously and the flow of books continues to increase under the direction of Mrs. Lelia Conder, who has served as librarian since the first librarian.

Parsons has experienced transportation from the Ox-cart to the Airplanes. After the Peavine train ceased operation motor freight carriers served the area. In 1968 there were five motor carriers serving Parsons as well as the Traliway Bus lines and REA Railway Express.

A great asset to the town is Parsons Municipal Airport, Scott Field. Built in 1959, the quarter-million dollar airport was financed by state, county and city funds, with no federal aid. Its name is derived from Madison Scott, Mayor, when the city acquired the airport.

September 2, 1960 John Richie and Paul Striegel leased the airport from the town to operate.[29]

In 1964, a building was constructed on the ground which includes office space for managers, a lounge, lobby and snack bar.

Located near the Industrial area of the town near the National Guard Building, there is no time lost to and from the airport. It is used by plant officials of the county as well as business men. Presently an extension program enlarging the parking space 2,200 square yards and increasing the capabilities of the airport is emerging.

Other features of the airport are that it is accessible to the Civil Air Patrol, is used by owners of private planes, is the home of the Parsons Flying Club and serves as an emergency landing for planes.

Herman Townsend served as manager for a number of years and today H.E. Butler is the manager.

 Parsons owns 17 acres available for industry, utilities are already available to these sites. The latest industry to locate here is Norris Dispensers, Division of Kolpak Industries.

Communications in Parsons include the Parsons News Leader, a weekly county paper with a circulation of 3,500, an increase of 1968, 1500 circulation.

A feather in the town's cap was when Townsend Broadcasting Corporation officially opened on Saturday, October 3,1968. The corporation submitted to the Federal Communications Commission on July 19, 1968 an application requesting a construction permit for a new radio station to operate in Parsons. The station is located at 103 E. Second Street.

Programming includes news, with emphasis on local news, public affairs, sports, entertainment, music and morning devotions. Historical data has been presented over the air since its early days by the County Historian.

Officers, directors and stockholders of the corporation are Hobart L. Townsend, Jr., President, and Director, Ruth D. Townsend, Secretary, Treasurer and Director, Hobart L. Townsend, Sr., Director. Present announcers are Mike Kizer and James Conrad, General Manager & Chief Engineer is Ralph Clenney. Bronson Townsend, Asst. Manager & Program Director. Edna Maxwell is Secretary and Carol Wood is bookkeeper.

Parsons Waterworks were installed in 1935, by Voltz Construction Co. Two wells were dug in the City Park on 69 Highway N. which served the town for a short time but the supply wasn't adequate. Then a much bigger well was dug at the back of the park. This supply wasn't sufficient so the town built a water plant on the banks of the Beech River from which water was obtained. Presently a new plant is near completion on the river.

A water tank was installed on what is known as "Graveyard Hill" on Kentucky Avenue with a capacity of 100,000 gallons. Later a larger tank, holding 500,000 gallons has been installed near the former tank.

Despite the fact that Beech River is very muddy, the water passes through a treatment process which consists of coagulation, sedimentation, filtration, chlorination and flouridation.

Not only does the Parsons Water System furnish the township but meets the needs of Decaturville, Perryville and rural areas.

Natural gas was installed in Parsons in 1954 at a cost of $315,000. J.L. Lancaster served as the first Gas Superintendent, holding this position for 17 years. There were only 24 customers the first month; however, there were 120 by the end of the year. In 1965 the number had climbed to 800 and has continued to climb since.

In 1966 a $101,000 expansion of the natural gas line from Parsons to Perryville was completed. At the beginning of the extension there were 80 potential subscribers in Perryville but the number increased rapidly.

New quarters for the gas company opened at 9th Street West in 1964.

The gas line was extended to the Beacon area at a cost of $60000.[30] Decaturville was served from the Parsons Natural Gas Company from its installation.

In 1972 a Peak Shaving Plant was erected near the Parsons Airport, at a cost of $180,000. This plant was constructed to alleviate a gas shortage by creating additional gas.

Others serving as superintendent of the Gas Company were Billy Goff, Ray Adkins, Wardell Inman, Leo Yarbro, John Zimmerman, present superintendent who is also serving as Water Superintendent. Others serving in the Water Department are J. W. Gibson, Dallis Pate, Max Wilkins, and James Tyler. Gus Atkin is presently reading gas meters, Jack Pickens is supervisor at the Natural Gas Office.

The electricity is supplied by the Tennessee Valley Authority and distributed by Lexington Electric System, located at 213 Tennessee Avenue, South.

In the early 1920's independent light companies furnished electricity for the town. The first plant consisted of a two Fairbanks Morris Engine, pulled by a generator and was located near the intersection of Main and Tennessee Avenue on the West side of the street, back of the present Maxwell's Department Store. It was known as the Public Light and Power Co. Associated with the plant were Jim Lamping and Adolphas Rains. At this time, electricity was furnished to businesses only but later it was taken into the homes. However, it was operated from early evening until around mid-night. Customers were signaled when the current was going off with a wink, then another wink and the third warning meant curtains, it was off. Then the consumer relied on their famous kerosene light, prevalent in the old days, if the need arose.[31]

An ordinance of the town of Parsons contracting with the Southern Cities Power Company of Chattanooga to furnish electric current for said town of Parsons, granting a 30 year franchise to said company passed June 15, 1926. The grant wasn't exclusive and the town reserved the right to grant a franchise for the same purpose to any other company or corporation.

All went well for a spell until December 12, 1928 when the town board took action against the company. The minutes of the meeting reads thus: "After much discussion, it was ordered that Recorder, J.C. Partin notify local manager of the Southern Cities Electric Power Company that street lights shall be discontinued until further notice." Also the recorder was instructed to address a letter to the power company asking that citizens of Parsons be rebated one half the amount they have paid for services during the period.[32]

Later Tennessee Electric Power Company extended the services here with a Mr. Steinwinder serving as manager. Additional power lines were installed and the services upgraded.[33] This contract was made December 16, 1929 with the Southern Cities Electric Power Company.

After the initiation of T.V.A., Lexington Electric System bought Tennessee Electric Power Company August 16, 1939, and electricity was then enlarged to the surrounding rural area of the county. Bills were paid in Lexington at first but in 1949, an office was opened in Parsons with Bob Adams, serving as Area Supervisor, and has remained in this capacity since that date.[34]

 The office of Economic Opportunity set up a free laundry service, which offers washing, ironing, sewing and clothing distribution services here in 1969. It is primarily for low income families, retired senior citizens and underprivileged persons. It was set up in Decatur County from a $165,995 office of Economic Opportunity grant serving seven West Tennessee Counties.

The government funds also provide 8 cents per mile for transportation to the laundry center for those who may encounter transportation problems. Mrs. Bobby Gurley and Mrs. ma Arnold were employees here in the late 1960's.

The service is most beneficial to those living in the government housing project, especially the widows.

Donations of clothing for needy families are sized and hung in a room, waiting to fill clothing needs as they arise in families.[35]

Another project for the low income families is the Parsons-Decaturville Housing Authority which has constructed homes for rent.

The Charter was granted on January 22, 1959; however the first occupancy is dated December 6, 1963.[36]

The project is operated jointly between Parsons and Decaturville, with each town appointing one commissioner and two appointees select the third one. President commissioners are Madison Scott, Jack Rushing and Jimmy Boroughs.

The Parsons project started with five acres of land in north Parsons from which 24 units were constructed. Later around 10 acres were bought and 25 units added.

Decaturville project numbered 25 units however in 1976, eight of these units were destroyed by fire and are presently being re-built.

Executive director of the project is Roy Garrett, who served from 1960 until 1963. He was succeeded by Bill Patton. Others serving in order are Ben D. Coble, Mrs. Muriel Gibson, Jack Rushing and Mrs. Edna McNeil who has been serving in this capacity since June 1,1967.

Recreation has meant a great deal to Decatur Countians. Parsons owns a park located on highway 69 which affords pleasure for the youngsters by way of swings, slides, see-saws, etc. and for the bit older ones, a tennis court was built for the fascinating game of tennis. Serving on the board of Aldermen and instrumental in the planning of the tennis court was Cleve Yates.

The first tennis court in Parsons was located near the intersection of Third Street and Georgia Avenue, S. It was started by L.H. Burke, and G.W. Partin. Burke purchased the tennis ball set in Nashville. Walter Partin, Carl Partin, Rube Harrington and Bob Burke scraped the ground and laid out the tennis court.[37]

A new cable antenna television system for the Decaturville-Parsons area was installed in 1967. The antenna is located three miles south of Parsons on Decaturville Highway. The service enables viewers a much clearer picture was well as drawn in more television stations.

The second financial enterprise located in Parsons August 31,1968. It is Citizens State Bank headed by Douglas Hayes, President.

The bank opened its doors for business in temporary quarters on Main Street in Parsons August 31, 1968 awaiting construction of the new bank building.

It was a gala opening in the custom-made trailer near the intersection of Main Street and Tennessee Avenue, S. Officials of the bank reported a successful first day. J. C. Richardson, Secretary-Treasurer, reported deposits of approximately $500,000 were received.

Officials on hand for the opening were Douglas Hayes, President, Richard Charlton, Executive Vice President and Cashier, Carl McNeil, Vice President and J.C. Richardson. Barney Anderson served as Assistant Cashier and Mrs. Wayne Byrd and Mrs. Thomas D. Baker were employees. James Smith represented the bank as lawyer.

The bank capitalized at $400 thousand and had 204 stockholders. Initial board of directors included E.E. Mooney, Robert Fisher, Richard Charlton, Mrs. H.E. Barnett, Madison Scott, James Goff, Bud Tuten, Ralph Smith, James Smith, James Jordan, George A. Bell, J.C. Richardson, Carl McNeil and Douglas Hayes.

The new bank opened in 1969 at 115 Main Street. The new two-story building is of masonry construction with a brick exterior, a continuous canopy at the entrance and a full sized basement.

The exterior has a covered drive-n window and a night depository. Oak paneled walls and an acoustical tile ceiling dominates the lobby.

There are five teller stations, a conference room, employees lounge, vault, bookkeeping area and cashier's private office on the first floor.

The 4,200 square feet building has a 20 car parking lot which adjoins it.

 Included in the present personnel are Douglas Hayes, President, James Smith, Vice President, Assistant Cashiers, Steve White and Mrs. Vonelle Baker, serving as tellers are Mrs. Vicky Montgomery, Mrs. Shirley McCormick, Mrs. Gaylon Cliff, and note tellers are Mrs. Vicky Montgomery and Mrs. Sharon Roberts. Bookkeepers are Mrs. Jerry Ward and Miss Shelia Adkisson .

Neither rain, snow or sleet will stop the courier from his appointed rounds" was adhered to in this section even before the dawn of the town of Parsons.[39]

In the pioneer days, the mail arrived about once a week by horseback and later by horse drawn hacks.

The first postoffice to locate in Parsons was October 3, 1893.[40] Serving as the first postmaster here was Leslie Rains, It was located in the Newt Arnold-Leslie Rains General Mercantile Store, at the corner of Main and Tennessee Avenue North.[41] Rains served from May 7, 1597 until December 7,1903.

In the early days, the postoffice sprouted up all over town. It was similar to a Merry-go-round, following the initial pattern of locating in the business place of each postmaster.

 Succeeding Rains as postmaster was George W. Partin who served the office from December 7, 1893 until January 18, 1909. Again, the post office moved. This time to the lower floor of the newly erected Tulane Hotel on Main Street. Due to lack of space from the flourishing business, Partin moved the post office into a small office adjacent to the hotel. It required additional employees and he employed Mrs. Nola Arnold Ivy, as the first postal clerk in Parsons. Her salary was $15 per month.[42]

Freeman Wilson was the second postal clerk and at that time the salary had esculated a bit.

Serving as postmaster from January 18, 1909 until April 23, 1914 was Newton J. Arnold. He moved the postoffice to his store on the corner of Main Street and Tennessee Avenue North.

Joseph H. Jennings was appointed postmaster April 23, 1914 and served until 1920. The postoffice was moved to the John P. Rains building (later W.D. Colwick and Son) 108 Tennessee Ave. S. It occupied the southern part of the building. In 1917, Jennings moved the postoffice to Farmers Bank at 111 Tennessee Avenue, S., present location of Grapel's Dress Shop.[43]

Herbert Roberts became postmaster April 14, 1920 and served until February 26, 1926.[44] He moved the postoffice to Roberts and White General Mercantile Store, located in the old Wheat building at the present location of Farmers Bank. Later the postoffice moved into a building located at the corner of Tennessee Avenue and West Second Street, present location of Jennings Radio Shop. This building burned after Robert's term expired.[45]

On February 26,1926 Terrell McIllwain became postmaster of Parsons and served until May 28, 1934. Another move found the postoffice in the building across the street from the Parsons Depot, which is one of the small store buildings comprising the furniture mart of Maxwell's Dept. Store. Serving as clerk in the postoffice was Mrs. Lelia Conder.[46]

On May 28. 1934 Raymond C. Townsend became postmaster and served until April 30,1948. Again the post office was moved, this time to 103 Main Street. In 1943 the postoffice moved to 113 Tennessee Avenue, S. Serving as postal clerks under Townsend were Mrs. Wilburn Townsend, Mrs. Floyd Rogers, Dean Livingston, Ruble Dodd, Ovid Keeton, Joe Marshall and Albert Leeper. During World War II the younger men clerks were inducted in service and Marshall and Leeper served during this stretch. Marshall continued his service, later retiring from the postal service.

 Raymond C. Townsend resigned in 1948 and Ernest Ruble Dodd was appointed as active postmaster and served until November 16, 1950.

Alma Primm was appointed as postmaster November 16,1950 and has served continuously since that date. At that time the postoffice was located at the corner of Tennessee Avenue and Second Street East.

Parsons Post office escalated from rental buildings to a new modern brick home, with modern furnishings located at 104 East Second Street. It was dedicated on September 8, 1963.

 The dedication program was held at the front, on the outside of the building. The Parsons High School Band furnished the music and Postmaster A.W. Primm made the opening remarks. Rev. W.A. Edwards, pastor. First Methodist Church gave the invocation and Chairman, Edwin Townsend gave the welcome and recognition of Honored Guests.

Presentation of retirement, Honorary Recognition Certificate to Mr. Joe Marshall was by the Postmaster. The address was scheduled by Hon. William H. McConnell Asst. to Regional Director, Memphis Region. Remarks and presentation of Flag by Mr. Jack Woodall of Jackson, Tennessee. Ode to the Flag by Charles Maxwell Collett, student, Flag Raising Ceremony, Color Guard, Mort & DC At Platoon, Tennessee National Guard, Parsons, Tennessee. The National Anthem, Mrs. Billy Hammonds, Benediction by Bill Johnson, Minister of Church of Christ.[48]

Open house concluded the program.

Serving at that time were A.W. Primm, Postmaster, Clerks Leo Yarbro, Joe Marshall, Substitute Clerk, Paul D. Moore, City letter carrier, Keelon Barrett, Substitute carrier, Sybern Riggs, Rural Carriers, Mrs. Sue Carrington, Max R. Maxwell and Vernal W. Pettigrew. Substitute Rural carriers were Ovid Keeton, Ben D. Coble and Everett Jones.

Present personnel at the Parsons Postoffice are Alma Primm, Postmaster, Clerks Sybern Riggs, Jack Houston, City Mail Carriers, Mrs. Carolyn Weatherford, the first woman carrier, O.C. Jordan and Colen Mathis.

In 1965 a mailster was put into use by the postoffice by city carrier, Keylon Barrett. It covered 12 miles a day and saved valuable time. Parcel post is delivered at the same time the letters are. In 1963 the postoffice had a volume of two million pieces of incoming and outgoing mail annually.

 At this time, Assistant Post Master, Leo Yarbro and clerk, Coleman Bartholomew received special awards for beneficial suggestion to the postal service from the Suggestions and Awards'Office in Memphis.

It was on September 15, 1904 that rural mail routes were established in Decatur County. John Warden was the first rural carrier on route one, serving until January 31, 1909. Serving as the first mail carrier on route two was Houston Partin who served until September 30, 1906.

 On August 1, 1905 Ezra Jennings was appointed the first rural carrier on Route three and served until his death, January 13, 1936.

Others serving as rural carriers were Frank Arnold, who served from October 1, 1906 until his retirement September 30, 1946. Edward L. Mays served temporarily from October 1, 1946 until March 26, 1949. Mrs. Sue Carrington was appointed rural carrier March 28, 1949 and served on route one until her retirement June 30, 1972. Dee Hayes served as rural carrier from February 1,1909 until his retirement March 31, 1946.

Cuthbert Arnold Burton served as rural carrier from July 6,1937 until his death January 26, 1962. Cecile Carrington served temporarily from January 14, 1936 until January 25, 1936 and again April 1, 1936 until March 26,1949. Cecil Townsend was appointed temporarily from January 27, 1936 and served until July 3, 1937. Vernal Pettigrew transferred from City mail carrier March 28, 1949 and is still serving as rural carrier on route three. Leonard Warden Arnold served as a substitute Mail carrier on route one from October 13, 1932 until May 6, 1938.

 Present rural carriers are J.D. White, Max Ray Maxwell and Vernal Pettigrew. Serving as assistant rural carriers are Mrs. Linda Miller, Colen Mathis and Harold White. Contract Cleaner at present is Bob Bridges.[49]

 C.V. and Mae Maxwell started the first variety store in Parsons in 1927. It was located in a small building on Tennessee Avenue South and later moved to 105 Tennessee Avenue, South.

The couple opened in September of 1927. At this time money wasn't very plentiful so they had no cash register for a time. Tin dishpans were used for cash register and at the close of the first day, the 5-10-25 cent items had reached the gigantic sum of $258. It took quite a time to count it out. Serving as clerks on opening day were K.K. and Mable Houston.

 It was the first store of its kind in Henderson, Perry and Decatur Counties. The store hours were from six a.m. to 10 p.m. and later if the customers were still making purchases.

 In 1929 the store moved into the present location at 105 Tennessee Avenue S. and the business spread out. There were four store buildings behind the building and a door leading to them was cut and used furniture was stocked here at first, later new furniture. The slogan from the beginning has been "We have everything".

Prior to 1966 when the store was remodeled, the historic business place was of wide-spread interest to persons from Memphis, Jackson, Nashville and surrounding area. They termed it similar to the old "Jot-em Down Store" or the "Ole Country Store" in Jackson.

After the death of the owners in the 1960's their daughter, Mrs. Constance Collett and husband, Parce Collett have continued to operate it.

In 1959 the store branched out again and opened Maxwell's Furniture Mart at 207 Tennessee Avenue, S. which was operated by Mrs. Lillye Younger. In 1970 a new industry moved to Parsons, Karlyn Industries and rented the building housing the Furniture Mart and the business moved to Maxwell's Dept. Store.[50]

 Former clerks of long standing were Mrs. Lelia McMurray and Miss Mary Jo Houston, Arbin McKnight also worked here in the furniture department. Mrs. Willodean Sales is presently employed by the company as saleslady.

Movie goers in Parsons have been exposed to the entertainment for a long time.

 When silent movies rolled in the first picture show was located at 117-118 Tennessee Avenue, S. next door to the present location of Farmers Bank.

It was a big tent owned and operated by a Mr. Drake in 1918 and 1919. He also operated a theatre in Jackson; however, the one here didn't go over very well.[51]

Later Jim Lamping operated a silent movie at 213 Tennessee Avenue, S. the present site of Lexington Electric System. It was a long wood building with individual seats that folded. There were no exit lights in those days and between scenes entertainment was furnished by Mrs. Mary Bruce Elvington, who played the piano. Movie goers could go out and get an ice cream cone or soda between the scenes but they should return the before the lights went out. If not, they had to feel for a seat and sometimes customers found themselves in another person's lap, in search of their vacant seat.

Herman Rains operated a theatre here in the 1920's.[52] He sold it to Hobart Goff who added an extension to the building where boxing matches were held. Among early fighters were Ray Dodson, Howard Greenway, Mutt Cagle and others from Lexington and Jackson.[53]

When sound movies arrived these theatres went out of business. In 1936 Hobart Goff constructed a log building, one hundred feet long with a stucco exterior which was perfect for the sound pictures. Opening night was May 15, 1937 and the great crowds thronged the theatre. It was a huge success and continued to operate until 1958 when business began to slump due to television shows.

Parsons has had sections bearing their own names. One such is "Two-Foot", located in the Northeast section of town. An early settler by the name of George Scott, who was a hunter, tracked a mysterious animal, he went back the following day but no such luck. Up to this time, the settlement had no name so he remarked that it should be called "Two Foot' and to this day it still bears that name.[54]

There were few settlers of the black race here in the early days. It had an A.M.E. Church. Later other business places located here. One such was Need-More, Sam Booty's store, located on South Georgia Avenue during the depression days and furnished the settlement with groceries. Later a Tea Room opened up in Two Foot and is operated today by Gene Scott. Former operator was Lynn Ray Scott. Parham's Funeral Home located here for a few years but it is now in operation in Lexington and serves this area too.

 Among the early settlers of Two Foot were Edd Clay, who was an early church leader. He had a son named Charley Clay who worked for G.W. Partin. Others were Guy Williams who was employed at Holcomb Produce Company, Henry Fisher, who worked at Partin's Flour Mill, Square Faulkner, Henry Scott, Pete McDonald, Jim McElrath, Wes Ashcraft, who was highly respected and the father of Grant Ashcraft, and Henry McLemore. Heneritta Laster was an outstanding cook who has passed on as well as Anna Parsons.[55]

 There are two churches in Two Foot, the A.M.E. Church and the Church of God in Christ. A former pastor of the A.M.E. Church was Bro. SA. Lee, who hailed from Munford. His wife, called Sister Sarah Lee" was a very devout Christian who would not cook or perform any labor on Sunday.

Ruth Scott Kizer has perhaps worked in more homes in Parsons than anyone in the settlement. She has worked at hotels also. Others here who have been of service to Parsonians are Anna Fisher, Ollie Mae Ashcraft, Auline Scott, Lettie Greer, Georgia Scott, J.B. Fisher, Thelma Davenport, Sara Ann Jones, Allena White, May Tom Davenport and Mary Ella Bailey.

Another place is Gun Town, which sprang up in Parsons during the Phosphate rush. A commissary located in Parsons and a number of shotgun houses were erected by a Mr. Gun of St. Louis to house families who worked in the phosphate mines.[56]

In the 1930's the west section of town on Main Street received the name of China Town. It was similar to the old wild west. Here fights occurred, with some getting shot, but none fatal. A big dance hall was in the heart of China Town and it was dangerous for a lady to even walk through the section by day. The last business place this side of China Town was Walker's cafe and a street divided the cafe from the section. It was operated by Mrs. Lillian Walker and the upright citizens patronized the cafe but stopped at this point.[57]

Dotting the panarama of Parsons are the following business places in 1976. Bear Creek Service Station, Burton's Shell Service Station, Cone Oil, Graves Supermarket, Holcomb Produce, Vernon R. Hill Tile Co. Lucky Foods, Maxwell's City Service, Parsons Foodland, Perry Service Station, Parsons Texaco, Southside Grocery, Hickerson Exxon, Scott Grocery, Dan's Grocery, Turner Plumbing & Electric, Master Dollar Store, Halls Garage, Boaz Tire Co. Austin's Bait Shop, Taylor Recapping, B. & R. Junk Store, Carrington Motor Parts, Central Auto Parts, City Rexall Drug Store, Decatur County Motors, Dollar General Store, Faye's Fancy, Garrett's Studio, now Sight and Sound Center, Grapel's Shop, K. K. Houston Co., 0. R. Houston Co., Jennings Radio Shop, Jennings Studio, King's Shoe Shop, Long Equipment Co., Maxwell's Dept. Store, Mclllwain Grill, Medical Center Pharmacy, Nupy's Catering Service, Parsons Dairy Bar, Minnie Pearl's, Parsons Florist, Parsons Mortuary, Parsons Motor Parts and Bearing, Parsons Snack Bar, Scott Furniture Co., Sears Outlet Store, Segraves Appliance, Smitty's Body Shop, Western Auto, Vic's Dollar Store, Townsend Chevrolet, D. J. ‘s Food Depot, Edith's Variety Store, Southside Fabrics, Barrett's Jewelry Store, Parsons Vending Pool Room, City Barber Shop, City Watch Shop, Leon Frank's Coin-O-Matic, Lewis Real Estate, Lorraines Beauty Shop, Maxine's Beauty Shop, Parsons Barber & Style Shop, Miller's Speed Wash, Modern Cleaners, Northside Beauty Shop, Patty's Beauty Shop, Parsons Motel, Parsons Skating Rink, Reeves Beauty Shop, Sullivan's Barber Shop, Spirit of 76 Beauty Shop, Velma's Beauty Shop, Lancaster Heating and Cooling, Morgan Plumbing & Electric, Parsons Tile & Decorators, Inc., Shamrock Construction Co., Inc.

Photography has played an important part in the history of Parsons. The very earliest type was the traveling photographers who dropped in during the year to make the babies and young children's pictures mostly. Some arrived in horse drawn wagons and they used a tri-pod camera which had a black curtain they stood under to shoot the picture. They made up their own solution since films had not been discovered. Also did their own developing.

Tom Gibson was a photographer in Parsons and later John Triplett took up the trade.[58] During World War II Sol Brasher was a famous photographer here. Later in the business were Roy Garrett and Tom Jennings, who had separate studios. Tom Jennings is also an artist and has some very good paintings. Serving as the town's photographer presently is James Erby Wood.

Other Parsons artists are Mrs. Melba Woody, Mrs. Virginia Townsend, Mrs. Hazel Smith, Mrs. Shirley Odle, Steve Dodd, Mrs. Missey Peterson, Mrs. Ruth Evelyn Townsend, Mrs. Edna McBride, Mrs. Ruby Long Graves, Judy Townsend and Mrs. Lerah Washam.


A forerunner of the town of Parsons was Partinville. A youthful adventurous sewing machine salesman of Ringo, Georgia was attracted by the natural advantages of the highland near Bear Creek and believing there would be a profit in starting a town there, purchased a number of acres near the present Bear Creek Baptist Church.

George Washington Partin left his hometown of Ringo, in a horsedrawn buggy, unaware of settling in the hills of West Tennessee. After three years of selling, he wound up here. His sales would be stlipped to certain shipping points and he would pick up the machine in his buggy type transport and deliver them.

When he entered this area, romance entered the picture and the un-attached young man became the husband of Maggie Rushing, who lived at the historic old Townsend House. He and his bride settled at what was named Partonville September 24, 1882.

Here he opened a big general merchandise store which went over big. He sold some of his land to Hop Steed who put up a cotton gin as cotton was King in those early days.[59] Samuel Houston owned a cotton gin here also.

There were houses already in the settlement where the pioneer families lived. A Doctor Bostic settled here and had an office in the yard of his home, which was just across the road from Partin's Merchantile.

Since there was no postoffice nearby at this time, a postoffice located here on November 13, 1885. The official record from the Post Office Department reads thus: "Washington, D.C. Sept. 1, 1885. Before the Postmaster General decides upon the application for the establishment of a postoffice, Bear Creek, County of Decatur, State of Tennessee, it will be necessary for you to carefully answer the subjoined questions, get a neighboring postmaster to certify the correctness of the answers and return the location paper to the Department, address office can be established there, to be supplied with mail from some convenient point on the nearest mail route by special carrier, for which service a sum equal to two-thirds of the amount of the salary of the postmaster at such office will be paid." Signed: A.E. Stevenson, First Assistant, Postmaster General. The proposed office to be called Partinville. It will be situated in the center quarter of section nine north of Range eight, west in the county of Decatur. It will be near route No. 19500, being the route from Decaturville. The postoffice was supplied by the Decaturville Postoffice and served the population of 575 persons. It was signed by G.W. Partin, proposed Postmaster and J. H. Stout, present Postmaster of Decaturville.

On November 13, 1885, G.W. Partin became the first postmaster in the town which bore his name. He served the office from November 13, 1885 until March 31,1893 when John S. Barham became Postmaster. The fateful day of May 7, 1897, the postoffice moved to Parsons, which had sprung up and was on the Midland Railroad, later becoming the N.C. and St.L. branch line from Lexington.[60]

 The thriving new town of Parsons was on the map, so the successful business man sold his store and possessions at Partonville and moved to Parsons in 1889.

He tore the store building down at Partinville and located at 109 West Main Street, present location of City Drugs. He also built his residence behind his store building.

Pioneer families living in the Partonville area were Bostics, Steeds, Partins, Houstons, Lowes, Edwards, Meggs, Stegalls, Gilberts, Hayes, Myracles, Barnettes, Iveys and perhaps others.[61]


Perryville, the oldest town in Decatur County, was incorporated before the county was organized. It was formerly a part of Perry County. Located on the Tennessee River, in the extreme portion of West Tennessee, five miles east of Parsons, it was selected for the county seat of Perry County in 1821 by an act of the Legislature.[62]

Perry County was named for Oliver Hazard Perry and the county seat added a ville as did many West Tennessee towns.

The Legislature appointed Charles Miles, John Rasser, James Dickson, Charles Graham, W.S. Brift and William Patterson to locate said seat. The town was incorporated in 1825. Before being named Perryville, it was known as Midtown Community.

Serving on the town board were Joseph Brown, William Jarman, J.S. Allen, J.W. Crowder, Jacob Johnson, James Kolough and John McClover.[63]

One of the first merchants in the thriving little river town was Samuel McClure. James M and Curry Pettigrew of Armagh, Ireland came to Perryville in 1825 and ran a mercantile business. They located branch stores in Decaturville, Oak Grove, Spring Creek in Madison County and Beardstown in Perry County. William Stout, native of Forfar County, Scotland met the Pettigrew's while on a pleasure trip to this country and New York and later joined them in business. He later sold his business interests at Perryville and moved to Decaturville.

The courthouse at Perryville was located north of Dave Stafford's Grocery and was erected of logs. Serving as the first Eighth Circuit Judge was Judge Joshua Haskell.

The first school sprung up in 1825 and was named "Perryville Academy". It was constructed of Yellow poplar paneling and ceiling and quarter sawed oak windows and door frames. Later the school was converted into a dwelling, with rooms added and became the home of the late B.F. Striegel. It was torn down in the late 1950's.

Early teachers were Elias Blount, Elias Deaton, George Beard, Green B. Rushing, Houston Roberts, Calvin Rushing, W.M. Dalton, and B.H. Southerland.

In 1845, Perryville lost its title of "County Seat" when 200 interested citizens signed a petition to form a new county and the act passed the General Assembly. Thus Decatur County was formed out of that part of Perry County lying West of the Tennessee River.

With the division of the county began the decline of Perryville, which had become one of the most extensive shipping points on the Tennessee River.

While Perryville was the county seat, it was not only the commercial but the political center of the county. Here met the early courts. The operation of the notorious John A. Murrell's band was through the portion of the county about 1830-32.[64]

 While Perryville was still the political center, it was visited by the great political lights such as James K. Polk, Andrew Jackson, and many others. An early pioneer was the eccentric David Crockett.

The railroad, which was laid from Memphis to Perryville, was a great asset to the county and new business places popped up like Mexican jumping beans here. Two wholesale houses, Holcomb Produce Co. and Shaw's Produce House located here. W.R. Dennison built the Dennison Hotel in 1897. Mr. and Mrs. Henry Teague kept travelers in their home. Among others who operated the hotel were Gwinn and Dowdy. The hotel burned and was never replaced.[65

Grocery stores that spiraled because of the railroad were John Adolphus, Readey's Grocery, later operated by his son, Jess and Zula Readey, John Young's Grocery, Knight Brothers Grocery, J.M. MacMurray's Grocery, and Lemuel Rickman's Grocery.

General merchandise stores were also established. These included Striegel and Blount Co., L.M. Hearst General Mdse., and Cole Brothers Store.[66]

Perryville also boasted a livery stable. A stockyard was built for animals that came in on the train and those that were being shipped out of the country. The two ferries prospered because of the railroad. They transported persons and produce to and from Perry County.

A Grist Mill furnished meal for the family and was owned by John Adolphus Readey. Early blacksmiths in the town were Nathaniel Moore, John Dellinger and Claude Dellinger.

 The Bank of Perryville was the financial institution of the town and at one time, Stanley Dennison and Mrs. Hattie Dennison worked here.

The old town of Perryville folded when Gilbertsville Dam was built. The business places were flooded and some houses were forced to move out. Merchants sold out, some quit and the Readey's moved their business to Parsons.

A new town sprung up higher on the hill. Ben Young's Supermarket was the first one to open. He formerly worked for the Readeys. Other business places in the river port town are Dave Stafford's Grocery, Young's Motels and the Baptist Church is located across the street from the business places. Tinker Sand and Gravel Company is located near the heart of Perryville on the river.

When the country was flooded, lakes were formed in this vicinity, thus promoting a haven of paradise for sportsmen.

In 1944 the Perryville Marina Boat Dock was built by Doc Burton.[67] Located in what was once a small branch, but now a large lake formed by the dam, it is the deepest indention along this area. It is now owned by Glaydon Lifsey.

Perryville Postoffice was established on January 30, 1824 in Perry County. The location changed to Decatur County. Those serving as postmasters are as follows:

Postmasters, Appointment Date

William W. Bowman, January 30, 1824
William Jarman, December 22, 1824
Trigg McClellan, July 2,1825
Jesse Y. Whitcomb, January 1,1826
Jared S. Allen, February 7, 1827
Corry Pettigrew, February 23, 1828
Jesse Lewallen, March 25, 1828
Green H. Crowder, September 12, 1828
Lewis P, Spence, September 1, 1834
James W. Howard, December 10, 1835
Robert C. Graham, January 2, 1839
Jesse Taylor, August 7, 1841
Robert M. Thomas, October 11, 1841
Henry Wright, December 21, 1843
Urbane T. Cole, April 18,1849
James M. Shephard, February 6, 1852
William Stout, June 7,1853
Elisha S. Stevens, June 27, 1854
William Stout, April 8,1856
Elisha S. Stevens, July 3, 1857
ThomasW. McMurry, April21, 1858
Pleasant A. Bowman, September 3, 1858
William Stout, June 15, 1860
John L. Houston, April 17, 1866
Jesse P. Veal, April 4,1871
William F. Stout, June 9, 1874
Jesse P. Veal, June 23,1875
William F. Stout, March 16,1881
James H. Tate, October 27, 1884
James P. Veal, February 1,1886
William R. Denison, January 11, 1892
William P. Brawley, April 24,1893
Thomas D. Stout, June 11, 1896
William R. Denison, March 17, 1897
Jacob E. Reynolds, February 10,1915
Edna Moore, November 7,1941
Dorothy C. Brasher, September 17, 1962

Friday, November 26, 1971 was the day the town of Perryville met its "Waterloo" Postoffice wise. It was closed.[68]

The orders, handed down from the regional postmaster general at Memphis stated that "Effective at the close of business, November 26, the U.S. Postoff ice, which was opened January 30, 1824, three years after the town was established as Perry County's seat, "will be discontinued in a federal economy move."

The 84 patrons who received their mail by general delivery or private box are now served by a route out of Parsons Postoffice.

Mrs. Velma Bibbs, officer in charge at the postoffice, took the American Flag down in tears. The last thing to come down was the sign "Perryville Postoffice", thus leaving the once thriving river town as a village.

 Despite the fact that the 4th class postoffice had to bow down to the 2nd class postoffice, it didn't fall without a struggle. Every possible thing that could have been done was done to keep the landmark but to no avail. Even Congressmen and Senators assisted. It had to go.

Their forefathers were able to overcome the loss of the title "County Seat" of Perry County in 1845, so have the present generation become accustomed to the loss of the postoffice.

However, the small frame building which housed the postoffice still stands, perched on a high hill near the city of the town minus a name and inhabited only by the birds.

The spectacularly beautiful blue water edged town, full of legend and lore will continue to be a close knitted community that will go down in history as the oldest town in Decatur County, surrounded by the first postoffice. Shinny mailboxes now dot each house in the picturesque town.


Beacon, a town of about 150 citizens, four miles west of Parsons, was first known as "Moray."[69]

When the Tennessee Midland Railroad Company line came through Decatur County, the name of the town was changed to Beacon.

 The once thriving little town, boasted of a postoffice, depot, Doctor's office, Barber shop, mercantile stores, Blacksmith shops, Grist Mill, Telephone Company, Tomato Shed, school, churches and a cafe.

 Mercantile operators here have been Jess Long, Will Dodd, Ike Smith, Ches Myracle and Glen Tolley, who has the only mercantile business here now. Other mercantile operators were C. C. Thomas and Aussie Duke. Charley Thomas and Jess Long operated the two cotton gins and the blacksmith shops were run by Jim Bartholomew and Riley Hobbs as well as Grist Mills.

Sawmills have played an integral part in every community and Beacon also had a saw mill which was operated by Jess Long. Bill O'Guinn owned the home telephone company and telephone operators at one time were Miss Ethel Hayes and her sister, Miss Carrie Hayes.[70]

Like numerous small settlements a doctor settled in Beacon during the early days. Serving in this capacity was a Dr. Whittacker and later Dr. A.G. Hufstedler.

Pink Lewis operated a barber shop and John Douglas was proprietor of a cafe at one time. Aaron Bartholomew also barbered here in the 1930's.

The economy was boosted in the town by the sale of tomatoes around the 1920's. During harvesting, a tomato shed was operated and anyone in the community who wanted to work was engaged in wrapping tomatoes which were shipped to market on the "Peevine" train. This really swelled the pocketbooks as well as afforded a type of fellowship between neighbors. Oft times experts in the business from Florida would drop in and give instructions.

The Baptist Church and the Church of Christ Church have been established in Beacon for many decades.[71]

A famous baseball team here usually furnished entertainment at the annual 4th of July picnics. Neighboring citizens from Parsons would go up on the train and attend the fun and frolics.

A flour mill located one mile south of Beacon on Beech River, was known as Dixie Flour Mill. Another flour mill located near the present Beacon Junction and signs of it still remain.[72]

A county newspaper, The Decatur County Beacon, was named for the town, however, it was printed in the county seat of Decaturville.

The meeting place for Beacon residents was the Postoffice, which has been located in numerous places during the town's history. Business men usually served as postmasters and the postoffice located in their business place.

In 1911 Jess Long was postmaster and the office was located in one corner of his store. Succeeding him was Aussie Duke and then Chess Myracle. Mrs. Lois Frizzell served as postmaster at Beacon for 32 years, retiring in January of 1968. At this time forty seven families received mail out of the office compared with more than 150 families in 1935.[73]

The last home for the postoffice was the Beacon Depot. After the depot agent's services were discontinued, the railroad company furnished the postoffice coal for fuel in order to have someone meet the train.

At this time, the postoffice was facing "Death's Door" and no mail deliveries were made. Letters were deposited in numbered pigeon holes and packages delivered at the window.

In the hay day of the postoffice business, a rural route served community mail patrons. Sam Walters was the first rural mail carrier and he was succeeded by Edgar Hobbs.

The greatest communication at the depot postoffice occurred one day when honey bees invaded the postoffice while Mrs. Frizzell was out to lunch.

Upon her entry, the house was roaring and full of bees and they were swarming in the letter slots. Assistance was called and soon the bees were disposed of with insect spray. No one got stung.

Mrs. Jo Yates served as acting postmaster until it closed August 9, 1968.

Despite the fact that the depot and postoffice met their waterloo the citizens refused to give up so a new Beacon has spiraled on Highway 20 and is called "Beacon Junction". When highway 20 was constructed, it by-passed Beacon so business moved to the highway.

Business places located in Beacon Junction today are Julie's Fabric Shop, Julie's Beauty Shoppe, Hendrix Chain Saw Co., B & S Carpets, Bill Bell's Warehouse and directly across the street is the Pentecostal church.

Early settlers of Beacon include Chumneys, Wallaces, Longs, Hayes, McCormicks, Douglas, O'Guinns, Keens, and Myracles.

An old cemetery is located here, long forgotten by the descendants. One very important character, Henry Myracle, founder of Parsons, is buried here as well as many others.

On March 16, 1942, Beacon was partially destroyed by a cyclone which struck around 4:30 p.m. Darkness covered the earth at this spot and as far as Parsons the sky turned a lemon yellow.

When the cyclone hit, homes were twisted like a rope and bits of tin roofing could be found miles away. Son tin wrapped around trees and the earth was covered with shambles of what once was a home.

There was only one casualty, Bill O'Ouinn, a senior citizen was killed and his wife injured, however, she survived.

Among homes destroyed were the Oscar Douglas, Esco Watson, Clayborn Hayes and Aaron Bartholomew and those damaged were Troy Maxwell, Charley Keen, Hobart Hayes, Issabelle Hayes and the Presbyterian church.[74]

 Traveling about 1/2 mile eastward the cyclone struck the Jean Hayes house on Highway 20 and did quite a bit of damage. Mrs. Nora Hayes was blown a distance away and landed on a feather bed, unharmed.[75]

The Red Cross came in and helped the community rise again. They built new houses and clothes and food were distributed to those losing everything.

Bible Hill

Located in the northern part of Decatur County, four miles east of the Henderson County Line, lies the settlement of Bible Hill. The origin of the name is impossible to ascertain since the old settlers have passed away.

Like numerous communities, the thriving settlement began to decline when good roads spiraled.

At one time, there was a cotton gin, blacksmith shop, grist mill, stave mill, postoffice, two churches, a school, also a doctor's office, plus a big mercantile store.

 The Postoffice was established September 25, 1876 and R.M. Brown served as first Postmaster.[76]

Wid and Hood Long operated a general store here in the early days and at that time, the postoffice was located in one corner of the store. The Longs also operated a cotton gin, which was moved from Sulphur Fork.

Later the business sold to Robert Brown and his two sons, Milt and John Brown operated it. Their father was an early doctor here and had no time to operate the business.[77]

Harve and Tom Lewis operated a stave mill. The two churches were the Methodist Episcopal South and the Baptist Church. In pioneer days, a school-church combination filled the Baptist Church. The Methodist church went down in the early 1930's due to lack of interest and for a time pastors serving at Parsons went out and held services.

In 1952 a Cyclone hit Bible Hill and destroyed a good part of the settlement. The Baptist Church blew down and was rebuilt. Ansi DeLong's grocery and home blew away. Jim Hampton's house was destroyed by wind.

The school building, built in the early 1920's was also destroyed and ended school here.

Teachers who have taught here were Professor J.W. Wheat, Elbert Jones, Glennie Ward, T.M. Boyd, Herbert Roberts, Miss Nannie Dunkle, Jim Duck, Haywood Martin, Lee Mays and Raymond Townsend.

Early settlers included the Frizzells, Smiths, Jennings, Box, Patrick, Baker, Fiddler, Gulledge, Long, Pettigrew, Hendrix, Rubbs, Hamilton, Haggard, Rains, McMurry, Taylor, Perry, Browns, Stills, Dukes, Arnolds and Dodsons.

Bible Hill Baptist Church has had three buildings. A cemetery stands across the road from the church. The oldest person buried here is M. Vandine 1826 died 1891.

Nearby is the Long Cemetery which is a family cemetery. The oldest person buried here is Gordon Finley Long born 1821, died 1898.

Sugar Tree

Sugar Tree, located in the northern corner of Decatur County, is 12 miles from Parsons, It received its name from Sugar Maple trees, which lined one side of the business places.

Early business places in the thriving little unincorporated town were Fry and Wesson General Mercantile Business which carried everything from hair pins to horse collars. A small drug store located here and it was here that the doctors came from afar to fit glasses and make teeth. They would put up at the town's hotel, which was operated by Wylie Coble and Joe Odle. Mrs. Nattie Fisher kept boarders also.[78]

Blacksmiths also dotted the panorama. They were Jack Bates, Dol Spence, Tom Bates, John Farlow and Bill Terry, whose blacksmith shop was located beneath a big sugar Maple tree.

At one time Sugar Tree boasted a two story College, located on the present school ground. Among some of the early teachers were: Dub Wesson, Zack Amerson, Mrs. Nattie Fisher, Mrs. Stella Britt, Mrs. Zeda Fowler, Mrs. Opal Odle, Mike Spence, Mel Tucker and Mrs. Bess Wesson who taught music here.[79]

Landon White, an early lawyer here attended the Sugar Tree College later practicing in Decaturville.

Later there were 60 students taught by one teacher.[80]

The upstairs of the school building was used by the WOW. Lodge in the early days.

A brass Band was organized here and received much publicity. It was drawn by a wagon and team and the uniformed band members cut quite a figure with those around. They made personal appearances on Children's Day at Wesson Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church and Cantrell Chapel Church of Christ just across the line in Benton County.

Hal Fry was the drummer and others in the band were Dick Walker, Dock Odle, Joe Odle, Ernest Fry, John McLin, Dude Odle, Erie Wesson, Claude Spence, Joe Spence and Bud Spence and perhaps others. A Band Director came to direct The outstanding band of its day. In order to finance the band, box suppers and other fund drives were launched.

A barber shop and two grist mills located here and were operated by Clifford Henry. At one time the grist mill was operated in connection with the blacksmith shop and was operated by Joe Spence.

In the Fry and Coble Store there was an upstairs with a balcony and during the year a milliner would come and sell ladies' hats as well as children's hats a week at a time. One milliner was Mrs. Fannie Parnell from Waverly. She featured leghorn hats which were the last word in fashion.

A thriving business was the Tobacco Factory, owned by Nathaniel A. Wesson. A big two story barn was used to smoke the tobacco leaves.[81]

A cotton gin was operated by Arthur Odle who also operated a Mercantile business. A Stave mill also operated here and staves were transported to Ledbetter's landing by oxen and drawn wagons. Hugh Cox was one of the drivers.

In the early days agriculture was the prime way of life. The peanut was king in this section. Cotton was also grown. Merchants extended credit for farmers to harvest a crop and the money rolled in, in the fall. Making crossties was another way of life.

Sugar Tree Post Office dates back to 1874 and the first postmaster was Joseph Fry whose appointment dated back to June 19, 1874. Those serving since that date have been: John W. Coble, James L. Jones, Richard S. Wesson, Joseph Odle, John F. Wilson, Mrs. Holland Miller and the present postmaster is Mrs. Judy Keeton.

These postmasters served lengthy terms and some served at two different times. Mrs. Miller served the office from September 1, 1944 to September 1,1976. Serving a short span was Mr. Ray Burton, former postal employee.

Bath Springs

Nestled in the hills of the extreme eastern portion of West Tennessee lies a community of the extreme eastern portion of West Tennessee lies a community with an unusual name and a rich heritage. It is Bath Springs, located in the southern part of Decatur County at the intersection of 114 and 69 highways.

A stage coach line was established here in the early 1900's and pioneers from North Carolina settled here.

The town was named by Dr. William Hancock, who settled here and discovered the sulphur water, built a health resort and named the little town Bath Springs.

The doctor built an office and it also served as a postoffice in pioneer days. Letters and packages were left here for the people in the community.

The postal service moved like Mexican jumping beans. A log building was erected about 80 yards east of the famous Health Resort which was only a short distance from the present Bath Springs postoffice.

Serving the community as the first postmaster was Nathan C. Davis, who served from July 17, 1877until November 26, 1877 when John F. Akin was appointed to serve as postmaster. At this time, the postoffice moved again to a place on Turnbow Creek. After Akin became postmaster, he moved the postoffice to his store, two miles southwest of the present location. Robert H. Allen became Postmaster May 26, 1884 and served the office until November 13, 1893. William M. Martin took over in 1893 and served until 1922. His son, William H. Martin, Jr. was appointed as postmaster October 20, 1922 and served until October 13, 1924. The postoffice was housed in the W.H. Martin store during their term of office. Claud T. Pickett became postmaster in 1924 and served until March 1,1942 when William E. Lancaster was confirmed. On September 29, 1942 Mrs. Ruby H. Martin became postmaster and has served the office since that date. The small postoffice is located on 114 Highway near the Martin Home.[82]

In pre-Civil War days, a tanning factory operated in Bath Springs. The business was two-fold. Bark of the trees was purchased to make the acid to tan the hides. Cattle hides were tanned in the factory and shipped out by river boats.

One of the early families to locate in Bath Springs was the William Kindale family. Kindale was a veteran of the American Revolutionary War and lived to be 104 years of age.[83]

When the community was at its peak, it boasted of 47 houses; however, there are only 21 houses here today. The decline is due to people migrating in search of steady employment.

Bath Springs proper has no business places now; however, there are four stores, six churches and a saw mill scattered over the nearby area.

A Bath Springs family has a rose bush with an unusual heritage. It dates back to 1850.

Mrs. Walter Ivey's great grandfather, the late William Stout, a native of Scotland, came to America at the age of 25 and brought the original rose bush with him.

It had been planted by his Scottish childhood sweetheart at the end of the family's front porch. He admired the beautiful blooming bush each spring.

Tragedy struck when his sweetheart, to whom he had become engaged, died unexpectedly from a hemmorhage at the end of the porch where the rose was growing.

Suffering from the loss of his beloved sweetheart, Stout left Scotland for America and moved westward, bringing the rose bush with him.

In 1875 he moved to Decaturville and bought what later became the Eli Vise place. He transplanted his sweetheart's rose bush at his new home and the bush has remained in the family since that date.

His granddaughter, Mrs. O.O. Thompson of Decaturville had a bush which came from a cutting as does her daughter, Mrs. Ivey.

The blooms appear around the first of May. When the buds appear they are pink but it blooms out white. It resembles a wild rose.

Legend has it that the pink bud represents the loss of blood which caused the death of Scott's childhood sweetheart.

Tie Whop

Tie Whop community, located 12 miles south of Decaturville on Highway 69 between Turnbow and Stumans Creek received its name from an unusual circumstance.

According to history a fisherman from Alabama floated down the Tennessee River in a houseboat and tied up at Garretts Landing.

One foggy night a steamboat came down the river and tied up at the landing. The fog was so dense the steamboat remained overnight. The big husky fisherman bought a keg of whiskey from the boat and friends and foes began consuming the "White Lightening".

Pretty soon a racus began which was heard for miles around. The big fisherman was so strong that he would grab his opponent with a hold as they were tied up and then would whop him to the ground. One bystander remarked, it was told, "The old fisherman tied them up and whopped them over the head." The place became known as "Tie Whop Bottom". Later, when the road came through the area, houses were built on the hill land near the bottom. The community was called "Tie Whop" and the word "bottom" was dropped. The land in the bottom overflowed and only houseboats were located there.

Tie Whop covered a 2-1 /2 mile stretch from Stumans Creek to the Nebo Community.[84]

Lick Skillet

Located in the southwestern section of Decatur County lies a community with an unusual name. It is Lick Skillet.

In the early days, before traffic streamlined the highways, there was a lot of camping in nearby woods. Gypsies also roamed the hills of Decatur County in search of everything from china to good looking horses.

This settlement received its unusual name from a group of campers who had cooked up a big meal, beneath the stars and devoured it. Seems like one camper was late arriving for his chow so when he began to search for some food, all he found was the empty skillet. Being very hungry, it is told that he licked the skillet and from that day, the community has been known by that name.[85] lt isn't very complimentary to the inhabitants today; however, the place is known by the name. A hill nearby is known as Pinkard Hill, which was named for a Pinkard man who was hanged.[86]

Settlers include the Montgomerys, Pattersons, Scates, Kelleys, Moodys, Clenneys, Ivys, Wyatts and Averetts.

There has never been a business place there.


In the early days a small settlement here was called Old Norford. Located ten miles north of Parsons the community changed its name to Cozette.

At one time there was a blacksmith shop and grocery store here. It was located here earlier than 1904 and mentioned in Jeanette history. One of the early operators of the Blacksmith shop was Lonnie Boyd and Bunch Miller ran the general store. Not only did he operate the store but he also had a rolling store in which he traveled over the country in a truck stocked with goods.

In later years a Cafe located here but at the present time it is vacant. The Oak Grove Cumberland Presbyterian Church and cemetery as well as the Pentecostal Church also comprise the community. The Pentecostal Church hasn't been built too long, perhaps in the 1950's; however, the Oak Grove Church dated back to a log church in pioneer days. After the log church, a two story structure was constructed which housed the Masonic Lodge and Eastern Star upstairs and church and school combination downstairs. Later a one story concrete block building was built which is still in use. One pastor of long ago was a Bro. Mosley, who was quite strict and turned members out of the church for dancing. He also kept a committee appointed to check on members' character.

A postoffice located here but later moved to Parkers Landing on the Tennessee River, later becoming the Bohannan's Postoffice.

Today many of the residents have moved away from Cozette and the tie of friendship isn't as strong as it was in pioneer days.

It is located at the intersection of 69 highway and Ponderosa Highway.[86]

Evans Town

Evans Town, located in the northwestern part of Decatur County, received its name from the Evans family.

A country store comprises the business places. At one time it was operated by Claude Evans and later by Connie Evans. A gas pump adjacent to the front porch served the public.

Gus Evans ran a grist mill here. Today there is only one grocery store here operated by Junior Cagle.[88]

Families past and present are the Jim Cagles, Sam Evans, Ben Cagles, Latham Duke, Edd Patrick, Porter Duke, Gordon Evans, Mrs. Mary Evans, Rex Evans and Danny Smith.[89]

Scotts Hill

Snuggled half in Decatur County and half in Henderson County lies the thriving town of Scotts Hill. It was in 1825 that Micajah 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. The Hill was added possibly because it was in the hill country. The old stage road ran through the town.

With the introduction of the stage coach came the post office service. The stage coach carried both passengers and mail. When the coach stopped, the passengers would alight and tour the town while postmaster sorted the mail. A horn was sounded when the stage coach was ready to roll out of town.

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 part of the Austin Store.

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

Around 1880 Scotts Hill boasted of a hotel which was opened by a Mr. Riley. Other hotel operators were J.S. Turner, George Davis, Mary White, Elsie Austin and Ellar Mitchell. A number of livery stables located here.

The owner of the first automobile in the town was J.A. McClannahan. After seeing the performance of the gas horse, Drs. Keeton and Wylie followed suit and then J.M. Brasher.

In 1908 the "Peoples Telephone Company" was organized by the community. It had 325 subscribers by 1930 and served a wide section of Decatur and Henderson Counties. The company operated at 25 cents a month to subscribers.

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 the first Cashier.[90] Present bank officials are Cashier, Willard Gurley, Assistant Cashier, Mrs. Arnell Overman and Joel Pierce, Clerks, Mrs. Wanda Wicker, Mrs. Rebecca Davis, Mrs. Rebecca Anglin and Mrs. Lorene Boswell. Former Bank President Fred Jones served 16 years prior to his death in 1976.

From the trading post the town has grown tremendously. For instance, the number of business places in the town is 38. They are namely: Mayo Grocery & Service Station, Spains Garage, Scotts Hill Auction Co., Swift Grocery and Service Station, Wyatts Barber Shop, Dyers Grocery, Charlets Beauty Salon, Kellys Grocery, E.E. Rhodes Furniture and Appliances, Farmers State Bank, Pipkins Dry Goods and Insurance Agency, Edgins Dry Goods, City Drug Co., Pafford Funeral Home, Helms Lumber Co. Farmers Feed & Supplies, Brashers Body Works, J.E. Taylor Gro., Austins Cafe, Campbells Sign Shop, Mitchell's Service Station, Mary Jo's Gift Shop, Country Curls Beauty Shop, Scotts Hill Sportswear Co., Buck's Lumber Co., Pat's Cafe, S.H. Funeral Home, Johnson General Store, S.H. Auto Parts, Frank's Coin-O-Matic, Village Flower Shop, Murphy Shell Station, Murphey's Garage, Colene's Cafe, Miller's Plumbing and Electric, Pipkins and Grisham Insurance and Real-Estate, Weatherington Barber Shop and Woody's Beauty Shop.

The new post office building was completed in 1975 and is located on the street, half way between Taylor's Crossing and Scotts Hill. It is a brick structure and is manned by Gordon Scott, Postmaster, Mrs. Hettie Scott, regular clerk and Wilson Miller, part time clerk, Raymond Scott and Jerry Taylor, mail carriers. Prior to the new post-office, it was located in temporary quarters in a trailer on Main Street and prior to that, it was located on the main street in the northern part of town.

Other postmasters who have served here were John and Henry Austin, sons of Ephram Austin, W. A. Helms, J. T. Bagby, Henry Miller, A. L. Goff, S.R. Hefley, J. W. Patterson, J. N. Tucker, W. A. Austin who served as postmaster in 1930.

Rural mail carriers in the 1930's were John Fanning, Henry Davenport, Elbert Butler, Sam Walton, Ben Deere, Coy Johnson and Iley Austin.[91]

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

In 1880 a log school house was built in which Ras Tucker taught.[92]

BA. Tucker moved to Scotts Hill later and headed the Scotts Hill College, which was erected in 1895-1896.[93] Students came from far and wide and boarded to attend the then famous school. Professor Tucker headed the school until his death in 1903. He was a Methodist leader, and published a weekly newspaper known as "The Scotts Hill Banner".

Later teachers here were James A. Bobbitt, George L. Wortham, Ira C. Powers, Clayton Tarlton, Cecil Milam, Pauline Creasey Eason, Ruby and Gertrude Roberts and Clara Smythe.

A new structure was erected n 191 6-1917 of brick.

Misfortune hit the town twice in 1916. On May 17, of that year, a tornado swept the town, destroying property and damaging the area. It was about five p.m. when it swept down.

Again on October 16, of that same year the entire 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 residences were consumed by the flames.

Tornado or fire could not completely destroy Scotts Hill. The town was re-built. Today it has extended its boundaries a distance of three miles. Extensions have been made on the Liberty and Stage Line Road as well as at Taylor's Crossing. An extension to the water system has been added.

There are two funeral homes and a Scotts Hill Auction Company here also.

Scotts Hill was incorporated in the early 1900's.[94] Those who have served as Mayor are: Tom McKenzie, Acey Tarlton, Ellis Scott, J.E. Holland, Perry Murphy, H.T. Powers, Gordon Turner and Wilson Miller.

Scotts Hill has a full time policeman, Jessie B. Powers, and has seven aldermen on the board. They are: Bernice Broadway, Charles Capley, Kenneth Edgin, Gene Helms, Bill Snyder and Hugh Rickman.[95]~

A primary health center located in the fair town of 576 citizens in


The athletic minded town boasts of the erection of three gymnasiums. One built in 1920, then the second in 1934, both of wood structure and the present gym was built in 1950. It is of steel and masonary construction.

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". It received its name from Mrs. Phebie Austin, who was the mother of the late Ephrain Austin. Here a large monument is placed, bearing the names of Phebie and Charles Austin and listing the names of their twelve children on the opposite side.[97]

October 2nd through October 5th 1975, Scotts Hill celebrated their Sesquicentennial which was sponsored by Scotts Hill Jaycees and Scotts Hill Lions Club. Throngs of former residents gather back home for the many activities.

 On the first day the Grand parade, led by Ft. Campbell Band with color guards attracted a huge crowd, then that night the Porter Wagoner show performed. On Friday the Ralph Emery Show appeared and in the afternoon a Space Lecture with demonstrations of Apolo Spacecraft, music and a film. On Friday night a tractor pull entertained the farmers around. On Saturday the Alumni breakfast really drew old timers who were present in the town and who came from miles away. At noon on Saturday, National, State and neighbor dignitaries spoke and a baseball extravaganza took up a portion of the afternoon. A street dance enhanced the celebration on Saturday Night and at two p.m. on Sunday a Patrotic Mass Meeting spiraled. The highlight of the celebration was the burying of a Time Capsule on campus near the B.A. Tucker monument which contained memorabilia to be opened 50 years hencewhen Scotts Hill is 200 years old.

The town that started out as a trading post, possibly received its name from an honest man's reaction. It seems that a salesman calling on Mr. Scott lost a $20.00 bill and on his next visit Scott returned the salesman's money. The salesman, pointed to Scott's Store on the hill and suggested the settlement be called Scotts Hill.


Jeanette, a small settlement in the northern part of Decatur County, on 69 Highway, was first known as Howesville.

 The first post office to be located here was March 24, 1904 and the first postmaster was W.E. Jordan. The description from the Post Office Department reads thus: "My office is a special office supplied from Parsons, eight miles distance and the name of the nearest office off the route is Northford and it is a distance by the most direct road of three miles in a northeast direction." However, since Highway No. 641 has been completed in this vicinity the distance from Parsons to Jeanette is said to be five miles.

When the unincorporated little town sprung up it had two mercantile stores, a Grist Mill, a doctor's office and postoffice, a hotel located at the Jim Gibson homeplace.

Doctors locating here were Dr. Perry and Dr. Chaffee, first names unknown. Jess Hill operated a business here at one time and his store burned. Sylvester Yates also operated a business here as well as Jim Gibson.

Later operators of the two businesses were Floyd Bowman, who built the store building now occupied by the Joe Gibson Family, Bob Petty and Van and Nell Reed, who operated a grocery here from 1962 to 1965. The Joe Gibsons ran the business a short while.[98]

The Church of Christ was located in the community as well as the Salem Baptist Church. Later the Church of Christ was moved but the Salem Baptist Church is still located here, with an adjoining cemetery.

Present business places here are the Oscar Gibson & Son, Darrell, Business and Gibson Appliance Company operated by James Gibson.

Among the early families here were the Pettys, Jordans, Gibsons, Colletts, Dukes, Bakers, Liggins and Colemans.[99]


On October 17, 1821, the Legislature appointed John Blackburn, John Johnson, Worley Warrington, J.W. Hunley and William B. Ross, commissioners to lay off a town to be called "Carrollville" in honor of His Excellency, William Carroll at Reeves Ferry. This town was on the land of John Blackburn, John Johnson and Worley Warrington. It lay a short distance across the river above Perryville but is now a town more in name than in reality.

 At the time of fixing the permanent capitol of the State, Carrollville was one of the many contestants for the honor of being selected the place.[100]

  1. Decatur County Records, Deed Book 11, Pgs. 85-86
  2. Carl Partin, son of G.W. Partin
  3. Minute Book at City Hall
  4. Minute book at City Hall
  5. Carl Partin
  6. Hobart Goff
  7. Nellie Tolley
  8. Minute Books of Town meeting
  9. Minute Book City Hall
  10. Ibid
  11. Cemetery Road
  12. Moss Arnold, Count Historian
  13. Carl Partin, son of G .W. Partin
  14. Goodspeeds History
  15. Carl Partin & Addle Fonville
  16. General Knowledge
  17. Addie Fonville
  18. Information on postcard used by Buckner Mill owned by Erie Jordan
  19. Stores in picture identified by Carl Partin
  20. H.L. Townsend, Sr.
  21. Carl Partin
  22. Addie Fonville, his daughter
  23. Addle Fonville, neice of Mrs. Mary Buckner
  24. Mrs. Stella Jennings, granddaughter of Harrison Rains
  25. Carl Partin, son of owner
  26. Mrs. Addie Fonville Hefley (daughter of couple)
  27. Mrs. Stella Jennings
  28. Moss Arnold
  29. City Hall Minute Book
  30. J. L. Lancaster
  31. HobartGoff
  32. Minute books at City Hall
  33. General Knowledge of Editor
  34. Bob Adams
  35. Jackson Sun Newspaper article Feb. 16, 1969
  36. Mrs. Carl McNeil, present Director
  37. Bob Burke's letter to editor
  38. Douglas Hayes
  39. Herodotus Greek historian statement of 484 B.C.
  40. Copy Post Office Dept. Tophographers office from Archive Bldg. in Nashville
  41. Mrs. Bonnie Keeton, daughter of Leslie Rains
  42. Carl Partin, son of G.W. Partin
  43. Hobart Townsend, son-in-law
  44. Dates of postmasters from Archive Bldg. records in Nashville
  45. Mrs. Bessie White, Sister
  46. Mrs. Terrell Mclllwain
  47. Raymond Townsend [not referenced in text]
  48. Dedication Program, Parsons US Postoffice Sept. 8,1963
  49. Sybern Riggs
  50. Authors knowledge
  51. Moss Arnold
  52. Margaret Rains Lindsey, daughter
  53. Hobart Goff
  54. Carl Partin
  55. Cart Partin
  56. Moss Arnold
  57. General Knowledge
  58. Carl Partin
  59. Carl Partin, son of G.W. Partin
  60. Archive Record of Partinville Post Office
  61. Olan Houston
  62. Goodspeeds History
  63. Ibid
  64. Goodspeeds History
  65. Zula Readey
  66. Vernon Striegel
  67. General Knowledge
  68. National Archives & Records, Washington D.C.
  69. National Archives in Washington D.C.
  70. Mrs. Aaron Bartholomew
  71. Ernest Hays and wife
  72. Mrs. Lois Frizzell
  73. Ibid
  74. Rev. J.J. Douglas and wife, interview
  75. General Knowledge
  76. Archives, Washington, D.C.
  77. Interview with J.A. McMurray
  78. Lillian Walker
  79. Mike Odle
  80. Mrs. Mike Odle
  81. Mike Odle
  82. Washington Archive Information
  83. W.K. Brooks
  84. W.K. Brooks
  85. Clifford Montgomery
  86. Ibid
  87. Interviews with Ray Jordan, Raymond Collett and Ruth Miller Pratt.
  88. Elco McMurray & Ralph Gulledge interviews
  89. Jessie Cagle
  90. 1930 History of Henderson County
  91. 1930 History of Henderson County
  92. History of Henderson County, Auburn Powers
  93. Gordon Turner
  94. Wilson Miller, Present Mayor
  95. Gordon Turner
  96. Ibid - Mayor Miller
  97. Gordon Turner
  98. Mrs. Joe Gibson
  99. Rat Jordan
  100. Compiled in Goodspeed's History of Tennessee