Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN


Chapter XIV

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.

Abraham M. Leasure, wife and two children and a brother, Marion Leasure known as Uncle Dick and Uncle Lou Seltzer arrived at Brownsport Furnace on the steamer "Rapidan" about 1870. They came from Cincinnatti, Ohio when Uncle Abe, as he was later known, was operator of the old Blum Furnace.

He operated the Brownsport Furnace until it closed, then entering the lumber and saw mill business, which he continued until his retirement in 1907.

The Leasure family lived in Perry, Wayne, Hardin counties prior to moving to Decatur county near Decaturville. There were 14 children in Uncle Abe's family. Uncle Abe died in 1917 and is buried in Decaturville Cemetery with his wife, four daughters one son and his brother. The remainder of the family are buried in Missouri, Arkansas, Mt. Lebanon, Pleasant Hill and in Perry and Wayne Counties.[1]

Houston Roberts family:

Houston Roberts, son of Robert Samuel Roberts lived in Roane County. He moved to Decatur County at an early age. He married Permelia Brasher and to this union eight children were born, namely S. W. Roberts, Phillip Franklin Roberts, James Monroe Roberts, Jessie Lafayette Roberts, Beltie Permila Roberts, Martha Jane Roberts, Robert Samuel Roberts and Houston Roberts.

The only Roberts to remain in Decatur County and live a long life was James Monroe Roberts who is the father of Mrs. Bessie White of Parsons, Oscar H. Roberts of Lexington and Hubert Roberts of Dyersburg.

James Monroe and his wife "Mollie" had six other children who died young. The Roberts raised the oldest daughter, Maggie E. Rushings daughter, Maggie died at the age of 23 and left a two year old daughter, Bertha who made her home with the Roberts. The granddaughter is the late Bertha Smith of Decaturville, who ran a dry goods store in Decaturville for around 30 years.

She died at the age of 75 in 1973 and was considered a successful business woman. After her death her daughter, Margie's husband Fred Alexander continued the business.

"Miss Margie" as she is known, has been a teacher in the county school system for several years.

Mrs. Smith's other children are Mrs. Omar (Grapelle) Stevens of North Little Rock, Arkansas and Bill Smith of Millington.

 A number of things of the Roberts family have been preserved by Mr. O.H. Roberts, Mrs. Bessie White and Mrs. Margie Alexander.[2]

Burrel Rushing and his two brothers, Crawford and Richard left North Carolina in 1818. Burrel married Mary Elizabeth Rhodes and to this union seven children were born: Richard (Dick), Leonedus, William F. (Bill), Philip, Malvenia, Andrew Jackson and John Wesley Rushing.

Burrel gave about ten acres of land to be used as part of the site for the town of Decaturville.

One of Burrel's grandsons, Burl Franklin gave the land for the Rushing Grove church near Decaturville and the cemetery known as Rushing Grove's Cemetery where many of the Rushing family are buried.

Burrel died May 5, 1867 and is buried in Rushings Grove Cemetery.

William Franklin Rushing married Sarah Ann Powers. They had one son, James (Jim) M. Rushing., who lived in Parsons. To this union were born three children, Bertha, who married Byron Smith, Modie, who married Gray Evans and lives in California and Jack who married Meta Long and resides in Parsons.

Jim drove a "Peddler Wagon" for Holcomb Produce Co. in Parsons at one time. He died at the age of ninety, having lived with his son and wife, Jack and Meta in his later years.

Bertha's daughter, Margie Alexander is very interested in history and has preserved many old records, such as letters written to Burrell from his sons during the days of the War Between the States. Also letters written in the years that followed, describing conditions in Decatur County at that time.[3]

George Landis Wortham was born in Bedford County, Tennessee on May 15, 1875, the youngest of a family of seven. At an early age he found employment in the village store of his brother-in-law. With savings from this and other sources he enrolled in Brandon's Training School at Wartrace, Tennessee.

On October 25, 1903 he married Dora Jane Reid, also a native of Bedford County. The couple taught school in Bedford County schools and furthered their educations at Peabody College. In 1909 they moved to Scotts Hill, Tennessee where Mr. Wortham was principal of Scotts Hill Normal and Mrs. Wortham served as his assistant in the primary grades.

He was elected County Superintendent of Decatur County Schools and served in this capacity from 1911 to 1923.

Mrs. Wortham was a talented and loved teacher who played a big part in their teaching career. It was once said by a former student that it would be hard to find a family in Parsons or the county that one of them had not taught, either parent or children or both.

They influenced many young lives in their community by giving much of themselves to both church and school.

Mr. Wortham died October 31, 1936 and Mrs. Wortham died May 13, 1967.[4]

Mrs. Wortham taught Sunday School in Parsons United Methodist Church for years. A stained glass window in the old church was donated by the couple for 50.00 and exemplified the life of a true Christian. Her patience was of sterling quality and she was greatly loved by Decatur Contains. She was also a member of Parsons Order of the Eastern Star.[5]

The couple were the parents of three sons, George L., a lawyer now living in Nashville, Herbert Patterson, who lives in Parsons and Charles who died Feb. 10, 1959. Charles married Hazel Bicknell and they have one son, Charles Jr. who lives in Parsons. Charles is married to Virginia (Kate) McCormic and they have one son, Ronny Charles.

Herbert (Bid) married Georgia Lou Williams of Alamo, Tennessee and they have one son, Herbert Patterson Jr., and reside in Parsons.

George L. Wortham married Hazel Berry of Printess, Mississippi.


  1. Compiled by Rex L. Tucker, Iuka, Ms.
  2. Margaret Alexander, daughter 3/13/76 compiled
  3. Ibid
  4. George L. Wortham, son
  5. Editor's remarks