Facts About Danville, Tennessee, Part 2

By Nell Morisette
Camden, Tennessee

This is a continuation of the article which ran in the February 16 issue.

In 1890 Mr. Conductor Vicks' northbound freight train was approaching Erin from Danville, when the steam engine boiler exploded, instantly killing Mr. M.A. Conner, the engineer, and George Stull, the fireman, and fatally wounding Mr. Jack Wheatley a breakman, who died of injuries within half an hour after the accident. Mr. James Lee, Jr., was injured by being thrown over a stove. Mr. J.W. Vick, the conductor escaped with minor injuries, while Mr. Haywood Hayes, another brakeman, was struck on the knee cap and knocked off a car by a piece of boiler and was confined to his room for a day or two.

Showboats were popular passing through Danville. One planned to spend the winter on the Benton County side. It rained and rained and the water got so high that the boat had to be moved. One of the showboats was called "Cotton Blossom." It started playing the calliope about six miles away and could be heard way before it arrived. They started with "Little Brown Jug," and played several more before arriving in Danville.

The Danville Hotel was built by George W. Outlaw prior to the civil war and ran it for several years. It was a two story, 16 room brick building with a lobby. The hotel was used as a hospital during the Civil War. It was called the Outlaw Hotel.

There were a variety of business in Danville including general merchandise, grocery, a drug store, Dr. Albernathy's office, and a sawmill. There were two saloons. One of the store was jointly owned by surnames of Outlaw, Gambille, and Steel, and at one time a man with the surname Meen worked for them. It was a merchandise store and handled anything one might want from baby clothes to caskets.

Danville had two churches, The Methodist Episcopal Church South and the Cumberland Presbyterian. In the summertime Bush Arbor meeting were popular.

The first schools were built around 1895. One was for whites and one for "the colored." In 1928 Farfield was built between Danville and McKinnon. Mr. Vickers showed me a picture of him and his brother dressed as carrots in a school play at Fairfield.

A Masonic Hall was built near McKinnon in 1850. Soon after the Civil War the meeting place was moved to a building in Danville. This building burned. The Masons asked about helping the Methodist build a two-story building with the lodge upstairs. This worked for a period of them, then the Methodist sold out to the Masons.

A post office was established in Danville soon after the Civil War. It provided regular service, express, and telegraph service.

Mr. Vickers said a reunion was held every year and he usually attended. He invited me to go with them this year.

Last year a Danville Crossing Internet Group formed and had a reunion at Paris Landing Lodge. It will be held this year June 22-25 at the same place. They are from Benton, Humphreys, Houston, and Stewart Counties.

Thought for the week: In every difficulty you can find an opportunity.


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Brian Nichols

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