A 1932 Visit to Henderson, TN

Lexington Progress, February 12, 1932


W. V. Barry

What I am going to hereafter count as a milestone, marking the memory of pleasant things, is a trip made last Friday in company with Circuit Judge, W. H. Denison, who was holding his regular court in the town of Henderson, the thriving and well-kept seat of government in the county of Chester, which county was formed in the year 1879, by taking slices or chunks from the counties of Madison, Henderson, McNairy and Hardeman. Judge Denison, by the way, having a heart in proportion to his body, delights to give anybody a lift-especially his relatives and friends going from town to town, and to school children along his roads whom he frequently runs across walking to and from their school houses. I can and will add that, risking the accusation of partiality because of kinship-in-law, that “Watt” Denison, being admittedly a good man, with 20 years of experience practicing law, gave him the foundation on which he is making an efficient judge-all of which I had no intention of saying when I had in mind writing up my trip to Henderson.

Well, we reached Henderson at something after eight o’clock, the judge went at once into the “temple of justice” and I headed for the drugstore of my old Purdyborn and reared friend Will Braden, and he unblushingly admitted that he was not far from that age mark, beyond which men live only “by reason of strength” -as remarked in the Book of Books. Will is a son of the late Bill Braden, of Purdy, who married Maria, daughter of the late Judge Martin of Savannah, Tenn., and his good wife, Annie, is the younger daughter of the late Judge Jim and Mrs. Amanda Adams McKinney. Next I went to see Guy and Burl McKinney in their dry goods store. Guy has had the greatest of all personal misfortunes, the loss of his wife, but “Old Burl” is happy in a beautiful home on Crook Avenue, a charming little daughter and a lovely wife who is the daughter of the B.P.O.E (Best People on Earth) John D. L. and Mrs. Cornelia Ingram Whitaker, of Memphis. In the afternoon I called at the home of Will Braden and Burl McKinney, and at the former place I was proud to learn that Emmett Wade [Braden], son of Will and Annie Braden bids fair to make his mark in the practice of law, having been admitted as junior partner in the prominent Memphis law firm of which the Honorable W. D. Kizer, who died very recently, was a member. These old friends of ours have prominent factors in the business life of Henderson.

The first call of the afternoon was made at the home of Mrs. Barry’s esteemed uncle, Mr. William Bray, who moved from Henderson County to the town of Henderson more that 50 years ago, was for many years a merchant and postmaster and he and his first wife, Harriet, daughter of the late Esq. James H. Fuller, of Henderson County, reared a large family of boys who have scattered over several states and made good businessmen. The present wife is one of the most lovable of women and has made Uncle William a help mete. Indeed, Mr. Bray is in his 90th year and is yet wade-awake. My visit to them in their cozy home on Crook Avenue, was fully worth the whole trip. At large, I met those distinguished gentlemen, Willoughby Stewart, Millard F. Ozier, retired lawyer, and Eli Reed, minister of the Primitive Baptist Church, former member of the Legislature, former several other things, and at present writing a history of Chester County. Willoughby Stewart made the remark that if I had given Eli Reed and Millard Ozier any sort of a chance I would have no need to listen in on the radio talks of Lowell Thomas for several days. I turned down all noon dinner invitations and sandwiched with a cup of G. Washington coffee, at the City Drugstore of Worth Powers, and by the way, Worth was gone to Reagan, but his brother, Dr. John Powers, of Jackson, happened to be in and informed me that he was about to begin the general practice of medicine in Jackson. I met some of the county officials, Ernest Smith, register, S. C. Malone, trustee, but failed to find my friend John Galbraith, the Clerk & Master, in his office.

Henderson is a nice town, the business section well paved and the principal business houses conveniently located on both sides of the main street, while the courthouse, convenient enough, is out of the way. The residential streets and premises seem to be well-kept and with few, if any eyesores left to mar the landscape.

I called at the railroad station to call on Mr. A. W. Polsgrove who gave me a cordial invitation to dinner and there I met Dr. W. 0. Baird, who seems to be about the First Citizen of the town, who lives in the house in which he was born, and who is said to be withal a dandy good fellow, as well as a progressive citizen and excellent physician.

I enjoyed the day to the fullest-thanks to Judge Denison and all who made it so to me.

Laquita Thomson presented this typescript document to the Chester County Historical Society, August 1, 2016 and used with her permission.