Early Days of Parsons Tour – Nov 16, 2013

Early Days of Parsons Tour Parsons Cemetery Tour

Construction of Alvin C. York Bridge

Alvin C. York Bridge contruction

The Alvin C. York Bridge across the Tennessee River at Perryville built so travelers, business men, and the general public might have an easier, more convenient, and safer way of crossing the Tennessee River. This bridge was built in 1930, being opened on July 4, 1930. This bridge cost $665,000.00. It was operated as a toll bridge to defray the cost of construction.  This bridge was named in honor of Alvin C. York, Tennessee’s famous World War hero.

This picture is scanned from a postcard from the time. Thanks to Bart Taylor for providing this image.  The picture is made facing Perry County with only the first span over the river channel under construction.  The bridge was completed prior to the flooding of Kentucky Lake in 1944. The completed bridge is also viewed from another post card scan.

A close up of the barge shows two working men and details of the construction scaffolding.

Lancaster School

Lillye Younger in The History of Decatur County Past and Present provides this history of schools in the Bath Springs Area.

The first school at Bath Springs was a log structure located just across from the present Dr. B.M. Brooks home. It was constructed during Civil War days. George Brooks taught here.[13]

In 1913 the building was torn down and a yellow pine school building erected about 50 feet from the present Bath Springs Baptist Church. It was used as a school-church combination until in 1929 when Three Way School was built.

The school at the Three Way intersection of Hwys 114 and 69 was the Lancaster School.  It served the Bath Springs Community for many years. School desks remained in it until it was torn down in the 1960s.


Participants in Homecoming Fete – 1951

from the collection of Maureen Pierce

Dr. Rogers Day - 1951

Dr. Rogers Day – 1951

DECATURVILLE, Tenn. – Participants in the recent fifth annual Dr. Rogers homecoming day, gathered on the front porch of the Houston Chalk home, are from left, Earl Wylie, president of the local civic club which sponsors the event; Dr. T. Rogers, practicing physician in the county for more than 60 years; Lela Stout, who taught primary grades in the same schoolroom here for 40 years before her retirement last year; Houston Chalk, seated, blacksmith here for more than 70 years; Mrs. Hettie Miller, connected with the local newspaper for 55 years and its owner and publisher for the last half-century; the Rev. O. H. Lafferty, native Methodist pastor now back in Decatur preaching where he began 43 years ago; and James L. England, program chairman for the day.

– published in local newspaper, Staff photo by Gordon H. Turner.

Dr. Rogers Day in Decaturville

Dr. Rogers Day - 1951

Dr. Rogers Day – 1951

Labor Day was set as a day to recognize outstanding local citizens in Decaturville for many years.  The event was sponsored by the 45-member civic club who set Labor Day as a permanent annual homecoming date for a big celebration in tribute to some outstanding citizen of Decatur County.  The initial program on Monday, Sept 1, 1947 honored Decatur County’s venerable country doctor, Dr. Tav Rogers, as he reviewed a parade of hundreds of his “babies” ranging in ages from two weeks to 58 years.

The deliver-bouquets-to-the-living idea was so popular that club members voted to make the day honoring labor go a little further each time by calling up for special recognition some man or woman who had worked so long and hard among them.

The plan was for Dr. Rogers to remain the outstanding guest at each year’s gathering as long as he lived.  Other annual top-notchers in turn joined him to form the panel of county greats to watch newcomers ushered into their own hall of fame.  Mrs. Lela Stout was honored at the second such event in 1948.  Mrs. Stout is believed to have taught more than half of Decaturville’s townspeople in the first grade during her 40-odd years of school teaching.

Honorees include Dr. Tav Rogers, Lela Stout, Hettie Miller, Kittie McMillan, Houston Chalk, Rev. O. H. Lafferty, P. H. Welch, Lillian Vise and Jesse W. Blount, Mrs. W. L. Wheat and J. Hyder Smith.

Dr. Rogers Day through the years

Thanks to Dian Brasher, Maureen, Pierce, Athalia Taylor, Geary Wheat and Larry Yarbro for providing information for this page. Newspaper articles written by Gordon R. Turner provided many of the details.

Please contact me if you have additional pictures or newspaper articles about Dr. Rogers day in Decaturville.

Dr. Rogers Day Program
September 5, 1955

transcribed by Athalia Boroughs Taylor from Decatur County Herald

Parade – 10:00 a.m. Led by 48 piece Lexington Band

Program – Time’s Theatre

Invocation – The Rev. E.H. McCaleb
Welcome – E.H. Wylie, President Decaturville Civic Club
Master of Ceremonies – Roy N. McPeake
In Memoriam – Gordon Turner
“Memories” – Mrs. Gene Turner
Presentation of Past Honorees
Presentation of the Honorees Mrs. Nelle Dunivant, Mayor Will Rogers
“Mother Macree” – Mrs. H.L. Weir
“Beautiful Isle of Somewhere” – Jane McPeak, Rosemary Malcolm, Judy Malcolm
Address – The Hon. Frank G. Clement Governor, State of Tennessee
“Blest Be The Tie That Binds” – Group singing led by – The Rev. E.H. McCaleb, Mrs. J.L. McMillan, Pianist
Benediction – Rev. W.A. Nance

Afternoon musical program begins at 2:00 p.m. at Times Theatre.

12th Annual “Dr. Rogers Day”
September 1, 1958

transcribed by Athalia Boroughs Taylor from Decatur County Herald

sponsored by Decaturville Lions Club and Decaturville Businessmen

Parade 10:00 a.m. from old school to theatre led by Parsons Band

Invocation – Rev. Berkely Poole
Welcome – Mr. Will T. Rogers
Master of Ceremonies – Mr. James L. England
Solo – Mrs. James Weatherford “Jesus Hold My Hand”

In Memoriam – Hon Gordon Turner
Dr. Rogers (1947); Mrs. Hettie Miller (1949); Mrs. Kitty Mcmillan (1952);
Mrs. Nelle Dunavant (1955); P.H. Welch (1952); W.R. Taylor (1956).

Piano Solo – Joe Spence

Presentation of Past Honorees – Mr. James L. England
Mrs. Lela Stout (1948); Houston Chalk (1949); Rev. O.H. Lafferty (1951);
Mrs. E.M. Vise (1953); J.W. Blount (1953); J. Hyder Smith (1954);
Mrs. Sallie Wheat (1954); Will T. Rogers (1955); Mrs. Annie Adair (1956);
Mrs. J.S. England (1957); J.F. Dees (1957).

Solo – Frank Welch “Known Only to Him”

Presentation of Honorees – Roy N. McPeak
Address – Hon. J.B. Avery, Sr. Judge of the Court of Appeals of Tennessee
Benediction – Rev. William H. Larkin


A new idea for real fun on the square in the afternoon

Street Dance – Court Square – 7:30 p.m.

Dr. Rogers Day Program
September 3, 1956

transcribed by Athalia Boroughs Taylor from Decatur County Herald

Sponsored by Decaturville Lions Club

Parade – 10:00 a.m. (from High School to Theatre) Led by Selmer Band

Program in Times Theatre
Invocation – Rev. Berkeley Poole
Welcome – Gene Turner, President Lions Club
Master of Ceremonies – Roy N. McPeak
In Memorium – Dr. Rogers (1947); Mrs. Hettie Miller (1949); Mrs. Kittie McMillan (1952) – Gordon Turner.
In Memory of Dr. Rogers – Piano solo – Mrs. Hettie Barry
Presentation of Past Honorees – Master of Ceremonies Roy N. McPeak and Gene Turner – Mrs. Lela Stout (1948); Houston Chalk (1949); Rev. O.J. Lafferty (1951); P.J. Welch (1952); Mrs. E.M. Vise (1953); J.W. Blount (1953); J. Jyder Smith (1954); Mrs. Sallie Wheat (1954); Will T. Rogers (1955); Mres. Nelle Dunavant (1955)

Presentation of Honorees – M.C. Roy N. McPeak, Gene Turner, Mrs. Annie Adair, Mr. W.R. Taylor

Reading (Dedicated to Mrs. Adair) – R.L. Haney
Song (Dedicated to Mr. Taylor) – Quartet, Decaturville Gospel Singers
Address – The Hon. Jess Safley, Farm Editor of the Nashville Banner
Group singing – Led by Rev. E.H. McCaleb, Mrs. J. L. McMillan, Pianist
Benediction – Rev. John Clark

Times Theatre
A variety of musical numbers, spiritual singing by quartets, Duets, Solos and group singing.
Masters of Ceremonies – Joe Spence, E.H. Wylie

Court Square
Street Dance – Music by Arthur Phillips and his Tennessee Valley Boys

Scott Hill, TN School Buses Collide, June 1937



Lexington, Tenn., June 12. (AP) — Three persons were killed and 15 injured tonight when two school buses, carrying passengers to a school play, collided at Scott Hill, 14 miles southeast of here.

First reports gave the names of those killed as BILL STANFILL, 18; BESS STANFILL, 23; and CHARLES STEWART, 18, all of Reagon, Tenn.

One bus carried 15 passengers and the other 12. Both were reported demolished.
The dead were taken to a Lexington mortuary. The injured were carried by ambulance to a Jackson, Tenn., hospital.

Officials at the Lexington sheriff’s office said the buses were drived by ARCH MARTIN and DICK GRISSOM. One was carrying a load to Scotts Hill and was practically loaded. The other was returning to Reagan, about four miles from Scotts Hill, for another load but had picked up several persons on the return trip.

ROBBIE LEE ROGERS, 10, Reagan, and BUDDIE OLIVER, 19, Reagan, were reported in a critical condition at a Jackson hospital. WELCH JONES, 22, also of Reagan, was reported seriously injured at the hospital.

Names of the less seriously injured, reported to have been treated by physicians, were given as CLAUDE MARTIN, Sardis; RAY MARTIN, ROY MARTIN, MILDRED MARTIN, RAY STANFILL, ASTOR SEGERSON, BROWN DEERE and OLEITA DEERE, all of Reagan.

WILLIAM EDGAR (BUDDIE) OLIVER 19, of Reagan, Tenn., died in a Jackson, Tenn., hospital Sunday afternoon.

OLIVER suffered severe head and internal injuries.

Kingsport Times Tennessee 1937-06-13

Decatursville, TN Courthouse Fire, Jul 1869

On July 3 the Court-house of Decatur County, at Decatursville, Tenn., was entirely consumed by fire. Loss, $100,000. The lawyers of the town had their offices in the Court-house, and their libraries were all consumed, together with valuable papers which they had in their possession. In the County Clerk’s office there was $30,000 in currency. The County Court Clerk also had many valuables in his office, which he tried to save, with more important county papers. He wrapped himself up in wet blankets and penetrated the building, but the flames drove him back, and he was slightly burned in the attempt.

The New York Times, New York, NY 12 Jul 1869