Decaturville College Fire – 1881

Over the state

The Milan exchange, Milan, TN, December 3, 1881

The college at Decaturville was burned by an incendiary Friday night.  The house was erected last year at a cost of $3,000.

from other sources

In 1880, the trustees of Decatur County College bought the property, where the present school stands, from Mr. C. P. Dennison and Wife. A two-story, frame school building was erected on the property by the town of Decaturville. This building was used until 1909 when the present elementary school building was erected. The present high school building was erected in 1925. On December 8, 1927, the town of Decaturville deeded this school property to the County Board of Education. Both the elementary and high school are now county schools.

Decatur County, circa 1938

History of Concord UMC

from the research of Doris Welch Swindle

In 1869 Ruben White in consideration of his desire to promote The Methodist Church South, deeded to trustees:  Henry Welch, Corry Pettigrew, George W. Smith, John Coates, and Nicholas D. White, David N. Scott, and George W. Harrell two acres of land build a church.  A log building was constructed (30’ x 40’) of native poplar logs.  The building was used for worship and for a few years as a school.

Since 1869 a lot of improvements have been made.  In the early 1900’s the outside was covered with weatherboarding.  The original building had 2 front doors.  One door was for the ladies and the other for the men.  They then sat on opposite sides of the church instead of the family sitting together.  When the length was added the single door became the entrance. In 1952 the building had 12’ added to the length for classrooms as well as covering the exterior with brick.  New pews replaced the standard benches in 1960.  Solid stain glass windows, and carpet  were added in 1964.

In 1972 a 24’ x 40’ fellowship hall was added with 2 bathrooms and a kitchen.  In the 70’s the pews were padded as well as carpet and an altar drape with a large cross.  Many of the improvements in recent years have been the results of love offerings given in memory of past members.  In 1988 a steeple was added and in 1995 the windows in the two front doors were replaced by stain glass.   In 1996 the windows through out the church were replaced with stain glass with beautiful scenes.

In 142 years we have had 65 ministers.  In the first 50 years we had circuit riders who traveled a long distant bring the Word to the small churches.    A minister was not there every Sunday. The Church celebrated 100 years of church service in 1969 with Rev. Charles Leist as our pastor.  He rode in on a pony such as the circuit riders did many years ago.

A minister is shared with Mt. Carmel and Mt. Lebanon Methodist churches.  Concord has service every Sunday at 9:00 AM with Sunday school at 10:00.   In 2012 the pastor is Rev. Cathy Oakes.  Over the years many prayers of been uttered and many souls have been saved in the little country church and by the Grace of God it will continue to be a beacon in the community.

Concord UMC - 1955

Concord UMC – 1955


Concord UMC - 1960

Concord UMC – 1960


Concord UMC - 1988

Concord UMC – 1988


Concord UMC in snow

Concord UMC in snow


Year(s) of Service Minister Year(s) of Service Minister
1869 W. D. Stayton 1930-31 A. N. Walker
1870-73 R. R Nelson 1932-34 W. H. Perigen
1874-76 William Hay 1935-36 F. A. Flatt
1877 F.  B. Davis 1937 W. F. Cooley
1878 T. J. McGill 1938 W. T. Garner
1879-80 William Hay 1939-40 W. M. Vaughn
1881-82 L. P. Ramsey 1941-42 A. L. Mays
1883 R. S. Swift 1943-45 J. T. Walker
1884-85 T. L. Adams 1946-48 C. E. Stewart
1886 H. D. Overton 1949 S. L. Parham
1887-90 J. H. Garrett 1950 O. H. Lafferty
1891 J. H. Felty 1953 Wayne McClain
1892 J.E. Treadwell 1954-55 W. S. Malners
1893 William Murray 1956-58 John Clark
1894-97 J. L. Weaver 1959 V.W. Dungan
1898 W. A. Cook 1960-61 Eddie Walton
1899-1900 R. P. Witt 1962-63 Jerry Hassell
1901 J. B. Knight 1964-65 Jerry Bell
1902 W. F. Acuff 1965 D. W. Carlisle
1903 W. D. Dunn 1965-70 Charles Leist
1904 D. C. Johnson 1970-71 Jack Dickerson
1905-06 A. H. Dulaney 1972-73 Horace Melton
1907 E. W. Crump 1973-78 James Cotham
1908 T. E. Foust 1979 Rippy
1909-10 W. D. Simons 1979-80 Cook
1911-12 F. B. Jones 1981-82 Coke
1913-15 W. H. Collins 1982-85 Robert Tripp
1916 J. E. James 1985-88 Pam McDaniel
1917-18 T. E. Calhoun 1989-93 Marty Arnold
1919 E. R. Roach 1994 Judy Wolfgang
1920-24 O. H. Lafferty 1995-2008 Gary Drum
1925 E. L. Ledbetter 2008-10 Bob Sadler
1926-27 T. N.Wilks 2010-present Cathy Oakes
1928-29 J. F. Morelock    

Parents and Teachers Tour Decaturville School

Decatur County Herald, November 8, 1957

A large group of parents and teachers gathered at the new school on monday night for the first PTA meeting at the new building.

After a tour of the building, the group assembled in the cafeteria for their meeting.

The program opened with all joining in the singing of “America.”

William A. Larkin, new Church of Christ minister here, gave the devotional, pointing out the need for united effort of the parents and the teachers to make a successful organization.

Dick  Barry of Lexington spoke to the group on “Understanding The People of Other Countries.”  Barry showed a number of colored slides of Japan, Egypt, England and other places that he had visited and gave an interesting explanation of each picture.

Appreciation was expressed to H. D. Pevahouse, a member of the school board for his efforts in the building program.

Attendance awards went to Mrs. Emil Keeton, second grade and to the seventh grade.

A committee of Mrs. J. K. Yarbro, John Crawley, Mrs. Charlie Kindle, Mrs. Grady Crawley and Mrs. Alvin Myracle will plan the annual talent night program.

Iced drinks were served at the close of the meeting.

Betty Ann Dress Shop Fire

Fire, Explosion Kills One, Injures Three December 29

The Parsons News Leader, January 11, 1957

Betty Ann Dress Shop Fire

picture by B. R. Jennings

A small fire and succeeding explosion killed one person and injured several others, three seriously, in Parsons on Saturday, December 290.

Killed when the upper floor of the building occupied by the Betty Ann dress Shop on the ground floor and the Masonic Hall on the second floor was James Madison Smith, County Judge.  Judge Smith was assisting to remove merchandise from the dress shop owned by Mrs. J.  D. Dodd when the explosion occurred, blowing the brick walls of the upper floor into the crowded area of Main Street.

Injured seriously were W. O. (Jack) Bell, owner of Bell’s Grocery; Miss Marijon Young, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Young; and Mrs. Fannie Rains, wife of former mayor H. V. Rains. Others suffer4d slight injuries that did not require hospitalization.

Of the three persons hospitalized as a result of the explosion, two have returned home.  Jack Bell was released on Monday of this week and Marijon Young was released on Sunday.  Mrs. Rains is still at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital.

The fire started in the ceiling of the Masonic kitchen and quickly filled the building with smoke, preventing the firefighters from entering the building. The alarm was sounded approximately 5:50 p.m., and the explosion occurred about 8:25 p.m.

The explosion lifted the building roof, blowed the brick walls of the upper story into Main Street in front of the building and into North Tennessee Avenue alongside the building.  All of the injured were in front of the building at the time of the blast and no injuries occurred from the falling debris on Tennessee Avenue.

The cause of the blast has never been determined, although gases formed from the fire are believed to have accumulated in the attic and main meeting room of the Masons.  The room was sealed and pressure from the gases could have built up until the exploding point was reached.

Long distance telephone serfvice was interrupted for over two house as the main toll line of Parsons Telephone Company ran directly in front of the building and were torn down. Only a few local telephones in the immediate area were affected.

A portion of the attic wall was blown onto the building at 103 West Main, housing the offices of Dr. J. C. Davis, Dr. L. F. Hufstedler and Loraine’s Beauty Shop.  All three tenants of that building were forced to move to new quarters due to damage from water and the explosion.  Dr. Davis and Dr. Hufstedler have occupied the building on Long Street formerly occupied [by] Farmers Feed and Seed Co. and Mrs. Loraine Evans has moved her Beauty Shop to her residence at 1332 East Main Street.  The Betty Ann Dress Shop has moved to the Building formerly occupied by Lin-Ra Sporting Goods on South Tennessee Avenue and will re-open soon.

Assistance was rendered by the Decaturville Fire Department, Wylie Funeral Home, Parsons Mortuary, and Pafford Funeral Home of Lexington, as well as the Tennessee Highway Patrol who dispatched several cars to Parsons to help control traffic in the area.

Witnesses to the explosion said that they heard a muffled boom, then the entire upper story seemed to be a ball of fire.  Many people outran the falling debris, thus accounting for the comparative small number of injuries.  The explosion was heard almost everywhere in town, it was reported.

Services for Judge James Madison Smith Held on December 31

The Parsons News Leader, January 11, 1957

Funeral services for County Judge James Madison Smith were held at the Parsons Methodist Church on Monday afternoon, December 31 with Rev. Harold Wallace, rev. Harold McSwain and rev. Charles Stewart officiating.  Burial was in the Decaturville Cemetery under the direction of Parsons Mortuary.

Judge Smith died as a result of injuries received during an explosion in Parsons on December 29.

Judge Smith was appointed County Judge in August of 1951 to fill the unexpired term of Judge Otto Milam.  He was elected to fill the remainder of the term in 1952 and would have served until September 1, 1958.

Prior to his appointment as County Judge, Mr. Smith was an automobile dealer in Parsons.  He was also County Court Clerk for Decatur County during the war years, with his term in that office bieng interrupted by military service. He served with the U. S. Army in Europe for 12 months then returned to his office.

Judge Smith was a member of the Methodist Church in Parsons serving on many committees of the church. He was member of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Decatur County Lions Club serving as Chairman of the Zone II of Lions International at the time of his death.  He was chairman of the Lions Club Christmas Basket Committee for the past wto years. He was also a member of the Tennessee County Judges Association.

He is survived by his wife, Imogene; tow sisters, Mrs. Hattie Dennison of Lexington and Mrs. W. H. Volner of Scotts Hill; three nieces; and four nephews.

Active pallbearers were members of the VFW and honorary pallbearers were members of the County Court and the Parsons and Decaturville Lions Clubs. Military rites were conducted at the grave by former governor Gordon Browning.

Services for Jack Bell Held Last Sunday; Second Victim Of Blast

The Parsons News Leader, January 18, 1957

 Funeral services for Wyatt Otis (Jack) Bell, Parsons Groceryman, were held last Sunday afternoon at Parsons Methodist Church. He was 51.

Mr. Bell died Friday evening as a result of injuries suffered in a building explosion in Parsons on December 29.  He had returned to his home form the Jackson-Madison County General Hospital on Monday, and was able to be up in a wheel chair.  He had taken his first steps that day.  His condition was noticed as worsening about five o’clock, and a doctor was called, who dispatched Mr. Bell to the hospital in a Parsons Mortuary ambulance.  Mr. Bell died between Parsons and Lexington.

Mr. Bell was born and reared near Union City, and received his schooling there.  He had lived in Parsons since 1945.

Mr. Bell was a member of the Army during World War II, serving for more than two year in Aleutian Islands. He was a veteran of the bitter fighting on Attu Island during that time.

He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, the Masons and the Woodmen of the World. He was a member of the Parsons Methodist Church.

He leaves his wife, Nell, of Parsons; his mother, Mrs. W. H. Bell of Rives; two sisters, Mrs. Annie Ruth Dietzel of Union City and Miss Buline Bell of Rives.

Services were conducted by Rev. H. W. McSwain and Rev. George Capps. Burial was in the Parsons Cemetery under the direction of Parsons Mortuary. Pallbearers were members of Post 4971, VFW.

Samuel L. Duck Elected by Magistrates to Serve Remainder of Judge’s Term

The Parsons News Leader, January 18, 1957

Samuel L. Duck of Decaturville was elected by the magistrates of Decatur County to fill the unexpired term of the late J. Madison Smith at the regular meeting held Monday.  Judge Duck will serve until September 1, 1958. The voters will elect a judge for a full term of eight years in the General Election in August of 1958.

Mr. Duck received 14 votes for the position and Jack Rushing of Parsons received 12 votes.  One magistrate was absent from the meeting. Both men are Democrats.

Judge Duck is the son of the late D. S. Duck and Mrs. Duck. He was born in Henderson County and is a graduate of Parsons High School. He is a licensed attorney.

Mr. Duck served two years as Circuit Court Clerk beginning in 1934. He was chief clerk of the War Rationing Board from 1942 until 1944. He later became assistant cashier of the Decatur County Bank, which position he held for 10 years, he has practiced law and operated his farming interests.

Mr. Duck is married to the former Marie Harrell and is the father of two children, John Sam and Margaret. He is a member of he Advent Christian Church of Fellowship (Henderson County) and is a Mason.


DCHS Fires – 1956

from the research of Richard F. Butler

1956 was a year of disaster for Decatur County High School as the classroom routine was interrupted by two major fires.  The year started with the gym burning in the early hours of January 22, 1956.  A dance had been held in the building on Saturday night and the fire was discovered by Cotton Ivy and some friends on the way home from coon hunting a little after midnight.

The year ended with the high school building burning after school was out for the holidays.  The fire started about 3:30 pm on December 30, 1956.  An eye witness reports that it appeared to have started in the center of the basement where the gas furnace was located.  After the fire was subdued, it was determined that all outside doors were locked.

On Wednesday morning, January 16, 1957, kerosene-soaked newspapers were found stuffed into a stovepipe in the second grade room of the elementary school building. The county sheriff and the state fire marshal’s office investigated the fires and the incident at the elementary school and concluded that these incidents were arson.  They questioned several people but didn’t release any names.  At the time, they announced that they expected to make arrests, but none were made.

Plans were already underway to build a new school building at the time of the high school fire.  Bids for the new elementary and high school building were taken on September 18, 1956 and the contract was awarded a few days later.

Midnight Flames Destroy Decaturville Gym

The Parsons News Leader, January 27, 1956

DCHS Gym after fire - 1956

Shown above is the remainder of the Decaturville Gymnasium after its destruction by fire Saturday night. The building is a total loss, along with all equipment, cafeteria and restrooms. Fast action by three fire departments prevented the spread of the fire to other buildings of the school and homes in the area.

A midnight fire of undetermined origin completely destroyed the Decaturville Gymnasium last Saturday night, along with all equipment stored in the building.  Efficient work by the fire departments of Decaturville, Parsons and Lexington prevented the possible spread of the fire to other buildings and homes in the area.

According to Mr. Guy T. Kennedy, County Superintendent, the loss of the buildings would total approximately $115,000, and total loss of equipment including football and basketball equipment totaled approximately $18,000.  Total insurance carried on teh building was $8,000 according to Mr. Kennedy, representing the amount of money the county had in the WPA-constructed building.

The school cafeteria was located in the basement of the building and was a total loss, necessitating the closing of school this week.  However, the school board is making arrangements for temporary facilities and H. B. Evans, Principal, has arranged to rent typewriters and school is scheduled to resume on Monday of next week.

The fire followed a school dance which ended about 11:30 p.m. and was first discovered at approximately 12:30 a.m.

To the People of The Town of Parsons

We, the people of Decaturville, wish to express our sincere appreciation for the use of the Parsons fire truck and the assistance given by your officials in fighting the fire that destroyed our gymnasium.  This aid and assistance helped to curtail the damage and we are truly grateful for your help.

Town of Decaturville
Will T. Rogers, Mayor

Fire Razes High School Building Here

Decatur County Herald, January 4, 1957

A second major school fire in less than a year destroyed the Decaturville High School Sunday at a loss estimated at $150,000.

Flames broke out in the basement of the two story brick structure at 3:30 p.m. It was almost five hours later before firemen had the flames under control.

Fire leveled the school’s gymnasium and commercial department last January causing a loss of $100,000. The cause of that fire has never been determined.

Authorities Sunday night were seeking the cause of Sunday’s fire.

Henry B. Evans, principal, said the building had been closed since Dec. 21 when Christmas holidays began. A pilot light was left burning in a gas furnace.  Al the doors were still locked when the fire broke out.

Helping fight the fire were fire men from Jackson who brought a fire truck and members of the volunteer Parsons and Decaturville Fire Department.

The nine classroom building was built in 1925.  Mr. Evans said the structure was valued at about $100,000.  The rest of the loss include fixtures and equipment totaled about $50,000.

Plans for reopening classes on January 7 are being laid this week with all available space in store building, churches and such room quarters being converted into classrooms. The records of the school, some books and several pieces of equipment were salvaged.  Sheriff Ola Duck and the state Fire Marshall are continuing an investigation to determine the cause of the fire.

Fire Strikes Decaturville High School

The Parsons News Leader, January 11, 1957

Fire Strikes Decaturville High

RAVAGED HIGH SCHOOL at Decaturville is shown in two photos above. Top shows the south entrance to the 25-year old structure and lower view shows side view.

Fire of undetermined origin seriously damaged the Decaturville High School Building on Sunday, December 30.  The flames began in the basement of the building about 3:30 p.m. and was fought for almost five hours before firemen from Decaturville, Parsons and Jackson brought the fire under control. A year ago, fire destroyed the school’s gymnasium.

The school had been closed since December 21 for Christmas holidays.

The building was built in 1925 and contained nine classrooms as well as the heating plant for the school. Much athletic equipment was also destroyed, but records and some books and equipment were salvaged.

School re-opened on January 7, utilizing space in vacant store buildings and churches.

An investigation is being made to determine whether the fire was of incendiary origin.

The building was valued at $100,000.00 and contents lost were valued at almost $50,000.00.  The building was only partially covered by insurance.

Arson Attempt on School

Decatur County Herald, January 18, 1957

Discovery of kerosene saturated newspapers at Decaturville School Wednesday morning was described as a definite “arson attempt” linked with two blazes which destroyed the adjoining high school and gymnasium with[in] a year.

Decatur County Sheriff Ola Duck said the saturated newspapers were found stuffed in a stove pipe in the second grade room by Henry B. Evans, principal of the school and John White, Negro janitor.

The high school was destroyed by fire Dec. 30 and the gym went up in flames last Jan 22. Authorities are still investigating the high school blaze and Sheriff Duck said several persons had been questioned.

There is no doubt but this was an arson attempt, Sheriff Duck said and it appears the fires and this attempt are definitely related.

Arson Try Fails at Decaturville School

The Parsons News Leader, January 18, 1957

An attempt to set fire to another building of the Decaturville School failed Wednesday morning when gasoline-soaked newspapers were found stuffed into the smokepipe of a coal stove used in the Elementary School building which was destroyed December 30.

Flames burst from the stove as John White, colored janitor, was attempting to light a fire in the stove. White was slightly burned.

Sheriff Ola Duck was notified and is conducting an investigation. He stated that the case was a deliberate attempt at arson.

The High School Gymnasium was destroyed by fire in December of 1955, and about three months ago, gasoline was found poured on the attic of the agriculture building newest structure of the school plant.

A new school plant to house the high school and elementary school is under construction, but is not expected to be complete until late summer of this year.

Decaturville Fires May Lead to Arrests

Decatur County Herald, February 8, 1957

Members of the state fire marshal’s office and Sheriff Ola Duck are making progress in their investigation of the fires that destroyed the Decatur County High school gym on January 22, 1956 and the high school building on the following December 30.

Several persons have been questioned and released, pending further investigation.

Sheriff Duck said they have questioned a number of men who will be offered lie detector tests.

Investigating officers have admitted to a felling that they will be able to “break the case” with formal charges within the next few days.

County Court Makes School Appropriations

Decatur County Herald, October 18, 1957

The regular meeting of the County Court was held Monday.  The court appropriated school funds as follows:

$50,000 for the Colored School at Decaturville
$30,000 for the Perryville School
$15,000 for the Lancaster School

Marlin Dodd of the 12th District was named to the School Board, replacing Wilburn Townsend who resigned.  J. S. Barker was re-elected Service Officer to serve until July.

The court also voted to pay a reward of $1000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of person or persons responsible for the burning of the Decarturville gym and high school.

Legal Notice to Bidders

Decatur County Herald, August 31, 1956

Sealed proposals for the constructions of Decatuville Elementary and High School, Decaturville, Tennessee, for the Decatur County Board of Education, Decaturville, Tennessee, will be received by the Co. Board of Education on or before September 18th, 1956 at 10:00 A.M. Central Standard Time at the Court House, at which time and place they will be publicly opened and read.

Copies of the proposals, contract documents, drawings and specifications may be obtained by eligible bidders from Donald Cowan, Architect J. Carl Russell,Associate, 820 Nashville Trust Building, Nashville, Tennessee; a deposit of $150.00 being made for each set of drawings and specifications.  Checks to be made payable to Donald Cowan Architect, J. Carl Russell Associate. The full amount of the deposit for one set of documents will be returned to all except the successful bidder.  Sub-Contractors and Suppliers will be furnished plans and specifications at a production cost of $20.00 which is not returnable.

Any Contractor requesting and receiving plans and failing to submit a bona fida bid, forfeits his deposit.

Copies of the plans and specifications may be examined free of charge at the offices of the Superintendent of Schools or of the Architect.

Each bid must be accompanied by a certified check or bidder’s bond executed by the Bidder and a surety company licensed to do business in Tennessee, kn a sum equal to 5 percent of the amount of the total bid.  The bond is required as a guarantee that if the bid is accepted, a contract will be entered into and the performance of it properly secured.  The successful bidder will be required to execute a performance bond, covering and including labor and materials, in amount of one-hundred (100%) of the contract price.

Proposal forms must be properly filled out and no qualifying letter or statements will be considered.

Bidding shall be in accordance with the Tennessee General Contractors License Law.  No  bid will be accepted from any bidder who has not requested and received plans direct from the Architect.  Bidders on construction to the amount of $10,000.00 or more must be licensed Contractors as required by Chapter 135 of the Public Acts of 1945 of the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee.  Bidder’s name and license number must be placed on the envelope containing these documents.

No bidder may withdraw a bid submitted for a period (30) days after the date set for the opening of such bids.

The Owners reserved the right to reject any or all bids, and to waive informalities therein.

Any bid received after the scheduled closing time for receipt of bids will be returned to the bidder unopened.

J. Madison Smith
Decatur County Board of Education

Sale of School Property

Decatur County Herald, November 1, 1957

Department of Education
Decatur County, Tennessee

Sale of School Property, Frame Building of Decaturville school known as the Rogers Property.

Request having been made of me as Purchasing Agent of the County, by the Decatur County Board of Education at its regular meeting, September 12, 1957, by Motion No. 9 of said meeting, requesting me to sell, and I did on October 7, 1975, at 1:00 o’clock P.M., sell said property; but the bid being too low, the same was rejected and I will again offer for sale —

On the 9th day of November, 1957 , at 1:00 o’clock P.M., sell to the highest bidder for cash, all the estate, title and interest in said property belonging to the said Decatur County Board of Education, including bathroom equipment.  The right is reserved to reject any and all bids, but will be sold in the manner stated above, at the highest and best bid, unless said bid is too low.

This 31st Day of October, 1957
Samuel L. Duck, County Judge

DCHS Gym in Happier Days

DCHS Football Squad - 1955

DCHS Football Squad – 1955

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 last used in the 1960s.  The building fell into disrepair and was later burned by the fire department at the request of the owner.


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.