Period of Enthusiasm: 1890-1920

G. Tillman Stewart

From Henderson County by G. Tillman Stewart, Tennessee County History Series, Joy Bailey Dunn, Editor, Charles W. Crawford, Associate Editor, 1979, Memphis State University Press.  Thanks to G. Tillman Stewart's son George Stewart for granting permission to publish this book.

From the close of the Civil War until 1890, the work of Reconstruction was carried on by the people who were young adults as the war started. That generation had done a commendable job in returning Henderson County to an orderly society and to stability. Reared with sacrifices and hard work, these people determined to build upon this foundation.


Agriculture progressed substantially during these years, primarily due to the rapid improvement in farm equipment. Most farm equipment was drawn by either horse or mule, since it was not until 1918 that the first tractor was used in the county. Jake Benson of Reagan purchased a Moline tractor in that year, and later became the agent for that brand of tractor. The Moline tractor was different from most on the market at that time because the breaking cultivating plows were positioned in front the driver. R. L. Diffe also purchased one of the county's first tractors, a McCormick Dearing, forerunner of the International Harvester.

Until after the Civil War cotton seed was planted by hand. A common practice was to wet the seed in water and ashes, then to roll the seed until it separated in the hands. The seed was dropped by hand into a furrow made by a shovel plow and then covered. Sometimes the seed was dropped into holes made by a hoe before being covered. Both methods were slow, but large farms and plantations usually had slaves do the work. Near the end of the war homemade drum planters commonly were utilized. These planters usually were constructed of wood in the shape of a drum with an axel run lengthwise through the center. Each end of the axel was attached to a wooden frame pulled by a horse or mule. Holes large enough for a seed to pass through were cut in the center of the drum about six inches apart. As the drum rolled over the ground, seed would drop out of the holes into the small furrow made by the plow attached to the frame in front of the drum. Small boards attached to the frame behind the drum would cover the seed with soil. The drum planter was a cumbersome and heavy machine, but it represented an important improvement. By 1900, the homemade drum planter was supplanted by factory-made planters that were much lighter and more efficient.

Corn planters also came into use at this time as did steam wheat thrashers. Alfred Parker of Sardis was one of the first to own one of these. He frequently took it chugging into communities and set up for farmers to bring their wheat to be ground into flour.

W. R. Wilson has been given credit for using the first commercial fertilizer in the county. It consisted of plain 16 percent phosphate, with no potash or nitrogen. Later an 8-2-2 fertilizer--eight percent phosphate, two percent nitrogen, and two percent potash--was used. Two hundred pounds of this fertilizer produced one-half bale of cotton per acre of good land.

The ginning of cotton was perhaps the biggest industry in the county early in the century, with gins located at Bargerton, Cedar Grove, Darden, Huron, Laster, Lexington, Life, Luray Middlefork, Reagan, Sardis, Scotts Hill, Stegall, Timberlake, Warrens Bluff, and Wildersville. By 1900, all gins had changed from horse to steam power. Cotton was usually hauled to the gin in a wagon drawn by two mules, then carried in baskets from the wagon to gin stands to be picked clean. By 1920, all gins had suctions to take the cotton from the wagon to the gin floor where it was again sucked into gin stands. To handle the cotton before and after it was ginned, it frequently took a fireman, a ginner, two bale packers, two tiers, and a manager, who usually served as the cotton buyer also.

The Legislature passed an act in 1911 that required all cattle to be dipped in a prepared solution to kill cattle ticks. Dipping vats were located in every community so that no farmer would have to drive his cattle more than two miles to have them dipped. A dipping vat was usually constructed from a trench about 30 inches wide, 20 feet long, and six feet deep, lined with concrete and filled with water and the solution to kill ticks. Cattle were dipped at two-month intervals, by being pushed into the vat until they were completely submerged in water and then forced to swim to the other end of the vat.

Many farmers bitterly opposed cattle dipping and could not understand how it could work. Officials, known as "tick inspectors," who were sometimes armed for their own protection, were appointed to enforce the law. On "dip days" farmers would bring their cattle to a vat; each vat sometimes served as many as 100 cattle. Failure to comply with this law resulted in a fine, jail sentence, or both. After several years the cattle tick was eradicated.

Jersey cattle were introduced into the county around 1906. Will Lawler purchased the first registered Jersey bull, which represented a real beginning for improved dairy farming in the county. High-grade and registered beef cattle did not appear in the county until after World War I. Wash Parks of Darden produced the first purebred Poland China hogs. This breed and others were an improvement over the long-nose "ridge rooter" raised previously. In 1917, the Legislature passed a private act for Henderson County known as the "No Fence Law" which required all livestock to be fenced. Before that, farmers had fenced their crops and permitted livestock to roam.

Beech River, the largest stream of water in the county, was crooked and fed numerous swamps sloughs, and backwaters, making it impossible to utilize fully the rich bottomland; so, in 1916, bonds were issued and money was raised to drain this land. A steam dredge boat was placed in Beech River four miles from its head, and a large and straight channel was cut to the Decatur County line, opening hundreds of acres for cultivation. In the same year, Cane Creek was also straightened by a canal, and later other streams were drained.


Dr. W. F. Huntsman brought the first automobile, a Maxwell without a top, into Henderson County in 1909. The automobile was powered by a two-cylinder motor. The second vehicle in the county was purchased by Lexington Mayor C. G. Gathings, who was also a railroad agent. As usual, the horseless carriage created quite a disturbance in the county. Residents were slow to buy "horseless buggies," especially since all county roads consisted of dirt worked by plows, scoops, and shovels.

Railroads were still the main means of traveling any distance since there were four trains a day to Memphis and Nashville and to Paducah and Hickman, Kentucky. The first train from Memphis arrived in Lexington at 9:00 A.M. and continued to Nashville. It was followed by another at 4:00 P.M. Passengers going to Paducah, Paris, or other places between Paducah and Hickman, had to change trains at Hollow Rock junction, later to become Bruceton. The first train from Nashville to Memphis arrived at Lexington at 11:40 A.M., and the next came at 6:40 P.M. The Perryville Branch train and crew spent the night at Perryville, which was the end of the run, and returned to Lexington at 8:00 A.M. The locomotive would switch on the yard until the first Nashville train arrived. Passengers going to Perryville and in between would board the Perryville Branch, which returned to Lexington by 3:00 P.M. It would then wait for the second Nashville train before returning to Perryville.

Rural free delivery mail carried on horseback or by horse and buggy came to the county at the turn of the century. Livery stables were abundant at Lexington, and in time also at Reagan, Sardis, and Scotts Hill. These stables provided horses and buggies or team of horses on a rental basis. This method of transportation was used most frequently by salesmen, frequently called drummers, who would ride the train to Lexington and work the merchants in and around the Lexington area.


Educational activity began to flourish at Scotts Hill before the 1890s. Gordon Turner, a nationally known orator, educator, and religious leader, is now retired and living at his native home at Scotts Hill. In his excellent history of that community, he described its early schools as follows:

A frame building was erected in 1880 that contained two large classrooms that were also used as an auditorium. The first teacher at this school was Henri Heuterburg. He was followed by Ben Davis, W. Ben and John H. Duck, Frank and Alfred Austin, John H. and Jim C. Duck, Ben A. Tucker and Myra Turner.


Sardis Normal College, 1904

By 1895, public interest forced the construction of a larger two-story frame building, frequently referred to as the "college." Early teachers there were Jim Duck, C. Perry Patterson, Mintie and Myra Turner, and Minnie Woodward. B. A. Tucker headed the college until his death on March 10, 1903. The faculty attempted to continue classes under the leadership of Tucker's brother, Festus, but interest waned. Some teachers who taught after Tucker's death were Herbert Bagley, Granville and Alfred Bartholomew, G. G. Butler, J. A. Bobbitt, John Duck, Perry Murphy, Mable Terry, and George L. Wortham and wife. By 1915, the old building had fallen into disrepair, and by 1917 a new brick building, containing three classrooms with movable partitions to accommodate an auditorium, was completed on the old campus. Among those who taught in this building were James M. Austin, A. C. Tarlton, Jim Duck, Maida Austin, Walt White, Ruby and Gertrude Roberts, Myrtle Johnson, Jimmy Rains, and Roxie Kelly.

One outstanding teacher at the Scotts Hill College was C. Perry Patterson, who was born in a log cabin two miles northwest of Saltillo on January 23, 1880. Patterson taught at various schools, including Cedar Grove, for which he was paid a wage of $22.40 per month. After Tucker's death, Patterson assumed the presidency of Sardis Normal College, where he served for six years. Patterson married Tommie Cochran in 1907, a Sardis native, considered a woman of culture and education.

Patterson later left Sardis to become superintendent of county schools for one term. After he attended the University of Tennessee, Peabody College, and Vanderbilt, he headed the history department of West Tennessee Normal, where he remained for three years. This was followed by a teaching fellowship at Harvard University, later by a teaching position at Columbia, where he earned a doctorate degree, and still later by a position at the University of Texas. Patterson authored numerous books and became nationally known as an authority on constitutional law. He received many honors, including the presentation of a paper on judicial review before the judicial committee of the U.S. Senate in 1937. This paper was believed to have been influential in the defeat of Roosevelt's effort to pack the Supreme Court.

Juno established an advanced school in 1898. The school was organized by professors Prince and Pearson in an old building behind the Christian Church. Curtains were used to divide the house into rooms.


Baptist College at Lexington about 1900-1902

About 1896 a Baptist school was opened in Lexington near where the Walker Baker is now located on Highway 20. A. J. Barton was headmaster, and early faculty included Mae Fielder, Kate McDormon, and Bell Westbrook. According to J. A. Deere, in his history of Baptist College, mathematics, English, Latin, writing, spelling, rhetoric, and history were stressed to more than 200 students, about half of whom boarded at the school having come from other counties and a few from other states. In the early years the school was very competitive with Lexington Academy, but around the turn of the century the two schools shared the same building, finally merging as the Baptist College. By 1905, it occupied a new two-story brick building with a squared tower on each side, which W. H. Dennison described as "roomy, convenient, and comfortable, and in the point of architectural ugliness takes the premium."


Students of Baptist College, 1902.
Left to right: front row, Ernest Montgomery, Richard Edwards, John E. McCall, Will Jones, Valentine Barry, Bob Joyner, Van Watson, Murray Arnold; second row, Newbill Harvey, Geraldine Scott, Martha McCall, Lillian Moss, Eunice Melton, Cleve Hearn, Jennie Lindenfield, Eula Moffitt, Eula Franklin, Eva Bird, Lula Mae Wilkerson, Gussie McCall; third row, Chester Davidson, Clara Phelps, Zula Pickens, Annie Mae Gathings, Eva Edwards, Flossie Melton, Rauline Yates, Nan Haskins, Hester Enochs, Rosa Dicus; fourth row, Hubert Boren, Milton Edwards, Kenney Neeley, Clint McAdams, Esco Derryberry, Erle Pafford George McCall, Royal Pafford, Ed Thomas, Ollie Tate, Prof. Hubbs; fifth row, Mel Scott, Louise Lawler, Dixie Winslow, Myrtle Milton, Will Henry Murray, Allie Mae McCall, Annie McCall, Iley Williams, Herbert Scott; backrow, John Wadley, Usher Hearn, Eff McCall, Barry Jones.

Although private schools were active in many county communities, the public school system of Henderson County was extremely weak. Opposition still existed to the taxes for public education. As tuition schools faded, the county school system was confined to a three-month term and, in some instances, to a divided year.

Fortunately two outstanding leaders came forth to remedy these problems, Judge W. H. Dennison and J. 0. Brown. Dennison was a county native and had taught school several years in both Henderson and Decatur counties. He was graduated from Southern Normal University at Huntingdon Tennessee in 1901. He studied law and was admitted to the bar the summer of 1903, beginning practice at Lexington in January of 1907. Later, he was elected county superintendent of schools which, at that time, was not a full-time job. During Dennison's years as superintendent, he led such reforms in the county educational system as insisting that all classrooms be adequately equipped with maps, globes, seats, and other equipment and materials necessary for proper instruction. He also advocated taxation for education, believing that education was a state duty more than a county duty. After ten years as superintendent, he returned to full-time law practice. Later, he was to serve on the court of appeals as chancellor and as circuit and general sessions judge.


Maple Grove Schoolhouse; one-teacher school, 1917.
Now used by Maple Grove Baptist Church.

At the time J. 0. Brown advocated increased interest by the public in education, school was in session only two to three months each year. The citizens of Lexington persuaded Brown to take charge of the school, and he agreed to provide three months of public school for the amount of taxes to be collected each year and to find suitable use of the building for the remainder of the year. Brown employed a faculty of five teachers and became personally responsible for their salaries. This first faculty consisted of Brown, Dell Bright, Nannie Jett, J. L. Rush, Martha Smith, and M. L. Stanfil.

Brown persuaded State Superintendent of Schools R. L. Jones to locate the West Tennessee Institute, in 1907-1908, at Lexington. About 350 teachers from West Tennessee attended this four-week institute. Brown also served as one of its instructors. The Legislature enacted a law in February of 1909 which authorized each county to levy tax and to establish a high school. The first Monday in July of 1909, Superintendent Dennison and Brown appeared before the Henderson County Court and requested that the court vote a tax sufficient to establish a high school and to comply with the state laws of public education. The court complied with the request; however, there was strong opposition to both the tax and the school.

A high school board was elected by the court and given authority to locate the school and to employ teachers. Since taxes had not been collected, there was no money. The board consulted Brown who agreed to furnish teachers, care for the school, and advance money for current expenses until the board could collect taxes to repay him. Because of Brown's dedication to public education, Lexington High School was begun. Since opposition to the high school continued, Brown and Dennison worked for a permanent law to make it mandatory for the county to have a high school. Despite difficulties, the bill passed.

from other research...

John A. Pearson entered West Point in 1897 and was graduated in 1901. He served in the Phillipines with the Eleventh Cavalry (under General Jack Pearson) During 1905 Pearson served as an officer with the Seventh Cavalry. Continuing in the military he was a member of the Cavalry that went aftter Poncho Villa in 1913, and then on to World War I. He retired after the war as a Lt.Col. He received a law degree from Yale in 1923 and then established a law practice in Ok. His nephew served as a librarian at West Point during the 1960s. John A. Pearson and his wife had no children and in later years lived in Norman, OK.

When A. H. Fuller was superintendent, he conducted a competitive examination in June of 1904 with a prize being a $1500 scholarship to Oxford University in England; the prize won by John A. Pearson. At this time there were 70 elementary schools in the county, 68 for white children and 12 for black children. Salaries ranged from $30 to $75 per month for elementary teachers and from $75 to $120 for high school teachers. The high school term was for nine months while that of elementary schools was only five months--two summer months and three winter months. This split term permitted cotton to be picked.



Prominent physicians who practiced during this period were Dr. G. L. Laws in the vicinity of Parker's Crossroads; a Dr. Graves at Poplar Springs; a Dr. England at Luray; Drs. Goff and Milan at Chesterfield, later coming to Lexington; a Dr. Johnson at Shady Hill, later moving to Lexington; Drs. Arnold, Brandon, Davidson, who was also the county doctor, Johnson, and Watson at Lexington. Practicing dentists included Drs. Pat McCall and W. B. Summers. McCall had an office in Lexington, but he also traveled to Sardis and other communities with his foot-peddled drill. Summers, a master mechanic in his profession, made dentures for patients himself. In the Middlefork Community initially there were Drs. George Arnold, Fesmire, who moved to Atwood, and Smith. Arnold later moved to Jackson. A Dr. Joyce practiced in the Center Hill and Thomas communities for 15 years before moving to Lexington.

At Sardis were Drs. Duckworth, Hanna, John Keeton, who later went to Saltillo and then to Clifton where he practiced until he died, Stinson, and Wilhite. At Scotts Hill were Drs. W. B. Keeton and a Wylie. Dr. W. T. Austin practiced briefly with Wylie. Dr. B. M. Brooks of Bath Springs practiced in and around Scotts Hill. Dr. J. F. Pipkin moved from Mississippi to Cedar Grove. He led the successful effort to get a post office at Cedar Grove which was called Pipkin, since another post office in Tennessee had the name of Cedar Grove.


During these years, the Pentecostal, or "Holy Rollers," came to the county. They practiced talking in tongues and frequently opposed the use of doctors and medicines. Despite skepticism, their revivals were well attended, and their practices filled a vacuum left by some of the other denominations. The Church of Christ also began to grow. Among its main leaders was J. 0. Brown, who also served as a minister. These groups were and still are strongly fundamentalistic.

Baptists showed a steady growth with the following churches being founded:  Cedar Grove in 1906, J. T. Bradfield, pastor; Darden in 1893, G. G. Joyner of Parsons, pastor; Huron in 1891, with J. W. Barnette, pastor; Lexington 2nd, J. S. Bell, pastor; Luray in 1896, J. W. Barnette, pastor; Pleasant Hill in 1916, W. J. Barness of Wright, pastor; Sardis in 1914, J. T. Bradfield, pastor; Union Hill in 1902, W. L. King of Parsons, pastor.

In 1902, Fleetwood Ball, a young Baptist minister from Henry County, came to Henderson County. Ball was a well educated, skilled speaker and a hard-driving social and religious worker. In 1907, he married Flossie Lee Melton of Lexington. She died in 1918 leaving four young daughters. Brother Ball, as he was affectionately called, was pastor of the Lexington Baptist Church for more than 40 years, at Rock for 30, Chapel Hill for 25, as well as at Piney Creek and Union churches. He served 22 consecutive years as moderator of the Beech River Baptist Association and also as recording secretary of the Tennessee Baptist Convention for 16 years. For many years, he had the distinction of marrying more couples and of preaching more funerals than any other person in the county.

Politics and Government

The 52nd General Assembly abolished direct representation from Henderson County and floated the county with Madison County. The first floterial representative for both counties was Thad Pope of Madison County. From then until 1967, all floterial representatives were Democrats from Henderson County, with one exception. P. 0. Roberts, a staunch Republican, was a man with such integrity, that, in 1913, his election caused an upset since the district was overwhelmingly Democratic. Also during this period, John L. Hare, a local Democrat, was elected to the Senate. He was a popular merchant at Alberton which, despite its being strong Republican territory, supported Hare.

During the special session of the 1920 Legislature, called by Governor Roberts, the approval of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was considered. This amendment gave women the right to vote. Active in the final voting of the House was floterial representative A. S. Montgomery of Lexington.


Courthouse Square, looking down North Main, 1900

Prominent local Republican leaders at the turn of the century were W. F. Applyby, F. M. and C. C. Davis, J. R. Dennison, Thompsie Edwards, E. W. Essary, Ellis Evans, John Franklin, G. W. Goff, J. A. Jones, brothers T. A. and W. H. Lancaster, R. A. Lewis, Andrew Long, J. F. Martin, W. H. McBride, John E. McCall, W. T. McPeake, Jim Page, J. C. Peterson, P. O. Roberts, S. F. Rosson, John B. Scott, G. W. Stewart, John L. Sullivan, Jasper Tate, Bud Wilkerson, W. R. Wilson, and W. R. Wright. McCall was a recognized leader, skilled orator, and accomplished lawyer. He was elected to Congress in 1896 to serve one term and to the Legislature also to serve one term. in 1905, President Teddy Roosevelt appointed McCall federal judge for West Tennessee where he served until his death In 1920. After 1905, Feak Davis, Will Applyby, the Lancaster brothers, and E. W. Essary became the most recognized leaders.

Outstanding Democrat leaders at the same time were W. V. Barry and his son Henry, James L Cochran, L. T. Fielder, Henry Graper, John F. Hall, John L. and T. A. Hare, C. C. Johnson, A. S. Montgomery, Walter Pearson, and David E. Scott.


Northwest Courthouse Square, about 1904,
showing one of the first automobiles in the county.


Courthouse in 1920

The political leaders after 1900 continued to be influenced by the Civil War, which was still an issue in many local political campaigns. Republicans did not hesitate to remind voters that Democrats were the rebels who tried to destroy the Union; Democrats, in turn, accused Republicans of destroying states' rights. Republicans had the advantage in Henderson County, due in part to the fact that many of the county's best speakers were both lawyers and Republicans. The influence of the Union veterans also still was felt. County citizens voted Republican by majority during this period, except in 1892 and 1896.


Will Lawler, standing in Lawler Drug Store, around 1912,
where First National Bank is now located.


The Bank of Lexington which was organized at the turn of the century was the first bank in the county with a capital stock of $30,000. Before that time merchants, some business-men, and farmers of wealth handled money and made loans. T. A. Lancaster was bank president and C. C. Davis was cashier. The Central State Bank was organized in 1907, with E. J. Timberlake as cashier, who had formerly worked for the Bank of Lexington. Soon afterwards the Citizens Bank was organized with a capital stock of $30,000, with W. T. Watson as president, H. E. Graper as vice-president, and J. S. Fielder as cashier. Later, banks were established at Darden, Sardis, Scotts Hill, and Wildersville.


Lexington, Main Street, looking south, 1912


The Lexington Republican was founded on January 1, 1894, by Felix Creasy and H. P. Barnes. The paper's machinery was brought to Lexington by the Reverend J. W. Drake who had published for six months the church paper, Central Methodist. In 1904, Creasy bought out Barnes' interest and continued to publish the paper for more than 40 years. He was a staunch Republican and editorially supported all Republican nominees for offices from the presidency to district magistrate. Creasy died in 1955, and the paper was then operated for a few years by a man from Centerville who, changed the name to the Lexington Leader. Despite the changes, the paper soon closed operations.

In 1885 a man by the name of Musgrove began publishing a weekly paper in a frame building near the site of the active settlement Stegall. It was a well-organized and very newsy paper consisting of four sheets; however, in less than a year it went out of business. In the late 1880s, Captain S. A. Mynders published a monthly magazine called the Public Education Review. B. A. Tucker published for three years the Scotts Hill Banner, a weekly paper, while he also operated the school. Students helped him gather the news. The paper was well received, but at Darden's death, the Banner went out of business. J. F. Howser published a newspaper in Sardis, the first issue appearing on January 22, 1897.

Early Resorts

Before the turn of the century, Joe B. Hinson built a frame hotel near a spring two miles southwest of Lexington near the railroad line. Its elevated dirt walk covered by gravel led from the depot to the hotel. Hinson Spring was believed to have medicinal value, since it contained magnesium and iron. In a short time, the hotel burned. Four years later, Jim Long rebuilt the hotel and operated it until fire again destroyed it. Long again rebuilt and operated it until three businessmen from Illinois--Barcroft, Pinkstaf, and Montgomery--purchased the hotel. A beautiful stone structure was added to the older building. Barcroft gained control and operated the hotel until its final destruction by fire in 1914. During its operation, Hinson Springs was a noted southern resort.

Another popular resort, Crawford Springs, was located near the Madison County line. It was prominent during the early 1920s and was owned by wealthy fox hunters from Jackson and Memphis There was a good spring and well-kept cabins.


On March 13, 1913, a devastating tornado hit the northern part of Lexington. It dropped first near the county poor farm, causing no damage or injury, but went on to destroy completely the railway station at Hinson Springs and to level a 200-yard path near Montgomery School. Despite heavy property losses, only two deaths occurred.

The year of 1917 frequently has been called "Scotts Hill's year of near destruction." On May 27, one of the worst tornados known to the area occurred and on October 16, a disastrous fire destroyed local businesses, the post office, grist mill, blacksmith shop and five residences. The Commercial Appeal in Memphis reported the fire under the headline "Scotts Hill Laid in Ashes." The industrious people of the area immediately rebuilt and, by Christmas, businesses had returned to normal.

Perhaps the greatest railroad tragedy ever to occur in Tennessee happened on July 9, 1918, about fives miles west of Nashville when westbound NC&StL's Train No. 4 and the eastbound Train No. 281 collided head on. Over 100 people were killed or injured. A large number of service men were on both trains, going home for furloughs before going overseas. Among those killed was Webster Johnson, who was going to his Middleburg home to see his newborn son.

World War I

When World War I began the United States was unprepared; as usual, Henderson County was ready to do its part. On June 5, 1917, all men in Henderson County between the ages of 21 and 31 registered in compliance with the draft. The first registration totaled 1431. Later, the requirement was changed to include the ages from 15 to 45. This raised the county registration total to 3599. Of these 448 were drafted and 149 volunteered for service. Approximately 402 residents crossed the Atlantic Ocean and saw combat action. Most Henderson Countians served in the 30th or 81st or 82nd divisions. Physician commissioned to serve in the war were Drs. Jesse Goff, Gecova Maxwell, and Bell, who later died in service.

On November 11, 1918, when the firing had ceased Germans and Americans raced across no-man's land to shake hands. Among those there were Wesley Yates of Shady Hill and E. G. "Grady" Woody of Scotts Hill. Woody took pride in having shaken hands with a corporal named Adolph Hitler whose name would later bring the Western World to war. Eff McCall, brother of the late John A. McCall, a prominent local banker, attained the rank of major, which was the highest rank any Henderson Countian acquired.

Tom Frank Barrett of the Reagan and Center Hill communities was the most highly decorated serviceman, receiving a certificate for service deemed far beyond the call of duty, which was presented to him personally by General Pershing. Winston Little also received medals for outstanding service. When the other men in his machine gun crew were killed, Little used the machine gun to destroy an entire enemy platoon. Sidney Ayers of Poplar Springs won medals for heroic service in the battles St. Mihiel, Meuse, and the Argonne. Homer Buck of Mt. Gilead Community was the only local serviceman to have been killed in action. He was buried in the Mt. Gilead cemetery. There were, however, 30 men who lost their lives in the service due to wounds or disease. Homer Wheatley returned home a seemingly healthy man only to die within a short time as a result of his exposure to poison gas in Europe.