Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN

Wiley Ledbetter

From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Brewer Printing Company, Jackson, Tennessee, n.d.).

This People of Action, issued circa 1969, reproduced newspaper clippings about people in Decatur County. Most items probably were written in the mid 1960s. Most, but not all, of the items were written by Lillye Younger herself and most, but not all, appeared in the Jackson Sun. The photographs, which in the book were poorly reproduced from clippings, have not been scanned.

Special thanks to Constance Collett and the estate of Lillye Younger for permission to make these web pages.

Thanks to www.tnyesterday.com for contributing this transcription.

By Lillye Younger, Sun Correspondent

Minister Enjoys Banjo-Pickin'

PARSONS, Tenn. — The October years of life are among the happiest ones, says Wiley Ledbetter, minister, retired carpenter and maker of banjos and guitars.

Ledbetter said he "didn't just sit down" when he retired in 1965 at the age of 70, but began a hobby by assembling electric guitars and five-string banjos.

He has been a carpenter most of his life and recalled building 53 houses while living in Hohenwald between 1929 and 1944, when he moved to Parsons.

"I never went to school over one year in my life," Ledbetter said. "I had six brothers and five sisters and we had to work to live in those days. The Lord gave me the education I have; I passed the civil service examination and was substitute mail carrier in Hohenwald for seven years."

While serving in World War I, Ledhetter contracted tuberculosis, lost the services of a lung and was given a disability discharge. Ledhetter said an Army physician had told him it would be impossible for him to live 90 days. "The Lord healed me in 1924," Ledhetter says with a smile.

He continued: "I've been a minister for 4o years and I preach the baptism of the Holy Ghost as they received on the day of Pentecost. I don't belong to any denominational church at all. I preach holiness."

"Everyone is born equal. Seventy-five per cent of our being is with our own hands. We place ourselves where we are socially, m o r a 11 y, spiritually and physically. Good and evil is set before us and we are born free to choose either one.

""It's a sin to worry. It's the one thing that tears down the body as well as the mind." Led-better says he has not "been sick in the past 35 years." He say's his diet consists of potatoes, beans, white meat of chicken, fish, cornbread a n d biscuits. He never drinks anything but clear water. Instead of salt, he uses sugar as seasoning.

Ledhetter weighs 160 pounds, stands five feet, 11 inches and has his original molars.

He retires at 8 p.m. and arises at 6 a.m. "I mow the yard, piddle around the house making banjos and guitars to pass the time away," Ledhetter said.

On the Vietnam conflict, he comments: "I don't think there is an end to this conflict, it's too complicated and no one seems to be able to find a remedy. We are living today when man waxes worse in deceiving and in being deceived. It's going to get worse. Prophecy' is being fulfilled. Sudden destruction will come."

"I don't know one note of music from another but can play' on any of my instruments anything I have ever heard.

'The young people of today are suffering from lack of discipline," he continued. "They are discontented and don't know what to do. If something isn't clone to check this restlessness and curb our young people our nation is gone. When I grew up. parents disciplined their children; today children discipline their parents.

Born in Pope, Tenn., Feb. 19, 1895, Ledhetter is the son of the late A. H. and Matilda Ledbetter. He married Miss Viola Lomax Aug. 21, 1920. They have one daughter, Mrs. FranceS Thompason, and a son, Paul Ledbetter, who live in Nashville. Mr. and Mrs. Ledbetter reside in Parsons.

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