Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN


From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Decatur County Printers, 1983).

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

Lillye Younger

Memorial Service Honors Servicemen

A memorial service was held in remembrance of Benjamin F. Morris, confederate soldier, and Ben Morris, Jr., World War II serviceman, at their graves in the Mt. Tabor Cemetery May 30th, by the Captain Nathaniel A. Wesson Chapter of the U.D.C.

The welcome was given by Mrs. Jewel Tinker, chapter president and Mrs. Doris Scott gave the scripture and prayer. Mrs. Linda Watkins led members in singing a hymn and a brief history of the two servicemen was given by Mrs. Allie Mae Stevens, chapter historian. The placing of the flags was by Gail Story, chapter recorder of crosses and the drum roll by Allen Holland.

Placing of the wreaths was led by Blanche Tuten, grave marker chairman, Tennessee division, UDC and Sarah Vise, chapter member. Gifts presented was under the direction of Mrs. Tinker. The closing prayer was led by Margaret Alexander, recording secretary, Tennessee division, UDC. Taps were played by Kyle Townsend and Sean O'Cain, grandsons of chapter members.

Ben J. Jr., grandson of B.F. Morris, was born May 11, 1925 and went to war at the age of 18 in October 1943. He served in the Navy and it was on a ship which was sunk by the Japanese as they were trying to take Guam Island that he lost his life. His body drifted to Guam and he was buried on Guam until it was sent home in 1948 and placed by his grandfather in Mt. Tabor Cemetery. He married Lura Dean Taylor May 1, 1943.

His grandfather, Pvt. Co. H. 43rd Mississippi Regt. enlisted in the Civil War in 1862. He was wounded and captured in the battle of Corinth.

He was a Methodist Circuit Rider and served churches at Peace Chapel, Mt. Tabor, Bible Hill and Saltillo.

Having been married twice, he was the father ‘of 12 children. Ben Morris, 11, of Parsons is the only survivor.

Mother Laments: They Are Too Young To

By Lillye Younger

PERRYVILLE, Tenn. — "The military service has just about cleaned me out," says Mrs. Bernard Lee of Perryville. She has two sons and four grandsons in service.

Jerry Lee, 21, is stationed at Bear Cat, Viet Nam in a U.S. Army artillery unit. He was inducted Dec. 22, 1965, and landed in South Viet Nam July 2, 1966.

He received his training at Fort Polk, La., Fort Sill, 0kla., and Fort Benning, Ga.

Another son, John Lee, 24, left for service Monday. He is stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky.

"I have a grandson, Joe Griggs, 21, who has been stationed in Viet Nam one year," she adds.

 Three other grandsons — Walter Smith, Wayne Lee and Bruce Lee — also are serving in the armed forces. "Wayne and Bruce are in the Marines and I don't know where all they have been," she commented.

Mrs. Lee recently received a telegram advising her she could communicate with her son by television. "When the telegram arrived I was too nervous to take it," the mother said. "I thought my son had been wounded or killed."

"I hadn't been watching television and didn't know they had a communication service to Viet Nam," she added. Since then she never misses a telecast.

Mrs. Lee was able to see her son and talk to him by tape on a Nashville television station. The soldier will be featured on a 10 p.m. telecast today over WSIX-TV.

"I don't feel like they should send such young, inexperienced boys to Viet Nam to fight a war," she commented. "They are not old enough. More seasoned soldiers should go."

 "I don't think the war is necessary and it's taking so many of our young boys who never return."

She adds. "I may feel this way, since I have so many in the conflict."

"I have one boy, Ted, 16, at home. When he goes in-to service the whole clan will be cleaned out," she said.

Mother of 10, Mrs. Lee I has two married sons, George Lee of Illinois, and Billy Lee of Perryville. She has five daughters, Mrs. Micky Smith of Paducah Ky.; Mrs. Dorothy Bibbs of Perryvile; Mrs. Frankie Weems of Camden; Mrs. Shelby Jean Hosford of Indiana, and Miss Diane Lee, 15, who lives with her family in Perryville.

Mr. Lee buys mussel shells.

Mrs. J. W. C. Gibson Is Elected

Mrs. J. W. C. Gibson was elected junior vice president of the Department of Tennessee Veterans of World War I, Ladies Auxiliary at the Convention held at Lambuth College last week end. Mrs. Mary V. Moore was also elected as Publicity Chairman of the Department of Tennessee. They were installed on Sunday.

A highlight of the meeting was the Memorial Service which was held on Sunday. Others attending from Decatur County Veterans World War I, Barracks 1926 were Mrs. Eula Rogers, president of the Ladies Auxiliary, and Dr. W. H. Brandeau of Dallas, Texas and Mrs. Iris Gracy of Florida, houseguests of Mrs. Rogers.

Reception Given for Mrs. Imogene Pratt

An outstanding social affair of the weekend was the delightful reception hosted by the Ladies Auxiliary of Long-Ivey-Carrington Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4971, honoring Mrs. Imogene Pratt, newly elected department president.

The reception was held in Marbury Hall of First Methodist Church in Parsons and commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Tennessee Ladies Auxiliary.

In the receiving line was the honoree, Mrs. Pratt, clad in a purple and white linen one-piece A-line embroidered in shades of yellow and green. Others were Mrs. Bonnye Lou White, appointed music chairman, who chose a lime green lace sheath featuring a rounded neckline, and Mrs. Sue Carrington, department vocalist, who wore a blue crepe with lace overblouse featuring a low scooped neckline. Each pinned a corsage of white mums tied with silver satin bows.

Mrs. Helen Maxwell wore a pink crepe one-piece featuring long sleeves and guided guests to the table where gifts were displayed. Assisting was Mrs. Nell England, who wore a brown linen sheath. The American flag formed a background behind the gift table.

The reception table was draped with a white taffeta cloth overlaid with white net bordered with white satin and satin ribbon. A silver punch bowl graced the end of the table. The center arrangement was white mums, pompons with silver satin ribbon entwined with the flowers and reaching out to sections of the table with the figures "25" on each streamer. Silver candelabrum holding white tapers were on either side of the arrangement.

Out of town guests included Mrs. Claude Davis, wife of Department Commander Davis; Mrs. Margaret Fessmire, department treasurer of Dyer; Mrs. Mary Ann Crawford, Memphis, department senior vice president; Mrs. Eloise Barkley, Trenton, department conductress; Mrs. Eddie Powers, Memphis, department adviser; Mrs. Lelia K. Jones, Memphis, p a s t department president; Thomas Dodd, past department commander; Kenneth Perkins, past department chaplain, Memphis; Thomas Barkley, Trenton, West Tennessee membership chairman.

Other officers were: from Paris, Mrs. Thelma Pierce; from Alamo, Mrs. Ann Cotton, Mrs. Louise Davis; Linden, Mrs. Linda Harris, Mrs. Fay Colvett; Waverly, Mrs. lnez Huddleston; Selmer, Mrs. Virginia Hendrix; Morris Chapel, Mrs. Louise Perkins; Lexington, Mrs. Mary Louise Fessmire, Mrs. Evelyn Bunch and Mrs. Ruby Winslow; Mrs. Evie Long, Commander Todd from Jackson; and Mrs. Jerry Hamey of Decaturville.

Tra Traing, Viet Nam —Jerry C. Adkisson, 19, son of Mrs. Ruthie Adkisson and the late Curtis Adkisson of Parsons, is now serving in the medical detachment with the 8th Field Hospital in Tha Traing, Viet Nam.

Adkisson completed basic training at Fort Polk, La., and had three weeks training in the technician school there. He received advanced training at Fort Sam Houston before leaving for Viet Nam Oct. 15.

He graduated from Parsons High School in 1965 and has a brother, Tommy 15.

HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. — Army First Lt. Alfred C. Rickman, 23, son of Mr. and Mrs. Willie R. Rickman, 310 E. Forth St., Parsons, on July 16 received the silver wings of an Army aviator upon completion of a helicopter pilot course at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.

During the 16-week course, he was taught various gunnery techniques and tactical maneuvers for helicopters supporting ground troops in combat.

The lieutenant received his commission through the Reserve Officers' Corps program at Murray State University where he received his B.S. degree in 1968.

(photo caption) Decatur County Barracks 1926, Veterans of World War I and their Ladles Auxiliary recently visited the Decatur County Nursing Home to bring cheer to the residents. Top picture shows left to right, Mrs. Jimmy Rainey, Eula Rogers at the piano, Mrs. Moore, Mrs. J.W.C. Gibson and Mrs. Clarence Brasher as they sing songs for the group. Bottom photo shows left to right, Mr. Cecil Townsend, Mr. Brigance, Mr. J.W.C. Gibson, Edd Rainey, Clarence Brasher, and Rev. Charley White, who brought the message of the day.

U.S. ARMY, Vietnam — Specialist 5 Robert Dickson, husband of Mrs. Patsy Dickson, Parsons, has received the Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service while serving as a combat infantryman and cook with Company C, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry, 199th Light Infantry Brigade.

The citation cited his "outstanding professionalism in accomplishing his assigned duties. His resourcefulness earned him the respect and admiration of all with whom he served."

LONG BINH, Vietnam — Specialist 5 John T. Vise, son of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Vise, Rt. 3, Decaturvile, has been awarded the Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service as a heavy truck driver while serving with the 556th Transportation Company in Vietnam.
The 20-year old soldier attended Decaturville High School.

(photo caption)‘VOICE OF DEMOCRACY' — Participants In the annual "Voice of Democracy" contest, sponsored by the Long Ivey Carring ton Post 4971 of Parsons, were from left, Bonnie White, VFW service officer presenting awards to Shirley Riggs, first place; Iris Riggs, second, and Mary Ruth Johnson, third. The girls were awarded savings bonds at the annual "Career. Day" at Riverside High School.

Vets Honor Late Mr. Houston

Veterans of World War I, Decatur County Barracks #1926 of Decaturville, held a Memorial service at the grave of a departed buddy, Kenny Houston, at Parsons Cemetery on Friday, November 12th.

The Memorial service was led by Commander Herb Brasher. In his Eulogy, he pointed out what a great service Mr. Houston rendered to Decatur County after his return from World War I. Having served as service officer for the American Legion around 20 years, he was instrumental in assisting his buddies in numerous ways in this field. He was a 2nd Lieut. in World War I.

Not only was he an asset to his buddies but having taught in the school systems 26 years, his teachings have left an fin-print on those whom he taught. He started his teaching profession at the age of 15 at Bear Creek School, taught three years in Oklahoma and returned to Decatur County to serve his native land.

He traced the Houston family back to the year 1162 and from this research was instrumental in the initiation of the Peter Houston Chapter of the D.A.R. A number of members were able to trace their lineage from his research.

Mrs. Eula Rogers, president of the Ladles Auxiliary, assisted in the ceremony. Chaplain Henry Reed led in prayer.

A large red, white and blue floral wreath was placed on the grave. Present for the Memorial Service were his wife, Mrs. Mable Houston and son Mr. Hugh Houston.

Her VFW Auxiliary Work In State Brings Honor

By Lillye Younger

PARSONS — Mrs. Imogene Pratt has been appointed National Junior Unit Director of the Ladies Auxiliary of the V.F.W. The appointment was made at the National Convention held in Detroit in August.

Mrs. Pratt's appointment: stems from her outstanding work as Tennessee Department President of the Ladies Auxiliary during the past year. "The highlight of my year was when I was named ‘Outstanding department president of the year' at the National Convention," Mrs. Pratt said. She is the first national director to be appointed in the state of Tennessee.

"My program, as Department president was Membership and Americanism," she continued. Her motto was "Lift up your eyes and see; Lift up your heart and Pray and Lift up your feet and GO."

During her year the Ladies Auxiliary celebrated its 25th anniversary. In commemoration of the event the National president, Ruth Rozary of Meiden, Conn., was guest at the official visit at Jackson, Tenn. She was also entertained in Humboldt.

It was at the official visit that the National President unveiled the first car to be given to the Ladies Auxiliary Department President from V.F.W. Members in Tennessee, in honor of her years' activities.

"This was a very high moment when our National President presented the keys to this car to me at the Jackson official visit," Mrs. Pratt said. The car is to be used by each Department president during her reign in office.

Outstanding accomplishments during Mrs. Pratt's year included the organization of two new Ladies Auxiliary units — at McKenzie and Ripley — and a Junior Unit at Parsons, which is the only junior unit in West Tennessee; and Recognition at the State Convention in Gatlinburg for 100 per cent participation.

Awards received under her leadership include the Ernie Pyle Publicity Award and the National Community Service Award which went to the Kingsport Auxiliary: Award to Dov:er Ladies Auxiliary for National Rehabilitation; Community Service National Award for outstanding service from Ladies Auxiliary number l970 in Nashville. This chapter sent packages to boys in Vietnam.

Mrs. Pratt went to Nashville and was present when these Vietnam packages were loaded for shipment. Here she met Gov. Buford Ellington at the V.F.W. headquarters.

 She received a personal award. of $50 for having the highest percentage in membership for the month of June. She was the first Department president to sponsor an all-expense trip to district presidents in the state to the National home in Eaton Rapids, Mich.

"The harvest of my years work was when we won eight National Citations in the ten -point National program," she said.

Her year as National Director of the Junior Unit is filled with activity. "I will be traveling throughout the United States as Junior Unit director," she noted. "In September I will present the program of the year to all Department presidents in the nation."

"In February I will attend the Midwinter Conference held in Washington D.C. to instruct Department presidents in the work. Next July I will attend the Southern Conference to be held in Norfork, Va. The year will end in August of 1969 at the National Convention in Philadelphia. The appointment is a challenge to me and my goal is to serve to the best of my ability."

Mrs. Pratt's interest in Ladies Auxiliary started in 1959 when she joined the organization on the record of her former husband, the late Madison Smith.

"I attended my first department convention in 1960," she explained. In April she was elected Eight District president and served a year. She was West Tennessee membership chairman in 1963, Department Conductress in 1964, Chaplain in 1965, Junior Vice in 1966 and Department president in 1967.

She is the wife of Charley Pratt, who is past District Commander and presently serving as West Tennessee membership Chairman.

(photo caption)HELP VIET NAM TROOPS — The Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Long-Ivey-Carriington Post 4971 at Parsons, are doing a volunteer job for the American Red Cross in making ditty bags for holding threads, needles, and other things for servicemen in Viet Nam. Tennessee has been asked for 1,000 bags and the local auxiliary has made 117. Shown from left are Mrs. Imogene Pratt, department off IcerA Mv. Mary Bartholomew, secretary-treasurer; and Mrs. Beatrice Daniels, new member.

(photo caption)APPOINTED — Mrs. Judy Townsend of Parsons has been named department publicity chairman of the Ladies Auxiliary to VFW, state of Tennessee. The appointment was made by Mrs. Imogene Pratt, state auxiliary president.

Pictures On Display Give Glimpse Into Past Of Area

By Lillye Younger

If you'd like a glimpse into the past, drop by 107 East Second Street in Parsons, Tenn.

Here framed photographs, dating from 1880 to 1971 are housed in the glass paneled former sewing room of the late Mrs. Artle Bussell.

Mr. Hobart Townsend, Sr., and Mr. Carl Partin have combined their pictorial history and placed them on display for the public to view, a project sponsored by the Farmers Bank in Parsons.

It's kinda like a breath of the 1880's when you step into the office and are escorted on this photographic tour by the courteous, friendly son of the late Mr. George Partin, Parsons first postmaster.

Justifiably proud of this wide collection, Mr. Partin enjoys showing it to interesting persons. He can give "First Hand" Information of many scenes since he bears the title of being the first male born in the town of Parsons.

Included in this collection is the home occupied by Dr. Parsons, the man for whom the town was named. Later this two story structure became the first boarding house in town, operated by the late Mrs. Mamie Buckner. This house was also the birthplace of Parsons First Baptist Church, September 24, 1890. The only living person who was present at the organization is Mrs. Addle Hefley of Jackson, Tennessee.

There are a number of pictures pertaining to the First Baptist Church shown. One is a group picture of officers and teachers, totallng 23, which was made in 1940. Rev. Joe Crews was pastor of the church at that time. Only one person has passed away who was in the group and that is the late Mr. Hurst Jennings. Despite the fact the others are living, it's very hard to identify them since time has a way of changing the profile.

Other interesting historical scenes that line the office walls are Buckner Mill, which was located Beech River, west of Beech river bridge; the ole "Peavlne" train, a puffing and blowing as it rounds the curved trestle between Parsons and Perryville and a picture of Hog Creek school house with the class of 1913, lined against one wall. Mr. Hobart Townsend, Mr. Raymond Townsend and the late Mr. Herman Townsend are in this school picture and it's very hard to identify these little boys.

A Circus parade rolling down Tennessee Avenue in 1916, Decatur Countians leaving for World War I induction showing the crowd that had gathered at the Peavine to see them off are very interesting to the history lover. The saw mill, operated by the late, Mr. Arthur Evans, located near the present site of the home at Mrs. Hermans Rains on North Georgia Avenue, is also among the display.

The late Moss Arnold, Decatur County's first historian, is pictured making the first deposit at the Farmer's Bank's present location on opening day, April 7, 1954. Another scene pictures the late K.K. Houston transacting business at the desk of Mr. Hobart Townsend.

Mr. Townsend shares a number of his family photos which Include the 90th birthday celebration of his mother, the late Mrs. E. M. Townsend and a family group taken in 1945. Also in the display is a photo of Mr. Hobart attending the American Bankers Convention held in Washington, D.C. October 10, 1960. He is pictured seated with the U.S. treasurer, who is autographing a U.S. Savings Bond for him. Another Washington, D.C. scene caught him attending the inauguration of Harry S. Truman as President January 20, 1949.

The latest scene is the opening of the new Drive In window at the Farmers Bank, July 24, 1971. Here bank officials are pictured with Mr. Hobart, the principal speaker. Another picture taken on opening day shows Leo Yarbro winner of the coin guessing contest, making a grab in the money jar for as much "Loot" as he can hold, which was the prize.

Mr. Partin is shown with photos on display in the Recreational room of the bank, of pioneer days in Parsons. The above mentioned attractions are but a few that await you at this unusual museum of history.

 The office is opened to the public week days from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and 2 p.m. til 5 p.m. There is no charge. Drop by and avail yourself to a pictorial view of the greatest place on earth, "Parsons, Tenn.," and its population and their travels.

In January 1918 the Tenn. River froze over at Perryville. Scenes of this unusual sight showing the Steamer Clyde and the Watt Russ mail boat ice bound is of wide spread interest.

Parsons business places, dating back to pioneer days, show the mud streets, enhanced with a pig plodding down the middle. Two business places, J.P. Rain's Hotel, now Colwick Dry Goods Co., and Farmers Bank have survived the storms of time. Farmers Bank is pictured at its first location, one side of Milt Houston's Mercantile Co. It has had two other homes, next door to Parsons Printing Co., and the present location on the corner of Tennessee Avenue and Second Street.

(photo caption)MEMBERS OF THE FACULTY AND STUDENT BODY at Riverside High School are shown with gifts for the U.S. troops in Viet Nam, a county-wide drive sponsored by the VFW. The Parsons and Decaturville Boy Scout troops collected articles also from the homes and business sections. The packages were carried to the National Guard Armory, where they were wrapped and shipped by VFW members. Sgt. Noble Lindsey transported the packages to Nashville, where they will be flown to the troops. Max Ray Maxwell is commander of the Long-Ivey-Carrington Post 4971.

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