Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN

Origin of the County

Chapter II

From Lillye Younger, The History of Decatur County Past and Present (Southhaven, MS: Carter Printing Company, 1978).
Special thanks to Constance Collett for permission to make these web pages.

In Memory of Lillye Washburn Younger 1912-1998.

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

Decatur County, located in the extreme eastern portion of West Tennessee, was formed from a slice of Perry County. In November 1845 Decatur County was formed out of the portion of Perry County lying west of the Tennessee River. It is bounded on the north by Benton County, on the west by Henderson County, on the South by Hardin County and the Tennessee River and on the East by the Tennessee River. Four years later in 1849, a three mile strip adjoining Decatur County was cut off of Hardin County and added it its boundary.[1]

 The county was named in honor of Commodore Stephen Decatur, a native of Sinepuxent, Maryland, who was a Naval hero and American Patriot when the United States was quite young.

Born in 1779, he joined the United States Navy as a midshipman when he was nineteen (19) years of age. Pirates were attacking American ships in the Mediterranean Sea at this time. They came from Barbary Coast of North Africa. Decatur fought bravely against the pirates of Tripoli, one of the Barbary countries, from which he was promoted to Captain in 1804.

He also commanded a frigate warship against England in the war of 1812. Congress awarded him a gold medal for capturing the English frigate Macedonian. He commanded a squadron of nine ships against other Barbary pirates and made their owner, the key ruler of Algeriers, sign a treaty agreeing not to attack American ships again.

He had an enemy, Commodor James Barton, who was court-martialed and Decatur was a member of the accusers. His death resulted from a quarrel he had with Barton. They fought a duel and Decatur was shot through the hip and died from the wound.[2]

On an historical marker, placed at the west side of the Alvin C. York bridge across the Tennessee river at Perryville, Tennessee are these words. "Decatur County, Established 1845. Named in honor of Commodore Stephen Decatur, the Naval officer who won fame in the Naval war with Tripoli. His chief exploit was the capture and destruction of the Frigate "Philadelphia". He later served with great distinction in the war of 1812".

Due to the Tennessee River dividing the county seat of Perry County, which was at Perryville, two hundred (200) voters, led by Samuel Brasher, banded together to form a new county from the land west of the Tennessee River belonging to Perry County.

At the November 1845 General Assembly the act to form a new county quote "Out of that part of Perry County lying west of the Tennessee river, to be known and distinguished by the name of Decatur in honor of and to perpetuate the memory of Commodore Stephen Decatur of the United States Navy, of whose services our nation should be proud and whose memory should be revered" was passed.[3]

 Instrumental in running the boundary of Decatur County were D. B. Funderburk, Samuel Brasher, J. S. Walker, W. J. McGee and J. C. Harbrough.

 The area of the county according to 1875 tax records reads, 202,043 acres of land valued at $645,750. 1970 tax records reveal that the area of Decatur County is 207,036 acres, valued at Fifty Million Dollars ($50,000,000.)

 Besides the acreage there are (226) two hundred twenty six lots on the 1970 tax books, including the lots ranging from 300 x 250 feet to 50 x 150 feet. The 1970 evaluation of the county is based on 100% value.[4]

Decatur County Officials

As Decatur County was a part of Perry County until the organization November 1845, the records of the county to that date were a record of Perry County.[5]

The first Circuit Judge in this region was Judge Joshua Haskell who served in 1821 while we were yet a part of Perry County.[6]

Judge James Scott was the first Circuit Judge after the division of the county and Robert A. Hill was the Attorney General. Both Scott and Judge Elijah Walker, who followed him, were natives of Savannah. Judge Walker served until the outbreak of the Civil War at which time the courts were closed.[7]

 After the reorganization of the county Fielding Hurst of McNairy County was appointed Circuit Judge and served until 1867. He was succeeded by J. W. Doherty who served until 1869. Judge Elijah Walker was re-elected and served until his death in 1873. He was succeeded by T. P. Bateman who served until 1886. Levi Woods served from 1886 until 1908 when he was succeeded by N. R. Barham who served until 1926. J. A. England was elected to the office in 1926 and served until 1930. He was succeeded by W. H. Dennison who served from 1930 until 1934. Frank L. Johnson served from 1934 until 1947 when J. T. Galbriath took over and served until 1948. Judge Gaibriath died and Otto Milam was appointed until a Judge could be elected. Andrew (Tip) Taylor was elected in 1948 and served until 1966 when the present Judge James L. England took office. His term expires in 1982.[8]

The Chancery Court was established at Decaturville in 1854 with Stephen C. Pavatt as Chancellor. He served until the close of the courts by the Civil War. An enactment Section three (3) Chapter one hundred eighty-seven of Laws of Tennessee reads, "Be it further enacted that the Chancery Court of Decatur County hereafter shall be held at Decaturville on the second Monday in June and November and that the Chancery Court of Perry County hereafter shall be held at Linden on the Thursdays following. R. H. Rose was Chancellor from 1866 until 1870, when George H. Nixon was elected and served until 1886. He was succeeded by A. J. Abernathy. Judge Rose and Nixon were residents of Lawrenceburg and Judge Abernathy was a resident of Pulaski.

 A. J. Abernathy served from 1886 until 1903 when he was succeeded by Albert G. Hawkins, who served until 1906. E. L. Bullock was then elected and served until 1913 when J. W. Rose was elected. He served until 1921. W. H. Dennison served from 1921 until 1922 when he was succeeded by Tom Rye who served from 1922 until 1942. Gordon Browning served from 1942 until 1949 when he was succeeded by Wayne Cox who served from 1949 until 1968. In 1968 Aaron C. Brown was elected and is still serving in this office.[9]

Circuit Court Clerk

The first Circuit Court Clerk was D. B. Funderburk who served until 1856, when he was succeeded by Hiram Lacy. Lacy held the office until 1860. Samuel Akin was then elected and held the office until the Civil War broke out. After the re-organization, C. S. Brandon and P. O. Roberts held the office until 1870 when D. M. Scott was elected and served the two following terms. J. P. Rains was elected to the office in 1878.[10] P. W. Miller served from 1890 until 1894 when he was succeeded by Joe Jennings who served until 1898. John McMillan, father of Dr. Logan McMillan, served the officer around 1900 until 1906. Marvin Spencer of Sugar Tree served the office from 1 906 until 1910, at which time Bob Rhodes of Perryville took office and served until 1925, when W. V. Tucker of Decaturville was elected and served until 1930. Mrs. Narcie Smith served the office from 1930 to 1933 and Samuel L. Duck served from 1933 until 1941. Virgil Taylor was elected in 1941 and went out of office in 1950. He was succeeded by Albert Kindle. Floyd (Zeke) Graves was elected in 1958 and served until 1962 when Virgil Ray Box filled the office. He served from 1962 until 1970. He was succeeded by the present Circuit Court Clerk, Charlie A. Kindle. Kindle is the great great grandson of Hiram Lacy who held the office in 1860.[11]

County Court Clerk

Serving as the first County Court Clerk in Decatur County was Samuel Yarbro, who was elected in 1846, at which time the first court was established in the County-Seat town. He served until 1856 and was succeeded by M. J. Fisher who served until 1860. J. R. Carmack served from 1860 until the out-break of the Civil War when the courts were closed: however, he took up where he left off and served the office until 1866. J.C. Roberts served from 1866 until 1868 and John P. Rains took office in 1868 and served until 1870. John McMillan served the office from 1870 until 1882 after which time J. E. Dees was elected and served until 1902. S. L. Jennings filled the office from 1902 until 1906 and he was succeeded by Guy Yarbro who served from 1906 until 1910. O. H. Roberts served from 1910 until 1914 and P.H. Brasher took over from 1914 and served until 1922. C.C. Tubbs served from 1922 until 1923 at which time S.C. Kennedy served the office. He served from 1923 until 1934. R. Guy Butler filled the office from 1934 until 1942 and J. Madison Smith was elected in 1942 and served until 1946. B. B. Fisher was elected in 1946 and served until 1954 and he was succeeded by R. C. Montgomery whose term will expire in 1978.[12]

Decatur County Trustees

Those who have served as Decatur County Trustees from 1869 until 1976 are as follows: 1869-1876 John Blount, 1876-1878 W. P. Bray, 1878-1884 John A. Long, 1884-1890 W. P. Miller, 1890-1896 J. T. Roberts, 1896-1 902 J. J. Austin, 1902-1908 H. M. Johnson, 1908-1910 W.R. Johnson, 1910-1916 J. W. McIllwain, 1916-1918 W. L. Wheat, 1918-1923 Elbert Jones, 1923-1924 George L. Wortham Sr., 1924-1932 Will H. Duck, 1932-1936 Hobart Goff, 1936-1940 L. J. Thompson, 1940-1946 Jack Moore, 1946-1950 A. F. Hardin, 1950-1954 Clovis Pevahouse, 1954-1958 Jack Goff, 1958-1962 Alton M. Maners, 1962-1974 Hardin Smith.

Mrs. Janis W. McPeake was elected in 1974 and is serving as the present Trustee. Her term expires August 31, 1978.

Decatur County Registor

John A. Rains served as the county's first Register in 1846 until 1848. He was followed by A. M. Yarbro who served from 1848 until 1857 at which time Samuel Brasher came into office and served until 1858. He was succeeded by William B. Bright who served from 1858 until 1863. J. G. W. Christenberry served the office from 1863 until 1864 and he was succeeded by William H. Milam who served from 1864 until 1866. John J. Lacy served from 1866 until 1870. William M. Pratt served the office from 1870 until 1882 when he was succeeded by T. R. Brasher who served from 1882 until 1886.

G. B. D. Rushing served trom 1886 until 1894 when he was succeeded by Jesse P. Veal who served from 1894 until 1897. J. W. Blount served from 1897 until 1898. R. W. Raney took office in 1898 and served until 1906 when he was succeeded by J. F. Adair who served from 1906 until 1918. Joe Tate succeeded him from 1918 until 1923. Mrs. Mattie Tate filled the office from 1923 until 1926. Leonard O. Townsend served from 1926 until 1934. O. R. Houston served the office from 1934 until 1942 when he was succeeded by W. O. Baker who served from 1942 until 1950. Jimmy Fisher served from 1950 until 1954 and he was succeeded by Mrs. J. E. Ingram who served from 1954 until 1965. W. T. (Bill) Pomeroy was elected to this office in 1966 and is still serving.

Decatur County Judge

Decatur County Judges serving from 1870 until 1976 are as follows: J. E. Brasher from 1870 until 1872. Houston Roberts filled the office from 1872 until 1882. He was succeeded by C. A. Alston who served from 1882 until 1886. J. C. P. Myracle served from 1886 until 1890 when John W. Clift was elected and served from 1890 until 1892. J. C. P. Myracle was re-elected in 1892 and served until 1900. W.R. Tuten served from 1900 until 1902 when C. C. Lacy was elected and served from 1902 until 1904.

W.R. Tuten was re-elected in 1904 and served until 1906. J. E. Dees served from 1906 until 1910 when H. A. Culp took over and served from 1910 until 1912. J. E. Dees served from 1912 until 1914 when J. A. England was elected and served until 1 916. L. T. Smith served the office from 1916 until 1918. He was succeeded by J. M. Blount in 1918 who served until 1925. E. C. Kennedy served from 1925 until 1934. Otto Milam served from 1934 until 1950. He was accidently killed when he fell from the roof of a filling station in Decaturville. He was succeeded by Madison Smith who served from 1950 until 1957. He was accidentally killed from fighting a fire which started in the Betty Ann's Dress Shop in Parsons. Samuel L. Duck took office in 1957 and served until 1958 and he was followed by James Long who served until his death of a heart attack in 1959. His wife, Mrs. Juanita Long, finished his term and served the office until 1974. She was the first woman County Judge in Tennessee. She was succeeded by Hardin Smith who is serving the office at the present.

General Session Judges of the County

The first General Session Judge of Decatur County was Roy Stout whose term of office began in 1960 and he served until 1963. He was followed by Grady Crawley whose term began in 1963 and he is still serving at this time.

Decatur County Tax Accessors

J.T. McMurray served from 1890 until 1892. He was succeeded by John Evans who began his term in 1892 and served until 1894. He was succeeded by J. A. Readey who served from 1908 until 1910. George Long served from 1912 until 1914. Here we have a skip. W. P. Davis served from 1916 until 1918. He was succeeded by AG. Still who served from 1924 until 1928. G. W. Tucker served from 1928 until 1932. Meritt Cole served from 1932 until 1944 and he was succeeded by Oscar Douglas who served from 1944 until 1960. Sol Brasher served from 1960 until 1964. J.H. Austin was elected in 1964 and served until 1968. N. A. (Tony) Martin served the office from 1968 until 1972. He was succeeded by Jay Baker who was elected in 1972 and is presently serving. His term expires in 1980.[13]

Clerk and Master

D. B. Funderburk was appointed as Clerk and Master in 1845 and served until 1872 when D.C. Kennedy succeeded him and served until 1879. JA. England was appointed to succeed Kennedy and served from 1879 until 1887. He was succeeded by L. T. Smith who served from 1887 until 1894. P. W. Miller served from 1894 until 1923 and he was succeeded by Mrs. Nelle Dunavant. In 1941 J. L. England took office and served until 1960 when Mrs. Nell Tinker England was elected and is presently serving the office.


Decatur County's first Sheriff was Hiram Lacy who served from 1846 until 1952 when Capt. John McMillan took over and served until 1858. G. W. Haynes served from 1858 until 1862. He was succeeded by Benjiman Tuten from 1862 until 1866. J.C. Barnett served from 1866 until 1868. J.C. Houston served from 1868 until 1870. D.C. Kennedy served the office from 1870 until 1872. Issiah McMillan filled the office from 1872 until 1874. W.R. Tuten served here from 1874 until 1876 when Issiah McMillan served again from 1876 until 1882. E. E. Arnold served the office from 1882 until 1888. G. W. Boggan took over the office from 1888 until 1890. Joe Blount served as sheriff from 1890 until 1896. Ben McMillan served from 1896 until 1898. J. M. Rains served from 1898 to 1900. In 1900 to 1904 the office was filled by George Brasher and WE. Lancaster took over in 1904 and served until 1906. Joe Blount and Joe Odle served here from 1906 to 1910. From 1910 until 1914 the office was filled by Jim Chalk. J. A. Taylor succeeded him from 1914 until 1918. In 1918 Charley Beard was elected and served until 1924 when W. L. Wheat took over and served until 1928. Clayburn Hays served from 1928 until 1930. J. T. Odle filled the office from 1930 until 1 934 when J. A. Taylor once again served the office until 1936. J. W. Conder served the office from 1936 until 1942. John Tolley served the office from 1942 until 1944. Again, J. W. Conder served here from 1944 until 1950 when J.B. Hayes filled the office until 1954. Carmon Montgomery served from 1954 until 1956 and he was followed by Ola Duck who held the office from 1956 until 1962. He was succeeded by Charlie Boroughs who served until 1968. Melvin Holland served the office from 1968 until 1970 when he was succeeded by J. K. Parrish who served until 1972. J. B. Dennison served the office from 1972 until 1976, at which time he was defeated by Ray Outlaw who is presently serving.

Road Commissioners

Serving Decatur County as Road Commissioners were F. E. H. Wood, Robert H. Fisher and Dewey H. Anglin from 1942 until 1944. At this time, these persons were appointed to the various districts in the county. They were appointed by County Court. Colbert F. Moore, J. L. Hearington and Henry W. Reed were appointed to serve in 1944. The law changed in 1945 and the Legislature appointed the commissioners. Just prior to the appointment, Amsel DeLong served a short stretch. Dee Davis was the first one to serve as Road Supervisor. After his stretch the County Court appointed Adkins Maners in 1948 and in 1950 the method was changed to election by popular vote.

Others elected were Oscar Lafferty who served from 1952 until 1954, when he was succeeded by W. L. Renfroe. In 1956 Lafferty was re-elected and served continuously until 1962.

H. P. (Booty) Long was elected in 1962 and was re-elected four times, the last term being 1970. John Wesley Smith was elected in 1970 and in 1972 he was re-elected. H. P. (Booty) Long won the race in 1974 and is serving the office presently.[14]

The Bench in Decatur County includes Circuit Court, Chancery Court, General Sessions Court, Juvenile Court and City Court. Representing the Bar in the county are the following: H.B. Neely, William S. Maxwell, J.W. Doherty, John McMillan, J. A. England and D. E. Scott who are listed in Goodspeeds History. Among the other lawyers who have served include Benjamin Carlyle Welch, William Henry Fisher, Landon White, E. C. Kennedy, Samuel L. Duck, Vester Tucker, James Smith, Jim Smith, Edwin Townsend, Billy Townsend, Bob Townsend, Robert Livingston, Thomas B. Nunnerly, Henry Evans, Vernice Chumney and James L. England.

Decatur Countians Who Have Served in the Legislature

T.C. Taylor represented Decatur and Perry County in the 32nd General Assembly from 1857 until 1859. Born in Williamson County in 1824, he married and the couple had five children, three daughters and two sons. His wife's name is not listed in the research. He was a farmer at Swallow Bluff.

Marvin J. Fisher (Confederate) served the 34th General Assembly representing Decatur and Perry Counties. He was the son of Jacob F. Fisher, a wealthy landowner in Decatur. He was the father of two daughters and one son. Misfortune befell the Legislator when he was killed in Decatur County in October of 1862 by Carroll Graves, reputedly over political differences. Graves was never brought to justice.

John Stegal, born in 1813, served as a Legislator, following Marvin J. Fisher, during reconstruction days. Born in North Carolina, he first married Elizabeth, surname unknown, and later to Sarah E. (no data). He had ten children, the youngest being born in 1870. He was owner of many slaves, engaged in many land transactions and buying and selling slaves. His name has been spelled variously as Stegald, Stegall and Steagall.

George W. Walters, served the 37th General Assembly from 1871 until 1873 and represented Decatur and Perry Counties.

Information has been hard to come by: however, one such George Walters was married to E.E. White, daughter of M.N. White in 1860 and had one son, J.L.

Samuel W. Riggs, served the 38th General Assembly 1873 until 1875, representing Decatur and Hardin Counties. Born in Alabama in 1838, he was a Republican. He married twice. No record of his first wife. He was married the second time to Mary J. Bryant, no children of this marriage; however, he had nine children from his first marriage.

G.W. Haynes served at the 40th General Assemblyfrom 1877 until 1879, representing Decatur and Hardin Counties. Born in Tennessee in 1822, he was a Democrat. He was married to Susan, no last name given or date. The 1880 census showed no children but three orphans were living in his household. Engaged in farming in Decaturville, he served as Justice of the Peace in 1875.

H.B. Neely served at the 42nd General Assembly, representing Decatur and Hardin Counties. A Republican, he served from January 3rd to close of the last session, April 7,1881. He was granted a leave of absence May 25, 1881 because of ill health and died before the first extra Session and seat was filled by James D. Martin.

Neely was born in Carroll County in 1858, son of Andrew Neely. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1879. He practiced in Decaturville. He never married. He died in DecaturCounty, Sept. 5,1881.

James J. Warren served at the 44th General Assembly 1885 to 1887, representing Decatur, Lewis and Perry Counties. Born in Humphreys County, February 18, 1840, he was the son of Albert and Elizabeth Warren, natives of Virginia. He attended "Common Schools" and Secondary School at Waverly. He attended Medical College at Louisville, Ky. and graduated in medicine in 1871 from the University of Nashville. He married Heedy E. Reynolds Nov. 2, 1873. He practiced medicine at Bath Springs and could have been the J.J. Warren listed in Confederate Army.

John F. Akin served the 47th General Assembly from 1891-1893 representing Decatur, Lewis and Perry Counties. Born January 1, 1838, he was the son of W.V. and Margaret Akin. He attended common schools and his marriage date is not indicated; however, he married Leantine L. Hancock and it is said they had three children, James, born 1869, other names impossible to locate. He was a farmer and operated a gristmill and general store in Bath Springs. A member of the Methodist Epistocal Church, he gave land for the church, served as superintendent of the Sunday School, member of the Free and Adcepted Masons, Farmers Alliance, and President of Co-Laborers Union. Date of his death is not determined.

 Joseph M. Blount, member of the 54th General Assembly, represented Decatur and Benton Counties. Born in Tennessee, November 26, 1858, son of John and Lucinda (Yarbro) Blount. He attended Decatur County Schools, studied law and practiced law in Decaturville. He married Martha J. Fisher, daughter of Rev, and Mrs. John Fisher. His children's names were Claude, Elias, Nannie, Beatrice, Richard, Henry, Latham, Orville and J.W. He began his career as a merchant and farmer. He was sheriff of the county six years, elected road supervisor and election commissioner. He served as County Judge. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Free and Accepted Masons, Royal Arch Masons and Odd Fellows. He died in Decatur County November 26,1926 and was buried in Decaturville Cemetery.

James Tate Rogers served in the 56th General Assembly from 1909 until 1911, representing Decatur and Benton Counties and the 57th General Assembly from 1911 until his death representing Decatur, Benton, Hardeman, Hardin and McNairy Counties. Born in Henderson County January 10, 1835, he married Leora McMillan and they had three boys and one girl. The children died of dyptheria in 1876 and the mother died in 1877. A Civil War veteran, he was wounded at the battle of Shiloh.

His second marriage was to Fredonia Dennison, December 27, 1879. To this union ten children graced the home. These were Hattie, Will, Molly, Charley, Bessie, Samuel, James Weaver, Ruben, Jess and an infant son who died at the age of two.

Four of the sons served in World War I, James Weaver, Will, Rube and Sam. Mrs. Rogers was the only four star mother in the county.[15]

Benjamin Carlyle Welch served the 60th and 62nd General Assemblies in 1917-1919 and 1921-1923, representing Decatur and Benton Counties. Born at Decaturville, March 10,1891, son of Pat H. and Nettle Welch. He attended Union City Training School, Obion County, University of Tennessee and graduated in law from Cumberland University.

He married Helen Verline, a native of Union City on October 2,1917 daughter of Jack P. and Nettle Beck Verline. They had two sons, John V. and Benjamin Carlyle, Jr. After his stretch in the legislature he moved to Memphis where he continued his law practice until his death, February 2,1954. He was buried in Memorial Park in Memphis. He was a Democrat and Methodist.

Jackson Landon White served in the 64th General Assembly, 1925-1927, representing Decatur and Benton Counties. He was a Democrat. Born at Decaturville June 4, 1881, son of Robert Alexander and Fannie Dickerson White. He attended law school after public school.

His first marriage was to Dora Wheat on March 18, 1902, daughter of Henry Wheat and she died March 6,1907, leaving one son, Russell. After the death of his first wife, he married Bessie Welch around 1910 and to this union three children were born, Watson, Geraldine and Jackson Landon, Jr. He practiced law at Decaturville and served as Circuit Court Clerk, County Judge, Postmaster and Secretary-Treasurer of Decatur County National Farm Loan Association. He was a Methodist, Mason, Woodman of the World President in 1921. He died at Fites White Clinic in Jackson March 13, 1944 and is buried in Concord Cemetery.

William Riley Thompson served the 66th General Assembly 1929-31, representing Decatur and Benton Counties. Born at Cedar Creek in Perry County, December 26,1859, son of R.W. and Rebecca (Randal) Thompson.

He attended Perry County Schools and had two years of College. He married Ida Jane Cuthrie September 1886, native of Decatur County. To this union, five sons and two daughters were born, namely; Perry, W.O., Leslie, Robert Edwin, Grady, Myrtle and Nora Belle.

Besides farming, he was also a broker, a Mason, member of the Christian Church and belonged to the Eastern Star. He died Sept. 6,1936 and is buried at Mount Carmel.

James Earl Ingram served the 68th General Assembly 1933-35 representing Decatur and Benton Counties. Born at Plattsburg, Miss. in 1889, he began the practice of medicine in 1917 at Sugar Tree, Tennessee, later moved to Parsons where he continued the practice until his death February 21, 1954. He married Willie Turner who assisted him in his practice and performed the work of an "Angel of Mercy" to suffering humanity. A member of the First Baptist Church, he was also a Mason and member of the Odd Fellows. He was buried in the Baptist Cemetery in Noxapater, Mississippi.

Wilburn Branson Townsend, born 1907, served the 72nd and 82nd General Assemblies in 1941-43 and 1961-63, representing Decatur and Benton Counties. He was born at Sugar Tree in the Hog Creek Community, son of Mansfield and Cordelia Estelle Harrison Townsend. After graduating from Parsons High School, he attended Union University and University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He was married to Emma Lou Long, daughter of James Connie and Anne (Austin) Long of Parsons. They had two daughters and one son, Nancy Ann Yarbro, Janell Evans and James Branson Townsend.

In 1957 he was an automobile dealer, insurance agent, farmer, proprietor of Townsend Insurance Agency at Parsons for thirty five years or more. He was an Alternate delegate in 1952 to Democratic National Convention and delegate at large to National Convention of 1960, Chairman of the Board of Education 1956, Co-manager in 7th Congressional District for Edmund Orgill's candidacy for Governor in Democratic Primary of 1958. He was a member of Parsons First Baptist Church, Free and Accepted Mason, Order of the Mystic Shrine, Order of the Eastern Star, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Farm Bureau, Tennessee Insurance Agents Association, Tennessee Executive Club, Chamber of Commerce, Decatur County Livestock Association and Director of Decatur County Fair.

Hollis D. Pevahouse served in the 74th General Assembly, 1945-47, representing Decatur and Benton Counties. A Democrat, he was born in Wayne County October 17, 1899, son of Joseph Nelson and Ada CuIp Pevahouse. He attended public schools of Perry County, Savannah Institute, Lawrence County High School. He married Ethel Graham of Waynesboro, September 16, 1923, daughter of L.A. and Minnie Louelle Reeves Graham. The couple has one daughter, Jo Evelyn.

They operated a general store at Clifton for three years, moved to Swallow Bluff in 1924 where he operated a store and cotton gin; later moving to Decaturville. He has served as President of Farmers Bank, Chairman of school board in 1957 and lives in Decaturville.

Tim Boaz served in the 76th General Assembly 1949-51, representing Decatur and Benton Counties. A democrat, he was born at McKenzie in 1912, son of John J. and Clyde McCracken Boaz. He attended public schools and McTyeres Preparatory School at McKenzie. He married Bobbie Laster, daughter of Bob and Rachel Laster August 17, 1935. To this union were born Rachel Annette, Tim David and Joe Phillip Boaz. Proprietor of Boaz Furniture and Boaz Goodyear Tire Company, he served twice Mayor of Parsons. He is a member of the First Baptist Church, a Free and Accepted Mason, Order of the Mystic Shrine. He lives at 217 Camden Road in Parsons and is presently serving as Mayor of Parsons.

Ernest E. Rhodes served the 78th and 89th General Assemblies 1953-55 and 1957-59 representing Decatur and Benton Counties. Born at Scotts Hill, February 4,1910, son of Sam O. and Lily Thompson Rhodes. He attended school at Scotts Hill and married Lucille Laster, native of Henderson County in 1929. To this union there are three daughters, Peggy, Mary Ann and Linda Kay and two sons, Charles and Earl.

His occupations include merchant, farmer and sawmill operator in Scotts Hill. He was elected Justice of Peace in 1959 for the 10th Civil District. He is a member of the Pentecostal Church.

G.L. Teague served the 88th General Assembly from 1972 until 1974. Born January 6,1939, he lived in Henderson County, later moving to Parsons where he became engaged in the Ford Dealership. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Teague and has a brother, Dr. Paul Ford Teague and a sister, Mrs. Judy Volner. December 19,1966 he married Mary Ella King. The couple have one child, Mark Teague and Mary Ella has a daughter Felecia from a previous marriage.

Presently, Teague is President of Teague Sand and Gravel Company and President of Ford Motor Company. The couple live on the new Highway No.641.

He represented Decatur, Perry, a portion of Lawrence, Wayne and Lewis Counties. During his term the counties represented were changed to Decatur, Perry, Wayne, and a portion of Lawrence and Hardin.

A Decatur Countian, who moved to Madison County and represented the county in the General Assembly was Hobart L. Townsend who served the 70th and 71st General Assemblies, 1937-41, representing Madison County.

A democrat, he was born at Sugar Tree, Decatur County in August 1905, son of Eli Mansfield and Cordelia Harrison Townsend.

He was educated in the public schools of Decatur County and Union University, Jackson, Tennessee. Occupation, General Insurance and Bonds, Jackson. He married Ruth Jennings, October 6,1933, daughter of Joe and Stella Rains Jennings. One son, Hobart L. Townsend, Jr., was born to them. He is a Baptist, belongs to the Elks, Knights of Phythias, W.O.W., Mason and Shriner. His brother Wilburn B. Townsend represented Decatur County in the General Assembly.

Decatur Countians Who Served in the Senate

William R. Tuten served in the 51st General Assembly of the Senate 1899-1901, representing Decatur, Benton and Humphreys Counties. Born September 1850, son of Benjamin F. and Hildah Tuten, he studied law and married Nancy E. Boggan and they were the parents of two sons, William F. and Claude R. and one daughter, Sarah C. He was a farmer at Bath Springs and served as Justice of Peace from 1893 until 1898.

James K. Vise, served the 71st General Assembly Senate 1939-1941 representing Decatur, Benton, Hardeman, Hardin and McNairy Counties. He was a Democrat, born at Vise Town September 10, 1897, son of E.M. and Lillian Thompson Vise. He attended Ruskin Cave High School, McFerrin School, Trinity College, Columbia University and George Peabody College for teachers.

He was married the first time to Grace Ferrant, daughter of Austin and Lena Ferrant of Wisconsin and his second marriage was to Ann Davidson, daughter of Will and Elizabeth Middleton Davidson.

Among his occupations were principal of Decatur County High School, County Superintendent of Schools, Merchant, later moving to Memphis where he became engaged in the Real Estate Business.

He was a member of the United Methodist Church, Mason, Optimist Club and a member of the Eastern Star.[16]

  1. Goodspeed's History of Tennessee
  2. Encyclopedia
  3. Goodspeeds Tennessee History
  4. Hardin Smith, Trustee 1970
  5. Ibid
  6. "Beginning of West Tennessee" by Samuel Cole Williams
  7. Goodspeeds History of Tennessee
  8. C.A. Palmer's Research
  9. C.A. Palmer's Research
  10. Goodspeed's History of Tennessee
  11. Research by Charlie Kindle
  12. Research by R.C. Montgomery
  13. Research by C.A. Palmer, Imogene Smith Pratt and R.C. Montgomery.
  14. Booty Long
  15. Mrs. Sam Rogers
  16. Legislature and Senate History taken from Biographical Directory, Tennessee General Assembly, 1796-1969, by Robert McBride, Director Research and Publication.