Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN


Chapter XIV

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.

The Tolley family moved to Decatur County sometime between 1827 and 1850 from Carroll County near Huntingdon, Tennessee. There were seven children. Not much is known about them. They were the children of William Tolley whose father is believed to be Jonathan Tolley. It is thought that they came from North Carolina or South Carolina and came by the way of West Virginia and Kentucky and settled near Huntingdon. Their names were George, Arthur, Martha, Joe, Nerve or Manurvia, and Rachel. There was another sister whose name is not known.

George stopped in Kentucky and settled there and the family lost trace of him. Manurvia married Lewis Jones. She was born July 22, 1823 and died June 8,1896. She is buried at Mt. Lebanon Cemetery. Rachel and Joe did not marry. One sister whose name is unknown married a Condor. Martha married a Chester.

Arthur Tolley was born in Carroll County on April 2,1827 and married Morning Rushing born Jan. 15, 1833 from Decatur County. They lived on the Rushing farm now owned by the Townsend brothers. Their first child, George Alston was born there on December 30, 1853. The family moved from there to the Houston farm about 1/2 mile east of Mt. Tabor. They were blessed with four additional sons, namely; James Arthur born Nov. 20. 1858; Martin Andrew b. January 25, 1862; Joseph Thomas b. Aug. 29, 1866; Samuel Jackson b. May 13, 1872.

Young Arthur grew to manhood learning the art of using the axe. He became an expert in hewing logs that were extensively used in the structure of homes as well as schools and churches. One of these buildings, the old Mt. Tabor school about 2 miles south of Parsons, was still standing in 1944 in fairly good condition and was close to 100 years old. He loved to dance and had the reputation of being one of the best dancers in Decatur County He professed faith in Christ and joined the Mt. Lebanon Methodist Church.

He fought throughout the war as a Union soldier enlisting at Decaturville on September 18, 1862 in Company G, 6th Regiment, Tennessee Calvary, Capt. W. C. Webb Co. He was mustered out at Pulaski, Tenn. on July 26, 1866.

His wife, Morning Tolley, died Feb. 14, 1873 and is buried at the "old" Tolley Cemetery located next to the Featherfoot development overlooking Beech River. He then married Mary Skinner Readey whohad previously been married to John R. Readey who was deceased. She had two children by that marriage, Doiph and Dossie Readey.

To the union of Arthur and Mary were born two girls, Mary Ellen born Feb. 11 1879 and Lucy born Mar. 12, 1882. Arthur Tolley died in 1898, his wife Mary in 1908 and both are buried in Mt. Lebanon Cemetery.

 All of Arthur's sons moved to Henderson County around the turn of the Century except for Joseph Thomas who married his step sister, Dossie Readey. After her death he moved to Ridgely, Tenn. where his children and their descendants now reside. George Alston, Martin Andrew and Samuel Jackson moved to Henderson Co. and lived there the rest of their life. James Arthur lived in Henderson Co. for awhile but returned to Decatur Co. and operated a General Merchandise Store in the Camp Ground Community. He is buried at the Camp Ground Cemetery.

 Even though George Alston, Martin Andrew and Samuel Jackson Tolley remained in Henderson County, some of their sons have been instrumental in shaping and influencing the history of Decatur County.

Arthur F. Tolley, son of Samuel Jackson lived in Parsons, was a mortician and half owner of Parsons Mortuary. He was manager of the Holcomb Produce Co. in Parsons and a large stockholder in the Company. Arthur F. Tolley Bridge between Parsons and Decaturville is named after him.

John T. Tolley, son of Samuel Jackson was Sheriff of Decatur Co. during the 1940's served in World Wart and is mentioned in notables of the South. Two of his sons served in World War II, a grand child in the Korean War and an in-law in the Vietnam War.

William Madison Tolley, son of Martin Andrew was principal of Decaturville High School in the early 1920's. Before his death he set up a trust fund to provide a scholarship for deserving students at Riverside Schools (between Parsons and Decaturville).

Bud Tolley, accomplished Banjo player, and Jess Tolley, master of the violin were sons of James Arthur.

Alston was a successful farmer and it was on his farm at Bible Hill that one of the first gravel pits was developed and furnished gravel for some of the early rural roads in Decatur Co.

Dolph Readey, stepson of the elder Arthur Tolley was a business man and his son Jess Readey was a successful businessman and prominent citizen of Decatur Co.

 Grandchildren and descendants of Ellen Tolley Gross are community leaders in and around Parsons and Perryville.

Samuel Jackson Tolley Family, approximate date 1912.
Back row, left to right John T., Mary, Maggie, Arthur F.
Front row, left to right Eliza, Logan, Samuel Jackson Tolley, Edna [wife],
Dewey, Winnie and Roby.

M. A. Tolley, born 1861 and F. A. Tolley, born 1864
and married January 25, 1883. This picture was made
on their 60th anniversary, January 25, 1943.

Dr. Vincent Tolley, the latest doctor in the Hendrix family.
His parents. Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Tolley live in Parsons.
Dr. Tolley is practicing medicine in Sevierville, Tennessee.