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.

Aileen Vise Pettit

Eli Michael Vise of Decaturville, Tennessee was born in Vise Town, Tennessee, October 26,1866. He was born to George Hubbard Vise and Tennessee Wayne Lafferty Vise. His father, George Hubbard Vise, was born December 16, 1827, in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and moved to Tennessee in March 1835 with his father, Eli Vise, and family, when he was a little more than seven years old. George Hubbard had one sister, Betsy Vise. George Hubbard and Betsy Vise's father, Eli, died four months after moving to Tennessee. Eli Vise married about 1816 or 1817 to Rebecca Meadows and was by occupation an industrious farmer. He worked so hard trying to farm new land in Tennessee that he died a young man of 34 only four months after moving from Spartanburg, South Carolina to Tennessee. His widow "Becky Meadows Vise saw that the children received a good education; such as the common schools of the day afforded, in Wayne County. George Hubbard Vise, a fairly well educated man and a good farmer married August 22,1850 to Miss Tennessee Wayne Lafferty of Wayne County. They bought land and moved across the river to Decatur County and raised a large family. They had 10 children - all born in Vise Town Tennessee. Mr. George Hubbard Vise was a Whig in that Party's Day. He enlisted in Col. Jack Bittes Regiment, Confederate Army, was in a skirmish at Jackson, Tennessee — General Forrest leading the boys. The Army advanced to Trenton, capturing all before it, including Trenton: were met at Cross Roads by the enemy, and a fight ensued which lasted about 10 hours. The Army then moved to Middle Tennessee near Franklin, where they again met the Federals, and a terrific encounter took place which lasted two days in which many were killed and wounded, but about 300 of the enemy were taken prisoners. In August 1864, Mr. Vise was released from the Army on account of his wife's illness. Upon his return home, finding his place devastated, his possessions gone — he worked long and hard to resume his farming.

"He is a Democrat, but takes no active part in politics more than voting. He is a member of the Masonic faternity and greatly interested in school matters. He and his estimable wife has been zealous members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Socially Mr. George Hubbard Vise is a genial, warm hearted man, full of hospitality so characteristic of the true Southerner" — (from Goodspeed-History of TN)

George Hubbard Vise's grandfather, (father of Eli Vise) John Vise, is thought to have been a native of England: landed on the shores of South Carolina before the Revolutionary War broke out. He served gallantly in the Revolutionary War, and when peace was declared, settled in South Carolina.

We, the children of Eli Michael Vise, have in our possession a copy of John Vises will of March 31, 1830, recorded in Spartanburg District, South Carolina. A crest by his signature of the will is interpreted to mean "signed by John Vise, son of Eli Vise". So his father he left in England was Eli Vise, believed to be born about 1735. In John Vise's will he bequests his posessions to his three children — namely Zery, Eli and Abner. (Eli is our line).

Our subject, Eli Michael Vise, the great-great grandson of Eli Vise —the great grandson of John Vise, the grandson of Eli Vise and the son of George Hubbard Vise, was a prosperous land owner, merchant, trader, cattleman . . . He married Lillian Dora Thompson, a school teacher, March 16, 1896, and they lived in Vise Town until 1909 when they moved to Decaturville, Tennessee. Lillian Dora Thompson was the daughter of James Andrew Pitts Thompson and Sallie Ann Culp of Kenton, Tennessee. Mr. J. A. P. Thompson was a jewelryman. They have 6 children.

(1) James Kirk Vise — born September 10, 1897 in Vise Town, Tennessee. Married Grace Ethel Farrand in Chicago, Illinois November 9,1924. Second marriage to Ann Veronica Davidson in Hernando, Mississippi February, 1948. J. K. Vise "Joe" was graduated from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Received his Master's Degree from Columbia University in New York City; a well-educated man he was associated with Marshall Fields in Chicago in the merchandizing department before he came back to Decaturville to be principal of the Decatur County High School and County Superintendent of Decatur County. He was a dedicated educator and worked for better teaching facilities and higher learning for all children. He was State Senator in the 71st General Assembly of the State of Tennessee for Benton, Decatur, Hardin, Hardeman and McNairy counties. He was a merchant in Decaturville operating the E. M. Vise and Company General Store for many years before moving to Memphis, Tennessee to go into the real estate business in Shelby County - where he died May 28, 1971 with a massive coronary in the Methodist Hospital. "Mr. Joe" was loved by all - he never met a stranger - he loved people. He was the most forgiving man, never holding a grudge against anyone. He taught a Sunday School in Decaturville Methodist Church and in Epworth Methodist & First Methodist and a Methodist Church in Memphis -"Mr. Joe" was a very well versed and educated person on the Bible. J K Vise was on his way to the Army when peace was declared in W.W. I.

(2) Ida Flynn Vise - born May 25, 1900 in Vise Town, Tennessee. Married John Ovid Pickens January 9, 1926. Ida Flynn Vise was educated at McFerrin School - Blackstone College in Blackstone, Virginia - and graduated from Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. She taught school in Decatur County until her recent retirement. She won many awards in the teaching field and was devotedly loved by all her students. She gets letters often from former students thanking her for her help during their trying school years. She taught Sunday School in the Methodist Church; is always active and interested in all church and civic work. Ida Flynn Vise and John Ovid Pickens have one daughter, Martha Aileen Pickens, born November 21, 1926, in Decaturville, Tennessee. Martha Aileen graduated from U.T. in Knoxville and was county agent in Paris, Tennessee where she met and married James Luna Anderson on September 3, 1950 in Decaturville, Tennessee. They have two children, Deborah Pickens Anderson - born August 12, 1957. Martha Aileen and family live in Louisiana (Covington, La.)

(3) Allie Maybelle Vise, born November 30, 1903 in Vise Town, Tennessee. She went by a nickname "Pyke" because she was the prettiest girl walking down the pike after her family moved from Vise Town to Decaturville, Tennessee or that is what friends and neighbors claim! "Miss Pyke" went to McFerrin School, Blackstone College in Blackstone, VA and graduated from Wesleyan College in Macon, GA. She taught school in Decaturville School was Principal of Parsons High School and School Librarian until her retirement. She married Alanson Brown Smith May 16,1926 in Decaturville, Tennessee. They had one son, Alanson Brown Smith, Jr. born March 8, 1927. He graduated from U.T. Medical School and has the Alanson Brown Smith Clinic in Meridian, Mississippi. Dr. A. B. married Aletha Virginia Irwin November, 1953, and they have four children, Sharon Virginia, Alanson Brown III, James Darryl and Sidney Eli. "Miss Pyke" married the second time June 1,1941, to James Hobart Johnson after her first husband "Brown" died January 8, 1933. They live in Decaturville, Tennessee. "Miss Pyke" has held many offices in the Methodist Church and won many awards as a distinguished civic worker.

[Note: Text ends abruptly here having discussed only three of the six children.]