From Mile Post 42…to City of Dickson
The following is a series of articles written by Mr. Robert S. Clement for the Dickson County Free Press in 1980. The articles were published weekly and they give an account of the history of the City of Dickson, Tennessee. The articles were compiled and transribed, with the permission of Mr. Clement’s family, and put into book form by Alan and Becky Ragan for the Dickson County Historical Society. This was completed in 1999 in conjunction with the city’s centennial celebration.
Introduction and First Meeting of Mayor and Aldermen
A new article entitled, “From Mile Post 42 to City of Dickson 1980”, will appear in the Free Press for the new year. The article written by Robert S. Clement will highlight the growth and special events in Dickson from May 12, 1899, to 1980.
All articles will be copywritten and can not be republished without written consent of Mr. Clement.
The Free Press welcomes Mr. Clement as a writer and is very pleased to publish the history of Dickson for our readers.
For sometime many of my friends have suggested that I write a book relative to the City of Dickson.
I suppose their reasons for asking me to do this are twofold, one because I have been with the City in some capacity for the last forty years with the exception of about four years, and the other is that I am seventy-nine years of age and have lived in Dickson since 1903 with the exception of about twelve years.
I have given the matter some thought and instead of writing a book, I have decided to write several weekly articles for the Dickson Free Press dealing mostly with the period from 1899 to 1980.
I plan to write principally about the growth of our City, the names of the Mayors and other officers of the Town during this period, industry, the railroad and items that may be interesting to the general public.
As to the period of time these articles will appear will depend upon several things, including the interest of the people in same, my health and the help that I may be able to obtain from others in compiling the correct information.
I am going to try to prepare these articles in chronological order, beginning May 12, 1899, which is referred to in the minutes as the “First Meeting of the Board of Mayor and Alderman of the Town of Dickson, Tennessee”.
This has caused a number of our citizens to believe that Dickson was first incorporated in 1899; however, this is a mistake. According to the best information that I can obtain, Dickson was first incorporated in 1873; however, I am doing further research on this and will write about this period later on.
We do know that in the 1880’s, Dr. Robert Corlew refers to the Town being incorporated and there was a division among the people, some of whom wanted the Town to dissolve the corporation, while others favored being incorporated. One of the main reasons appeared to be that whiskey could be legally sold if the Town was incorporated and not otherwise.
We do know this; the corporation was abandoned and was re-created on May 12, 1899.
The minutes of May 12, 1899, read, as follows: “The first meeting of the Board of Mayor and Alderman of the Town of Dickson, Tennessee, all members present and sworn in by W. R. Boyte, Notary Public. E. W. Ridings was made temporary Recorder.” J. J. Haggard was elected Chief and Joe Hetherington was elected as Second Marshal. The salary for the Chief Marshal was $35.00 per month, and for the Second Marshal $30.00 per month. The Chief Marshal was to be on duty during the daytime and the Second Marshal at night.
- B. Williamswas elected Recorder at a salary of $50.00 a year and the fees of his office.
Dickson Bank and Trust Company was chosen as Treasury and E. W. Ridings as Health Officer. W. E. Cullum was elected City Attorney.
It was moved and seconded to get up the ordinances by the next meeting. No further business, the Board adjourned until next meeting.
/s/ C. M. Lovell, Mayor
/s/ W. B. Williams, Recorder
While the minutes of May 12, 1899, do not spell out the names of the officials, elsewhere we find that Dr. C. M. Lovell was Mayor, W. B. Williams, Recorder, and Alderman were C. M. Turner, A. L. Boone, J. H. Brown, W. H. Walker, E. W. Ridings, J. T. Crain and W. T. Anderson.
The Board held its second meeting on May 19, 1899, at which time the Marshals and Recorder were sworn into office.
It is interesting to note that the first bill, or ordinance as we would call it today, was the garbage bill and the second the privy bill.
The Marshals were ordered to carry out the laws that had been passed to provide revenue for the Town and to close meat markets and business houses on Sunday. A hog law was also passed.
The third Board meeting was held on May 26, 1899, with the Mayor and all Aldermen being present except Alderman J. T. Crain. At this meeting, Marshal Haggard and Turner were appointed to go over the Town and see how much piling it would take to fix all the bridges.
A bill was passed to prohibit obstructing streets and sidewalks and regulate the hitching of horses. The Recorder was ordered to give (Name Withheld) notice to “clean up”. Whereupon, the Board adjourned.
It is interesting to note that the problems confronting the governing body of the Town in 1899 are very similar to the problems confronting the City of Dickson in 1980. Namely, streets, sewers, keeping of one’s personal dwelling place and whether or not stores should be open or closed on Sunday.
Next week, we will find where a telephone company wanted a franchise to build and operate telephone in the Town of Dickson in 1899. Today, we have the cable television people wanting a franchise to operate in the City of Dickson in 1980.
This reminds me of what Eddy Arnold said when he was invited to the White House to sing. He turned to his wife and said; “Honey, this is a long way from Henderson.”
Yes, it’s been a long time since 1899, but basically the problems of municipalities haven’t changed and neither have the people.
Telephones Come and Hogs Are at Large on the Streets
The population of the Town of Dickson in 1900 was 1,363. Those with the best jobs either worked for the railroad company or for the A. H. Leathers Manufacturing Company, which moved to Dickson from Pennsylvania in 1898 (see Appendix 1 for a photograph added by the editor). The factory was first located between College Street and the railroad tracts near the old Dickson Normal College, where the Dickson Junior High School is now located.
The Leathers factory not only gave employment to a number of people, and has since 1898, but also bought millions of dollars worth of timber in manufacturing baseball bats, tool handles for picks, axes, etc. and hardwood flooring. The factory remained at the original location until August 15, 1934, at which time they bought the property belonging to the Dickson Planing Mill Company situated on East Walnut Street where the A. H. Leathers Manufacturing Company is still located.
We are all standing under the shade of trees planted by someone else. Sometimes I think we are so eager in trying to obtain new industry that we fail to give recognition to those who have given employment to our people for almost a hundred years. A. H. Leathers, Sr. founded the factory, and after his death, the business was operated by his children, John B. Leathers, Harry R. Leathers, A. H. Leathers, Jr., Emma Leathers Dews and Fannie Leathers Fussell, all of whom are now deceased, except Emma Leathers Dews. In 1955, Harry R. Leathers, Jr. purchased the entire business.
The railroad was now completed from Nashville to Memphis and as everything coming into Dickson or going out of Dickson had to be shipped by rail, a large majority of our citizens were employed by the railroad. The N. C. and St. L. not only operated the main line, but also the Centerville Branch, which ran to Allen’s Creek. There was also a branch of the L & N which ran from Dickson to Pond Switch, on through Sylvia, Vanleer and Cumberland Furnace to Clarksville.
In last week’s article, we mentioned that a telephone company was talking with the Town officials about obtaining a franchise to put in telephones. On the fifth of May 1899, the Mayor and Board of Aldermen granted the Cumberland Telephone Company the right to construct and operate a telephone system.
Later on you will find that we had two telephone systems, as some of the citizens weren’t too impressed with the rates charged by The Cumberland Telephone Company, and a “Citizens Telephone Company” was formed. So, in homes that had telephones, most of them had two phones, one for local calls and the other one for long distance calls, which were few and far between in those days.
On the seventh day of May, the Board took up the problem of hogs running at large and the sale of same. In the Minutes of May 7, 1899, we find the following:
“J. J. Haggard, Town Marshal, reported on the sale of hogs. The Mayor ordered the Street committee and the Marshal to look after Horner for setting fences on streets. The Mayor ordered the sanitary committee and Marshal to go over the Town at once and force the parties to clean up or have them arrested and taken before the Recorder.”
A committee was appointed “to look after the filling of a well at the park to arrange for hitching racks around said park.” The Mayor ordered the Park committee to “have the fence fixed around said park and to ring the gong for curfew.” Whereupon, the Board adjourned.
In a meeting held on June 21, 1899, the Board ordered the Marshal to hold an election on the 22nd day of July, 1899, for the purpose of issuing twenty-five Thousand ($25,000.00) Dollars in bonds at four (4%) percent interest for the improvement of the Town, the waterworks and electric light plant for said Town of Dickson.
Mr. Boone was appointed to get an option on Cave Spring (now referred to as Tice’s Spring) and Woody Spring and Dr. Ridings and Mr. McMurray were to get an option on Payne Springs. Alderman Turner was appointed to get a surveyor to make a survey for the waterworks. So, it would appear that this was the beginning of trying to obtain funds for a water system and an electric system.
These matters were pursued for sometime and the Town began getting responses from those who might be interested in constructing a water system and a light system.
While we have unusual problems today, such as reckless driving, damaging public and private property, keeping one’s premises in good condition, the Minutes of July 5, 1899, reflect some of the problems which the Town had at that time, wherein the Mayor appointed a committee “to go with the Marshal and to examine the privies throughout the Town and also to employ help to drive up hogs at night.” So, we think we have problems today, but I doubt very seriously if any of our Councilmen or the City Attorney would want to serve on a similar committee.
The Committee was also given instructions to clean up the Courthouse yard. We are hoping to get a picture of the first Judge and Jury to hold Court in the Courthouse. The Courthouse was located where the Memorial Building is now located (see Appendix 1 for a photograph of the courthouse-added by the editor).
The Minutes reflect that at this period in time, the Town officials did not have regular place to meet, but that meetings were held in various offices, or wherever a quorum could get together.
The Committees, which had been appointed to obtain options on springs for a water supply, began making their reports, which in most cases were successful.
The Board passed a resolution on August 1, 1899, to build a jail and a committee was appointed to select a location and to report to the next meeting.
In next week’s article, we find that the Town Marshal, J. J. Haggard, resigned and a new Marshal was elected to his place. Also, all persons owning real estate in the Town were ordered to build sidewalks adjacent to their property.
The Reason for Having Two Courthouses
Heretofore we have mentioned that we hoped to get a picture of the first Jury and Court officials in the new Courthouse in Dickson, which was built in 1899. This picture appears on the front page of the paper. (see Appendix 1)
Now, there are many people who are of the opinion that Dickson was at one time the county seat of Dickson County. This is not true. The reason for building a Courthouse in Dickson was on account of the difficulty in traveling from the Southern part of the County to Charlotte for court.
So, the County Court agreed to build a Courthouse in Dickson and all crimes committed and other litigation occurring in Civil Districts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Twelve and Thirteen would be tried at the Courthouse in Dickson. All other litigation, we might say North of Jones Creek, was to be heard at Charlotte.
Thus, at that time we had two courthouses, but at no time was Dickson ever the county seat. It is my information that during those days when there were no roads in the rural counties that it was not unusual for Court to be held at two places.
As a child, I remember attending a trial in the Courthouse where the defendant was charged with housebreaking and larceny. The Judge adjourned Court at Noon for lunch and instructed everyone to be back in the Courthouse at one o’clock. Of course, I was there and I wanted to hear the remainder of the trial. The Judge called the Court to order, asked the Attorney General if he was ready to proceed, and he was, and so was the Defense Attorney, when it was noticed that the defendant wasn’t present.
The Judge asked, “Where is the defendant?” The Sheriff and Chief of Police were both present for the trial and each one spoke up and said, “Why, I thought you took him to jail” . . . “No, I thought you took him.”
So, the Judge very sternly instructed all of the officers to begin an immediate search for the defendant… some to go to the Cox’s Spring neighborhood and the others to Payne Springs, and anywhere that they thought the defendant might be found.
About this time, a little boy around twelve years of age spoke up, and said, “If I were going to run off and hide somewhere, I would climb to the top of the Courthouse,” referring to the cupola.
Well, someone decided that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to climb up there and see. So, he got some younger fellow who could climb to go up and check, and sure enough, there was the defendant right where the little boy had said he would be. Needless to say, the officers were reprimanded by the Court.
In last week’s article, we told you that the Town Marshal, J. J. Haggard, had resigned and a new Marshal was elected in his place, his name being Jesse Holley, who many of you who read this article will remember.
About the only other business conducted at this meeting was to continue trying to get the citizens to build sidewalks adjacent to their property.
At this time, there were no roads or sidewalks in the Town. Main Street was not paved, and only this past week, a friend of mine, Lee Duke, told of laying planks across the street during muddy weather. Lee’s father, Mr. Albert Duke, operated a gristmill and sold meal to what few merchants there were in Town.
On August 8, 1899, a short meeting, the Board asked for sealed bids to build a jail which would be opened on August 25, 1899.
On August 22, 1899, Marshal Holley reported that several hog pens were in very bad condition. The Marshal was instructed to give notice to owners to clean up their privies and hog pens.
The Board ordered that the old house now occupied by Mrs. Barnes be condemned and torn down as soon as possible. The Board ordered that the alley in the rear of the W. H. Fletcher property near the old Lutheran Church be opened out to the lawful width.
The Committee on Streets and Sidewalks was ordered to wait on E. George in regards to moving his house at the corner of Main and College Streets back from Main Street two feet.
On August 29, 1899, Marshal Holley made his report and turned over money collected to the Recorder. Culverts were reported to be in very bad condition and were ordered fixed at once.
The Committee on Streets and Sidewalks reported that in order to open up an alley at the rear of Market Street, the Town would have to condemn the property before the alley could be opened.
Mr. E. George refused to allow his house moved unless the Corporation would pay for the amount required for sidewalks.
- E. Cullumwas instructed to see if he could buy seventy feet of A. Myatt’slot on Main and Walnut Street for $100.00
The Committee on the jail and workhouse made its report, which resulted in the Pulley Jail Company making the lowest bid, said bid being fifty-four hundred ($5,400.00) dollars. The Board ordered the Committee to accept said bid at once, and have the jail built as soon as possible.
The Board ordered the sidewalk from Main Street to the college on College Street to be six feet wide instead of five feet.
In a meeting held September 12, 1899, Marshal Holley reported that the bridges were being repaired and that the sanitary condition of the Town was very good.
The Board ordered that all reports of officials and committees be made in writing and filed with the Recorder of the Town.
An Ordinance condemning about two feet of E. George’s lot on the corner of Main and College Street, on the South of College and West of Main Street, was passed to take effect from and after its passage.
In a meeting held September 18, 1899, the Board agreed to allow Dr. McCay to build plank walks as provided by the Street Committee.
Marshal Holley reported that E. George would not allow the Marshal to serve notice on him. Marshal Holley’s report was received and placed on file.
Marshal Holley evidently was not too pleased with his duties, or for some other reason, which the Minutes do not reflect, he submitted his resignation on September 18, 1899.
So his term of office as Marshal was from August 1st to September 19, 1899. A new Marshal was elected to his place whose name I will give you next week.
A number of people have asked me about Mr. John Sheeley and Bob Wilson, who served as policemen for a number of years. This is true because it was during my childhood and I remember them quite well, but we just haven’t reached that stage of their terms of office. I expect we will find Mr. Sheeley served longer than any other Marshal did. Bob Wilson, after leaving the police force here went to work for the State as a guard at the penitentiary, and later on we will have an unusual report on an incident which probably saved the Warden’s life and which resulted in the death of two inmates.
Smallpox Vaccinations and Another Marshal Resigns
We closed last week’s article by stating that Marshal J. T. Holley has resigned on September 19, 1899, and a new Marshal was elected to take his place. The Board elected J. H. Hetherington to the position of Day Marshal, but postponed the election of a Night Marshal.
The only other business transacted on the nineteenth was to offer a $10.00 reward for the capture of a prisoner who had escaped.
On September 26, 1899, the Board met in regular session. The minutes state: “In the absence of Recorder Williams, who had gone to the circus, the minutes were not read as the Recorder failed to leave the minutes where they could be found.”
In other action, a committee appointed to appraise the property of Mr. E. George reported, was read and adopted, and the committee was discharged.
The Board abolished the office of Night Marshal, but empowered the Day Marshal to hire a special man when needed. The Day Marshal’s salary was increased $5.00 per month with his hours of duty being from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
During the month of October, 1899, the Board, in addition to routine matters, passed an Ordinance for the erection of the mail, ordered the Marshal to hire help to put in crossings across the street and that the Board advertise for bids on all unfinished sidewalks. The Board also ordered the Marshal to follow the advice of the City Attorney in all matters.
For some reason, the Dickson Bank and Trust Company tendered its resignation as Treasurer, which resignation was accepted, and Mr. W. H. McMurray was elected to fill the unexpired term of Treasurer at a salary of $20.00 per month.
According to our understanding, the Dickson Bank and Trust Company was located where Kelly Dry Cleaners is now located. I believe in the front part of the building there is a tile floor which is now covered over.
There were only two meetings held during the month of November, 1899, the most important business being that of the City Treasurer, Mr. W. H. McMurray, made his report which was received and turned over to the Auditing Committee.
The Board also issued an order on the Treasurer for $400.00, payable to the Dickson Bank and Trust Company in the payment of a note in the $294.00 and $6.00 interest.
On December 5, 1899, the Board was still having trouble with hogs and the minutes state that several amendments to the hog law were passed.
An interesting item in the minutes of December 5, 1899, is that the “Recorder was ordered to make out an account for building sidewalks for the Building and Loan Association and send same for payment.”
This is unusual interest because few of us realize that such a business existed at that time.
The first meeting held in 1900 was on January 2nd, and the Board was still concerned about sidewalks; that is planks or Board sidewalks. The Recorder was instructed to notify all property owners to have sidewalks completed within thirty days. If not, the Corporation would build same and proceed to collect from the property owners.
The health of the citizens was considered at a meeting held on January 9, 1900, wherein it is stated: “The Board ordered the Health Officer, Dr. Ridings, to request the people of Dickson be vaccinated as there seemed to be danger of smallpox getting into the Town.”
During this period, there were two outstanding physicians on the Board. Dr. C. M. Lovell was the Mayor and Dr. E. W. Ridings was a member of the Board.
During the month of February, 1900, the Board held only one meeting at which time they ordered the Marshal to give taxpayers notice that if they didn’t pay their taxes by April 1st, the Board would force collection of the same.
Also, at this meeting the Board was still concerned about the sanitary conditions of the Town as the Marshal was ordered to have “a notice printed notifying all property owners to have same put in sanitary condition and distribute said notice.”
The Board also instructed the Marshal to notify the owner of a building on Main Street occupied by Dickson Drygoods Company to put in a sidewalk.
This article began with the election of J. H. Hetherington as Day Marshal in a called session on September 19, 1899. Evidently the Marshal had a tough job in those days because on March 2, 1900, we find the Mayor calling the Board into a special session for the purpose of electing a Day Marshal to fill out the unexpired term of Marshal Hetherington, who had tendered his resignation.
To the right of this article, you will find a picture of the 1899 Mayor and Board of Aldermen (see Appendix 1) which also includes J. T. Holley, City Marshal; W. B. Williams, Recorder; W. E. Cullum, City Attorney, and John Page, who was an Assistant Marshal.
In next week’s article, we will tell you who the Board elected to succeed Marshal Hetherington as City Marshal and will also give you the exact dates of the first incorporation of the Town of Dickson, how it was incorporated, how and when it was dissolved and the period of time that the Town operated without a charter.
This information was obtained by quite a bit of research in Nashville, but the help of my good friend, Marion Adcock, in finding a copy of the Acts of 1883 in the business which he and his wife operate in Charlotte, known as Old Bank Antiques House, gave us what information we needed, and which we will pass on to you next week.
The Two Dates of Incorporation
We closed last week’s article by telling you that Marshal Hetherington has resigned on February 27, 1900, and that at a meeting on March 2, 1900, a new Marshal was elected and guess who it was? Mr. J. T. Holley came back in the picture again. This would indicate that the office of the City Marshal was a pretty tough job back in those days, but there was always an applicant for the position. We will learn a little later on just how long Mr. Holley, whom some of you remember, served in this capacity.
During my teenage days, Mr. Holley operated a restaurant on Main Street in what was known as the Henslee Building which was located in part of the area now occupied by Fussell’s Men and Boys Shop. The Holley’s had two children, Miss Anna and Jesse, who were about my age. Mr. Holley had the reputation of being able to carve the thinnest piece of ham in making a ham sandwich of anyone in the area. In fact, I heard a man tell him one day, “Why, I can read a newspaper through this slice of ham.” Mr. Holley also operated a restaurant later on where the old City Hall used to be. In fact, I think he built the building and later sold it to the Town.
In my first article, I stated that we were starting with the incorporation of the Town of Dickson in 1899, but that this was not the first time that the Town was incorporated, and that I needed to do some more research on the matter.
In last week’s article, I told you that through the help of my friend, Marion Adcock, who with his wife operates the Old Bank Antiques House in Charlotte, had found a copy of the Acts of Tennessee for the year 1883, which was a great help to me in obtaining the information I needed.
The Act reads as follows:
“ACTS OF TENNESSEE OF 1883 CHAPTER XCII”
A BILL to be entitled An Act to abolish the corporation of the Town of Dickson, on the Northwestern Railroad, in Dickson County, Tennessee, incorporated under the general laws of the State by a decree of the Chancery Court of said county at the December Term, 1873.
Section 1. BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSE, That the corporation of the Town of Dickson, on the Northwestern Railroad, in Dickson County, Tennessee, incorporated under the general laws of the State, by a decree of the Chancery Court of said county at its December Term, 1873, be and the same is hereby abolished.
Passed March 16, 1883
B.F. Alexander, Speaker of the Senate
- L. Ledgerwood, Speaker of the House of Representatives
APPROVED: March 19, 1883.
WM. B. Bate, Governor”
You will notice that the Act refers to the incorporation of the Town of Dickson by the Chancery Court of Dickson County at its December Term in 1873 and asked that the same be abolished.
Through the help of our efficient Clerk and Master, Nancy Miller, who was able to find a copy of the Minutes of the Chancery Court of 1873, and as the book contained the Minutes from 1872 through 1874, and we were unable to furnish the style of the case which created the Town of Dickson, it was quite difficult for her to find the case. I asked my good friend, Chancellor William Leech to go by the Clerk’s office and see if he could find the case we needed. After considerable research, he found the case and a copy of the Decree appearing in the minute Book at page 260 as follows:
“IN THE CHANCERY COURT OF DICKSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE
Henry Tomby, Allison Myatt, E. F. Andrews, J. E. Fussell, M. A. Dodson, B. C. Hawkins,
et als, exparte,
BE IT REMEMBERED that on the 2nd day of December, 1873, this cause came on to be heard before the Honorable Chancellor G. H. Nixon at Charlotte upon the Petition of Henry Tomby, et als, inhabitants of the Town of Dickson on the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad in Dickson County, Tennessee, when it appeared to the Court that on the sixth day of January 1873, said parties filed in the office of the Clerk and Master of the Chancery court at Charlotte a Petition praying that the Town of Dickson in Dickson County, Tennessee, be incorporated and that the inhabitants thereof be constituted a Corporation and body politic under the name and style of the Mayor and Aldermen of the Town of Dickson, and further, that publication was made in the Humphreys County Journal, a newspaper published in the Town of Waverly, according to law, requiring all persons whom it may concern to appear at the June term of the Chancery Court at Charlotte and show why letters of incorporation should not issue as prayed for in the petition.
IT FURTHER APPEARING that at the June Term of the Court no person pled, answered or reposed in any manner, the organization of the aforesaid corporation.
AND FURTHER the Court was pleased to order that W. A. Shaw, A. Myatt, James Sensing, F. Croft and H. E. Pickett be appointed commissioners to lay off and fix the metes and bounds of said Town of Dickson, and further on the 21st day of June, 1873, the said Commissioners filed in the office of the Master a report showing a diagram and plat of the Town of Dickson with the particular boundaries thereof, as follows:
IT FURTHER APPEARS from the return of the Sheriff on file that after giving notice as the law directs, an election was held the tenth day of June, 1873, in the Town of Dickson and that a majority of the qualified voters within the aforesaid designated limits voted for corporation and that the poll list and certificate of the Clerk and Judges of the election be on file in this proceedings.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED BY THE COURT that the inhabitants of the Town of Dickson situated in the County of Dickson be and the same is an organized corporate body politic under the name and style of the Mayor and Aldermen of the Town of Dickson and vested with all of the rights, powers and privileges incident to the corporation under the Code of Tennessee from Section 1358 to Section 1399 inclusive, and the Corporation shall have jurisdiction succession and that a common seal with power to sue and be sued, pleased and be impleaded…and that the corporation formed and organized by this decree shall have the powers that may at any time be extended by general law to the municipal corporations not inconsistent to the Constitution and laws of the United States and the State of Tennessee.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED AND DECREED BY THE COURT that the first election for Mayor and Board of Alderman and Commissioners for said corporated Town shall be the first Saturday in January, 1874, and that the Sheriff of Dickson County or his deputy shall advertise and hold said election as directed by Section 1365 of the Code.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED AND DECREED BY THE COURT that the Petitioners pay the costs of this cause, for which execution will issue at law, and that the Clerk and Master certify a copy of this Decree to the Mayor and Aldermen of the Town of Dickson, they praying for same, and that this cause be retained on the docket.”
Thus, it definitely appears now that the Town of Dickson was first incorporated before Chancellor G. H. Nixon at Charlotte on December 2, 1873.
It also appears that the charter was abolished by the Legislature on March 16, 1883, and from this period on until 1899, the area was not incorporated.
Despite this, Dickson continued to grow. Newspaper accounts, and according to others who have studied the early life of Dickson and Dickson County, describe Dickson as a rough area, and from the minutes of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen during 1899 and 1900, it would appear that law enforcement was quite a problem.
In 1891, the Dickson Normal College was opened on East College Street by W. T. Wade and T. B. Loggins, who had been operating the college at Ruskin. They felt that the railroad transportation now enjoyed by Dickson would help the enrollment of their college, which at this time was about four hundred. Their desire for more students came into being and by 1906, the college had an enrollment of approximately eight hundred students. The students were from other states throughout the area, were male and female, and dormitories were erected on the campus for a limited number of the students.
So, in summing up the creation of the Town of Dickson, we now have it officially from the court records that Dickson was first incorporated on December 2, 1873, the Charter was abolished on March 15, 1883 by the Legislature, but this did not stop the growth of the area as heretofore indicated.
There is very little in detail that we can report on what actually happened during the period from 1873 to 1883 or from 1883 until 1899.
It seems that we have spent a lot of time on the administration of 1899, but we thought this was necessary in order to let you know exactly when the Town was first incorporated, when the Charter was legally abolished and when the citizens decided to incorporate again, which was in 1899.
Next week, we will go into the early 1900’s where we will find that Dickson was beginning to make some progress.
Hitching Racks are Erected and Whiskey is Banned
On April 24, 1900, the Board ordered the City Marshal to call an election for the purpose of electing a Mayor and Board of Alderman for the Town of Dickson. At this time, the Town was not divided into wards and the Board consisted of a Mayor and seven Aldermen instead of eight as we now have.
At the April 24th meeting, other action taken was the passage of a Revenue Bill, the setting of the salaries of the Mayor, Alderman and other City officials the same for 1900 as for 1899, the appointment of a committee to build a fence around the jail lot. Also at this meeting, the Building Committee for the Courthouse turned the building over to the City Council.
On May 8, 1900, an unusual Ordinance was passed which provided for the construction and maintenance of a barbered wire fence along the streets and sidewalks in the Town of Dickson. It is difficult to understand why it was necessary to fence the sidewalks.
The result of the election held on the 15th day of May, 1900, was the re-election of Mr. C. M. Lovell as Mayor. Alderman elected were J. T. Crain, A. L. Boone, W. T. Anderson, C. M. Turner, H. B. Walker, E. W. Ridings and J. F. Brown. W. B. Williams was elected Recorder and Treasurer, J. T. Holley, City Marshal and Dr. E. W. Ridings, Health Officer.
On June 12, 1900, we find the first mention of brick sidewalks, where the Board ordered a four foot wide brick sidewalk built on the South side of the West end of College Street. An unfinished sidewalk on the East end was to be made the same width as the other sidewalk, and the Board ordered that a four foot plank walk be built from the Corporation limits on Railroad Street to Main Street and that all other walks ordered built in 1899 be completed.
The Board also appointed a Committee to select a suitable place for a sufficient amount of hitching racks to be erected for public use. It is interesting to note that while hitching racks were very necessary in those days, today we have parking meters.
At a meeting held June 26, 1900, the Auditing Committee ordered that W. E. Cullum, Attorney, be paid $11.75 for his services as City Attorney for the year ending June 10, 1900.
About six months later, we find that the City Attorney was to be paid $125.00 for services rendered to May 1, 1901, “provided he would carry the present cases and cases that might come up between and May 1, 1901, through the Supreme Court to a settlement as directed by the Board.”
It would appear to the writer that the Attorney had a very difficult job not only in the number of cases that he might be handling, but also it would seem that his fee of $125.00 was continent upon the cases being decided “as directed by the Board”. The Supreme Court does not always agree with municipal Boards or Councils.
On September 19, 1900, the Board took its first forward step in providing a water system for the Town. At this meeting, the Board ordered that an election be held for the purpose of issuing $25,000 in bonds for the erection of a water plant.
Remember, at this time the Town had no water supply system, no electric system, only a few sidewalks, and most of them plank, and no paved streets. But, it now appears that the Board is getting ready to take the first step which would eventually bring a water system into being and which was very necessary in order for the Town to make any progress for a suitable place for the inhabitants to live.
To show the conditions existing at that time, we find in the minutes of October 17, 1900, that the Committee heretofore appointed reported that they could not find any available place to locate a public well or cistern.
As heretofore suggested by the writer, people basically haven’t changed since the beginning of time, nor have their needs changed. Here in 1900 we find our City Fathers looking for water and in 1980 our City Council is doing the same thing – looking for water.
In November, 1900, W. B. Williams, the Recorder and Treasurer, tendered his resignation and Mr. W. R. Boyte, whom many of you remember and who was with the Citizens Bank, was elected to serve out the unexpired term. Alderman J. F. Brown also tendered his resignation on November 21, 1900.
At a meeting held on December 18, 1900, Mr. G. W. Buquo was elected to fill out the unexpired term of Alderman J. F. Brown. Mr. Buquo was the father of Mrs. H. G. Tomlinson of Tomlinson’s Grocery. Mr. Buquo was engaged in the buying and selling of timber.
We now leave 1900 and move to the Minutes of January 15, 1901, where we find the Board allowing Marshal Joe Hetherington to continue to occupy the jail as a residence as he paid two month’s rent.
The Board at this meeting also authorized the Mayor to employ a Night Marshal at a salary of $30.00 per month. The Board empowered the Mayor to appoint a Night Marshal until someone could be elected by the people. Sidewalks were still a problem, and on February 12, 1901, we find that a Petition was presented to the Board from certain property owners on High Street asking that they be ordered to build sidewalks on said street. Evidently there was a difference of opinion among the residents on High Street, some for sidewalks and some against, and those for the sidewalks wanted the Board to order the residents to build sidewalks.
Mayor Lovell reported that he had ordered the Marshal to have sidewalks constructed on the East side of High Street either brick or gravel.
The City Attorney reported that he would be willing to accept the proposal made at the January meeting and his bill of $125.00 was presented to be paid when ordered by the Board.
Again, we find Marshal Holley resigning to be effective March 1, 1901. J. W. Braddus was elected Day Marshal to succeed Mr. Holley.
At this meeting we find an individual entering the picture who was connected with City government for many years thereafter, either as an officer or a member of the Board. Harry Davis, who many of you reading this article will remember, was elected Night Marshal.
Marshal Braddus, who was elected Day Marshal on February 12, 1901, submitted his resignation on April 9, 1901. No reason was given for these many resignations, but evidently the job of being the chief law enforcement officer of the Town was rather hard back in those days.
Again, we find Joe Hetherington coming back into the picture when he is elected Day Marshal to succeed Marshal Braddus.
An interesting item appears in the April 9, 1901, meeting which is of statewide interest, where it is stated that “A motion was passed authorizing the Mayor of the Town to attend a meeting in Nashville for the purpose of deciding whether to join an association being gotten up by municipal corporations of Tennessee and the Town to defray his expenses in attending the meeting. So, this must have been the time of the birth of the present Tennessee Municipal League which is now quite active in looking after the interests of its members in the State Legislature.
On May 20, 1901, the Marshal reported that he had called and held an election on May 14, 1901, which resulted in the election of G. A. Slayden as Mayor; J. T. Lovell, G. W. Dodson, C. A. Myatt, J. D. Petty, H. B. Horner, S. G. Holland and A. B. Williams, Aldermen; D. F. Hudson, Recorder; Harry Davis, Day Marshal and W. T. Rogers, School Director.
On May 21, 1901, all of those elected were sworn in by Squire J. M. Stuart. Committees appointed at the Board meeting by the Mayor were Street, Sanitary, Auditing and Waterworks. Mr. John Johnson was elected City Treasurer, Dr. B. A. Walker, City Health Officer.
Since these articles began, I have had more people speak to me about Mr. John Sheeley and asking if I didn’t know that he was policeman, and he was the Chief of Police and Bob Wilson was the Night Policeman, and many times I was instructed to go home because the curfew had blown.
So, on May 21, 1901, we find the first mention of Mr. Sheeley where he was elected Night Marshal. Thus, began a career of a good officer who rendered many services for the Town during the years to come.
On June 1, 1901, we find the new Mayor and Board of Aldermen reorganizing, and, again, the whiskey questions came up. The minutes show that the two elected H. C. Richardson City Attorney for a period of one year; repealed the whiskey clause of the Revenue Act of June 13, 1899; passed an Ordinance making it a misdemeanor to sell whiskey, wholesale or retail, and providing for fine of not less that $25.00 nor more than $100.00.
A resolution was also passed to pay the Mayor $50.00 a year for his services beginning May 21, 1901; and that each Alderman receive compensation of $25.00 for the year. However, the Recorder was ordered to report at the end of the year the number of Aldermen present for each meeting, the amount due him, as compensation would be deducted from the $25.00.
In next week’s article, we find Professor T. B. Loggins, one of the owners and operators of the Dickson Normal College, appearing before the Board in an effort to sell the brick school building to the Town. Also, we find that an election was called to authorize the issuance of $35,000 in bonds to construct a waterworks and electric system.
Mayor G. A. Slayden, picture below (see Appendix 1), is the father of Imogene Weaver and the grandfather of Hartwell Weaver and George Slayden Weaver.
Was it Called Sneedsville or Smeedsville?
Before we leave the 1800’s, I think we should discuss a little more the question concerning whether the community now known as Dickson was first called Smeedsville or Sneedsville. We will give you the benefit of the information we have been able to obtain or this question and leave it up to you to make your own judgement concerning same.
There seems to be no dispute about the area first being called Mile Post 42. This was because the area was forty-two miles from Nashville and therefore was known as Mile Post 42. This information is obtained from the records compiled from Col. Phil Hooper from the old N & W Railroad and its successors, from A History of Dickson County written by Dr. Robert E. Corlew, wherein he states in a chapter of his book titled “Civil War and Adjustment—1861-1870” and beginning on Page 108, as follows:
“Perhaps the biggest development after the war was the rapid expansion and growth of a railroad stop, Sneedsville, established during the war and named for a railroad engineer named Sneed. General Grant was interested in completing the strip of railroad leading from Nashville to Johnsonville, and by late 1864 the road through the county had been completed. In that year, W. H. Crutcher erected the first building in Sneedsville, now Dickson. Crutcher’s building, erected on what is now Main Street just North of the railroad, was taken over by the federal soldiers, and torn down after they left. Crutcher rebuilt in 1865—a small log store sixteen feet square—and sold general merchandise. By 1866 and 1867 other log houses were built, and by 1870 the village gave promise of surpassing both Charlotte and White Bluff in growth possibilities.”
We also find other writers referring to Sneedsville although it does not appear anywhere that Sneedsville was ever incorporated. Evidently it was handed down by word of mouth from one generation to the other even as some of the Mosaic Laws were. In fact, on a recent tape of conversation with the late Uncle Sam Lamastus, Henry Ragan asked him about Sneedsville, and Uncle Sam, who can well remember part of the sixties and seventies, said that Dickson was called Sneedsville and that it was named for an engineer on the railroad. Thus, we have Uncle Sam corroborating what Col. Phil Hooper found from the records of the N & W Railroad.
Also, as Sneedville was and still is the countyseat of Hancock County, it would seem that there would be sufficient reason to change the name of Dickson if Dickson was first name Sneedsville.
Now, we will give you the information that we have found for those insisting that the community was first called Smeedsville.
Henry Ragan, in his research of Dickson and Dickson County, has brought to me a copy of a decree of the Chancery Court, dated October, 1867, wherein a bill had been filed in the Chancery Court by one William E. Watkins and others against William H. Crutcher and others seeking the foreclosure on certain lands consisting of five hundred and thirty-three acres and purchased by the said Crutcher for $4,169.41, and said land was sold by the Clerk and Master to one Conrad Beringer for the sum of $5,200.00. A plat was made and an exhibit to the bill and the plat refers to the property as Smeedsville, Dickson County, Tennessee. However, it is interesting to note that the foregoing names were printed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by the firm of Singerly and Clein.
In further support of the Smeedsville supporters, I believe one or two individuals have called in to Henry Ragan’s “Old Timers Program” and have pointed out that in certain histories of the area was referred to as Smeedsville.
If the readers of this article could see the minutes of the courts back in those days, which, no doubt, were written with a goose quill and have become quite dim, although the writing as a whole is much better that the writing now, an “n” could easily be taken as an “m” by someone reading the minutes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the historians could have obtained their information about Smeedsville from this decree where the area was sold through the court.
It boils down to this: we have the Court record showing that the area was called “Smeedsville”, which is supported by certain historians, and we have word of mouth statements handed down for the last hundred years that the name was “Sneedsville”.
So, each of you will have to make up your own mind. At this point, I don’t think it makes any great difference.
And now having fully discussed the issue as to whether the Town was first called Sneedsville or Smeedsville, we will go back to the meeting of the Council held on July 6, 1901, when Professor T. B. Loggins appeared before the Board and offered to sell the brick school building of the college, which many of us remember, for the sum of $15,000.00.
The Board voted to let the people vote on the question, but no definite date was called for the election. It might be noted here that the Town did not buy the building.
The writer went to school at the Dickson Normal College as a first grader beginning in 1906, and at that time it was still operated by Wade and Loggins. I remember quite well my first day in school because part of the plaster in the ceiling fell and I wondered if this happened everyday. Fortunately only one was injured.
Other action taken by the Board at its July 6, 1901, meeting included a report from the Sanitary Committee, saying that “everything was in good order”; the Street Committee reported that they were repairing streets and alleys and having pavement laid in South Dickson; a report from the Civil Engineer relative to the Waterworks and Electric System, which the Board was working on and a report from the Marshal showing that he had spent $30.80 on improvements and cleaning up the streets.
In August, 1901, an Ordinance was passed to prevent minors from playing pool. Alderman G. W. Dodson tendered his resignation, which was not accepted, and he agreed to hold office until the next meeting.
In a meeting held August 24, 1901, the Board ordered an election to be held to authorize the issuance of $35,000 of Waterworks and Electric System bonds, and the election was to be held on September 24, 1901.
The result of the election was that 218 voted for the bonds and 41 against same. Thus, the first bond issue of the Town was passed by more than two-third’s of the qualified voters.
At the regular meeting on September 7, 1901, a stock and hog ordinance was passed. Also, an ordinance to prevent houses of ill fame and an ordinance to prevent vagrancy or loitering about saloons was passed.
Only one meeting was held in October of 1902, at which meeting the Mayor appointed a Sinking Fund Committee to look after the bond payments. The committee was composed of W. E. Cullum, a local Attorney; W. H. McMurray and W. R. Boyte, both of whom were local bankers.
In next week’s article, we will find the Mayor and Aldermen continuing their efforts to supply Dickson with water and electricity and also we will find Harry Davis, who was elected City Marshal, had resigned and evidently had carried the jail keys with him because on June 2, 1901, we find that a committee was appointed “to see Marshal Davis and see what became of the jail keys.”
Roaming Livestock and Lemonade Banned From Main Street
In closing last week’s article, we find the Mayor and Board of Aldermen continuing their efforts to supply Dickson with water and electricity; and in an unrelated matter, we find the Mayor, Dr. G. A. Slayden appointing a committee to see Marshal Harry Davis, who had resigned, and see what had become of the keys to the jail. Evidently, the committee was successful in obtaining the keys as we find no further reference to this matter.
On November 2, 1901, the Board elected Pitt Henslee, W. H. McMurray and Ab Myatt to serve as Sinking Fund Commissioners in connection with the $35,000 bond issue which had been approved by the voters for the construction of a waterworks and electric plant.
At this same meeting, we find B. F. Brown applying for a permit to erect a frame blacksmith building on the corner of the crossing of Main and Walnut Streets, the specifications of which were to be submitted to the Mayor and Recorder. This would be the location where Ronnie Hogin’s salvage place is now operating. This building was later to go into a livery stable and also the property immediately North of same, which we will discuss later on.
Livery stables in those days were very necessary as travel from Dickson by salesmen who came into our county to call on stores throughout the county was either by horseback or horse and buggy. At one time, the writer remembers three livery stables being operated at the same time, two of which were on South Main Street and the other one was where Jackson Drug Company is now located.
Very few of you who read this article will remember this livery stable, but you probably can remember that before the new sidewalks were laid on Main Street in Dickson about six years ago, about twelve feet South of the corner of Main and College Streets in front of Jackson Drug Company, there were numerous marks in the concrete pavement running North and South, and you perhaps wondered what these marks or lines in the concrete were for. This was where the driveway came into the livery stable from Main Street, and the lines in the concrete were made in an effort to keep horses entering the livery stable from slipping on the concrete.
It seems that the Mayor and members of the Board were somewhat divided on paying 5% on the authorized $35,000 bond issue, with Aldermen Holland, Petty and Myatt voting for the motion, and Aldermen Lovell, Williams and Dodson voting against same. Therefore, it was necessary for the Mayor to cast his vote, which he did in favor of the engineer. However, at a later meeting in December of 1902, the Board amended this motion by limiting the compensation of the engineer to the bonds actually issued instead of the $35,000.
Other action taken at the November meeting, was the resignation of Alderman H. B. Horner, who was replaced by the election of Mr. W. H. Walker, father of Mary Walker Henshaw, to fill out the unexpired term.
The Night Watchman, John Sheeley’s wages were raised from $30.00 to $40.00 per month. The Council ordered $7.50 paid to Alderman A. B. Williams for his expenses in visiting Paris, Tennessee, to investigate their water and electric plant, and an order was made to have the Courthouse insured for three years for $5,000 at a premium of $100.00.
It is interesting to note that in December of 1901, a permit was necessary to do certain work as we find Joe Hetherington applying for a permit to install a self-supporting awning in front of the bank. So after all, we may not be so modern today as we sometimes think.
The first meeting held in 1902 was on January 3rd, and the only business transacted was that the Mayor and Recorder were instructed to collect all moneys available due the Town and to borrow the balance to pay off the $1,000 jail note together with the accrued interest on same.
Evidently the Board was unable to raise the $1,000 because at the February meeting, we find that they paid the interest only on the note and the company holding the note had agreed to extend the payment of same for a twelve month period upon the payment of interest due. This was accomplished one month later when on March 2, 1902, the minutes show that $120.00 interest had been paid and the note had been extended for a twelve month period.
At this meeting a new name enters the City government when a very prominent citizen and large property owner in years to come in Dickson, Mr. Tom Halbrook, who lived on Center Avenue, was elected Alderman to fill out the unexpired term of G. W. Dodson.
On April 5, 1902, the only business conducted by the Council was to award a contract to Gill Clemmons “to clean up the Town and do the Sanitary work at $1.50 per day under the supervision of the Marshal.”
The Marshal was instructed “to arrest all persons who did not have their backhouse closed up.”
On May 3, 1902, an election was called to be held on May 13, 1902, to elect a Mayor, Aldermen and the other Town officials.
Those elected were W. H. Walker, Mayor, whose picture appears elsewhere in the article (see Appendix 1); J. S. Johnson, J. D. Petty, J. A. Myatt, M. F. Martin, A. H. Leathers, Sr., J. T. Crain and J. T. Holley, Aldermen; T. J. Warren, Recorder. Mr. John Sheeley was elected City Marshal, which position he was to hold for many years. J. M. Hutton was elected School Director.
Evidently the new Board began trying to reduce expense by passing an ordinance abolishing the office of City Attorney and City Health Officer, and to empower the Mayor to employ an Attorney and City Health Officer, and to empower the Mayor to employ an Attorney in any litigation that the City might be involved in. However, the Council had second thoughts about abolishing the office of City Attorney because on June 9, 1902, an ordinance was passed by a vote of four to three to create the office of City Attorney and W. T. Kannard was elected to the position.
Up until this time, the Council had no regular place or time for meetings. At this meeting, a motion was made and passed that the Board meet on the first Monday of each month at 8:00 P.M. in the summer and 7:00 P.M. in the winter and meetings were to be held at the Courthouse. Remember, the Courthouse was located where the Memorial Building now stands.
On June 18, 1902, the newly installed City Attorney, W. T. Kannard, was ordered to investigate all City ordinances and by-laws.
The Council also made it unlawful to serve lemonade or cold water drinks or to have lunch stands on the sidewalks of Main Street. Also, the sale of fish and meats was not permitted from the sidewalks of Main Street.
Evidently the hogs and cattle were still running at large at this time because the Marshal was ordered to arrange for a stock pound and was to see that all Sunday ordinances were enforced.
A Resolution was passed allowing prisoners 40 cents per day for work done while in confinement in the jail, and if used as a trusty, then the prisoner was to be paid 80 cents a day for their work.
The Sanitary Committee was given authority to appoint or employ a Scavenger for thirty days and report his work.
Main Street Buildings Begin to Appear
We closed out last week’s article by stating that a number of inhabitants were concerned over our school system and that a large number appeared before the Board in an effort to see what could be done to establish a school to be under the direction of a Director.
In this week’s article, we find that the Board called a special meeting on August 29, 1902, for the purpose of considering a resolution passed August 28th by a mass meeting to request the Board to levy a 50% tax for the purpose of building a public school house and maintaining same. Later on we will find further action concerning this subject.
On July 7, 1902, Mr. W. M. Dull, who no doubt, was a resident of Dickson, reported to the Board that there were houses of lewdness in the Town and the Marshal was ordered to investigate same and notify the parties and also the owners of the houses. Evidently the property was rental property and the Marshal instructed not only the renter but also the owner of the property.
The Recorder, T. J. Warren, was ordered to collect all back fines and he was to be allowed 50% commission on all fines collected.
The new Board had four other meetings in July of 1902, with the City Attorney being authorized to read the contract for the construction of the jail and report to the Mayor. The question of water supply was still a problem and the location of a well to be drilled was presented to the Board, but the account states that the location did not meet with the approval of the Board and was deferred.
Further action taken in the minutes of July, 1902, was relative to the issuance of $25,000 in waterworks bonds with interest not to exceed five percent.
In August of 1902, the Council held only two meetings, in one of which the City Marshal, John Sheeley, was instructed to build a crossing near Mrs. Hopkins’ property. Professor Wyman, whom some of you remember as I do, a music teacher, reported that some crossing in South Dickson needed repairing.
In September of 1902, the Council held six meetings. On September 1, 1902, the Recorder reported that the City has a balance in the Treasury of $428.89.
Marshal Sheeley was also allowed the rents or proceeds from the jail in addition to his present salary.
The Recorder was instructed to assess taxes against the Western Union Telegraph Company and the Cumberland Telephone Company and to collect a 20-cent privilege tax on each telephone box.
The Recorder was allowed 50 cents per head for impoundment of animals and also instructed to sell said animals unless the parties who owned same came forward and paid costs for feeding and impoundment of same. Still on the subject of animals, an ordinance was passed on first reading making it unlawful for anyone to interfere with impounded animals.
A committee composed of J. A. Myatt, A. H. Leathers and M. F. Martin was instructed to make further investigation of a water supply for the Town, the cost of same and report to the next meeting.
On September 3, 1902, a report was made on the election for the $25,000 bond issue, wherein it is stated 112 votes for the issuance of said bonds and 43 voted against same. The Mayor was instructed to correspond with investment companies in regard to selling said bonds at an interest rate of 4½% to 5%.
An interesting item was considered on September 11, 1902, when a Resolution was passed to order a dump box for the scavenger and also to give the scavenger a contract of 7½ cents per house to be cleaned once a month. Places of business such as hotels and public places to be cleaned once each week.
Well, on second thought, is this problem so unusual? What do we have today? Dumpsters all over the county which pranksters are setting fire and the maintenance of which costs the taxpayers considerably more than 7½ cents per house.
I hope the present Mayor and members of the Council do not read this paragraph where it is stated that W. T. Kannard, City Attorney, was paid $150.00 for his year’s work and travel expenses, if any, and at the end of the year to make such adjustments as the Council saw fit by special appropriation.
Alderman M. F. Martin’s resignation was accepted and S. G. Holland was elected to fill out the unexpired term.
On September 25, 1902, we find an interesting item where Mr. J. R. Baker, who was the father of Mrs. Hallie Baker Robertson and Mrs. Ella Baker Collier, came before the Council for a permit to move a frame building now occupied by W. S. Donegan to the rear of his lot, and that he also be granted a permit to erect a two story brick building on the lot where the frame building now stands. If I am not badly mistaken, this is the building known as the Baker Building now occupied by the Town and Country Shop. It could be that the building has been added to or remodeled since 1902, but I feel sure that this is the same location.
On September 30, 1902, the Mayor reported that he had an offer from F. M. Stafford and Company of Chattanooga for the $25,000 bond issue. The offer reads, as follows:
For the $25,000 thirty year 5% bonds to be issued by the Municipality of Dickson for the construction of waterworks, I will give you in legal money $25,250.00 and will furnish blank bonds free of charge to you; interest payable at First National Bank of Chicago, Illinois. This offer is conditioned upon approval of legality by our attorney, you to furnish all necessary papers to evidence that fact, and deliver bonds at bank designated.” The offer was accepted by the Board.
In October of 1902, we find the Board having three meetings. In the meeting held October 6th, a motion was made by S. G. Holland and seconded by J. T. Holley that the Special Marshal for the railroad be withdrawn. Evidently the Town had been furnishing police protection for the railroad and also for watching the crossing on Main Street.
On October 13, 1902, we find that at least one resident of the Town, Mr. R. Simon, was not in favor of the $25,000 waterworks bonds and he had filed a bill for the purpose of stopping the issuing of same. I am sure some of you remember Mr. Simon. He and his family operated a soft drink bottling company at the far end of South Main Street across the creek from the Donaldson property. I remember as a child going to the plant and getting soft drinks. The City Attorney was instructed to answer the bill filed by Mr. Simon.
On December 1, 1902, the Council discussed the issuance of a new Charter and the Mayor and City Attorney were instructed by the Council to make an investigation for the passing of same by the next Legislature.
On December 12, 1902, a resolution was passed that the Eastern boundary line of the Town of Dickson be extended to take in Dickson Normal College, certain sawmills, the brick kilns, stave factory and the ax handle factory—evidently referring to the A. H. Leathers Manufacturing Company.
On January 5, 1903, we find the Council levying a property tax of 95 cents on each $100.00 worth of real and personal property for the following purposes: 50 cents for jail; 10 cents for sanitation; 10 cents for street and 25 cents for general purposes.
At this meeting, it was also decided that the election of the Mayor and Aldermen be changed to the first Thursday in September. I am wondering how the Council could do this, thereby extending their term of office, unless they had some legislative authority, which they probably did, but no mention is made of same.
On March 2, 1903, we find the Council granting to A. Myatt and others a franchise to build a one story building on Main Street, said building to front twenty feet on Main Street and forty feet running with the alley. Materials to be used in the building were sheet iron for sides, back and roof and front of weatherboarding.
On March 9, 1903, we find the Council still considering an electric light plant. J. N. Hutton presented a proposition to the Council, which reads as follows:
“To Honorable Mayor W. H. Walker and Board of Alderman:
We the Dickson Brick and Manufacturing Company, J. N. Hutton, Secretary, respectfully submit a proposition for the franchise for an electric light plant. We agree to furnish the Town of Dickson arc lights at $4.00 each per month; store houses and offices at 40 cents per month; dwellings at 33 1/3 cents per month. We the said company do further agree to sell said plant and appurtenances to the said Town of Dickson at any time they see fit to put in waterworks at a reasonable price and compensation to said Manufacturing Company, and with such sale said franchise to revert back to the Town of Dickson.”
On May 11, 1903, the Council passed an ordinance for the purpose of issuing $30,000 for waterworks and electric light facilities, the election to be held on June 23, 1903. On July 6, 1903, the Mayor reported the result of the election, which showed 159 votes were cast for the issuance of the bonds and 54 against.
It is interesting to note that in this election the names of all voters were listed and how they voted. So, is the “Sunshine Law” something new? Seems to have existed back in 1903 in Dickson.
On September 7, 1903, the Marshal reported the results of the election held on September 3, 1903, which were as follows: W. H. Walker, Mayor; Aldermen A. H. Leathers, J. S. Johnson, J. D. Petty, J. T. Holley, J. A. Myatt, S. G. Holland, W. T. Turner. A picture of this City Council appears elsewhere in this issue of the Free Press (see Appendix 1). Officers elected were T. J. Warren, Recorder; T. H. Stewart, Treasurer; John Sheeley, Marshal, who was to receive $35.00 per month plus the rent of the jail and allowing a fee for arrest and serving papers on witnesses. W. T. Kannard was named City Attorney.
The Clement Family
Last week I told you that I wanted the privilege of writing a personal article which was prompted by some of my friends who evidently were mistaken about my family background.
My father was James A. Clement, who moved to Dickson in 1903. My mother’s maiden name was Agnes Work (see Appendix 1). She was born and reared in Dickson County near the Hickman County line. In passing over the Piney River bridge on I-40, if you will look immediately to your right, in case you are going west, you will see a house upon the hill, which is now owned by Julian Fielder and is known as the Steve Fielder place. This is where my mother was born in 1866; therefore, you might say she was a child of the Civil War.
She was the daughter of R. J. Work, a Confederate veteran of the Civil War, and Tennessee Melissa Work.
In some way, my mother acquired sufficient education to teach school, and I have heard her tell many times about traveling over the county on horseback, riding on a side saddle, which many of you younger people have never seen going school to school.
In some way, in 1895 she was elected County Superintendent of Public Schools for the entire County and held this position for two years. Insofar as I have been able to learn, she was the first woman to ever serve as County Superintendent of Schools in the State.
In the early 1890’s, she married a Mr. J. A. “Dock” Shipp from Hickman County, to which union one child was born, Dockie Ann Shipp, who many of you remember, but her father never lived to see her as he died only a few months after his marriage to my mother.
Still being anxious to render service, and I would say somewhat politically minded, in 1899, she decided to run for the office of State Librarian, which office was filled by the State Senate. It was necessary to go to Nashville and campaign for the office, which she did in January of 1899. It was at this time that she met my father, J. A. Clement, who was serving as a Senator from Benton County and other counties across the Tennessee River. She elected to choose him to manage her campaign for State Librarian. I will have more to say about this later.
My father was born near Big Sandy in Benton County on August 1, 1853, and, of course, was too young to serve in the army at the time of the Civil War, but was not too young to be a victim of its results. I have heard him say that many times he walked in the snow barefooted and on occasions leaving bloody footprints; that no schools were available and that he attended school only fourteen days in his entire life.
After the Civil War was over and he was old enough to work, he began working at a blacksmith shop in helping to make wagons, which were very necessary in those days. In some way, he managed to study as best he could and finally wound up in the office of the late Governor Tom C. Rye, who was practicing law in Camden, Tennessee. After reading law around the office for a while, Governor Rye, who was not Governor at that time, presented my father to a judge of the Circuit Court, and he was issued a license to practice law. Back in those days, it wasn’t so difficult to obtain a license as it is today.
So, in the course of time, he was elected to the State Senate in 1899, and, as I have heretofore indicated, met my mother and arranged to manage her campaign for the State Librarian.
She waged quite a battle, but she lost in the caucus by only one vote. Of course, this was somewhat of a disappointment.
However, she and my father stayed in touch with each other throughout the year 1899 and were married on December 24, 1899, and the writer was born on November 6, 1900. So, if any of you are wondering about my age, just remember, whatever the year is in November, this is my age.
Now before we leave the campaigning for State Librarian, let me give you the final chapter to same, although it didn’t occur until some three or four years later. I am glad I was not old enough to remember the occasion.
As the story was told to me as a child, one day the close campaign question came up and my mother was lamenting over the fact she lost by only one vote. There being two candidates, if one of the Senators who voted for the other candidate had voted for her, it would have made a difference of two votes—that is, one less vote for the winning candidate and one more vote for the losing candidate.
Now comes the bombshell! My father confessed to her that although he was managing her campaign, he had fallen in love with her and he figured that if she were elected to the office of State Librarian that he would never have a chance of marrying her, therefore, he voted against her.
Now I never was told for sure the results of his confession, but I got the impression that it was not so well taken.
After my parents married, they moved to Camden where they lived until 1903, at which time, my father bought the place at 500 West Walnut Street from one J. R. Spicer, who evidently had just built the house as this date appears in the front eave of the house.
Now, I don’t know how far back a person can remember. In 1903, it was in the later part of the year, I would have been close to three years of age, but I have a clear recollection of our moving into the house. The door being locked, my father put me in the window to open the door. I either remember this or I was told so many times about it that it became imprinted on my mind to such an extent that I think I can remember it.
My father had been previously married to Sarah Frances Stockdale, to which union eight children were born. She evidently died about 1895. At the time of his marriage to my mother only three of these children moved here with us. Among them were W. A. “Billy” Clement, who formed the Clemore Pharmacy with Dr. Claude Sizemore by using the first part of the Clement name, “Cle” and the last part of the Sizemore name “more”, which many of you fondly remember being located where the Volume One Book Store is now located. The other two children were Newt Clement, who later married and moved to Pegram, and a sister, Chloe Clement, who later married and moved back to Benton County.
Of course, my mother’s child, Dockie, lived with us for many years; in fact, until she received part of her college education.
My father and mother had three other children in addition to me; two brothers, Archie, who became a lawyer and moved to Tarpon Springs, Florida, and Malcolm, a druggist and insurance agent, who lived in McEwen and Dickson, and, of course, my sister, Ida, who married Carl Nicks and is still living. In fact, she and I are the only two of the immediate family who are still living.
In 1912, my father decided to run to the Sate Senate from Dickson County, where he would represent not only Dickson but Humphreys, Houston and Stewart Counties. He was elected and my mother, still being politically minded, decided that she wanted me, then twelve years of age, to be named Page of the Senate. Again, in those days, even the Pages of the Senate were elected by Senators and not appointed as they are now.
She evidently knew how to campaign because she took me to Memphis and introduced me to Senator Hubert Fisher, who represented Shelby County, and later became Congressman, and asked him to vote for me for Page of the Senate. I can hear him now saying, “Why, Mrs. Clement, of course, I will. You have taken the time and trouble to come all the way to Memphis to solicit my vote and I promise you that I will vote for your son for Page.”
She also took me to the office of Senator Hill McAlister in Nashville, who later was to become Governor of the state, and asked him for his support, and he graciously promised the same.
In 1913, Mr. Crump was in full power and we had a Republican Governor, the late Ben W. Hooper, whose son now serves in the Senate. Mr. Crump and Governor Hooper in some way were working together that year and part of the plan was that all officers of the Senate, including the Pages, were to be Republicans. This brought on quite a problem for me because Senators Fisher and McAlister were pledged to go along with the Republicans. However, when it came to the election of the Pages both of them stated that they had promised my mother that they would vote for me, which they did, and I was elected.
Now to the tragic part of the story. At that time, the Legislature convened, as I recall, on January 20, 1913, at which time I was elected. My mother was stricken suddenly ill a few days before and never had the pleasure of seeing me installed as Page in the State Senate. She died on February 6, 1913, and the railroad ran a special train bringing the members of the Legislature to her funeral, which was held at the old Water Street Methodist Church located at Water and Herman Streets near the old overhead bridge.
At that time, a Page of the Senate made Four ($4.00) Dollars per day, the same that the Senators made, which was mighty big pay for a boy twelve years of age. Serving as Page for two years caused me to lose some time from school, which I made up, and was able to graduate from the Oakmont City School in Dickson in 1917.
On August 10, 1919, I was fortunate enough to marry the former Maybelle Goade, my sweet wife, and we had three children, Frank Goad Clement, who was to serve as Governor of the State of Tennessee for ten years and passed away in 1969; Senator Anna Belle Clement O’Brien, who lives in Crossville, Tennessee, and our other daughter, Emma Gene Clement Peery, who lives in Dickson.
We now have nine grandchildren, Robert N. Clement, Frank G. Clement Jr. and James Gary Clement, the children of Frank Goad Clement; and B. Y. Peery, II, Ann Peery Whitis, Don C. Peery, Sara Gene Peery Pair, Robert Clement Peery and Betty Belle Peery, the children of our daughter, Emma Gene. We also have three great grandsons, David Warren Whitis and Robert Wesley Whitis, the children of our granddaughter, Ann Peery Whitis, and Bruce Young Peery, III, the son of our grandson, Don C. Peery.
During our almost sixty-one years, come August 10, 1980, of married life, we have had mountaintop experience, but have also crossed the valleys. We have much to be thankful for.
I hope that I have not bored you with this lengthy discussion of my personal life.
Child Abuse Prohibited and Stone Crossings for Main Street
In last week’s article you allowed me the privilege of giving you something about my personal life and about my family in order to clear up the idea of some who were of the opinion that my stepmother, who was Miss Florence Kellam and for whom I had great respect, was my mother. I hope that you weren’t too bored with the information in this article, and we will now get back to the actions of the City Council beginning in October of 1903.
In a meeting on October 5, 1903, the City officials who had been elected in the September election, W. H. Walker, Mayor; Alderman A. H. Leathers, J. S. Johnson, J. D. Petty, J. T. Holley, J. A. Myatt, S. G. Holland and W. T. Turner were given the oath of office. Officers elected were T. J. Warren, Recorder; T. H. Stewart, City Treasurer, and John Sheeley, City Marshal. W. T. Kannard was named City Attorney.
On October 6, 1903, T. H. Stewart resigned as City Treasurer and J. S. Johnson was named to succeed him.
On November 2, 1903, the City Attorney’s salary was approved at $200.00 per month. Marshal Sheeley reported he had paid out for street work for the month of October $47.75 and had collected taxes in the amount of $233.34. The Marshal was instructed to notify Mr. Claude Sizemore to build a sidewalk with cinders or gravel on his lot near Railroad Street.
The widening of Broad Street requested in a prior meeting was approved.
For the first time the Council gave some attention to the cemetery. On December 7, 1903, the Mayor was instructed to “purchase suitable materials to push work on the cemetery as he thought best.”
On December 16, 1903, the Mayor called a meeting for the purpose of accepting the resignation of Marshal Sheeley and for the filing of an answer in the lawsuit filed by Mr. R. Simon brought against the Town to enjoin them from issuing the waterworks bonds. I might mention here that this suit was finally resolved in 1904 by Mr. Simon agreeing to withdraw the suit provided the Town would pay Court costs in the amount of $27.05.
Marshal Sheeley gave as his reason for resigning that “he could better himself by getting a better paying job.” Well, it didn’t take the Council long to learn that Mr. Sheeley was worth more money, and on January 4, 1904, a Resolution was passed to pay Mr. Sheeley Fifty ($50.00) Dollars per month and the rent from the jail. Whereupon, Mr. Sheeley was “declared the Marshal duly and constitutionally elected.” And, I might add here that he served the Town well for many, many years, I remember him quite well.
On February 1, 1904, at the regular meeting, T. J. Warren resigned as City Recorder and J. H. Adams was elected to fill out the unexpired term.
The City funds were getting quite low because we find the Treasurer making the report on February 7, 1904, that he had on hand only $24.05.]
On March 7, 1904, an Ordinance was presented to the Council asking for a bond issue of $15,000, 5% bonds, to be repaid over a period of twenty years against same.
At this meeting an Ordinance was passed making it a misdemeanor to play ball on any street or alley in the Town of Dickson and providing for a fine of not less that $1.00 nor more that $10.00 for each offense.
On April 4, 1904, the Council passed a Resolution “to pay for a coffin for a gentleman who had died and was without means or relatives to bear the expense.”
On April 14, 1904, an Ordinance was passed to prohibit the sale of liquor in the Town of Dickson and which was unanimously passed, with the stipulation that no more than $15.00 be spent in the prosecution of any case.
You know, we hear a lot from the news media these days about the abuse of children. Well, it seems that our forefathers were quite mindful of this because on May 2, 1904, we find that the Council passed an Ordinance making it unlawful for anyone to overly beat or abuse children and imposing a find of not less that $10.00 nor more that $500.00 for each offense.
As an attorney, I am afraid they were a little off base on the $500.00 maximum even though it may have been justified because the Council insofar as I know had no right to levy a fine of more than $50.00 without a jury trial. However, I agree that it was a step in the right direction.
And, who says that we didn’t celebrate the Fourth of July and other public days back in the early part of the century? On June 6, 1904, we find Captain Lee Myatt coming before the Board and asking for an appropriation of $25.00 to hire a band for the Fourth of July celebration, which was granted.
Well, it seems that we still didn’t have any sidewalks in the early part of the century because on July 5, 1904, we find that a motion was made and carried that two stone crossings, three and one-half feet wide, be laid across Main Street half way between the crossing at Ab Myatt’s store and the one laid at the South side of the College Street crossing, therefore, it would seem that there would be only two crossings to walk across Main Street without getting in the mud from the Ab Myatt store to College Street.
On August 4, 1904, Professor Loggins came before the Council and asked to be relieved of his taxes for 1902-1903, amounting to about $33.00, as compensation for the use of his building for public school purposes, which request was granted.
It is interesting to note that although the Council had agreed to meeting in the Courthouse, for some reason they elected to meet elsewhere because practically all of the meetings held during Mayor Walker’s administration were held at his grocery store. This is understandable and certainly they had a right to meet wherever they wanted to.
We find that at a regular meeting on September 4, 1904, an Ordinance was passed levying tax on real property as follows: 75 cents for general purposes, 10 cents for streets and 15 cents for sanitation. The poll tax was set at $1.00 to be used for improvement of the streets in the Town.
In a meeting held October 5, 1904, the Marshal reported the results of the election held on September 1, 1904, at which time W. T. Turner, a railroad man, was elected Mayor. S. G. Holland, A. H. Leathers, Williams L. Roth, Dan Joslin, J. S. Johnson, J. H. Christian and Frank Hopkins were elected Aldermen. Officers elected at that time were T. H. Stewart, Recorder; John Sheeley, Marshal; J. S. Johnson, City Treasurer. The election of a City Attorney was deferred to a later meeting.
On November 7, 1904, Mr. W. E. Cullum, a local attorney, was granted a permit to build a warehouse on the corner of College Street and Shawl Alley. This evidently would have been a part of the lot where the Dickson Furniture Store is now located because Shawl Alley was immediately west of there.
Mr. J. F. Brown was granted a permit to build a livery stable on the corner of Walnut and Main Street. Later another livery stable was built just north of same and was operated for some time by Halliburton and Lane and later by Mr. Joe L. Parrish, the father of Joe Lee Parrish. Livery stables were very necessary in those days, just as much as taxicabs and buses are now.
On January 2, 1905, we find that Aldermen Frank Hopkins and W. L. Roth and the Mayor were allowed $15.00 for detective work. Well, I can’t help but wonder what kind of work it was. I have always been accused of being somewhat of a detective and maybe I have overlooked some fees I might have collected. There is no further explanation of it, and I am sure it was in order.
As you recall, at the meeting on October 3, 1904, the election of a City Attorney was deferred. In February of 1905, we find where Mr. Kannard tendered his resignation as City Attorney from October of 1904.
It is interesting to note that my father, J. A. Clement, on February 13, 1905, offered to act as City Attorney for a stipulated fee, but the offer was rejected. However, the Council granted the Mayor authority to employ a City Attorney whenever he thought one was needed.
In March of 1905, the Council was still interested in an electric system and they authorized the issuance of bonds in the amount of $6,000 pursuant to a vote of the people, who voted 106 for the bonds to 72 against.
On the 27th day of March, 1905, the school question was still before the Council and certain patrons of the school came before the Council asking them to appropriate $375.00 for the purpose of extending the public school at the Dickson Normal College for two and one-half months. The motion passed unanimously.
On April 24, 1905, Mr. F. M. Stafford of Chattanooga came before the Council and proposed to handle the $6,000 bond issue for the electric light plant, which offer was accepted.
On May 1, 1905, the Mayor announced that he was returning the Ordinance which created a sinking fund without his signature because the 15 cents on each $100.00 taxable property would not be sufficient to retire the indebtedness on the electric plant bond issue.
On June 5, 1905, Mr. W. W. Gamble of Braid Electric Company addressed the Council stating that his firm proposed to install one engine generator and all parts incidental thereto, transformers, 35 poles, one-half mile of double primary circuit and the labor for construction for the price of $6,000 as per contract dated May 31, 1905, which offer was unanimously accepted.
On June 26, 1905, Mr. A. G. Rickert submitted a proposal to furnish water and a site for the electric light plant. No action was taken on the proposal.
At the same meeting, Mr. Will Cox offered to lease to the Town a well for a term of twenty-five years on a written offer, which reads, as follows:
A Proposal for Water Supply
To the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the Town of Dickson, Tennessee:
I propose and agree to give the Town of Dickson a franchise privilege for a water supply from my well known as the Cox Well located on my home place on West Chestnut Street where I now reside for a period of twenty-five years for the stipulated sum of fifteen ($15.00) Dollars per year, payable yearly, for a sufficient amount of water.
Should said well or stream contain and furnish a sufficient amount of water necessary to supply the boilers of the electric light plant for the Town of Dickson now being installed by the said Town and beginning with the date of installation, it is agreed that the Town has or may have the privilege of installing pumps and pipes in said well, or sink such size wells as may be necessary to install the pump and pipes for pumping said water supply for the operation of the Electric Light Plant; also pipes to and from said well and plant.
It is further agreed that should the said well or stream not supply a sufficient amount of water for the operation of the boiler plant that the Town is in no way obligated to pay for the said water supply. It is further agreed that I reserve the right and privilege to have free access to said well or wells in securing water for my family use. It is further agreed that should said well or stream contain a sufficient amount of water to supply the said Town of Dickson with water for waterworks system and should the said Town at any time install a waterworks system and desire to get their water supply from said well, it is agreed that they are hereby granted the privilege of so doing for a period of twenty-five years for the additional sum of Ten ($10.00) Dollars per year, payable yearly, and also the privilege of installing such size wells and pumps, pipes in and to and from said plant.
/s/ Will Cox
The proposal was discussed at length and on motion of Dan Joslin, seconded by F. S. Hopkins, it was unanimously decided to accept Mr. Cox’s offer.
At this same meeting, Mr. Cox offered to the Town a lot on Chestnut Street for the location of an electric light plant for the sum of One Hundred ($100.00) Dollars, which offer was also unanimously accepted.
Someone has said that every journey begins with a single step. It has always been said that we are standing under the shade of trees planted by someone else. In reading the action taken by our forefathers around the turn of the century, in doing their best to get an electric system and a water system started, without any pay whatsoever for their services, certainly, we can say that our forefathers are due much credit for the present condition of our Town today.
An Electric System and Water System for Dickson
In last week’s article, we found the Council beginning to install an electric light system and a water system. They had purchased a lot from Mr. Will Cox where the old electric plant was located and part of the water supply system is now located. Thus, began the two most necessary services for the growth of a Town. This was in 1905.
We have now reached the period of July, 1905, during which month a very prominent doctor, E. W. Ridings, who had been on the Town Council, had acted as Health Officer for the Town of Dickson, and took an active part in re-establishing the Town in 1899, was shot and killed on Main Street near Tomlinson’s Grocery. His death brought much sadness to the community. As a child five years of age, I can remember my mother sitting on the front porch of our home and crying over his death. He had just recently built one of the first brick homes in Dickson, where the Dickson Funeral Home is now located. His wife and daughter lived in the house for many years and I can remember in walking to school from my home in West Dickson to Dickson Normal College passing the house, thinking how pretty it was and thinking about the death of Dr. Ridings. A picture of Dr. Ridings appears elsewhere in this issue (see Appendix 1).
Now I am not superstitious, or at least I don’t think I am, but insofar as I can recall since 1905, there have been three murders committed on Main Street in the City of Dickson. The first one, of course, was Dr. Ridings which was committed near Tomlinson’s Grocery; the second in front of Arnold’s; the third in front of the First National Bank, all on the West side of Main Street and within two hundred feet of each other.
As I stated, I am not superstitious, but my office is located on the East side of Main Street at 137-1/2, and for the information of some who may think otherwise, I’m still practicing law, and, in fact, I try to be in the office by 8:00 o’clock each morning. I’m very grateful for the fact that I am able to do so.
On August 15, 1905, we find Ordinance regulating and fixing the price of electric lights for the Town at a minimum charge of $1.00 per month, the charge being computed on the number of lamps actually in use by each customer.
On October 2, 1905, the results of an election held September 7, 1905, were announced, which were: Mr. W. T. Turner was elected Mayor; Aldermen elected were Dan Joslin, F. S. Hopkins, Williams L. Roth, J. S. Johnson, J. H. Christian, J. A. Myatt and C. A. Myatt.
The Council then elected John Sheeley as Marshal; J. H. Adams, Recorder and J. S. Johnson, Treasurer.
Committees appointed were Sanitary Committee composed of C. A. Myatt, F. S. Hopkins, Williams Roth; Street Committee composed of Dan Joslin, J. A. Myatt and J. H. Christian; Finance Committee composed of J. A. Myatt, Dan Joslin and J. H. Christian.
So, you think we have problems today about parking meters – some want them, some don’t – first we put them in, then we take them out, and all of us cannot agree on whether parking meters are an advantage or disadvantage to the Town. Well, if you think we have problems about parking meters, listen to this.
At the meeting in October of 1905, Mr. T. L. Myatt called the attention of the Council to a complaint made by the people in the county due to the fact that there were no facilities in the Town for hitching their stock while in Town transacting business and asking the Town to furnish same. After some discussion, the Marshal was instructed to “have a chain and posts put up around the courthouse and other conveniences would be looked after later.”
So you see, our problems now are the same as in 1905. Where do we park our transportation?
The Council was getting around to assessing and collecting a considerable amount of taxes. On November 6, 1905, which incidentally was exactly seventy-four years ago from my birthday, we find the following:
“The Recorder reported that the tax books and taxes for 1905 were complete and reflected total assessed value of real, personal and all other taxes on property within the Corporate Limits to be $347,578.70, resulting in taxes due of $5,228.27, to be appropriated as follows: Jail Fund $2,606.82; Street Fund $347.57; Sanitary Fund $521.36; Poll Tax $542.00 and Electric Light Fund $1,210.52.
Due to the death of Alderman J. H. Christian, J. S. Sugg was elected to fill out the unexpired term.
The Council decided to let the Anderson Hardware Company order coal to be used in firing the boiler at the light plant until bids could be received from several coal companies and the Recorder was directed to correspond with several coal companies to obtain the best bid on a permanent basis. Further mention will be made about these bids, which will be quite astonishing.
On November 13, 1905, we find that the Sinking Fund Commissioners needed $180.00 to meet the payment of interest due on the $5,000.00 bond issue, and a motion was made and carried that the Treasurer, J. S. Johnson, advance said funds from the General Fund, to be repaid to the Treasurer from the first funds collected from the Sinking Fund tax.
After the fire of 1905, which will be discussed later on, we find residents applying for permits to build or re-build buildings. On December 4, 1905, W. E. Cullum appeared before the Council and requested a permit to build a house on College Street north of Main Street to be built entirely of brick and iron, with iron shutters on all openings with the exception of the front, which permit was granted.
John R. Baker then requested a permit to build a house on the Holley Restaurant lot which recently burned, the new building to be about 17 x 30 feet, and to be built of wood covered with iron, which permit was granted.
The residents of Murrell Street petitioned the Council to open up an alley from Mechanic Street to Charlotte Road, which petition was referred to the Street Committee for further study.
It seems that the Town still needed money and it was evidently quite difficult to borrow same as it was necessary for the Mayor to appoint two members of the Council to apply to both banks for a loan of $300.00 from each. Alderman Dan Joslin was to approach the Dickson Bank and Trust Company and Alderman J. A. Myatt the First National Bank.
So, you think we are somewhat strict and modern today in requiring permits for buildings within the City. On December 12, 1905, a Committee was appointed to look after the granting of permits in accordance with an Ordinance heretofore passed governing construction of buildings within the Fire Zone of the Town. No doubt this was prompted by the disastrous fire of 1905.
The 1905 fire was still on the minds of the citizens of Dickson. We find that on January 15, 1906, Mr. W. H. Walker appeared before the Council to put the Town on notice that a Mr. Schmittou had purchased a house and was intending to move it adjoining his property, said property being in the Fire District of the Town, and the building to be moved in the area not being in conformity with the fire laws of the Town. Mr. Walker felt that should this move be permitted and a subsequent fire should cause damage to his property, then Mr. Schmittou and the Town would be liable for any damage done to his property within the Fire Zone.
As you recall, in the first part of this article the Recorder was directed to correspond with certain coal companies to obtain the best bid for coal in the operation of the electric light plant, and, of course, for any other department the Town might need coal for. Well, I am sure this will be a surprise to most of you; it certainly was to me. On February 5, 1906, the Recorder reported that he had received a bid from the Sewanee Coal, Coke and Land Company to furnish coal to the Town for a period of one year at the rate of $1.00 per ton, provided the Town would purchase three or four carloads per month. However, on February 12, 1906, the Town did enter into a contract with the company for $1.00 per ton, with the only provision being that the Town would only purchase the amount required for its needs. So you see, our City Fathers were still looking after our business. Don’t you wish you had some of this coal today?
On May 7, 1906, we find an interesting Ordinance which provides that all persons operating a one horse wagon for profit shall pay a privilege tax of $6.00 per year, or if using two horses a privilege tax of $10.00 per year. So you see, transportation was important then just as the trucks and railroads are today.
On July 7, 1906, the Town had reached the point where they felt that they were able to light our streets to a certain extent, and we find that contract forms from the Westinghouse Electric Company were considered whereby the Company would furnish the Town four hundred globes within twelve months with the Company guaranteeing to replace all globes not burning 590 hours.
I can well remember one of these street lights at the intersection of West Walnut Street and Bryant Avenue, which was near where I was reared at 500 West Walnut Street, and an employee of the Electric Department would come out late in the evening and lower the lamp and light it, and the next morning, he would come back and turn it off. Quite a difference from today.
On August 6, 1906, the Town ordered a Municipal Election to be held on the sixth day of September, 1906, the results of which will be shown later.
We still needed street crossings because we find on October 1, 1906, Mr. A. L. Scott requesting a crossing to be laid across Main Street near the post office. After discussion, the Council approved the crossing as Dr. W. W. Walker had offered to pay half the expense if it would be put down at this point near his building. The post office must have been at that time in the most Northern part of what is now the building where Fussell’s, Inc. operates adjacent to the alley, this being the location where Neeley’s Dress Shop operated for some time.
On October 1, 1906, the results of the election held on September 6, 1906, were announced whereby W. T. Turner was re-elected Mayor. Aldermen elected were J. A. Myatt, J. S. Johnson, Dan Joslin, W. A. Barnett, W. H. Lowery, John Hooper and John T. Crain.
The Council then elected Mr. John Sheeley the City Marshal; Thomas C. Stewart, Recorder; and W. H. Walker, Treasurer.
At a meeting held December 3, 1906, the death of Mr. Stewart was appropriately spread on the minutes and a copy of same being sent to his family.
In next week’s article, you will find that our forefathers were still doing their best to make Dickson a better Town and a better place to live. We find a meat inspector being named and also ordering that concrete sidewalks be built on both sides of Main Street from Railroad Street to College Street.
Concrete Sidewalks and a Cigar Factory
Last week’s article brought us to January of 1907 and we told you that our forefathers were still doing their best to make Dickson a better place to live. The meetings of the Council during the months of January, February and March of 1907 were routine, but on April 1, 1907, we find that the Council ordered concrete sidewalks to be built on both sides of Main Street from Railroad Street to College Street. Also, B. A. Clifton was elected Meat Inspector for the Town.
Lest we forget and in order to satisfy some of those who doubt that a livery stable ever existed at Main and College where the Jackson Drug Company is now located, elsewhere in this issue you will find a picture (see Appendix 1), which, upon close examination, you can see part of the door to the livery stable which burned in 1905. I remember seeing either six or eight dead horses lying near the sidewalk on College Street. I have been trying to get a picture of the business area immediately after the fire, but thus far I have been unable to find one. In the picture which you will find in this issue, the driver of the team has been identified by some as K. W. Brown, whom many of us remember.
The building just north of the livery stable across College Street is the old Mays House, or Hotel, as it existed at that time. About 1910 the present building was constructed by Mr. Tyne Choate.
On June 3, 1907, we find that the Board was still pursuing its sidewalk program. A brick sidewalk four feet wide was ordered to be laid from Charlotte Street to McKenzie Street, and I will remember walking on this sidewalk when I was a child. Another sidewalk that I remember about this time was a Board sidewalk just north of the trestle which ran from Charlotte Street to the Myatt Drug Company property.
Many of you who read this article will remember that when we speak of the trestle, we mean that part of the railroad near Charlotte Street where we go through the present underpass, which at that time was nothing but posts. Later on the company saw fit to bring in rock and fill the area in as it exists today. After this was done, the plank sidewalk along the north side of the railroad was eliminated.
On August 5, 1907, the Mayor was ordered to call an election on the first Thursday in September to elect a Mayor and seven aldermen for the Town.
An Ordinance entitled, “ An Ordinance to Order an Election for the Issuance of $25,000 in Bonds to be Used to Provide Water Facilities for the Town of Dickson and Provide for the Expense of said Election” was adopted.
Also, at the August meeting the Treasurer presented the fifth and final jail certificate for cancellation. Thus, the jail which had been built by the Town in August of 1899 was finally paid for eight years later.
At a meeting held October 7, 1907, the results of the election held in September were announced and the following officials were given the oath of office: Mr. W. T. Turner, Mayor; Aldermen W. H. Lowry, Dan Joslin, J. T. Crain, J. A. Myatt, J. W. Hooper, J. S. Johnson and W. A. Barnett.
The Board elected Mr. J. M. Talley, Recorder; Mr. John Sheeley, Marshal; Mr. W. H. Walker, Treasurer.
At a meeting held on November 4, 1907, improvements on the powerhouse of the electric plant were approved. A proposition was discussed to gravel Main Street from Brown’s Livery Stable up to Murrell Street, but no definite action taken.
On December 2, 1907, the Mayor was empowered to employ an attorney to look after the interest of the corporation in the Circuit Court at Dickson.
My good friend, Henry Ragan, has a lot of you trying to identify all of the persons appearing in a recently published picture who worked for the cigar factory about fifty years ago. He has given you a most impossible task, or at least it seems so to me, and I think that we should make him give the $50.00 which he is offering to the person who can identify the largest number of the individuals. I think that he will do this, although he might want you to take some of it out in trade. In fact, I am going to speak with him about it.
I have done a little research on the cigar factory, and I find that it was built by Mr. J. Max Cowan in 1924. The painting was done by Charlite Bragg and the plumbing by Mr. Frank Hopkins. The building was financed by the Dickson Development Company which consisted of a number of local citizens.
The date of the lease was December 15, 1924, and was signed by Mr. H. T. Cowan for the Dickson Development Company and by Mr. N. Weiss, President, for the American Cigar Company.
A Mr. Hirsh was the first Production Manager, according to Mr. Henshaw, and he was succeeded by a Mr. Peter Them, who lived in the Collins House on Church Street. I understand that the Them’s had several teenage children who were quite popular in the community, and I am sure a number of our local people remember them.
The building was leased to the American Cigar Company for a period of ten years at a rental of $1,900.00 a year, but the Development Company was to furnish the cigar company water and lights and to relieve the tenant of any payment of City taxes.
However, due to automation, the plant was closed in May of 1930, according to my informant Mr. Henry Henshaw.
Beginners were paid $1.00 per day, but after six weeks, they were put on piece work and some made as high as $25.00 per week. Peak employment reached about two hundred fifty.
Mr. Henshaw was offered a job with the company provided he would move to New Jersey, but he said that he liked Dickson and decided to stay here.
The cigar factory building, later occupied by the shirt factory, was one of the first buildings constructed by the citizens of Dickson or any local agency such as the Dickson Development Company. At that time, the citizens of Tennessee did not have the power to lend their credit to any company or organization, and it was not until 1951 that what is known as the Revenue Bond Act was passed, which authorized municipalities to issue what is known as revenue bonds. That is, using the name of municipality thus making the bonds tax exempt, but the credit of the City was not pledged. In other words, the rentals from the buildings would pay the bonds and the interest thereon.
The plan has proved quite successful and many factories have been built throughout the state bringing industry to Tennessee from states that did not have such a plan. I believe in our county we have at least six buildings that were built under the Revenue Bond plan.
Our original plan in writing these articles was to do so in a chronological order insofar as possible, and we have now come to the year 1908. The population of Dickson in 1900 was 1,363 and in 1910 was 1,850. So, for the year 1908, I think we can reasonably assume that the population was around 1,500.
There had been considerable building since the fire of 1905. Some of the businesses operating on the west side of South Main Street about 1908 and years following included the W. A. Chambers Wholesale House, which was located where the Nicks Hardware is now located, and was operated by Mr. Lige Daniel, whom many of you remember.
As I recall, there was a grocery store immediately south of the wholesale house operated by Mr. Zollie Springer. I believe Mr. Melvin Harris was in the store with Mr. Springer for a short time. One of the reasons that I remember this so well is during the summer months I worked for them delivering meat and groceries for 25 cents a day, and I am not sure that I was worth that much. Now, in delivering I do not mean driving a car or riding a horse; I mean “walking”. I can recall walking five blocks to deliver a ten cent package of meat. Later on Mr. Springer moved across the street.
The next building just south of Mr. Springer was occupied by the Columbia Produce Company with the W. L. Jones Grocery just south of them.
Later on the grocery store was operated by the W. H. Walker Family and Mr. and Mrs. Henry Henshaw are still operating the business in another building constructed by them on a lot next to their residence.
Other businesses on the west side of South Main Street at that time included a blacksmith shop operated by Mr. Mathis, the father of Rufus and Bill Mathis. Then the two livery stables heretofore mentioned just south of the blacksmith shop.
Included among the buildings on the east side of South Main Street at that time were the Courthouse; the Frank Brown residence on the northeast corner of Main and Walnut Street; a restaurant; a monument company, and a Mr. Fielder who sharpened all kinds of tools. Later on certain brick building immediately North of these structures were constructed by Mr. Tom Halbrook and others.
If anyone reading this article has a picture of the Town immediately after the fire of 1905, I would appreciate seeing it in order that we may further explore the exact number of buildings that burned (see Appendix 1 for photograph added by the editor).
Robella is Remembered and Cowbells are Regulated
Last week’s article brought us to January of 1908 and we learned that our forefathers were making progress with the water and electric systems and had begun to build concrete sidewalks in certain areas of the Town.
At the beginning of 1908, W. T. Turner was Mayor and Aldermen were W. H. Lowery, Dan Joslin, J. T. Crain, J. A. Myatt, J. W. Hooper, J. S. Johnson and W. A. Barnett. J. M. Talley was elected Recorder; John Sheeley, Marshal and W. H. Walker, Treasurer. During the months of January and February of 1908, there was little business transacted by the Board.
On March 2, 1908, the Board ordered that an election be held on the 18th day of March with reference to issuing $25,000 in Waterworks Bonds for the improvement of the water system.
On March 16, 1908, we find an interesting item when the Town purchased a wagon from the Owensboro Wagon Company to be used in fire protection: I suppose we would refer to this as a “fire wagon” instead of fire engine. I can’t remember this wagon. The first fire protection instrument that I remember was a cart pulled by hand. I would estimate that it held about two hundred to two hundred fifty gallons of water, and I remember Mr. W. R. Boyte was one of the main ones operating same. It was kept in a small building at the old fire engine house, which is on the lot immediately back of the Bank of Dickson.
On April 6, 1908, Mr. Frank Brown asked permission of the Town to lay a water line under Walnut Street, which I assume was to obtain water for his livery stable located at the corner of Main and Walnut.
On April 9, 1908, a representative of the F. M. Stafford and Company of Chattanooga, with whom the Town had had previous dealings, appeared before the Board and purchased the $25,000 bond issue which had been voted by the Town with the stipulation that the bonds were to be delivered to the First National Bank at Chattanooga, and the company would prepare all necessary resolutions and ordinances pertaining to same. This gave the Town considerably more money with which to improve the system.
Still realizing the need for water and the time had come for the laying of water mains, in June of 1908 the Town employed Mr. Andrew Cruse as Superintendent to work on the well at the powerhouse, and it was also decided to employ a Mr. Miller, who was an expert in laying connecting water mains, for the Town.
In July of 1908, Mr. J. A. Myatt appeared before the Board and agreed to sell the town ten acres of land lying just below Payne Springs for the sum of two hundred dollars, which the Town unanimously accepted. I think that part of this land is now used for the City Lake.
Our forefathers were still interested in education because in July of 1908, they ordered that an election be held in August 1, 1908, to authorize the issuance of issuance of three thousand ($3,000.00) dollars in bonds for the purchase of a house and lot for a public school. Later on we find that the election carried and the Town purchased the property from the J. R. Bryan Estate. I believe this is the property where Oakmont City School was erected and where the City Housing Authority Project is now located at the corner of Walnut Street and Bryan Avenue.
On October 5, 1908, an election was held resulting in the re-election of the entire Board of Mayor and Aldermen. John Sheeley was re-elected Marshal and W. H. Walker, Treasurer. The tax rate for the year 1903 was set at $1.60 on each $100.00 of assessed valuation of real property, which was an increase of sixty cents over the previous rate.
As the electric system began to grow, Dr. W. S. Scott whose residence was on North Main Street, appeared before the Board and asked that the electric service be extended outside the corporation, which request was taken under consideration. Remember, Dr. Scott’s residence at that time was located in what is now the 500 block of North Main Street, so the corporate limits did not extend very far Northward.
Only one meeting was held in December of 1908, at which time routine matters were discussed.
In January of 1909, we find the same officials serving which indicates that the people thought they were doing a good job and they must have been because they laid the foundation stones for our electric and water system, which, of course, had to be extended and improved from year to year.
In fact, one of the biggest problems confronting the City of Dickson today is its water and sewer system, however, this problem exists in nearly all Towns and cities which have grown extensively in the past few years.
On April 5, 1909, we find the Board requiring that merchants on Main Street from the alley at Donegan’s Store to J. M. Gossett’s place, which is now the Ragan’s Friendly Neighbor Store, be required to sprinkle the street in front of their places of business, furnishing their own hose. In other words, Main Street had still not been paved, and if it wasn’t mud in the winter, it was dust in the summer.
You could remember I told you that W. R. Boyte was the first Fire Chief I could remember, and I find that on April 5, 1909, the Board appointed Mr. Boyte, who was connected with the Citizens Bank, as Fire Chief with the privilege of selecting Fire Captains for each of the three hoses. So you see, you had grown from one to three hoses during a short period of time. I wonder what the boys over at the fire hall think of this.
So, we think we are quite modern in observing Old Timer’s Day and other occasions which we promote, but on May 3, 1909, we find that the businessmen of the Town appeared before the Board to ask permission to hold a street festival or carnival, which request was granted, to begin on May 17th and continue for a week. It would be my impression that this was the beginning of our annual fair.
Well, we are beginning to enter the automobile age because on September 6, 1909, the Standard Oil Company requested permission to build a gasoline storage tank on their lot, but since there was no ordinance relating to same, the Board took no action.
At the City election held in September of 1909, the entire Board of Mayor and Aldermen was re-elected. John Sheeley was again elected City Marshal and W. H. Walker, Treasurer. One new Town officer was elected, J. H. Page, Special Marshal.
On October 4, 1909, we find that the Mayor’s salary was increased to $100.00 per month. The Aldermen were to receive $25.00 a month and the Recorder $50.00 a year. Of course, the Recorder received fees from his office in addition to his salary.
The merchants of the Town had the same problems that exists today; that is, outsiders coming in and selling products to our citizens without paying any privilege taxes. We find that on December 5, 1909, certain businessmen appeared before the Board and requested that an ordinance be passed taxing all persons soliciting orders of goods, delivering and receiving money for same in the Town. The Board passed an ordinance requiring that such solicitors pay a privilege tax of $5.00 a year.
On February 7, 1910, a petition was presented to the Board asking that an election be held for the purpose of issuing bonds to buy the Dickson Normal College building to be used as a public school for the Town. The Board voted unanimously to call the election.
Water was still a question in February of 1910. An ice plant had been built in Dickson and the owners of same requested that the Town of Dickson furnish them water which request was rejected. However, at this meeting, Mr. A. G. Rickert agreed to lay a pipe from his well along the streets of Dickson using the most direct route to the Ice Plant, which was just south of the L & N Railroad Depot, for the purpose of furnishing water to be used by the plant.
I am sure most of you will remember the watering trough for horses which was located at Walnut and Main Streets near the Memorial Building. Reference is made to same in the minutes of May 2, 1910, when Dr. Williams appeared before the Board on behalf of the W. C. T. U., which was an abbreviation for Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and presented a petition to the Board to put up a public watering trough to benefit people coming in from a distance. Evidently the request was for a watering trough for horses, and while the request was taken under advisement, a trough was subsequently built as many of us remember.
No important action was taken during the month of June in 1910 except to take care of routine matters.
On July 4, 1910, the Board met, but it being a holiday, nothing was done except to take care of routine matters.
On August 1, 1910, we find an interesting ordinance where the attorney was ordered to prepare an ordinance to prevent bells on cows running at large. To those of us who remember the year 1910, it was almost incumbent upon everyone living in Town to have a cow. Very few stores had begun selling milk, and insofar as I can recall, there was not a dairy in Dickson, and of course, trucks did not come out of Nashville. So, the end result was that it was necessary for every family to own a cow or at least have a real generous neighbor who had more milk than they needed.
I can remember when we lived at 500 West Walnut Street that every morning about seven or eight o’clock, a herd of cows, consisting of from fifteen to twenty-five, usually headed by a large cow which was owned by the W. H. Walker family, would come out of Walnut Street, continue on the creek on the Donaldson Property, and would graze in that neighborhood until about four or four thirty in the afternoon. Then they would all come back and usually find their homes.
I remember very well that we had a cow that would always join the herd, and she got so smart that she could open the bar gate when she got back home.
About this time, a Padgett family lived in the home where Dale Ragan now lives and their cow, of course, was a member of the herd. The Padgett’s moved from this location to the house on the corner of north Main and Rickert, where Maybelle and I used to live. The family made the move during the day and when the cow returned in the afternoon, she didn’t know where they had moved, or at least she couldn’t find the house, so she would come back to the old homeplace. The first dime that I ever remember making was when Mrs. Padgett called me on the home phone and asked me about her cow. I told her she was there and she asked me to drive her to their new home on North Main Street. The dime she paid me looked like a dollar to me and I’ll never forget it.
So, I suppose that was one of the reasons why some of the citizens wanted the bells removed from the cows as they were making too much noise traveling back and forth.
On September 5, 1910, an election was called which resulted in the following officials being elected: John M. Smith, Mayor; Aldermen W. H. McMurray, S. E. Hunt, J. R. Baker, J. A. Clement, W. A. Self, P. H. Crow and H. T. Cowan. I notice my father’s name is in the list of Aldermen, however, I never realized that he was a member of the City Council.
Mr. John Sheeley was re-elected Marshal and Mr. W. H. Walker, Treasurer.
The new Board expressed its appreciation to the outgoing Board for the successful completion of water and light plants, which had been completed through their efforts, and also commended the Board on the good financial condition of the corporation.
The tax rate was increased to $1.75 per $100.00 assessed valuation of real property, an increase of 15 cents.
A motion was made by Mayor Smith that the water of Well NO. 2 be analyzed and Mayor Smith also asked the Board to authorize him to sent out delinquent tax notices, which request was granted.
In October of 1910, we find that the City was having trouble with its electric system as the Town had been without lights for several nights and it was determined that a new boiler of not less than two hundred horsepower should be installed as the old boiler was overloaded.
At a meeting held December 5, 1910, Mayor Smith offered to furnish wood to the Town for operation of the boiler at the light plant for $225.00 a month. It was decided to try the wood for one month and if satisfactory to enter into a contract for one year.
Evidently, the Board didn’t realize that at that time it was unlawful for a City official to sell products to the Town even though I am sure that the Mayor’s intentions were good. I well remember the amount of wood that he had when he operated a lumber plant on East Walnut Street near the location where the Sinclair Plant is now located.
So, you sometimes get disgusted with the City officials for not working on your street. Well, the same condition existed when on December 5, 1910, the Board ordered all street work to be discontinued until Spring except for emergency repair. This brings us through the year 1910.
I want to end this article with a personal paragraph which some of you will think rather silly, but others will understand.
ROBELLA IS DEAD. Now, for the benefit of those of you who never met Robella, however, hundreds have, Robella was a French Poodle, who was given to us by our daughter, Anna Belle, in 1970. She named her for me, Robert, and my wife, Maybelle, using the first part of my name and the last part my wife’s name.
At first I paid very little attention to her, but she grew into our lives and especially into mine. She was with me practically twenty-four hours every day. She even went to court with me and the kindhearted judges seemed to understand. She would never misbehave, would sit under the chair and never become aroused unless I did, and then she would come out from under the chair and be ready to take my part. She came to the office with me every day for the last six or seven years. She greeted everyone who came in the office, was very friendly and rode in the car with me everywhere I went.
One occasion in court which was quite interesting occurred at Waverly. In Circuit Court we have what is known as docket day; that is, the day when docket is called for the setting of certain cases. It is rather tiresome and usually takes several hours. I had carried Robella with me to Waverly that day, but I thought that Judge Spencer was in East Tennessee hearing a case and that a new judge, who might not welcome Robella in the courtroom, would be on the bench and therefore I left her in the car. In the courtroom that day, there were the usual number of local lawyers but also there were young lawyers from Nashville, Memphis, Huntingdon and other places who didn’t know Robella and they didn’t realize that Judge Spencer and many other referred to Robella’s my “Law Partner”.
When I entered the courtroom, Judge Spencer spoke to me and said: “Mr. Clement, where is your “Law Partner”? I said, “ I left her down in the car.” Then he said, “Well, isn’t it mighty hot. . .do you think she can get enough ventilation?” Well, I could see these young lawyers who didn’t know the situation look at each other and wonder why a lawyer would leave his law partner, and refer to her as “her”, in the car on a day as hot as it was that day.
I had these three cases to answer that day, two of which I knew would come up early, but there was another one which would not likely be called until about three o’clock in the afternoon. The first case called and the date was set for a hearing, and then within a few minutes, the second case was called and Judge Spencer again said, “Are you sure you left enough ventilation for your Law Partner?” Well, I could see these young fellows looking at each other again and then glancing at me. So, I thought I am going to take advantage of this situation. So I said, “Judge, I don’t have but one more case here and it is way over in the back of the book, and if you will turn to No. 3505 and dispose of that now, then I will go down and take care of my “Law Partner.” He said “Well, I sure will.” So, after that was done – it didn’t take over two or three minutes – I got up and started to leave.
Then Judge Spencer said, “Now, Mr. Clement, the next time you come down here to court, you be sure and bring that dog into court with you.” Then you could see these young lawyers look at each other with some relief as they could now understand the situation.
Now, I have said all of this to bring you up to date on what happened to Robella. Last Thursday, March 20th, at about two thirty in the afternoon, she crossed the road from the Frank Clement Building to the railroad track. It was raining and I did not cross the road with her, and as she turned to come back, she was struck and suffered such injuries that brought about her death by someone driving an automobile from Main Street to Center Avenue. The driver did not stop. I had trouble picking her up and getting her in the car and taking her to the hospital, but she never recovered. I doubt seriously if the driver of the car could have kept from hitting her unless he or she had been driving slow. I hold no ill will against the person driving the car and have no intention of trying to do anything about it except I do wish and think that the driver should have stopped.
Now, if the persons who struck Robella desires to talk with me about it, I will be glad to do so, but as I said, I have no intention of trying to do anything about it and have forgiven the driver for killing our little dog; however, if the driver does not wish to do so, as long as I live and as long as the driver sees me, the driver will think about running over our pet and not stopping.
Now, I realize about half of you who read this will think that I am silly in taking the matter so seriously and in having such affection for a pet, yet, on the other hand, there are about half of you who own pets and love than and have lost some pets who realize just how much it has hurt to lose Robella.
Everytime I would go the courthouse without Robella, at least a half dozen persons in the Clerk’s offices and around would ask me about her, so I am sorry to have to say that Robella has gone to court for the last time.
In next week’s article we find the Council passing a resolution deploring the death of Mayor W. T. Turner, who had served the Town so faithfully from 1904 through 1909.
Also, we find that an election was held on October 7, 1911, to issue $15,000 in bonds to build a public school house. This was the Bryan Property heretofore referred to where a City school was built in 1912, and from which I graduated in 1917.
Now, while so many high school reunions are being called, I want to take this opportunity to call a reunion of the high school graduating Class of 1917 from Oakmont. So, if any of you are living, please get in touch with me and let’s set a date. The only member of the class that I know of living is Nell Freeman.
Elsewhere in this issue, you will find a picture of the football team and other members of the graduating class of Oakmont (see Appendix 1). See how many you can identify. Some you may recall that when Professor Morrison moved here from Centerville in 1914, he brought with him some mighty good football players, including Hub Hoover, Hub Henley, and Alonzo Bonds. Now, in trying to identify the players, keep in mind that at the time this picture was made, the team was not limited to those who were in school. In other words, if we knew of a real strong boy who had never been to school, we would put a uniform on him and put him in the lineup. I notice one individual in the picture that I doubt seriously ever went through the fourth grade.
Now, I’m not going to be like Henry Ragan and offer a prize to the person who can identify the largest number of these players and other students, but I thought you would be interested in trying to do so.
Sanitation Problems and the First Fair at the Courthouse
In last week’s article we suggested the death of Mayor W. T. Turner, who had served the Town so faithfully from 1904 through 1909. On March 6, 1911, we find that the Board ordered a Resolution of Respect to be prepared by Alderman J. A. Clement, H. T. Cowan and S. E. Hunt. The Resolution reads, as follows:
“WHEREAS, death had claimed our friend, W. T. Turner, who was for six years the efficient Mayor of the Town, and
WHEREAS, the Town of Dickson is indebted to his wise and conservative administration, for the Town’s substantial and material advancement and development;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE MAYOR AND BOARD OF ALDERMAN OF THE TOWN OF DICKSON that we keenly feel the loss of such a man whose advice and counsel was so cheerfully given; whose affable and gentle manner and the sunshine of whose disposition so endeared him to his friends, and whose kindness is worthy of our emulation.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we extend to his bereaved family and relatives our sympathy and that a copy of the Resolution be spread on the minutes of the Board and that copies be furnished the Town papers for publication.
Respectfully, J. A. Clement, H. T. Cowan, S. E. Hunt”
It is interesting to note that the Board discontinued the use of coal at the electric plant and converted to wood to be supplied by Mayor Smith at a cost of 85 cents per cord.
In April of 1911, there were certain electric bonds due and a committee was appointed to make arrangements with the two banks to take care of same. Evidently the electric system had not begun to make money, and the Recorder was authorized to issue distress warrants on all delinquent taxes and place same in the hands of the Town Marshal for immediate action. This is the law today.
The Women’s Christian Temperance Union was still pursuing the installation of a watering fountain at the intersection of Main and Walnut Streets and finally persuaded the Town to do the plumbing work with the construction being paid for by the W.C.T.U.
In August of 1911, it seems that certain citizens were upset about the unsanitary condition at the back of the post office. I feel sure that the post office was located on Main Street near the alley where Neeley’s Dress Shop was formerly located.
Still interested in education on September 16, 1911, a Resolution was read and adopted calling for an election to be held October 7, 1911, to consider the issuance of bonds in the amount of $15,000 to build and equip the schoolhouse, the bonds to bear six percent interest over a period of thirty years. I am sure these funds were used for the construction of Oakmont School.
The results of the City election held in September were announced on October 2, 1911, wherein John M. Smith was elected Mayor. Aldermen elected were John R. Baker, Dan Joslin, H. T. Cowan, F. H. Crow, C. M. Turner, Calvin Martin and J. A. Clement. Officers elected by the Board were John I. Eccles, Recorder, John Sheeley, Town Marshal, and W. H. Walker Treasurer.
Well, they had electric light problems then just as we have today, but not the same problem. I leave it up to you as to which one you would rather have.
The owners of business houses were ordered to turn out all lights except one 16 candlepower lamp at the close of business each day. After 11:00 p.m. dwelling houses were permitted to burn one light all night.
The Sanitary Committee suggested that the Mayor issue a general clean-up order for the Town as the sanitary condition of the Town was in bad condition.
The Street Committee ordered that Main Street from Railroad to College Street be improved as soon as the weather would permit, the work to be done was placing concrete gutters thirty inches wide and grading the street and laying gravel in the center of the street at an estimated cost of $400.00.
If you remember, in one of my recent articles, the Town had purchased a fire wagon, and, of course, required a team to pull same. Well, evidently the feeding of the team was too great because on January 1, 1912, we find that the Town decided to sell the team as the expense involved in housing and feeding same was too great, and to purchase another team in the Spring if it was required.
Mayor Smith bought the team for $500.00.
If you recall, I mentioned recently that the first fire fighting equipment I recalled was an instrument pulled by hand which held from two hundred to two hundred fifty gallons and that Mr. W. R. Boyte was in charge of same. Evidently the Board decided that manpower was better than horsepower because there is no evidence of another team being purchased.
Well, we find Marshal Sheeley being given additional duties in addition to his police work, when the Board on February 5, 1912, agreed to pay Marshal Sheeley $10.00 per month for reading the meters of the Town and collecting the bills, for which he expressed his deep appreciation.
On March 4, 1912, the bid of H. C. Speer and Sons Company for the $15,000 School Bond Issue was accepted.
The committee heretofore appointed to find a manager for the electric plant reported that they had been unable to do so and H. T. Cowan was put in charge of the water and light plant until other arrangements could be made.
The Board was really getting extravagant along about this time because we find that in March of 1912 a telephone was ordered and placed in the office of the Recorder and the Marshal. Now, I don’t know whether it was a Home Telephone or Cumberland Telephone, but my guess would be it was a Home phone, if same was still in existence.
Well, the Town was growing because of April 1, 1912, we find that there were 87 water customers and 134 electric customers in the Town. Last Saturday, March 29, 1980, when Commissioners David Freeman and Bob Clement with the Tennessee Valley Authority came to Dickson to open the solar homes being built for experimental purposes, I asked the City of Dickson Electric Plant Manager, Ernest Brown, how many electric customers the City now had and he told me that it was in the neighborhood of 16,000.
Who was it that said, “every journey begins with a single step”? I might add though that at the time the TVA contract was signed, the minimum bill for a home was 75 cents, and I have no idea what it is today.
Well, on April 20, 1912, I find where my father, J. A. Clement, introduced the ordinance to issue $15,000 in school bonds. I wonder if he realized that two or three of his children would eventually graduate from Oakmont.
Later on it was finally determined that the new school building would be built on Bryan Avenue and Walnut Street. The building was to be built of brick, fronting 114 feet with the side elevation 86 feet, and to have two stories and a basement. It would contain nine classrooms each 26 feet by 36 feet, which would seat 621 pupils, and have an auditorium of 51 feet by 60 feet which would seat 435.
I well remember spending many days there and had it not been for Professor Morrison giving me a rather strict lecture only a few days before graduation, I doubt seriously if I would have graduated. Don’t forget anyone who reads this article and was a member of my Class of 1917, call me and let’s have a class reunion. I am sure Gilbert Freeman wouldn’t like for Nell and me to eat up at the Top of the Town alone, so let’s see if we can’t get a crowd.
Recently someone asked the question when the first fair was held at the Courthouse in Dickson. I believe we have the answer as the August 12, 1912, minutes show that Mr. D. E. Beasley appeared before the Board on behalf of the Fair Association and asked for the use of the Courthouse and lot, and, of course, also asked for a $25.00 donation from the Town, which request was granted.
An election was called for September 5, 1912, to elect a Mayor, seven Aldermen, a Town Marshal and Recorder. The officials elected at this election were: Mr. Pitt Henslee, Mayor. Aldermen H. L. Grigsby, Dan Joslin, C. M. Turner, E. S. Payne, W. R. Boyte, W. A. Self and W. H. Adcox. This is the first time that Mr. W. H. Adcox’s name has appeared in the minutes, but we will hear much about him and how much valuable service he rendered the Town in years to follow. Also elected were John Sheeley, Town Marshal, and Charles I. Eccles, City Recorder. The Board elected Mr. J. S. Johnson, City Treasurer.
At the first meeting held in October of 1912, the Board found it necessary to raise the tax rate to $2.20.
The Board also ordered that all males between the ages of 21 and 45 work on the streets of the Town three days or pay $2.00 tax — $1.00 to be used for the street and $1.00 for the school fund. The ad valorem tax rate was set at $2.20 per $100.00 average stock.
The Recorder was instructed to notify property owners on the East side of South Main Street to build new sidewalks. The water problem had still not been solved and it was decided by the Board to sink one of the wells drilled by the Town one hundred thirty feet deeper in order to provide sufficient water and to eliminate pumping water from the creek.
Mr. D. E. Beasley seemed to be the spokesman for the merchants, and he usually did a good job of it. On November 4, 1912, he appeared before the Board and reported that the merchants would be willing to pay $20.00 per month to employ a night watchman. This offer was brought about by individuals gathering after dark near the post office, along Main Street and in the alleys and causing the merchants some concern. Of course, drinking was a problem just as it is today.
Well, the Town finally got around to installing light meters. On November 18, 1912, we find that an order was placed for 100 light meters as a cost of $7.50 each, the $7.50 to be paid by the customer or he would have the privilege of paying a rental of 25 cents per month for same.
Later on I will write an article to tell you how we handled this matter when we signed the first contract with TVA in October of 1935, when it was necessary for the Town to own the meters instead of the customers and how difficult it was for some of the customers to understand why they couldn’t use their own meters.
We are still making progress because on December 2, 1912, we find that six new streetlights were installed in the business area of the Town, five on Main Street and one at the depot.
Some of you have probably noticed that in our articles we have been reporting only seven aldermen and, no doubt, you thought this was a mistake. However, the Town had only seven aldermen until 1913, at which time it was decided that it would be a better plan for the Town to be divided into wards and have two aldermen from each ward. We will discuss this and other matters of progress next week.
Town Divided into Four Wards
In closing last week’s article, we told you that the Town would be buying some light meters and that it was quite a problem to explain to the customers why it was necessary for the Town to own the meters, and that our Council would be increased from seven Aldermen to eight, and that the Town would be divided into wards. However, this was not accomplished until the latter part of 1913.
Oakmont school construction was begun in 1912, and at a meeting of the Council on January 13, 1913, an ordinance was passed making the corporation a school district.
Also, at this meeting a committee was appointed consisting of Aldermen W. H. Adcox, W. A. Self and E. S. Payne to work with Judge W. L. Cook on needed repairs to the courthouse roof. If you recall, the courthouse had been used for school purposes while Oakmont was being built.
Another interesting item mentioned is that the water department showed a profit of $15.00 for the month of December 1912.
At the regular meeting in February of 1913, the Council named H. L. Grigsby to check the records of the water and light plant to determine whether all citizens were paying their bills, and to investigate the cost of extending water and light service to the various manufacturing plants.
The Board also employed a special policeman to watch the new school building on Sunday and to be paid $1.25 per day for his services plus a 50 cent fee for all arrests and convictions.
On March 3, 1913, ten thousand dollars($10,000.00) in additional school bonds were sold at an interest rate of 5%, the proceeds to be used to complete the school building and equip same.
On March 10, 1913, an interesting item appears wherein the Recorder was instructed to issue a warrant for one Earl Mayer, alias Bronco Bill, for selling intoxicating liquors. The law enforcement officers evidently were quite efficient in those days because on April 7, 1913, it was noted in the minutes that F. D. Hooper had located Bronco Bill.
A committee was appointed, consisting of Aldermen Turner, Boyte and Grigsby, to see if arrangements could be made to run the Universal Branch passenger train into Dickson. Thus far, I have been unable to ascertain just what railroad or special train this was because the N. C. & St. L. had long since been running through Dickson, in addition to the Centerville Branch and the Mineral Branch.
One of our main problems today here in 1980 is the discussion and opinions of various engineers regarding our sewage disposal plants: One company had recommended the disposal of the one South of Town, while the others company insists that it should be retained and used in connection with the new plant on the North side of Town.
If you recall, I have said before that our problems have changed very little, and on April 7, 1913, we find the Board appointing a committee to work with the Board of the Trade Committee with reference to building a septic tank. The Mayor stated that as soon as the work was commenced on the septic tank, the railroad company would erect a new depot. So you see, our problems are basically the same although on a much larger scale.
On May 5, 1913, the committee heretofore named to inquire about the Universal train stated that the train would be running into Dickson at an early date.
Also, the committee appointed to see about a septic tank was instructed to try to find a lot on which to locate same.
At the regular June meeting in 1913, the Recorder was authorized to borrow $1,000.00 to be used on street work, and to execute three notes in the same amount among the three banks. A new bank had been established recently known as the Dickson State Bank, and we intend to write a complete article on all of the banks within the near future with reference as to the original founders of same.
Again, the Council was confronted with water problems. For some time we have discussed just when Payne Springs was purchased and the amount paid for same.
I recall hearing my father discussing the matter, and there was a question in the minds of the City officials as to whether water would flow from Payne Springs to the filtration plant located on Chestnut Street. There was no doubt that it would be going downstream to the Donaldson place, but then the line would turn Northward and run uphill in order to reach the filtration plant on Chestnut Street. I remember my father saying that if the line was primed that it would continue to run. I couldn’t understand what he meant, but whatever was required, the water from Payne Springs has run without being pumped from 1913 and was purchased for the large amount of five hundred dollars ($500.00).
I can remember hearing some say that the Aldermen were wasting the Town’s money paying $500.00 for a spring. Had it not been for Payne Springs, which has been running now some sixty-seven years, I don’t know what we would have done for water.
The Board was having trouble in completing Oakmont School and on July 28, 1913, a mass meeting of citizens was held on Main Street to get the expression of the citizens on ways to complete the new school building. Mayor Henslee was elected school director after it was announced that Aldermen S. E. Hunt had moved outside the corporation and could no longer serve.
My recollection is that the Hunt family moved to what is known as the McFarland place located just North of the City limits of Dickson, at that time, and near the Guy Donaldson place. One reason I remember this is because there was a large spring on the premises and I suppose is still there.
On August 11, 1913, the Council asked the citizens to use water sparingly until the Payne Springs work could be completed. Aldermen Grigsby, Boyte and Adcox were named as a committee to work on securing a right-of-way from Payne Springs to the reservoir.
On August 13, 1913, the Board adopted an ordinance to issue $6,000.00 in five-year bonds to defray the expense of laying pipe from Payne Springs to the reservoir. Also, an election was called for August 26,1913, to ascertain the opinion of the citizens on the matter, with the result being 96 in favor of the bonds and 44 against.
An election was also called for September 4, 1913, for the purpose of electing a Mayor, Recorder, Town Marshal and school director from the Town at large, and two aldermen from each of the four wards of the Town which had been established. This was the first time that the Town had been divided into wards with two aldermen to be elected from each ward.
The results of the election were Mr. C. M. Turner was elected Mayor; A. C. Hughes and H. L. Grigsby, Aldermen from first ward; R. A. Freeman and John M. Gossett, aldermen from the second ward; Dan Joslin and Eugene S. Payne, aldermen from the third ward; G. C. Redden and Oury Harris, aldermen from the fourth ward, and H. C. Thompson was elected Recorder; John Sheeley was elected City Marshal and T. J. Warren was elected as justice to represent the Town in the county court.
The Board elected Mr. J. S. Johnson as City Treasurer.
It is interesting to note that the voting places were for Ward One in front of the Mays Hotel; Ward Two in front of J. M. Gossett’s store; Ward Three in front of W. A. Chambers and Company building, where Albert Nicks store is now located, and for Ward Four in front of the Will Cox building which would be one of the buildings just East of where the County Agent’s office is now located.
So you see, the Sunshine Law was in effect in 1913 when they required the elections to be held even outside on the streets.
At the September meeting in 1913, a committee was appointed to draw an ordinance to allow the Fair Association exclusive privileges of the Courthouse grounds and streets of the Town for holding a fair.
If we can obtain a little more information, we will discuss the original organization of the banks in the county, which should be quite interesting.
Banks and Bankers
In closing last week’s article, we told you that we were planning to write an article about the banks of Dickson and Dickson County, with special reference as to the time the banks were founded and the names of the persons founding same insofar as we could.
In our first article in January, at a meeting of the City Council held May 12, 1899, the Council named the Dickson Bank and Trust Company as the depository for Town funds: Now, I am sure that a lot of you are going to be surprised just where this bank was located, but practically all of you have been in the building many times.
The Dickson Bank and Trust Company was located where Kelly Dry Cleaners is located, and until recently, the floor was of tile until it was covered over by a carpet. I am sure many of you remember this.
In Dr. Robert Corlew’s “History of Dickson County”, he says that the Dickson Bank and Trust Company was founded in 1890 with a capital stock of $25,000.00 and with stock selling at 50 cents per share. Its officers and Board of Directors in 1893 included J. R. Bryan, P. O. Wilkie, Edwin George, W. A. Hopkins, J. S. Murrell, J. A. Myatt, William Davis, C. M. Lovell, J. L. Ankeny, E. E. Miller, B. Z. Henslee and W. H. McMurray. Dr. Corlew further states in his article that the bank had advertised that they would accept deposits as low as 25 cents, and that in addition to banking would act as guardian and administrator of estates, and would do all kinds of business conducive to a sound banking business. Mr. J. R. Bryan was the first president of the bank.
Dickson was growing quite rapidly, which, of course, called for more capital and credit which reflected in the growth of the bank.
Dr. Corlew further states that by 1907, the officers of the bank were W. B. Leech, President; C. M. Lovell, Vice President and W. H. McMurray, Cashier and that the total resources were listed at approximately $160,000.00.
The J. R. Bryan referred to as one of the founders and first president of the bank was the grandfather of Mrs. Anabel Wynns.
In 1903, the First National Bank was organized in Dickson and capitalized at $25,000.00. The principal individuals in organizing the bank were Pitt Henslee and J. A. Myatt, with the first directors, in addition to Mr. Henslee and Mr. Myatt, being C. M. Turner, J. G. Henslee, J. C. Foster, L. M. Sensing, J. R. McClelland, J. A. Turner, John T. Overby, F. O. Watts, E. H. Stone, H. B. Horner, S. E. Hunt, W. H. Greer and S. G. Holland.
The First National Bank was first located on Main Street at the location which Sullaway’s later occupied.
The first officers of the First National Bank were Pitt Henslee, President; C. M. Turner, Vice President; S. E. Hunt, Cashier and C. D. Hall, Assistant Cashier.
In 1912, S. E. Hunt resigned as cashier for the bank and was succeeded by Horace H. Self, who at that time was only 23 years of age but had been working in the bank for several years. Mr. Dan E. Beasley later on served as president of the bank for a long period of time. E. H. Meeks, who served as cashier of the bank, served as president for a short period of time.
Some of the employees who were with the bank for a number of years included S. G. Robertson, president; Jeff Johnson, Joe F. Crosby, J. G. Mitchell and Mary Saeger Smith, whom many of you remember.
As the bank grew, it was necessary to find more space and the building which was operated as a grocery store just south of the bank was purchased and remodeled, and the bank moved into same in 1920, where it is now located. The First National Bank now has three locations, 106 North Main Street, 719 East College Street and on Highway 46 South.
The present officers of the First National Bank are Dan Andrews, President; Vice Presidents, J. W. Mashburn, Randall Clayburn, Rena Willey and Thomas Hayes; Ralph Richardson, Cashier; Assistant Vice Presidents Beverly Dean and Rosemary Hill; Bernice Lee, Assistant Cashier and Auditor; Assistant Cashiers Mary Batson and Lucy Bryant; Anthony Moore, Commercial Loan Officer; Kenneth Petty, Operations Manager and Gary Davis, Installment Loan Officer.
The present directors are Dan B. Andrews, J. R. Arnold, Joe D. Beasley, Homer B. Brown, Jr., Randall Clayburn, Gene Field, Alvin Jones, Robert L. Littleton, J. W. Mashburn, W. C. Morrison, Jr., Ray S. Myatt, Jr., Ralph C. Richardson, Dr. B. J. Smith, Roger G. White, Phil Hooper, J. C. Brown, Jr. and Rena Willey.
According to information furnished by Billy Averitte, president of the Peoples Bank of Vanleer, the Peoples Bank was formed on November 12, 1906, to be capitalized at $10,000.00 with fifty percent of same to be paid on or before the bank opened. Included in the founders were Roy W. Massie, who was to be employed as cashier for the first year at $900.00 per year, with the provisions that he was to do all the work necessary in the operation of the bank. Mr. Norman Eubank, who was quite active in the bank for many years, came into the bank in 1907.
Others who were active in forming the bank included Adair and Massey, M. D. Jackson, E. D. Ferguson, J. W. Walker, C. H. Denton, W. T. McGee, A. A. Taylor, Berry Taylor, Bell Adams, J. M. Skelton, G. T. Cooksey, Mrs. J. A. Gilmore, Slayden Hunt, C. G. Gilmore, W. R. Bateman, J. Browning, W. C. Holley, W. T. Nesbitt, Jerry Nesbitt, Youlen Parrett, R. C. Baker, B. W. Walton, T. W. Crow, J. D. Smith R. E. McGee, G. R. Russell, C. J. Edwards, T. G. Pattott, Lee Balthrop, R. T. Sullivan, H. D. Hodges, W. H. Neblett, J. G. Gilmore, J. H. Hollaway and G. W. Mullins.
The present officers of the Peoples Bank at Vanleer are Loys Balthrop, Chairman; Billy Averitte, President, Graham Hicks, Vice President; Margaret W. Duke, Cashier; Joyce Adams, Assistant Cashier and Vivian Street, Teller.
The present directors of the Peoples Bank, which also owns the Dickson County Bank located in Charlotte, Tennessee are Billy Averitte, Loys Balthrop, John D. Cannon, Glen Hamilton, J. R. Harris, Graham Hicks, William M. Jackson, R. L. Smith, Edwin Sparks, J. A. Stokes, Slayden Weaver.
Officers of the Dickson County Bank are Edwin Sparks, Vice President and Manager; Elizabeth Davis, Cashier; Patty Doty, Assistant Cashier and Joyce Miller, Assistant Cashier.
The Stayton Bank and Trust Company was organized and chartered by Speight-Nicks and Company on February 13, 1907. It was organized in an agricultural community to serve farmers, business and industry.
Some of the founding families were Nicks, Stark, Speight, Freeman, Gray, Smith, Stokes, McClelland, Proctor, VanHook, and others where records are not available due to the bank building being destroyed by fire on January 7, 1966.
The Stayton Bank and Trust Company began operation on a capital of $5,500. Shares of $100.00 were sold for fifty-five dollars each. B. W. S. Nicks, Jr., businessman and landlord of the community, served as the first president from its beginning in 1907 until his death in 1935. Andrew McClelland, who purchased the first shares of stock, served as the bank’s first cashier. Robert Clements (but not the writer of this article), a resident of Dickson and a salesman for Bollin-Harrison Wholesale House in Clarksville, Tennessee, served as the first vice president and S. T. Gray served as the second vice president.
On January 7, 1966, the original building burned leaving only the vault and safe. During this period, Clyde S. Smith, cashier, operated from the W. M. Harris and Son General Store until the new banking facility was constructed.
On Tuesday, April 6, 1976, Ron Scott, Chairman of the Board, and Larry W. Hunter, president of Stayton Bank and Trust Company, announced a name change to United American Bank of Dickson County. In June of 1979, the local bank was closed and the United American Bank of Dickson County moved the bank to a new location on Henslee Drive in Dickson, Tennessee.
The present officers of the United American Bank are G. Ron Woods, President; Jacky W. Allen, Vice President; Eddie T. McCurry, Assistant Vice President; Sharon Ferrell and Lorene Halliburton, Banking Officers and Melissa Street, Assistant Banking Officer.
Directors are Frank A. Woods, G. Ron Woods, John R. Dorris, Bart W. Howard, James M. Barber, John W. Duke, K. Don Faulkner, Charles S. Hawkins, Roy B. Miller, Dr. Dan Drinnen, Evan Pitt, Tom Reed, Dr. Charles Smart, William T. Stewart and Barney Regen.
The Citizens Bank was founded in Dickson in 1906 and was located where the Bank of Dickson is now located. The original capital stock of the Citizens Bank was $50,000. While we are unable to establish who the first president was, we do find that among the officers were W. R. Boyte, W. H. McMurray, W. A. Meadow, Clint Halbrook and S. E. Hunt.
The charter for the Farmers and Merchants Bank of White Bluff, Tennessee, was dated September 8, 1904, and was signed by Pitt Henslee, E. A. Lindsey, John M. Smith, S. G. Holland, J. G. Brown, W. W. Jordan, J. H. Heath, J. B. Harris and Joseph Whited, who were the first directors of the bank.
- Willey, better known as Pidge Willey, was quite active in the Farmers and Merchants Bankfor many years.
Present officers of the Farmers and Merchants Bank are D. W. Johnston, Chairman of the Board; Carner Brown, President; Harold Sutton, Executive Vice President; Lowell Lankford, Vice President; Judy Griffin, Cashier and Jane Hall and Bessie Griffin, Assistant Cashiers.
Present directors of the bank are D. W. Johnston, Chairman of the Board; Z. H. Bibb, Jr., Richard Bibb, J. T. Corkan, Jr., Lowell Lankford, Calvin Larkins, Forrest Oakley, Harold R. Sutton, Jr., Carner Brown, Mrs. Ann W. Smith and Leonard Martin.
The Bank of Dickson was organized in 1954 with $100,000 capital stock. The first directors of the bank were Hugh T. Wynns, Carney Nicks, Dr. Walter Bell, Mark Wade, E. F. Dennison, Wayne Sensing, Dr. R. P. Beasley and Glen Hamilton. Others becoming directors within a short time were Norman Fussell, who died April 6, 1980, and Robert S. Clement.
The first officers of the Bank of Dickson were Hugh T. Wynns, president; Glen Hamilton, Vice President and Cashier, and Carney Nicks, Vice President
The present officers of the Bank of Dickson are Robert S. Clement, Chairman of the Board; Carney Nicks, President; Ray Mathis, Vice President; Tommy Nicks, Cashier; Jerry Fisher and Brenda Legg, Assistant Vice Presidents; Aline Estes and Wanda Wilkins; Assistant Cashiers and Willie Corlew, Branch Manager.
Present directors of the Bank of Dickson are Robert S. Clement, Chairman of the Board; J. W. Beasley, Dr. W. A. Bell, E. F. Dennison, Ralph O. Frazier, Norman Fussell, who recently passed away, Glen Hamilton, Mitchell Hayes, Thomas Hodges, Lee Marsh, Donald L. Mathis, James R. Mathis, W. A. McIntire and Carney B. Nicks.
The Bank of Dickson has three locations, 101 North Main Street, Highway 70 East at the Plaza Shopping Center and a new building on Highway 46 South.
According to Chancellor William Leech, the Bank of Charlotte was probably the first bank established in Dickson County. While the exact date is not known, it was thought to be somewhere in the 1900’s.
The first officers according to a letterhead, were W. B. Leech, President; O. R. Leech, Vice President and F. H. Hickerson, Cashier. The bank served Charlotte and the entire county until about 1933 when it was decided to cease to do business. According to Chancellor Leech, who notified all of the depositors that he had deposited all sums of money due each of them in their names at the Dickson County Bank.
Others connected with the bank included Oury Harris, who about 1911 or 1912, became president of Dickson State Bank, which was located just south of the First National Bank in Dickson in what later was known as the Clemore Pharmacy Building, but the Dickson State Bank was purchased by the First National Bank within a very short time
According to a recent survey, Dickson County has more banks than any other county in the state for its size. This is a good indication that our county is one of the best business counties in the state of which we should be proud.
I am trying to obtain a list of Dickson Countians, and especially from the White Bluff community, who went to Nashville with the larger banks and made outstanding records. I believe that our record would equal or excel any other county in the state. .
Schools, a Curfew, and Teachers’ Pay
In last week’s article we tried to review the history of all of the banks in Dickson County with special reference concerning those who formed the banks and the present officers and directors. I am sure that some of you are wondering why I didn’t mention various individuals who were active in the banks throughout the years, but this would have been an impossible task because there were so many who would fall into this category and the information was not available; therefore, we limited our discussion as aforesaid by trying to obtain the best information available as to the families who organized the banks years ago and the present officers and directors. I am sure many of these names brought back fond memories to most of you.
We have now reached the first Monday in October of 1913, with the new Board consisting of Mayor C. M. Turner; Aldermen from Ward One, A. C. Hughes and H. L. Grigsby; Aldermen from Ward Two, R. A. Freeman and John M. Gossett; Aldermen form Ward Three, Dan Joslin and Eugene Payne, and Aldermen from Ward Four, G. C. Redden and Oury Harris, Mr. H. C. Thompson was elected Recorder; T. J. Warren, Justice of the Peace, and John Sheeley, Town Marshal.
Mayor Turner went to the committee system, which is now being used extensively in local governments and even in our legislature.
We find the following recorded in the minutes of October 1913:
To the Honorable Board of Aldermen:
I appoint the following standing committees with the understanding that in case any committee does not agree, the deciding vote will be cast by the Mayor:
Finance Committee: Aldermen H. L. Grigsby and Oury Harris
Tax Levy Committee: Aldermen Oury Harris and H. L. Grigsby
Ordinance Committee: Aldermen Dan Joslin and E. S. Payne
Sanitary Committee: A. C. Hughes and J. M. Gossett
Street and Alley Committee: Aldermen G. C. Redden and Dan Joslin.
- M. Turner, Mayor
Aldermen H. L. Grigsby was authorized to go to Nashville to negotiate the purchase of the necessary pipe to convey the water from Payne Springs to the Town reservoir.
I am wondering how much trouble it would be today to enforce the curfew ordinance which was in effect in 1913. The minutes show that Professor Whitlock, principal of the City school, appeared before the Board and asked the Town to enforce the curfew ordinance which would keep the children off the streets at night from the hour of 8:00 p.m. from Mondays through Friday nights inclusive. The Mayor and Board instructed that the ordinance be put in full force and effect at once, the public welfare requiring same.
The City tax rate for 1913 was set at $2.20 per $100.00.
Our streets still needed to be improved and again the Board ordained that each male person between the ages of 21 and 45 years shall work upon the streets of the Town under the direction of the Town marshal three days or pay a tax of $2.00, $1.00 of this to be used for the street fund and $1.00 to be used for the school fund.
Evidently, there had been great improvement in the law enforcement of the Town, but it seems that the Merchants Association felt that a Night Marshal should be employed and on October 20, 1913, Mr. G. C. Collins, representing the association, appeared before the Board and said that the association had agreed to employ Mr. Simon Stitt for Night Policeman and to pay him $20.00 per month and asked the Board to cooperate with them in the retention of Mr. Stitt, which the Board gladly did, the Town to pay Mr. Stitt an additional $20.00 per month.
For the first time, the Board elected a Mayor-Pro-Tem to act in the absence of the Mayor. Heretofore when the Mayor was not able to attend a meeting, the Recorder presided. The Board chose Alderman H. L. Grigsby to act as Mayor-Pro-Tem.
Streets were still in bad shape all over the Town, and we find in the minutes of November 3, 1913, where Mr. L. C. Helberg, representing certain citizens on McCreary Heights, tells the Board that these citizens had spent about $50.00 on Cullom Hill in the way of grading and asking the cooperation of the Board in helping them finish the work by installing the necessary tiling. The Board agreed to do this provided that the tiling did not cost over $25.00.
On November 7, 1913, the committee heretofore appointed with reference to buying the pipe necessary to bring water from Payne Springs to the City reservoir, stated that about three thousand feet of the pipe had been laid and that the work of digging the ditch all of the way was practically completed. Additional pipe was authorized to be purchased just as soon as the amount necessary could be obtained.
(I want you readers to remember that my good friend, Henry Ragan, stated a few Sundays ago that he remembered when the City purchased Payne Springs, which was in 1913. Later, he tried to qualify this a little by saying that he either remembered it or had heard about it. We must assume that he was at least three years old at the time he heard it, so I will leave it to you as to how old he is now.)
On January 5, 1914, Professor Whitlock and Mr. Pitt Henslee appeared before the Board asking for a contribution from the Town to aid in installing drinking fountains at the City school building, stating that $75.00 had been raised by the children in different ways and that the sum of an additional $100.00 was needed to pay for the fountains. I am sure many of you will remember these fountains.
Whereupon, Aldermen H. L. Grigsby moved that the Council borrow $1,000.00, $700.00 to be applied upon the school debts, $200.00 upon the streets and $100.00 to aid in the purchase of the drinking fountains at the public school building.
So you think we have problems with our electric bills today? Listen to this in 1914. Mr. L. B. Long, proprietor of the Elite Theatre, appeared before the Board and complained that he was being charged too much for current used in giving matinees and exhibition, license to conduct his theatre, etc. He suggested that two wires be run from his place of business to the power house, he to bear the expense of same, and to pay $1.00 for each hour current was used on matinee occasions and to pay regular meter rates otherwise.
The matter was referred to the Water and Light Committee for consideration.
At this meeting, it seems that there had been some differences among the Merchants Association, where we find the Merchants notifying the Council that after December 31, 1913, they would cease paying their pro rata part of $20.00 per month towards the salary of a night watchman as business had fallen off to such an extent that the burden had become too heavy for the remaining businessmen to bear, and, therefore, this payment would cease. However, the Council was of the opinion that the services of the night watchman were very necessary and would be continued but that solicitations would be made from the businessmen who were able to pay.
The Council was still trying to establish the school system. We find that at a meeting held February 16, 1914, Professor Whitlock, principal of the school, appeared before the Board with members of the school committee and stated to the Board that four and one-half months of the present term had now been taught, but that Treasurer J. S. Johnson, stated that after the payment of the school, for the first four months and after $700.00 had been paid on seats for the school, there was only a balance remaining of $30.15 for the present term. Hence, the object of the meeting was to ask the cooperation of the Council in giving the Town two more months of school, six in all, and to devise ways and means for the payment of the teachers for the last two months. After the matter was discussed at length, and upon a motion of Alderman Oury Harris, seconded by Alderman H. L. Grigsby, the Board unanimously approved the motion to continue the term of school six more weeks and for the Town to secure such funds to pay the expenses incurred for the last two months. So you see, we had school problems then as well as now.
In March of 1914, the Town was still making progress in trying to make Dickson a better place to live. A resolution was presented to the Board calling for an election to be held in each of the four wards of the Town on the 18th day of March 1914, for the purpose of submitted the question of issuance of water, light, sewer and street improvement coupon bonds in the amount of $15,000 for the purpose of buying pipe for water and sewer purposes and to extend electric lines, and material to construct septic tanks, and for the purpose of paving Main Street from the Mays Hotel on the north to the W. L. Jones and Sons Store south of the railroad, and for the purpose of making a concrete crossing at the intersection of alleys and streets between Mays Hotel and the W. L. Jones and Sons Store, and the remainder of said funds, if any, to be used in general improvement of the streets of the Town, said bonds to bear interest not exceeding six percent, and that they be payable thirty years from the date thereof.
On March 19, 1914, the Council met in a special session to consider a way to continue the public school system for the Town for two more months; that is, for a total eight months. The question of how to secure funds to meet the expenses of operating said school for an additional two months was discussed, and the following motion was submitted by Alderman Harris: “That said school be continued for the seventh and eighth month and that school warrants for these months be issued at the proper time and made payable in August of 1914; that school warrants for these months be issued at the proper time, payable one year hence.”
The motion was seconded by Alderman Joslin, and the following vote was recorded: Aldermen H. L. Grigsby voted no; A. C. Hughes voted aye; R. A. Freeman voted no; John M. Gossett voted Aye; Dan Joslin voted Aye; E. S. Payne voted Aye; Oury Harris voted Aye and G. C. Redden voted no.
The Recorder stated that the motion had been adopted by a vote of five to three.
However, on March 23, 1914, the Mayor, C. M. Turner, vetoed the motion stating that “The Town was not going to be able to extend the school for an additional two months without running over into next year so it will cut the school for another year entirely too short and put the Town in debt and there is no way of getting money to pay the bank”. He further stated that the Town was overdrawn at the bank and he, the Mayor, was on a one thousand dollar ($1,000.00) note which had to be extended ninety days longer for work done on the school, and that he would be embarrassed to ask the bank to give the Town further credit to carry on something that the Town was not able to pay for.
The letter was quite extensive and very much in detail as to the expenses incurred, but of special interest are the salaries of the teachers listed at that time, which follow:
Professor Whitlock and wife $200.00 per month. I assume that this is $200.00 for the two of them. Miss Patterson $75.00; Mr. English $60.00; Mrs. Hughes $45.00; Miss Pounds $45.00; Miss Dance $50.00; Miss Tidwell $45.00; Mrs. Kelly $45.00; Miss Rice $50.00; Mr. Will Galloway, fireman $45.00 and the janitor $20.00.
The veto of the Mayor was upheld by the Council. However, on March 31,1914, we find that Professor Whitlock submitted the following matter to the Board for its consideration:
“This is to certify that for the sum of $265.00, I have agreed to relinquish any and all claims I have against the Town of Dickson or the City School Board of said Town and I herewith surrender my contract made by and between the said school Board and myself, and I agree that it shall become void upon payment of the above sum. This also is to include the amount due me on the piano now in the chapel of the school building. /s/ A. P. Whitlock”
The Council complied with the wishes of the school and approved the offer of settlement and resignation of Professor Whitlock.
In next week’s article you will find the Council continuing to make progress, but it was necessary to issue bonds in order to make the needed improvements.
In the case of the City Recorder, H. C. Thompson, who took office in 1913, I believe we will find that he served continuously in this office and made valuable contribution toward the Town until 1935, and I believe he served for a short time later on about 1950. He kept excellent minutes. Of course, the minutes in those days were kept in longhand.
Remember, we still have Uncle John Sheeley on the job as City Marshal, meter reader, seeing that no hogs are kept in the corporation, looking after the outhouses, and to repair plank sidewalks. I can remember quite well his carrying a hammer along with him and watching him repair the sidewalk just north of the railroad track which ran from Charlotte Street to Myatt Drug Company property. There was also a long sidewalk from Rickert Avenue running northward, high off of the ground, in front of the business now occupied by Porter Brothers Plumbing and Heating and others and on across the valley. I can remember that this plank sidewalk required quite a bit of repair, and I can remember Uncle John making the necessary repairs.
What Shall We Do With the War Memorial Building?
For some time, I have heard a lot of talk about who owns the War Memorial Building. What shall we do with it, and how could it best be used for the veterans and the public?
I have hesitated to write about the matter, not being a veteran, nor am I going to express any opinions in this article other than to tell you what I have found with reference to the history of the building and the three hundred foot lot, and what I heard from year to year from Joe Crosby and others while the building was being constructed.
The best place I know to start would be from the original deed which was made by Conrad Beringer in Alleghany County, Pennsylvania, on the 16th day of July 1885, which deed is of record in Deed Book G, Pages 606 and 607, in the Register’s Office of Dickson County, Tennessee, when he deeded the following lot for one dollar ($1.00) to “John T. Baker, Chairman of the Dickson County Court and his successors in office, to hold in trust for the use and benefit of the Town of Dickson and the citizens thereof as a community owning property in said Town of Dickson aforesaid, County of Dickson and State of Tennessee, bounded and described as follows.”
While we will not copy all of the deed, the general description of the deed reads, as follows: Beginning on the corner of Main and Chestnut Street and running thence northward along Main Street 300 feet to Walnut Street; thence eastward with Walnut Street 300 feet to Chestnut Street; thence westward along Chestnut Street 300 feet to the point of the beginning.
In the meantime, that is, after Mr. Conrad Beringer had deeded the property to Dickson County for the benefit of the citizens of Dickson, a courthouse was erected on the lot and the first court was held there in 1899. I think I referred to this in a previous article, and the paper ran a picture (see Appendix 1) of the first judge and jury.
This was done on account of the geographical conditions of the county, and especially the fact that there were practically no roads, and it was decided the best thing to do was to build a courthouse in Dickson to handle all litigation south of Jones Creek, including Burns and White Bluff, and that all other litigation would be handled at Charlotte. Court was thus held for many years until a road was build from Dickson to Charlotte and roads improved in other parts of the county, and it was finally determined to be in the best interests of all of the people that court only be held at Charlotte.
In the meantime, the courthouse at Dickson was used for various things and partially for school purposes, especially while Oakmont School was being built.
I especially remember this because that is where one of the boys brought a sack full of green walnuts to school, and we had a green walnut fight in the courtroom, which resulted in my getting a very hard lick on the head, in addition to a hard whipping by one of the teachers, so I can truthfully testify to this.
Evidently Joe Crosby and other veterans had become interested in plans to erect a War Memorial Building in honor of those who fought in World War I, and obtained deeds from the heirs of Conrad Beringer in 1927, which confirm the general intent of their ancestor, Conrad Beringer. While I personally don’t see why this was necessary as Conrad Beringer had already deeded the property to the county for the use and benefit of the Town of Dickson many years before, there must have been some technical reason why Joe Crosby and members of the committee thought this was necessary.
After these deeds were obtained, then Joe Crosby, who was in the legislature, sponsored House Bill No. 1097 in the Tennessee Public Acts of 1929, which provides as follows:
“An act to provide for a memorial building commemorating the deeds and valor of the sons and daughters of Tennessee in the World War and other wars in which our country has been engaged and to provide for the use of said building by the Lucien Berry Post No. 115 of the American Legion and other patriotic organizations of Dickson County; and to create a commission for the construction of same to provide for the management of said memorial to make appropriations for the construction of the same.
WHEREAS, It is the duty of the State of Tennessee to make adequate recognition of the deeds and valor of its sons and daughters in the World War and other wars in which our country has been engaged and who have brought honor to the commonwealth; and,
WHEREAS, It is fitting that for such purpose a memorial in the nature of a building to be erected in the City of Dickson, Tennessee, to be used by the Lucien Berry Post No. 115 of the American Legion and other patriotic organizations in said City and county; and,
WHEREAS, Such memorial ought to be erected in Dickson County, Tennessee, now, therefore:
Section 1. BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, That for the purpose of providing a fitting and suitable memorial, there shall be erected, established, and maintained in the City of Dickson, Dickson County, Tennessee, a memorial to be known as the Lucien Berry Memorial Building.
Section 2. BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That the management of said building, after same shall have been completed, shall be placed in the Lucien Berry Post No. 115, American Legion, and it successors, said building to be a permanent and perpetual memorial.
Section 3. BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That the details of the building to be erected as such memorial shall be determined by a commission hereinafter provided for; but said memorial shall be in the form of a building which shall contain an auditorium in which the American Legion and other patriotic organizations of Dickson or Dickson County may meet for public purposes, or in connection with matters of interest to citizens of Dickson and Dickson County, Tennessee; and there shall also be constructed therein suitable rooms for the carrying out of the general ideas of this Act, including provisions for the assembling, and collection of portraits, statues, memorials and relics of distinguished citizens of the State of Tennessee who have participated in wars or rendered distinguished public service.
Section 4. BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That there shall be and is hereby created a commission to be known as the Memorial Commission which shall be composed of nine members, three to be appointed by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the Town of Dickson, three by the American Legion, Lucien Berry Post No. 115 of Dickson County, and three by the Chairman of the County Court of Dickson County. Said commission shall have the power and authority, and it shall be the duty of said commission to provide for and supervise the construction of the Memorial Building provided by this Act, according to designs and plans for such building to be selected by said commission, from designs and plans for same submitted by competition, which plans and designs shall include provisions for walkways and roadways and other incidental features connected with said memorial.
Section 5. BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That for the purpose of providing the funds to carry out the terms of this Act, there is hereby appropriated out of the moneys not otherwise appropriated in the State Treasury, of Tennessee, the sum of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000.00) which shall be paid over to the Memorial Building Commission herein provided for, as requested by said commission, by warrants of the Comptroller drawn on the Treasury of Tennessee; provided, however, that the payment of said appropriation shall be conditioned upon the Town of Dickson furnishing by way of a Warranty Deed to said Commission a suitable lot for the erection of said memorial building and that Dickson County shall furnish the sum of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000.00) in cash; the lot and deed to same to be acceptable to the said Commission and the fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000.00) appropriate by Dickson County shall have been paid over to the said Building Commission before the State Treasury is called upon to issue warrants for fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000.00).
Section 6. BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That this Act shall take effect from and after its passage, the public welfare requiring it.
Passed April 12, 1929.
Chas. H. Love,
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
- R. Bratton, Speaker of the Senate.
Approved April 13, 1929.
Henry H. Horton,
No doubt, it was the intent from what has been stated aforesaid that title to the property was to be vested in the Lucien Berry Post No. 115, or a committee of veterans, but the records do not indicate that any deed was ever made other than I have stated herein. If so, I have been unable to find same.
The present commander of the American Legion called me the other day and stated that the Legionnaires were planning to build a new building and were willing to forego any right that they might have in the Memorial Building. If so, it would seem to me that either the Town or the county, or both of them, should make the necessary repairs to the building and maintain same in the proper manner for the use and benefit of all of the citizens of Dickson County, and especially any use that the veterans might want to obtain in same because I know personally from talking with Joe Crosby and others that that was the intent of the Legion in the construction of the building.
I surely hope that something can be worked out where it will be maintained and cared for in the proper manner and that the auditorium may be used by the public for special purposes, but under the supervision of a good committee.
As I said before, I hesitated to write about this subject and stated that I did not intend to express an opinion, but I do hope that the building will be preserved in the proper way and used in the proper manner, and that the wishes of the veterans will be given first consideration.
Main Street Businesses – 1909-1912
In one of our recent articles, we attempted to name the various business houses on Main Street. I am sure that we might have missed some, but we are now going to try to name the businesses on Main Street North of the railroad which were in operation from 1909 to 1912. I am sure that during this period some had moved to other locations, so I may be in error in naming some of them as to this particular time.
We will begin on the east side of Main Street and Railroad Street, the southeast corner, where the Citizens Bank was then located. Going northward, as I recall and from some records which I have before me, adjacent to the bank was a barber shop operated by Joe Porter and Bob Thompson, whom many of you remember.
Continuing, the next business was restaurant operated by a Mr. Mullins; next was Hubert Ray’s Grocery; a restaurant operated by Mr. J. T. Holley in the Henslee Building, the Holley’s lived upstairs and probably rented out some rooms. Next was the Clemore Pharmacy, which was operated by my brother, W. A. Clement, and Claude Sizemore, who moved across the street about 1913. Next was the post office where everyone in the Town came for his mail, usually at the front window as there were very few mailboxes at the time and no street delivery.
Crossing the alley, as I recall, was a restaurant operated by a Tucker family, who sold hot tamales. Then came the Beasley Hardware, which was operated by Mr. D. E. Beasley for so many years, and a picture of him and others appear elsewhere in the paper (see Appendix 1). If you will notice closely in the picture you will find that the Recorder’s office was upstairs over the Matthews Drug Store and also Dr. B. F. Walker had an office upstairs.
Continuing up the street was a dry goods store operated by Mr. W. H. Walker; next a grocery store operated by Mr. Charles Ray, the father of Hubert Ray; next a furniture store operated by Mr. G. C. Collins and son George C. Collins, who also operated a funeral parlor. Then the Johnson Hardware Store; next a hotel owned by Mr. Virge B. Miller, the father of Anna Louise Foster, located where the Kuhn’s Store used to be and Lee’s Store is now located, and which burned about 1910 or 1912, a Mr. Mullins losing his life in the fire.
Next was a bakery in the building where the writer is now located, with the livery stable, which had been operated by Charles B. Sanford, who had sold a one-half interest in same to Mr. Scott Carroll, located on the corner of Main and College Streets.
Crossing College Street was an old hotel building, which was replaced by a concrete block building known as the Mays Hotel which was built by Mr. Choate about 1912. Just north of the Mays Hotel was one of the first automobile agencies in the Town; a Ford Agency, which was operated by Mr. Sam Bryan. Just a little further north on Main Street was a pressing shop operated by an individual whom many of you will remember, John Dunn. I believe this business was located about where Bob Nicks Realty Company is now.
On the west side of Main Street, beginning at Railroad Street and traveling Northward, the first business was the Myatt Drug Company, which all of us remember, and which burned a short time ago. Next was the H. Dry Goods Store; then the Dickson State Bank operated by Mr. Oury Harris and others and which was later purchased by the First National Bank.
Next was the Harris Dry Goods Store; then the First National Bank, the bank later purchasing the building occupied by the Harris Dry Goods Store.
This brings us to the Alley between the bank and what we have known as the Baker Building. In one of our recent articles, we made reference to a permit requested by Mr. Baker for a building, but the size of it did not seem to indicate the present building, known a the Baker Building and occupied by the Town and Country Shop.
I remember that about the time we are referring to there was a small drug store known as the Eberhart Drug Store and later this same building was operated as a shoe store by the late W. E. Hutton (see Appendix 1 for a photograph added by the editor). Then came the N. Gelberman Dry Goods Store which operated in Dickson for many years and many of us remember.
Then there was a candy store known as the Wilson Candy Store; next a watch repair business operated by Mr. G. L. Pentecost and I believe there was a dry goods store in the same building. Next came Arnold’s, Wynns’ and Tomlinson’s Grocery, three of the oldest businesses in Dickson. Next the Dickson Bank and Trust Company, which we have referred to heretofore, located where Kelly Dry Cleaners is now located. Next a jewelry and watch repair business operated by Mr. Hardy Wooten.
Then a grocery store operated by the late Mr. J. E. Tidwell (see Appendix 1 for a photograph added by the editor), who was the father of Alice Boyte Steele, a former Trustee of Dickson County for several years. Next was a Millinery Shop operated by Miss Tennie Alexander.
Crossing College Street was John Gossett, who operated a grocery and a gas station and who also did mechanical work on automobiles. Continuing was the Masonic Building, where Ragan’s Friendly Neighbor Store is now located.
These businesses constituted most of the businesses operating in Dickson from about 1910 and 1912, with the exception of one very important business, and that was Ike Shawl’s blacksmith shop, which was located where Sam Hannah’s Barber Shop and the McCreary’s Studio are now located. A blacksmith was very necessary in those days.
I am sure that there may be some errors in the businesses I have named, but from the information I have available and in keeping with my recollection, these were among the principle businesses in Dickson during this period.
In our article of April 30, 1980, we found the Council taking care of routine matters and trying to promote the electric and water systems, which called for the issuance of certain bonds.
In the minutes of the April 6, 1914, we find a Resolution, dated March 18, 1914, calling for an election to issue $15,000 in 30-year water, light, sewer and street improvement coupon bonds.
The result of the election was 141 for the bonds and 32 against same. So, it seems that the citizens were beginning to realize that if the Town was to grow and services be rendered that it would take money.
On April 27, 1914 the Council met in an adjourned session to consider the bids on the bonds. The bid of John Smith, who used to live on East College Street, and operated the Brown Lumber Company over near the Leathers Mill. As I recall, he was one of the first citizens of Dickson to own an automobile, and I can remember seeing him driving back and forth to work.
Nothing outstanding was recorded in the minutes during the month of May with the exception of the execution and delivery of the bonds to Mr. Smith, and part of the money was to be used for general improvements, including the construction of a paved street from the Mays Hotel located at the corner of College and Main Streets to W. L. Jones Store across the railroad on South Main Street. Thus, we have the first paving of Main Street in May of 1914.
Industry: Henry I. Siegel Plant
Back in 1932, Mr. W. H. Walker, who was secretary of the Chamber of Commerce and was very active in civic affairs of the community for many years, noticed an ad in one of the Nashville papers stating that if a Town would furnish a building, this person would give employment to approximately 500 people. Mr. Walker answered the ad and one day a short, heavyset man by the name of Henry I. Siegel walked into the hardware store of the then Mayor, Dan E. Beasley. He stated that his name was Henry I. Siegel and he was from Scranton, Pennsylvania, and that if the Town would furnish him a building, he would put approximately five hundred people to work. This was in the midst of the depression, very few people had jobs and the Town needed a factory very much and the people in this area were willing to help build a factory provided they were given a job.
Mayor Beasley had some forms printed for those who might be interested, the substance of which was they would pay six percent (6%) of their wages on the cost of the building in the event they were given a job. Hundreds of these forms were signed and filed with the Mayor, and he immediately began work in obtaining a location for the building and doing what was necessary in buying the land and getting the building started.
The site for the building was chosen on West Railroad Street where it is now located, and as soon as the land was obtained, the Mayor and other members of the Chamber of Commerce and City officials requested help in the construction of the building from the citizens of Dickson County and this area.
It was certainly a pleasant surprise the number of people who volunteered to help in the construction of the building, to donate sand, gravel, lumber, iron and such other materials as might be needed in the construction of the building.
An architect by the name of Emmons Woolwine was employed to draw the plans for the building at a cost of $250.00.
Of course, it was necessary to obtain funds to begin the building and twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) was borrowed from the Life and Casualty Insurance Company. Other funds were borrowed as needed, which will be shown hereinafter in an audit of the receipts and disbursements of the building fund.
The building was started in 1932, and according to the records, the first person was employed on December 31, 1933. Mr. Henry I. Siegel’s wife was the first plant manager and hired most of the employees. Within a very short time, approximately four hundred or five hundred people were working at the plant, and according to the information that has been given me, the starting rate for learners was one dollar ($1.00) per day, but they were later placed on piece work. It must be remembered that there were many people at this time who weren’t making 50 cents per day, and most anyone was glad to have a job of any kind.
The employees would voluntarily take their checks to the First National Bank and deposit six percent (6%) of same to the building account. According to the information I have, all of the employees did this voluntarily and continued to do so for about three years.
The plant continued to grow and meant much to the community, but there was a lack of communication between those in charge of building the plant and the employees who were contributing 6% of their wages toward the cost of the building.
I was elected recorded for the Town of Dickson in September of 1933. Sometime during the early part of 1936, a committee of the employees headed by Gene Page appeared before the City Council and asked the Mayor if they could obtain a statement of how much the employees had contributed toward the cost of the building, the total cost of same and about how much longer he thought they would have to contribute. Evidently, the request was taken in a different way than it was intended and the information was not given for some time. Finally, on one payday one or two employees decided not to pay their 6%, and of course, shortly thereafter practically the entire force decided not to make the contribution until the information could be obtained.
This brought on certain differences between the company and the building committee and the Recorder, writer of this article, was instructed by the Council to levy certain taxes on the Siegel Company. This only added to the conflict, and while the Recorder’s action in levying the taxes was upheld by the Federal Court, the employees in the meantime who had made contributions, or at least some of them, decided to make an effort to recover same.
Well, during all of this time, those who were vitally interested in the continuation of the operation of the Siegel Plant, and, in fact, all citizens, decided that it would be best to try to bring the matter to an end; however, the employees still wanted an audit of the fund to show the amount they had contributed to the building, but the Town did not want to go to the expense of employing an auditor.
The committee headed by Gene Page told those in charge that they were willing for the writer to audit the account, and would pay the expense of same. The audit follows:
STATEMENT OF THE DISBURSEMENTS OF DICKSON PANTS FACTORY BUILDING
Since what is known as the Pants Factory Building and Annex erected by and under the supervision of D. E. Beasley, our efficient Mayor, has now reached completion it becomes right and proper that the citizens of our fair City, in whom the title is to be eventually vested, should be correctly informed as to the exact expenditure incident to the erection of same.
At a recent meeting of the Dickson County Chamber of Commerce, a special committee, composed of Joe B. Weems, E. S. Payne, B. C. Nicks and Lipe Henslee, was appointed to assist and cooperate in procuring statement.
Robert S. Clement was selected by said committee to compile the records and submit the findings. After a careful and accurate audit of each and every item which went to make up the various receipts and disbursements, the following comprehensive statement is herein submitted, which we believe is a fair and impartial statement of said account.
I, Robert S. Clement, do hereby certify that I have compiled the foregoing statements of the Dickson Pants Factory from the cancelled checks and vouchers of the Dickson Pants Factory and from the ledger sheets of the bank account of said concern carried with the First National Bank of Dickson, Tennessee, and according to these records the statements herein reflect a true statement of this account to the best of my knowledge, information and belief.
This, the 7th day of November 1936.
ROBERT S. CLEMENT
Now, of course, the only thing I had to audit, which was the funds received and expended through the Dickson Pants Factory Account and the cost reflected in this audit does not reflect the cost of the building because there was so much free labor and materials given in the building of same. It is interesting to note that the building at that time contained about 55,000 square feet and the actual cost, excluding the labor and materials given, was about $1.00 per square foot.
Contributions made by the employees toward the cost of the building amounted to $24,684.60. After this audit was made, all lawsuits were settled and the Siegel Company agreed to pay a reasonable rent and the employees made no further contributions. I doubt if such cooperation has ever been shown anywhere else in the construction of a building, and, in fact, while there were some disagreements due mainly from the lack of communication, it seems that the matter ended quite well for all concerned.
Since 1933, the Henry I. Siegel Company has given employment to an average of 550 to 600 people at the local plant and has distributed millions of dollars throughout this area, and, in addition thereto, has established plants in Bruceton, Saltillo, Johnson City, Gleason, Trezevant, Hohenwald, South Fulton, Camden, Tiptonville, Fulton, Kentucky and Verona, Mississippi.
Soon after Mr. Henry I. Siegel and his wife, Rose, opened the plant, he sent for his two brothers, Sam and Ernest, who came to Dickson and began work in the plant and eventually became managers. Both were very active in civic affairs and contributed much to the community.
Others who were brought to Dickson by the Siegels were Irving Weinstein, Leo Greengrass, Aaron Tinnen and several others, all of whom contributed much to the growth of the plant and were active in community affairs.
Sam Siegel moved to Bruceton as manager, and this plant became the main distribution plant, and after his death a few years ago, a monument was erected in his memory there.
Both Mr. Henry I. Siegel and Ernest Siegel have died, but I understand that the widow of Mr. Henry I. Siegel, Rose Siegel, is still living.
Jesse “Yank” Siegel, the son of the late Henry I. Siegel and Rose Siegel, is president of the company.
At the local plant, Gus Alexander was manager for several years and Elmer Glass is the present manager.
In looking back, I think we all must agree that the Siegel Company has meant much to this area over a period of forty-seven years and still employs a large number of people.
All of you have heard the saying “Giant oaks from little acorns grow”, and I believe it was President Kennedy who said, “Every journey must begin with a single step.” Let us think for just a moment the results brought to Dickson and a large number of other communities in Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi when Mr. W. H. Walker answered the ad he saw in the Nashville paper.
Industry: Red Kap Garment Company
As the month of May has been named by the governor and others as “A Salute to Industry”, we have departed from our regular routine and will pay tribute this week to one of Dickson’s first industries which has meant so much to Dickson County and this entire area.
Last week we tried to show you what cooperation will do and the result of a letter written by Mr. W. H. Walker, the secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, which brought to us the Henry I. Siegel Plant. We will try this week to show you what great results can be obtained by personal relationships together with cooperation from the citizens of the community.
If you recall, a few weeks ago we wrote an article about the American Cigar Company, which began operation in 1924 and closed in May of 1930 on account of automation. I am sure you remember how Henry Ragan offered $50.00 to anyone who could identify all of the persons in a picture in the paper, which was almost an impossible task, but we finally persuaded him to give $50.00 to the one who could identify the most people, which I think he did on “Old Timer’s Day”.
The beginning of the Red Kap Garment Company is quite unique and Dickson citizens were quite fortunate in having a few individuals who knew Mr. W. W. Harlin, Mr. C. H. Williams and Mr. J. G. Hayes, all of whom we will refer to later.
In our article about the American Cigar Company, we told you that the building was built by certain citizens forming the Dickson Development Company and signing their names personally to construct the building. However, further investigation reveals that stock was sold in the Dickson Development Company to a large number of citizens, most of whom bought $50.00 and $100.00 certificates while others bought as much as $500.00.
The Red Kap building was built in 1924 across the street from the present post office under the leadership of the late Mr. H. T. V. Miller, who was Mayor at that time, and other citizens of Dickson County. It was rented to the Cigar Company for $1,800.00 per year to pay for the construction of same, but when the cigar company closed its business in May of 1930, the Mayor and the citizens who bought stock were left in a very difficult position.
Of course, all interested citizens began at once to try to find a tenant and I think it is quite interesting at this point to give you the history of what is now Red Kap and how they happened to come to Dickson.
A few days ago, I spoke to Mitchell Hayes, asking him to give me some information concerning the beginning of Red Kap and its present status. I will quote from Mitchell’s letter and then will give what other information I can about the company.
His letter follows:
“ Red Kap Garment Company had its beginning in 1923 when two Nashville men, Mr. W. W. Harlin and Mr. C. H. Williams opened a sales office in an old residence on Eighth Avenue, South, in Nashville, Tennessee, and started selling overalls and work shirts which they contracted with various clothing manufacturers to make for them. By 1930, their business had grown to the point where they decided to manufacture their own clothing. They propositioned an old friend, Mr. J. G. Hayes, to join them in this manufacturing venture. Mr. Hayes was not experienced in the clothing business, so Mr. Charles Rathburn was hired to assist and train Mr. Hayes. On November 1, 1930, Mr. Hayes, Mr. Rathburn and Mr. Charlie Siler moved to Dickson and started renovating the old cigar factory building and installing machinery to manufacture work shirts. The company started as the Harlin and Williams Company. The first employees in Dickson were hired in late November or early December, 1930, and were paid from $6.00 to $7.00 per week for sixty-five hours work. Within a year, the number of employees had increased to about two hundred and by 1940 approximately 600 hundred. The name of the company was changed to Dickson Manufacturing Company, then to Red Kap when it was incorporated as Red Kap, Inc., and became publicly owned corporation. In December 1964, it merged with Blue Bell, Inc., of Greensboro, North Carolina, and is now a division of Blue Bell, the makers of “Wrangler” jeans sportswear and western style clothes.”
The plant across from the post office continued to grow and business was so good that it became necessary for the company to have larger quarters.
One day in 1959, while I was so fortunate or unfortunate to be Mayor of Dickson, Mitchell Hayes came to me and told me that the company must have a larger building, and we began to look for a location that would be suitable. We had several others working with us, but none of us came up with anything that might be suitable with the exception of the property owned by Mrs. Doy Myatt Goodrum, and she didn’t want to sell it. The company was so desperate for more space that we got the impression that if we could not build a larger building for them, that they would be forced to move elsewhere. This was really bad news for all of us.
A committee including Mitchell, had looked at the Goodrum property and approved same, therefore, we began to double our efforts in trying to buy it. Mr. S. G. Robertson, president of the First National Bank, was talking with Miss Doy trying to buy same, and one day he reported to the writer that he just didn’t believe that she would sell it, so I decided to go down and talk with her personally.
I had bought school books from Miss Doy as far back as 1905, and there was always at least a business relationship between the Myatt Drug Company and the community. After talking with Miss Doy about other things, I finally told her what I had come for, and that was to buy her property, where the new plant of Red Kap is now located, or else we might lose the entire plant, and this would be a tragedy to the community.
I am sure that a lot of the women who worked at the factory traded with the Myatt Drug Company to some extent and I tried to sell her on the idea of what a great deed she would be doing to sell the property to the Town in order that the Town might build a larger building for Red Kap.
She didn’t say “yes”, but she didn’t say “no”, and I still held out some hope that we might be able to but the location.
I knew that Bill Barrett was keeping Miss Doy’s books and advising her about matters, and I called him and told him the situation; that I had talked with Miss Doy and that I assumed she would call him and that we were willing to pay a fair price for the property, but if we didn’t obtain it, we might lose the Red Kap Company.
I asked him that if he could conscientiously do so and he felt the same way I did about it that he would encourage her to sell it. I am sure that he did because I went back to see her three days later, and she made me a price which I thought was reasonable for the property and the Town issued revenue bonds and built the building and later added onto the first building.
The Red Kap Company, now a division of Blue Bell, has spent millions of dollars in this area. It has gotten along unusually well with its employees, and at the present time, employment runs from five hundred to five hundred fifty with an annual payroll in excess of $5,000,000.00.
Since its beginning in 1930, the following have served as managers of the old plant: J. G. Hayes, the father of Mitchell Hayes, from 1930 to 1941; Mitchell Hayes from 1941 to 1960.
In May of 1960, when the shirt factory moved to it new building, the original building was converted into a jacket plant and is still operating as such. Managers of the jacket plant have been: Mr. Jefferies part of 1960; Mildred Hutcheson from 1960 to 1974; Brad Mitchell from October of 1974 to January of 1975; Larry Lorance from January of 1975 to June of 1976, and Gary Williams from 1976 to the present time.
While it is true Dickson County would welcome more industry, I think we must confess that as a whole we have faired real well in that we have had several companies to operate continuously for periods of fifty years; and, in fact, we have one factory, the A. H. Leathers Manufacturing Company, since 1898.
Next week, provided we are able to obtain sufficient information, we will give the history of the Schrader Company, how it was located here and how much it has meant to the community.
Even though this article will not come out until June 4, 1980, we will continue our Salute to Industry, and this week we will discuss the Schrader Plant.
Before getting into the actual construction of the plant, I think it would be helpful for you to have a little history preceding the location of the plant and how again cooperation by numerous parties brought about the location of this plant in Dickson County.
If you will pardon a personal reference, Frank G. Clement was elected governor for the last time in 1962 and took office in January of 1963. He was very anxious to locate a plant in Dickson County as at that particular time we were very much in need of an additional plant which would employ several hundred men and women.
He called in Dan Calgy of the Industrial Development Commission and told him that this would probably be his last term as governor and he would like very much to see a large industry located in Dickson County. Frank said that he realized he couldn’t force applicants to go any particular place, but he wanted all worthwhile applicants to take a look at Dickson County and for him to do what he could in locating a plant here.
For several years, the Chamber of Commerce, and others interested in our community, had committees to take applicants over the Town and out into the county, but we never had any locations which the Town or county owned to show the applicants, but were relying on the applicant finding a location to his liking and then we would make an effort to obtain the property.
This plan wasn’t working and a number of our citizens had an opportunity to buy the property where the Schrader plant is now located and they took advantage of the occasion, and, according to the records, bought 85.73 acres in June of 1947, from the W. E. Luther Heirs for the price of $4300.00 for the sole purpose of holding the land to be used for industrial purposes.
According to the record at Charlotte those buying the property included C. J. Sullaway, G. A. Russell, James R. Arnold, Leland G. Ishmael, Norman Fussell, C. H. Wynns, Jr., W. E. Hutton, E. O. Hutcheson, J. W. Beasley, J. P. Breeden and Lee Mathis, Jr.
However, the property did not have a road from the Colesburg Road into same, and, as I recall, Jesse Walker Beasley bought enough property for a road, or at least headed up a committee to purchase the property from Tookie Adcock and thus the property was made available from what is now Highway 47.
A committee from the Schrader Company came to Dickson and they seemed to be reasonably impressed with the tract where the plant is now located. I believe Frank had several of the Schrader people out to the governor’s mansion for breakfast together with members of the Dickson committee, which included State Senator Lee Mathis, Jr. and Representative Buford Reed, both of whom are now gone.
Marshal Stuart was county judge at the time, and, as the interest grew, the question of financing the plant had to be determined, and it was decided that the easiest and best way to finance the construction of the plant would be to issue county revenue bonds which would be retired from the rental received from the plant.
Leland G. Ishmael was Mayor of the Town of Dickson at that time, and, of course, cooperation was very necessary in order to locate the plant in Dickson County.
However, there was another problem confronting the Town and the county at this time and that was that the Schrader Company would require considerably more water than we were able to supply. Fortunately, the Turnbull Utility District was being considered which was going to require the expenditure of a large amount of money. The district was finally established and a loan was obtained in addition to a sizeable grant by the Town of Dickson agreeing to take a certain amount of water from Turnbull and Schrader doing the same, with the stipulation that the price for the water to be obtained by Schrader would be the same as that paid by the Town. Thus, by this three-way deal, Turnbull was established and has meant much, not only to this particular area, but to other parts of the county.
Sewerage was going to be quite necessary for the plant and the Town of Dickson, at considerable expense, installed a sewer line which ran from the plant to the sewage plant on the south of Town.
While the building was being constructed, a number of the Schrader people came to Dickson, including Mr. Russell C. Flood. On an occasion, my wife had a number of the Schrader people, including Mr. Flood, for dinner. One of the dishes served was hominy. I noticed that Mr. Flood kept eating hominy, and I just assumed that he knew what he was eating and probably had been enjoying same over a period of years. He finally said, “Mr. Clement, would you please tell me what this is that I like so much?” I told him it was hominy and he wanted to know how it was made and where he might be able to find some. Before he left Dickson, my faithful servant for so many years, R. J. Jackson, had located a case of hominy for Mr. Flood to take back home with him to Brooklyn, New York. The following letter was received by me from Mr. Flood in June of 1964:
“Dear Mr. Clement:
We just wanted to take this opportunity to write you to thank you for all your help to us when we were surveying various areas for the purpose of relocation. We are pleased with our selection of Dickson for our new plant and know that our association will be a pleasant one.
/s/ Russell C. Flood”
The hiring of employees was started before ground was broken for the new plant. Temporary quarters for hiring and training of employees was set up in the E. F. Dennison building on West College Street in Dickson. On the first day of operation, Mr. Jesse J. Barnes, first Plant Personnel Supervisor, opened the doors to see a line of applicants two and one-half blocks long, and by the end of the day, applications had been taken from six hundred men and women. The total rose to about one thousand in the first four days.
The foundation for the new plant was started March 23, 1964, and on this occasion, Mr. Flood, referred to previously in this article, stated: “This occasion is the most dramatic advance in our entire 120-year history.”
The Schrader Plant was first occupied in September of 1964, with five hundred employees by the end of 1964. Many of these employees are still with the plant.
The official dedication of the plant took place on January 16, 1965, with a dinner at Montgomery Bell Park followed by a tour of the new plant facilities.
The Schrader company was founded in New York in 1844, prior to the time Dickson was growing into a Town.
According to the information obtained from Mr. L. E. Kilmarx, manufacturing manager of Schrader at this time, the company’s highest employment was in September 1978, when 975 people were employed. During 1978 and 1979 their payroll ran around $900,000 per month.
At the present time the Schrader business, like all automotive related business, is way down. Around 470 people are employed at this time and the payroll is now running around $500,000 per month. The Schrader plant in Dickson manufactures a full line of tire valves and related automotive products.
A large number of employees who were transferred to Dickson from the New York Schrader plant bought homes in Dickson County and immediately began to take part in the civic affairs of the community and are loved by all who know them. Some of the employees have since brought their parents to Dickson to reside.
So the question recurs, “What caused the Schrader Company to select Dickson for their plant?”
I think there are several factors that can be considered, all of which are related to cooperation, which we have stressed throughout our articles.
First, we had a group of citizens who were willing to put up their money and buy a piece of property for a plant site, therefore, we had something to show the Schrader people when they came.
Second, we also had some pretty strong help from the state. Maybe the breakfast at the mansion had a little something to do with it.
Next, we were able to obtain a sufficient water supply for the plant by the Turnbull Utility District and the Town of Dickson joining hands to obtain water for the plant.
The fact that we had a sufficient work force available, no doubt, was a factor in Schrader’s decision. Another thing was a good public school system. This is a question that is always asked by the applicant.
Then, I believe that the Schrader people, in meeting Dickson Countians, came to the conclusion that Dickson Countians were good citizens and certainly, we have found the Schrader people to be fine citizens.
Whatever the factors were which caused the Schrader plant to locate here, all of us are thankful that they did and I am wondering how we would have gotten along without them since 1964.
Humorously, I wonder if the fact that Mr. Flood was so fond of hominy had anything to do with it or the fact that Mr. Hackermann’s wife was name Iris, and, you know, the Tennessee flower is the iris. Anyway, we are glad you are here.
Industry: Tennsco Corporation and Others
In our article of May 28, 1980, in which we gave you the history of the Red Kap Company, one paragraph which the paper failed to pick up from our article was the names of certain managers of the Red Kap Company.
In May of 1960, Red Kap occupied their new building in Dickson and since then, the following managers have been: J. V. Dillehay from 1960 to 1972; Clayton Walls from 1972 to 1973, and Robert Rial from 1973 to the present time, all of whom did excellent jobs.
We apologize for the omission of this paragraph.
We were not able to give the history of all of the industrial plants in Dickson during the month of May, so we will conclude this subject in this week’s article.
It was not our intention to cover all of the industries located within the City of Dickson, but only the larger ones, and I am sure that we have omitted a large number of small industries which have been quite helpful to the City of Dickson and this area.
One larger plant still operating in the City of Dickson is Tennsco Corporation, which had its beginning back in 1952 when the Dickson Industrial Trust entered into a contract with the K. F. Cline Company, Inc. for the construction of a building on 2.76 acres of land located in South Dickson this being property formerly used by the Dickson Raincoat Factory.
The Cline Company was engaged in the manufacture and warehousing of wire products and plastics.
The Cline Company assigned its interest in same to Diebold, Inc. on or about June of 1959. The Diebold Company was engaged in the manufacture and warehousing of safes and office equipment.
In 1962, the Diebold Company assigned and sold its interest in the property to the present operator, TENNSCO, which has improved the property to a great extent and gives employment to approximately one hundred sixty employees at the present time.
Recently the TENNSCO Company purchased the Winner Boats property and is making substantial improvements on same. Mr. Lester Speyer is President of TENNSCO.
Tennessee Castings Company built a plant in April of 1968 by the issuance of County Revenue Bonds with other sources of revenue, and has been much help to the community. While business has slowed down some in all our plants, I understand that Tennessee Castings Company is now in the process of recalling some of their employees.
At the present time, including management, there are approximately three hundred fifteen employees with the Company engaged in the manufacture of malleable castings. Mr. Edwin A Fothergill is Vice President and Plant Manager.
In 1957, the late Lipe Henslee located a prospect in California by the name of Wizard Boats. Lipe got some of their people to come to Dickson and look over the site where Winner Boats was finally located. The Town of Dickson had authorized One Hundred Eighty Thousand ($180,000) Dollars in bonds to build the plant and a Nashville brokerage firm felt sure that they could sell the bonds. We proceeded to lay the concrete base when we were informed by the brokerage company in Nashville that they could not sell the bonds, so we were really in the middle.
I had succeeded Dr. Beasley as Mayor and we were all very much disturbed about the matter. I talked with Dr. Beasley about the matter and suggested to him that we try to sell the bonds locally. That I would agree to take $5,000 and if he would take $5,000 along with Marshal Rutledge, Dr. B. F. Nesbitt and one or two more, we could probably sell the bonds. He agreed with my suggestion. I called a meeting for about thirty-five or forty citizens who might be interested in the purchase for a bond from $1,000 up.
After telling them that the company in Nashville could not sell the bonds on the open market, that we had proceeded to pour the concrete, that the company in California would take about $20,000 in bonds, I proceeded to tell them that I would be willing to risk $5,000 provided some others would, but that we didn’t want any women or children investing in the project. To our great surprise, we raised $220,000 in subscriptions immediately. Carney Nicks was named Treasurer.
The next day, Carney and I went over the list and we noticed several that really wanted to be civic minded, but we felt like it would be a hardship on them from their subscription and he agreed to this, but the first two individuals he talked to became offended so we decided we had better go about the matter a different way.
So, we eventually had the bonds issued and the number of each bond was placed in a capsule and placed in a bowl. Then, the names of the two hundred twenty people were put in another bowl, and we had a young man draw the names from the bowl and then draw a capsule for a bond number. Thus, we were left with about forty people who wanted bonds, but we couldn’t supply them unless some of us agreed to let them have some of ours. This was no problem with me because I was glad to sell four of my bonds. However all of this issue was paid.
I found out why some of the boys might be offended by being asked to be released from their subscription because as we were going out of the building, I heard someone say, “Well, when such conservatives as Robert Clement, Dr. Beasley, Marshal Rutledge and others bought $5,000 each, I knew the bonds were good.” We didn’t object to being called “conservative”, nor do I object to being classified as a conservative today. I think you can be progressive and still be conservative.
Later on a group out of New York took over the Winner Boat Company and we need not go into detail about that, but I think we will be fortunate if the plant can be put back into operation as Mr. Speyer is endeavoring to do. I understand that he has purchased certain equipment from then Printwood Corporation, which was managed by some of the finest people who ever lived in Dickson, Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Pierce.
This article will conclude our series of articles on industry. While there are some who are of the opinion that we have enough industry compared to our estimated population of about 6,700 for the City of Dickson and about 27,000 for the county, it is the writer’s opinion that we could use more industry and supply sufficient labor, and we should all work together for the benefit of this area to bring to Dickson the right kind of industry.
It makes no difference who gets the credit just so long as the end result is in our favor. It could well be that during this so-called recession that we are going through that some of the smaller industries in other states might want to move into this area. If so, we should all work together toward this end.
Special Citizens, Mr. Underhill and Mr. Adcox
For the past several weeks, we have been discussing some of the larger industries in Dickson and how they came about being organized and constructed. So, we will now try to get back to some of the meetings of the Council in 1914. In Article 20, dated May 14, 1980, we stated that the first paving on Main Street was in May of 1914, but this did not include all of Main Street.
Evidently, the business people were well pleased with the improvement, and we find that Mr. D. E. Beasley and Mr. Clyde Self appeared before the Board on behalf of the property owners on Center Avenue and submitted a proposition whereby the property owners would pay half of the expense of grading and paving Center Avenue with Town to pay its pro rata part. They were granted a permit to have the street surveyed, but deferred further action on the request.
Later on, we will find that the Town passed an ordinance covering most of the Town, whereby the streets would be paved with the Town paying one-third of the cost and the property owners on each side of the street paying one-third each. This plan was still in effect in the 1930’s because I well remember after I was elected City Recorder in 1935 that due to the depression, many of the property owners had been unable to pay their part of the paving and some litigation was had, but not very much.
So, it is a credit to those who went before that they were doing their very best to make Dickson a better place to live and to improve our Town with a light and water system and now beginning on a street program.
In a called session on May 8, 1914, the Town sold $15,000 Water and Light Improvement Bonds to John M. Smith. The vote for the issuance and sale of the bonds was 141 for the same and only 32 against.
On July 16, 1941 we find an item which is quite interesting and which a lot of us remember. Mr. B. B. Underhill, one of our good citizens, had suffered a serious accident on the railroad, losing a leg and an arm. Despite his handicap, he wanted to do something to make a living in addition to the benefits he would receive due to his injuries. He appeared before the Board and asked for the privilege of operating a peanut and popcorn roaster somewhere on the streets of Dickson from a machine that he would provide.
Mr. Underhill’s request for a permit was granted and the Board decided that he should not be required to pay a privilege tax.
I am sure many of you reading this article can remember that at first he operated a small machine which was housed near the corner of the Citizens Bank; that is, between the bank and the railroad. Later he built a small house and put the machine inside and roasted peanuts and popped popcorn from this location for many years.
After his death, the house still remained, and for some reason, my wife wanted me to buy it for our grandchildren, and I bought the house, I believe, in the late 1950’s and moved it to our home on East 70 Highway.
Back in those days, our people enjoyed Chautauquas which came to Dickson about once each summer and provided us with good clean plays, and we find that in the minutes of July 6, 1914, a motion was made by Alderman Grigsby that the promoters of the Chautauqua be exempt from the corporation privilege tax.
At this meeting, things must have been getting a little rough because the Board decided that a night watchman was needed. It is somewhat comforting to think that in those days only one night watchman was needed, yet it causes us a great bit of concern and alarm to think that nowadays, including the City and county officers, there are at least twenty-five or thirty, and still we have lots of crime which cannot be solved.
The Town employed Bob Wilson as night watchman stating that he would be required to live in the jail, and, in addition to his duties as watchman, he would sprinkle the business section of Main Street at an early hour each morning including Sunday. This is the same Bob Wilson who served as night policeman for many years and later became a guard at the penitentiary.
Election time came around again and minutes of September 9, 1914, show the result of an election which was held September 3, 1914.
Mr. W. H. Walker, Mayor; H. C. Thompson, Recorder; John Sheeley, Marshal; T. M. Harper, School Director. Aldermen from the First Ward were A. C. Hughes and J. T. Holley; from the Second Ward were L. C. Helberg and R. A. Freeman; from the Third Ward, W. J. Sugg and L. B. Connelly; from the Fourth Ward, R. F. Ridings and G. C. Redden. The Board elected Mr. J. S. Johnson as City Treasurer.
To show how conditions have changed, we find that in October of 1914, an ordinance was passed to prevent trespassing on railroad property and making it unlawful for any person to ride upon a moving train within the corporate limits of the Town of Dickson. I assume they mean each other than employees – or hobos, as they were called then. I can well remember that every freight train which came through Dickson back in those days had several hobos on it. As most of you know, we live right beside the railroad track in Dickson now and I have seen only one hobo within the last two years. I suppose they are now using trucks and automobiles on the interstate.
The minutes do not disclose any unusual proceedings except an effort of the officials to keep abreast of the times from October of 1914 until August 6, 1915, when an ordinance was passed granting the N. C. and St. L. Railway a right-of-way on East Broad Street.
The minutes of August 6, 1915, also reflect that some of the same problems which the Electric Department and Water Department have today existed then because we find that a motion was adopted that all water and light bills delinquent after the 20th of each month be cut off. However, the responsibility of collecting the delinquent accounts was turned over to the Water and Light Committee rather than to the superintendent of the department.
An election was called for September 2, 1915, and the results of same being as follows: Mr. J. T. Holley, Mayor; H. C. Thompson, Recorder; John Sheeley, City Marshal; F. H. Crow, School Director. Aldermen elected were: from the First Ward, F. M. Hurt and A. C. Hughes; from the Second Ward, R. A. Freeman and A. B. Crow; from the Third Ward, E. S. Payne and W. J. Sugg; from the Fourth Ward, Oury Harris and George W. Davidson.
The Board elected S. G. Robertson as City Treasurer and Bob Wilson as Night Watchman.
On November 1, 1915, the name of one of the most respected individuals and one who, in my opinion, was the best or one of the best employees that the City of Dickson ever had appears. Here it is stated that W. H. Adcox, City Electrician, submitted a report of expenses of operating the Water and Light Plant for the month of October 1915.
If you recall in some of our previous articles, we found that those in authority were having trouble in finding a competent person to operate the Water and Light Departments. They found him in Mr. W. H. Adcox, who worked for the City until the mid 1950’s.
The minutes do not disclose what his salary was at that time, but we do find in the minutes of March 6, 1916, that he was allowed $80.00 per month for his services as manager of the Water and Light Plant, $5.00 of said salary to Mr. Adcox to be expended to a man for Sunday services. In other words, his salary was $75.00 per month.
In my ten years serving as Recorder, there was very little trouble about wages. During all of this time and for a total of approximately forty years, Mr. Adcox was General Superintendent of the Town, including the water, light, street and other departments.
My recollection is that his salary never was more than $175.00 per month although he was capable of doing any kind of work that the Town required.
However, at one Council meeting, there were some of the employees who felt like they should have more money, and quite a discussion was being had about the same with some of the Councilmen wanting to allow small raises and others violently opposing same. At that time, as I stated before, Mr. Adcox’s salary was $175.00 per month. Despite the fact that he had nine members of his family to support, he got up and said, “Mr. Mayor in order to bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion, take $50.00 off of my salary and pay me only $125.00 per month and divide the $50.00 among among these other employees.” In all of my years of experience, from observation and reading about such matter, I have never known of an individual being so generous. His picture appears elsewhere in this issue (see Appendix 1).
In next week’s article, we will find the Council still trying to make progress in our school system, when Professor Morrison addressed the Board relative to the cost of continuing the public school system for a nine month period. Children of the late Mr. and Mrs. Adcox include Zula Bolen and Tunelle Nicks, who live in Dickson. Other children include Nan Wilson of Virginia Beach, Virginia; Clara Fitzgerald of Nashville, Tennessee; Ludean Parrish of Winnetka, Illinois. Those who are deceased are Elbert Adcox, formerly of Hohenwald, Tennessee, and Corrine Baker, formerly of Gallatin, Tennessee.
Improvements and a Flu Epidemic
We closed last week’s article with emphasis on education. The minutes of January 17, 1916, state that Professor W. P Morrison addressed the mayor and aldermen, at the called session relative to the cost of the town to continue the public school for a nine month period. He reported that there were 65 nonresident students enrolled, who were paying tuition of $3.25 per month, one-half of which goes to the city fund, and that the total amount due from the town at the expiration of the school term would be approximately $1,400.00. Professor Morrison also made a proposition to the board that he would guarantee the payment of ninety percent of said fund, which was accepted by the Council and members of the School Board.
A motion was then made, seconded and unanimously adopted that the town public school be continued for the full nine month term and that the town pay all school warrants to teachers for their services as they become due.
The above information is of particular interest to me because I was in school at Oakmont in 1916 and graduated from same in 1917. It seems that there have been a lot of class reunions called recently and, again, I am calling for a class reunion of the graduates of Oakmont in the year 1917, but, as you might suppose, there are very few left. In fact, the only one that I can think of is Nell Freeman.
Again, we find Mr. D. E. Beasley before the Board on March 6, 1916, with reference to raising funds to improve our streets. “D. E. Beasley, representing the Merchants Association of Dickson, appeared before the Council on behalf of securing the cooperation of the town in raising funds to oil Main Street.”
He was quite active during his entire life in working for anything that would improve the town.
Also, at this meeting, a motion was made and adopted that a list of all citizens contributing money on the street work be published in the town papers.
An ordinance was passed at the March 6th meeting providing for the destruction of unsafe and undesirable buildings in the town.
Well, we have another election coming up on September 8, 1916, the results being as follows: H. L. Grigsby, Mayor; H. C. Thompson, Recorder; John Sheeley, City Marshal; Pitt Henslee, School Director. Aldermen elected were from the First Ward A. C. Hughes and F. M. Hurt; from the Second Ward A. B. Crow and Ray Edwards; from the Third Ward E. S. Payne and W. J. Sugg; and from the Fourth Ward Oury Harris and G. T. Collier.
War clouds were hanging over Europe, and for the next year, the council met regularly and took care of routine matters, but very little of local importance was considered because of the fact that it appeared that we might be called into the European War at any time.
On September 6, 1917, an election was held and the following officials were elected: H. L. Grigsby, Mayor; H. C. Thompson, Recorder; John Sheeley, City Marshal. Aldermen elected were: F. M. Hurt and G. W. Mullins from the First Ward; Harry Davis and J. F. Curry from the Second Ward; E. S. Payne and J. B. Cummins from the Third Ward; and G. T. Collier and Oury Harris from the, Fourth Ward. The Board re-elected S. G. Robertson as City Treasurer.
It is interesting to note that in the call of this election, the voting place for the First Ward was in front of the St. James Hotel. So evidently the name of the Mays Hotel had been changed to the St. James Hotel.
By this time some of our boys had gone off to war and in the minutes of April 15, 1918, we find that the Council repealed the ordinance preventing the keeping of hogs within the Corporate Limits of the town for the duration of the war and to make such sanitary restrictions pertaining to same as necessary for the health and best interests of the town and submit same to the next City Council meeting. It is also interesting to note that Mr. W. H. Adcox’s salary by this time had increased to $95.00 per month.
On September 16, 1918, the Council employed one of our well known and prominent citizens, Mr. H. N. Williams, to audit the revenue books of Marshal John Sheeley, City Recorder H. C. Thompson and City Treasurer S. G. Robertson, and for his services he be allowed the sum of $60.00. I remember Mr. Williams quite well and was very fond of him. He believed in getting things done on time, so on October 6, 1918, he made his report wherein he reported that “he found all records of the Town Officials to be in good order and properly signed.” Mr. Williams was the father of H. N. Williams Jr., who maintains a residence here, but is presently employed in Washington and has been for many years. I have understood that he will be coming back home before long to live with us, and we will all be glad to see him.
New officials who had been elected on September 5, 1918, and who were inducted into office on October 6, 1918, were Mayor D. E. Beasley; City Marshal John Sheeley; Recorder H. C. Thompson. Aldermen elected were from the First Ward J. H. Page and S. W. Mullins; from the Second Ward Harry Davis and Frank Curry; from the Third Ward J. L. Parrish and R. J. Work, Sr.; from the Fourth Ward G. T. Collier and S. H. Bryan. School Director F. H. Crow. The Board elected G. L. Pentecost as City Treasurer.
On April 7, 1919, the minutes reflect that a motion was made by Alderman Mullins, seconded by Alderman Curry that a public drinking fountain be put up at some point between College Street and North Main Street, same to be maintained by the town.
Now, this might be a good question for our friend, Henry Ragan, to explore. I don’t remember a public drinking fountain, but I am sure that he does, if there was one, so maybe we will hear from him about this. It could be that the council decided not to do it.
A special meeting was called on April 9, 1919, for the purpose of considering a resolution relative to the purchase by the town of one-half of the T. B. Loggins School property from G. W. Dodson for the price of $8,250.00 said building to be used for a county high school, and on May 7, 1919, the ordinance presented at the April meeting was passed on first reading.
On June 2, 1919, the amendment to the hog ordinance, which was passed for the duration of the war, was repealed and the ordinance prohibiting the keeping of hogs within the corporate limits was re-instated.
At a meeting on July 7, 1919, a motion was made and seconded that “All soldier boys in the service be exempted from paying their 1918 poll tax and that those who have paid, the marshal be authorized to refund same.” The motion carried unanimously.
Election time came again on September 4, 1919, and the following officials were elected. D. E. Beasley, Mayor; John Sheeley, City Marshal; H. C. Thompson, Recorder. Alderman elected were J. H. Page and A. C. Hughes from the First Ward; H. T. V. Miller and Frank Curry from the Second Ward; A. L. White and L. N. Chappell from the Third Ward; and G. T. Pentecost was elected City Treasurer by the board.
Mr. W. H. Adcox must have been doing a mighty good job as Superintendent of all departments of the town as his salary was increased on October 6, 1919, to $150.00 per month.
An interesting article appears in the December meeting of the council when “The Honorable Pitt Henslee appeared before the board on behalf of the colored population of Dickson to request funds for the purpose of obtaining a lot for a school building. The amount requested, $120.00 was approved by the council.
Also, at the December meeting, it was announced that Alderman Chappell had moved outside the corporation and Willard Pack was elected by the board to fill out the unexpired term.
There are some of us who remember the flu epidemic of 1918 through 1920 I know of one home in West Dickson where three members of Councilman Ted Bruce’s family died within twenty-four hours; 1 have been unable to obtain the number of those from this county who died from the flu, but it certainly was a large number, and on February 9, 1920 we find that the flu epidemic had become so bad that special meeting was called to proclaim the closing of all public places for a week, and at the expiration of a week, to determine whether it would be necessary to extend the closing.
Well, times sure have changed. Today we find it legal to sell beer and whisky and we have a large number of whisky stores and beer distributors in our city. One of the biggest issues that has been before the city council recently has been over the. footage that the council thought proper for beer to be sold with reference to location from a church or school.
On June 7, 1920, the city council passed an ordinance prohibiting the sale, barter, lending or giving away of cigarettes or cigarette papers within the corporate limits of the Town of Dickson and providing for penalties for the violation of same. So, the question remains, which way are we going? Some think one way, while others would differ.
Well election time came around again, and on September 2, 1920, the following officials were elected, and you will note that there are some changes. J. T. Holley, Mayor; H. C. Thompson, Recorder; John Sheeley, City Marshal. Alderman elected were J. H. Page and G. W. Mullins from the First Ward; H. T. V. Miller and Harry Davis from the Second Ward; A. L. White and Joe L. Parrish from the Third Ward; and G. C. Redden and W. D. Brown from the Fourth Ward. The board elected Oury Harris, School Director and Lester Rogers, City Treasurer.
Also, in September of 1920, we find for the first time that the town was growing to the extent that it was found necessary to name all streets and to number all places of business, offices and residences within the City Limits of Dickson.
The population of the town in 1920 was 2,263, when the war was over and it was necessary for the town to make definite plans for the future.
We will continue next week with steps toward a more progressive community, but few of us realized that we were approaching the great depression beginning in 1929.
The Bristol to Memphis Highway
Last week we closed our article with the election of the city officials on September 2, 1920.
There was little done during the remainder of the year except at a meeting held December 22, 1920, when a motion was passed to prohibit the sale and shooting of firecrackers, roman candles, etc. in the corporate limits and that same be enforced and that two extra men, be employed during “the holidays to assist in” enforcing the ordinance.
Well, you know, I have said many times in these articles that our problems are still the same. This last week, I heard the police trying to find out who threw a package of firecrackers into a group at the Plaza. The 1921 meetings opened by the imposing of poll tax of $2.00, one dollar of which was to be used for school purposes and the other for street repairs. This provision applied, to women for the first time. So, after all, ERA is not so new.
In February of 1921, the Night Marshal was allowed to accept the position of Deputy Sheriff with the understanding that this position would in no way interfere with his duties for the town.
The boundaries of the Fire District in February of 1921 were beginning at the intersection of Church and College Street and running Westward with College Street to Mulberry Street; thence Southward with Mulberry to Walnut Street, thence, Eastward with Walnut Street to Center Avenue; thence Northward with Center Avenue and Church Street to the beginning point on College Street. I am not sure just what the fire limits are now.
Very little occurred in 1921 until the election on September 1, 1921. when the following officials were elected: J. T. Holley, Mayor; H. C. Thompson, Recorder; John-Sheeley, Marshal; Aldermen J. H. Page, G. W. Mullins, Harry Davis, H.T.V. Miller, J. L. Parrish, A. L. White, G. C. Redden and W. D. Brown. The Board again elected Lester Rogers to serve as City Treasurer.
On October 12, 1921, Marshal John Sheeley, who had been with the town so long, resigned, and the Board elected Dormer White in his place.
The Minutes of 1922 reveal very little of great importance as we were just getting over the effects of the war and the flu epidemic.
On September 4, 1922, an election. was held with the following officials elected: J. T. Holley, Mayor; H. C. Thompson, Recorder; J. R. Wilson, City Marshal. Alderman elected were J. H. Page, A. J. Byrn, R. A. Freeman, E. W. Stewart, A. L. White, E. S. Payne, G. C. Redden and Harry Leathers.
The only changes were A. J. Byrn from the First Ward, replacing G. W. Mullins; R. A. Freeman and E. W. Stewart replacing Harry Davis and H. T. V. Miller from the Second Ward; E. S. Payne replacing J. L. Parrish from the Third Ward; and Harry Leathers replacing W. D. Brown from the Fourth Ward. The Board re-elected Lester Rogers as City Treasurer.
On July 2, 1923, the minutes disclose that a City Chamber of Commerce had been formed and they were represented by a committee who appeared before the board with a proposition to assist the town in the repair and oiling of Main Street. The sum of $300.00 was guaranteed by the committee as their part for the work proposed on Main Street from the Jones Store on South Main Street and extending to S. H. Bryan and Company on North Main Street, which, I believe, is where the Barber Furniture Company is now located. The town accepted the proposition and agreed to begin work as soon as possible.
Many of you can remember the map of the State of Tennessee, showing a proposed highway from Bristol to Memphis which would run through Dickson on College Street. The map was located on the north side of the Dickson Furniture Company building and remained there until a few years ago when the building was painted.
The proposition from the State and County Highway Commissioners which was presented to the board was that the town go fifty-fifty on building the Memphis to Bristol Highway along College Street through the town. The Commissioners asked the town for the sum of $750.00 towards the construction of the highway.
The Aldermen voted to grant the request with the provision that $500.00 be paid by the town and $250.00 to be donated by property owners along the street.
The road, as many of us know, was built and was one of the most traveled highways in Tennessee until the interstate system.
In an election held in September of 1923, H. T. V. Miller replaced J. T. Holley as Mayor, H. C. Thompson, Recorder, and J. R.. Wilson, City Marshal, were re-elected. Aldermen replaced were, as follows: A. G. Rickert and J. J. Sanders from the First Ward; J. S. Johnson and Harry Davis from the Second Ward; A. L. White and E. S. Payne from the Third Ward, and Joe Crosby and J. T. Halbrook from the Fourth Ward.
Mayor H. T. V. Miller served faithfully for a period of eight years, during which time the town continued to grow.
In a previous article, we mentioned that the town had acquired the Bryan property on East Walnut and Bryan Avenue for a school. A few of us remember the original building, a picture of which you will find elsewhere in the paper (see Appendix 1), and which is quite interesting. It might be that some of you might be able to remember some of those in the picture, but I must confess that I cannot.
Next week we will conclude the 1920’s and begin with the 1930’s during the dark days of the depression when very little was accomplished, but which all of us over fifty-five to sixty years of age remember.
A Speed Limit is Adopted and More Streets Paved
This last week on one of my friend’s programs, Henry Ragan’s, he asked the listeners the question, “If they ever knew that I had been a plumber?” and referred to a picture wherein he said he could prove same. Of course, this deserves some explanation and elsewhere in the paper (see Appendix 1), you will find a picture with the persons identified and in which was the beginning of the Wizard Boat Company, which we have referred to in a previous article. The truth of the fact is that Mr. Ragan was the plumber and I was overseeing his work in order to be sure that he did same properly. The picture was taken in 1955.
In the minutes of May 4, 1924, we find that a committee from the Lions Club composed of Prof. Bayer, Judge Joe B. Weems, Dr. Hartwell Weaver and Harry Leathers, appeared before the board asking the cooperation of the council in promoting means of the equipment of grounds for the entertainment of the boys and girls of Dickson during the summer season.
I was under the impression that the Lions Club was not formed in Dickson until the 1930’s, but evidently a club did exist, as indicated by the minutes in 1924. It will be interesting to hear from some of the members of the present Lions Club about this.
Also, at this meeting, it was noted that Alderman White had moved outside the corporate limits and tendered his resignation. Mr. Frank Hurt was elected by the Board to fill out the unexpired term.
Automobiles were beginning to increase to the extent that the board found it necessary to adopt a speed limit, which was done on May 4, 1924. Later on we find that the signs were changed to allow the speed limit to be increased from 20 mi1es per hour to 30 miles per hour, so evidently the first speed limit established was 20 miles per hour.
Routine matters appear in the minutes until an election being held on September 4, 1924. H. T. V. Miller was elected Mayor, H. C. Thompson, City Recorder, J. R. Wilson, City Marshal and Aldermen elected were F. M. Hurt and Gus Pursley from the First Ward; J. S. Johnson and A. B. Crow from the Second Ward; Frank Hurt and Douglas Petty from the Third Ward; and J. T. Halbrook and Joe Crosby from the Fourth Ward. The board elected B. H. Grigsby as City Treasurer replacing Lester Rogers.
The City began paving in a big way in May of 1925, when an ordinance was adopted to approve paving Main Street from the intersection of Murrell Street at the Presbyterian Church and running South with Main Street to where Main Street intersects Walnut Street, including some 5,771 square yards of surface to be paved.
Still trying to improve our water supply, we find that on June 1, 1925, the town purchased the John H. Baker Spring, which is just south of what has been known as Tice’s Store, and authorized the purchasing of the necessary pipe to run a waterline from the spring to the city’s reservoir, which necessitated the borrowing of $2500.00.
On August 17, 1925, an ordinance was adopted to authorize the paving of College Street, Main Street to Rickert Avenue, Main Street to Crutcher Street, Murrell Street, McCreary Heights, Walnut Street, South Main Street, and Poplar Street.
In the election held September 24, 1925, the following officials were elected H. T. V. Miller re-elected Mayor, H. C. Thompson, City Recorder and Alderman were F. M. Hurt and G. W. Mullins from the First Ward; J. S. Johnson and A. B. Crow from the Second Ward; Frank Hurt and Harry Nance from the Third Ward; and J. T. Halbrook and Joe Crosby from the Fourth Ward. The board subsequently elected H. B. Hudson Day Marshal, C. M. Bates Night Marshal and B. H. Grigsby City Treasurer.
In March of 1926, bids were received for the installation of a sewer system, the successful bidder being Sherman Machine and Iron Works of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for the sum of $74,160.00, the work to be completed in six months from the date of beginning. Thus, the first major step was taken to install a sewer system for the Town of Dickson.
On September 29, 1927, the city began electing the Mayor, City Recorder and Aldermen for two year terms instead of one. Those elected at that time were H. T. V. Miller re-elected Mayor; H. C. Thompson, City Recorder, and Aldermen were W. R. Boyte and F. M. Hurt from the First Ward; T. C. Helberg and S. G. Robertson from the Second Ward; Frank Hurt and Harry Nance from the Third Ward, and C. I. Smith and J. T. Halbrook from the Fourth Ward.
As we have said so many times heretofore, our problems haven’t changed much. One of the big problems in Nashville has been the feeding of children. The problem isn’t new, however, the plan was somewhat different. On November 9, 1927 Mesdames Bouldin, Hughes and McCreary; with Joe Crosby as spokesman, appeared before the Council on behalf of a proposition to provide funds for the equipment of the basement of the Oakmont School for a cafeteria to serve children lunches during the winter months, said cafeteria to be under the supervision of the Parent Teachers Association. The Board approved the proposition in an amount not to exceed $1,000.00.
At the November meeting the Board elected B. H. Grigsby City Treasurer; H. B. Hudson Day Marshal and E. L. Ellis Night Marshal.
If you recall, in one of our first articles there was a picture of the first judge, jury and court officers in the new courthouse in Dickson which was built in 1899 (see Appendix 1 for a photograph of the courthouse–added by the editor). As roads improved and automobiles increased, the holding of court in Dickson was finally discontinued. On March 23, 1928, we find that the council passed the resolution turning over the courthouse property to the local American Legion to sell and use the proceeds from the building to beautify the grounds. Thus, began the history of what is now the War Memorial Building. However, the Legion agreed to give all serviceable material from the courthouse building to the town for repairs and the addition which were being made to Oakmont School.
On November 13, 1928, the Mayor had called a special session of the Council to consider a proposition submitted by the Tennessee Electric Power Company for the purchase of the Dickson Water and Light Plant for the price of $325,000. The offer was tabled indefinitely. However, this offer resulted in a special meeting held January 25, 1929, to obtain a decision of the Council with reference to a bill introduced and pending in the Legislature to amend the Charter of the Town of Dickson to require a two-third’s vote of the people to sell or dispose of the Dickson Water and Light Plant. The vote was close but it was five for the amendment and three against, and the Charter was so amended.
For many years, Dickson operated with a volunteer fire department. Claude Hooper, who was an employee of the City was head of the Fire Department and had considerable experience in fighting fires, but the volunteer arrangement was not supplying a sufficient number of men, and on February 4, 1929, a motion was passed for the town to employ six men to train for fire fighting at $2.00 per call. This plan stayed in effect for some time.
In speaking of Claude Hooper, who, worked for the town for forty-eight years, in the writer’s opinion, he was one of the most valuable employees that the town ever had. He worked right along with Mr. W. H. Adcox for many years in all departments. That is, whether it be climbing electric poles, laying water lines, fighting fires or anything else. He became ill while working for the town, and I have seen him working many times when I felt that he was not able to do so.
Street improvements were still being demanded by the citizens, and in September of l929, the Council ordered the paving of High Street, Mulberry Street and Broad Street.
In the election held in September of 1929, the following officials were elected: H. T. V. Miller re-elected Mayor; H. C. Thompson City Recorder; Aldermen were W. R. Boyte and E. C. Reeder from the First Ward; S. G. Robertson and T. C. Helberg from the Second Ward; Frank Hurt and J. A. Bruce from the Third Ward; J. T. Halbrook and C. I. Smith from the Fourth Ward.
The Board elected B. H. Grigsby as City Treasurer.
The Board elected Harry Davis as Day Marshal by acclamation for the ensuing ten years. Evidently, the election of Mr. Davis as City Marshal for ten years was an error in recording the minutes because the Board had no authority to elect anyone for more than their own term of office, which at that time was two years.
In next week’s article, we will find the Mayor and members or the Board trying to meet the problems of the depression and doing the best they could to hold things together.
On the Midst of the Depression
In our last week’s article, we mentioned that the Board elected Harry Davis, Day Marshal by acclamation for the ensuing ten years. I suggested that this might have been an error, but is plainly written in the minutes that his term for ten years.
Since thinking about the matter, and realizing that we have had Harry Davis with the City in some capacity since 1899 when he was jailer; and upon moving out of the jail, he failed to leave the keys and those who were in couldn’t get out and those on the outside couldn’t get in to see about those on the inside, and a committee was appointed by the Board to get in touch with Mr. Davis and see if they could get the keys and knowing Mr. Davis as I did and having been on the Council with him for about ten years, I could understand why it would take a committee rather than an individual to obtain the keys from Mr. Davis in case he didn’t want to give them up. So, it could be that the election of Mr. Davis as Day Marshal for ten years was in an effort to keep him off the City Council because we find that he resigned as Day Marshal on November 1, 1931, and then he was elected to City Council on September 28, 1933, and stayed there for a considerable length of time. So, after all, maybe the ten year election was not an error.
Our City fathers were still trying to do what they could for education, and what we find that in March of 1930, the Council voted to turn over the operation of Oakmont School to the County Board of Education, but this was not accomplished until the school year 193l – 1932.
Still interested in education, the Council passed an ordinance on third reading appropriating $30,000 for the improvement and repair of the Central High School building.
In March of 1931, the town appropriated $300.00 for the operation of a charity ward in the Dickson County Hospital which was local enterprise operated by Mrs. Dan Joslin and daughter, Eula. The building is located at 306 West Walnut Street.
Election time came around again on September 24, 1931, and the following officials were elected: D. E. Beasley, Mayor; H. C. Thompson, Recorder; Aldermen were W. R. Boyte and E. F. Baker from the First Ward; S. G. Robertson and T. C. Helberg from the Second Ward; J. A. Bruce and Frank Hurt from the Third Ward; J. T. Halbrook and Elbert Easley from the Fourth Ward.
At this time, Harry Davis, Day Marshal, tendered his resignation from the ten-year term to take effect November 1, 1931, and Hub Hammon was elected by the council as Day Marshal, Elbert Williams as Night Marshal and B. H. Grigsby City Treasurer. This begins a long term of office for Mayor D. E. Beasley. This was Mayor Beasley’s second time to serve as mayor as he served from 1918 till 1920.
The minutes of July 3, 1933, reflect a personal note wherein the writer representing the estate of his father, J. A. Clement, appeared before the council requesting payment of a fee due his father in the case of the Charlie Daniel matter. I think this was when Main Street was extended and it was for damages to Mr. Daniel’s property on North Main Street.
At the September meeting in 1933 soon after the council convened, the council was notified by telephone that Alderman W. R. Boyte had passed away. Whereupon, the council adjourned to meet September 5th.
Well, it is election time again, and guess who we find on the board? Harry Davis. I believe he liked being alderman better than being policeman.
Those elected September 28, 1933, were: D. E. Beasley, Mayor; H. C. Thompson, Recorder; and Alderman E. F. Baker and Raymond Elliot from the First Ward; J. A. Bruce and Harry Davis from the Third Ward; and J. T. Halbrook and Elbert Easley from the Fourth Ward.
The council elected Hub Hammonds, Day Marshal; E. W. Williams, Night Marshal; and B. H. Grigsby, City Treasurer.
Someone asked the other day when Main Street was first lined and marked for parking purposes, and we find in the minutes that this was in October of 1933.
Remember, we are in the midst of the depression and there was very little activity except trying to hold things together and take care of routine matters. However, in October of 1933, we find that the town agreed to furnish the C. C. Camp one hundred fifty gallons of water daily, which was to be located near Payne Springs. I don’t recall that this camp was ever built.
In March of 1934, Joe Halbrook was elected from the first ward by the council to fill the unexpired term of Alderman Raymond Elliott, who had moved outside the corporation.
In September of 1934, a petition was signed by fifty-one businessmen requesting the appointment of Hub Peebles to work with the Night Policeman. This request was granted unanimously.
Well, it seems that the Town of Dickson, once had a lease on the Dickson Golf and Country Club where the minutes disclose that the club was rented to the Town of Dickson for $l.00 a year for a period from September 1, 1934, to September 1, 1939, and was to be called the Dickson Municipal Golf Course. As you recall, the property belonged to Lipe Henslee.
As I have suggested many times in my articles, we don’t have any new problems, they are just different, most of them being considerably larger. On December 3, 1934, a motion was made and seconded and passed calling for “the closing of all beer joints at night”. Well, how much of our time has been taken up within the last six months about this same problem? Who was it that said, “There is nothing new under the sun”?
Well, they were against the sales tax in 1935 just as they are having a battle over same in Nashville now. The council moved to advise Senator Ray Stuart and Representative Clint Jones that the Town of Dickson was opposed to the passage of a sales tax of any kind and to use their influence to prevent the passage of a sales tax. You know, it is funny that most of us want all of the services that we can get from our governments, but we don’t seem to be very pleased about paying for same.
To show how desperate all of us were on April 1, 1935, a motion was made, seconded and adopted that the charter of the town be repealed and reincorporated so as to confer upon the town the right and to erect buildings and improvements to provide for employment of those in need of employment and to contract with the employees so as to provide a means for the repayment of the cost of said buildings and improvements.
This suggestion about amending the charter evidently didn’t pass, and I doubt that it would been constitutional. However, an election was called for July 25, 1935, to submit to the people of the town the question of the issuance of building improvements notes in the sum of $50,000 for the purpose of raising funds to acquire the building located at the corner of Mulberry and College Street occupied by the Central Manufacturing Company and for the payment of outstanding indebtedness against the building at the corner of Railroad and Mulberry Street occupied by the Henry I. Siegel Company.
Well we find the first step being taken toward the building of the City Lake when on June 4, 1935, an ordinance was passed on third reading authorizing the town to assume by purchase or condemnation sufficient land adjacent to the town’s property for the construction of a reservoir and dam, and authorizing payment for same.
Had the Council not done this, I wonder where we would have been during many of those dry years. The lake is still a great asset to the City.
On June 6, 1935, we find the first major step taken by the Council for federal funds to assist the city in the construction of a modern water system including a filtration plant when a resolution was passed authorizing the mayor and recorder to file an application to the United States of America through the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works for a loan and grant to aid in financing the construction of filter plants and extension to the waterworks of the town of Dickson.
Well on July 29, 1935, we find that the town had been asked to supply an office building for the WPA, which was one of the larger projects of the Federal Government during that year. The proposition was accepted by the businessmen of the town pledging to pay the rent of the building and utilities in an amount not to exceed $30.00 per month for a period of fourteen months.
Who was it that said something about “Those were the good old days”? But, there was another side to it, and your writer went through all of it.
Well, in next week’s article we are going to find a big surprise about the officials who were elected on September 26, l935, but I am not going to give you any hints. I imagine Henry Ragan will talk around here and there and do his best to find out what I have in mind, but for the present we will just leave it until next week.
A Personal Crossroads
We closed last week’s article by saying that we would have somewhat of a surprise in this article, so just to get it to you all in one paragraph, I will copy the first paragraph of the meeting held October 7,1935, which reads, as follows:
“Upon the adjournment of the Board of Aldermen of the Town of Dickson whose terms expired on the night of October 7, 1935, the following officials were awarded their certificates of election by the Honorable Harry Davis, Election Commissioner for Dickson County. D E. Beasley, Mayor; Robert S. Clement, Recorder; Clarence E. Buttrey and E. F. Baker, Aldermen from the First Ward; Harry Davis and Frank Hurt, Aldermen from the Third Ward; and J. T. Register and Erby Foster, Aldermen from the Fourth Ward.”
Thus, you will see that the writer was elected City Recorder in which position I served for ten years.
I am going to digress from the official minutes of the Town to my personal life and my election as City Recorder in September of 1935.
We all come to a crossroads in our life; that is, a time when we have to make a decision. There are times that we have no alternative; we have to follow the course that is laid out before us and when it is necessary for us to make a decision, we are never sure that we make the right one. Sometimes fate comes in and helps us out.
My wife and I, with our three children, moved back to Dickson in January of 1933. The company which I had been working for in Kentucky was about to close down and I thought it would be better for me to resign and come back to Dickson and try to help my brother, Bill, in the drugstore as Bill was in bad health. However, this did not work out so well, and in March of 1933, the Halbrook Hotel was about to become vacant and Mr. Tom Halbrook wanted us to run it.
At first, we did not think we would consider it, but as he agreed to rent the building to us for the sum of $40.00 per month, which included beds, dining room and kitchen utensils and everything necessary for the operation of the hotel, and as we had to have a place to live, we decided to take it. We actually moved into the building on March 4, 1933, which, I believe was the date that President Roosevelt was inaugurated. As I recall, within a few days all banks in the United States closed; examination of same was begun and some were allowed to reopen under restrictions, while others remained closed.
You know, there is always someone encouraging you to run for a public office and a large number of my friends told me how easy it would be for me to defeat the present City Recorder, Mr. H. C. Thompson, who had been in office since 1913. They told me that I could beat him ten to one, and I finally agreed to run for the office.
The election was in September of 1933 and I campaigned real hard for the office, and while I never thought I could beat him ten to one, as my friends did, I did think that I would defeat him by a sizeable majority. However, when the votes were counted, Mr. Thompson defeated me by 88 votes.
Now, I have told you all of this in order to say that had I been elected City Recorder in 1933, I would not be writing this article today because I would not have gone to law school, and no doubt, would have held on with the City for some time. Well, the defeat really hurt me and some gentleman who was running for Alderman in the fourth ward, I believe his name was Weaver but I don’t remember his first name, was defeated by sizeable majority, and he stopped by the hotel to cry with me, or at least almost.
He pulled out a little daybook and said “Well, I’ve learned one thing from this election, there are 150 of the biggest liars in the fourth ward that I have ever known.” What he would do while campaigning would be to put down every person’s name who he talked with who gave him any kind of encouragement and he had 175 names in the book, but he received only 25 votes, so he was quite disappointed.
After being defeated, I went to Cumberland University Law School in Lebanon in November of 1933 and received my law degree in June of 1934. Maybelle and the children moved to Lebanon in January of 1934. We rented a house near the school and Maybelle ran a boarding house, Hale Crow being one of the boarders. Thus, we were able to make a living while I was studying for my law degree.
This was the last one year course, so if I had been elected in 1933, I would never have obtained my law degree.
After obtaining my degree and returning to Dickson in September of 1934, I opened a law office in the building which my father owned, which was an old concrete building where Culpepper’s is now located, and in 1935 I ran again against Mr. Thompson and defeated him and held the office for the next ten years, which was a time when very few had jobs. By collecting the water and light bills, taxes and acting as City judge, I was able to make a good living for my family even though I was stricken ill in 1941, which we will discuss later in another article.
There was quite a turnover in the election of Aldermen in September of 1935. Mr. C. E. Buttrey replaced Mr. W. R. Boyte, who had passed away, and Mr. E. F. Baker being the other Alderman from the First Ward. The Second Ward was represented by S. G. Robertson and M. L. Reed this being Mr. Reed’s first term. Harry Davis and Frank Hurt were elected from the Third Ward. J. T. Register and Erby Foster were elected from the Fourth Ward, this being their first term.
Thus, we had four new Aldermen, Mr. Buttrey, Mr. Reed, Mr. Register, and Mr. Foster. A little later on you will see that the board had many differences of opinion about certain matters.
Remember, at this time, Dickson was operating its electric plant which it owned, but TVA had come on the scene and there were many interested in obtaining TVA current. The rates at that time being considerably lower than the Town’s rates.
The main plank, and we might say the only plank in Mr. C. E. Buttrey’s platform, was to obtain TVA power, and we find in the minutes of October 7, 1935, that a motion was made and passed that a committee be appointed to go to Knoxville to investigate obtaining TVA power. The committee being C. E. Buttrey, J. T. Register and Harry Davis.
As you will see a little later on, the new Aldermen wanted an audit from 1931 to date, and at a meeting held on October 10, 1935, we find the following resolution: “Resolved by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the Town of Dickson as follows: to-wit:
1st. That the Mayor and Board of Aldermen shall and do hereby employ Montgomery Whitson, who is a Certified Public Accountant being duly licensed by the State of Tennessee as such, to make a full and complete audit of all the books and records, pertaining to the Town of Dickson, from October 1, 1931, up to the present time, and also to make a full and detailed report of same.
2nd. That the Mayor and Board of Aldermen shall pay to the said Montgomery Whitson for his services as above outlined the sum of $250.00 to be paid immediately upon the completion of the said audit and report.
Mr. Whitson also agrees to assist the collector in installing a set of books suitable for keeping the records of the Town.”
Remember, this was an audit of all departments–water, sewer, electric, street, taxes, and all other revenues and disbursements of the Town. As I recall, it took Mr. Whitson, with one or two gir1s assisting him, about two months to complete the audit. So you can see that he didn’t make much money out of it.
We come, now to a most important meeting held on October 23,1935, which has been discussed some recently, but as the minutes are short, we will just copy what was done at this meeting.
“The Mayor announced that the meeting had been called to consider the proposal of the TVA to furnish the Town of Dickson with electrical energy.
Representatives from the TVA then read the proposed contract to furnish to Town of Dickson with electrica1 energy after which Alderman C. E. Buttrey offered the following resolution:
“BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF DICKSON, TENNESSEE IN SPECIAL SESSION ASSEMBLED, That the Mayor, D. E. Beasley, be, and is hereby authorized and directed to execute in behalf of the City of Dickson the contract presented by the Tennessee Valley Authority, whereby the Tennessee Valley Authority agrees to furnish electric energy to the Town of Dickson for a period of twenty (20) years, upon the terms stated in the contract attached.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Mayor be directed, authorized, and instructed, to execute this contract in behalf of the City Of Dickson and sign same, as Mayor of the Town; in order that the contract may become effective at once.
This the 23rd day of October, 1935”
The Resolution was unanimously adopted.
I believe we were the second or third municipality in the State to sign a contract with TVA.
To show you how bad things were in 1935; the minutes disclose that on October 30th it was necessary for the Town to borrow $2,050.00 for the purpose of meeting the bond issue which was payable November 1, 1935. Insofar as I know, this is the only time in the Town’s history that this has ever been necessary.
At a meeting held October 30, 1935, Alderman Baker presented a motion to ascertain the will of the people of the Town of Dickson with reference to policemen to be employed; that is; to have a referendum and for candidates to qualify for the office but evident1y this was not carried out because on November 18, 1935, we find that H. L. Hammon was elected by the board to the position of Day Marshal, and H. B. Peebles and M. E. Anderson to the position of Night Policemen.
Upon the call of the roll for the adoption of the foregoing motion those voting for the motion were Aldermen Baker, Robertson, Reed, Register, Foster and Hurt. Against: Alderman Davis.
Mr. Davis then explained his vote in that he was for the election of officers Peebles and Anderson, but against Hammon.
Mayor Beasley then declared Officers Hammon, Peebles and Anderson elected to the positions heretofore mentioned, with the salaries of the three officers being set at $65.00 per months.
So you can see even fifty years ago, our officials differed on certain matters just as they do today, but despite all of this, our Town has grown and I believe our Town and county can compare with any other municipalities in the United States. Next week we will see some real differences of opinion on certain matters requiring the Mayor to vote on occasions.
In last week’s article, we found that four new Aldermen had been elected and that the Town was facing divided opinions on several issues with a four to four vote, requiring the Mayor to vote.
If you recall, there seems to have been an agreement made whereby Alderman Harry Davis, a staunch Republican and who was against TVA, agreed to vote for TVA provided a certain Alderman would vote against hiring Hub Hammon as Day Marshal. I have witnessed quite a number of swapping of votes during my political experiences, but to me this was one of the most unusual issues that I can recall.
The vote to enter into a contract with the TVA came first and Alderman Davis voted for it and, in fact, on the final vote all of the Aldermen voted for the contract although there was some opposition to delay same.
Also, we explained last week that Alderman Davis voted against hiring Mr. Hammon, but voted for the other two policemen.
The remainder of the sessions held during November and December of 1935 were routine with one exception when Alderman Davis entered a motion that certain attorneys, naming three, be dismissed as attorneys for the Town. Upon which motion the following vote was recorded: For-Aldermen Reed, Davis, Register and Foster. Against-Alderman Buttrey
The opposition must have taken advantage of the fact that Aldermen Robertson, Hurt and Baker were not present for the meeting; otherwise, it would have been a tie vote and the Mayor would have had to have voted and I think he would have voted to keep the attorneys.
The unusual part of this action was that one of the attorneys had never represented the Town in any way. In my opinion, all three were competent and efficient attorneys.
On December 2, 1935, Alderman Register made a motion, seconded by Alderman Davis, that the salary of W. H. Adcox, Superintendent of the Water and Light Departments, and all other departments, be reduced from $160.00 per month to $125.00 per month with his duties to remain the same.
Upon the call of the roll on this question, the following vote was taken: For-Aldermen Reed, Davis, Register and Foster. Against-Alderman Buttrey.
On January 6, 1936, we find where the Mayor, D. E. Beasley, vetoed the action of the Council in setting the salaries of the policemen at $65.00 per month, the action of the Council in dismissing the three attorneys, the action or the Council with respect to a claim of H. M. Sanders for a waterline and, fourth, the action of the Council in reducing the salary of Superintendent W. H. Adcox. We also find in the minutes of January 6th where Alderman C. E. Buttrey offered the following motion, which was seconded by Alderman S. G. Robertson:
“That the salaries of the policemen of the Town be set at the following prices: H. L. Hammon, $80.00 per month, H. B. Peebles, $70.00 per month, M. E. Anderson, $65.00 per month, to be effective the first of January, and for the month of December, 1935, the salaries be set at, H. L. Hammon $75.00, Peebles $65.00 and Anderson $65.00.
Upon the call of the roll upon said motion, the following vote was recorded: For-Aldermen Baker, Buttrey, Robertson and Hurt. Against-Aldermen Reed, Davis, Register and Foster. The vote being a tie, the Mayor then cast his vote in favor of said motion and then declared the same adopted by the vote of five to four.
Alderman Reed then entered the following motion, which was seconded by Alderman Davis.
“That the salary, of F. W. Brown be set at $85.00 per month, T. B. Staggs $75 per month, O. R. Street $60.00 and free rent.”
This motion was passed unanimously.
Another close vote was recorded at this meeting wherein Alderman Robertson moved that the salary of Mr. W. H. Adcox be set at $160.00 per month effective December 1, 1935, and that the salaries of C. S. Hooper and Cheatham Bates be set at $100.00 and $80.00 per month respectively. This motion was seconded by Alderman Buttrey.
Upon the call of the roll, the following vote was recorded: For – Aldermen Baker, Buttrey, Robertson and Hurt. Against – Aldermen Reed, Davis, Register and Foster. The vote being a tie vote, Mayor Beasley then cast his vote in favor of a said motion and declared the same adopted by the of five to four.
Then the, reports of Robert S. Clement, Recorder and Collector, and B. H. Grigsby, Treasurer, were read and approved.
The January 6, 1936, meeting was certainly a meeting for a difference of opinions. In this same meeting Alderman Robertson entered a motion that six per cent penalty and six percent interest be added to all delinquent taxes beginning March l, l936.
Upon the call of the roll, the following vote was recorded: For – Alderman Baker, Buttrey, Robertson and Hurt. Against – Alderman Reed, Davis, Register and Foster. The vote being a tie vote, Mayor Beasley then cast his vote in favor of said motion and declared the motion carried by the vote of five to four.
We find still another difference of opinion when Alderman Reed offered the following resolution:
“BE IT RESOLVED BY THE MAYOR AND BOARD OF ALDERMEN OF THE TOWN OF DICKSON, that it shall be the duty of the Mayor, upon issuing all calls for a special meeting of the said board, to give at least one day’s notice in advance of a said call and specify therein the purpose of same.”
Alderman Robertson then move to table said resolution, which was seconded by Alderman Buttrey, and upon which the following vote was recorded: For tabling: Alderman Reed, Davis, Foster and Register. The vote being a tie, Mayor Beasley then cast his vote for tabling and then declared that said resolution was tabled by the vote of five to four.
So, the members of the Council think that they have differences of opinion and problems here in 1980. Just remember that it is nothing new. Just look back fifty years ago and it seems that the Council was even more divided then than it is now.
It was the duty of the City Recorder at the time I served, in addition to his other duties, to also act as City judge and I had some very unusual cases brought before me, one of which was brought to my attention when I heard over the TV yesterday about a young man using a python to rob an individual.
This reminded me of a call which I received from the city marshal, H. L. Hammon, late one afternoon, I would say about six o’clock, to come to the City hall. As I came near the City hall I saw a large crowd, which was nothing unusual because it was customary for crowds to gather for a trial, but one thing was unusual in that just outside the door to the City hall, which was then located just back of the Bank of Dickson, was a dead chicken snake, about five or six feet long.
Of course, I assumed that this snake must have something to do with what the matter was about. As I pushed my way into the crowd to sit down at the table, I said, “Well, Mr. Officer, what’s the charge?” He said, “Did you see that chicken snake just outside the door?” I told him that I did. “Well,” he said, “This subject here got off the Centerville Branch with this snake around his neck, and it alive, and with the snake’s head in his hand, and went up to Scott Carroll’s Restaurant, which was full of customers, including women and children, and almost caused a panic, everybody running out, turning over tables, emptying the place. Then he got after Dr. Weaver, ran him up the steps at the Baker Building so, I don’t know what to charge him with, but that’s what he did.”
Well, the subject held up his hand and said, “Judge, may I say a word?” I said, “Sure.” He said, “Get out your ordinance book and find me an ordinance that says it’s unlawful to have a chicken snake around your neck.”
Well, of course, there was no such ordinance and I told him I thought he was certainly guilty of disorderly conduct and a breach of the peace, which we charged him with and I fined him for his action.
One thing that I wondered about was how he could bring that live chicken snake into Town around his neck and have the nerve to do what he did. Ordinarily, he was a good person and after it was all over, of course, he was sorry about it.
Next week we will continue with some of the activities in 1936.
Last week we found that there were considerable differences among the Aldermen on certain matters, but they still had the basic problems of providing water and electricity for the Town. There had been considerable objection to the construction of the City Lake which started prior to this administration but was now complete, and it was necessary to have a storage tank.
On January 14, 1936, the Town received bids from two companies for the construction of the standpipe and storage tank. The lowest bid was made by Chicago Bridge and Iron Works of Birmingham Alabama, to construct a 250,000 gallon storage tank at a cost of $19,660.00, which bid was accepted by the Board.
As we suggested, one of the problems was the operation of the electric department and the rates for electricity, and at a meeting on February 3, 1936, Alderman Harry Davis offered the following motion, which was seconded by Alderman Reed, “That the light rate be reduced from 8 cents to 5 cents per kilowatt hour.
Alderman Robertson moved to table the Davis motion, which was seconded by Alderman Baker. Upon the call of the roll on tabling the motion, the following vote was recorded: For tabling motion: Aldermen Baker, Buttrey, Robertson, Reed, Hurt and Register. Against: Alderman Davis.
In a meeting held February 19, 1936, I believe we have the first reference to a grant by the United States Government to help citizens improve their water systems. We find that at this meeting the Mayor presented to the board a letter offering a loan and grant to assist the Town on the waterworks project.
Mayor Beas1ey announced that the purpose of the meeting was to consider the acceptance of the Town of Dickson of the loan and grant offered by the United States of America on the waterworks project.
After discussion of the project, the board of Aldermen agreed that the Mayor wire the authorities at Washington that the Town would accept the offer of the government on said project. Whereupon Mayor Beasley signed the wire and appointed the following committee to go to Nashville on February 20, 1936, and confer with Kenneth Markwell, acting PWA Director, on certain details of the project and to send the wire from Nashville. The committee named by the Mayor was composed of Aldermen M. L. Reed, Harry Davis, and J. T. Register and Recorder Robert S. Clement.
On April 14, 1936, we find the Aldermen taking final action on the issuance of waterworks bonds in the amount of $61,000 00 at an interest rate of four percent, the bonds to be paid over the period from 1937 to 1960.
So you see, we had the same problems then as now and I suppose all municipalities will continue to have to go in debt to render the services that people need.
In the minutes of April 20, 1936, the board voted unanimously to rescind the action taken on January 14, 1936, when they awarded the contract to build the water tank to Chicago Bridge and Iron Works of Birmingham Alabama, which evidently was caused by the fact that the government would not extend a grant unless the entire water system was considered.
On May 7, 1936, we find where additional improvements were authorized and contracts awarded including the water tank and standpipe, wherein W. L. Hailey and Company’s bid of $80,654.06 and Chattanooga Boiler and Tank Company’s bid of $l7,100.00, for a total of $97,754.00 was accepted.
While I served as City Recorder, of course, there were many unusual and sometimes comical events, and I shall try to relate one in each of my articles.
Prior to TVA, every customer using electricity had to buy his own meter. Under the TVA contract, the Town was required to use a certain type meter, which was to be paid for by the customer. I don’t remember what the price was, but it seems to me that it was $5.00, however, the Town agreed to allow the customer a credit of $3.00 on his old meter. Many of the customers couldn’t understand this although the rate for electricity would be drastically dropped. We were prohibited from serving any customer through their old meter, so it was absolutely necessary that the customer buy a new meter.
After explaining this to the customer, I would say that ninety-eight per percent understood and made no objection, but I know of one individual who, although he was required to buy and pay for a new meter, refused to take the credit of $3.00 for his old meter. So, I assume he just kept his old meter for the remainder of his life although it could not be used.
Another unusual incident happened one night, as I recall, and this had to do with the electric department.
After the TVA contract was signed, certain requirements were necessary in order to serve the customer, one of which was that all wiring be enclosed. At this particular time, some of the wiring was visible in the housing. That is, it could be along the ceiling. Maybe, in some incidents, it might be on the wall of the room.
As the electric department was attempting to get this done, I remember one night a gentleman came before the board who had wiring in his house which was not concealed, and he was insisting that he be allowed to continue to use his wiring as it was. One of the reasons he gave was that he liked the wiring along the side of the room because on rainy days his wife could hang the clothes on the electric wires and let them dry. Well, of course, the board denied this request due to the danger of it if for no other reason.
Of course, in 1936, we were still in the midst of the depression and about the only work available was the WPA, CCC and other governmental agencies. Very little was done by the Town during the remainder of 1936.
However, there was a person who came to Dickson in 1936 who started a business or a service which has a long history and has meant much to the people of this area. We will try to cover this matter from its beginning in 1936, when one man came to Dickson, just as Henry I. Siegel did, to the present time. We will not reveal to you at this time what the story will be, but we’ll leave it to your imagination.
Medical Care in Dickson: Bell, Crosby, Jackson, Etc.
When we began this series of Articles several months ago, our main purpose was to discuss the history of the Town of Dickson from 1899 to the present and to also discuss our industries and how they were obtained.
I am sure that we have missed some of them and especially we have failed to mention some of our local industries which were established by local people without any bond help. One in particular that I think of at this time was has been a great asset to the community is the J. C. Brown Concrete and Block Company which was started and developed by local people and is now one of the largest industries of it kind in the area, and not only produces the necessary building products, but gives employment to a large number of people.
Another industry which has been in existence for a number of years is the Stewart Lumber Company which was started by a local man, the late E. W. Stewart, and is still rendering a much need service to the community in supplying materials as well as giving employment to a number of people.
Of course, there are a large number of small industries, but it would be impossible to name all of them without leaving out some that should have been mentioned.
However, this week we are going to depart from the plants that employ people and discuss a very unusual situation, how it was started and how it has grown to be one of the most modern and complete institutions of its kind in the United States. At this particular time, I will not give the name of the institution, but will give you the history of the same, and it will be necessary for me to bring myself into the picture to some extent, as you will find in reading this Article.
On June 1, 1937, I was the City Recorder in the office immediately back of the Bank of Dickson. Mr. Eugene Payne was a member of the Chamber of Commerce and lived at the Graystone Hotel where his wife, Maude, ran one of the most fabulous dining rooms in the United States. People would actually come here, or make it a point to come by here, in order to eat at her table.
Mr. Payne was retired from the railroad and was quite active in civic affairs. He not only was willing to work himself, but he had the ability to pass work along to someone else that he didn’t particularly care to do.
On June 1, 1937, about ten o’clock in the morning, Mr. Payne came to the City Hall, which I have heretofore located, and at which time I was acting as City Recorder. He said, “Robert, here’s a man looking for a place to open a doctor’s office and I am wondering if you wouldn’t take him around Town and show him what we have.” Well, of course, I wondered why Mr. Payne couldn’t do it, but I think the fact was that he was afraid that he might offend some of the local doctors, and at that time it was in the midst of the depression, we had a number of doctors, but their patients had very little money. He introduced the individual to me as Dr. L. C. Jackson, who was a soft-spoken man, had very little to say except that he was planning to come here and practice medicine if he could find an office. Then he shocked me by telling me that he wanted an office on the ground floor.
Well, I had never heard of a doctor’s office being on the ground floor as all of our doctors were upstairs, and the thought ran through my mind that this was a very unusual and it cooled me off to some extent in helping him locate a building. However, I took him all over Town, but we couldn’t find an old store building, which he said would be suitable, or anything else on the ground floor. I must admit that I was somewhat relieved when we separated.
Later in the day, he contacted Mr. Hubert Ray and rented five rooms upstairs over where Main Variety is now located. The rooms need some painting and Dr. Jackson rented the office and actually opened for practice on July 1, 1937.
I talked with him this week, asking him about his first patient. He told me that there was brush arbor meeting going on and some lady out of Nashville, who had come down to attend the service which was lighted by lanterns, got a bug in her ear and they brought her to him to extract the bug. He couldn’t remember her name, but he does remember quite well that he was unable to remove the bug from the woman’s ear, and it discouraged him to such an extent that, “Well, if I can’t remove a bug from a woman’s ear, I wonder if I can ever succeed as a doctor.”
Well, guess who his second patient was? Dr. L. C. Jackson. He was stricken with some kind of virus and had to go to bed-in his own office, but he has fortunate enough to have helping him his sister, Mrs. Anna Graves, who was a registered nurse. So, when what few patients did come in, there was a time when he had to examine and prescribe treatment from his bed and leave the rest to his sister. However, this inactivity didn’t last long even though Dr. Jackson’s office was upstairs where the patients had to climb twenty-four steps.
One day a group of people from out around Sylvia brought a child to Dr. Jackson who had been eating parched corn and a grain of corn had lodged in his windpipe. The child had stopped breathing and his parents thought he was dead. Dr. Jackson immediately realized what had to be done so he performed a tracheotomy, which means, as I understand it, opening the child’s windpipe and placing a tube in there in order that the child might breath. He then had the child rushed to Nashville, in a short while, the child was all right.
Well, of course, something like this caused a lot of talk where the people of the community thought the child was dead and his doctor had brought him back to life. So, someone gave him the name of “Little Jesus”, and from that time on his practice continued to grow.
Dr. Jackson still wanted to get on the ground floor, and I certainly at my age can see why he did. There was an old church building on North Main Street just north of the First Methodist Church which was owned by Ward Neblett. Dr. Jackson bought this building from Ward Neblett for $1,700.00 and hired Gus Lowe to tear down the building and build what he had in mind, a more complete doctor’s office.
So, on January 1, 1940, Dr. L. C. Jackson left his upstairs office and opened what was known as Jackson Clinic on North Main Street. He rented part of the building to Dr. Daniel Blake, a dentist, and Dr. Sol Carter, an optometrist, whom some of us remember. This left him with only one bed for keeping patients overnight.
Many of you remember Poly Locke, who as I recall, never had a regular job but had the ability to do most anything. Dr. L. C. told me that when he started to move from his upstairs office to the clinic, Poly voluntarily jumped in and helped him move. He noticed that Poly had the ability to do most anything even to setting up x-ray machines and any other mechanical work. Dr. L. C. told me that he never hired Poly, or at least for several months, but Poly just kept staying around helping to do the things that others couldn’t do, and, finally one day Dr. Jackson said, “Well, if you are going to stay down here all the time, I might as well put you on the payroll and pay you a little something “, which was agreeable with Poly. So, Poly stayed with the Jackson Clinic for many years.
I believe that Poly Locke had more mechanical ability over various things than any person I have ever known. I learned that the way to get him to do something for you was to just calmly say, “Well, that typewriter expert who came through here the other day says my typewriter couldn’t be fixed.” Then Poly would want to take a look at it, and the first thing you would know, the typewriter would be working. I understand that when the First Federal Savings and Loan put in a hot air furnace, it wasn’t working properly and the factory man either couldn’t or didn’t fix it, and Poly was the man who finally got the furnace to work properly.
I know of one unusual occasion when I asked him if he wanted to go to Nashville, which he did. So, I told him to get over here and drive. When we reached the entrance to Montgomery Bell Park, there was a car stopped with the hood up and two women and two children waiting for help. So, naturally we stopped and Poly got out and started to look around the engine. The woman told him not to touch the car – that she had just had it repaired in Camden and had called back for the man to come and fix it, and she surely didn’t want him fooling with it. He paid no attention to her – just kept smoking his cigar, which he usually did, and the lady kept telling him to leave the car alone, but in a minute, he held up in his hand some kind of an instrument, which was supposed to be a gas saver, and said, “Who put this on this car?” The woman replied, “My husband put that on the car. He bought it at a carnival and it’s a gas saver and we certainly don’t want anything done with that.”
Poly said, “Well, if he had thrown it as far as he could when he first bought it, you would not have had nearly as much car trouble as you have had.” He then told the other woman to try to start the car, which she did. It started perfectly, but they were afraid that it would stop and I told them that if they were going to Nashville, we would follow them on in, but that I believe that Poly knew what he was doing. So the final result was that the car ran perfectly on to Nashville, and I have always wondered what the man from Camden thought when he got there and found out they were gone.
One of the first employees with the Jackson Clinic was Mrs. Warren Deason, familiarly known as “Miss Anne”, and she is still with the Jackson’s.
Another one of the first employees was Booker Harmon, who is still with the Jackson’s.
Dr. L. C. Jackson had two brothers, William Jackson and Jimmy Jackson, both of whom were in the service. The Jackson’s had come from South Pittsburgh, Tennessee, and it seems that all three brothers wanted to be doctors. Dr. William Jackson began his association with Jackson Clinic in January of 1945, and Dr. Jimmy came to practice with his brothers in 1946.
At this time, the clinic on North Main Street had been enlarged to twenty five beds, but the doctors wanted to build a hospital. In building Jackson Clinic and Goodlark Hospital, no funds were ever received from the federal government, state government, county government, or city government. In other words, it was all done by the Jackson’s.
On April 8, 1958, the Jackson’s had accomplished their purpose and opened Goodlark Hospital with fifty-eight beds.
At this time, we want to depart from further discussion of Goodlark Hospital and tell you that we had another hospital in Dickson which opened in 1950 by Dr. W. A. Bell and the late Dr. W. A. Crosby. (see Appendix 1)
Dr. Crosby and Dr. Bell had started their practice in a small building back of Myatt Drug Store on Railroad Street in 1948. Both of them had been in the armed forces of our country while in school. They, too, never asked for any government help, and in 1950 opened Dickson General Hospital on Church Street.
In 1951, Dr. Walter Bell went into the Air Force for twenty-one months while Dr. Crosby carried on. Dr. Crosby then went into the Navy in 1953 for about two years while Dr. Bell carried on.
Thus, Dickson County and this area have been blessed for many years by good doctors and two hospitals.
Dr. Crosby died in 1979, and at that time, the hospital had forty-eight beds with approximately 104 employees.
After the death of Dr. Crosby, Dr. Bell, no doubt, found a terrible burden placed on him in caring for all the patients and operating the hospital, and Goodlark had shown an interest in Dickson General, and a short time later, Goodlark purchased the hospital and Dr. Bell became associated with Goodlark where he now has an office and is on the board of directors.
So, you can see that while other counties around us have had to levy a tax in some cases to operate hospitals, this area has been well blessed with good doctors and hospitals.
On December 31, 1966, Goodlark Hospital was made a non-profit foundation. This meant that any competent doctor could enter patients in the hospital. There are other details that might be discussed, but it would be difficult to explain exactly a non-profit foundation. I do know this, that by so doing, the Jackson’s have lost millions of dollars that would have gone to them personally because the hospital has made a profit each year, and the only use that can be made of the profit is to either improve the building by adding more beds or lower the rates.
In 1967, the hospital opened the upper pavilion with addition of twenty-six rooms, and in 1974, the lower pavilion was opened with twenty-four private rooms. The money to construct these improvements was borrowed from the banks in Nashville with local banks participating.
The hospital is now licensed with 144 beds and at the present time, there are 123 beds in use. The improvements going on at the present time will probably be ready for occupancy in about 1981.
Presently, there are 315 employees at the hospital.
There is a misunderstanding among some of the people in the county in thinking that Goodlark Hospital does not pay any taxes, however, the record reveals that the hospital is the third largest taxpayer in the City and the fifth in the county.
The hospital is operated by a board consisting of Dr. Jimmy Jackson, as Administrator; Dr. William Jackson, President of the Board of Directors; Dan Jones, Comptroller; Anne Deason, Business Manager; Josephine Johnson, Chief of Nursing Staff; Betty Jones, Asst. Nursing Supervisor; Judy Brazzell, Nursing Supervisor; Nelldene Fambrough, Chief Surgical Supervisor; Jean Morrison, Emergency Room Supervisor; Jean Smith, Coronary Care Supervisor; and Dr. B. J. Smith, Chief of Staff.
The medical center now has fifteen doctors: Dr. William M. Jackson, Dr. James T. Jackson, Dr. B. J. Smith, Dr. Daniel B. Drinnen, Dr. Eldred H. Wiser, Dr. Stanley M. Anderson, Dr. Phillip W. Hayes, Dr. Robert Thuan, Dr. Clyde E. Collins, Dr. Jeffery Gordon, Dr. Marcille Mahan, Dr. Christopher Blevins, Dr. John R. Salyer, Dr. Walter A. Bell and Dr. J. W. (Bill) Jackson.
Members of the board of directors, who supervise the operation of the hospital are: Dr. W. M. Jackson, Chairman; Dr. J. T. Jackson, Vice President; Dr. B. J. Smith, Anne Deason, Billy Averitte, Secretary; Dr. W. A. Bell, J. W. (Bill) Mashburn, Willard E. (Bill) Kruse, Mitchell Hayes and Jack McCaw.
One of the most difficult jobs at the hospital is the operation of the emergency room. The operation of same is under supervision of Jean Morrison. It is astonishing to note the number of patients treated in the emergency room for the month of July, 1980, which was 714. These patients were classified as: Medical 276, Trauma 299, Orthopedic 41, Burns 9, Ob-gyn 8, Nephrology 20, DOA 7, In-Patient Procedures 5, Ophthalmology 22, Overdose 24, Out-Patient Surgery 1, Left without treatment 2.
One of the most outstanding features of the hospital is the “Top of the Town Restaurant”, which is on the fifth floor of the building, and can accommodate 150 persons. The restaurant is open to the public, but is of great service to members of the families who have patients in the hospital, employees and all who care to dine there. Good food is served at reasonable prices.
Even though the hospital has 123 beds in use at the present time, since Dr. Bell’s patients have followed him to the hospital, I understand that it is almost impossible to obtain a bed unless it is an emergency. With the completion of the present construction, there will be 144 beds.
The operation of the hospital costs a lot of money and those of us who have to be hospitalized sometimes think that the rates are too high. However, there are many things that enter into the operation of a hospital that we have no knowledge of nor do we consider the losses of a hospital by those who don’t or can’t pay their bill.
We must remember that a hospital accepts practically everyone for a nominal admission fee and it is astonishing the losses that sometime result.
I think of an individual case where a resident of another state was visiting in a nearby Town which had a hospital, and although this Town had doctors and a hospital, for some reason, this patient was brought to Goodlark and admitted for a nominal fee. I doubt that he had ever been in Dickson before. After entering the hospital and upon examination by the doctors, it was found that the patient had a terminal illness. The poor man lingered for months and ran up a hospital bill of over $30,000.00 which he nor his family were able to pay. In fact, as I recall, the bill was an entire loss. Of course, there are many other similar cases, but this is the largest one I know of.
Yesterday I talked with Mr. Ira Lane, who is President of the Tennessee Hospitals Association, about Goodlark. He said that he had followed the construction of Goodlark, its operation and is familiar with the facilities which they have, and that the people of this area are quite fortunate in having such a hospital in Dickson.
Yes, it has been said “Giant oaks from little acorns grow.” The day that Mr. Payne brought Dr. L. C. Jackson to me, even though I didn’t find him an office, Dr. L. C. was successful in obtaining an office, and this was a great day for the citizens of this area.
Flood Refugees from Kentucky
We are going to depart this week from our usual articles and think a little bit of the past.
I suppose most of you have been watching the political conventions, which have been quite interesting, and to me especially the Democratic Convention which was held last week.
I am dictating this Article on August 13, 1980. Twenty-four years ago tonight, on August 13, 1956, a young man from Dickson County delivered the Keynote Speech to the Democratic Convention in Chicago.
Of course, most of you remember of whom I am speaking, our son, Frank who was then only thirty-six years of age. The entire Clement family was there and a large number of people from this area. It was quite an experience and naturally we thought he made a good speech, and many of you did.
He spoke on Monday night, the first night of the convention and while there was a lot of confusion, with such a large crowd, there were very few who left while he was speaking.
I will let you in on a little secret about this speech. Of necessity governors need help in writing their speeches because of the many other duties they have, but on this particular speech, that is, the Keynote Speech for the Democratic National Convention, Frank wrote this speech personally at Clayton Luther’s farm in longhand, but, of course, had it typed.
He read it to several of us on Sunday, and most of us thought it was too long, as it ran an hour, but evidently from the attention that he received, it was not.
It is only natural for his mother and me to compare his speech with others, but, of course, we are somewhat partial. However, I must say I thought Senator Kennedy gave one of the best speeches that I have heard in a long time, and even though I am for Carter, the Democratic Party might have a different nominee had Senator Kennedy’s speech been made on Monday night. Of course, this is a question that will never be answered, but I heard some of the commentators make the same comment.
I am departing, as you can see, from the history of the Town, and as we are about to enter the year 1937, I cannot help but think the big flood in and around Paducah, Kentucky and the part that Dickson played in it as well as many other municipalities.
I believe that the flood was at its worst in February of 1937, and I happened to be City Recorder and Chairman of the Red Cross. I received a call from Nashville asking us to care for a number of people as Paducah and Mayfield and the area surrounding same was so engulfed by water that hundreds of families had to move elsewhere. Paducah and Mayfield were the hardest hit areas which were nearest to us. They were begging for doctors, nurses, and any, help that they could get to help the people.
We agreed to take care of approximately three hundred people. So, one day we got a call that they would have approximately three hundred people ready for us the next day. The superintendent of schools had agreed to send ten buses and we were to house them as best we could.
We were instructed to call the Memphis office for supplies. They did not tell us who was in charge of the Memphis office, but I talked with the secretary and told her that I wanted to speak with the one in charge of the Red Cross, which had been associated with other governmental agencies in obtaining supplies. I received the surprise of my life when I found out it was Lipe Henslee. Well, of course, those of you who remember Lipe know that I had very little trouble in obtaining mattresses, beds, clothes, food and everything, that was necessary, and, in fact, I am sure he placed us in front of some others.
I had called on all the black ministers of the Town, Professor A. J. Hardy and other leading citizens, both white and black in an effort to place these people. All of the churches agreed to take some. Professor Hardy turned the school over to them, and then someone had a real bright idea when he stated that a lot of the CCC barracks at Montgomery Bell Park had not been filled and he thought that would be a good place for them.
I called the captain in charge and he refused to take any of the unfortunate people. I asked him to think about it for a while and, certainly, he would permit them to stay there for a short while. He called back in a few minutes and agreed to house about one hundred, which was of great help.
Well the buses left Mayfield sometime late in the afternoon or early night, and I received a call that the buses were on their way. I had someone meet them and take about one hundred individuals up to the CCC Camp at the Park. However, in a few minutes, I received one of the roughest phone calls I have ever received when the captain told me that he didn’t know that there were women and children in the group and he couldn’t take them, and wasn’t going to take them, as he thought they were all men and boys.
I said, “Well, captain, it’s raining awful hard and surely you wouldn’t turn these people out tonight.” I finally talked him into keeping them at least overnight, which he did, but we did have to move them the next day.
In the meantime, we were all doing the best we could, but as usual, someone came up with a real good idea when he suggested that we put tar paper on the old tobacco barn, I believe it was called, at the fairground which was a large structure, put sawdust on the ground, cut holes in the sides of the building to put in wood stoves, and housed a large number of them up there together.
Clyde Self was in charge of the program and he did an outstanding job, and within a day or so, the entire group had moved into the building and seemed very happy under the circumstances.
Well, about that time, I was stricken with appendicitis and had to be carried to Nashville to a hospital. There was a preacher here at that time by the name of J. T. Barbee, who was quite active, and he immediately took over and looked after the people and did an outstanding job.
The people loved being with each other in the large building, at the fairground. I think they had one or two babies born and probably one death while they were there.
Finally, when the water subsided and we were ready to send them back home, a lot of them didn’t seem to want to go, but, of course, they did return home and were very thankful for the treatment they had received in Dickson.
Now, we come to the second chapter, which might be entitled, “’Bread Cast Upon the Water”.
A few months later, Uncle Dan Beasley, who was then Mayor, was making an addition to the pants factory and he needed a deed, and the only information we could get was that the person who could make the deed lived in Paducah. We did have her name, but we couldn’t locate her.
The committee decided that they would send someone to Paducah to see if they could locate her, and they selected the writer, Claude Hooper, Harry Davis and Lula Dickerson, a black woman who we thought could be of some help.
When we got to Paducah, we asked several people in the black area if they knew this individual, and, of course, got no response. However, while we were standing around in an area which housed a large number of black people, I heard a woman say “Isn’t that man Mr. Clement that was so nice to us at Dickson?” Well, I could hear a lot better then than I can now and, of course, I immediately walked over to her and she grabbed my hand and began to call others and I have never had such a reception. Then they wanted to know what brought me to Paducah and I told them that I was looking for a certain woman, had some money for her, and it wasn’t fifteen minutes until the person I needed was on the scene and our mission was completed.
When I came to the year 1937, I thought of this unusual incident and how Dickson Countians have always been willing to help with worthy causes. It was true then and it is true now.
So, as we continue to grow, let us all work together to make our county the best county in the State of Tennessee.
Telephone Poles in Main Street and Night Football Games
In last week’s Article we discussed the flood around Paducah and how we cared for about three hundred people, which was in February of 1937, and we might say in the midst of the depression. In the minutes of March 8, 1937, we find an unusual item where it is stated that the fire department sold the “Big Engine”, a Fairbanks-Morse 6 cylinder, to the Nixon-Russell Company in Chattanooga for the sum of Five Thousand ($5,000.00) Dollars.
Although I was Recorder at that time, I can’t remember this transaction. I do remember that we had a 1928 fire engine, which we still have, and I understand it is still in good working condition. Evidently, the Council had bought this Fairbanks-Morse engine, but realized that they were going to have a hard time paying for it and decided to sell it and to use part of the proceeds from the sale toward the purchase of machinery and equipment to be used by the street department.
In the minutes of April 19, 1937, we find that the City purchased a road roller, crusher, elevator, screen, rock bin, compressor, jackhammer and paving breaker for the total sum of $1,350.00 out of the proceeds from the sale of the “Big Engine”.
I think this was certainly an unusual thing for a Town to sell a fire engine, but evidently they concluded that they could get along with the 1928 engine and use the proceeds from the sale of the “Big Engine” for a better purpose.
I asked several persons about this, including the boys over at the fire hall and none of them ever heard the matter discussed.
War clouds were beginning to appear in Europe and other parts of the world and very little was accomplished for the next few years, of course, one reason being that the Town didn’t have any money. Also, at the March 8, 1937, meeting, Alderman Buttrey presented a resolution in regard to TVA, stating that the citizens of the Town had for the past nine months enjoyed the benefits of TVA electricity furnished them at a low cost, and that there were some 1,000 citizens of the county who were employed in the factories of the Town, 800 of whom lived in rural areas, and it was the desire of these citizens to also be furnished electricity. Mr. Buttrey called to the attention of the Council a plan of development which had been furnished to the Town by TVA and the fact that the Rural Electrification Administration in Washington would make available to the Town funds to be used in extending service to the rural areas of the county.
The resolution presented to the Council was unanimously approved by the members of the Council present for the meeting. However, it was not until March of 1938, that the funds for this project were finally approved by the REA in the amount of sixty-seven thousand ($67,000.00) dollars for the construction of sixty-eight miles of rural lines to serve 294 customers.
Thus began the rural electric department to the City of Dickson by running lines to the Yellow Creek area; which has grown to such an extent that now the electric department has approximately 16,000 consumers. Of course, all of these are not rural.
Another reason why I would remember this even though the minutes do not disclose it, was that my son, Frank, helped dig the holes for the poles in the construction of the new lines. I recall how hard he worked with the other boys and how they would come in soaking wet with sweat. I believe these boys earned $1.50 a day, which was really big pay at that time.
On May 22, 1937, the Council voted to install the necessary transformers at the high school athletic field so that the school football games could be played at night, the project having been sponsored by the Lions Club of Dickson. This field was located at old high school building, on the site of the present junior high school, and the field was located at the side of the school building near East College Street and was named Hake Field. Thus, we have the event of night football games for the citizens of the Town.
The TVA required certain bookkeeping, which the Town had not been doing, and on May 22, 1937, a TVA representative appeared before the board and explained to the board the records required to be kept, and stated that TVA would make available to the Town an allowance of $40.00 a month to pay a clerk for this purpose.
On June 7, 1937, Alderman C. E. Buttrey offered the following resolution: “WHEREAS, the Tennessee Valley Authority requires that many books and records be kept which were not part of the work prior to the signing of the contract with the TVA; and
WHEREAS, this requires much time and work and in other places, it usually requires adding another bookkeeper to take care of this additional work; and
WHEREAS, the TVA officials have approved an allowance of $40.00 per month to be made from the TVA funds beginning May 1, 1937, for clerk hire for the keeping of the TVA records.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we, the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the Town of Dickson, Tennessee, hereby approve and appropriate this amount of $40.00 per month for clerk hire to be paid from the TVA electrical account ‘to Robert S. Clement, the Collector, or to whom he may direct. This amount being allowed in addition to his regular percentage on electrical collections.”
If I remember correctly, Lucy Wright was the person I employed and it is quite a coincidence that here forty-three years later, she is also working with me at the Frank G. Clement Foundation.
In discussing the sale of the fire engine, and especially the fact that we still have the 1928 engine, I must tell of an incident when a fire was called in, I believe, from up on McCreary Heights. I sounded the fire alarm and the volunteers were a little bit slow in coming, so I had always wanted to drive that fire engine anyhow and I decided that I would have the fire engine at the scene of the fire when the firemen arrived. Well, I got the engine out of the garage and into low gear, but I never could get it out of low gear into second or third. So, as you might expect, the house burned down and that was the first and the last time that I ever tried to take part in fighting fires.
An interesting item appears in the minutes of June 7, 1937, when Mr. J. B. White appeared before the board with reference to extending the water line from the intersection of McCreary Heights and Murrell Street westward to the end of Murrell Street where he was planning to build a house. Mr. Adcox told the board the total cost would be $65.00. Mr. White volunteered to pay $25.00 on the cost and Mr. W. B. Saeger $15.00, leaving only $25.00 for the Town to pay. Quite a difference in those days and now.
We find in the minutes of June 28, 1937, that Claude Hooper was named fire chief for the Town, where he served the Town faithfully for many years not only as fire chief, but in all other departments.
It is hard to believe, but traffic conditions had become a problem as indicated in the minutes of July 5, 1937, and the Mayor and board attempted to do something about it. The first step taken was to order the telephone company to remove their poles from the streets, as indicated by the following resolution:
“WHEREAS, within the last several years there has been a great increase in the automobile traffic an the streets of our Town, Dickson, Tennessee; and
WHEREAS, the streets are not as wide, as they really should be to accommodate the increased amount of traffic; and
WHEREAS, the Southern Bell Telephone has heretofore placed its poles and wires upon the streets and main thoroughfares of our Town taking up considerable space which is now needed; and
WHEREAS, the said poles and wires are not only an obstacle to traffic conditions but are very unsightly.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE MAYOR AND BOARD OF ALDERMEN OF THE TOWN OF DICKSON, TENNESSEE, that the Southern Bell Telephone Company be notified to remove said poles and wires from the following streets and within the designated points herein stated:
All poles and wires on, East and West College Streets from Academy Street in East Dickson to J. J. Taylor’s east boundary line in West Dickson; all poles and wires on Main Street between Walnut Street and Murrell Street.”
Another interesting item appears in the minutes of September 6, 1937, when the Council which was interested in education was to make a contribution of $15.00 per month, provided the county would pay $15.00 a month, and employ, a competent librarian to be located in the Memorial Building.
If I am not badly mistaken, my stepmother, Mrs. Florence Clement, who had been librarian, or assistant librarian of the Carnegie Library for many years was employed for this position.
We are now reaching the time for another City election, which came during the odd years then and has continued to the present time, and we find the following officials elected on September 30, 1937. Mayor D. E. Beasley; Robert S. Clement, Recorder; Aldermen E. F. Baker and C. E. Buttrey from the First Ward; George Crockarell and S. G. Robertson from the Second Ward; Harry Davis and Frank Hurt from the Third Ward; and J. L. Parrish and Elbert Easley from the Fourth Ward.
So, we have had Harry Davis with the City in some way since 1899, when he was jailer and carried off the keys. I don’t believe he was ever defeated for a city office.
At a meeting held October 6, 1937, the Mayor suggested that a committee be appointed to obtain the names and salaries of all employees and to ascertain their duties to departmentalize the Town. This was well accepted by the Board, including a committee of three to work with the representative of TVA.
At a meeting on November 1, 1937, the Committee heretofore appointed by the Mayor made a report suggesting the following salaries: Superintendent $160.00 per month; Electrician $120.00 per month; Water Man $80.00; three men at the plant $80.00 each; Day Marshal $l00.00 and Night Policeman $80.00. The committee further recommended that arrest fees of the policemen be turned into the City Treasurer and that the officers not be allowed fees for arrests as had heretofore been the custom.
They further recommended that the plant employee who lives at the jail be charged $15.00 per month rent and this, amount be paid into the General Fund.
“Whereupon, Mayor Beasley noted exceptions to the report and departed from the meeting. The Council not being willing to adjourn, directed, that the Recorder take the chair and call for the nominations of a Mayor protem to serve temporarily. Recorder Clement then noted the following Aldermen present:
Aldermen, E. F. Baker, C. E. Buttrey, S. G. Robertson, George Crockarell, Frank Hurt, J. L. Parrish and Elbert Easley, Alderman Harry Davis having departed from the meeting with Mayor Beasley. Recorder Clement then called for nominations for a Mayor protem and the name of S. G. Robertson was placed in nomination. There were no further nominations and Mr. Robertson was unanimously elected Mayor protem.
Mayor protem Robertson took the chair and asked the will of the Council. A motion was properly made, seconded, and unanimously adopted that the Council stand adjourned subject to the call of the Mayor for unfinished business.
However, this matter was cleared up at a subsequent meeting on November 16, 1937, with the following recommendations:
“At the regular meeting night in November a report was submitted to which exceptions were made. Since then we have met with the Mayor and discussed the matter with him and herewith submit the following suggestions:
First, as to salaries, we suggest the following schedule of salaries: Superintendent $160.00 per month; Electrician $120.00; Water Man $80.00 and three plant men at $75.00 each per month.
We suggest that to bring us more in line with other Towns our size that the three policemen of the Town be given a $10.00 raise per month.
We further recommend that all employees on a monthly pay basis be employed from month to month.
We further recommend that the Plant employee who lives at the jail be charged $15.00 per month rent.
Upon the call of the roll all Aldermen voted for the resolution except Alderman Harry Davis.
At a meeting held March 7, 1938, Rev. H. M. Houston, V. L. Hardin and Rev J. T. Barbee appeared before the Board with reference to the establishing of a National Guard Unit.
Alderman Baker entered a motion, seconded by Alderman Crockarell, that the Board endorse the project and refer same to the Trustees of Town property for such action as they might see fit. The Mayor also was authorized in said motion, which was adopted unanimously, to appoint a committee to meet with the State Officials who would be in Dickson on the following Wednesday. The committee named by the Mayor was composed of Aldermen Buttrey, Crockarell, Davis and Easley.
Thus was the beginning of the National Guard Armory at what is known as the old fairgrounds.
An Alderman Passes and the First Woman on the Board
We closed last week’s Article with reference to the appearance before the board of a Committee to establish a National Guard unit and armory, which was finally successful, and was located at the fairground. The new armory is now located just North of the City Lake near the J. Dan Buckner Park on Highway 70-West and is quite an addition to the City of Dickson.
We also made reference last week to the suggestion that electricity was furnished to certain local customers and funds were obtained from the Rural Electrification Administration at a very low interest rate of approximately two percent, and the Electric Power Board still borrows money from the REA for the extension and construction of the lines which serve approximately 16,000 customers.
Other items of interest during 1938 include the issuance of certain bonds for the improvement of our water system.
On June 20, 1938, the Town ordered transferred to the Dickson Industrial Trust for the sum of $1,500 a 19.4 acre tract of land where the Winner Boat Company was located and which is now operated by TENNSCO.
Also, at this time, the Town approved the purchase by the Dickson Industrial Trust certain property owned by the Dickson Development Company and occupied by Red Kap Company, but at that time the price had not been agreed on. The purchase was finally consummated and this piece of property, which is occupied by the Red Kap Company on Mulberry Street, and one other piece of property constitute the only property owned by the Dickson Industrial Trust at this time.
The balance of 1938 is more or less routine.
The City fathers were still interested in education, as we find on September 4, 1938, that the question of the $200,000 PWA Loan and Grant applied for by Dickson County was discussed, and it was the opinion of the Board that a committee should be appointed to confer with the County Judge and other interested parties in an effort to secure a part of this money for repairs at Oakmont and Dickson High School and such extensions and additions as might be necessary.
Very few items of importance are found during the remainder of 1938, but on February 6, 1939, we find a Resolution where the Town of Dickson Electric Department had build a sub-station at Wrigley in Hickman County to serve the Tennessee Products Corporation and also other parts of Hickman County.
On May 5, 1939, we find where the Town acquired the properties of the Tennessee Electric Power Company.
On July 19, 1939, a special session of the Board was called for the purpose of Alderman Harry Davis announcing the death of Alderman Frank Hurt from the Third Ward, whereupon, a Resolution of Respect was read to the Council, and unanimously adopted and spread on the Minutes of the Town.
The name of Mrs. May Hurt, the widow of Frank Hurt, was placed in nomination to fill the unexpired term of her husband, which was unanimously passed by the Council. Thus, we have the first woman on the Board of the Town.
On August 7, 1939, Mayor Beasley announced to the Board that former Mayor H. T. V. Miller had passed away since the last meeting of the Board and named a committee to draw a Resolution of Respect to be spread on the Minutes of the Board.
On September 28, 1939, an election was held by the Town with the following officers being elected: Mayor D. E. Beasley; Aldermen E. F. Baker, and R. L. Bomar from the First Ward; S. G. Robertson and George Crockarell from the Second Ward; Harry Davis and J. I. Tippett from the Third Ward, and J. L. Parrish and Elbert Easley from he Fourth Ward. Recorder Robert S. Clement was also re-elected.
The Town utilized funds from the WPA during the latter part of 1939 and the early months of 1940 toward improving the streets of Dickson.
I can always tell the approximate age of a person nowadays when they say we are now in the worst depression of recession that has ever been. I know then he or she was born after 1935 because they would have no recollection of the condition of the times during the thirties.
To support this, Mrs. Alice Boyte Tidwell Steele brought me a clipping from the local newspaper written by her father, the late J. E. Tidwell, prominent businessman, addressed to the City Council suggesting a way to help our people. The letter is of great interest, and I thought you would be interested in reading same, which indicates how far ahead of the times Mr. Tidwell was because in many ways this is what our government is doing today.
There also appears elsewhere in the paper a picture of the home where the Tidwell’s lived on the corner of East College Street and Poplar Street (see Appendix 1), where is now the WDKN radio station, which also shows sewer work being done. However, the picture is probably made in the late twenties.
Mr. Tidwell’s letter, which was read to the regular session of the City Council follows:
“My Appeal the Honorable Mayor and Board of Councilmen of this Municipal Government of the City of Dickson:
If we have sufficient funds in the treasury to appropriate $2,500.00 for the benefit of the unemployed, living within the corporate limits, also, if the state funds appropriated to match municipal appropriations, also the government appropriation, for matching such funds, appoint a committee, and get what we can. Let this committee be of someone that understands state and government workings, without pay, only actual expenses.
To hire a foreman for $1.50 a day, or 15 cents an hour for what time he might put in. All labor to be paid at 10 cents an hour. No one man being allowed to work more than forty hours in the week. Let this foreman provide work for them with pick and shovel, ditch and drain culverts, grade up the streets, clean out alleys, and give the Town a general cleaning up. Also, this foreman can take contracts for jobs for digging ditches and moving dirt, and any work that might come along. Any private parties wanting work in the way of concreting and culverts or ditches and draining, by buying materials, this labor could assist in helping to put that in and both parties be benefited. Several streets in the outlying districts of the Town could be graded up with pick and shovel, that might create some sales that would help. At any time there is a prospect for any of the employees, for better wages, help him secure it. This will relieve a wonderful charity situation. All time put in by employees to be turned in weekly by the foreman to the City Treasurer, that he may imburse them for the same.
Now, don’t throw this in the wastebasket hastily. There are many that will feel the effects that this would greatly relieve. There are now very numerous donations daily for eats.
This work is not to commence till about November the first, and when spring comes our Town will thoroughly cleaned up, a wonderful charity act accomplished, with just a little bit more than half that is expended every spring in a general clean-up.
Wishing each and everyone of you success,
/s/ J. E. Tidwell
- S. – This would also relieve the church and charity fund and leave exclusive for the widows and sick folks.
At the regular meeting of the Council on November 6, 1939, the Mayor brought to the Board’s attention the fact that the TVA wanted a separate department to operate the Electric Department, and the following names were presented to the Board, who approved same, together with their job titles and salaries:
- H. Adcox, Superintendent, $200.00 per month; C. S. Hooper, Asst. Superintendent and Fire Chief $120.00 per month; C. N. Dunagan, Line Foreman, $100.00 per month; Theory Roberts, Lineman, 30 cents per hour; Glenn Staggs, Utility Man, 25 cents per hour; W. L. Stephens, Meter Reader, $100.00 per month; H. E. Twomey, Lineman, $100.00 per month; Sam Robinson, Lineman’s Helper, $80.00 per month; C. M. Bates, Water and Sewer, $90.00 per month; F. W. Brown, Station Operator, $75.00 per month; F. B. Staggs, Station Operator, $75.00 per month; O. R. Street, Station Operator, $75.00; with Street to pay $15.00 per month house rent.
In a recent Article in discussing the opening of the Public Library, I stated that I thought my stepmother, Mrs. Florence Clement, who had worked at the Carnegie Library in Nashville, was the first librarian; however, I find that she and Mrs. Albert Hines were names as Co-Librarians. Miss Florence worked fourteen years, and after her retirement, Mrs. Hines continued to work, and did an excellent job, until 1968, a period of thirty-four years.
Next week we enter the 1940’s and are drawing close to our involvement in the Second World War on December 7, 1941.
Reconstruction of College Street and Oakmont Burns
In last week’s Article we entered the 1940’s and war clouds were hanging over Europe and other parts of the world. Little did we realize that in less than two years we would be involved in war.
From January of 1940 we find the city fathers were lucky to hold their own. They had very little money and there were very few matters that came up except routine matters until August 5, 1940, when we find that the City still had a problem with outdoor toilets. It is astonishing to look back and see that they were not outlawing same, but were doing their best to regulate the type of toilets that could be built and how they should be maintained. But, of course, we have to realize that we were still in the depression and people had very little money to do anything with except to try to feed their families, and the Town was really having difficulty in paying its bills.
By August of 1940, is seemed likely that our country would be engaged in war, and we find that the Council passed an Ordinance entitled, “An Ordinance requiring the registration of all aliens and unnaturalized citizens of the United States residing or coming into the Corporate Limits of the Town of Dickson; To provide a penalty for the failure to comply with this Ordinance.”
However, when the Ordinance came up for the third and final reading, Alderman Baker brought to the Board’s attention the fact that the President of the United States and other Federal officials had requested that municipalities not pass ordinances of this type as it would probably interfere with work of the FBI.
Whereupon, Alderman Baker moved that the Ordinance be tabled, which motion was seconded by Alderman Davis, and upon the call of the roll, this motion was unanimously adopted.
At a special meeting of the Board on September 24, 1940, Mayor Beasley announced that the purpose of the meeting was to consider certain proposed action of the Dickson Industrial Trust with reference to the location in Dickson of an NYA Resident Project.
The details of the project were explained to the Board by Superintendent of Schools, J. M. Stuart, and the matter was discussed in detail. The substance of the proposal being that the NYA would establish a Resident Project in or near Dickson provided the City would provide a suitable location with water and electricity available.
Numerous locations were discussed, after which Alderman Davis entered a motion that the Dickson Industrial Trust be authorized and empowered to borrow $7,500.00 to purchase approximately thirty acres of land from E. F. Dennison on Highway 70-West at the approximate cost of $1,200.00 with the balance of the funds to be used to purchase and lay a water line to the property.
The motion was duly seconded by Alderman Crockarell, and upon the call of the roll, the Council voted unanimously to purchase the property.
This is the property known as the Jack NuDelman property and now owned by Bill Stewart, Ralph Frazier and Margaret D. Williamson, where Valley West Furniture Company is presently located.
There is quite an interesting story about this project as I was the one who took an option from Mr. Dennison to buy the property, writing same on the back of an envelope. One of the requirements of the Government was that the property must be on a State Highway, and his property was purchased at a reasonable price, add the NYA began work before the deed was made.
I made the deed to the Town of Dickson because Lipe Henslee had told me that it was the intention of the Government to give the property to the Town of Dickson after they had ceased the use of same. The Government erected a large number of buildings on the property, as many of you recall, and, in my opinion, it was one of the best projects offered by the Government. However, it was one of the first to be closed down, and agents of the Government them called for the deed.
I was ill at the time and I told the Mayor that it was my understanding that the property would go to the Town with all he improvements thereon after the Government ceased to use same, and I advised the Mayor and Board against giving a deed to the property.
The Government finally conceded that this was the agreement and wrote a letter disclaiming any right to the property or the buildings thereon. This left the way open for us to offer the property for industrial purposes.
On of the first applicants for the property was a gentleman by the name of Jack NuDelman, who offered the Town $20,000 for the property, which was certainly much less than it cost, with the understanding that a number of men would be employed. I don’t recall the exact number, but anyway, the property was sold to Mr. NuDelman and he did employ a number of men and women, but not to the extent that the Mayor and Board had expected. He owned the property until his death, when the present owners acquired it from his estate.
On October 2, 1940, at a special meeting, Mayor Beasley announced that the purpose of the meeting was to consider a proposition by the State of Tennessee to Build a highway through the Town of Dickson on College Street, provided the City would provide the necessary easements, etc. A copy of the State’s proposal was then read, which was as follows:
“You have heretofore been furnished with the blueprints showing the proposed reconstruction of the Street in Dickson over which traffic from State Highway No. 1 is routed. This is to advise you that if the Town of Dickson (1) will acquire the rights of way and easements for the reconstruction of said street as shown on said plans, (2) will remove, or have the owners of the same remove all, telephone, telegraph and power poles and all gas, water and sewer pipes or lines which may be encountered in the construction of said street, and (3) will hold said Department harmless from all suits which may be brought as the result of the taking of said rights-of-way and easements and of changing the grade of the existing street, and (4) will remove all buildings from the rights-of-way, the Department of Highways and Public Works will construct said street with curbs, gutters, grade plots and sidewalks as shown on said blueprints.
/s/ C. W. Phillips, Commissioner”
After such discussion of the matter mainly due to the fact that the proposed street by the State would be sixty feet in width, Alderman Davis entered a motion, seconded by Alderman Robertson, that the Mayor and Recorder together with certain property owners on College Street be appointed as a committee to confer with State authorities to see if the State would accept a fifty foot right-of-way, which motion was unanimously adopted.
On December 2, 1940, the following Resolution was read and unanimously adopted:
“THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE MAYOR AND BOARD OF ALDERMEN OF THE TOWN OF DICKSON, in a special session here assembled, that the proposition of the State of Tennessee, through its Commissioner of Highways and Public Works, to improve College Street within the Town of Dickson, be and is hereby accepted according to the plans and specifications furnished the Town by the Department of Highways and Public Works and the Town agrees to furnish said easements and rights-of-way as required except that the State agrees not to require at the present time a sixty foot right-of-way from Church Street to Mulberry Street, which is in the business section of said Town, but the Town hereby agrees to acquire easements in this section to become effective when and if said property is burned, torn down or rebuilt.”
After the offer of the State had been accepted, a special meeting of the Council was held on February 22, 1941, for the purpose of appointing a Jury of View to condemn the property, if necessary, but to try to work out a settlement prior to condemnation. The Jury of View appointed consisted of J. S. Johnson, G. L. Scott and Less Thornton as regular jurors and Clyde Self and J. A. Bruce as alternate jurors.
Of course, the Mayor and the members or the Council had conferred with many of the property owners along College Street about the matter apprising them of the fact that it would place the street and sidewalk much closer to their homes, but, as usual, the property owners were very cooperative, and out of approximately fifty-six property owners, there was only one who refused the amount offered and appealed to Circuit Court.
It was quite interesting to note that the Town had only fifteen thousand ($15,000.00) Dollars to purchase the rights-of-way and the property owners were informed of the fact that they would get very little money, and in fact, I think some of them donated their property.
Most of the right-of-way taken was on the North side of College Street and the improvements ran from the intersection of what is now Highway 46-A to the J. J. Taylor property on West College Street.
After the completion of the work, practically all the citizens were pleased with same.
On the night of March 2, 1941, Oakmont Elementary School burned with considerable damage being done (see Appendix 1 for a photograph added by the editor).
Mayor Beasley called the Mayor of Clarksville asking for help and they immediately sent one of their best engines to assist our Fire Department, and had it not been for this help, the entire school building would probably have burned.
At the regular meeting of the Council on March 3, 1941, Mayor Beasley made a talk to the Council complimenting and commending Fire Chief Claude Hooper, the Firemen and the City Recorder for their work at the fire and the following Resolutions were read and unanimously approved.
“Resolution NO. 1
WHEREAS, on the night of March 2, 1941, the Town of Dickson suffered one of the greatest fire losses in recent years, the same being the burning of Oakmont School, AND
WHEREAS, due to the high wind, it seemed advisable to call the Clarksville Fire Department, which responded by sending a fire truck to us, and
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the Town of Dickson that a letter be written to the Mayor and Fire Chief of Clarksville, thanking them for this neighborly service, and that a copy of this Resolution be spread upon the minutes.
Resolution NO. 2
WHEREAS, the Dickson Fire Department did a great and praiseworthy work in fighting the fire at Oakmont, and
WHEREAS, the fire adjusters, who were here today were great in their praise concerning the saving of any of the building.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the Town of Dickson that Fire Chief C. S. Hooper and all of those under him be commended for their heroic work in controlling said fire and saving parts of the building, together with adjoining property.”
For the remainder of the school term, the teachers and children held classes at the War Memorial Building and in various churches in the Town as the remaining portion of the school had suffered considerable smoke and water damage.
Next week we will continue with the further development of the electric system, the plans for the restoration of Oakmont and the election held in September of 1941.
Hiring of Fan Dancer for the Town?
Recently we stated that the Town of Dickson had sold “the Big Engine, a Fairbanks-Morse 6 cylinder, to the Nixon-Russell Company in Chattanooga for the sum of Five Thousand ($5,000.00) Dollars” and I commented that I could not recall the transaction.
Since writing this Article, Ernie Brown, Superintendent of the Electric Department, and Charles L. Bowen, Office Manager of the Electric Department, and Clarence Dunagan, Line Foreman with the Electric Department at that time, told me that this was an engine used by the Electric Department to produce electricity, not a fire engine, and which engine was no longer needed due to the fact that we were obtaining electricity from TVA.
In the minutes of April 21, 1941, we find that Superintendent Adcox brought before the Board an application for three phase electric current to be furnished by the Town to Cumberland Iron Works for the operation of their plant at Cumberland Furnace which would call for an expenditure of approximately $5,000.00.
After much discussion of the matter, the Board authorized and directed the Recorder to contact representatives of the REA in order that they might come here and investigate the matter.
The application was finally approved but did not result in very much benefit to the County in providing additional employment.
At the regular meeting held September 1, 1941, a Resolution was passed requesting the County Election Commission to hold a City election for the election of a Mayor, Recorder and Aldermen from the four Wards of the Town on the last Thursday in September, 1941, which election was held resulting in the election of Mayor D. E. Beasley, Recorder, Robert S. Clement; Aldermen from the First Ward, L. C. Robertson and R. L. Bomar; from the Second Ward, S. G. Robertson and G. T. Scott; from the Third Ward, Harry Davis and L. C. Hooper and from the Fourth Ward, H. C. Thompson and Dr. W. J. Sugg.
It is interesting to note that the only Aldermen re-elected were R. L. Bomar, S. G. Robertson and Harry Davis. Thus, we are dealing with almost a new Board.
In the minutes of Special Session held October 10, 1941, the Mayor stated that the meeting had been called for the special purpose of electing a collector of revenue, a City Marshal and night policemen, and such other businesses as might come before the body.
Mayor Beasley then placed the name of C. M. Bates before the council as a candidate for City marshal. Whereupon, Alderman Thompson nominated C. M. Bates for the position of Day Marshal, which was seconded by Alderman Hooper. Alderman Davis then placed in nomination Mr. Henry Hunt.
Whereupon, Mayor Beasley declared C. M. Bates elected City Marshal.
The election of night policemen was then taken up, with the names of H. B. Peebles, Dick Jones and M. E. Anderson being nominated. A secret ballot was taken on these applicants with the result being nominated. A secret ballot was taken on these applicants with the result being as follows: H. B. Peebles 8; Dickson Jones 5, and M. E. Anderson 3. Whereupon Mayor Beasley declared H. B. Peebles and Dick Jones duly elected night policemen.
I was elected Office Manager and Collector of Revenue for the Town of Dickson for the two-year period beginning October 1, 1941, through September 30, 1943.
Alderman S. G. Robertson then entered a motion, seconded by Alderman Davis, that the Town purchase $5,000.00 in Defense Bonds with City electric funds. This motion was unanimously adopted.
Alderman Hooper entered a motion that “all arrests be brought to and tried before City Judge Robert S. Clement in order for the City of Dickson to collect fines instead of the County. This to apply to Marshals now employed or any additional officer, also any person or persons arrested by said officers, tried and convicted by City Judge, shall be required to work in any department of the City under the supervision of W. H. Adcox, and not to be held at the jail at night.”
Upon the call of the roll, this motion was unanimously adopted.
Little did I realize that when I was elected Office Manager on October 10, 1941, that in a very short time, November 5, 1941, which was by birthday, I would be stricken with a sudden illness which put me in bed for several months. In fact, I was treated for same by Dr. Hollis Johnson of Nashville for a period of thirty years, and had it not been for his expert treatment of me, in my opinion, you would not be reading this Article today.
Dr. Johnson has now retired, and, while he was not a doctor to seek publicity, in my opinion, and in talking with his patients and other doctors, he is one of the most outstanding doctors in the United States.
In fact, I feel that I owe my life to him with the help of the Lord.
I understand that he has recently undergone a serious operation, but is getting along quite well. Many of you in this area have been patients of his and I am sure that you will agree with me.
While I was ill and out of the office for several months, I was fortunate enough to have some real good co-workers, including Miss Mary Diamond, Mrs. Lucy Wright, Ruth Johnson Forehand, Sue Lewis Work, Mrs. Albert Hines and my beloved wife, to whom I owe so much.
I am sure that I am leaving out someone’s name so I want you to please forgive me, but if you will call me, I will add your name in the next Article.
During my entire term of office of ten years insofar as I know there was only one shortage, and that was of $19.00, which we never could account for, but assumed that we gave someone a twenty dollar bill instead of a one dollar bill. I think this a pretty good record.
During the time of my illness, which was intermittent, I was able to sit up around the house and tried many cases at home. I owe much to the members of the City Council, the Mayor and my employees during my illness.
After the burning of Oakmont school on March 2, 1941, and negotiations were completed with the insurance carriers, the Town received a total $25,925.00, $1,751.00 of which was for the contents of the building, including office equipment, supplies, furnishings and cafeteria equipment. This seems like a very small amount compared with the damage.
This money was turned over to the County, but in November of 1941, we find a Resolution which challenges the right of the Town to turn the insurance money over to the County, which resulted in quite a controversy, including a new location for Oakmont. This controversy continued for several years until the County and the City purchased certain property on McLemore Street where Oakmont was built.
As I have previously stated, Alderman Harry Davis began work for the City in 1899 as jailer and was still with the City in some capacity for many years, either as a policeman or a member of the City Council. I know that he represented the Second Ward at one time and then moved to the Third Ward where he was elected. He was a strong Republican and was not backward in voicing his opinions on such matters which were consistent with his feelings.
A very interesting motion appears in the Minutes of February 11, 1942, when Alderman Davis offered the following motion.
“Due to the fact that our Government in Washington has seen fit to employ certain dancers and entertainers in connection with certain Government work, and due to the fact that the citizens of our Country, including widows who wash for a living, are being called upon to finance defense projects, and due to the fact that the wife of our President has employed certain dancers and entertainers at $400.00 per month, I move that the Town of Dickson employ a fan dancer and to set her salary at $100.00 per month in order that the defense work may be carried on.”
Alderman Thompson stated that the suggestion was probably good, but he thought Alderman Davis should be included to work with the fan dancer.
There being no second to the Davis motion, the same died and no vote was taken.
While the motion died for the lack of a second, I thought it was worth mentioning as many of you can remember “Uncle Harry” and that he took a very active part in all elections.
Remember, the war is now on, many of our boys are on foreign fields, and we who were left at home are trying to do all that we can to make them happy and to assist the war effort. About the only thing I could do due to my illness was to write letters to those in service whose address I had and I have a file which contains quite a large number of them.
Next week we will probably reach the election of 1943.
The First Police Car and Prisoners Must Work
We are now reading from the minutes of February 1942, wherein we find that the same problems existed then that exist now, one of which is the operation of pinball machines. As you know, this is one of the main issues not only in our municipality but the State has passed certain legislation with reference to same, however, they have been unable, to solve the problem.
In the minutes of February 17, 1942, we find that Mayor Beasley brought before the Board the criticism that the Town officials were receiving due to the operation of pinball machines, whereupon Alderman S. G. Robertson entered a motion, seconded by Alderman Davis, that the recorder be instructed not to issue a new license for these machines nor to renew any of the old ones, and that the City policemen be instructed to enforce the law if gambling is permitted on the machines and that the offenders be arrested. Upon the call of the roll, this motion was unanimously adopted.
As I have suggested heretofore, we really don’t have any new problems. Because the population has grown so much and the public seems to have become much more liberal, our problems in many ways have become larger.
Many of you who read this article will remember what was known as “Bank Night” at the local picture show; that is, if you went to the show you had a chance to win some money. However, the plan was eventually changed that going to the show was not necessary but permitted you to go by the show and pay the admission price, which I believe was 25 cents for adults, and your name would be placed in the big hopper which contained the names or numbers, and you had an opportunity to draw the prize.
The reason I mention this is because the matter had been brought to the City Council, and at the meeting on February 1, 1942, we find that Alderman Harry Davis took the floor and protested against, “Bank Night” being carried on at the show. He stated that in his opinion, it was nothing but lottery and gambling, and moved that the recorder be instructed to draw up an Ordinance to prohibit same. After considerable discussion of the matter, no definite action was taken.
Recently we have mentioned the fact that we have heard some statements made that we are living under the most difficult times ever known, however, this indicates that they do not remember the 1930’s and part of the 1940’s.
While it is not my intention to say that a large number of individuals and firms are not suffering from lack of jobs or business, I do say there is no comparison, generally speaking, with our present conditions to the 1930’s and 1940’s.
If I remember correctly, about 90,000 people attended a football game at UT last week. There were days during the 1930’s when there would probably be no more than fifteen or twenty cars going from Dickson to Nashville.
To emphasize the conditions existing after war was declared in 1941, we find the following Resolution in the minutes of June 1, 1941:
“BE IT ORDAINED BY THE MAYOR AND BOARD OF ALDERMEN OF THE TOWN OF DICKSON, TENNESSEE, in regular session here assembled:
Section 1. That for the duration of the state of war now existing between this Country and the Axis Powers, that the Police force and Auxiliary Firemen and other members of the Air Warden Force are vested with the power to make arrests and enforce ordinances passed by the Town of Dickson and laws and regulations made by the National Council of Defense in reference to blackouts and other necessary precautionary measures necessary for the protection of property and lives during the emergency.
Section 2. BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED that any person, persons, firm or corporation who fails to comply with any Ordinance or blackout warning in regard to laws, stoppage of travel or any other orders issued by the governing body of the town of Dickson, State of Tennessee or the Government of the United States, through its regular constituted officers, sha1l be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not less than $5.00 nor more than $50.00 for each offense.
Section 3. BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED should the offense in the judgment of the recorder of the town and the conduct of the Offender be such as to warrant the offender being held for the grand jury or action of federal authorities that such authority is hereby vested in the recorder.”
Upon motion by Alderman Thompson, seconded by Alderman S. G. Robertson, said ordinance was unanimously passed on first reading.
I hope we never find it necessary to face such conditions again.
In the minutes of July 2, 1942, we find quite an interesting item which brings back to my mind my good friend, Glenn Staggs, who was employed by the town as office manager at the plant and who had gone into the armed services. The motion was made by Alderman L. C. Hooper, seconded by Alderman Davis, that Mr. J. A. Bruce be employed at the plant on a salary of $100.00 a month to become effective July 15, 1942. This employment to be contingent upon the return of Glenn Staggs. Upon the call of the roll, the motion was unanimously adopted.
I remember quite well how helpful Glenn was in the transfer of meters and other work when we signed up with TVA and that he and his father both were very capable employees of the Town.
Glenn was fortunate enough to get back from the war, and soon afterward he obtained a position in Washington, D. C., married and stayed there for several years, but returned to Dickson to retire a few years ago. However, Glenn died at an early age, and his wife, Bettye, and mother, Mrs. Fannie Staggs are still living with us in Dickson.
Our city fathers were still doing what they could to assist in the war effort, and we find in the minutes of August 3, 1942, that a motion was made and carried that an office of the Red Cross be established here and that the Town make a contribution of $125.00 toward equipping same and furnish free water and lights.
As I recall, this office was first located in the War Memorial Building, where many of our women spent a great deal of time in the basement rolling bandages, knitting sweaters and scarves for servicemen with yarn furnished by the Red Cross.
As we have heretofore suggested, we think that we have a lot of new problems and there have been considerable problems with the jail in Nashville, and, of course, we have had local problems, but we must remember that most of our problems are not new. To illustrate this, we find in the minutes of November 2, 1942, that a motion was made that C. M. Bates, City Marshal, be allowed to move to the city jail with no charge for rent, water and lights, which motion was duly seconded and unanimously adopted. If you recall, the town had heretofore adopted a plan of working prisoners in the daytime and letting them go to their own homes at night, the reason being that no one was living in the jail, and it was unlawful to have prisoners in a jail without protection of some kind in case of fire.
In my experience and observation, it has always been difficult to work prisoners. One thing seems to be that the officers do not relish the job, and the prisoners, as a rule, do not want to work. Then there is a chance of their escaping. I remember one occasion, and I believe it was Officer Hammon who was working some prisoners along Center Avenue either in July or August when the weather was very hot, and one of the prisoners just decided that he was not going to work and sat down under a tree and made himself at home. Officer Hammon then picked out a tree the sun was hitting, took the prisoner and handcuffed him to the tree and left him there for two or three hours in the hot sun. After which time the prisoner was glad to work.
So you see, many of our problems of today are not new, but only in different form.
In the minutes of January 4, 1943, we find where the town purchased the first automobile to be used by the Police Department, and it was a secondhand car, as the car was to be transferred from Superintendent Adcox’s Department. As I recall this was a Plymouth van, and I remember driving it on two or three occasions.
A large number of soldiers were stationed at Fort Campbell and on weekends a number of soldiers would come to Dickson. Of course, we were glad to have them, but the number coming grew to such an extent that the Police Department was having trouble controlling them. Whereupon we find in the minutes of February 1, 1943, C. M. Bates, Chief of Police, asking the board to write a letter to the Commanding Officer at Fort Campbell and request that they send over to Dickson at least two Military Police each week, or at any time when their boys were coming over on furloughs, which request was granted.
So you think we have been having beer problems recently, and we have to some extent and always will, but this is nothing new. We find in the minutes of April 5, 1948, a committee of women appeared before the Board and Mrs. Lorena Upham, as chairman, addressed the board requesting that some action be taken to prohibit the sale of beer within the corporate limits.
As a result of this meeting, an ordinance was passed on the third. and final reading on June 19, 1943, regulating and controlling the sale, transportation and storage of beer and other beverages within the Corporation.
In one of our recent articles, we discussed the removal of telephone poles from Main Street. The Telephone Company was very cooperative, and we find in the minutes of August 2, 1943, that the mayor had been authorized to work with the Southern Bell Telephone Company on the location and joint use by the Electric Department of the telephone poles.
We find in the minutes of October 4, 1943, that at the election held in September, the following officials were elected: W. E. Hutton, Mayor; Robert S. Clement, Recorder; Aldermen from the First, Ward, A. J. Byrn and L. C. Robertson; from the Second Ward, S. G. Robertson and G. T. Scott; from the Third Ward, Harry Davis and L. C. Hooper, and from the Fourth Ward, Elbert Easley and W. J. Sugg.
I remember this election very well because the people of Dickson were so kind and generous toward me to re-elect me city recorder even though I was lying in bed and had been for several months.
In next week’s article, we will find that after twelve years of service as an Alderman, Harry Davis submits his resignation which was accepted by the Board. But, as heretofore suggested, Uncle Harry has been with us since 1899 and the fact that he resigned as Alderman on the 5th day of March, 1945, did not end his career with the City.
So, we will leave this to your imagination as to his connection with the city after resigning as Alderman.
Naming and Marking of Streets
In last week’s article, we closed with the election of a new board and a new mayor, Mr. W. E. Hutton, having been elected.
The war was still on and there was very little that the Board could do except to aid in doing what we could on the local level, which was done mostly by the women doing volunteer work for the Red Cross and the town purchasing war bonds.
There is an interesting note which appears in the minutes of August 7, 1944, where Professor W. E. Luther, J. H. Clemmer and others appeared before the board with reference to the cafeteria equipment owned by the Dickson Industrial Trust. Professor Luther stated that the Dickson Central High School was very much in need of the same in order that they might have a cafeteria at the high school. After considerable discussion of the matter, the motion was made and passed that the Dickson Industrial Trust be empowered to donate the same to the high school. I understand that this was the beginning of a cafeteria at Dickson High School
We also stated in last week’s article that Alderman Davis had resigned as Alderman, but we suggested that he had not left the city. Remember, he had been with the city in some capacity since 1899, when he was jailer.
On March 5, 1945, we find the following statement:
“To the Mayor and Board of Aldermen:
At this time I wish to offer my resignation as a member of the City Council.
As you know, I have served the town as alderman continuously since 1933, and I was also a member of the board prior to that time. At all times I have tried to look after taxpayers’ interest in a fair and impartial manner, and I am resigning only after due consideration. I have enjoyed serving with the present board members as well as those heretofore, and I wish for all of your continued progress in the town’s affairs.
Signed Harry Davis”
Upon motion by Alderman L. C. Robertson, seconded by Alderman S. G. Robertson, the resignation was accepted unanimously.
Now comes the second chapter, as stated by the minutes. “Alderman Davis having resigned from the board, he is no longer a member of the city council.”
Alderman L. C. Robertson entered a motion, seconded by Alderman Hooper, that Harry Davis be named as the extra policeman. Upon the call of the roll, this motion was unanimously adopted, Mayor Hutton declared Mr. Davis elected to the position of Night Policeman at $110.00 per month, so you see, we still have “Uncle Harry” with us.
A vacancy on the board was then suggested, and Mr. J. A., familiarly known to most of us as “Pet” Bruce, was elected the Alderman from the Third Ward to take the place of Mr. Davis.
As we all know, we have an airport in Dickson County, and there is considerable talk of another one being constructed, which would be nearer Nashville, but still Dickson County, and which would likely to be used by those owning planes in Belle Meade as it would probably be closer to the Dickson Airport than it would to the Nashville Airport.
The minutes reflect that the construction of an airport in Dickson County was considered as far back as April 2, 1945, when the Board passed a resolution considering the construction of same, but no definite action was taken except to name Mitchell Hayes and S. G. Robertson as members of the Airport Committee to investigate same.
Even though the war was still on, Dickson was growing to the extent that it was considered advisable to name the streets of the town. In the minutes of June 4, 1945, we find that a number of men from various civic clubs appeared before the board with reference to marking the streets. Dr. R. P. Beasley spoke to the committee from the Kiwanis Club and stated that if the town would appropriate $500.00 for the marking of the streets, that is, naming same, that the civic clubs would make up the balance needed. Dr. Beasley’s offer was accepted with the town paying one-half of the $500.00 for the town from the general fund and the other half from the Electric Department.
It seems that in 1945, the local officials had more authority in saying what streets should be built or repaired than they do now. I suppose this is because there is some federal money involved in our street work now, but, of course, was not then. While it is good to be able to receive federal assistance, I am one who believes that local officials should have authority in deciding where the money should be spent.
To support this, we find in the minutes of July 12, 1945, Mayor Hutton asking the Alderman in each ward their opinion as to the streets that should be worked at this time in their particular ward, and the following list was submitted:
Ward I: Hunt Street from Sylvis Street to Pump Street, Cherry Street from Main Street to Church Street.
Ward II: McCreary Street from College to Cullum Avenue, The street from McCreary Heights toward the cemetery by Albert Ray’s.
Ward III: Bryant Avenue from 5th Street to Chestnut Street; Walnut Street from Freeman Avenue to Mrs. Tom Alsup’s; Dickson Avenue from Second Street to Railroad Street.
Ward IV: Cowan Street from Leathers Mill to Fred Ferguson; the Alley back of Springer’s Store and R. L. Field’s Hatchery; the east end of Broad Street.
Thus, it would appear that local officials had more authority then than now.
It also appears that our city fathers were interested in athletics back in 1945 even though the war was going on, as we find Professor W. E. Luther and J. H. Clemmer and others appearing before the board requesting assistance from the city to employ a coach at the Dickson High School who would also be a Recreational Director for the city.
After considerable discussion of the matter, S. G. Robertson entered a motion, which was seconded by Alderman Byrn, that the town cooperate with the county in employing a suitable coach who would also act as a Recreational Director and that the town contribute the sum of $50.00 per month toward the salary for a period of twelve months.
The minutes for the remainder of the year, 1945, reflect only routine matters until the election which was held on October 1, 1945, when the following officials were elected, and the votes for the candidates are recorded in the minutes which are as follows:
For Mayor: D. E. Beasley – 292 votes; W. E. Hutton – 549 votes
For Recorder: Robert S. Clement – 380 votes; Clark Leech – 468 votes
First Ward: A. J. Byrn – 121 votes; J. W. Galloway – 141 votes and L. C. Robertson – 95 votes;
Second Ward: R. T. Reeder – 116; S. G. Robertson – 171 votes; G. T. Scott – 143 votes;
Third Ward: L. Claude Hooper – 139 votes; J. A. Bruce – 126 votes; Tom Mathis – 61 votes; L. L. Page 24 votes.
Fourth Ward: J. E. Currin – 53 votes; Elbert Easley – 102 votes; W. J. Sugg – 105 votes; and H. C. Thompson – 77 votes.
So you see, the writer was defeated, but he certainly had no right to complain. The people of Dickson had been kind enough to elect him five straight times, twice while he was sick, and I suppose they thought that five times was enough. The election was fair and friendly and really it was a blessing to me as I had not had the courage nor really the health to get out on my own and start practicing law full-time.
The minutes of September 15, 1945, were the last minutes that I ever signed as City Recorder, although I have been with the city as mayor and attorney for many years since then.
It is interesting to note that the minutes of October 1, 1945, show that I, still being recorder, had the power to administer oaths until the new recorder was sworn in, administering the oath of office to all of the newly elected officials. This, I had forgotten.
Next week we begin to make progress in our school situation with the county resulting in the construction of Oakmont.
Post Office Locations and Postmasters
In last week’s article we told of Professor W. E. Luther, J. H. Clemmer and others appearing before the board with reference to the cafeteria equipment owned by the Dickson Industrial Trust and that Prof. Luther stated that the Dickson Central High School was very much in need of same and would appreciate any action that the board would take in authorizing the trust to donate same to the high school.
However, I didn’t finish the story, and I feel that I should tell you just how much Prof. Luther and other members of the faculty at the high school appreciated the board authorizing the Trust to donate this equipment to the school.
Professor Luther thought that it would be appropriate to show their appreciation by having a luncheon for all members of the city council and the Dickson Industrial Trust, and he and other members of the faculty went to great pains to provide for a luncheon and all of us were given personal invitations.
Practically all of those invited attended the luncheon, which consisted of turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce and a number of vegetables. Everything was served in good order and Prof. Luther and Mr. Clemmer and other members of the faculty expressed their appreciation of our giving them the equipment, and we expressed our appreciation of the fine luncheon which they had given us.
As I recall, the luncheon was at twelve noon and we stayed for an hour or maybe a little more. About three thirty or four, I felt a little nausea and thought very little of it at the time, but it continued to grow worse. I went home and it reached the point that I was thinking of calling my doctor. However, before I did so, I received a call from Leo Robertson, who was a member of the board at that time, and he asked me how I was feeling and whether my stomach had bothered me any. Of course, I told him that it had, and he responded by telling me that he was having considerable trouble and was going to call a doctor.
Well, we all got sick and the doctors of Dickson were quite busy late that afternoon and night, and, of course, they asked us what we had eaten, where, etc., and when it developed that all of us had been to a luncheon at the high school, then they concluded that there must have been something wrong with the food.
Of course, this was very embarrassing to Prof. Luther and all of those who provided the luncheon, and they began to try to figure out what could have caused the illness of about ten or twelve people. I think they finally figured out that the dressing had been made the night before and left in a metal container of some kind with a spoon that should not have been used.
However, all ended well. There were no serious illnesses except that it kept some of us at home a day or so. I know this must have been embarrassing to Prof. Luther and other members of the faculty, but all of us understood how such a thing could have happened.
In the beginning of these articles, one of the main purposes was to discuss the factories, banks, and other public buildings, and when they were built. However, there is one building that we all use in some manner that we didn’t mention and that is the Post Office. The first Post Office that I remember was located on the east side of Main Street in the Henslee Building next to the alley between where Neeley Jackson’s business was for so long and where Culpepper’s store is now located.
As the town grew, there began to be a great demand for a larger Post Office. Senator K. D. McKellar of Memphis was in the United States Senate and was a very good friend of Lipe Henslee. Of course, there was a lot of discussion about where the Post Office should be built, if we were fortunate enough to get one.
As I recall, the lot where the Post Office is now located was vacant. In fact, I believe that the county fair was held there on some occasions and I remember a carnival or two that used the lot, and this lot was of sufficient size for a Post Office Building.
So, with the efforts of Lipe Henslee through Senator McKellar and many others, the government built the Post Office in 1936. I believe the contractor was Mr. Nile E. Yearwood.
The first postmaster to be named for the new Post Office was my good friend, Hugh Reeves, who served until his retirement in 1960. The second postmaster was Edward A. Riordan, more familiarly known as “Bub”, who served until his death on June 17, 1971. The next postmaster appointed was O’Neil Hooper, who served until his retirement in 1973. Then an out-of-towner by the name of Henry Shipp was appointed and served for a short while. This brings us to our present postmaster, Donald Orgain, who together with the employees serving with him, are rendering friendly and efficient service. However, some of this may be due to the fact that there are now two women, Mrs. Judy Street and Mrs. Emma Greer, at the window.
The city officials still had the school problem to be worked out, and we find that in November of 1945, a committee was selected by the board to take steps necessary to condemn certain property belonging to Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Goodrum where Oakmont School is now located on McLemore Street and Hunt Street.
On January 7, 1946, we find that a jury of view made its report to the city wherein they found the value of the property to be $7,500.00. The report was entered by the mayor to spread upon the minutes. However, this was not the conclusion of the matter as the value was not acceptable to the property owners, and the property was finally acquired by the county and city and work was begun on a new school building.
In the minutes of July 1, 1946, we find Alderman A. J. Byrn signing the minutes as mayor pro tem. In the minutes, we find that Mayor Hutton retired from the chair and asked that Mayor Pro Tem A. J. Byrn read a letter which stated that Mayor Hutton was submitting his resignation as mayor wherein he stated that due to ill health, he would like for his resignation as mayor of the Town of Dickson to be accepted effective at midnight.
Alderman Sugg then entered a motion seconded by Alderman Robertson that the mayor’s resignation be accepted. Upon the call of the roll, the mayor’s resignation was unanimously accepted.
No further action was taken at this meeting with reference to the election of a mayor which could be done by the board.
Mr. Byrn served as Mayor Pro Tem until the 23rd day of January 1947, when the following action was taken by the board, with Alderman Robertson stating that he thought that the vacancy created in the office of the mayor due to the resignation of Mayor Hutton last July should be permanently filed, and he moved that Mayor Pro Tem Byrn be nominated for this office. The motion was seconded by Alderman Sugg and was unanimously adopted.
Thus, a vacancy was created in the First Ward for an Alderman, and it is my understanding that Mayor Byrn agreed to accept the office provided Elmer Buckner would be elected by the board to take his place as Alderman, which the board did the same night.
In the minutes of May 5, 1947, we find a letter from the Chamber of Commerce addressed to the mayor and Board of Alderman recommending bringing natural gas to Dickson, that it would be quite an incentive to the locating of new industries in addition to being an additional service to the people.
The Chamber of Commerce suggested that this could be done by selling revenue bonds in the same town and to be operated by the town or let a franchise to some private concern. A representative from J. C. Bradford was present and discussed the financing of the project. However, there was a strong feeling against the proposal due to the fact that very low rates were then available for electricity and practically all new homes were being heated electrically, and they doubted seriously if the use of gas could be sold successfully. No definite action was taken at this time.
On May 12, 1947, we find that Mr. J. C. Bradford, office manager and accountant for the Electric Department, offered his resignation. Alderman Bruce moved that Mr. Wright’s resignation be accepted, which motion was seconded by Alderman Sugg, and was passed.
The application of Mrs. Lucy Wright to the position was brought before the board by Alderman Easley, who moved that Mrs. Wright be elected accountant for the Electric Department, which motion was unanimously adopted.
I believe it was while Mr. Byrn was Mayor that the parking meters were actually installed, the purchasing and installation of same having been ordered by the City Council. Well, it was a controversial questions then, and it is now. If you will look up and down Main Street from the railroad to College Street, you will not see a parking meter, and, in fact, some have been removed from other places. So, there is still a difference of opinion as to whether the use of parking meters is good or bad. I suppose it just depends on how it affects the individual person or business.
The discussions on the extension of rural electric lines and the issuance of bonds, our public schools problems, with some progress being made continues on through 1947.
On August 12, 1947 the town approved the issuance of $115,000 in school bonds to provide for the levy of a tax to pay for same, and to provide for an election on the question of issuing said bonds.
To show the interest that the people had in getting the children back in a modern school building, the result of the election was 554 for the school bonds with only 169 against.
This being the regular city election day, which was held on September 25, 1947, the following officials were elected:
Mayor; Dr. L. C. Jackson – 425 votes;
Recorder: H. C. Thompson – 288 votes; J. E. Cutrin – 268 votes; R. P. Work – 180 votes; Lubie Page – 50 votes;
First Ward: E. T. Buckner – 180 votes; James E. Edwards – 112 votes; J. W. Galloway – 107 votes;
Second Ward: Jack Mayes – 168 votes; Dorris Odell – 145 votes; Dr. B. F. Nesbitt – 111 votes;
Third Ward: C. T. Duncan – 109 votes; Ray Fielder – 92 votes; H. S. Nance – 83 votes;
Fourth Ward: W. A. McIntire – 131 votes; Robert H. Lee – 130 votes; Albert Nicks – 71 votes.
In our next article, we will be dealing with a new Mayor, who has had no experience in politics, and seven new aldermen.
We cannot help but notice that some of these new officials were veterans and were getting into politics to see what was going on.
A Strange Beginning to the Town’s Natural Gas System
We closed last week’s article with a new mayor coming into office, Dr. L. C. Jackson, and seven new Aldermen. So, in the minutes of October 6, 1947, we find the Mayor, Dr. L. C. Jackson, presiding with Aldermen E. T. Buckner and James E. Edwards from the First Ward; Jack Mayes and Dorris Odell from the Second Ward; C. T. Duncan and Ray Fielder from the Third Ward, and W. A. McIntire and Robert Lee from the Fourth Ward, and Recorder H. C. Thompson. I believe that of the eight aldermen, seven were veterans, which was a good sign.
The Mayor appointed a Public Relations Committee consisting of Aldermen McIntire, Buckner and Lee, the Mayor by virtue of his office being a member of the Committee also.
The Mayor stated the Public Relations Committee should keep at its fingertips the affairs of the Town and publish periodically reports on the affairs of the Town. That the Committee should at all times be in touch with what the various employees of the Town were doing, who the employees were, their salaries and to assist the Finance Committee to conduct the Town’s business economically.
- H. Grigsbywas elected Treasurer of the Town for another two years.
An interesting item appears in the Minutes of October 9, 1947, when it was announced that the fire engine purchased from the LaFrance Company had arrived at a cost of $10,000.00 and that the Town was very badly in need of a truck to pick up garbage.
We had the same problems then as we do now, as the Town did not have sufficient funds to pay for the fire engine and buy the truck for the pickup of garbage. At this meeting, the necessary Resolution was passed “authorizing and empowering the Mayor and Recorder to borrow $12,000.00 from the First National Bank upon the Town’s interest bearing notes to be due and payable at the rate of $250.00 on the 13th day of each month thereafter until 48 notes of $250.00, along with the interest from date, are paid in full.”
At the regular meeting of the City Council held on November 3, 1947, the budget of the Town was considered, with the total amount of money for the coming year needed for operating the Town being $61,963.03 and the total anticipated receipts from taxes and other revenues being $71,675.30, which required a tax rate of $2.50 with the poll tax being set at $1.00. Remember, we had the County and City poll tax with us for quite a long time.
The Mayor called to the attention of the Council that our war dead would soon be arriving home from overseas, and he asked the Council’s wishes concerning same. It was the opinion of the Council that this should be left to the American Legion and the National Guard Unit and that the Mayor should work with them in anything that the Town could take a part in.
In the Minutes of November 17, 1947, I find when I was first named City Attorney at a salary of $60.00 per month, one-third to be paid by the General Department, one-third by the City Electric Department and one-third from the Rural Electric Department. The duties assigned to me were itemized in the Minutes, and from the list of same required quite a bit of my time.
The Government had set up the G. I. Training Program, and with seven veterans on the Board, they certainly wanted to cooperate in every way in order to give employment to those returning from the war. The wage scale at the time is interesting, which was Bookkeeper $110.00 per month; Engineering Aid 55 cents per hour; Lineman 55 cents per hour, with increases allowed every six months.
The remainder of the year 1947 consisted of routine matters, but with the new Board and Mayor at all time trying to promote the Town in every way possible.
A very interesting item appears in the Minutes of April 5, 1948, when the question of installing a gas system was discussed. Heretofore, there was considerable doubt in the minds of a number of citizens, that with electric power rates as low as they were then, that a gas system would pay. However, we find that bonds in the amount of $350,000 to bear interest at the rate of four (4%) per cent were to be issued for the construction of a gas system.
Alderman Buckner entered a motion that the Resolution be adopted and published in a local paper, which was done. It seems that the present Mayor, Dr. Jackson, and the new Board of Alderman were taking a second look at the gas system and were willing to issue bonds and install same.
At a later meeting on April 28, 1948, we find that the bond issue was raised to $385,000 as a survey showed that the system could not be built for $350,000.
Dr. Jackson was so certain that the system would eventually be built, that as Main Street was being paved, I remember that he ordered the employees to run a four-inch pipe from the alley adjacent to the First National Bank and the Fussell building across Main Street in order that the pavement would not have to be dug up when the gas system was installed.
Now, I come to a very interesting story, which I recall, but is not reflected in the Minutes.
The Securities Company in Nashville, which was under contract to sell the bonds, reported to the Mayor that they were unable to do so, and the construction of the gas system began to look very bad. My offices at that time were upstairs in the back three rooms of the Baker Building, where the Town and Country Shop is now located. One day a very ordinary looking man walked into the office and asked if I was the City Attorney and if I knew anything about the City wanting to sell some gas bonds.
I told him, “Yes, I felt that I knew quite a bit about it”, and he asked to see the file including the ordinance, and, of course, he noticed that a company in Nashville had the contract to sell same, but he had understood that they were unable to do so and that he might be interested in buying the bonds.
My impression of the gentleman was not very good and he didn’t look to me like he would be able to buy $385,000 worth of bonds. He asked very few questions. I told him all about the issue and he told me if I would get a release from the Nashville company that he might buy the bonds. I still didn’t have any confidence in his offer. He told me that he lived in Minneapolis and was on his way to California and that within ten days, he would let me hear something one way or the other. I thought this would be the last that I would hear from him , and I never did see him again, yet one day within the ten-day period, I received a telegram from California stating that if we would deliver the bonds to the Third National Bank at Nashville, we could pick up a Cashier’s check in the amount of $385,000.
I could hardly believe it and yet I couldn’t overlook it. I reported it to the Mayor and the Council, and we had even gone as far as to have the bonds printed, but, of course, not signed. Without any further notice from him, nor did he ask for a reply, three of us in one car, and with a police car following us, went to the Third National Bank, and, lo and behold, there was a check for us in the amount of $385,000, which I could hardly believe.
Well, now, the most interesting part of this whole story is that people did begin to use gas and our industrial plants, at least some of them, were glad to use it. The demand continued to grow and today everybody has been paid off, the Gas Department does not owe any money except on current bills, has some money in the bank, and is doing an excellent job under the management of a fine, young man, Robert Durham.
I might add that had we not had a gas system, I doubt seriously if the last two or three plants which have located here would have considered coming to Dickson.
So, I would have to say that even though Dr. Jackson served only one term as Mayor, his insistence on bring gas to Dickson, together with the help of the Council, has meant a lot to our progress.
The balance of 1948 was spent in pushing the construction of the rural electric lines, the city and rural electric departments now being combined and Mr. C. N. Dunagan having been named the Manager of same.
A certified copy of the returns of the City election held September 29, 1949, show that D. E. Beasley was elected Mayor; E. C. Reeder and Brigham Rumsey, Aldermen from the First Ward; C. D. Seay and G. L. Scott, Aldermen from the Second Ward; Charles Ahlheit and M. E. Womble, Aldermen from the Third Ward; and Robert Lee and Winfrey Wills, Aldermen from the Fourth Ward. Thus we find an almost complete change in the City officials.
The Minutes of the regular meeting held October 5, 1949, show that the following Resolution was adopted:
“BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF MAYOR AND ALDERMEN OF THE TOWN OF DICKSON, TENNESSEE, in special session here assembled that the heads of all departments of the Town of Dickson remain the same as of this date, and until January 1, 1950, or until this body has had time to fully acquaint themselves with the needs and responsibilities of the various departments.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the heads of the various departments shall be held accountable for the work of their respective departments and shall make a monthly report to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen as to the receipts and expenditures in his or her department and such other information as the Board may request.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the heads of the various departments shall operate their department without interference or dictation and shall be accountable only to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.”
Upon the call of the roll, said Resolution was unanimously adopted.
Thus, we have Uncle Dan Beasley back in the Mayor’s chair, together with an older group of Aldermen, and I believe that the records show that Mr. Beasley served longer as Mayor that anyone else.
Next week we will see what the older group has in mind and how they approach the problems existing and how much progress was made during the 1950’s.
Sunday Movies and Growing From Two Traffic Lights to Five
We closed last week’s Article by stating that we had a new Mayor and practically a new Board of Aldermen with one exception. Mr. D. E. Beasley, familiarly known as “Uncle Dan”, evidently decided he wanted to serve just a little longer. The records show that he served from 1918 through 1920; from 1931 through 1943, and was re-elected again in 1949 for one term, making a total of sixteen years as Mayor of the Town.
A special session of the Council was held on the 24th day of October, 1949, for the following purposes:
- To consider for adoption a resolution which provides for a Board of Public Utilities to supervise, manage and control the Town of Dickson Electric System.
- To nominate and appoint a committee to serve on this Board to supervise, manage and control the Electric System.
- For any other business that might legally come before the Governing Body.”
A Resolution was then presented to the Board to provide for a Board of Pubic Utilities to supervise, manage and control the Electric System and to appoint a committee to serve on this Board. On the call of the roll, said Resolution was unanimously passed by the Board of Aldermen. Whereupon, the Mayor appointed to the Board of Public Utilities S. G. Robertson for a term of four years, W. E. Hutton for a term of three years, Dr. B. F. Nesbitt for term of two years, Clark Leech for a term of one year and Brigham Rumsey as member of the Board of Aldermen for his term of office. The action of the Mayor was unanimously approved.
In the Minutes of December 5, 1949, we find where Alderman Scott brought to the Board’s attention the need of certain traffic lights at the intersection of Church Street and College Street, the intersection of Mulberry Street and College Street and at the intersection of Academy Street and College Street. The Board instructed C. N. Dunagan, the Manager of the Electric Department, to have these lights installed. So you see, traffic control for our Town has grown quite a bit since 1949, as prior to this action, there were only two traffic lights in the Town.
In the minutes of February 6, 1950, we find that Alderman Robert Lee, who had been a member of the prior Board, was resigning to move to Nashville. Mr. E. S. Payne was elected by the Board to take his place.
During 1950, the Board continued to look after routine matters and to try to improve the Street and Sewer Systems of the Town, and sanitation was still a big problem.
In April of 1950, we find more people becoming interested in the gas system, and that the Tennessee Valley Furniture Company was very desirous of using natural gas for their plant and the surrounding community and would like to enter into a contract with the Town to have natural gas to be brought to the NuDelman plant. Mr. C. W. Matthews, Superintendent of the Gas Department, stated that it would cost $9,347.27 to extend the line as suggested, and the Board authorized him to do so. Later on, we find that practically all of the business houses on Main Street were interested in using gas.
An interesting item appears in the Minutes of November 6, 1950, wherein Clark Leech, local Attorney, came before the Board and stated that he had been requested by the Mayor pro tem and others to investigate the laws on Sunday movies and report same to the Board. Mr. Leech read ordinances on the Town’s records pertaining to same.
Lipe Henslee spoke to the Board on behalf of the picture show. After some discussion, Alderman Reeder entered a motion that the Board go on record giving the picture show permission to operate until the proper ordinance had been drawn prohibiting the operation. This motion died without a second.
Alderman Scott then moved that an election be called to be held on November 28, 1950, for the purpose of the qualified voters to determine whether it would be lawful for the picture show to be operated on Sunday. This motion passed with all the Aldermen voting for same with the exception of Alderman Reeder.
However, this election was not held and the end result of the matter was that the Board agreed that the picture show could operate on Sunday between the hours of 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. and on Sunday night after 8:00 p.m.
In the Minutes of March 5, 1951, we find the Town getting into the sewer business in a much larger way by authorizing the issuance of $200,000 in bonds. It was at this time that the first sewage disposal plant was built with the construction of the plant to begin in June of 1951.
In the Minutes of April 2, 1951, we find that the first Gas Board was authorized by the Board and that Mitchell Hayes was named for a period of one year; Gilbert Freeman for a period of two years; Elmer Buckner for a period of three years; Dr. R. P. Beasley for a period of four years and M. E. Womble for the term of his office as Alderman.
We have heretofore mentioned that the poll tax for voting purposes had been with us for a long time, however, we find some special attention given to this question in the Minutes of July 2, 1951, when Alderman Scott introduced the following Resolution:
“Whereas, the next City Election to be held September 27, 1951, to elect a Mayor, a Board of Aldermen and City Recorder, for the Town of Dickson is now being discussed; and,
Whereas, many members of this Board are being questioned at to who are eligible to vote in said election and the requirements therefor; and,
Whereas, we have caused an investigation of this matter to be made, and the conclusions reached are as follows:
All citizens of the Town of Dickson who are twenty-one years of age or older on the day of the election and who have lived in the State of Tennessee for 12 months, and in the Town of Dickson of 6 months, next preceding the date of the election; who are properly registered; and who have paid a 1950 City Poll Tax thirty days before the election, if liable for such poll tax, are eligible to vote in said election.
Women are not required to have a Poll Tax Receipt, either City or State and County.
Men who were twenty-one years of age before January 10, 1950, and who were less than forty-five years of age on January 10, 1950, MUST have a City Poll Tax receipt paid on or before August 28, 1951, to be eligible to vote in said election, unless released from such by Military Service evidenced by receipt from Trustee or released from such by the City Council and County Court.
A man who was become twenty-one years of age since January 10, 1950, does not have to have a City Poll Tax receipt, BUT HE MUST BE REGISTERED.
Women are not required to have any kind of Poll Tax Receipt, BUT THEY MUST BE REGISTERED.
Men, if liable therefor, must have a thirty day old 1950 City Poll tax receipt.
ALL VOTERS MUST BE PROPERLY REGISTERED.
Therefore, be it resolved that the foregoing shall be the requirements for voting in the next regular Town of Dickson Election to be held on September 27, 1951.”
So you see, this indicates that the officials were getting ready for the September election and they wanted everyone to understand who could vote and who would be required to have a Poll Tax receipt and who would be exempt.
During the next two or three months, the Town issued a large amount of revenue bonds for the extension of the rural electric system, which was continuing to grow.
Other than the bond issue, only routine matters were considered until the City election which was held on September 27, 1951, which the following officials being elected and with the oath of office being given to the officials by Miss Mary Diamond, a Notary Public:
Dr. R. P. Beasley, Mayor. Aldermen from the First Ward, Brigham Rumsey and Doyle Larkins; from the Second Ward, C. D. Seay and Albert Ray; from the Third Ward, H. E. Ahlheit and S. P. Leech, from the Fourth Ward, Winfrey Wills and Elbert Easley. Mr. Jim Ramey was elected City Recorder.
The Board elected I. D. Jones as Chief of Police. Miss Mary Diamond was elected City Treasurer, thus beginning a long and dedicated career by a faithful City employee for many years. Robert S. Clement was named to serve as City Attorney.
We come to the close of 1951 with the December 3, 1951, meeting when Mr. C. D. Seay resigned as Alderman from the Second Ward. Mr. Albert Ray, the other Alderman from the Second Ward, suggested to the Board that he would like to talk with the people of his Ward to ascertain their wishes regarding someone to fill out Mr. Seay’s unexpired term of office. After some discussion of the matter, it was decided to defer the matter until the meeting to be held January 7, 1952, at which time, Mr. E. O. Grimes was elected by the Board for this vacancy.
In next week’s Article we will find that as the Town continued to grow more space was needed to conduct the business of the Town and several of the departments were moved from the old City Hall, which was immediately back of where the Bank of Dickson in now is located, and a short time later, we will find where plans were made for the consideration of the Municipal Building.
Bank of Dickson and Municipal Building Planning Begins
In closing last week’s Article, we stated that C. D. Seay, Alderman from the Second Ward, had resigned and it was necessary for the Board to elect someone to take his place. In January of 1952, Alderman Ray recommended that E. O. Grimes be elected to replace Alderman Seay and this motion was unanimously adopted.
During 1952, the Board proceeded with routine matters and especially the locating of new industry, and it was at this time that the K. F. Cline Company, which we have heretofore discussed, was located here.
For many years, there had been a question by the Town and the Railroad about the upkeep of what was known as the Overhead Bridge, which many of you will remember led from Herman Street to Water Street, and it had been declared a hazard. Of course, it would be some inconvenience for the people living on the South side of the railroad to close the bridge, but it seemed that the time had come that something had to be done, and on December 1, 1952, we find that the Town and the Railroad came to an agreement whereby the Town would assume responsibility of the bridge provided that Center Avenue could be extended across the railroad tracks to Church Street, which the Town paying the expenses of the construction with the exception of the area between the rails of the tracks. Thus, Center Avenue and Church Street were connected and this gave the traveling public another crossing, but it finally resulted in the Town blockading the Railroad Bridge and finally removing same.
In the Minutes of the January 5, 1953, we find the following:
“Donald Lampley appeared before the Board presenting the Mayor with a petition signed by the citizens and business men of the Town, requesting that January 15, 1953 be proclaimed a legal holiday in honor of Frank G. Clement, who will become Governor of the State on that day.
The Board unanimously voted to declare January 15, 1953, Inauguration Day, a legal holiday in honor of Dickson County’s Native Son, the Honorable Frank G. Clement.”
To show that our forefathers were looking after small things, as well as big things, we find that in the Minutes of August 3, 1953, Cheatham Bates, who in addition to his other duties was the keeper of the jail, appeared before the Board and stated that the allowance of 25 cents per meal for prisoners at the City jail did not cover the cost of the food and asked that this be increased to such an amount that would be in keeping with present high cost of living. Whereupon, the Mayor appointed a Committee to study the matter and make its report.
At the meeting held in September of 1953, Cheatham Bates again appeared before the Board about this matter, but the Committee stated that they needed further time to study the matter. However, on October 5, 1953, evidently the Committee had completed their study and reported to the Mayor that in their opinion the food allowance of 25 cents per meal per prisoner remain the same. The Board agreed with the Committee.
At the meeting held October 5, 1953, the following officials, who were elected on September 24, 1953, were given the oath of office: R. P. Beasley, Mayor; Jim Ramey, Recorder, and Aldermen: From the First Ward, Brigham Rumsey and Doyle Larkins; from the Second Ward, Albert Ray and E. O. Grimes; from the Third Ward, Ray Brazzell and Everette Morgan, and from the Fourth Ward, Winfrey Wills and Stroud Williams.
In the Minutes of January 4, 1954, we find a Resolution of Respect with regard to the death of Mr. Jim Ramey, City Recorder, who had been elected in September and was loved by many people, and who passed away on the 25th day of December, 1953.
At a called meeting on January 25, 1954, Murray Crow was elected City Recorder by the Board.
The Town was growing and the old City Hall did not contain sufficient space for the various departments of the Town.
The Electric Department moved into the old Citizens Bank Building, which had been purchased by the Town, and the Minutes reflect that meetings of the Board were held in the building. According to Winfrey Wills, who was a member of the Board at that time, the Board meetings were held upstairs, and then I believe that Mr. H. C. Thompson, who was then Tax Collector, had his office in the bank building.
According to the best information I can obtain, the Water Department stayed at the old City Hall. Thus, it was necessary to go to the bank building to pay your electric bill, to the old City Hall to pay your water bill, and I believe the Gas Department was located on West College Street. So, the Board could see that serious consideration should be given to building a Municipal Building out of which all departments could operate.
The Minutes of December 7, 1953, contain the following Resolution, which shows that the officials were moving fast toward the erection of a Municipal Building.
“WHEREAS, it has long been desire of this body to have a Municipal Building adequate to care for the needs of the different departments of the City Government; and,
WHEREAS, it recently came to the attention of the Mayor that a newly organized Banking Institution was to be located within the Town of Dickson and that its officials and organizers in looking for a suitable building in which to house their business, inspected the Main Street City Hall Building, formerly known as the Citizens National Bank Building, and in which the Town of Dickson Electric Department is now doing business, this inspection resulted in the offer of Twenty-Five Thousand Dollars; and ,
WHEREAS, the Mayor, as authorized, by advertisements in newspaper and otherwise, solicited bids for the said building and lot, and on November 25, 1953, offered said building and lot to the highest and best bidder with the result that an offer of Thirty-Two Thousand Dollars was made for the said property by the Bank of Dickson, it being the highest and best bid received.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF MAYOR AND ALDERMEN OF THE TOWN OF DICKSON, TENNESSEE, in regular session assembled no this the 7th day of December 1953, that we hereby accept the bid of Thirty-Two Thousand ($32,000.00) Dollars as made by the Bank of Dickson for purchase of the said property…”
Having sold the building, it became necessary for the various departments to find new locations, and the Electric Department, especially as it was the largest, moved its operation to a building just North of the Graystone Hotel building, now Hodges Jewelers, and where the department operated until the Municipal Building was built.
On the 11th day of March, 1954, the Board passed the following Resolution with reference to the municipal building:
“WHEREAS, the Plans and Specifications for the Municipal Building for the Town of Dickson as prepared by Marr and Holman, Architects and Engineers, Inc., are hereby approved and the Mayor is authorized to advertise for bids to be received on April 5, 1954, at 7:00 o’clock P.M. in the City Hall.”
On the 5th day of April, 1954, the Minutes show that sixteen contractors submitted bids for the construction of the Municipal Building and the lowest bidder being R. E. Dunn and Company of Nashville, Tennessee, who bid $160,700.00. The Mayor stated that the bids would be taken under consideration and a conclusion would be reached within the next thirty days.
The Minutes of June 7, 1954, show that the Mayor and members of the Board had worked out a plan to build a building which could be occupied by all of the departments, as is shown by the following Resolution which was unanimously adopted by the Board at that time:
“WHEREAS, it has been the desire of the patrons of the Water, Gas, Electric and other Departments of the Town of Dickson, as well as the desire of the public officials, to have one building in the Town in which to maintain all it offices for clerical business, payment of monthly bill, etc., and,
WHEREAS, the general plans as to an appropriate building for the purposes above stated, also a plan for the financing of such a building project, having been agreed to as in outlined and set up in a written contract, dated as of June 1, 1954, between the (1) Town of Dickson General Department, (2) Town of Dickson Electric Department, Urban, and (3) Town of Dickson Natural Gas Department; and,
WHEREAS, it is believed that such a building, jointly owned and maintained by said Departments, will meet the needs of the Town of Dickson for may years to come.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF MAYOR AND ALDERMEN OF THE TOWN OF DICKSON, TENNESSEE, in regular session assembled on this the 7th day of June, 1954, that this Board does hereby ratify, confirm and approve enumerated, and this said Board does hereby authorize, direct and request the Mayor, Recorder and Superintendent to sign and execute said Contract and Agreement, in triplicate form, for and in behalf of the Town of Dickson General Department, said contract and Agreement having already been approved by the Town of Dickson Board of Public Utilities for and in behalf of the Town of Dickson Electric Department, Urban, and by the Town Dickson Natural Gas Department; it is therefore ordered that said Contract and Agreement be copied in full on the Minutes of this meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the Town of Dickson, after its signing and execution by the Mayor, Recorder and Superintendent.”
This construction of the building was started immediately and was completed in 1955, with the first meeting of the Board being held in the Municipal Building on August 1, 1955.
Members of the Board at the time the plans for the Municipal Building were approved were Mayor R. P. Beasley; Aldermen Brigham Rumsey, Doyle Larkins, Albert Ray, E. O. Grimes, Ray Brazzell, Everette Morgan, Winfrey Wills and Stroud Williams.
Other officials and employees of the Town were: Recorder, Murray Crow; Secretary-Treasurer, Miss Mary Diamond; Superintendent, Van Corlew; Manager of the Electric Department, C. N. Dunagan; Secretary and Treasurer of the Electric Department, Mrs. Lucy Wright. Members of the Power Board were Dr. B. F. Nesbitt, Chairman; Clark Leech, Vice Chairman, W. E. Hutton, S. G. Robertson, Brigham Rumsey, Randall Brown was Superintendent of the Gas Department and W. T. Barrett was Secretary and Treasurer. Members of the Natural Gas Board were E. T. Buckner, Chairman, G. E. Freeman, Vice-Chairman, W. G. Ingram, Dr. L. C. Jackson and Winfrey Wills.
We find in the Minutes of a meeting held on April 4, 1955, that Everette Morgan, Alderman from the Third Ward, resigned as he was no longer a resident of the Third Ward. Whereupon, the Board elected Buford Reed to fill out the unexpired term.
Elsewhere in the paper you will find a picture of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen and other officials of the Town who were serving when the Municipal Building was dedicated in August of 1955 (see Appendix 1).
In next week’s Article we find the Board continuing with routine matters leading up to the election in September.
Parking Meters Begin to be Removed and Dickson Expands
In last week’s Article we found the Town moving into the Municipal Building at 202 South Main Street and were looking forward to the City Election to be held in September of 1955.
Officials elected in September of 1955 were Dr. R. P. Beasley, Mayor; Murray Crow, Recorder; Aldermen from the First Ward, Brigham Rumsey and Doyle Larkins; from the Second Ward, E. O. Grimes and J. B. Edwards; from the Third Ward, Ray Brazzell and Buford Reed; from the Fourth Ward, Winfrey Wills and Everette Morgan.
- J. Register, more familiarly remembered by most of us as “Red” Register, was elected Chief of Police by the Board and Miss Mary Diamondwas named Treasurer for the City by a unanimous vote.
At a meeting held October 12, 1955, Robert L. Nicks was elected Alderman from the First Ward to fill out the unexpired term of Mr. W. G. Ingram, who had moved outside the Corporate Limits of the Town, on the Gas Board.
An interesting item appears in the Minutes of February 6, 1956, wherein it was the opinion of the Board that the traffic lights at the intersection of Mulberry Street and West College Street and at Church Street and East College Street be turned off at ten o’clock at night and back on at five o’clock in the morning. Also, the first opposition to parking meters appears when a motion was made that all parking meters at the Graystone Hotel on the North side of College Street, and at the Dickson Furniture Store on the South side of College Street be removed. The motion was unanimously adopted.
In the beginning of our Articles, we made some mention of the necessity of each family owning a cow, but we find on June 4, 1956, this necessity no longer existed as the Board passed the following Ordinance: “An Ordinance declaring it to be a nuisance to maintain, harbor or keep cows, bulls, calves, or other members of the bovine family on premises or property within the Corporate Limits of the Town of Dickson; and to fix a penalty for creating and/or maintaining, or allowing or permitting such nuisance to be maintained on premises or property within the Town of Dickson.” Yes, it seems that time brings about change.
In the Minutes of March 4, 1957, we find that Mayor R. P. Beasley submitted his resignation as Mayor to the Board on account of ill health, which the Board accepted with regrets. Mayor Pro Tem Brigham Rumsey stated that is was necessary that someone be named as Mayor at this time. Whereupon, Alderman Doyle Larkins moved that the writer, Robert S. Clement, be elected Mayor to fill out the unexpired term of Dr. Beasley, and as there were no further nominations, the writer was unanimously elected Mayor. I was sworn in on March 5, 1957, by Clark Leech, and my son, Governor Frank G. Clement, with several others, was present for the ceremony.
In April of 1957, we find the Town extending the Corporate Limits to include areas around the Guy Oakley property to Pond Switch Lane, and including some of the property of Dr. W. M. Jackson, then Southwestwardly, which would take in a part of what is now Forest Hills Subdivision and Lewis Hollow Road. The annexation was to include what was known as the Lee Mathis property, J. W. Beasley’s property on Piney Road and to continue to include the Cheatham Work and Donaldson properties, continuing in a Northwesterly direction to the City Lake, continuing across Highway 70 West and the Railroad to Hardy Few’s property and then on to the beginning point.
Thus, it can be seen that all four wards were attached by this annexation, which was voted on and approved by the people.
On March 21, 1957, the Mayor had called a meeting for the purpose of selecting a policeman to take the place of Officer Lankford, who resigned March 15, 1957. Upon motion by Alderman Winfrey Wills, seconded by Alderman Everette Morgan, a secret ballot was taken, but after thirteen ballots, the vote was still four to four. Whereupon, it became necessary for the Mayor to vote, which he did, casting his vote in favor of Jim Rockey.
In the Minutes of April 1, 1957, we find the situation quite different when Lee Baker and several others had applied for the vacancy on the police force caused by the transfer of Claude Ragan to the Street Department. On motion, a secret ballot was taken resulting in the selection of Lee Baker on the first ballot.
Only routine matters were taken care of from May of 1957 until the election on September 26, 1957, which resulted in the following officials being elected, Robert S. Clement, Mayor; Murray Crow, Recorder; Aldermen from the First Ward, Brigham Rumsey and Doyle Larkins; Aldermen from the Second Ward, Mitchell Shuck and C. J. Sullaway; Aldermen from the Third Ward, Ray Brazzell and Buford Reed; Aldermen from the Fourth Ward, Dr. W. A. Crosby and Winfrey Wills. The oath of office was administered to these officials at the Meeting held October 7, 1957.
During the remainder of 1957 and the first part of 1958, the Town was continuing to extend the rural electric system and to provide services to the newly annexed areas insofar as possible.
As most of us know, most of the trouble that the Police Officers have to contend with occurs during the night time, but according to the Minutes of November, 1958, this is nothing new as we find an ordinance making it unlawful for any person under eighteen years of age to be on the streets or in the alleys of the Town of Dickson in the night time between the hours of ten o’clock P.M. and daylight. The ordinance passed unanimously. So after all, things may be considerably worse now, but you must remember that we have a lot more people now than we did in 1958.
In the Minutes of December 2, 1958, we find a Resolution of Respect relative to the death of Superintendent W. H. Adcox, who had served the Town so well and faithfully for many years:
“WHEREAS, Almighty God in His Infinite Wisdom has called from labor to rest W. H. Adcox, a highly respected citizen, a devoted father and husband and a faithful and efficient former Superintendent of Public Works of the Town of Dickson; and
WHEREAS, the said W. H. Adcox, for more than forty years, served faithfully the citizens of the Town of Dickson and rendered valuable services to the Town of Dickson, choosing this public service at a nominal salary over private employment at a larger salary, and
WHEREAS, the said W. H. Adcox with his mechanical and engineering ability was greatly responsible for the expansion and extension of the water, electric and other departments of the Town of Dickson, always courteous, energetic and cooperative in all movements for the betterment of the Town of Dickson during his forty years of service, and
WHEREAS, the Town of Dickson and the family of the said W. H. Adcox has sustained a great loss in his death.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF MAYOR, and aldermen of the town of Dickson, in regular session here assembled, that it is the consensus of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen that the said W. H. Adcox was an outstanding private citizen, a faithful, efficient public servant and a kind, unselfish, warmhearted individual, loved by his fellowmen and that the citizens of the Town of Dickson, past, present and future, are indebted to him for services rendered while on this earth.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this Resolution be spread on the Minutes of the Town of Dickson and that a copy of same be sent to the family of said W. H. Adcox.
This the 1st day of December, 1958.
/s/ Robert S. Clement, Mayor
/s/ Murray Crow, Recorder
In the Minutes of March 16, 1959, we find that a Petition was presented to the Board asking that the Corporate Limits be extended further and that a Resolution was passed concerning same which reads, as follows:
“WHEREAS, a certain petition has been presented to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the Town of Dickson, Tennessee, by a majority of the residents and property owners of the Oak Hill Subdivision and Forest Hills Subdivision requesting that the City Limits of the Town of Dickson be extended to bring said property within the Corporate Limits of the Town of Dickson, and
WHEREAS, Section 6-309 of the Tennessee Code Annotated provides corporation by ordinance following notice of said intention, as provided by Section 6-308, Tennessee Code Annotated.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that said notice is hereby given to all interested parties of this request by these residents and property owners and that a public hearing will be held on same at the Municipal Building in the Town of Dickson on the 16th day of March, 1959, at 7:00 o’clock, P.M.
This the 2nd day of March, 1959.
/s/ Robert S. Clement, Mayor
attest: Murray Crow, Recorder
In the Minutes of July 6, 1959, we find that Buford Reed moved from the Third Ward to the First Ward, however, as the election would be in September of 1959, the body decided not to name anyone to take his place.
In the election which was held on September 24, 1959, the following officials were elected: Robert S. Clement, Mayor; Murray Crow, Recorder; Aldermen from the First Ward, Brigham Rumsey and Buford Reed; from the Second Ward, C. J. Sullaway and Albert Ray; from the Third Ward, Maurice Petty and Ray Brazzell; from the Fourth Ward, W. A. Crosby and Winfrey Wills.
At the regular meeting held in November of 1959, we find a Resolution passed which would extend sick leave, vacation with pay and other benefits to the employees of the Town. I believe this is the first move in this direction.
In the Minutes of June 6, 1960, we find where Alderman Ray Brazzell had moved from the Third Ward and it was necessary to select someone to take his place. The name of William Gilmore was submitted to the Board and he was unanimously elected by the Board.
The Minutes of February, 1961, show that Dr. W. A. Crosby, then serving as Alderman from the Fourth Ward, made a motion that all police cars and all other City vehicles where it would be beneficial to business be equipped with radio equipment.
Board Meetings Carried on Radio and Dickson Gets an Airport
This Article is being written on November 5, 1980, the day after we have elected a new President, Governor Ronald Reagan, who will take office in January of 1981. The margin of defeat for President Jimmy Carter was much greater than any of the commentators expected, and with the many problems which are facing our country both at home and abroad, it could well be that three months from now the Carter’s will be glad to be back home in Georgia. However, this is getting away from our subject, which we announced last week which was, the beginning of the construction of an airport in Dickson County.
In the minutes of July 3, 1961, we find the following letter:
“Mr. D. D. Robertson, Chairman
Dear Mr. Robertson:
In keeping with our conversation, please be advised that I will recommend to the City Council at our regular meeting on July 3, 1961, that the Town of Dickson participate with Dickson County in the construction of an airport. It is my understanding that the Town of Dickson will be called on to contribute $25,000 to the project. I will refer the matter to our Finance Committee and I am sure they will, at the proper time, recommend a plan for providing the money.
The members of this Committee are Mr. Brigham Rumsey, Mr. C. J. Sullaway and Mr. William Gilmore. I am sure these gentlemen will be glad to meet with you or other Committee officials most any time and discuss the matter.
Yours very truly,
TOWN OF DICKSON
/s/ Robert S. Clement, Mayor”
Thus, you can see that we were beginning to become air-minded, and have become more so ever since.
In a recent Article, we found that the Town was putting radios in the cars of the Police Department and a study was being made as to whether or not it would be advisable to equip other cars of the Town with radios. In the minutes of July 17, 1961, we find that two units were purchased for the Gas Department, one unit for the Superintendent’s truck, two units for the Water Department, one unit for the foreman, and a remote control unit for the filter plant, at a total cost of only $5,685.00. It is interesting to note that this money came from the Gas Department which had begun to grow considerably.
The election was held September 28, 1961, and at the meeting held October 9, 1961, the following officials were given the oath of office:
Leland G. Ishmael, Mayor; Doyle Larkins, Recorder; Aldermen from the First Ward, Buford Reed and Ray Brazzell; from the Second Ward, Albert Ray and Edwin Walker; from the Third Ward, Maurice Petty and Ray McElhiney and from the Fourth Ward, W. A. Crosby and Everette Morgan. The Board elected Buford Reed Mayor Pro Tem and Miss Mary Diamond City Treasurer.
Thus, we have Ray Brazzell back on the board from the First Ward, having previously served as Alderman from the Third Ward, and new Alderman, Edwin Walker, Ray McElhiney and Everette Morgan.
I might add that the writer was not a candidate for re-election as Mayor.
It was at this meeting, October 9, 1961, that a local radio station representative appeared before the Board and asked to record the meetings of the Board. The request was granted and the Board Meetings were carried over Radio Station WDKN for several years.
The remainder of 1961 found the Board taking care of routine matters, the adoption of a budget which amounted to $206,952.00, which required a tax rate of $2.50.
In the minutes of November 6, 1961, we find that the Mayor brought before the Board a list of complaints which he had heard concerning the Police Department with certain suggestions as to how the Police Department should be operated and improved. The Mayor appointed a committee to look into this matter and to make a “written report of same to him. After the report was received, the substance of their findings and recommendations were as follows:
“1. The present force be hired for the coming fiscal year.
- That a police Commission be appointed to lend close supervision.
- That radios be provided as soon as possible.
- That an extra man be hired in order that the men may have a day off each week.
- That if in the future the conduct or efficiency of a member, or members, of this department is not satisfactory to the Commission or to this Board, the officer or officers in question to be dismissed from the force and then an immediate replacement be made.”
Upon the call of the roll, four Aldermen, voted “Aye” and four Aldermen voted “No”. The vote resulting in a tie, Mayor Ishmael then cast his vote in favor of rehiring the present Police chief and Patrolmen.
In the minutes of December 4, 1961, we find where the Town, at the suggestion of C. N. Dunagan, Manager of the Electric Department, passed an Ordinance, the caption of which reads as follows with reference to regulating the installation of electric wiring: “AN ORDINANCE REGULATING THE INSTALLATION OF ELECTRIC WIRING IN THE TOWN OF DICKSON, TENNESSEE; ADOPTING THE LAWS, RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, AND REPEALING ORDINANCE PASSED BY THE TOWN OF DICKSON FEBRUARY 2, 1948.
I believe I have mentioned in a previous Article about a certain resident appearing before the Board when he found out he was going to have to change out his wiring; that is, take it from off the wall and install same in the ceiling in the proper manner, but he objected to doing this, stating that by having the wire along the wall, on rainy days when his wife couldn’t dry the clothes outside, she would bring them in and hang them on the electric wire. However, the Ordinance passed, and as time went on, more changes were required in order to comply with the electric code.
In the minutes of February 22, 1962, we find that the first dispatcher for the radio system of the Town was employed, Mr. D. W. Hawthorne, at a salary of $150.00 per month.
In the minutes of April 20, 1962, we find the first steps being taken by the residents of the city of Dickson to regulate housing when a petition was presented to the Board requesting that the Town create a Housing Authority with the power to improve the Town and to remove unsafe and unsanitary dwellings, which request was taken under consideration by the Board.
The minutes of August 8, 1962, reveal that an Ordinance passed third and final reading whereby the Corporate Limits of the Town was extended at the Eastern corporate limits from Highway 70 to the railroad to include the property of Dr. W. A. Bell and Eastland Subdivision.
In the minutes of October 1, 1962, we find that Alderman Ray McElhiney from the Third Ward resigned to take a job with the Town and would therefore be ineligible to serve, and William R. Gilmore was elected by the Board to fill out the unexpired term of Alderman McElhiney.
The November minutes of 1962 show that the budget of the Town had increased to $237,144.00, which required a tax levy of $3.00. However, it should be remembered that at this time the assessment of property was much lower than it is at the present time.
For many years, the Mayor and Board had been called on to do something for the youth of our Town, but it seemed that the funds were just not available or that the Board thought that there were other things more important. However, in the minutes of April 13, 1963, we find that Homer Hamdorff and Melton Self were employed as Recreations Directors for the summer months to supervise recreational activities of the youth of the Town.
At the meeting held April 6, 1963, Alderman Everette Morgan made the motion that the newly completed by-pass on the northern edge of Dickson be officially named Henslee Drive, which motion was unanimously adopted. No doubt, this was due to the fact that Lipe Henslee for many years had moved for a road to be built along the Northern Corporate Limits of the Town, thus relieving through traffic of having to travel along College Street.
On June 3, 1963, we find the letter which the writer had written pledging the cooperation of the Town in the building of an airport bearing results as shown by the following Resolution:
“WHEREAS, the county of Dickson and the Town of Dickson have heretofore entered into an agreement with the Federal Aviation Agency of the United States of America for the construction of an airport in Dickson County at an approximate cost of $256,000.00, of which the Federal Government contributes 50%, the State of Tennessee 25%, Dickson County 12-1/2% and the Town of Dickson 12-1/2%, said airport to be located at a point approximately five miles from Dickson on a site heretofore selected; and
WHEREAS, the contract for the construction of the airport has been awarded and work is ready to begin just as soon as the Town of Dickson and Dickson County’s funds are available; and
WHEREAS, it appears that it will be necessary for the Town of Dickson to borrow $30,000.00 in order to pay its part on said airport;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF MAYOR AND ALDERMEN OF THE TOWN OF DICKSON, TENNESSEE, that the Mayor of the Town of Dickson, Tennessee, is hereby authorized, empowered and directed to borrow from the First National Bank and/or the Bank of Dickson of Dickson, Tennessee, or from any other banking agency, the sum of $30,000 and execute the Town’s note for same and for collateral to pledge $500.00 from the beer tax received by the Town each month plus the necessary interest on said loan. And the Treasurer of the Town of Dickson is hereby authorized, empowered and directed to pay from said fund each month the amounts aforesaid. Provided, however, that in the negotiations to borrow the $30,000 needed, the Mayor shall not be limited to the above collateral, but is empowered, with the Finance Committee concurring, to make whatever arrangements are necessary to obtain said funds.”
At the meeting held September 3, 1963, we find Mayor Pro Tem Buford Reed presiding in the absence of Mayor Leland G. Ishmael due to the untimely death of his wife, Louise B. Ishmael. Recorder Doyle Larkins read the following Resolution.
“WHEREAS, Almighty God in his infinite wisdom has seen fit and proper to take from this earthly existence Mrs. Louise Ishmael, the wife of our Mayor, Leland G. Ishmael; and
WHEREAS, Mrs. Ishmael was a highly respected lady, a beloved wife, an unselfish mother, and was active in civic and public affairs for the benefit of our Town, State and Nation, and gave of her time and talents to all things for the betterment of our community.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF ALDERMEN OF THE TOWN OF DICKSON, TENNESSEE, that this body hereby expresses its sorrow at the loss of this respected lady and we do hereby extend to Mayor Ishmael and his family our heartfelt sympathy.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Resolution be spread upon the minutes of this body and that a copy of same be sent to the members of the family.
This the 3rd day of September, 1963.
/s/ Buford L. Reed, Mayor Pro Tem
Attest: Doyle Larkins, Recorder”
Said Resolution was unanimously adopted by the Board of Aldermen.
The minutes of a meeting held October 7, 1963, indicate that an election was held September 26, 1963, to elect a Mayor, Recorder and eight Aldermen, with the following officials being elected: Leland G. Ishmael, Mayor; Doyle Larkins, Recorder; Aldermen from the First Ward, Buford Reed and Ray Brazzell; from the Second Ward, Albert Ray and Edwin H. Walker; from the Third Ward, William Gilmore and J. W. Donegan; from the Fourth Ward, Winfrey Wills and Dr. W. A. Crosby.
The Board elected Dr. W. A. Crosby, Mayor Pro Tem and Miss Mary Diamond City Treasurer.
The Minutes of November 4, 1963 reflect the first contract that the Town had with the Turnbull Utility District, which was expected to be completed by June 1, 1964.
Another important item at a meeting held November 11, 1963, was the construction of the Fire Hall by the Dickson Industrial Trust, which was to be rented to the Town of Dickson at a sufficient monthly rental in order to retire the loan of $30,000.00 over a period of fifteen years.
In next week’s Article, we will find the Town instituting the first sewage treatment plant located on East Piney.
Vo-Tech School Started and Planning Commission Established
In last week’s Article we briefly mentioned the election and how far off most of us were guessing at the outcome. The news media and practically all commentators thought it would be a close election and that it would be a large vote; however, the election as you well know, was not even a close election and that it would be a large vote; however, the election as you know, was one of the smallest of all times in a presidential race. The day after Governor Reagan was elected, the stock market rose about sixteen points, but on the next day, it dropped about eighteen points, so I think all us must realize that a lot of the things which the President elect would like to do, and, in fact, we would like for these things to be accomplished, he will have quite a difficult time, I am afraid, in bringing back the economy and solving all of our problems immediately.
In January of 1964, we find where Mayor Ishmael had applied for, and had been awarded, a Federal grant for sewage treatment facilities in the amount of $148,500.00. This was the beginning of the construction of the sewage plant on East Piney which was finally built at an approximate cost of one-half million dollars. It is my understanding that certain engineers have now suggested that the plant be abandoned, which is difficult for me to understand especially since we still owe a considerable amount of money on same, and that this plant serves the Schrader Company as well as the Southern part of the City. Mayor Buckner informs me that he is protesting the closing of the plant and will do all within his power to keep it open.
We have previously discussed the construction of the Schrader Plant and that the formal dedication of the plant was held on January 16, 1965, at which time, our son, Frank was Governor and was the principal speaker for the occasion. Lee Mathis, Jr. represented our County in the Senate at that time and Buford Reed was in the House of Representatives. A picture of the three was made at the dedication and it is quite ironic that all three have now crossed over the river.
Someone has said that “Life is short; Life is brief; Life is but a span.”
A lot of progress was made during the 1960’s including the construction of the new building for the Red Kap Garment Company, which we have heretofore discussed; the location of the Schrader Plant; continued progress in the rural electric system; the building of the sewage disposal unit, which we have discussed in this Article; the water system expansion and other things which were for the betterment of the City of Dickson.
However, one of the most important things accomplished during the 1960’s was the location of the Dickson Area Vocational Technical School on Highway 46-A. There were thirty such schools authorized by the Legislature of 1963 and we were fortunate enough to obtain a school for this area which would serve six or seven counties.
The school had its origin in February, 1964, in a leased building in Downtown Dickson. The first program was a cooperative effort between the State of Tennessee and Scovill-Schrader to train machine operators to manufacture tire valves.
During this time, construction was begun on Highway 46-A training facility. Robert Ivy held the position of superintendent through September, 1976. The school is presently under capable leadership of Mr. Bobby Sullivan, who has served in this position since the latter part of 1976.
During 1965 the school opened the following full-time classes: Machine Shop, Office Occupations, Auto Mechanics Practical Nursing, Cosmetology and Drafting. Classes added since that time include: Electronics (September, 1966), Welding (October, 1968), and Air Conditioning-Refrigeration (August, 1974). During the fall of 1977, Welding was changed to a Boilermaker program. Recent additions to the facilities include a Drafting classroom, and a Health Occupations building. The calendar system at the institution is twelve months with a full-time student load of thirty hours per week.
The school was officially dedicated on July 10, 1966, with Governor Frank G. Clement being the principal speaker.
The school offers courses for non-high school students at the post-secondary level. The school has furnished training to a limited number of high school students in the past. A program of supplemental training offered in the evening for adults who desire retraining or upgrading is offered in the evening for adults who desire retraining or upgrading.
Since the school’s beginning in 1965, 5,284 individuals have been serviced by the school with many of these persons enrolled in more than one program. Placement studies from 1977-1979 show that approximately 93% of all persons completing an entire course at the school are employed in their field of training.
Full-time classes currently accepting applications are: Air Conditioning-Refrigeration, Auto Mechanics, Cosmetology, Drafting, Electronics, Machine Shop, Office Occupations, Practical Nursing and Boilermaker. Part-time classes are Accounting, Typing and Machine Shop.
In the ten years the Licensed Practical Nursing course has been in operation, one hundred ninety persons have graduated from the program.
In the Minutes of February 1, 1965, we find the Commissioners of the West Piney Utility District appearing before the Board with reference to obtaining water from the Town of Dickson to supply approximately seventy-five customers. The Mayor appointed a committee to talk with Superintendent Van Corlew and the Aldermen as to the advisability of granting this request and report back to the Board.
Later the contract was authorized and the City was now serving three utility districts which consume a considerable amount of water, and the City will be compelled within the near future to obtain a larger amount of water, and it would appear at this time that the most logical place would be from the Turnbull Utility District, whose plant is being expanded. However, in order for the Town and rural areas of the County to have water for the next few years, water will have to be obtained from either the Harpeth or Cumberland Rivers.
In the Minutes of August 2, 1965, we find the following Resolution relative to the death of Alderman Edwin H. Walker.
“WHEREAS, the said Edwin H. Walker was loved and respected by all who knew him and will be sadly missed by his friends and especially the members of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for the Town of Dickson.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF MAYOR AND ALDERMEN OF THE TOWN OF DICKSON that we express to the widow of Edwin H. Walker and other members of his family our sympathy and regret because of the passing of our comrade, and that a copy of this Resolution be forwarded to her and a copy spread on the Minutes of this Body.
Adopted this 2nd day of August, 1965.
/s/ Leland G. Ishmael, Mayor ATTEST:
/s/ Doyle Larkins, Recorder”
Due to the fact that the City election was to be held in September, no one was elected by the Board to fill out his unexpired term.
On the 2nd day of September, 1965, the Town authorized a bond issue in the amount of $800,000 for the purpose of further extending and improving the rural electric transmission system into the counties of Cheatham, Dickson, Hickman, Houston and Montgomery counties.
In the City election held September 30, 1965, the following officials were elected: Dr. W. A. Crosby, Mayor; Doyle Larkins, Recorder; Aldermen from the First Ward, Ray Brazzell and Buford Reed; from the Second Ward, E. W. Daniel and Tom Woodall; from the Third Ward J. W. Donegan and John Allen Mayes, and from the Fourth Ward Winfrey Wills and Everette Morgan.
The Board elected Robert S. Clement, City Attorney; John Baggett, Chief of Police; and Claude Ragan, Fire Chief.
Evidently the incumbent Mayor, Leland G. Ishmael, had come to the conclusion that being Mayor of the Town of Dickson called for quite a bit of time as well as being called on to solve many problems, so he announced emphatically that he would not be a candidate for re-election.
Well, we might say that under the leadership of Mayor Crosby the Town was beginning to become more modern as we find in the Minutes of November 15, 1965, that an Ordinance was passed to provide a Municipal Planning Commission and to repeal all ordinances in conflict therewith. The first members of the Planning Commission to be appointed by Mayor Crosby were Leland G. Ishmael for a term of two years; Mrs. Chrystine R. Mashburn for a term of one year; Alderman Thomas E. Woodall to serve until the expiration of his term of office; Clarence N. Dunagan, Manager of the Electric Department, for a term of three years, with the Mayor to act as the fifth member of the Committee.
Thus, we find the beginning of the new brick homes in East Dickson and the demolition of many others, which has been quite an attraction for the Town as well as one of the most deserving projects the Town has entered into.
A Special Meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen was held April 19, 1966, to consider a request of not to exceed One Thousand ($1,000.00) Dollars for the purpose of aiding in the construction of a ball park at the elementary school. A motion was made, which was passed, that the Town make the contribution and on May 1, 1967, the $1,000.00 was paid to the Dickson County Youth Athletic Association for lighting the ball fields. Thus, the Town played a rather important role in the Little League Program which has meant so much to the boys and girls of this area.
As we have heretofore suggested, our basic problems haven’t changed for many years, and that is the need and purity of water being one of them. We find that as far back as 1899, the Town was seeking water just as it is today. However, on December 5, 1966, we find the official action that the Town took with reference to the fluoridation of the water supply when the following Ordinance was submitted:
“AN ORDINANCE to authorize the Fluoridation of the Water Supply of the Town of Dickson, Tennessee: To authorize and instruct the Water Department of Public Health for such Fluoridation and to provide and determine the method of defraying the cost of such Fluoridation.”
Another problem that the Town was being confronted with was the operation of motorcycles and motor bikes, and, of course, this problem had continued to grow and is one of the problems that our City policemen have to contend with today.
In March of 1967, the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, after receiving requests from many residents outside of the Town asking that the City Limits be extended, came to the conclusion that it would be for the best interests of the Town of Dickson and the immediate area thereof that the Corporate Limits be extended to include five areas, which of course, brought a large number of residents into the Corporate Limits. The areas affected all four wards of the Town.
This action was taken after the Mayor received the following letter from the Dickson Planning Commission:
“Dr. W. A. Crosby, Mayor
Town of Dickson
Dear Mr. Crosby:
This is to advise you that at a meeting held on March 19, 1967, the Dickson Planning Commission considered the Resolution which you sent the Commission together with Plan of Services for the extension of the Corporate Limits of the Town of Dickson to five separate areas, and it was the judgement of the Commission that said Plan of Services as outlined in the Resolution is a reasonable plan and that it is in the best interest of the Town of Dickson and the area to be annexed that said Corporate Limits be extended.
The Commission’s action in approving same is set out in the Minutes of the meeting held March 10, 1967.
Yours very truly,
Dickson Planning Commission”
At a meeting of the Board held June 20, 1967, we find that the Dickson County Youth Athletic Association again called on the Town for assistance in providing restroom facilities for the ball park. Whereupon, a motion was made that the Town contribute $1,000.00 on the project, and on the call of the roll, the vote was unanimous to make said contribution.
Routine matters were taken care of until the election on September 28, 1967.
Sherriffs of Dickson County
Recently several people have asked me why I didn’t say something in my Articles about the Sheriffs of Dickson County. Of course, I told them that the real purpose of writing these Articles was to discuss the history of the Town of Dickson insofar as I could. Naturally, we can’t talk about Dickson without talking about our own County and the progress that has been made since 1900.
Therefore, this week I am going to deviate somewhat from our regular theme and name the Sheriffs who have served our County since 1900 and relate one or two special instances occurring during their term of office.
The law enforcement officers from 1900 until whiskey was made legal in the State of Tennessee had a big problem in controlling moonshine stills. Now, for the benefit of you youngsters who may read this column and not know what a moonshine still is, it is my understanding that the reason it was named “moonshine” was because it was during the nighttime that illegal whiskey was made at these stills. And, from the records a lot of it was made in our County.
Beginning with 1900, Mr. M. D. Corlew served the maximum of three terms, this from 1900-1906; S. A. Tidwell from 1906-1908; R. D. Eubank, Jr. from1908-1912; T. J. Coleman from 1912-1918; J. T. Petty from 1918-1921; resigning on January 3, 1921, M. O. Stuart from 1921-1922; W. H. Hickerson from 1922-1928; Will Ellis from 1928-1934; W. E. Hutton from 1934-1940; H. L. Hammon from 1940-1946; Claude Creighton from 1946-1948; Percy Corlew from 1948-1950; Warren Hill from 1950-1956; James “Bud” Weems from 1956-1962; Ray Berry from 1962-1964; Pat Martin from 1964-1970; Warren Hill served again from 1970-1974, and who was succeeded by his Deputy, Doyle Wall, in 1974 and who is now serving as Sheriff.
While I was City Recorder from 1935 to 1945, Mr. Hammon, familiarly known as “Hub”, served five years as Chief of Police for the Town of Dickson and he told some interesting stories of his serving as Deputy under the late Mr. W. H. Hickerson, who served from 1922 to 1928.
Now, as I understand it, from what I have heard about making moonshine whiskey, you first set up barrels and, of course, have to have water, meal and some say sugar, and it takes some time for the mash to ferment before the actual cooking and running of the whiskey is begun. Therefore, the Sheriff and his deputies were always looking for a probable location, and, if they could find a place where the ingredients had been set up to make mash, then they would have a pretty good idea of when the actual making of the whiskey would be.
It seems that Sheriff Hickerson and his deputy, Hub Hammon, according to the story told to me by Mr. Hammon, had located such a place and they knew it was about time for the operators to make a run. Mr. Hammon decided that he would go out and check on the matter and had left his car upon the road and walked down in the woods to within about fifty feet of the still, and they were just getting ready to run or were running whiskey.
One of the operators of the still, whose name I will not mention, in jest stepped up to a large oak tree and rang the phone, like we used to have to do, and said, “Operator, get hold of Sheriff Hickerson and tell him we are getting ready to make a run and come on down and be sure and bring that long-legged Hammon with him.” Then he hung up the receiver.
Well, Mr. Hammon being only about fifty feet away, stepped out from behind the tree with his gun and said, “Well, here I am.” The operator said, “Well, I believe this is the quickest service that I ever got.”
Of course, he arrested the operator and one other man, but two ran away, and while Mr. Hammon was tearing up the still and pouring out the moonshine, somebody said, “What’s that fire up yonder?” Well, nobody seemed to know, but when Hub got back to his car he found that it had been burned.
The first Sheriff that I can remember was Mr. S. A. Tidwell, who lived on West College Street, and he had a little buckskin horse which he would let me ride. So, I use to go to his house on Sunday afternoons when I was about ten or twelve years old and sit around, of course hoping that he would ask me to ride his horse to water, and which he usually did.
I remember one Sunday afternoon when I was riding his horse, Dale Tomlinson, on another horse, and I went to the water reservoir down on Chestnut Street, where it is still located, and, by the way, there are two wells there if I am not badly mistaken, but one of them is sulphur water. Half the Town used to gather down there on Sunday afternoon and a lot of people would take home with them a jug of sulphur water.
The reason I remember so well about this occasion was that being young and wanting to show how smart I was and how good I could ride, I pitched the reins off over the head of the horse I was riding and, as was customary, the Town’s whistle blew at four o’clock and it was within fifteen feet of where we were located. Well, when that whistle blew, those horses started running East on Chestnut Street and me with no reins to try to stop the horse I was riding, but I finally was able to reach up and get hold of his bridle and got him stopped at Main Street.
Now, there are a lot of things in life that we forget, but there are some small as they are, that you don’t forget and this was one of them.
I think as a whole that Dickson County has been quite fortunate in having good law enforcement officers. I began practicing law in 1934, at which time Mr. W. E. Hutton was Sheriff, and I know since then they have all cooperated with me and other lawyers in our work.
We have an organization in the County, which I think deserves a lot of credit for the work that they do, and, yet, they get no pay and I don’t know that they are asking for any pay, but they do need help in some ways. I for one think that all of us should try to help this group as much as we can. I am speaking of the Rescue Squad.
These individuals, both, men and women, answer every wreck call and sometimes are the first ones on the scene. I hope I never need their service, but it is a comfort to know that they are always available for emergencies, whatever it may be. Their work is not limited to wrecks, but any kind of emergency whether it be a fire, a lost child, some person who has drowned, or whatever it might be they are ready and willing to help.
Now, as most of you know, I have been in bad health for some time, but am thankful that I am able to be at the office for three or four hours in the morning, but in the afternoon and evening, I am at home resting. I have a receiver and I pass the time quite a bit by listening to the dispatchers in Dickson, Charlotte, Centerville, Waverly, Franklin and other places and there is hardly a time that the Rescue Squad does not respond immediately to the call to render what service they ran.
A few months ago, there was a wreck just beyond White Bluff and it was during the nighttime. The County officer had arrived on the scene, also a State Trooper, and Rescue Squad car No. 45 was enroute. I heard one of the officers on the scene say that the man was trapped in the car and they would have to have a saw to get him out. They told the dispatcher to tell the rescue car to be sure to bring a saw. Well, he was half way to the scene of the wreck at that time, and, as I recall, he just said “10-4”, which indicated that he had a saw with him.
So, I thought I would time him from the time he got to the scene of the accident until they had gotten the man out of the car, and, as I recall, within five minutes after he arrived at the scene, he had completed his job and was ready to come back to the Squad building.
We never know. You may never need the service of the Rescue Squad and I hope you don’t, but it is a very worthwhile organization and we should lend it our support, both morally and financially.
I know there are some of you who think that we have too many officers, but if you will compare the number of officers in our County with other counties and take into consideration the increase in crime and weigh all of these matters, and also consider the fact that the County and City officers try to answer every call that is made, especially during the nighttime, you will agree that we have a pretty good group of officers.
In this day and time that we are now living, with so much crime, existing, so many homes being broken into, so many innocent people being assaulted, it is necessary that we maintain an adequate Sheriff and Police force.
Well, we are drawing close to the end of the year, and next week we will discuss some of the meetings of the City Council during the 1970’s, and our Articles will reach 1980 by the first of the year.
City Ward Boundaries Moved and Zoning Ordinances Created
We deviated somewhat in last week’s Article by naming the Sheriffs of the County from 1900 to the present time, and we will now go back to the election held September 28, 1967, at which time the following officials of the Town of Dickson were elected: Dr. W. A. Crosby, Mayor; Doyle Larkins, Recorder; Aldermen from the First Ward, Brigham Rumsey and Ray Brazzell; from the Second Ward, Thomas E. Woodall and Bill T. Schmittou; from the Third Ward, John Allen Mayes and J. W. Donegan and from the Fourth Ward, Winfrey Wills and Everette Morgan.
The Board elected Miss Mary Diamond, City Treasurer, and Robert S. Clement, City Attorney.
At a meeting held March 4, 1968, the appointment of Bill Herron by Mayor Crosby as a Commissioner of the Dickson Housing Authority for a period of five years was approved by the Board.
The Mayor also appointed Van Corlew, as the employee representative, and John Allen Mayes and Thomas E. Woodall, as the members from the Board, to serve as the Pension Committee to administrate a pension fund for the employees of the Town of Dickson.
Jasper Rutledge was appointed Building Inspector at a salary of $500.00 per month.
Thus, you can see that things were beginning to change in the operation of the Town due partially to the fact that the Federal government was making available certain funds and were encouraging municipalities to enter into certain projects, especially in the clearing of slums and the building of new housing.
In the Minutes of March 12, 1968, we find where a committee appointed by the Board of Directors of the Dickson County Chamber of Commerce recommended that the boundaries of the Town of Dickson be changed so as to bring about more equality in the number of people in each Ward. Accordingly, a Resolution was presented by Alderman Wills, seconded by Alderman Mays, which in effect changed the limits of the four wards of the Town as follows:
“That all of the territory North of the centerline of College Street and Highway 70 East and East of Main Street shall constitute Ward One;
That all of the territory West of Main Street and North of the centerline of College Street to the overhead bridge where Highway 70 crosses the L & N Railroad; then all of the territory North of the centerline of the railroad Westwardly with said railroad to the City Limits shall constitute Ward Two.
That all of the territory South of the centerline of College Street and West of Main Street to the overhead bridge where Highway 70 crosses the L & N Railroad, and all of the territory from this point Westwardly to the Corporate Limits and South of the centerline of said railroad shall constitute Ward Three.
That all of the territory South of the centerline of College Street and Highway 70 East and East of Main Street shall constitute Ward Four.”
At a meeting held April 1, 1968, an Ordinance was passed creating the Park and Recreation Board.
On May 6, 1968, the Board passed an Ordinance relative to zoning; regulating the use of land within the Town, including height and size of buildings, taking into consideration the density of the population and the use that said land might be put to, and to provide methods of administration of said Ordinance. The original Zoning Ordinance has been the subject to some controversy, and some changes and variations have been made and no doubt, others will. However, it was during this period that the operation of local governments throughout the country was changing.
In the minutes of June 3, 1968, I find a Resolution of Respect with reference to the death of Alderman J. W. Donegan, as follows:
“WHEREAS, God in his infinite wisdom has called from labor to rest one of our members, J. W. Donegan, who has served Dickson and Dickson County long and well, both in public and private capacity; and
WHEREAS, the said J. W. Donegan was an outstanding businessman of the Town of Dickson for many years, always ready and willing to bear his part of the responsibility for the progress of Dickson and Dickson County; and
WHEREAS, the said J. W. Donegan was loved and respected by all who knew him and will be sadly missed by his friends and especially the members of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the Town of Dickson.
Therefore, be it resolved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the Town of Dickson, Tennessee, that we express to the widow of J. W. Donegan and other members of his family our sympathy and regret because of the passing of our comrade, and that a copy of this Resolution be forwarded to her and a copy spread on the Minutes if this Body.”
The Board elected Gilbert Clifton as Alderman from the Third Ward to fill out the unexpired term of Mr. Donegan.
In the Minutes of October 7, 1968, C. N. Dunagan, Manager of the Electric Department, appeared before the Board to give a progress report on the Electric Department, showing expenditures for the year ended June 3, 1968, as follows: Purchased power from TVA $837,551.28; Operating Expense $229; 142.42; Provisions for Depreciation $149,002.80; City and County Tax Provision $91,151.39; Maintenance Expense $97,246.78; Interest on Bonds $50, 298.65 and Retirement of Bonds $87,000.00.
Mr. Dunagan further stated that the ice and snowstorm of early 1968 had caused approximately $300,000 damage to the system.
On the 4th day of November, 1968, the Finance Committee heretofore appointed submitted to the Board the estimated financial requirements for the fiscal year 1968-1969 totaling $5,856,292.00 which would require a tax rate of $2.75 per $100.00 valuation. Whereupon, a Resolution was offered adopting said tax rate.
During the remainder of 1968, we find the Board taking care of routine matters.
On January 10, 1969, the Town authorized the issuance of $150,000 in bonds for the purpose of acquiring and improving parking lot facilities and installing parking meters.
In the Minutes of March 3, 1969, the Mayor announced the death of John Allen Mays, Alderman from the Third Ward, and ordered that a Resolution of Respect be prepared, said Resolution follows:
“WHEREAS, God in His infinite wisdom has called from labor and rest one of our members, John Allen Mays, who has served Dickson and Dickson County long and well; and
WHEREAS, the said John Allen Mays was an outstanding businessman of the Town of Dickson for many years, always ready and willing to bear his part of the responsibility for the progress of Dickson and Dickson County, and
WHEREAS, the said John Allen Mays was loved and respected by all who knew him and will be sadly missed by his friends and especially the members of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the Town of Dickson.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF MAYOR AND ALDERMEN OF THE TOWN OF DICKSON, TENNESSEE, that we express to the family of John Allen Mays our sympathy and regret because of the passing of our comrade, and that a copy of this Resolution be forwarded to the family and that a copy be spread on the Minutes of the Body.”
The Board elected Mr. J. R. Humphreys to fill out Mr. Mays’ unexpired term as Alderman from the Third Ward.
In the Minutes of a meeting held May 14, 1969, a Resolution was submitted relative to levying a local sales tax and providing for the Town to receive ½% and the County 1% of all collections made in the Town.
At a meeting held October 6, 1969, the following officials were given the oath of office as result of the election held in September, 1969: Dr. W. A. Crosby, Mayor; Doyle Larkins, Recorder; Aldermen Brigham Rumsey and Slayden Weaver from the First Ward; Thomas E. Woodall and Bill T. Schmittou from the Second Ward; J. R. Humphreys and Dale Ragan from the Third Ward, and Ray Brazzell and Robert Blue from the Fourth Ward.
Mayor Crosby appointed the following as members of the Planning Commission: Thomas E. Woodall for a term of one year; C. N. Dunagan for a term of two years; H. E. Bolen for a term of three years and Edward Riordan for a term of four years. Another member was to be named later together with the Chairman of the Real Estate Board of the Town of Dickson.
The Town was continuing to grow as reflected by the budget committee’s report for the fiscal year 1969-1970 at a meeting held November 13, 1969, which showed total assessments of $7,499,805.00 which required a tax rate of $2.60.
On December 3, 1969, the Board passed a Resolution requiring the building of new sidewalks on Main Street from Walnut Street to Rickert Avenue; on College Street from Charlotte Street to Sylvis Street; on Railroad Street from Church Street to Mulberry Street, and on Railroad Street from Center Avenue to Mulberry Street.
I believe we will have to give Dale Ragan, Alderman from the Third Ward, credit for pushing this improvement, as the Minutes show that he was the Alderman who introduced the Resolution with reference to building the sidewalks.
We have now reviewed the history of the Town from 1899 through 1969, and we well conclude our Article during the month of December.
Now, I know some of you have wondered why I would want to undertake such a project; whether it was worthwhile, and I, too, have wondered because it has taken quite a bit of my time. I only hope that some of the facts that I have given you in these Articles will be useful to some of those following in my footsteps. I decided to do these Articles after several of my friends had suggested that I do so, and, of course, I did not expect nor do I receive any compensation for same.
I just hope that some of you have read the Articles which brought back pleasant memories of the past.
As we have suggested, times were changing and this is indicated very much by the activities and responsibilities of the various municipalities throughout the State.
We are now in the seventies and our Articles will be concluded during the month of December.
Resolutions: Claude Hooper, W. A. Crosby, and Mary Diamond
In this week’s Article we will find that the Mayor and Board of Aldermen were giving a lot of attention to new projects such as the housing projects, sewage disposal plant and other projects where government help could be obtained to some extent. These projects required a lot of commitments and restrictions by the Town, but most of the requirements of the government were compiled with, and there was considerable growth, especially where new water lines and sewer lines were installed. The electric department was also expanded considerably in the 1970’s especially in the rural areas.
On June 1, 1970, the Board sold the plant which was operated by Henry I. Siegel to the Siegel Company. As we all know, the Company gave employment to hundreds of employees throughout the years and certainly came at a time when help was most needed. The unusual part of the construction of the plant was how Mr. Siegel happened to come here after Mr. W. H. Walker answered an ad which he saw in the paper and how the entire community and employees helped construct the plant. I think we should all be grateful for the fact that for certain reasons the management now sees fit to close same.
As there has been much discussion about the sale of the plant, I think it would be in order to state exactly when the plant was sold to the Siegel Company, the amount received and copy a Resolution passed by the Board on June 1, 1980, said Resolution follows:
“WHEREAS, since 1933, the Henry I. Siegel Company, Incorporated, has given employment to thousands of the residents of the Town of Dickson, Dickson County and the surrounding area; and
WHEREAS, the operation by the Siegel Company during this long period of time has been of great benefit to the Town of Dickson and this area; and
WHEREAS, the lease under which said Company is now operating has expired, but said Company has an option to renew same at a rental of only Four Hundred Dollars per month, with the Lessor, the Dickson Industrial Trust, being required to keep up the building, make all necessary repairs for the continued operation by the Company; and
WHEREAS, there exists an indebtedness of only Eighteen Thousand Four Hundred Fifty Dollars against said property, including the parking lot which Industrial Trust will convey said property to the Siegel Company and thereby relieve the Lessor of the upkeep and maintenance of said building, and which would also place the property on the tax rolls for the Town of Dickson and Dickson County; and,
WHEREAS, it is the judgment of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the Town of Dickson that this offer of the Henry I. Siegel Company, Inc. is a generous offer by said Company and should be accepted and the property conveyed to the Henry I. Siegel Company, Inc.
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the Town of Dickson in regular session here assembled that the Trustee of the Dickson Industrial Trust are hereby authorized, empowered and directed to accept the offer of the Henry I. Siegel Company, Inc. and by Warranty Deed convey said property to the Henry I. Siegel Company, Inc. and also to express to the officials of the Siegel Company our sincere appreciation of the employment given to the people of this area the last thirty-seven years.”
The present Mayor and Council and all interested parties are doing their best to find a tenant, and I have great hopes that they will be successful.
Also, in the Minutes of June 1, 1980, we find a Resolution praising Mr. S. G. Robertson for his years of service to the Town, the substance of which is that he was sworn in as an Alderman on October 3, 1927, and had served the Town in some capacity almost continuously since that time, was appointed to the Board of Public Utilities on November 1, 1949, but was retiring as of June 1, 1970. The Resolution described Mr. Robertson as a man of keen intellect, a hard worker and blessed with a good sense of humor and good judgment.
During the remainder of 1970, the Board dealt with routine matters, most of which were as heretofore suggested concerning housing and the water and sewer system.
On April 5, 1971, we find where the Board authorized the issuance of $1,000,000 in water and sewer bonds for the improvement and extension of the system.
In the Minutes of June 7, 1971, we find a Resolution with respect to Claude Hooper, who had worked for the Town for so many years, the Resolution follows:
“WHEREAS, God in His infinite wisdom has called from labor to rest one Claude Hooper, who has served Dickson and Dickson County long and well both in public and private capacity; and,
WHEREAS, the said Claude Hooper was always ready and willing to bear his part of the responsibility for the progress of Dickson and Dickson County; and
WHEREAS, the said Claude Hooper was loved and respected by all who knew him and will be sadly missed by his friends and especially by all present and past employees of the Town of Dickson, having worked with the Town in every operational department for almost one-half a century. The majority of which time serving as Fire Chief and in later years as Consultant to the Superintendent of the Town of Dickson.
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the Town of Dickson that we express to the widow of Claude Hooper and other members of his family our sympathy and regret because of the passing of our comrade, and that a copy of this Resolution be forwarded to her and a copy spread on the Minutes of this Body.”
Also, on June 7, 1971, an interesting item appears where the flow of traffic on Main Street was discussed and changed providing for one-way traffic from College Street to the Railroad only, and to resume two-way traffic from the Railroad on Main Street to Walnut Street.
In the Minutes of August 2, 1971, we find a Resolution with reference to the death of our Postmaster, “Bub” Riordan, and said Resolution follows:
“WHEREAS, God in his infinite wisdom has called from labor to rest one Edward Riordan, who has served Dickson and Dickson County long and well, both in public and private capacity; and
WHEREAS, the said Edward Riordan was always ready and willing to bear his part of the responsibility for the progress of Dickson and Dickson County; and
WHEREAS, the said Edward Riordan was loved and respected by all who knew him and will be sadly missed by his friends and especially by all present and past members of the Dickson Planning Commission and the Citizens Advisory Committee, both of which enjoyed his diligent participation and faithful attendance at each meeting. His meaningful contribution of progressive ideas added to the timely, orderly and systematic growth of the Town of Dickson.
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the Town of Dickson, that we express to the Mother of Edward Riordan and other relatives our sympathy and regret because of the passing of our comrade and that a copy of this Resolution be forwarded to her, and a copy spread on the Minutes of this Body.”
In the Minutes of September 10, 1971, the Board called for a City election to be held on September 30, 1971, and at which time Mayor Crosby announced that he would not be a candidate for re-election. This was due to the fact that Dr. Crosby had such a heavy load at the Dickson General Hospital, which he and Dr. W. A. Bell had built, and he felt that the responsibility of being Mayor should go to some other person.
In the Minutes of a meeting held October 4, 1971, we find the following Resolution recognizing the great contribution made by Dr. Crosby to the citizens of the Town in serving Dickson as Mayor:
“WHEREAS, Dr. W. A. Crosby has served as Mayor of the Town of Dickson for the last six (6) years, and has also served as Alderman of the Town of Dickson for many years prior thereto; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Crosby did not see fit to seek re-election on September 30, 1971, and is now retiring from the Office of Mayor.
Therefore, be it resolved by the members of the Board of Aldermen for the period ending October 4, 1971, that we officially thank Dr. Crosby for his faithful and untiring service for the Town of Dickson and we commend him for the progress which has been made during his administration.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Resolution be spread on the Minutes of the Town of Dickson, a copy of same be furnished the Dickson County Herald and the Dickson Free Press and a certified copy be sent by the Recorder to Dr. Crosby.
This the fourth day of October, 1971.
s Brigham Rumsey
s Slayden Weaver
s Thomas E. Woodall
s Bill Schmittou
s J. R. Humphreys, Sr.
s Dale Ragan
s Robert Blue
s Ray Brazzell”
In the election held September 30, 1971, the following officials were elected: Mayor Slayden Weaver, Recorder, Doyle Larkins; Aldermen from the First Ward, Morris Cain and Buford Reed; from the Second Ward, Bill T. Schmittou and Ralph Frazier; from the Third Ward, Seywright Henry and Clark Lewis, and from the Fourth Ward, E. V. King and Robert Blue.
In the Minutes of November 1, 1971, Miss Mary Diamond, who had been with the City since 1935 in some capacity, retired as City Treasurer and a Resolution of Respect was passed by the Board, which Resolution follows:
“WHEREAS, Mary Diamond has served the Town of Dickson, Tennessee, in various capacities, including the very important position of Treasurer, for a number of years; and
WHEREAS, Miss Diamond has decided to retire from public service.
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the Town of Dickson that we officially and very sincerely thank Miss Diamond for her faithful and untiring service in the diligent performance of her assigned duties and also for the many acts exceeding the call of duty.
Be it further resolved that this Resolution be spread on the Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the Town of Dickson, a copy of same be published in the Dickson County Herald and the Dickson Free Press, and a copy be sent by the Recorder to Miss Diamond.”
The remainder of 1971 consists of routine meetings with the exception of the meeting held November 1, 1971, where the City Attorney, Robert S. Clement, who had been requested to review and update the Town Charter, presented to the Mayor and each member of the Board a copy of the new Charter.
In next week’s Article we will enter the year 1972 with Slayden Weaver as the Mayor of the Town.
Aldermen’s Terms Increased From Two Years to Four Years
In last week’s Article we stated that we would enter the year 1972 with a new Mayor, Slayden Weaver.
However, in a meeting held December 2, 1971, we find that the Town for the first time employed a Director of Public Safety for the Town who would begin his duties on January 1, 1972. This plan did not seem to work out very well and the Director of Safety resigned some time later.
The Minutes of December 2, 1971, also contain the following Resolution, which was introduced by Alderman Buford L. Reed, Jr.:
WHEREAS, the many friends of the late Governor Frank Goad Clement have formed the Frank G. Clement Foundation, Incorporated, one of the goals of said Foundation being the restoration of the birthplace of Governor Clement, who was born in Room No. 5 of the Halbrook Hotel on Railroad Street in the Town of Dickson on June 3, 1920; and
WHEREAS, it is the purpose of the Foundation to preserve many of the personal and official papers of Governor Clement, including plaques, awards, pictures, and other items which will be preserved for the coming generations; and
WHEREAS, the citizens of the Town of Dickson and Dickson County appreciate the efforts made and the interest shown by the friends of Frank Clement in restoring and preserving his birthplace, which was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Robert S. Clement, the parents of Governor Clement, and donated to the Foundation.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF MAYOR AND ALDERMEN OF THE TOWN OF DICKSON, TENNESSEE, that the street along the area immediately North of the birthplace of Governor Clement, know as Railroad Street, from Main Street to Center Avenue, be changed to FRANK CLEMENT PLACE and that the Superintendent of Streets be instructed to erect appropriate signs reflecting same.”
I might add that several hundred people have visited the building since then and visitors are welcome at any time on Friday and Saturday, and on Sunday afternoons.
During the latter part of the administration of Dr. W. A. Crosby, the Town began to consider improving blighted areas, one of which was in East Dickson and which is now known as the Evans Heights Apartments. This project was quite an improvement for the Town and contains about seventy-five units.
Someone asked the other day about why the project acquired the name Evans Heights. I understand that there was a disabled war veteran by the name of Slayden Evans whose home was in the area and was acquired by the Housing Authority in the development and that he died before the project was completed, and those in authority, with the consent of his widow, decided that it would be appropriate to name the area in his memory.
While there are several other multiple housing units in the Town, the Evan Heights area and the Walnut Street Apartments on East Walnut Street, which was completed in March of 1976, during the administration of Mayor J. Dan Buckner, are two of the best complexes in the Town. Most of the other complexes were built by private individuals or corporations.
In the Minutes of April 3, 1972, we find that the Board was considering the annexation of seven areas to the Corporate Limits of the Town and a public hearing was called to consider same on the 20th day of April, 1972.
The annexation was finally concluded with the exception of one area.
At a meeting held May 1, 1972, Alderman Bill Schmittou resigned as he was moving outside the corporation and the Board elected Ralph Sullivan to fill the unexpired term.
In the Minutes of July 3, 1972, the Board passed a Resolution to borrow $10,000 from the First National Bank and $10,000 from the Bank of Dickson to supplement certain funds on hand to purchase a much needed late model fire engine. This was required to some extent by the newly annexed areas in order to give all people of the Town adequate fire protection.
In November of 1972 we find that the Board began to require subdivision developers to submit to the Planning Commission plats of the proposed subdivision and other data concerning their plans for approval by the Planning Commission and then submitted to the Board for consideration.
At a meeting held on January 16, 1973, we find that the Board had been studying and decided to change the term of office of the Aldermen to be elected, which since 1899 had been for a term of two years, but under the new plan it was suggested that the Aldermen receiving the most votes from each ward in the next City Election would serve for four years, while the other Alderman would serve for only two years. However, the Mayor was still restricted to a two-year term. The reason for staggered terms for Aldermen was that it was the judgment of the Board that at least some experienced Aldermen be left on the Board. This plan, of course, could not be put into effect until the Charter was so amended for the election to be held in September of 1973.
In the Minutes of the meeting held February 20, 1973, we find that Henry Garrett, Superintendent of the Street Department, reported to the Board that $24,064.00 of Revenue Sharing Funds had been spent in paving certain streets in the Town during the year 1972, and, with the Board’s approval, an additional $23,451.00 would be spent in paving other streets in the year 1973.
In the Minutes of March 5, 1973, we find a Resolution with reference to the death of a long-time employee of the Town, Jim Rockey, which reads, as follows:
“WHEREAS, God in His infinite wisdom has called from labor to rest one of our veteran policemen, Jim Rockey, who has served Dickson and Dickson County long and well; and
WHEREAS, the said Jim Rockey was an outstanding citizen of the Town of Dickson for many years, always willing and ready to bear his part of the responsibility for the progress of Dickson; and
WHEREAS, the said Jim Rockey was loved and respected by all who knew him and he will be sadly missed by his many friends, and especially by members of the Police Department and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and other employees of the Town of Dickson.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF MAYOR AND ALDERMEN OF THE TOWN OF DICKSON that we express to the family of Jim Rockey our sympathy and regret because of the passing of our friend, and that a copy of this Resolution be forwarded to the family and that a copy be spread on the Minutes of this body.”
The Minutes of March 5, 1973, state that Aldermen E. V. King of the Fourth Ward was resigning in order to take a position in Nashville. At the regular meeting held April 3, 1973, Ray Brazzell was elected to fill out the unexpired term of Alderman King.
The Minutes of July 2, 1973, disclose that Mayor Weaver read to the Board a copy of a Trust Agreement established by the late Joe B. Murray at the First National Bank in Dickson which Trust Agreement reads as follows:
“First National Bank, Account No. 7038682.
Chairman of the Dickson Union Cemetery Committee and His Successors.
This is a Testamentary Trust created by Article 7 of the Will of Joe B. Murray, late of Dickson, Tennessee. This Trust is to be a permanent endowment for the care and maintenance of the Union Cemetery. The aforesaid Chairman may as needed withdraw the accrued interest to be used in the maintenance of the Union Cemetery. The corpus of this Trust Fund may never be encroached upon $37,909.35, June 21, 1973.”
The Minutes of October 1, 1973, contain the results of the City Election held in September under the new plan heretofore referred to where the Alderman receiving the most votes in each Ward would serve for a four-year term and the other Alderman for a two-year term with the following results: Slayden Weaver, Mayor; Aldermen from the First Ward, Dan Andrews for a four-year term and Buford L. Reed, Jr. for two-year term; Aldermen from the Second Ward, Ralph Frazier for a four-year term and Ralph Sullivan for two-year term; Aldermen from the Third Ward, Seywright Henry for a four-year term and Ted Bruce for two-year term; Aldermen from the Forth Ward, Robert Blue for a four-year term and Ray Brazzell for two-year term.
Also, at the election held in September, the voters of the Town voted 917 to 803 to allow the sale of whiskey in the Corporate Limits of the City of Dickson.
In the Minutes of November 5, 1973, the City Council elected Peggy Mason Recorder and Tax Collector.
At the regular meeting held on December 3, 1973, the Mayor was authorized and instructed by the Council to execute a general warranty deed to the State of Tennessee for the location of a new Armory building.
The Minutes of March 18, 1974, reflect that one of the City’s longtime and most valuable employees, Van Corlew, resigned. He began work for the Town of Dickson under Mr. W. H. Adcox in April of 1947, and at the time of his resignation, he was Superintendent over the Water, Sewer, Street and Gas Departments. During his length of service with the Town and City, he probably knew more about the water and sewer system that any other individual. In the writer’s opinion, he rendered very valuable service to the Town for many years.
At a meeting held May 6, 1974, we find that an Ordinance annexing three more areas to the Corporate Limits passed on third and final reading.
From May of 1974 until May of 1975, the Council continued to improve the streets, housing and to extend water and sewer and gas service into the newly annexed areas insofar as possible and to take care of other routine matters.
The Municipal Building was erected as heretofore stated in 1955, and, of course, as the Town grew so did the need for additional office space, and it was decided that it would be in the best interests of the City that the Electric Department acquire another location.
In the Minutes of May 23, 1975, we find that the Council approved the purchase of certain property from W. A. McIntire at the intersection of Main and Walnut Streets on which the Electric Department built the building which it now occupies.
The Minutes of July 7, 1975, contain a Resolution authorizing the Mayor to make application to the Federal Government for a 50% Grant from the Economic Development Administration for the purpose of acquiring sufficient land for an Industrial Park for the City of Dickson and the necessary water system improvements.
In our first Article, which was printed on January 2, 1980, we stated that the name of this series would be “From Mile Post 42 to City of Dickson 1980”. As we are now in the Minutes of 1975, it appears that our last Article will appear in the Dickson Free Press on December 31, 1980.
Senior Citizens Building, a Ballpark, and Diversified Printing
In last week’s Article we closed leading up to the election in September of 1975, at which time a Mayor and for Councilmen were elected. This is the first election wherein only four Councilmen were elected for a term of four years.
The results of the election were Mayor J. Dan Buckner, Councilman from the First Ward, Larry Redden; from the Second Ward, Ralph Sullivan; from the Third Ward, Hubert T. “Ted” Bruce, and from the Fourth Ward, Ray Brazzell. Thus the Council was composed of Larry Redden and Dan Andrews from the First Ward; Ralph Sullivan and Ralph Frazier from the Second Ward; Ted Bruce and Seywright Henry from the Third Ward, and Robert Blue and Ray Brazzell from the Fourth Ward.
At a meeting held October 14, 1975, Mayor Buckner stated to the Council that in order for the Water and Sewer Departments to stand on its own, a water rate increase was inevitable, and the council should take into careful consideration the reduction of property taxes to benefit the people.
At a meeting held October 27, 1975, Mayor Buckner urged the members of the Council not to procrastinate any longer on setting the 1975 – 1976 budget. He also stated that with the rapid increase in electric rates, the impending substantial increase in sewer rates and with the real possibility of a natural gas increase, he felt the Council must give every consideration to a property tax decrease.
The tax rate for the year 1974 was $2.85 per $100.00 assessed valuation, and in keeping with Mayor Buckner’s suggestion, the tax rate for the year 1975 was lowered $2.48 per $100.00
The present tax rate for the year 1980 has been lowered to $1.65 per $100.00. So, despite the fact that our electric rates, gas rates and water and sewer rates have been raised, the present Council has lowered our tax to $1.65, which is probably one of the lowest rates ever enjoyed by the City.
In the Minutes of March 1, 1976, the Mayor announced that the remodeling of the upstairs of the Municipal Building had been completed and the downstairs had been painted and more rooms made available to the Police Department.
In the Minutes of March 22, 1976, the Council approved the payment of the City’s part on the new Armory Building in the amount of $42,825.00 and, in addition thereto, the Mayor and Council thought it would be advisable to complete the basement at a cost of $27,000.00.
In the Minutes of May 27, 1976, we find that due to the growth of the Water and Street Departments, additional space was needed for operation and maintenance of the City equipment. For several months members of the Council had been looking for a location and certain property immediately West of the Red Kap Garment Company belonging to Gilbert Clifton was being considered, but there was a problem of access to same as it would either be necessary to cross the railroad from Wade Avenue or to obtain from the Red Kap Company an easement for a road from East Walnut Street.
At this meeting is was announced by the Mayor that an easement had been obtained by the City Attorney and a price was agreed on and the property was purchased which has been a great asset to the City.
In the Minutes of September 7, 1976, we find that the Mayor and Councilmen passed an ordinance on third and final reading to employ architects to plan for a Senior Citizens Building to be located on West Walnut Street. Since then the building has been completed and there has been on addition to the original building and other improvements made as to parking space.
For many years there had been a great demand upon the Mayor and members of the City Council to do more for the youth of the community, such as parks to play ball, tennis courts, a swimming pool and other facilities, but there had been very little done. However, at a Council meeting on the night of November 29, 1976, the question arose as to whether on not to employ a Park Director for the recently completed City Park.
Upon the call of the roll, the vote was a tie. Whereupon, Mayor Buckner made the following statement:
“This is my first opportunity in fourteen months as Mayor to cast my vote. I feel strongly about this program. This program was started on the night I took office. There were some one hundred and fifty people in attendance. They were certainly not here to see me and it was on that night that the Council voted unanimously to continue with the Park Program. I think that one of the most outstanding statements that has been made in my administration and possibly in the previous administration was made that night by Councilman Blue. He stated that “he felt we had been waiting for one hundred years for something for our young people, don’t back up now.” I think this was one of the most profound statements that I have heard.
For the short time that I served as City Judge, which was a job I did not relish at all, and I served this position because the Charter states that upon the resignation of the City Judge that the Mayor shall serve and he cannot designate or appoint anyone else, the main complaint that I had from young people was “we didn’t have anything to do”. We have a Park Board consisting of fine gentlemen and a young lady who are dedicated to this project. I think they have done a magnificent job in selecting a Park Director. It will be their recommendation along with the Park Director to use any land for recreation purposes.
It is without any hesitation on my part that I feel strongly that this program should go on. I see the need for a qualified person whether the salary be $10,000 or $20,000 annually for dedication to this program for our young people, and I therefore cast my vote Aye for this Director.”
Thus, Mayor Buckner cast the deciding vote for the complete development of the City Park and today we have a park which includes for major baseball fields, a swimming pool, picnic area, two concession areas and six tennis courts. There are ten tennis courts through the City.
At the suggestion of a committee composed of members of the Dixie Youth Athletic Association, and without the knowledge of the Mayor, the Park was named the J. Dan Buckner Park, which is in keeping with the custom as the road adjoining the Park is named Weaver Drive in honor of former Mayor Slayden Weaver.
At the January 25, 1977, meeting, Superintendent Robert Durham of the Gas Department came before the Council stating that there was a serious natural gas shortage nationwide and that certain measures would have to be taken to reduce consumption of gas or the City could be penalized.
After much discussion of the matter, the Mayor suggested that rather than pass an Ordinance forcing industry, the merchants and residential customers of the City to reduce their consumption of gas he felt that if the citizens were given the facts of the crisis and asked for their cooperation, the ordinance would not be necessary. Through radio and the news media, the citizens of the City were informed of the seriousness of the shortage and asking for their cooperation. Industry, the merchants and residential customers reduced their thermostats and no factory was closed and no businesses were curtailed.
In the election held September 29, 1977, the following officials were elected: Mayor J. Dan Buckner; Aldermen from the First Ward, James A. Choate, from the Second Ward, David A. Shepard; from the Third Ward, John Petty, and from the Fourth Ward, Robert Blue.
Thus, the Council was composed of James A. Choate and Larry Redden from the First Ward; Ralph Sullivan and David A. Shepard from the Second Ward; Ted Bruce and John Petty from the Third Ward, and Ray Brazzell and Robert Blue from the Fourth Ward.
The Board elected Ray Brazzell to serve as Vice Mayor.
In February of 1978, there was a serious explosion of propane gas tank in a railroad derailment at Waverly, Tennessee, which resulted in the death of several people and seriously injuring many others. An appeal was made by the Mayor of Waverly to all surrounding Towns for help and Dickson was the first to arrive on the scene with its fire trucks and other emergency equipment as well as several City employees to aid in the critical emergency.
Philip L. Hooper, Vice President of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad wrote:
“As the events moved through the next number of hours and days, I found myself very proud to be a part of Dickson with Chief Smith and his dedicated fire fighters and our concerned Mayor. Each demonstrated his ability to perform under an extreme emergency.”
Mayor Powers of Waverly in a letter dated March 24, 1978, stated:
“I wish that I could personally thank all of those who volunteered their time and assistance throughout this catastrophe. Please share this letter with those who may have been overlooked expressing to them the City of Waverly’s sincere gratitude and appreciation.
Hopefully, never again will a disaster affect any of our cities in such a manner as the gas explosion has affected Waverly. However, if I or the City of Waverly may ever be of assistance to you or your City please call upon us.”
At a Council meeting held May 22, 1978, the following City employees were presented Certificates of Honor by the City of Dickson: Claude Grigsby, W. D. Harrell, James Jennings, David Rollins, Edward Parker, Harry Street, Eugene Tidwell, Ricky Newson, Clayton Brazzell and Chief W. L. Smith.
In the Minutes of a meeting held July 10, 1978, Mayor Buckner read the following Resolution of Respect relative to the death of Doyle Larkins, who had served the Town as an Alderman and later as Recorder and Tax Collector for a number of years.
“WHEREAS, God in His infinite wisdom has called from labor to rest one of the past employees of the City of Dickson, Doyle Larkins, who served the City in various capacities over a long period of time; and
WHEREAS, the said Doyle Larkins was integral part of the framework of the governing body of the City, as Judge, Recorder, Tax Collector and other important offices for many years, always ready, willing and able to bear his part of responsibility for the progress of Dickson; and
WHEREAS, the said Doyle Larkins was loved and respected by all who knew him and especially by those with whom he was associated in an official capacity. He will be sadly missed by his friends and most especially by members of the City Council, both past and present.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF DICKSON, that we express to the family of Doyle Larkins our sympathy and regret because of his passing, and that a copy of the Resolution be forwarded to his family and that a copy be spread upon the minutes of this Body.”
In the Minutes for the remainder of the year 1978, we find the mayor and Council extending water and sewer lines, gas lines and other routine business insofar as funds were available.
In the Minutes of February 5, 1979, there appears a Resolution with reference to the untimely death of Dr. W. A. Crosby, who had served as Alderman and Mayor for many years, and had rendered valuable service to the City. The Resolution reads, as follows:
“WHEREAS Dr. W. A. Crosby has served the City of Dickson and its people well; and,
WHEREAS, the Mayor and Board of Aldermen are aware of the many accomplishments and contributions made to the growth and present status of the City by the untiring efforts of Dr. Crosby; and
WHEREAS, were it not for the many years of service Dr. Crosby rendered as both a Councilman and Mayor many of the present things available to the citizens of Dickson would not be in existence, namely Evans Heights, the Dickson Planning Commission, Urban Renewal, Weaver Drive and the Parks and Recreation Department; and
WHEREAS, God in his infinite wisdom has seen fit to call Dr. Crosby home now;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Governing Body of the City of Dickson in our humble gratitude for Dr. Crosby’s many contributions.”
Also, at the meeting held on February 5, 1979, it was the unanimous decision of the Mayor and Council to dedicate the Old Armory building in East Dickson in memory of Dr. W. A. Crosby.
At the annual meeting of the Tennessee Municipal League, which consists of municipalities throughout the State of Tennessee, an outstanding compliment was paid to the Mayor and members of the Council when the members of the Municipal League presented to the City of Dickson what is known as the Municipal Achievement Award for Excellence in Overall Community Improvement for the year 1979 at its annual conference. A copy of the award appears in the Mayor’s office at City Hall.
At a meeting held May 7, 1979, Councilman James A Choate stated to the Council that as he had accepted a position with the State of Tennessee, he thought it best for him to resign as Councilman as it would be impossible for him to attend all of the meetings of the Council. His resignation was accepted with regret, and at the meeting held May 2, 1979, the Council elected Tom Waycoff to fill out Choate’s unexpired term
At the City election held September 27, 1979, the following officials were elected: Mayor J. Dan Buckner; Councilmen from the First Ward Richard Arnold; from the Second Ward, Ralph Sullivan; from the Third Ward, Hubert T. “Ted” Bruce, and from the Fourth Ward, Ray Brazzell.
Thus the Council was composed of Tom Waycoff and Richard Arnold from the First Ward; David Shepard and Ralph Sullivan from the Second Ward; John Petty and Ted Bruce from the Third Ward, and Robert Blue and Ray Brazzell from the Fourth Ward.
At the regular meeting held November 5, 1979, the Council by Resolution created The Health and Education Facilities Board of the City of Dickson which permitted the Green Valley Haven Nursing Home to issue revenue bonds and from the proceeds thereof to build additional rooms.
The members of the Board elected were: Sam Hannah, Jane Hooper, and Mrs. Christine Mashburn for a term of two years; Dr. Jere Bass and Dr. W. A. Crosby, Jr. for a term of four years, and Dr. J. T. Jackson and Dr. W. A. Bell for a term of six years.
In the Minutes of February 4, 1980, Vice Mayor Shepard presented a Petition requesting that an Industrial Development Board of the City of Dickson be formed. The petition was signed by Robert L. Littleton, Wayne Stephens, Larry Redden, John C. Luther, and James R. Arnold.
In the Minutes of March 3, 1980, the Council approve the appointment of W. T. Barrett, J. B. Miller, Larry Redden, John C. Luther, Bill Kruse, W. G. Ingram, Jr., M. O. Shepard, Mac Adams, Jimmy Arnold, and Jacky Allen to the Industrial Development Board for the City of Dickson.
In the Minutes of April 7, 1980, we find Mac Adams, representing the American Legion, addressed the Council requesting funds in the amount of $2,900.00 to purchase playground equipment for the park on the South end of Miller Street, the park in the area to be used mainly by smaller children in the area.
Mayor Buckner recommended approving the funds for the park equipment since the City had a lease on the property, but had not done anything to improve it.
Park Director Eddie Gray also recommended approving the funds for the park equipment so the younger children would have a place to play without crossing the highway.
Upon the call of the roll, the Council unanimously approved the appropriation of the funds requested.
In the Minutes of the July 21, 1980, the Budget Committee reported that the following sums would be necessary for the operation of the City for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 1980, and ending June 30, 1981: General Operating Fund $231,577.24; Maintenance Fund $7,791.92; Street and Sanitation Fund $252,497.43; Park and Recreation Fund $69,480.00, which would require a tax rate of only $1.65 per $100.00.
At the regular Council meeting held October 6, 1980, Mayor Buckner announced that Parade Publications of New York City had elected to locate their new plant in Dickson, and that the officials form Parade Publications would be in Dickson on Tuesday, October 7, 1980, to make the formal announcement of the plans for the new plant to open in May, 1982.
In the Minutes of October 27, 1980, we find the following Resolution which was unanimously adopted by the Council:
“WHEREAS, Mayor J. Dan Buckner, County Judge William D. Field and member of the City Council and County Court have been working for several months to locate an industry in the Industrial Park; and
WHEREAS, the Diversified Printing Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Parade Publications, Inc., has bought certain acreage in the Industrial Park and it is necessary for the City of Dickson and Dickson County to enter into a Buy and Sell Agreement with said Corporation, a copy of which Mayor Buckner has presented to the Council; and
WHEREAS, the City is required in said Agreement to do certain things as set out in said Agreement;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF DICKSON, TENNESSEE, that Mayor J. Dan Buckner be named as the representative of the City in this Agreement and be authorized and empowered to sign said Buy and Sell Agreement and to do all things necessary on behalf of the City.”
As heretofore stated, we will close out these Articles in the issue of the Free Press of December 31, 1980, at which time we will summarize some of the highpoints in the history of the Town from 1899 to the City in 1980. The Article will include the names of all Mayor who have served since 1899.
In Review and Signing Off
In our opening Article of January 2, 1980, I stated that many of my friends had suggested that I write a book about the history of Dickson, but instead I elected to write a number of articles to appear in the Dickson Free Press from the period from 1899 to 1980, with the title of the Articles being “From Mile Post 42 to City of Dickson 1980.”
Now for the benefit of you who may not understand why I used the “Mile Post 42”, this is the name of this area given by the railroaders as it was forty-two miles from Nashville and for a period of time had no name.
However, upon a thorough investigation, I found that in a Chancery Court decree in October, 1867, the area was incorporated and named Sneedsville or Smeedsville, but later on December 2, 1873, the Court changes the name to Dickson probably due to the fact that there was a Sneedsville in Hancock County. From that time on, there seems to be no dispute about the area being called Dickson, but I have been unable to find for whom the town was named, and I notice in Dr. Robert Corlew’s “History of Dickson County”, he does not state for whom the Town was named although the County was named for Dr. Dickson from Nashville.
Subsequently, by an act of the Legislature on March 16, 1883, the Charter of the Town was abolished due to the fact that certain conditions had arisen, one of which was whether whiskey would be sold in the Town. From this date on, the Town seemed to exist without a Charter until re-incorporated in 1899. So, it is from this period of 1899 to 1980 about which I have written.
The census figures for the Town of Dickson in 1900 show that Dickson had a population of 1363, and the present unofficial census of 1980 is 6,983. However, our Mayor and members of the Council seem to think that we have more people within the Corporate Limits, but I doubt seriously that under the strict rules of the Federal government that there will be a recount.
In our Articles which number fifty-three instead of fifty-two, we have tried to give you the history of the Town as it grew, with the problems that existed then, and which basically still exist today; the date of the construction of most of the factory buildings and other information concerning the Town which we thought would be interesting and helpful to those who follow in our footsteps. I am sure that we have missed some things that we should have considered, but it would be almost impossible to cover a period of eighty years and discuss all matters concerning the Town.
Our reading of the Minutes beginning in 1899 show that at that time, and for many years thereafter, there was no certain meeting place for the Mayor and Aldermen. They would meet in stores, offices or usually wherever the Mayor’s office or place of business was.
Of course, we had no paved streets and for many years Main Street was not paved with gravel — nothing but mud in the rainy season. The writer can remember when wagons would be stuck on Main Street in the mud.
We had no electricity nor main or central water supply system and each person had to look out for his own source of water and lights.
In 1905, the officials of the Town began exploring the possibility of building an electric plant and a central water supply system on property purchased from Mr. Will Cox where the water plant is still located. These efforts to improve our electric and water supply system and to construct a sewer system were continued by each Board, and I believe that the sewer bonds were issued in 1925, at which time part to the Town was sewered. However, the problem still exists today, and our present Mayor and members of the City Council have water and sewer problems existing which they are trying to improve.
In 1899, according to the best information which I can obtain, there were no brick buildings on Main Street and very few frame buildings. We had a serious fire in 1905, at which time practically the entire Main Street area was destroyed, and buildings were replaced with brick or masonry construction.
From reading the Minutes, it indicates that from 1899 to the present date, the officials were doing their best to improve living conditions in the Town and bring more industry for the employment of our citizens. However, this did not begin until about 1925 and thereafter because under our Constitution a municipality was prohibited from lending its credit for the construction of buildings for industry.
The late Joe B. Weems probably had more to do in solving this problem than anyone else when he formed what is known as the Dickson Industrial Trust which would permit the construction of buildings by the Trust and permit same to borrow money for the construction and to be repaid by the occupants of the building. I believe the first building built under the Trust was the Red Kap Garment Factory across from the post office about 1928.
Since then our Legislature has enacted what is known as an Industrial Development Act which allows municipalities and counties to appoint Boards to borrow funds, to sell bonds, build buildings and pay for same from the proceeds of the rent. Several of our factories have been built under this plan.
While we have named the Mayor and members of the City Council in our previous Articles, I think it would be interesting to list the Mayors who served the Town of Dickson, now changed to the City of Dickson, from 1899 to the present date.
In reading the names, I think it is interesting to note the professions of those serving as Mayor, and I believe you will find that the medical profession leads the list. There were four M. D.’s, one dentist and one pharmacist. It is also interesting to note that only one lawyer has served as Mayor.
Now, I know that some of you are wanting me to say and are thinking about who has made the best Mayor during his tenure of office. Well, of course, I’m not going to say because they were all different.
Some were more active in trying to get new industry, others were interested more in the development of our water and sewer system, some in expanding the Corporate Limits of our City, and it would be impossible for me to say what Mayor contributed the most to the growth of our City. I think that all of them, including the members of the Board of Aldermen, who are presently called Councilmen, did their best, and are still doing their best to promote industry and to do those things that they think are for the best interests of our City.
To serve as Mayor or as a Councilman is a great responsibility and those who elect to serve as such deserve much credit.
I hope that these fifty-three Articles which we have written have been of some interest to you, and we have tried to state the facts just as we found them in the Minute books of the City and from the writer’s personal knowledge, which dates back many years.
In has been interesting for me to do these Articles, but it has been quite on December 31, 1980, we will sign off.
Robert S. Clement
 T. B. Loggins and W. T. Wade’s first school was Edgewood Academy and Normal College which was started in 1885 by Wade. They moved to Dickson to establish the Dickson Normal College that opened in September, 1891. The Ruskin Cave College opened in 1904. Reference: Dr. Robert Corlew’s “A History of Dickson County”, Chapter XI, pp 160, 161, 166.
 Dickson was first named for E. C. Smeed, a bridge and trestle engineer. Reference: George E. Abdill’s “Civil War Railroads” (Seattle, WA, Superior Publishing Co., 1961) pp 37, 177. After the war several railroad financiers sought his service. Smeed accepted the position of Chief Engineer with Jay Gould’s railroad empire that included Missouri & Pacific, Texas & Pacific, International & Great Northern and the Wabash.
 The town of Slayden had a bank for many years until 1929 when J. H. McFall, cashier of the Bank of Slayden left the bank on January 12, 1929 on his way to a Nashville bank with more than $5,000 of the bank’s money (a good portion of the money was in gold). McFall was never heard from, and there was great speculation as to what happened to him (and the money). Norman H. Eubank, cashier of the Peoples Bank of Vanleer, was appointed as liquidator of the Bank of Slayden in February of 1929. Reference: Henry V. Ragan’s “Skits and Bits”