submitted by Janie Putman
Riverside became a thriving little center in the early 1900's. It had been the center of business and social life in the earlier 1800's. There was a hotel at one time, no doubt used when people came up the river. In the later 1800's and early 1900's it was used mostly by loggers.
In the early 1900's the Inman brothers moved to Riverside and had one of the largest stores anywhere in the area. There was an implement warehouse, and race tract. The Inman brothers had a big 4th of July celebration, with harness races in the early 1900's. This was a big celebration with many people coming from miles around to attend. The race tract and hotel impressed people so much that Riverside became known for the two facilities, long after the people had all moved away from the community.
In the 1910 census we found C. P. Litton living with Bert Ramsey, who was kin to the Inmans. His occupation was listed as selling goods. Bettie Coleman was also living in Riverside and listed as selling goods.
A Blacksmith Shop was located just north of Riverside, directly in front of the Johnnie Fisher home, on the south side of the lane or old road leading to the John P. Fisher home. This was run by Will Nichols the brother-in-law of John P. Fisher.
Riverside Methodist Church
The Ramsey Family which migrated from North Carolina to Rutherford County, Tennessee and then to Gibson County, Tennessee were steeped in the beliefs of John Wesley and the Methodist Church. Several of the Ramseys served as local and ordained ministers of the Methodist Church. It was descendants of the Ramseys who organized the Riverside Methodist Church. Many of the families living in Riverside at the time of the organization of the church were these Ramsey descendants; Mrs. L.M. Montgomery was a Ramsey, Mrs. C. F. Inman was a Ramsey, and C. P. Litton worked for the Inmans. Most of the families living in Riverside worked for the Inmans at that time either in their store, cotton gin, race track or on their farm.
Mention of the Riverside Methodist Church was first found with a deed registered June 17, 1911 from D. A. Ramsey to the Trustees of the M. E. Church South at Riverside. The trustees were D. A. Ramsey, A. M. Wimberly, C. P. Litton, C. F. Inman and L. H. Montgomery.
Mrs. Montgomery played the organ and also taught a Sunday school class.
The only mention that we were able to find about the Riverside Methodist Church in Memphis Conference Journals was in 1917 when Riverside
Methodist was taken off the Dyer Station and put on the Brazil Circuit. The preacher for Dyer in 1916 had been Rev. Bagby, so he would have preached at Riverside. In 1917 and 1918 G. H. Hodges was the preacher on the Brazil Circuit and would have been preaching at Riverside. C. A. Coleman, who had once preached at Nebo was assigned to Brazil in 1919 and died during the year. O. J. Smith was the Supply preacher assigned to the circuit.
It was about 1919, that the Dr. Montgomery Family moved to Trenton. That move would have meant a lot of leadership and financial support would be gone from the church. Also, the Inman Brothers who had established the Riverside Gin, Riverside Store and the Riverside Race Track had left Riverside; therefore, the whole community was folding. It appears that this was also the end of the Methodist Church.
The documented proof of the church closing came with a deed recorded August, 19, 1931 in Gibson Co. Deed Book 78 on page 210-211. This was from the Trustees of Riverside Methodist Church South, a Quit Claim Deed to Robert D. Jones, et al
This was signed by L.H.Montgomery, Mrs. Etta Jones, Dr. G. I Freeland, W. E. Baird and J. E. Hall. These new trustees named were probably neighbors of Mrs. Jones who was living in Dyer. The church had long been out of use and Mrs. Etta Jones and Dr. Montgomery were the only original trustee living.
Why a church at Riverside when there was one so close at Nebo? The Rev. William Franklin Ramsey, who was a Methodist Minister was the father of D. A. Ramsey, who owned the land. He was the Grandfather of Mrs. Montgomery. N. P. Ramsey, a brother of Rev. William Franklin Ramsey and also a Methodist Minister , was the Grandfather of Mrs. Lum Inman who lived in Riverside. In the very early 1900's Riverside was an active community with all that the Inman's had added to the community. With their background of strong Methodist teachings, the Ramsey descendants built the church and were the organizers. When they moved away from, the Church closed.
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