also see Chestnut Glade School under SCHOOLS section - more History & photos
Just when the Telephone came to our community is not certain but it is thought to have been right after 1900.
The telephones wer first out of Fulton and each peron had to "keep up" his onw lines. For some reason the Fulton lines failed in the eastern part of our community, perhaps due to decreased subscribers. A line from Dukedom was brought in to service the affected areas. But people wer still controlled by the roads, the roads by nature. Through the years an early auto could be seen here and there but the horse and buggy or wagon was the mode of transportation. The sutos could possibly manuver the dirt roads in the dry summertime. After 1900 the major trade center was Fulton. If a person was going to Martin, he said that he was going to Martin. If he said that he was "going to town", he was going to Fulton!
This was an important market for area farmers for getting supplies and selling their products. It was also where the housewives sold their eggs, butter, and cream. As the depression continued, this became critical in some cases. In a time when mothers sewed buttons on young sons jeans knees to discourage kneeling sports, thus saving garment wear, every penny was indeed important!
Eggs and butter could be kept for a once a week trip, but cream had to be taken twice a week in order to get thecream bucket tagged. This tag meant a higher price. Without the tag, the once-a-week cream brought less because it was not as fresh. Because of the road conditions, these weekly or twice-a-week trips to town took some planning. Those with telephones stayed in contact. Calls to check the roads were regular. Which was the best way to town right now? By John KINDREDS? By Barnhart School? The SMITH place? After being advised they charted their course. Simular situations continured in the latter 1930's. This was progress!
During the 1920's žtruck peddling hacksÓ traveled the area roads, usually coming by twice a week, weather permitting, to sell supplies. Phil Parker, from Dukedom, had a hack as well as the blind Hillman Ivy out of Latham. In later years many remember "Cheap John" who walked the roadways with his wares on his back.
Due to the steadfaste, progressive drive and determination of the residents, our community was the first rual area in Weakley county to recieve electricity. In 1938 the Harrises, Burkes, Brundiges, Milams, Lees, Rays and Taylors signed up fo rthe first line brought in around Ruthville. Weakley County Electric Municipal System, which was formed in 1938, took over tis line, which had come out of Gibson County.
In August of 1939, J. B. Nanney and Raymond McNatt worked to sigh enough subscribers to bring in another line. This one came from Martin, through Campground, down Sandy Branch then to Palmersville. This line basically opened up the entire Northern section of the county for electricity, as criss-crossing lines were connected over the years. In July of 1940, J. B. Nanney signed up Chestnut Glade School, acting as the head of the building committee.
In order to get a line, the company had to be guaranteed $8.20 per month per mile. Most people signed up for from $1.50 to $2.00 per month. Money was pretty scarce but the county made funds available to wire houses and buy electric equipment. Individuals would borrow from this fund and repay in installments.
Electricity brought about a better standard of living for many, as the wonder of a light bulb and an electric motor were put to use. Methods of farming were also changing due to the increased farming equipment available, improved tilling practices, and advancement in transportation and access to market.
Life rolled on in the community with each passing decade bringing a change in the way of life. But one thing never changed, the cycle of life. Older generations, and their life cycle, passed on; new ones, with new ideas, took their place.
No grand claims are made about this " Little corner of the World". It really is not necessary. Our forefathers were simple, hard working people, the "grass roots" folks who helped build a nation. Many may not have thought about our having a colorful history, but those who passed this way, were proud, indedpendent, stubborn, and perservering species.
Many can reach back in memory and recall faces of older generations, and the special thoughts that accompany them. Perhaps quaint habits, mannerisms, dress, or speech that were thought to be old fashioned, can be recalled. One phrase remembered is using the word hope instead of help. "I hope him milk". Many years would pass before it was realized that that phrase, along with many others, was the fast dying speech of pure Elizabethian English, which had passed from generation to generation, from England to Virginia and North Carolinia, and then to Tennessee. It can be heard today only in isolated areas of the eastern states, from whence our ancestors came.
These ancestors struggled to attimpt feats which would not evern be considered today. Many left their former homes with oxen and loaded wagon, knowing full well they would walk most of the 500 or 600 miles to their destination. Some had large families to care for, and in some cased, women gave birth on the trail. Their course was charted for a land they had never seen, with knowledge that they would not, in their lifetime, enjoy the comforts of the life left behind. It would take many generatons to soften the primitive land, to polish the crudeness, and attain a standard of living considered civilized.
Some faltered and fell by the wayside, beaten by their dreams. Others failed in their hope of land ownership, but their sons and grandsons succeeded. Each passing generation faced the challenges placed before them as they strived to make life better for those who would follow.
With pride and respect, we pay tribute to all those who passed this
Submitted by Pansy Nanny Baker
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