Gibson County Illustrated continued

These pages from Gibson County Illustrated is courtesy of Jeer Cox and Eddy G. Clark who gave their permission for the volunteers of Gibson County TN to transcribe it and place it on the Gibson Co. TN web site.  Special thanks to both of them!

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M. Hunter, who came to this church in October, 1897.

Photo:  Presbyterian Church of Trenton

                                                   PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF TRENTON.

In 1892 the church secured the present convenient site, on the corner of High and Fourth streets, and built the beautiful church in which they now worship.  It was dedicated in 1893, and is considered one of the handsomest and most convenient edifices in West Tennessee.  The present officers of the church are: Elders - Judge J. T. Carthel, Judge M. M. Neil, R. E. Grizzard, W. W. Wade, E. A. Herron, and W. A. Skiles.Deacons - J. E. Carthel, H. H. Wade, N. L. McRee, W. L. Wade, W. W. Lain, C. F. Givens, L. E. Carne, and Hal Partee.  On June 29, 1899, the church dismissed one of the elders, N. L. McRee, and about twenty members, to organize a church near McRee's Schoolhouse.  This colony of the church is in a growing and flourishing condition.

                                                                Cumberland Presbyterian Church

The church at Trenton was organized in 1848.  The members constituting the church at its first organization were: O. B. Caldwell, M. B. King, John A. Wilkins, Samuel Zaricor, John Kimbrough, Benjamin A. Bailey, Smith Parks, John Kimbrough, and M. B. King; J. A. Wilkins, deacon; Smith Parkes, Clerk.

PHOTO:  Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Trenton

                                                    CUMBERLAND PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, TRENTON

The following were some of the early pastors of Trenton Church: N. I. Hess, C. I. Bradley, Mr. Hubert, H. B. Warren.

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                                                            GIBSON COUNTY BANK, TRENTON.

This is the oldest banking institution in Gibson County.  the history of banking in Gibson County is briefly told.  From the creation of the county in 1823 up to 1838 the people were without banking facilities.  In the latter
year a branch of the Bank of Tennessee was located in Trenton, with Moses Woodfin as president and John A. Taliaferro as cashier.  The affairs of this branch bank were managed by a board of directors, composed of citizens of the county, appointed by the officers of the State Bank.  These directors were
often changed during the twenty-two years of the banks operations in the county.   Some of those members were: Col. Edwin Sharp, Joseph W. Carthel, Benjamin Elder, John L. Davis, Thomas J. Freeman, afterwards one of the supreme judges of the State; and John W. Elder, now president of Gibson
County Bank.


                                                                           GIBSON COUNTY BANK.

Immediately after the commencement of the war between the States, the funds of the bank were removed South and the bank was not again reopened.  For a long period after the war closed, the business interests of the county were unrepresented by any banking institution.  In 1879 Gibson County Bank was organized under special charter of the Legislature of Tennessee, with an authorized capital of $25,000.  Shortly
afterwards the capital was increased to $50,000.  The bank was organized by John W. Elder as president and H. M. Elder as cashier.  These officers have continued at the head of the institution ever since.  In 1883 A. S. Elder, grandson of president Elder, was made assistant cashier: and in 1897 Thomas K. Happel, another grandson of President Elder was made a bookkeeper.  This constitutes the present administrative force of the

The Gibson County Bank has enjoyed a prosperous career ever since its first establishment, proving a strong factor in the development and support of the business interests of the people.  Its affairs have been ably and
conservatively managed, and it stands today as one among the solid financial institutions of West Tennessee.  It has recently declared its forty-second dividend, and its history shows that it has paid a dividend of five cent per
cent upon its stock semiannually since organization. 

                                                                                    John W. Elder.

There were but few men now living in the city of Trenton whose lives are more intimately connected with the commercial and social history of the place than that of John W. Elder, whose portrait appears on the next page.  Mr. Elder has been identified with the growth

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And development of the town of Trenton almost from the period of its birth.  The town was located in 1824 and Mr. Elder became one of its citizens in 1835.  From that time forward for more than sixty-seven years, except about three years he spent in Alabama during and after the Civil War, he has been a prominent and active figure in the affairs of the town and county.  Mr. Elder is well known to the business world as a merchant and banker, his long career in these pursuits having given him an extensive acquaintance throughout the county.  He is the oldest merchant and banker in the county, and, with few exceptions, the oldest citizen. 

PHOTO:  John W. Elder

                                                                             JOHN W. ELDER
                                                                     (President Gibson County Bank)

Mr. Elder came to Trenton from Rutherford County, Tenn., when a lad of fifteen, in the year 1835.  At that time Trenton was but a small village, but it was the county seat and the center of a growing trade.  After serving several years as a merchant's clerk, thus acquiring knowledge of the mercantile business, he began business for himself, continuing the same until the breaking out of the Civil War, in 1861.  During this period he was connected with the management of the branch of the State Bank of Tennessee at Trenton as one of the directors, 1850-1854.

At the close of the Civil War, finding conditions unfavorable for business at his home on account of the unsettled state of the country during the so called reconstruction period, Mr. Elder became a member of the mercantile
firm of Duncan, Ford & Elder, of Cincinnati, Ohio, traveling for his firm in the South , but still making his home in Trenton.  He continued with the firm until 1878, when he closed out his interest: and in June 1879, together with
H. M. Elder and others, he organized the Gibson County Bank, of which he is
now president.

In 1885 Mr. Elder, with others, organized the Trenton Cotton Mill Company, an industry that has been most beneficial to the county and whose product is well known in the markets of the country.  While Mr. Elder has been a conspicuous figure in the business and civil affairs of Trenton, perhaps the best and most useful side of his life has been that which distinguished him as an active participant and oftentimes a leader in the religious and educational movements of the people.  Certainly, his life in this regard may well be taken as a model by our young men starting upon a business career.  At an early age of fourteen he professed religion and joined the Methodist Church, and in 1835 became a member of the church at Trenton, retaining his membership therein ever since.  In 1850 he was elected superintendent of the Sunday school of the Methodist Church at Trenton, which position he held for forty-nine consecutive years.  In the spring of 1899, owing to a severe attack of la grippe, he was compelled to resign, after having served his people for a longer consecutive period, perhaps, than any other officer in Sunday school annals.  He has continuously served as an officer in the local church organization in some helpful capacity, and is at present one of the trustees of the church.  He is now, and has been since its creation, treasurer of the Board of Church Extension of the Memphis Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  Mr. Elder married Miss Martha G. Huston of Alabama in 1841, a noble Christian lady, who remained by his side, contributing to his success and sharing in his disappointments, until July 23, 1879, when she was called away.

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Mr. Elder has six living children, all occupying honorable positions in the social and business world.  Since the death of his wife Mr. Elder has remained single, spending the remaining years of as useful and honorable life quietly and serenely in the society of his children and grandchildren and among the people endeared to him by long association.   He is still strong and vigorous in mind and body, performing the duties of president of the Gibson County Bank with the same promptitude and dispatch that distinguished his earlier years.

Photo:  Trenton Cotton Mills.

                                                                  TRENTON COTTON MILLS

One of the most extensive and useful industries in Gibson County is the Trenton Cotton Mills, located in the city of Trenton.  The Trenton Cotton Mill Company was organized in 1884 and incorporated by special act of the Legislature in that year.  The buildings constituting the plant are all of brick, except the ginnery, which is a detached frame standing some distance from the main factory, constituting a separate department, though only operated in ginning cotton for use in the mill.  The main factory building is 50x365 feet, two stories high, with two
one-story wings occupied as boiler and engine and batt, picker, and spool rooms.  The lower story of the factory building is used as a weaving room, where are operated 160 looms.  The second story is used for spinning and
carding.  Here are operated 6,000 spindles and forty cards.  The entire industry gives employment to one hundred and sixty operatives, with a weekly pay roll of $600.   The motive power of the mills is furnished by a Hamilton Corless engine of two hundred horse power, and three boilers with a combined production of two hundred and eighty horse power.  The fire protection provided is ample, consisting of the latest improved automatic sprinklers and hose connections with the city water mains.  The plant is lighted by its own electric light system, using over two hundred incandescent lights, of thirty two candle power each.  Two thousand bales of raw ginned cotton are converted into cloth and battings per annum, about eighteen hundred bales into sheetings and drills, and two hundred into batting.  The output of the mill in woven goods is upwards of 250,000 yards per annum.  The entire stock of cotton used by the Trenton Cotton Mills is bought from local producers, thus giving a home market to the cotton raisers of the county.

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The brands of sheeting manufactured and well know in markets are its AAA 4-4 and BB 7-8 sheetings, and its AAA 12, 14, and 16 oz. Drills.  A special quality of drill is made for pockets for pants manufactures. The product of Trenton Cotton Mills is marketed in the States of the South and Southwest and in Middle States, and has always found a ready market.  The officers of the Trenton Cotton Mills are: J. A. Landis, president; George W. Everett, Secretary, treasurer, and general manager.  The directors are John W. Elder, T. J. Happel, T. J. Hays, G. W. Everett, and J. A. Landis.

                                                                               Meyer Oppenheimer
Here is a picture of an old and eminent citizen of Trenton, now dead, but whose memory is revered by all who knew him in life and by many who have benefited by his foresight in promoting the welfare of the town and community.

Photo:  Meyer Oppenheimer

Meyer Oppenheimer became a citizen of Trenton sometime in the fifties, coming here from Hickman, Ky., where he had been in business.  The building of the
railroad through Gibson County, noticed in another article, deprived Hickman of a great deal of its trade, and Mr. Oppenheimer removed his business to Trenton.  He soon became one of the leading merchants of the place and was noted for his benevolence and the interest he took in the general welfare. 
His philanthropy was unbounded, and no cry for aid from a fellow mortal ever fell unheeded upon his ear. 
Although of foreign birth and adherent to the Jewish Church, he was thoroughly American in his ideas of government, and his religion was a practical recognition of the brotherhood of the whole human family.  I do not think I have been guilty of exaggeration in thus speaking of the character of this noble man.  It is the universal verdict of the people of Trenton with whom I have talked.

Mr. Oppenheimer was elected thrice to the Mayoralty of the town and served frequently as a member of the town Board of Aldermen and in other public positions, always exemplifying a singleness of purpose in his devotion to
public duty.  The beautiful shade trees that adorn many of the streets are the result of his enterprise and persistent effort.  His public spirit was manifest in providing sidewalks for the streets and in beautifying and
adorning the public cemetery.  He was forward in all charitable movements for helping the poor and for alleviating distress wherever found.  It is related of him that on one occasion after the war a number of returning Confederate soldiers passed through Trenton on their way home, foot-sore, hungry, and almost naked.  Mr. Oppenheimer set to work to relive their necessities, finding no one to assist him in his charitable design, fed and clothed them at his own expense.  During the Civil War he was noted for the aid and care he gave to the families of those who were off in the war. 

Mr. Oppenheimer was born in Germany on December 17, 1817, and came to America in 1847.   He came to Trenton in 1855.  After a long and useful life, he died in Chicago, on November 1, 1895.  His children who survive him are: Mr. Louis Oppenheimer, of Trenton; Messrs Henry and Samuel Oppenheimer, of Memphis;
Mrs. E. Solomon, of Chicago; and Miss Cora Oppenheimer, of Logansport, Ind.

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                                                      GIBSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE.  ILLUSTRATED

The Exchange Bank of Trenton was organized under the general laws of the State in June, 1887, with a capital of $50,000.  The original incorporators of the bank were J. M. Senter, J. T. Carthel, R. A. Hicks, R. Z. Taylor, J.
E. Carthel, R. M. Russell, and Henry Flowers, all citizens of Trenton, except Mr. Flowers, who lived in Kenton. 
While not as old an institution as the Gibson County Bank, the Exchange Bank has experienced a very profitable career and transacts an extensive business.
The present officers of the bank are: J. M. Senter, president; J. E. Carthel, cashier; J. T. Warren, assistant cashier; and J. D. McKnight, bookkeeper.  Mr. Senter and Mr. Carthel have occupied these positions since its

                                                                                     J. M. Senter

Mr. J. M. Senter, a short sketch of whose life I give below, is one among Gibson County's oldest and most respected citizens.  He stands at the head of one of the important financial institutions of the town in which he has made his home for half a century.   He has been identified with much of the business and growth of the town and has helped to forward in a marked degree its religious and educational interests.  A member of the Baptist Church in Trenton since 1858, he served as the superintendent of its Sunday school foe a period of thirty-four years, only relinquishing (sic) his charge when failing health rendered him unequal to the duties of the position.  His zeal in the promotion of religion and morals, his uprightness as a citizen and man of business, has secured him the confidence of his fellow-citizens all over the county.

Mr. Senter was born in Cleveland County, NC, on August 13, 1827.  His parents emigrated to Tennessee in 1830, living for short periods in Bedford and Madison Counties, finally settling in Gibson County in 1835.  He was brought up on a farm, participating in its life and labors until he was twenty years old.  In 1849 he engaged in the mercantile business as a clerk in a country store, near where Humboldt now stands.  In January, 1856, he engaged in the dry goods business under the firm name of Senter & Wilkins, continuing the same until breaking out of the Civil War. 

Photo:  J. M. Senter (President of Exchange Bank of Trenton)

In June, 1865, he, with Dr. Zach Biggs, opened a hardware and grocery store in Trenton, operating the same for nearly three years, when his health failing he went to farming.  He remained on his farm until 1887, when, with
others, he organized the Exchange Bank of Trenton, of which he was elected president, retaining that office down to the present time.  I do not think it has been Mr. Senter's ambition through life to become a rich man, though his career shows that he has been an industrious and provident one, securing competency for old age by the exercise of these virtues.  But his name and fame among his fellow-citizens show that he has been a just and helpful man in all his social relations, and this will keep his memory green after life's fitful dream is over. 

                                                               Harrison Dry Goods Company

The accompanying cut represents the first floor of this immense establishment.  The business was organized on January 1, 1900, and is the largest dry goods, clothing, and shoe house in Gibson County.  It pays the largest State and county tax of any business concern in the county.  It is composed of Russell W. Harrison, president;
S. Horace McKenzie, vice president ; Hart H. Wade, secretary and treasurer; Gus. A. Davidson, chief clerk.  Directors: Russell W. Harrison, S. Horace McKenzie, Hart H. Wade, Gus A. Davidson, J. P. Jetton.


The stock carried embraces a full, Complete, and up-to-date line of dry goods, clothing, shoes, hats, notions, etc.  They believe in a strictly cash system, and with such a system they have a rapidly growing business. 

                                                                           J. Freed.

J. Freed is a native of Prussia and was born in 1835.  In 1854 he came to the United States and located in Columbus, Ga., where he remained until 1857, when he came to Memphis, Tenn., and embarked in the dry goods business.  While there he joined the Washington Rifles, an old militia company.  In 1860 he moved his stock of goods to Jackson, Tenn., where he remained till April 1861, when being notified that Governor Harris called his company into service, he rejoined the company at Memphis.  After doing two months' special duty, the company attached itself to the fifteenth Tennessee Infantry and took part in the battles of Belmont, Shiloh, Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamanga, Dallas, Franklin, and Nashville, and he was wounded at
Perryville, Chickamanga, and Dallas.  He was captured in

Photo :   J. Freed  (Merchant, Trenton)

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front of Nashville in December, 1864, and was held prisoner of war six months. In 1865 he settled in Trenton and engaged in dry goods business.  In 1874 he built his present storehouse and formed a copartnership with his
brother-in-law, J. Ebert, which terminated with the death of Mr. Ebert in 1878.  In 1893 he admitted his elder son, Henry, as a partner, under the firm name of J. Freed & Son.  Henry, though still retaining an interest in his
father's store, established in 1897, in connection with his cousin, Henry Ebert, a retail dry goods house at St. Louis, MO.

In 1871 J. Freed married Miss Henrietta Cohn, who was also a native of Prussia.  The marriage took place in St. Louis, Mo.  This union has been blessed with thirteen children - ten boys and three girls; two of the boys
died in infancy.   Mr. Freed is a member of the K. of P., K. of H., A. O. U. W., and is also a
member of the board of Aldermen of the city of Trenton. 

                                                       Forked Deer Roller Mills, Trenton, Tenn.

This is one of the most important manufacturing industries if Trenton and of the county.   The Forked Deer Roller Mills were established soon after the close of the Civil War by John L. Davis.  J. H. Blakemore acquired an interest in the business, afterwards becoming sole owner.  In 1882 the mill burned, and Mr. Blakemore disposed of the plant to R. N. Davis and D. E. Jetton, who rebuilt the mill.

In 1886 Mr. Jetton died, and J. W. Jetton and H. C. Pearce purchased the plant and put in the roller system in place of buhrs, with which the mill had been formerly equipped, completely remodeling and modernizing the plant.  In 1895 Mr. J. W. Jetton bought out his partner and became sole proprietor, and has since continued to operate it.

Photo:   Forked Deer Roller Mill


The plant is fitted with four sets of rollers and one corn buhr, and has a capacity of fifty-five barrels per day. 
The Jetton family belongs to the pioneer settlers of Gibson County.  The grandfather of J. W. Jetton, Isaac L. Jetton, came to Gibson County in 1822 and settled on a farm about three and a half miles west of Trenton, where he lived until his death in 1875.   Robert Jetton, an uncle, was one of the commissioners appointed by the General Assembly of the State to locate the county seat, and he also, in conjunction with Solomon Shaw, built the courthouse in 1839-1840, which stood until the present structure was begun in 1899. 

The present Mr. J. W. Jetton was born in Gibson County on a farm, and still carries on the farming business in connection with his mill.  He and his family stand high in the social world of Trenton.  Mrs. Jetton is the
daughter of Judge Samuel Williams, who was Judge of Gibson County Circuit Court from 1858 to the breaking out of the Civil War. 

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                                                                        Isaac L. Jetton.

Isaac L. Jetton was a pioneer settler of Gibson County.  He was born in North Carolina.
In 1799; moved to Rutherford County in 1803 and to Gibson County in 1822.  He was a splendid type of pioneer planter of the period - liberal, hospitable, living an easy, simple life; never working his negroes with a design of
amassing wealth, but content to have a bountiful living for himself and his dependents.

Photo ofIsaac L. Jetton

                                                                        D. E. Jetton.
D. E. Jetton, another of Gibson County's early settlers, was born near Murfreesboro, on August 24, 1818, and came to Gibson County in 1826.  He was a prominent citizen in the development of the county, and was the father of the present J. W. Jetton, of Trenton.

Photo ofD. E. Jetton

                                                                            R. E. Grizzard.

Mr. R. E. Grizzard, head of one of the oldest establishments in the city of Trenton, was born at Nashville on December 5, 1839.  At the age of eleven he moved with his father Tullahoma, Tenn., and came to Trenton in 1855, when only fifteen years old.  He attended Andrews College and clerked in a store until 1858, when he returned to Nashville.   Here clerked in a store until breaking out of the between the States, when he joined Company A, of Manny's First Tennessee Regiment.  He was discharged from the regiment in 1862, serving the remainder of the war in the cavalry.  He was paroled at Sumpterville, Ala., a member of Company A, Forrest's old regiment.

Photo ofR. E. Grizzard

R. E. GRIZZARD (cont)

Returning to civil life, he clerked in the store of Senter & Biggs, and Biggs & Ellis at Trenton for some time.
In 1872 he established his present hardware business, which he has continued down to the present time.
In 1869 Mr. Grizzard married Miss Clemenza Marshall, two daughters being born to this union - Mrs. Eliza McE. Rankin and Charlotte Virginia.  Mr. Grizzard served a term as Mayor of Trenton in 1876, declining reelection.

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In 1872 he joined the Presbyterian Church at Trenton, becoming one of its deacons, and later was ordained an elder, serving as such ever since.  In 1869 he became a Mason and was Master of the Lodge at Trenton for
many years. After a life of remarkable usefulness, Mr. Gizzard died on August 8, 1901, mourned by the entire community. 

                                                              Maj. William Gay.

Maj. William Gay was born in Gibson County, Tenn., on January 22, 1827, and was reared and educated and remained a citizen of the county from the date of his birth to the time of his death.  He was a merchant at Eaton for several years prior to the Civil War, but immediately upon the breaking out of the war he closed out his business and at once raised a company for the Confederate army, and when the company was organized he was elected its captain and was assigned to the Forty-seventh Tennessee Infantry.  He served as captain of the company until the consolidation and reorganization at Corinth, when he was commissioned as captain to raise a company of cavalry.  He came back home and soon had another company organized and ready for service, which was assigned to the Twentieth Tennessee Cavalry.  He served his company as captain until 1864, when he was promoted and commissioned as a major of his regiment, which position he held until the surrender.  As a soldier, Major Gay was always at his post and ready to do or die for his country's sake.  In every engagement with the enemy he was always found in the forefront of the battle, leading and encouraging his men on to deeds of valor and heroism, and no better, braver, or more gallant officer ever bore a commission or unsheathed a sword.  But when the surrender came and the old flag for the last time was furled, Major Gay, with his boys in gray, beat a slow and solemn retreat to his old home county, then made bare and desolate by the ravages of the war, and when he reached his old home he set about at once to build up the waste places and make his native county bloom and prosper as it did prior to the war.  For years after the war Major Gay sold goods in Trenton, but he soon sold out his stock of goods and retired to a farm and remained a farmer until his death.

In 1886 he was elected Trustee of Gibson County and reelected in 1888, and as an officer he was honest and fearless, discharging every duty with promptness and fidelity, and it was frequently remarked during the term of his office that is was no difference whether he gave bond or not, for every cent of public fund would be accounted for. 

In 1865 Major Gay was married to Miss Mary E. Mays, who died May 15, 1882.  As the fruits of his marriage there were seven children, five of whom survive their father.  

Photo ofMajor William Gay   (From a photograph taken just after the war)

He was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church for nearly half a century and for many years an elder in said church and superintendent of its Sunday school, and in his church matters the same faithful, honest,
intelligent discharge of duty characterized his every action.  As a husband and father he guarded with the greatest care every want and interest of his family; as a neighbor he was clever and accommodating; as a public officer he was honest and watchful; as a church member he was diligent and faithful; as a soldier he was cautious, but brave; in time of war he was a brave and gallant soldier.  In every walk of life he was honest, intelligent, industrious, faithful and fearless. 

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Major Gay died after a short illness on March 21, 1901, regretted and mourned by all who knew him.  For him life's trials and struggles are ended, and rest with the great   Master whom he loved and served has been granted him with comrades who have preceded him to the land of rest.

                          The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
                          The soldier's last tattoo;
                          No more on life's parade shall meet

                         That brave and fallen few.
                         On fame's eternal camping ground
                         Their silent tents are spread,
                         And glory guards, with solemn round.
                         The bivouac of the dead.

The O. H. Stroll Bivouac, of which Major Gay was president, passed and ordered spread upon its minutes, the following resolution;

"Resolved, That in the death of Maj. Wm. Gay the Bivouac has lost a faithful and much beloved officer and member; the old Confederate veterans a true friend; the lost cause an ardent devotee; the State and county a most worthy and excellent citizen; ;the church a faithful, fearless, Christian member; and the family a kind, considerate, and loving father,"

                                                                              W. L. Smith, Deceased

PHOTO: W.L. Smith, Deceased

W. L. Smith was born in Wilson County in 1848.  His younger days were spent in Agricultural pursuits, and at spare times he attended the neighborhood school.  When yet quite a young man, he started out to make his own way in the world.  His business education began in the town of Milan, where he first entered a mercantile house as a clerk.  After remaining there for a while, he came to Trenton and began clerking for J. W. Hays, who  at that time conducted the largest general retail store in Western Tennessee.   Here Mr. Smith schooled himself for his successful struggle in after years.  Imbibing all of the business sagacity of his employer and coupling it with his own natural abilities in this line, he fitted himself admirably for his future career.  With the accumulations from the toil of his younger years he entered business for himself in connection with his brother, T. J. Smith, under the name of Smith Bros.  For years this firm did an extensive dry goods and (for a portion of the time) grocery business at this place.   They built the large two-story brick on the southwest corner of College street and Court Square, and these two commodious storerooms with basement gave them sufficient room for their rapidly increasing trade.

PHOTO: Smith Block, corner College St. and Court Square, Trenton

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Afterwards they extended the block on college street by the erection of three more elegant brick business houses.

In 1878 W. I. Smith was married to Miss Joe Hope, and only done child, a son, C. E. Smith., was born to them.

Mr. Smith accumulated considerable real estate in the city and county.  The residence, Oak Manor, is one of the most desirable residences sites in Trenton.

He was one of Trenton's most loyal and enterprising citizens.  He loved the town and was ever ready to contribute his energies and his money to the town's upbuilding and to its general welfare.

A number of years after the closing out of the firm of Smith Bros. Mr. Smith embarked in business alone, and successfully conducted the same until the summer of 1899, when his failing health demanded his retirement.

In January, 1900, he, together with  his family, moved to Berkeley, Ca., in search of recuperation, but he gradually grew worse and after fifteen months' residence in the West, returned to Trenton and died in this city on June 22, 1901, and was laid to rest in beautiful Oakland Cemetery.

His life and example are worthy of emulation, for, from an humble beginning, depending entirely upon his own resources, with energy and perseverance, he, in a few years,   established himself as one of the most successful business men in Gibson County.    He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and died in the hope of a blessed immortality.

                                                                         The C. F. Smith Company.

The present business of the C. F. Smith Company is the oldest (or one of the oldest) business in the county.  It was established in March, 1867, by C. F. Smith, deceased, who came to Trenton from Louisville, Ky.   He opened a complete line of stoves, tinware, heavy hardware, agricultural implements, with tin, sheet iron and job work, etc.   C. F. Smith continued in business until his death,  which occurred on October 12, 1897.  He
was succeeded by a son, Leslie W. Smith, a daughter, Bertha M, Smith, and sister, Margaret Smith, who formed a copartnership under the name of C. F. Smith Co., with Leslie W. Smith as general manager.  The latter, whose photo if given above, was born on September 26, 1872, and was well acquainted with the business when he took charge of it, having worked in the shop from childhood up.

Mr. Leslie W. Smith is regarded as one of the best citizens of Trenton, progressive in all respects and reliable and trustworthy in business life.

PHOTO: Leslie W. Smith (of the C.F. Smith Company)

                              Trenton Saw and Planing Mill; Wade Bros. and Partee, Proprietors.

The Trenton Saw and Planing Mill is one of the important industries of Trenton, and the largest wood-working establishment in Trenton.

The works were established in 1885, but were not acquired by the present owners until 1899.

In 1899, W. L. Wade, H. L. Wade, and B. A. Partee bought the plant, which they enlarged and refitted, adding new machinery and improvements, making it entirely modern in all its various departments, and one of the most complete in the county.

The output of the mill consists of rough and dressed lumber, house building material and planing mill work of all kinds, ready for the builder's use.

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A department of the work is devoted toasting tight barrel staves.

In addition to the sawmills connected with the Trenton mill, the firm operates a sawmill north of Trenton, cutting about 5,000 feet of lumber per day.

The transactions of this plant will exceed $35,000 per annum, and three-fourths of a million staves.

The Wade brothers are natives of Gibson County, their father having been born in that county, and their grandfather, Hillery Wade, being one of the pioneer settlers of Gibson County.  Mr. Partee is also a native of the county, land is a descendant of one of the pioneer families.

                                                                               The Bigelow Hotel.

PHOTO: The Bigelow Hotel

The Bigelow Hotel is one of the institutions of Trenton.  It is operated upon the hospitable order.  Everybody that enters its hospitable portals feels that he ban throw off the restraints of conventionality and make himself at home,  no matter whether is is going to stay an hour, a day, or a week.  No red tape about the management; no credentials required.  Of course a fellow must pay his bill, but he is glad to do this, after he has enjoyed the "creature comforts," always the best going.  There's a good deal in a landlord, too.  Some landlords are grum and immensely secretive in regard to things the traveling public want to know about; in a word, look and act as if they were entitled to your gratitude as well as your money for what they furnish you.  Not so here.  "Ask, and ye
shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."  The landlord of this hotel at Trenton is John W. Bigelow.  Everybody likes him.  He is everybody's friend, a noble specimen of human kind.  Don't make up your mind this is fulsome praise. promoted by some ax-grinding motive on my part, or paid for at a penny a line.   It is pure truth,
evolved from experience.  If you are not contented to take my word for it, just come and investigate  for yourself.

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                                                                                  John W. Bigelow

Here is a portrait of John W. Bigelow, a native of Gibson County, an old citizen of Trenton and one of nature's noblemen.  I use this latter term advisedly and believe I can establish its correctness by the testimony of everybody in Gibson County (and out of it, too) that knows him.  He has been in business at Trenton for a quarter of a century, and if he has an enemy in the town, I never saw or heard of him or her.  I believe he is no a member of any church, but he inclines to Methodism and is a regular attendant upon the worship of that denomination.  So far as real human goodness is concerned, he will compare well with the best in any church.

I don't want to praise him too highly, as he is a modest man and I had some trouble in securing his picture for my sketches on account of his aversion to notoriety.  But I must be pardoned for giving some faint expression of my esteem and admiration for the man; I cannot help it.  I might say more about him--his unaffected goodness, his unfailing good humor, his companion ableness, his promptitude, and reliability in social and business affairs; but I forbear, feeling like I hadn't said half of what everyone knows to be true.  Mr. Bigelow is a merchant of long standing in the town.  He is also proprietor and landlord of the best hotel in the town, where most of the traveling people stop, because they like him and like his hotel.  Did you know that running a hotel or other business, successfully, is like the successful operation of the American army and navy?  It depends largely on the man behind the gun.

Most anybody with capital can fix up a h hotel and stand around an let it run itself, but a successful hotel--a hotel that people like to stop at--is the result of personal fitness for the job.

Now I guess I've said enough about Mr. Bigelow.  Some people may say I'm a little too effusive in my talk about him.  You notice I haven't said a word about his faults.   I expect he has faults--everybody has--but I've not discovered them.  If he has any, let those that know them speak.

PHOTO: John W. Bigelow

                                      T. Harlan & Co. Manufacturers and Dealers in Staves and Stave Timber

This extensive industry has been in operation a number of years with headquarters at Trenton and has grown from small beginnings to be one of the most important enterprises of the city, contributing largely to its growth and prosperity.

The business of this firm in handling and manufacturing staves and stave material covers of all of West Tennessee and its transactions aggregate a quarter of a million dollars per annum.

The firm of T. Harlen & Co. has been a very prosperous and successful one, notwithstanding it has had two very disastrous fires in its history.  In 1899 the firm sustained a loss by fire of $10,000 on machinery, buildings, and stock, and on June 25, of the following year, had another fire which consumed their mill, dryhouse, and a vast
amount of finished stock, entailing a loss of $25,000.

But the firm, undaunted by these losses, are making arrangements to extend their operations and increase their facilities for manufacturing staves and handling stave material.  The firm is composed of Mr. T. Harlan and Mr. Mac Morris, both of whom are splendid business men and highly esteemed citizens of Trenton.

Mr. Harlan is a man of family, whose accomplished daughters move in Trenton's best social circles.  Mr. Morris is unmarried, young, gallant, and a universal favorite in the social world of Trenton.

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PHOTO:  Plant of Trenton Stave Mills  T. Harlan and Company, Proprietors

                                                                           William Jarrell. Deceased

William Jarrell was born in East Tennessee, but shortly afterwards his parents moved to the middle portion of the State, where he was reared.  He came to Trenton in 1853, and worked at his trade of building cotton grins and stocking plows, the casting being bought of the well-known Avery Plow Works.  In 1856 he built a foundry and machine shop here, which as the first manufacturing enterprise in the town or county, save a sawmill or two; and he erected and blew the first steam whistle ever blown in the county, as no railroad had at that time been built through here.  In 1857 he sold an interest in the foundry to J. I. Wells and J. A. McDearmon, and with them continued the business until 1869, selling out to Mr. Wells at that time.  In 1861 he obtained a patent on what is known as Jarrell's plow, which became universally used over the entire South.   He was also the patentee of a cotton scraper, a cotton cleaner, tow corn and cotton planters, and a nut lock.
PHOTO: William Jarrell, Deceased

After leaving Trenton, Mr. Jarrell built a foundry and flouring mill at Humboldt, which he operated for two years, after which W. H. Dodson bought an interest, and it was conducted under the firm name of Jarrell & Dodson.  this partnership continued until

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1878, when he sold out his interest to Dodson and moved to Arkansas, where he opened a furniture store and purchased a farm twelve or fifteen miles from Fort Smith.   Selling the furniture business, he finally retired to his farm.

Recently Mr. Jarrell sold his Arkansas property and moved to Smyrna, Middle Tennessee.   He was for a while a Confederate soldier, and did more for Trenton and Gibson County in the early days of the county than any other man who ever resided within its bounds.

                                                                           The Herald-Democrat

One of the best county papers published in West Tennessee is the Herald- Democrat.   The paper is Democratic in politics and is ably edited by Mr. Edward. E. Benton, its owner.  Mr. Benton makes his paper clear-cut, but not rabid, in handling the political issues of the day; but perhaps the most notable feature of his paper is its high moral tone and its devotion to county interests.  This is the province of a county paper and Mr. Benton fully illustrates it in the conduct of his paper.  Mr. Benton established the Gibson County Herald in 1885.  In 1895 he purchased the Gibson County Democrat and consolidated the two papers under the title "Herald-Democrat."   Mr. Benton is a member of the City Council and of the Board of Public Works of the city of Trenton; a member of the Methodist Church and one of the trustees of the church.

PHOTO: Mr. E.E. Benton (editor Herald-Democrat)

PHOTO: Interior view of Mrs. J.G. Sedberry's Millenary Store, Trenton, Tennessee
                The leading Millenary establishment of Gibson County

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                                                                                         J. M. Skiles & Co.

J. M. Skiles & Co., Dry goods, clothing, shoes, hats and variety goods such as are usually carried in a first-class dry goods store.  Established in 1882 by J. M. Skiles.  Southwest corner of Court Square and Eaton Street.  Cheapest dry goods house in Gibson County.

PHOTO: Interior view of J.M. Skiles & Co. mammoth Dry Goods Store, Trenton

                                                                                           John H. Parr.

Mr. John Hess Parr, to give his appellation in full, is the leading gentleman tailor as well as the leading gentlemen's tailor in Trenton with a trade and business coextensive with the county.  He is also an up-to-date "hustler" from a business standpoint and the best public crier and auctioneer in town.  This comes of native talent and a disposition to make things go.

To use his own language, he has "hustled" for himself since he was fifteen years old.  Socially, he is with the young set plucking gayly the flowers that spring by the pathway of life, but in business practical and pushing.  He is, in fact, a large-hearted and generous minded boy, impulsive in disposition, liable to err, but quick to own and correct a fault or mistake.

He belongs to one of the best families of the county and moves in the best social circles.   With such social and business qualities, I shall look to see my young friend, Parr, become a distinguished business man and citizen as time adds to his length of days.

The town of Ripley, in which he has established himself in business, is to be congratulated in receiving him into its business and social circles.

PHOTO: John H. Parr

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                                                                        Henry N. Forrest.

Henry Nathan Forrest was born in Henry County, Tenn., in the year 1871.  His father was a first cousin of Gen. N. B. Forrest.  When two years old, he had a spell of fever, which resulted in total blindness.  At the age of thirteen he entered the Tennessee School for the Blind, where he received a liberal literary and handicraft education.  His father died in 1874, and his mother in 1885, leaving him homeless and without means.  While at school, he earned his clothes and paid his way to and from Nashville by doing small jobs of work about the building.  He completed the high school and Latin course and graduated with honors in May, 1892.  He then returned to Henry County, and, having a desire to teach, took an examination under the county superintendent and received a first-grade certificate, which entitled him to teach anywhere in the county; but failing to secure a position as teacher, he worked on the farm, where he did almost any kind of work except plow.  He finally succeeded in getting a broom machine and a s mall stock of material, and for a time he manufactured and sold brooms in the surrounding country.

In 1895 Mr. Forrest made the race for County Superintendent of Henry County, and was defeated by only a very small majority.

In July of the same year he moved to Trenton, and went into the manufacturing of brooms, associating with him in this work Messrs. Baker and Wemble, two of his   blind schoolmates.  Mr. Forrest was traveling salesman for the concern, and did his work without the help of railroad conductors or hotel porters.  Mr. Wemble soon withdrew from the business, and in 1897 Mr. Forrest and Mr. Baker mutually agreed to dissolve partnership.  He then opened a confectionery stand in the city of Trenton, which he still runs.  He has succeeded fairly well, and owns a little building, known as the "City Stand," which he has fixed to his own notion.  He does all his work except on busy days, when he hires some one to help him.  He is attentive to his business, keeps it in good shape, is good for all his contracts, depends on no one but himself for support, and con go anywhere he wishes without a guide.

PHOTO: Henry N. Forrest (Blind merchant of Trenton)

                                                              W. G. Smith, Deceased.

W. G. Smith was born in Middle Tennessee, and here his young manhood was spent.  He learned the cabinetmaker's trade, and worked in furniture factories at Nashville and other Middle Tennessee points.  At an early age he professed religion and joined the old Mill Creek Baptist Church, of that section, which has gained so much historical

PHOTO:W.G. Smith, Deceased

Page 108        

At the beginning of the Civil War Mr. Smith moved to Trenton with his family, and was for a long time the only person in the place to do cabinet work, making coffins, and sticking guns.  Shortly after the conflict closed he went into the furniture business, and for a number of years manufactured a large line of furniture and coffins at this place, working as high as twelve or fifteen men.  He brought the first furniture to Trenton ever sold here from a manufactory.  He remained in the furniture and undertaking business until his death, in 1898.  For a long number of years he was one of the town's aldermen, and was ranger of the county for over thirty years.  He was an ardent church member and member of the Trenton Masonic lodge.  At his death Trenton lost one of her most trustworthy citizens.  He left a widow and two sons, John R. and Lon W. Smith.

                                                                                   John R. Smith.

John Robert Smith was born in Nashville, Tenn. on May 5, 1857, and moved with his parents to West Tennessee a year or so later.  He was educated at Andrew college, Trenton, and for a number of years conducted his father's furniture business. The firm was finally styled John R. Smith & Co.

In 1882 Mr. Smith was elected Mayor of Trenton, and held that honorable position one term.   For twenty years he was with the Evansville Cotffin Company as their general Southern representative, and is now representing on the road the Ohio Valley Coffin Company.  He is Pastmaster of Trenton Masonic Lodge, and has always taken a great interest in lodge matters.  In 1899 he was chosen by the Great Lodge Junior Grand Warden; in 1900 he was elected Senior Grand Warden; in 1901, Deputy Grand Master; and is in line to become Grand Master at the next meeting of the Grand Lodge.  He was for eight years lecturer for the Ninth Congressional District for the Masonic Fraternity.   He is a member of Kenton Chapter and Kenton Commandery, Knights Templar.

Mr. Smith has a beautiful home on High street, Trenton, and an interesting family, consisting of a wife and one child.  He is genial and whole-souled, and is well known over the entire State and a large portion of the South.

PHOTO:John R. Smith

                                                                                             J. W. Vick.

J. W. Vick is a native Tennessean and a native Gibson Countian, full of pride in his g great State and enthusiastic over its great future.  He is specially proud of his native county and her thrifty and intelligent people.

He was born in Gibson County on February 21, 1857, and has lived in the county all his life.  He was reared on a farm, and knows  the pleasures and hardships of life on a country farm, and he finds one of his chief pleasures now in the associations with he people from the country.

His parents were unable to give him the benefit of a higher education, and at first he had to content himself with the opportunities afforded by the neighborhood public schools.

At the age of fifteen he suffered a severe affliction.  As the result of a protracted fever he had paralysis in one of his legs, and he has been compelled to go on crutches since that time.  Full of ambition and energy, he was not daunted by this affliction, and continued at school, and at an early age began

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to teach school and go to school.  He attended school at Bethel College, at McKenzie, and there fitted himself for a teacher in the public schools.  He was a successful teacher, and in the school work he made a reputation and friends which have not failed him in after life.

In 1882 he was happily married, and after his marriage he continued to teach school.

In 1886 he  became Democratic candidate for Clerk of the Circuit court, and after a heated canvass, at one of the most exciting conventions ever held in Trenton, he received the nomination over five strong competitors.  Since that time he has been three times elected to the same office without Democratic opposition.  He is a fine canvasser, and knows how to mingle with the people; but the real cause of his success is his knowledge and sympathy with the great masses of the people.

He has made an excellent officer, and won the confidence and esteem of the people of his county.  He is conservative, but firm in all matters, true to his friends and convictions.

He has a pleasant home in Trenton, where he enjoys the pleasure of an interesting family and the association of a pleasant community.  He is a striking example of a successful country boy who has won his way in the face of poverty and affliction, backed only by pluck, energy, and good sense.

PHOTO: J.W. Vick

                                                                             Gibson County Journal

This newspaper has lately passed into the hands of Mr. W. H. Kerr, one of Gibson County's progressive farmers and fruit growers, who will no doubt conduct the paper in the interest of agriculture and for the promotion of the farming interests of the county.  Mr. Kerr is a good business man, and will not doubt make a success of the paper.

                                                                            Trenton Buenos Directory,

Agricultural Implements -- R. C. Adams, Freeman &n Herbert, W. E. Birmingham, Phelan Brothers.

Bakers and Confectioners--K, Metz, Butler & Co., Ebbert & Benson.

Banks.--Gibson County Bank, Exchange Bank

Barbers.--Charles Allen, W. D. Sims, Duke Williams.

Blacksmith.--W. H. Wilson.

Clothing.--J. M. Skiles & Co., Harrison Dry Goods Company.

Dentists.--D. M. Haste, R., Harwood, ______Vansycle.

Druggists.--Lain Brothers, N. L. McRee, Leroy Shackelford, Famous.

Dry goods.--Harrison Dry Goods Company, J. M. Skiles & Co.,   R. M. Davis, J. Freed, M. Fishman (general store),  B. F. Jones (general store).

Furniture and Undertakers.--W. E. Seat, undertaker and funeral  director of ten years' experience; also dealer in fine and cheap              furniture, carpets, wall paper, window shades, and picture moldings.          Satisfaction as to prices and services guaranteed.  East side         Broadway, in Pythian Building.  Adams Brothers.

Foundry.--B. F. Watson & Co.

Fruits.--H. N. Forrest.

Grocers.--J. W. Bigelow, R. C. Adams, J. A. Veazey, C. F. Givens,  Syd Harrison, J. H. Blakemore, J. A. Landis,  L. W. Moore, T. J. Adams, Ch. Prybass, J. H. Hetley, H. C. Gordon.

Hardware.--R. E. Grizzard, Phelan Brothers, R. C. Adams.

Hotels.--Bigelow Hotel, Solomon House, New Hicks House, Rogers House, Thomas House, Mrs. Harwood, private boarding.

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Ice Factories---Trenton Ice Factory and Bottling Works

Jewelers---G.S. Gardner & Co., H.G. Jones.

Lawyers---James R. Deason, Quintan Rankin, Harry Elder, J.C. McDearmon, Yandell Haun, T.E. Harwood, L.H. Tyree, W.W. Wade, G.W. Wade, J.R. Walker, C.E. Hunt, T.J. Hays, R.P. Raines.

Laundries---Trenton Steam Laundry.

Liverymen---Henry Oppenheimer, Bud Lewis, S.V. Williams, E.C. Skiles.

Milliners---Mrs J.G. Sedberry, Miss Hattie Walker.

Meat Markets---Conner & Pearce, D.R. Pursley.

Newspapers---Herald-Democrat, Gibson County Journal.

Photographers---Ben Oppenheimer

Physicians---T.J. Happel, J.T. Faucett, B.T. Bennett, D.A. Walker, J.M. Keys (colored).

Produce and Feed---W.R. Duncan.

Saloons---W.J. Barnett, D.F. Phelan, Lewis & Co., L.W. Cursey, P.J. Pybass.

Shoemakers---A.W. Bigelow.

Saddlery---J.H. Hefley, Freeman & Herbert.

Stoves and Tinware---C.F. Smith Company.

Tailors---A. Schneider, John Hess Parr.

Wagons and Buggies---Freeman & Herbert, Phelan Brothers, W.E. Birmingham.

People of Gibson County Who Have Reached a Very Old Age.

Rev. A.J. Fletcher, of Rutherford, is the oldest person now living in the county who was born in the county. Maj. William Gay, who lately died, was the oldest. Mr. Fletcher was born in 1828. His father came to the county in 1822.

Mrs. Alethia Pope, who died near Rutherford on April 10 last, had the rare distinction of living partly in three centuries. She was born in the eighteenth, lived through the nineteenth, and died in the first year of the twentieth century. She was born in North Carolina in 1796, and came to Gibson County with her husband, Barney Pope, in 1840. Her husband died in 1862.

PHOTO:Mrs Alethia Pope who lived 107 years

Mrs. Pope was the mother of ten children, only one of whom, Mrs. Pearcy Cruse, is now living.

Aunt Penny Hartsfield is now ninety-seven years old. Mrs. Hartsfield was born in Wake County, N.C., on April 21,1804. She married her husband, Richard Hartsfield, and removed to Tennessee in 1832. She lived in Maury County two years, and came to Gibson County and settled on a farm in the Fifth District on what was then called the Key-corner road, now the Trenton Road, about three-quarters of a mile west of Brazil, where she has resided ever since. Her husband died in July, 1888 at the age of eighty-six. Mrs. Hartsfield is the mother of ten children, five of whom are living. She has many grandchildren and great grandchildren and one living great-great grandchild. She enjoys good health, and is quite active for her age. Her mental faculties are strong, and her recollection of early times is good. A few years ago she met with an accident which dislocated her hip, which incapacitates her somewhat; but otherwise she has good use of her body.

Rev. John Randall, still living near Trenton, was born in 1811. He is now past ninety. He began preaching in 1842. Mr. Randall was in the Creek and Seminole Wars, and has been prominent all his life as a preacher and in civil affairs. For several years past he has not preached on account of the infirmities of old age, but he still takes a lively interest in religious work.

Page 111 

                                                                               CITY OF DYER

This thriving little city is situated in the north middle portion of Gibson County, on the line of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, 70 miles south of Cairo, 100 miles east of Memphis, 166 miles west of Nashville, and 310 miles south of Louisville.

The history of Dyer dates from the completion of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad through the county in 1858. This railroad established a station on the spot, the United States Postal Department established a post office, and the town of Dyer began its political, business, and social career. It received the name of Dyer as a sort of compliment to the county of Dyer, from whose productive soil and thrifty farmers its founders and projecters anticipated a strong support in developing the commerce of the place.

The town was laid off upon the lands of B.F. Bobbitt, a prominent and highly-respected citizen of the county, who was a merchant, and died in 1899.

The country around Dyer, both in Gibson and Dyer Counties, in point of fertility, is equal to any in West Tennessee. It is finely adapted to diversified farming, producing splendid crops of grain and grass, vegetables and fruit.

Since about 1888 the farmers about Dyer have entered largely into the culture of fruit, especially strawberries, producing and shipping in good seasons as high as 100 car loads of the later fruit in a season. This fact has made Dyer famous as a center of the strawberry culture, no other single point in the strawberry zone of West Tennessee equaling her in magnitude and value of this product. More than 1000 acres are devoted to this product in the neighborhood, and in the picking season no less than 3000 persons are given employment in saving the crop.

In the first stages of its history the growth of the town was slow, and the Civil War, coming on immediately after its founding, checked to a great extent the industrial and commercial development of the town.

In 1890 the population of Dyer was 600. The next decade witnessed a most phenomenal growth along all lines of improvement and development. The population increased to 1200 in 1900. Business blocks had been erected, manufactories had been installed, many modern private residences had been built, a splendid school had been put in successful operation, several handsome church buildings had been built, and a wonderful spirit of progress became manifest in the entire people of the place.


For municipal purposes the town is divided into four wards. The town government consists of a Mayor, Recorder, Marshal, night watchman, and eight alderman (two from each ward). The present town officers are: R.B. McDaniel, Mayor. Henry D. Hayes, Recorder. W.J. Lawrence, Marshal. Aldermen: First ward, J.M. Evans and W.A. Raines; second ward, W.J. Davidson and R.L. Crenshaw; third ward, C.O. Ewell and R.R. Kinton; fourth ward, J.W. Hopper and R.H. Hearn.

J.A. McLeod is a magistrate of the town, elected by the voters of the corporation, but is a member of the County Court.

The town has a good system of electric lights, owned by a private company. It gives good service. The plant is owned and operated by S.W. McCullar & Co., who installed the system in 1899. The company has about 500 private consumers in the town, besides the contract for lighting the streets. Twenty and thirty-two candle power lights are furnished consumers at an average cost of 45 cents per light per month.

PAGE 112

The town is authorized by its charter to issue bonds for installing waterworks, but has not yet made a move toward making this improvement.

The religious and moral tone of Dyer is excellent. There are five churches, all flourishing and growing in numbers and influence. No intoxicants are sold in the town.


Dyer Baptist Church

This church was organized on December 27, 1885, with a membership of twenty-two. The congregation was organized in the Methodist house of worship, and continued to meet in same until the following year, when the present church building was erected. The first pastor was Rev. J. W. Gooch. The following pastors have served the congregation since: W. D. Haste, J. L. Dawes, W. H. Hughes, W. S. Roney, and T. A. Wagoner. The present pastor is W. A. Jordan, a graduate of the University at Jackson, formerly pastor of the church at Bolivar, Tenn. This is Mr. Jordan's second pastorate since he entered the ministry. His ministerial work has been most satisfactory in the charges he has filled.

PHOTO:Rev. W. A. Jordan

The Sunday school of the church is a flourishing institution, with fifty scholars. Mr. J. H. Dement, one of Dyer's prominent citizens and business men, is the superintendent.

The church is now being remodeled and enlarged at an estimated cost of $400.


Methodist Church of Dyer

The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, of Dyer, is one of the strongest and most influential religious organizations of the town. This church has a large and zealous membership, and is increasing its numbers rapidly under the pastorate of Rev. W. W. Armstrong. I have not been able to obtain a history of this church or the names of its officers.

PHOTO: Rev. W. W. Armstrong

Rev. T. J. Simmons is in charge of Dyer Circuit, consisting of the following churches:

Poplar Grove, three and one-half miles east of Dyer, was organized in 1850; has a present membership of 200.

Greer's Chapel, three miles south, was organized in 1890; has a membership of 75.

Good Hope, three miles west, has a membership of 110.

Hopewell, six miles west, has a membership of 115.

The Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Dyer

has a good brick church building and the greatest number of communicants of any

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church in Dyer. The membership of this church is about 200. Rev. J. B. Waggoner is pastor.


The Christian Church

of Dyer has about 50 members. This church has a growing congregation, and some of the best citizens of Dyer and the country adjacent are in its membership. The congregation are taking steps to build a new house of worship.



West Tennessee College.

This institution is one of the best in the county. It has a large and commodious college building, well furnished, and equipped with all the appliances for successful teaching. It has a commanding situation on elevated ground, overlooking the town. The college has a high reputation for thoroughness in the training of youth in all the essentials that enter into the character of the useful citizen.

The president of the school, Mr. James A. Tate, has had large experience in the training and education of children, and is a strong believer in character building as well as in intellectual culture. Hence the youth entrusted to his care are instructed and taught that the development of the moral nature is of equal importance with that of the intellectual.

The course of study in this school embraces the eight statutory grades in which the pupils of the school district are enrolled to the number of 400. This department is free to the children of the town and school district. Pupils outside of the district pay for tuition.

The full college curriculum embraces a scientific and classical course of study, which fits the pupil for graduation with the B. S. degree.

Instruction in music and bookkeeping are special features of the college.

My space will not admit of a detailed statement of course of study and school management in West Tennessee College. Persons desirous of information on these subjects are referred to Mr. James A. Tate, president of the college faculty, who will answer all inquiries. The faculty of the college is as follows:

James A. Tate, A.M., President.

Mrs. L. L. C. Tate, A.M., English and Literature.

John F. Smith, B.S., Latin, Greek, and Science.

Frank N. Johnson, A.B., Collegiate Department.

King A. Hagy, A.B., Academic Department.

Clara L. Anderson, Primary Department.

Sarah L. Beleher, Music Department.

Board of Trustees:

W. S. Coulter, President.

J. H. Dement, Secretary.

J. A. Jackson.

J. W. Davidson.

J. Y. Mitchell.

R. R. Kinton.

R. B. McDaniel.

W. J. Davidson.

A. M. Kelly.

PHOTO: Residence of G. W. Farris, Hardware and Farm Implements, Dyer.


PAGE 114

The Farmers and Merchants' Bank of Dyer

was organized and incorporated under the general laws of the State in 1895. It has had a most prosperous career in business since its organization, and has contributed greatly to the development of the business interests of Dyer. Its officers are all wide-awake, progressive men, giving aid and support to Dyer enterprises and encouragement to every movement for building up the town as a business center. It has a subscribed capital of $34,000, of which $17,000 is paid in. Its surplus and profit account reaches $2,500. It has paid a semiannual dividend of five per cent since its organization. The officers of the bank are:

C. O. Ewell, President.

J. W. Davidson and S. W. McCullar, Vice Presidents.

Russell Dance, Cashier.

W. T. Becton, Bookkeeper.


Dyer Fruit Box Manufacturing Company.

This is one of the most thriving and important industries of the county, and exhibits in a marked degree the enterprise of the people and the growth and development of the fruit culture in West Tennessee. The plant was established in 1889, and incorporated under the general laws of the State in that year.

The cost of the plant, with its entire equipment, as it stands to-day, represents a value of $10,000.

The plant consists of a main sawing and cutting mill, fitted with the latest modern machinery and appliances for getting out box material; two large warerooms, 30 x 130 feet, for storage of finished work; two dry sheds, 30 x 200 feet, all together covering some two and three-quarter acres of ground.

The plant is lighted by its own system of electric lights.

It is immediately on the main line of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, with ample switching tracks for receiving and shipping purposes.

The output of the mill for 1890, which is the last accessible report of its product, was ninety-one car loads of finished work.

In addition to a market and demand for the product of the factory in outside fruit-growing sections, there is an immense home trade, the plant being situated in one of the finest fruit-producing regions of the country.

The factory employs some thirty-five adults, and its pay roll will average for most of the year $200 per week.

PHOTO:Residence of R. B. M'Daniel, of the firm of Hearn, M'Daniel & Co., Contractors and Builders, Dyer.

The management of this industry is in the hands of C. O. Ewell, general manager, who attends to all of its affairs.



The history of this plant dates from 1891. In that year Mr. R. H. Hearn opened and operated a lumber yard and carried on the business of contracting and building in Dyer, follwoing the same until 1895. In that year he established the planing mill, equipping the same with modern machinery, and organized

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the present company by taking in as associates in the business R. B. McDaniel, J. C. Hearn, and G. W. Hearn. This firm has done a very large business in Dyer and vicinity.

Mr. Hearn informs me that since he began business the firm has built complete more than two hundred houses, besides doing the wood work for most of the brick buildings in the town and adjacent country. In fact, this firm has nearly a monopoly of the building business in and about Dyer.

The members composing the firm of Hearn, McDaniel & Co. are all prominent citizens, taking an active and useful part in public affairs as well as in the social welfare of the community. Mr. R. B. McDaniel is Mayor of the Town, and Mr. R. H. Hearn is one of its aldermen.

Dyer as a Produce Market.

Dyer is the largest market for the handling of poultry and eggs in Gibson County. Over fifty car loads of poultry (200,000 head) are shipped from this point per annum, with an increasing market supply. Over ninety-six thousand dozen (1,152,000) eggs were handled here last season by one firm. Messrs. Davidson & Crenshaw handle the major part of the shipments from this point, and are the largest dealers in these products in the county. Their business extends throughout Gibson County and adjoining counties and North Mississippi. This firm handles farm products generally, and its transactions in corn, wheat, potatoes, peas, strawberries, and fruits will aggregate a volume of trade exceeding $100,000 per annum. The firm was established in 1896, and, with a constantly increasing business, has become noted in West Tennessee.

PHOTO: Residence of J. H. Dement, Prominent Merchant of Dyer.


Dyer Milling Company.

This enterprise is owned and operated by T. W. Owen and W. S. Coulter. Mr. T. W. Owen is manager. The mill was built in 1897 by a company composed of the present owners and W. T. Medling and J. H. Dement. Messrs. Owen and Coulter bought out the other proprietors in January, 1900.

The plant consists of a three-story brick building, with brick boiler and engine room and warehouse. The mill is equipped with modern machinery throughout; has four double stands of rollers for wheat and one for corn, with a capacity of sixty barrels of flour per day.

Farris & Brooks, Dealers in Hardware, Stoves, Farm Implements and Farm Machinery,

Wagons, Buggies, Pumps, Etc.

Established in 1899

G. W. Farris and L. M. Brooks, both natives of McNairy County, have been in business in Gibson County three years. They are agents for Plano mowers and binders. They handle the Harrison wagon, made at Grand Rapids, Mich.; Gestring wagon and New Hickory, both made at St. Louis. They have a large and growing trade.

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Kerr, Davidson & Co., Manufacturers of Heading and Chair Backs.

This plant was established in February, 1900. The output of the factory per annum is about fifty car loads of heading and chair backs. The factory gives employment to fifteen people.

C. O. Ewell, S. W. McCullar, L. L. Davidson, and T. O. Kerr constitute the company operating these works. Mr. T. O. Kerr is manager.


The Dyer Reporter.

This newspaper is a live, bright, newsy sheet well worthy the progressive town whose cause it champions so ably. It was established under its present name in November, 1896, by B. W. Overall, who changed the name of the paper, which has been previously run as a Populist paper. For a year it was conducted as an independent paper, and then converted into a Democratic organ. In September, 1900, the Reporter was purchased by C. W. Cornforth, its politics being independent. In May of this year the paper was purchased by Messrs. Frank Lee and Thomas Kelly, and is now published by Lee & Kelly. These gentlemen are both good newspaper men, and are making the Reporter a strong factor in Dyer's business and social circles.


PHOTO:Dement Block, Dyer.

Business Directory of Dyer.

Agricultural Implements, Hardware, Buggies, Etc. -- Farris & Brooks, J. H. Dement.

Banks. -- Farmers and Merchants'.

Barbers. -- J. T. Vestal, Joseph Davidson.

Blacksmiths. -- J. T. Aspray.

Brickmakers. -- J. F. Baulch.

Books and Stationery. -- E. W. Gladhill.

Contractors. -- Hearn-McDaniel Company, H. J. Craven.

Cotton Gins. -- J. W. Baird & Co.

Confectioners. -- NcHugh & Parr, T. O. Kerr.

Dry Goods. -- J. Y. Mitchell; Meade, Gordon & Davidson; J. W. Wilson, Johnston Merchantile Company, J. H. Dement, Jones & Son, S. H. Russell, W. J. Davidson, G. W. Robinson, Robinson & Flowers.

Druggists. -- J. M. Evans, R. L. Dement.

Flouring Mills. -- Dyer Milling Company.

Furniture and Undertakers. -- J. W. Hopper & Co.

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Groceries---J.H. Dement, D.C. Foster, J.M. Watkins, T.O. Kerr, R.D. Kinton & Son, W.L. Baldridge, L.A. Richmond, Coulter & Berry, Grier Brothers.

Hotels---Dyer Hotel, J.T. Boyd Hotel, J.K. Hathaway Hotel.

Hardware---J.H. Dement, Farris & Brooks

Insurance---H.D. Hayes, Farmer's and Merchant's Bank.

Ice Dealers---W.L. Baldridge.

Jewelers---E.W. Gladhill.

Laundries---White Star Rose.

Lawyers---W.S. Coulter, W.D. Hayes.

Liverymen---J.W. Davidson, Davidson & Berry.

Milliners---Mrs. A. Robinson, Miss Eva Dickson.

Physicians---J.A. Jackson, J.H. Drane.

Photographers---Mrs. Frank Lee.

Produce Dealers---Davidson & Crenshaw.

Sawmills---J.W. Owens & Co.

Seed Cleaners---Dixie Manufacturing Company.

Sale and Feed Stables---A.J. Thornton.

Shoemakers---R.H. Nanney.

Variety Stores---J.C. Bruce, 5 and 10 cent store.


PHOTO:Residence of Dr. J.A. Jackson


N.B. Johnson

N.B. Johnson was born in Maury County, Tenn., in 1841. He was reared on a farm, and has been a farmer all his life. He came to Gibson County in 1857, and settled in the Twenty-third District, about twelve miles north of Trenton, where he has resided ever since. He married Miss Lillie Taliaferro, of Weakley County, in 1865.

He served in the Confederate Army, Forty-seventh Tennessee Infantry, until the evacuation of Corinth by the Confederate forces in 1863, when he was discharged from the service on account of disability. After he left the service he devoted himself to farm pursuits.

In 1870 he was elected a magistrate in his district, and, with the exception of an interval of about two months, has served continuously as such ever since, being reelected from time to time. During his incumbency of the magistrate's office, as a member of the County Court, he has been one of the progressive, active members of that body, advocating and supporting all measures for the advancement of the public welfare. He was strong in his support of the movement which resulted in the building of the splendid new courthouse.

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Mr. Johnson is the oldest magistrate on the County Court bench, having been in service over thirty years. He is a man of clear perception and most reliable character in both public and private life, and is highly esteemed for his personal worth and virtues.

PHOTO:N.B. Johnson

He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.


Hon. A.J. Collinsworth

Hon. A.J. Collinsworth was born on the farm which he now owns and lives on, near Humboldt, in Gibson County, Tenn., on February 6,1844. He worked on the farm and attended the district school, near by, until the outbreak of the war, and at the age of seventeen he entered the army, joining Capt.Jesse L. Branch's company, at this place, and then the Forty-seventh Tennessee Regiment, at Trenton, commanded by Col. M.R. Hill. He served in the war with the distinction of being one of the bravest boys and hardest fighters in the service. He was severely wounded in what was known as the hardest picket fight during the war at Corinth, Miss., by a minie ball, which shattered his leg, and from which he was never fully recovered.

After the war he returned home, to find his two older and only brothers dead and the farm gone to pieces. He at once set to work, and in a few years the farm was made to produce plentifully; but the war had cut him off from an education, which he very much desired. So he, with a great deal of pluck and determination to gain a good education, again entered school, and remained until he received a good common-school education. After this he again commenced work on his father's farm, where he remained until his twenty-seventh year, when he married Ella Robertson, near Trenton, and from this union he has five sons living, one of whom was in the First Tennessee Regiment during the Spanish-American War, and served as quartermaster of his company while in the Phillipines.

PHOTO:Hearn Block, Dyer

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Another son is now a member of the Twenty-third United States Infantry, and is serving in the Philippines.

PHOTO:Hon. A. J. Collinsworth.

After his marriage he continued to farm, and in 1872 he cut off from Gibson County into the new county of Crockett, he being one of the organizers of that county. As soon as the county was organized he was elected constable, and also appointed deputy sheriff. He served in these two offices for the term of six years, when he was elected sheriff of the county. He then left the farm and moved to Alamo, where he served as sheriff for four years; and at the end of the second term he moved back to his farm, where he has since resided.

In 1884 he lost his wife, and in 1886 he was again married, this time to Bettie Raines, who was a daughter of E. B. Raines, a prominent farmer. By this union he has two sons and one daughter living.

Colonel Collinsworth was many years ago elected magistrate for his county, and has served in this office continuously since that time.

In 1896 he was elected to the State Senate from the district composed of Gibson and Crockett Counties by the largest plurality of votes ever cast in any election held in this district; and, besides this, he had probably the strongest man in Crockett County as his opponent. He served in our Fiftieth General Assembly as Senator with distinction, having been made chairman of the Senate caucus, and also serving on the most important committees. In fact, he filled the office with as much, or more, credit and distinction to himself and office than any Senator ever elected from this district.

He is a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South; and is also an active member of two secret orders, the Knights of Honor and the Golden Cross.

The subject of this sketch was reared a poor boy, but by hard work and enterprise he has accumulated a small fortune, holding a large property interest in many parts of the country. He is, beyond a doubt, one of the most enterprising farmers in the State. Colonel Collinsworth is widely known, and there is scarcely a business enterprise of any description in our county that he is not connected with. It can truly be said that Colonel Collinsworth is a self-made man and has made a success in everything he has undertaken.


Prof. A. D. Hassell

Prof. A. D. Hassell, whose portrait appears herewith, is the son of a farmer, his boyhood days having been spent in agricultural pursuits, five miles east of Trenton, Gibson County, Tenn. After attending school at Sylvan Dale, Trenton, and Humboldt, he

PHOTO: Prof. A. D. Hassell.


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