Skip to content


A Number Of Truck Farmers Operated In The Valley

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good week.

Last week we talked about some of the farm families in the Jumper’s Chapel community and I said I’d talk about some others this week.

The Larson brothers, Roy and James, lived, farmed and attended church at Jumper’s Chapel. Roy was the oldest and their father was a a railroad engineer. He died while still a relatively young man and his widow had to raise the two boys.

They farmed and as soon as they were old enough they signed on the railroad. They were on the extra board and  didn’t work on a regular basis.

The brothers were truck farmers, and James even had a truck and did the hauling as well as farming. As time went on and railroad work picked up, they did less and less farming.

There was a small grocery store near the old Trusty hotel and it was up for sale and James bought it. It was called the West Side Grocery and James thought it would be a place for the boys to work during the summer and after school.

As time went on they became affiliated with the Big Star chain and as they say, the rest is history. Roy primarily worked for the railroad and neither farmed again.

Mr. Harvest French was another farmer in the neighborhood. He lived just west of the church going toward O’Tuckalofa. He was a brother of Dr. French, a well known doctor for over 50 years.

Charlie Goodwin, who lived on the Delay road, was a large truck farmer growing sweet potatoes and watermelons. He also produced large quantities of sweet potato slips which he sold to other farmers all over the area.

The slips are raised in a bed and then pulled and set out in the fields in those days by hand. As Lawrence Pass said in his letter, he was paid five cents for a hundred slips he pulled.

Those were depression days and five cents would buy a coke, or two would pay for a ticket at the theatre.

Mr. Charlie was one of those take charge individuals – very competent.

There was a little boy whose father lived on Mr. Charlie’s farm and he and Houston, the youngest son were playing in the pasture when a mule kicked the little boy on the head. It wasn’t a bad wound, but he got tetanus and died.

I remember that since the family had no money or burial insurance Mr. Charlie bought a casket and clothes for the little boy and handled the service in a professional manner – as good as a funeral director.

The two Upchurch brothers, Hamp and Frank, were also big truck farmers. They were supporters and members of Jumper’s Chapel and were considered pillars of the community.

Even though I was younger, I was friends of Hamp’s son, Wade and Frank’s son Charles.

Mr. George Bynum lived near the church and was the song director as far back as I can remember. They would laugh about how George was always late, but he handled the job well.

Mr. Robert Ward was one of Papa Badley’s closest friends and he would sometimes direct the singing with George.

The Ward’s belonged to Palestine church but they supported Jumper’s Chapel as much as any member. Papa and Nannie Badley supported Palestine just like they were members.

Once an evangelist was holding a revival at Palestine and after Sunday service no one had invited him home. Nannie asked him and he spent the whole week with them.

The constraints of space don’t allow me to do justice to these great people and I haven’t even covered the whole community but I’ll try to get them in from time to time in future columns.

Again I’d like to thank all of you for your support as we start our eighth year and let me hear from you as your input is always welcome. My email address is or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, Tn 38101 and have a great week.

Leave a Comment