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Ingenuity Over Government Interference

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone, I hope you’re having a good week Since I don’t get my paper until a week later, I don’t know about a mistake unless someone lets me know. In last week’s column it should have read, “when Uncle Charlie Badley returned from France after World War I…” not World War II, sorry about that. I do my own editing but once in a while something slips by.

It was interesting to see the 1917 photo in the Seven Oaks ad in the May 27 edition. I noted the Leland sign standing out over anything else along with the muddy streets. It would be another 10 years before the streets would be paved and the Leland store would last a few more years. It would later become the McCullar-Suratt store, surviving another  20 years. The building is still standing.

I don’t know when the Leland sign on the front was replaced by the McCullar-Suratt, but it was probably about 1935. Don Holloway possibly would know the date. I do know that for years the back of the store that faced Duncan Street still had the Leland sign when I was a teenager.

I also remember Bluford McCullar worked for the Leland store from the time he was a young man. Mother’s cousin, Helen Hunter also worked there. She and Bluford later married but she died at a young age. She was also a cousin to Crip and Bob Tyler.

You’ve heard me say over the years that if the government would get out of our way, American ingenuity will bring us out of our problems. An example right in the Valley is that at the height of the depression several businesses sprang up and operated for years.

Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Rusk opened a five and ten store in 1934. That same year Prentiss and Dixie Hendricks opened a Ford dealership in the old Hendricks foundry and machine shop. Paul Parker opened up a Ben Franklin store in 1937 and Louis Sherwin opened a Double Cola bottling plant.

Kraft open-ed a cheese plant that provided income for country farmers for years. Will Crews started a quick stop store that was open seven days a week.

I’ve already mentioned McCullar-Suratt. Jimmy Wilboum started a Dodge-Plymouth dealership, Hugh Trusty started a funeral home that later became Newman-Gardner and it’s descendent is Seven Oaks. Those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head but there are more that research and input from my readers will uncover.

In a little over 200 years we have created the greatest nation in recorded history and we’re not about to let a bunch of self-serving socialist wannabes destroy it—the colloquial spelling is mine.         

That’s why I don’t pretend to be a journalist, but the writer of a human-interest column that allows me to insert my opinions without being accused of journalistic bias. I’m concerned as I’m sure you are about the legacy we’ll leave for our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

It’s been nearly 50 years since I moved away from the Valley, but today I feel closer than I ever have after writing this column almost a decade. I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart.

Now on a lighter note. I talked to old friend, Jim Allen, the other day and I’m sorry he still has some health issues. He  seems to be getting better. I heard that someone said he got his name in the paper in a previous column and he had a perfect comeback, “If you’d do something noteworthy, you might get your name in the paper too,” – way to go, Jim.

Your input is always welcome, so let me hear from you. My email address is or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, Tn 38101 and have a great week.

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