By Charles Cooper
Hello everyone, hope you had a safe and happy holiday season as we did at our house.
As most of you know, the column of Jan. 24 begins our 13th year and over the years we’ve profiled businessman, politicians, and regular citizens. It has been popular with all of you. However as I sat down at the keyboard it occurred to me that I haven’t featured many country people and starting this week I’m going to correct that omission.
Just north of Water Valley about four miles on old Hwy. 7 is the Springdale community. Nannie Badley was born there in 1867 and she told me she remembered when there was a railroad depot, a hotel, a saloon and a couple of stores. She also told me about a little boy in the Sneed family that was killed by a train in 1872.
She showed me his marker in the Springdale cemetery next to her little brother, Franklin, who died in 1875 when he was six years old. She remembered when her father, William G. Jumper, and another Congregational Methodist Minister named Fly organized the first Jumper’s Chapel church in 1885 in a converted Cotton house.
She even showed me where it stood and I believe if I were out there today, I could find the spot. However, by this time all that remained of Springdale was Mr. Watts’ store with a gas pump in front and living quarters in the rear, and several black families living along the highway.
They were the Andrew Smith family, the Edgar Davis family, the Homer Reese family and the Jonas Hall family, just to name some of the ones that I knew personally. Papa Badley and I were welcome at all their homes and they were some of the finest people you could ever meet.
Mr. Reese had a son, Charley, who died as a young man leaving a widow and daughter. The widow, who was the former Modine Hall later married Mr. Jimmy Harris, who ran a store on the block for many years and wrote burial insurance for Newman-Gardner and later Hamric Henry. He was as fine a gentleman as I ever knew—but as usual I digress.
About a mile north of the Edgar Davis place was the Andy Ross farm and I never knew him, as I was a small kid when he moved away. He had acquired the farm in the early part of the 20th Century by hard work and careful management and was a successful farmer for years.
However, he had two sons who were called “mean” by their neighbors and Mr. Ross went broke bailing them out of trouble. In the early 1930s the farm was taken over by the Federal land bank.
Prior to World War II, Mr. Cloud Fite, who had sold his farm near Sardis to the federal government prior to construction of Sardis Dam, bought the Andy Ross farm. He operated it until the government bought it for the Enid Dam.
Mr. Edgar Davis bought his first car, a black, two-door 1936 Chevrolet in mint condition that had belonged to Mr. Moss who had worked for years in the sheriff’s office. As an example of the pride people had in their possessions, when I came by one day he took me to see th car at the garage he had built across the highway. I remember how he beamed when I told him it was a good looking car.
Mr. Davis had never learned to drive, so he would pay a neighbor to drive him around. I believe he kept that car for the rest of his life.
This was a delight for me to write about all these great old neighbors who were good friends of Papa Badley and me. I have several other country people that I plan to profile in future columns and I welcome your input about special people you have known.
My email address is email@example.com or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, TN 38101 and have a great week.