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History of Clarksburg, Tennessee

 

Prelude

                                                
     The following article contains information concerning the historical background of Clarksburg, Tennessee. It was written by Squire J. A. Joyner, a citizen of Clarksburg and elected member to the Carroll County Court sometime during 1954.  Apparently there was friction between the citizens of  South Carroll County and politicians in Huntingdon. Clarksburg’s school was in disrepair and had been condemned. The citizens were attempting to get a Special School District for taxation purposes and succeeded.  The article has some emotional content in it but is published for historical content only and is not meant to offend anyone.


STORY OF CLARKSBURG

By "‘Squire" J.A. Joyner

(1867-1958)

 

     J. A. Joyner who observed his 87th Birthday, March 15. Mr. Joyner is
an ardent Clarksburg booster, in every respect.

    

     To The People of Huntingdon, Carroll County, and Elsewhere:

     I was interested sometime ago in reading a history of Huntingdon, and her people.  I want to pay tribute to all mentioned in this report, including the beautiful and noble women of your town.

     I believe the town will continue to grow and prosper because of the backing it has from one of the best little towns or communities in the State -- the Town of Clarksburg, Tennessee.

     I will take up the Clarksburg community first and show what it has done for your town. I will later show you what the town and school has done. Some one
may say what good thing can come from a small town like Clarksburg.  Well
that same question is asked about a little town in the Bible, Nazareh!  The
Savior of the World came from that little town about  1900 years ago.

     I think, Clarksburg has been the savior of Huntingdon, because so many
of its past and present citizens came from this community.

    The Clarksburg people have a talent that when cultivated promoted them to
the Halls of Fame.

     Back in the early days, the Honorable B.A. Enloe was born near here. He
served as Congressman for 20 years. Mr. Enloe was a Democrat. He was
succeeded by John E. McCall, a Republican, who was born here. He served
as Federal Judge---then there were J.C.R. McCall and George T. McCall who
held positions of honor. Then there was Pat McCall and I remember one girl
in that family, Mrs. Ella McCall Cox, widow of the late Dr. J.B. Cox of
Huntingdon.

     The Town of Clarksburg was established about 1850 on the lands of Peter
Woods and Kelly Clark. Clark was the first merchant. He was the grandfather
of John R., Em, and Priest Clark. There were three general stores, a drugstore,
cotton gin, grist mill and about 100 people.

     Mr. M. D. Carnal was born in Henderson County. He came here early in life
and he and Priest Parker went in business. Later he bought out Parker and
continued the business in his own name. He was married to Martha A.
Johnson in 1875 and there were 12 children, six boys and  six girls, in this
 family.

     E. Faulkner was born in our 13th District in 1846. He was the son of G. J.
and Jane Tosh Faulkner. He made his home with his parents until he was 19
years old. After he became his own master, he hired to P. E. Parker as a clerk
in his dry goods store and worked for two years. In 1870 he was appointed
Census Taker; in 1871 he clerked for Jo McCracken & Co. He held other
positions. In 1873 he married Miss Bettie Scott and they had five children---
Lula, Joe, Birdie, Elijah, and Wayne. Mr. Faulkner was a Mason and he and his
wife were members of the Christian Church. He was a Republican, a soldier in 
the Federal Army of the War of 1860. He was one of our most successful men.
 In the year 1858, Dr. H. D. McGill was born in Henderson County . He studied
medicine in Nashville--- graduated in 1878. Went to McLemoresville for two
years and returned to Clarksburg. He had a wide practice, was loved by many
and was a Republican.  We will return to Dr. McGill later.

     The best information I have indicates the Post Office was established at
Roans Creek about 1835 and was called Roans Creek and later  Clarksburg.
Mail came once a week and later on twice. I remember when A.R. Tucker had
the contract to carry the mail from Huntingdon  by way of our town to
Lexington. His boys done most of the carrying  by horseback---starting from
Huntingdon and on to Lexington one day,  and return the next. We got the
mail twice a week. The postmaster was  Lewis Meals, but we don’t know who
 the first one was. Now our town is served by a Star Route, and
our Postmaster is Guy Pritchard.

     In 1825 Roans Creek Church was established as a Christian church which
was later called the Church of Christ. Sectarians called the Church of Christ
the Campbellite Church. They claim he set up the  church  in 1826. Roans
Creek is the oldest in West Tennessee and the Mother church of them all.

     About this time a Primitive Baptist Church was formed and called the Mud
Creek Baptist Church. It remained on or near Mud Creek which is about 3
miles South of Clarksburg. Later it moved about 1 1/2 miles Northeast of
Clarksburg where Nathan Phillips taught a school. The school was a
typical log one with split log seats.

     The Church of Christ is still at the same place where it was established,
but the old large frame building has been supplanted by a concrete building
The writer, as a boy attended meetings here. We have seen them to church
in wagons drawn by oxen; then in buggies and on horseback. There would
be a thousand or so at the services. The house wouldn’t hold half of  the crowd.

     Our older citizens will recall the pioneer preachers among whom were
Alfred Carter, John R. Williams, F.B. and F.D. Shrigley, W.A. Crum,  J.D. Lunt,
and a Mr. Rholack. The writer was converted about 65 years  ago and was
baptized in Roans Creek by Bro. John Johnson a Gospel preacher and a
son of Wm. Johnson, one of our first settlers. Bro. Johnson preached for
several churches. He preached for the sum of $35.00 per year  (now you pay
that much for one day’s services). At the present time we have five Churches
of Christ in the 13th District---Roans Creek, Clarksburg,  Williams Chapel,
Poplar Springs, and Anark. There is one Missionary Baptist Church in
Clarksburg with Fred Prince the pastor.

     When I was a boy the merchants were Lewis Clark, Priest Parker, Hall &
 Jamison. The town was incorporated. Henry McCall was Mayor. Andy
Stewart was the Town Marshall. At one time I am told there were five saloons
in Clarksburg.  Today the saloons are gone--I hope for all time. Some will
argue that where there are legalized liquor stores there are no more
drunkards, but I know  this is not so.  I have been in our town when there
were saloons and nearly every  Saturday there would be a lot of people
drunk and they would fight with clubs and  knives and there would be blood
shed. But since that time I have not seen any serious fighting in Clarksburg.

    The streetlights in those days were oil lamps on posts, tended by our town
marshal.

     One of our leading merchants and better business men was Mr. Homer
Pritchard, Sr. He died last year.

     Mr. C. D. Carlton owned and operated a drug store here for years and was
a member of the county court. He married Mollie Clark, daughter of Lewis
Clark. They reared a family of six children, 4 girls and 2 boys.

     Mr. John Johnson, father of the late Frank Johnson and James Johnson
of Huntingdon lived here. I do not believe there is a more successful
business man or farmer than James Johnson. He should be included
in the Hall of Fame.

     Lewis Meals, a business man and Postmaster for many years, lived here.
He was the father of Mrs. W.S. Priest and Mrs. S.J. Hilliard, both of
Huntingdon.

     Mr. Daniel Meals, a blacksmith for many years, lived here.  He was
 the father of Bon, of Clarksburg, and Paul Meals, Paris Druggist. Acy and
Sid Meals carry on the blacksmith tradition and have a large number of
customers, who come from miles around. Acy is the father of Howard who
is employed in the county highway department  shops in Huntingdon.

     My brother, Milton Joyner, who lives at Henry, Tenn., was in business
here for several years at the time Mr. Homer Pritchard was in business.
They would buy produce and sell it to an old colored woman by the name
of "Aunt Ellen" Parker, who was about 6 ft. 4 in. tall. "Aunt Ellen" was
reared in Clarksburg and had moved to Huntingdon and gone into the
produce  business. At one time, Mr. Pritchard and Milton bought up 500
rabbits at  3 cents each, and "Aunt Ellen" came in a 4-horse wagon and
paid 5 cents  each for the rabbits. Eggs brought 5 cents a dozen; hens
15 cents; roosters 10 cents each. Those were the good old panicky
days of  Grover Cleveland (Mostly Democrats had control of Congress.
You may talk about rabbits under Hoover; we also had them under
Cleveland).

     My brother celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary recently. He and
his wife went to Nashville on their honeymoon.  This story is told that
on their way to Nashville, when the train approached Sawyers Mill,
my brother wanted to kiss his bride, and did. About the time the
newlyweds kissed, the flagman opened the car door and called out
 "Sawyers". Whereupon Mrs. Joyner spoke up, "We don’t care if you did,
we are married".

                                       The Clarksburg School.

     In 1913, a move was made to build a high school at Clarksburg. A
committee was formed and were asked to raise $3,000, which at that time
was a lot of money. But by hard work the sum was raised. W.C. Hall
 was first selected as principal and taught for two years. Our next
 principal was W.L. Denton who labored with us for 20 years. During this
 time the first building burned, and there was many a tear shed. But with a
will not to give up, we began to make an effort to rebuild.  At one time I think
 there were 35 or 40 mothers or sisters cleaning off the brick to put in the
 new school building.

     This school has grown by leaps and bounds. We have over 400
noble boys and girls in school. Under the leadership of Prof. W.L. Denton
and other good men and women we have put out hundreds of graduates
who are making good in the world. We claim as our own and the best---
Dr. R.B. Wilson, Dr. Roy A. Douglas, the late Dr. Virgil E. Massey,
all came from Clarksburg. Dr. Paul Wilson, Dresden, Tenn. We have
some of the best Dentists, Dr. H.T. Massey, Huntingdon, Dr. Ben Douglas
and Ben Jarrett, both of Lexington. We have bankers in Memphis--
Roy Pritchard and Billy Milan: We have County Agents in several
counties in the state, some of state-wide fame: We have five or six County
Superintendents  of Schools including J.C. "Ted" Denton of Carroll County:
We have  Ministers  in all sections of the United States: we have teachers
 (7 in the  Huntingdon schools) everywhere. Among these is a teacher
who entered Clarksburg  High School a number of years ago. He worked
his way through, later went to the  Hollow-Rock community, where he
 is highly esteemed. He is Charles V. Cooper.

     In the past we had the family of Henry Laycook and wife, Betty Roark
Laycook. They had six children, one son and five daughters. All there
names start with an L: Lois, the boy, is now a bank director and printing
executive at Jackson: the girls, Lois, Lora, Letha, Lila,  and Leola are
active. Lois’s son, Lois, Jr., is a news reporter in Washington, D.C.

     I will call to your attention again to the family of Dr. H.D. McGill. There
were four girls, two by his first wife, Mae D. McGill and Grace McGill Tilson
and Florence Nell Netherland McGill and Sarah McGill Wilson by his second
wife. Mae married a minister and moved to  other fields of work: Grace took
teaching as an occupation, and has retired after many years in the schools
of Henderson County. Florence Nell lost her husband some years ago.
She has gone into the insurance business since, and we hear she is making
a success. Sarah, the wife of Dr. R.B. Wilson, has been in Huntingdon, and
has been a blessing to the church and school life.

     I will say that it is impossible to mention all of our Clarksburg school
 students, Marvin Hicks and Richard Crider who won awards in both state and
national essay contests. Then Raymond Bridges, a native son, was singled
out by his company’s executives, as an example of skill and know how.

     I think I have told enough of Clarksburg and community to prove that it
has done more for Huntingdon than any other place in the county.  Yet it
seems we have been persecuted by some politicians in the county in not
allowing us to have a bond issue as others do. If we  could get tax money
that the patrons of our school pay we would have money to run our school
as others have. I was reared in the country and know the needs of the
country people. We older people went to log school houses and sit on
split log benches. I taught at $20 per month, and paid my board out of that.
In behalf of over 400 students at Clarksburg School, I am going to plead
for help in securing a school building. Our old building is dangerous. I know
it will cost a lot of money to build, but what is that compared to lives of
children. The great man Ben Franklin once said, "The person who takes
money out of his pocket and puts it into the head of a child is no fool." Another
great man in figuring the cost of education said, "the cost of ignorance is a
million times greater".

     I have been in the county court nearly 12 years and have worked with the
court the best I know how. I love and respect all members  and do not believe
that we have a court that would vote against the welfare of the youth of our
county upon whom the future of our nation depends. Let us send the best
men to the legislature who will be for the best interest of the county---then
we will be a happier people. J.A.J.








 

           

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