How Warm My Bed

How Warm My Bed

Mincey’s Musings
Year One, Week Two

How Warm My Bed

Today is January 8, 2018. The first week of the New Year has ended, and the second has begun with a small icing that has closed schools throughout East Tennessee and caused several wrecks. The New Year began with a week of bone chilling cold felt throughout most of the United States, particularly in the East and South.
I began my New Year with some reading. One thing I found was a reference to the location of beds in homes. This caused me to do some pondering and reminiscing.
In the early days of our country’s history, especially in log cabins, the entire living area consisted of one room. Some of the more advanced log cabins had lofts, where children’s beds were reached by climbing wall-embedded pegs. These cabins had only fireplaces for heating, regrettably allowing much of the heat to escape “up the flue”. In the wilderness cold everyone wished to be as close to sources of warmth as possible; therefore, it was not only customary, but desirable, for beds to be located as close to fireplaces as practicable without fear of bedding catching fire.

In later years, log cabins (partly through necessity, partly through fashion) were replaced by frame or weatherboard houses. At their debut, clapboard houses were a sign of wealth. Nails were often costly and hard to come by, and many log cabins were constructed entirely without nails. The advancement of industry made nails more readily available and construction of larger homes easier. To be fashionable, some cabin dwellers covered their beautiful exterior logs with weatherboards. Log cabins with exposed exterior walls, once necessary, then frowned upon, later nostalgic, are again fashionable. Ironically, it is now a sign of luxury and wealth for a family to own a log cabin!
Early frame houses, though larger, often were no warmer in the cold winters than their log cabin predecessors. I was privileged to live from ages six through almost nineteen in the two story frame house that was the Burl Warwick family farmhouse. The Warwick farm included what is now Green Acres subdivision and several acres on both sides of what is now Luttrell Road. Mrs. Burl (Mary) Warwick’s maiden name was Waddington, and that family’s estate connected to the Warwick holdings, extending through a portion of the Walker Ford Valley closest to the City of Maynardville.

The front porch step of the Warwick house was a quarried rock slab. The foundation was comprised of huge rocks that also appeared to have been quarried. Huge beams were laid on top of these foundation stones, and flooring and framing was nailed to these beams.

The partially finished room over the living room revealed framing constructed of actual 2 X 4 sawmill lumber, the unpainted inner side of the weatherboarding, the roof support, and the chimney.

The strength of the interior pine tongue-and-groove boards nailed to actual 2 X 4s provided increased strength, allowing the span of exterior framing to be greater than the customary 16-inch centers of current construction. The inside walls continued after decades of seeping sap on the hottest days.

The outside weatherboarding was unpainted until my family began living there in 1971, at which time it was painted white. The house did not have gutters, so when the roof received a coat of metallic silver paint that quickly washed off, the rocks along the foundation to prevent mud and splashing received the benefit. While the downstairs rooms endured several coats of paint over the years, the unpainted stairwell and upstairs exhibited dimly penciled names and dates of farmhands.

The house did not have trussed roof supports, only rafters attached to a ridge board at top, additionally supported by collar beams. The roof had one leak at the front gable over the window in the unfinished upstairs room. My father had a huge barrel there, and frequently he would open the window and empty the barrel.

The kitchen had one chimney that extended through the roof for a cook stove. The main chimney was located in the middle of the front part of the house. It was constructed of field stone to approximately half the height of upstairs, finished with brick that protruded just above the ridge of the roof. There was no provision for heating upstairs, but two fireplaces on the ground floor shared the chimney—one in the living room and one in the bedroom. As in log cabins, most of the heat escaped through the “flue”. Jack Warwick once told us that his mother would set her milk and eggs next to the living room fireplace, and they would still freeze on the coldest nights. The contents of chamber pots also froze during such weather.

At the time my family lived there, the fireplaces were covered with tin and the house was heated by a coal or wood stove located in the living room. The soot that accumulated at the bottom of the fireplace once caught fire, proving a fire hazard. Thereafter, occasionally the tin would be pulled back so the soot could be removed.

My father insisted in having his bed in the room with the heating stove. This was inconvenient, as Dad went to bed early and insisted that everyone else in the house be in bed no later than 9:00 p.m. I never got used to Dad’s bed being in the living room. I can remember two previous houses where we lived, both located in the City of Maynardville. Though they were also heated by coal or wood stoves located in the living room, Dad had his bed in the bedroom closest to the living room. Both of those houses had sheetrock walls, and perhaps Dad thought they were warmer.

The Jack Warwick house was technically located in the Maynardville city limits, but not “downtown”. Also, the walls were plank, and daylight could be seen through the walls on the sunniest and clearest of days, and that probably made Dad feel colder. One thing all those houses had in common—none ever saw one day of insulation. It was warm close to the stove, even hot, but the extremities were slightly warmer than the outside temperature.

Sometimes, my own bed was in the living room. From roughly Christmas break to mid-March every year, Dad insisted that I sleep on a “rollaway” cot at the foot of his bed in front of the stove. I put myself to sleep many nights watching the flames cast shadows on the ceiling as they shone through the damper in the stove’s door. (Dad would be surprised if he knew how many nights I now choose to sleep on the loveseat in the living room!)

While it seemed nothing could be done about the cracks in the walls, Dad would duct tape and fill each crack in every door and window leading from the living room and kitchen with rolled newspaper to “keep the cold out”. Doors so “weatherized” were only opened for infrequent visitors, to store or bring in the cot, to go to school, church or the store, or to get more coal or wood.

The house had electricity when my family lived there. The living room and kitchen each had two double outlets, the downstairs bedroom one. The kitchen had two double outlets and one plug for an electric stove. Each of the two rooms upstairs had one electric light with a pull chain—no light switch. There was neither light nor electricity in the stairwell, though the closet under the stairwell accessed from the living room had a light on an extension cord. (I never knew where or how that cord was connected.) The front and back porch had ceiling lights. An extension cord ran from the back porch light to the outhouse. Observant neighbors might know that if the back porch light was on after dark that some form of elimination might be occurring!

But electricity has little effect on heating a house without insulation. I once tried to heat the bedroom after Dad’s death with a portable 110V electric space heater, but all I did was manage to melt an extension cord and almost burn the house down. Needless to say, I love propane fireplaces and heat pumps!

I do not know when the Warwick farmhouse was constructed, though I assume in the late 1800s or early 1900s. After we moved, the house received some upgrades, including an indoor bathroom and a dryer connection. The building endured years of wonders, weather, and woodpeckers. Sadly, the house burned on August 21, 1997, resulting in the deaths of four children. I loved living there, but all I have left are memories, a few pictures, and one piece of the weatherboarding and the front porch step I retrieved after the fatal fire.
Next week I hope to share another winter tale.

(A special thank you to Connie Buckner for providing me with older pictures of the house and owners and to Doug Osborne of Cooke-Campbell Mortuary for providing the date of the fire.)




A Union County Perspective on the Civil War

Civil War Map of East Tennessee

East Tennessee geographically is situated almost in the center of the late rebellious states; Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and the Middle and Western Divisions of the state on the west. The question arises why it should stand out almost alone in its devotion to the Union. When the state cast its fortunes with the Confederacy through the dominating influence of the civil and military authorities, a large majority of the people of East Tennessee adhered to the Union cause.


James Heiskell Celebrates 51 Years in Business

Keith, James and Jason Heiskell

A lot of traffic has gone past the intersection of Highway 33 and Ailor Gap Road since 1968, a lot of cars and a lot of people with stories to tell, but one business has been there through it all. Heiskell's Service Center has used a lot of names over the years. It's been a Boron, an Exxon, a Gulf and a BP. But one thing has remained constant, and that's the dedication of owner James Heiskell to making this Union County landmark a success.

Fifty-eight Years of Giving

Patricia McKelvey

Union County native Patricia McKelvey has spent most of her life sharing her knowledge and aiding the students of Union County. A college graduate at the young age of nineteen, McKelvey viewed her future as a chance to give back. Raised in Union County by a widowed mother of three who was also a teacher, McKelvey is no stranger to hard work.

“I started working right out of high school at American Clothing Company making $20 a week,” said McKelvey. “Once all of us kids were out of the house, my mother went back to school and got her degree in Education.”

Paint the Town

Cadie Chappel Painting Li'l Jo's for Paint the Town

The Union County Art Council has sponsored a project called “Paint the Town” and several local businesses have jumped on board to participate. Union County Property Assessor Randy Turner was the first to have UCHS Senior Cadie Chappel to paint the windows of his office at the UC Court House. After telling the Art Council what he hired Cadie to do with the windows in his office, the Art Council came up with the “Paint the Town” Project. He said “he gets compliments all day” on his windows.

What Do You Really Think?

Ronnie Mincey

Two weeks ago I shared an instance in which I let the preconceived notions of others affect the way I felt about my work study supervisor. Last week I shared instances in which I have incorrectly judged a person to be kind. This week I will relate instances where impressions have come into play for (and against) me.
Sometimes I am around those who give their honest opinions about various things and people. I have myself said of some, “If s/he was standing on a stack of Bibles shaking hands with Jesus himself I wouldn’t believe a word s/he said.” I always find it amusing if someone then asks me, “What’s your real opinion?”

Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips

Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips

Has there ever been an Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips place around here? I consider their fish the best ever. I read on Facebook that there is one located somewhere in Ohio. That won't help my yearning for their fish triangles. But I do have the recipe that I will share with you.

You know, copy-cat recipes are published for popular restaurant dishes from time to time. Usually, they only taste somewhat like the desired item. There are even cookbooks published that claim to have prized recipes. This is the only recipe I have ever found to be as good as the original.

Lunch at Kresge's

Kresge's Menu

When you lived in the country, shopping in town was an all day affair. You would plan to eat lunch there. For me, it was the highlight of the trip. I planned my route and time to take me to my favorite spot for lunch. Isn't that a deliciously sounding word - “lunch”? I made a list of my shopping needs. I knew which store sold what at the price I could afford. I always planned to afford lunch.

The Spring Green Light

Sun Face

For all you warm weather people out there, your time has come. The vernal (spring) equinox is upon us, which is the official beginning of Spring, arriving this year on March 20.

The event is not only a promise of warmer weather, it also plays a key role in determining what date Easter occurs, which can move around quite a bit year to year.


A Faithful Witness Will Not Lie

Wash Smith Monument

"Tonight perhaps a happy mother sits on the threshold of her humble cabin and sings a lullaby to her babe or perchance has the children at her side and tells them stories about father’s return. Anxiously she listens for the clashing of the horse’s hoofs upon the road, she awaits the ring of the chains upon the front gate heralding her husband's approach-she listens in vain. The shadows of night veils that home in darkness, a flickering candle is placed in the window to guide his footsteps when he returns: the mountains cast their gloom over the place.

Runt And The Luttrell Fox Hunters

Runt Kits 1984

My Papaw Kitts, known as “Runt,” was a fox hunter. He was my mom’s dad and the oldest of ten kids. His real name was Samuel Ernest Kitts, otherwise known as “S.E.” or just “Runt” Kitts. He had a brother, William Cloyd Kitts, known as “Poss” Kitts, who also shared this love of fox hunting – east Tennessee style.



Small Business Expo At Maynardville Public Library

Maynardville Public Library along with the Union County Business and Professional Association and The Canton of Hochwald will be hosting a Small Business Expo on Saturday March 24th from 9am until 1pm at Maynardville Public Library 296 Main Street, Maynardville. The Expo is for all small businesses in the county and everyone is welcome to attend this event! This is a FREE event where patrons will be able to visit businesses and purchase from them if they desire. The Farmers Mkt. will have a popup here come check them out.

Music In March

Music in March

Hello March, I have Big Plans For You...
Music in March at The Winery!!

2 Amazing Bands and Delicious Food Truck

Live Music From:
The Lick Skillet Band Noon-3:30pm
KUDZU: The Band 4- 8pm

Delicious Food From:
Cubish Food Truck

Please consider carpooling if at all possible. Parking is limited. The parking crew THANKS you in advance.

Need A Ride To Church

Need A Ride To Church

Fellowship Christian Church located at 746 Tazewell Pike Luttrell TN 37779 will pickup anyone in the local area needing a ride to church. Call Sam at 865-607-3741 to schedule a ride.

Worship Services

Sunday School 10:00 AM
Sunday Worship Service 11:00 A.M
Sunday Evening Service 6:30 P.M
Wednesday Service 7:00 P.M

Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

"We invite all area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders to come together on the last Thursday of each month at Hardee's at 7:30 am. This is to be a time of fellowship, prayer, and discussion about how we as a community of Faith can work together to have a positive impact on our county. All are welcome!" Margaret Chesney

U.C.B.P.A. Prayer Breakfast " 2018 Second Chances"

U.C.B.P.A. Prayer Breakfast " 2018 Second Chances"

Prayer Breakfast Good Friday March 30 @ 8:00 am, Aaron Russell will be the speaker. Breakfast is by Teresa's Bakery with all the fixins . Tickets are $10.00 each .
Prayer Breakfast--Besides the obvious benefits of prayer and words of inspiration, proceeds from the Prayer Breakfast fund donations to Lion's Club, Friends of Maynardville Public Library, UCPS Music Department, 4H, and Union County Children's Charities (Under the Tree). Come and be a part of this celebration on Good Friday at 8:00 at the Senior Center in Maynardville. [$10] March 30

Bake Sale

Bake Sale

Let the WMU ladies of Alder Springs Baptist Church do your Easter baking for you! We will be having a bake sale on Saturday, March 31st from 9:00 A.M. - Noon. Three locations: Oakies Pharmacy, Guided by Grace Boutique, and Union Farmers Co-op. All proceeds goes to WMU projects.


Charlotte Alana Ridenour

Charlotte Alana Ridenour-age 69 of Knoxville passed away Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at Ft. Sander’s Regional Medical Center. Preceded in death by son, Randy Ridenour; parents, mother, Eula Vee Ridenour; fathers, Lillard Ray and Wade Ridenour; sisters, Pat (Spooks) Ricker; Bobbie Ray; brother, Jack Painter. Charlotte was a loving mother and grandmother.

Anna Mae Mason

Anna Mae Mason – age 91 of Maynardville, was called home at 1:18 p.m., Tuesday, March 20, 2018. She was a longtime member of Hubbs Grove Baptist Church.

She is preceded in death by husband, William Berl Mason. Anna is survived by sons and daughters-in-law, Gerald and Debbie Mason and Kenneth and Shelia Mason; five grandchildren; eight great grandchildren; sister, Margaret Ellen Williams; brothers, Tommy Perry and Fred Perry; and several nieces and nephews.

Brenda Kiser

Brenda Gail Kiser – 68 of Maynardville, went to her Heavenly home on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 after a courageous battle with cancer. She passed away at home surrounded by loved ones. Brenda was of the Baptist faith.

Michael Shane Guinn

Michael “Shane” Guinn age 40 of Knoxville passed away March 18, 2018. He was a loving son, brother and uncle. He was preceded in death by his father William “Randy” Guinn survived by mother Kathy Quinn, sister Jessica Guinn, niece Brittany Thomas, nephew Michael Woody and great niece Breelyn Gordon. The family will receive friends 5:00p.m. until 7:00p.m. Wednesday at Mynatt Funeral Home Fountain City Chapel. Please leave online condolences at

Paul Douglas Corum, Sr.

Paul “Doug” Corum, Sr.-age 68 of Luttrell passed away Sunday evening, March 18, 2018 at Willow Ridge. Preceded in death by son, Dudley Corum, Jr.; father, Luther Corum; mother, Edith Corum; brothers, Leslie and Jerry Corum; sister, Naomi Corum.

Allan Buck Smith Obituary

Allan “Buck” Smith, age 77, went to be with the Lord on March 15, 2018. He was a member of The Church at Sterchi Hills and was retired from KUB. He was preceded in death by wife, Judy Smith; parents, Paul and Carrie Smith; sisters, Joanne and Lois; brother Ed. He is survived by son, Neil Smith (Tina); brother Tommy; sister, Sylvia; granddaughter Kaitlin and numerous extended family and friends. The family will receive friends at Mynatt Funeral Home Halls Chapel on Sunday, March 18th from 6-8pm with a service to follow.

Ruby King Obituary

Ruby King, age 95, of Knoxville, Tennessee, went to be with the Lord on Thursday, March 15th, 2018. She was a wonderful mother who will be greatly missed. Ruby was preceded in death by her husband of 45 years Pinkton “Pink” Tolbert, son Donald King and daughter Peggy Seavers. She is survived by daughter Pat Bradley, 8 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, 4 great-great-grandchild, and numerous extended family and friends. The family will receive friends on Monday, March 19th, 2018 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Mynatt Funeral Home, Fountain City Chapel.

Steven Powers

Steven Powers, age 68, of Knoxville, TN, passed away on Thursday, March 15th, 2018. He was preceded in death by parents Lewis and Mary Powers, grandmother Anna Arnold, aunt Laura Henderson, uncle Joe Church, brother-in-law Kenneth Trent, niece Michelle Durbrow, great-niece Holland Durbrow. He is survived by sisters Debra Trent and Diane Vineyard, brother-in-law Donnie Roach. The family will receive friends on Sunday, March 18th, 2018 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Mynatt Funeral Home, Fountain City Chapel. Family and friends will meet at 12:45 p.m.

Frank Hayes

Franklin Danny Hayes – age 75 of Maynardville, Tennessee passed away at home surrounded by family on Thursday, March 15, 2018. He was born March 31, 1942 in Knoxville, Tennessee. He was saved in 1956 at the age of 14 during a revival at Hines Creek Baptist Church and is a member of Community Baptist Church. Frank retired from Coca-Cola after 25 years of service and enjoyed working outside, sports, and his grandchildren.

Jonathan Michael Whitson

Jonathan Michael Whitson – age 45 of Maynardville, passed away on Thursday, March 15, 2018. He was of the Baptist faith.

Michael is preceded in death by his father, Johnny Whitson; and grandparents, Virgie and James Whitson. He is survived by his sons, Jonathan Nicholas and Jaylan Shane Whitson; mother, Rita Grahl; sisters, Chaunta (Chuck) Boggs and Angela (Billy) Wilkerson; brother, Darren (Kim) Whitson; nieces, Hannah Whitson and Kaylee Wilkerson; and nephew, Hunter Collins.

The opinions expressed by columnists and those providing comments are theirs alone, and may not reflect the opinions of Russell Computer Systems, Inc or any employee thereof.