More Sounds from the Walls

Ronnie Mincey

Mincey’s Musings
Year One, Week Thirty

Hello, everyone. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Oak Grove. I am a two room school building in the Sharps Chapel area of Union County. Let me tell you a little more about myself.
Last week my “scribe” Ronnie Mincey wrote an article about me, detailing pertinent points of my history for school year 1932-1933. He submitted that article to Mr. Aaron Russell for his next Historic Union County magazine. As of this date that magazine is at the printer, and Mr. Russell says he plans to publish that article on this website after the magazine is published. You will have to read that article to find out about my school year 1932-1933.
In this article, Dr. Mincey records events mainly from my school term 1934-1935. His main source for information is the old registers on file at the Union County Board of Education’s Central Office, as was discussed in the previous article. I consider them my “diaries,” and Dr. Mincey has found them fascinating and wishes to share some of their information with you.
Thanks to those registers, my memories are recorded. In 1932-33, my teachers were Mr. and Mrs. H. E. and Duetta Anderson, who lived in the Sharps Chapel community. You must remember I am speaking to you from “The Great Beyond”, what some of you might now consider “the dim, dark past”. I led you to believe from the previous article H. E. and Duetta were married, but since then Dr. Mincey has conducted a little research.
In Bonnie Heiskell Peters’ book Union County Schoolday Memories: A Pictorial History of Union County Elementary Schools from the Mid-1800s to the 1960s (published in 1999), there is a picture on page 295 of H. E. and Belvia Ousley Anderson, identified as teachers at Rush Strong and Stiner’s Ridge Schools. There is another picture of Mr. Anderson (though not as clear) on page 311 captioned “A Sharps Chapel Group on their Way to Union County High School”, date not listed. The group is standing in front of a bus with “Union County High School” written on the side. Mr. Anderson is listed on page 333 of Ms. Peters’ book as having taught at Oak Grove again in 1940-1941, at Rush Strong from 1933-1935 and at Union (date not listed).
Belvia Ousley Anderson is photographed on page 25 as a student at Big Springs School (circa 1916). She is included on page 18 in a long list of teachers who taught at Big Sinks School and on page 209 is mentioned as having taught at Oak Grove with Maggie Stiner Walker in the early 1920s. A picture on page 274 shows the old Rush Strong Schoolhouse in Lead Mine Bend before the Norris Dam Project in which teachers Edgar (H. E.?) and Belvia Anderson are pictured on the lawn. On page 333 in Ms. Peters’ book, Belvia Ousley Anderson is listed as having taught at Oak Grove in 1932-1933 and at Rush Strong in 1934-1935 and 1938-1940.
Duetta Anderson is only listed one time in Ms. Peters’ book as having taught at Capps Creek in 1935-1936 and at Rush Strong from 1936-1938 and “1956-37” (this is obviously a typographical error in Ms. Peters’ book—Dr. Mincey thinks the date is 1936-1937, though it could also be 1956-1957).
Too many years and too many Andersons have passed for me to be sure of family relations. Any reader who can provide further information to Dr. Mincey will be appreciated.
My teachers in the old Oak Grove building for the school term August 7, 1933 to March 16, 1934 were Mary Irwin and Nelson Chesney.
Ms. Peters’ book has a picture of a Mary Irwin who was a student at Loyston Junior High School from 1926-1927; there is a picture of the Loyston Junior High School tenth grade from 1934-1935 that also has a Mary Irwin. As Mary Irwin is listed on page 341 as a teacher at Oak Grove from 1933-1935, the first picture would seem to be the Mary Irwin in question. A Mary Irwin Chesney is listed on page 4 of The Last Echo: A Pictorial History of Horace Maynard High School, Maynardville, Tennessee (Including Historical Data to 1997) as a contributor to the research for this excellent volume compiled and edited by Kathleen George Graves and Lois Campbell Hartsell. Mary Irwin is identified on page 28 of The Last Echo as a member of the Horace Maynard High School graduating class of 1928 and as teacher at Horace Maynard High School in 1936.
The Last Echo lists Nelson Chesney as a member of the Horace Maynard High School class of 1929. Page 18 lists Mr. Chesney as a Horace Maynard High faculty member from 1942-1943 and as principal in 1944. Ms. Peters’ book contains photographs on pages 33 and 34 that include Nelson Chesney as a student at Brock School in 1920 and 1927-1928. He is pictured on page 106 as an attendee of a singing school held at the old Hubbs Grove School (date not provided). Another picture on page 282 shows Nelson Chesney as teacher at Shady Grove School in 1935. On page 336 of her book, Ms. Peters lists William Nelson Chesney as a teacher at the following schools and terms: Union (1932-1933); Oak Grove (1933-1935); Rush Strong (1934-1935, 1940-1941); Shady Grove (1935-1937, 1950, 1953); and Hickory Valley (1937-1938).
In 1933-1934 at Oak Grove, Ms. Irwin taught 62 students in Primer through fourth grade (15 were retained or “held back”). Mr. Chesney taught 52 students in fifth through eighth grades (14 were retained).
There were four students who lived two and one half miles away, the farthest recorded distance from the school for any pupil. These students most likely walked five miles per day, round-trip, just to attend.
For the 1933-34 school term, Ms. Irwin was paid $85.00 per month, and Mr. Chesney $62.50 (his salary increased the following school term to $77.50 per month).
Mr. Chesney noted my original date of construction in his “Teacher’s Annual Property Report” as 1895. The ratio of my glass area to floor area as a whole was 1:11. Though there had been no toilet facilities the previous school year, Mr. Nelson noted in his report that one “insanitary toilet” was provided. Mr. Chesney listed the value of my building and heating plant as $200 (a $50 increase from the prior year) and the grounds as $100 (also a $50 increase from the previous year).
Mr. Chesney reported that my school library had four (4) books valued as a whole at $2, none added or lost during the school year. No books had been secured from circulating libraries. Neither Mr. Chesney nor Ms. Irwin were married, and neither lived in the Sharps Chapel community. Mr. Chesney listed the cost of his room and board as $10 per month, Ms. Irwin as $12.
In his 1934-1935 register, Mr. Nelson noted there was no playground equipment, though he valued (instructional?) equipment at $100. Inside the back cover of that same register, Mr. Nelson noted, “Two waterbuckets, two dippers, two coal buckets, one shovel, one broom, and the door key were left at Issac Shoffner’s. Erasers left in loft. Practically no coal left.” Mr. Nelson penciled a note on the front cover: “Sorry I held out on you so long, but I hadn’t been home and didn’t know you wanted it at once until today. Been ready for some time, but I was just waiting until I [cam] home. Hope it get in in time. Yours, N. I will get a notary to ‘John Henry’ it when I come out.” The register remains unnotarized to this day.
It doesn’t seem that conditions improved at Oak Grove very much from 1932 through 1935, but brighter days were on the horizon. Times were going to get better for both me and the students I housed, and for future generations of Sharps Chapel citizens. Next week I’ll share how this happened.




Commissioners Express Gratitude at August Meeting

Commissioner Holloway welcomes Commissioner J. M. Bailey

Gratitude and appreciation draped the last Union County Commission Meeting of the commission elected in 2014. The new Commission will have eight new members. Many commissioners expressed their gratitude for the honor of serving the citizens of Union County. Others mentioned their appreciation for the chance to work with people from all over the county to do some positive things. The citizens erupted in applause for the return of Commissioner J. M. Bailey who has been struggling with a serious illness.

Thank You From Willow Ridge Center

Donated TV at Willow Ridge Center

The staff members of Willow Ridge Care and Rehab would like to thank all those who have so generously donated to provide a 19" wall mounted flat screen television for each of our resident's during their stay. The total cost of the television and mounting hardware comes to just under $100 each. For each $100 donation, we are placing a small sign on each television indicating who provided it. This is a daily reminder to our residents that they are cared for by the wider community. Over the course of a year, many people are touched by this gift.

Allyson Hanna Wins 4-H State Round-Up

Allyson Hanna (fourth from left) won her division at the State 4-H Round-Up.

Allyson Hanna has done her hometown proud by bringing home a state-level win from the Tennessee 4-H Round-Up and All-Star Conference. The 16-year-old homeschooler is a junior this year, and she won her division with a Senior Level 1 consumer education project on the Consumer Bill of Rights.

Hanna has been active in 4-H since she was in the fifth grade, and she credits the program with helping her grow as a leader and a team player.

The Digital Divide

The “digital divide” is the gap that exists between individuals advantaged by the internet and those individuals disadvantaged by lack of access to the internet. The divide has widened as technology has advanced with the advent of next generation fiber optic broadband that can make 1 GB broadband speeds available. The growing gap disproportionately affects rural areas as rural residents have few choices of internet service providers – or none at all. They pay higher prices for lower quality service.

Twenty-one Lessons

Twenty-one Lessons

Not everyone should take music lessons. There are some that have a hole in their bucket, like me. Mother thought it would be nice if one of her children learned how to play the Hawaiian guitar. Island music was popular back in the days before World War II. She picked the wrong kid, me.

Reborn and Still Kicking

Ronnie Mincey

Mincey’s Musings
Year One, Week Thirty-One

Hello, everyone. My name is Oak Grove. I am a two room school building in the Sharps Chapel area of Union County.

For the past two weeks my “scribe” Ronnie Mincey has written articles about me, detailing pertinent points of my history for school terms 1932-1933 and 1934-1935. His main source for information has been the old registers on file at the Union County Board of Education’s Central Office, my “diaries”.


Sumac smooth

Sumacs are very common in our area, most often found in overgrown fields and areas that have been disturbed. While considered a weed by many, it does have the virtues of providing cover and food for wildlife, and nice fall coloration for human enjoyment.


Gumball Machine

I have always been just a little different. For instance, my idea of a fun place was not the same as most other kids’ back in the 70s. They wanted to go to the pinball arcade or the skating rink, whereas I wanted to go to the laundromat.

The only time we washed clothes there was when the electric pump on our well messed up. No pump. No water. No washing clothes at home.

Moral Authority

Archie Wilson

Seems like everyone has a Twitter, Facebook or some kind of social media account, well everyone except me. Thus far, I have avoided social media platforms, unless of course, you count the occasional religious article like this. But, I do read and listen to a lot of news, much of it digital. So even though I have no social media accounts, I still have exposure to everyone else’s social media rants via the news. I liken social media to the 1970s phenomenon of “Streaking”. Sooner or later you are going to get flashed! “Look out Ethel” If you don’t get the reference look up Ray Stevens song, “The Streak”.


Union County Board Of Education

Thursday, August 23, 2018 - 18:00

The next regular workshop and meeting of the Union County Board of Education will be held on Thursday, August 23, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. at Union County High School. The workshop will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the meeting immediately to follow.



Fun Day

Saturday, August 25, 2018 - 16:00
Fellowship Christian Church

Fun day at fellowship Christian church August 25, 2018 at 4:00pm to 7:00pm come and join us we will have games, food and a bone fire. Everyone welcome.

Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

Thursday, August 30, 2018 - 07:30
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


Ava Kathryn Easterday

Ava Kathryn Easterday, age 8, passed away August 18, 2018. She was a dancer at Prima Dance Studio. Ava attended after school care and summer care at Wallace Memorial and was a student at Powell Elementary School. Ava’s passion in life was to dance. She loved being at the studio and she loved competing. She loved anything pink, teal, sparkly, shiny and glittery. She was a true girly girl and full of sass. She loved to make people laugh and could light up an entire room with her beautiful smile. She was a free spirit and full of adventure.

Phyllis Keny

Phyllis Keny, 90, passed away Thursday, August 16, 2018. Born in Aberdeen, S.D. to Mae and Alphonse Zemlicka, she was very bright and talented in art and music, singing in the choir at Sacred Heart Church where her mother was the choir director/organist for many years. She attended Mt. Marty Catholic High School graduating in 3 years, then Northern State U. with a major in art. During that time, she performed as a singer at various campus venues. She tried out for a spot on the Laurence Welk traveling show in the Dakotas, before the age of TV.

Clay Edward Smith

Clay Edward Smith, age 57, passed away on Tuesday, August 14, 2018. He is preceded in death by father, William Smith; mother, Thelma Smith; and brother, Billy Joe Smith. Clay is survived by sisters brothers, Helen Williams, Linda Collins, Joyce Sheffield, David Smith, William Smith, Fred Smith and Michael Smith as well as several nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends at Mynatt Funeral Home Fountain City Chapel on Sunday, August 19th from 5-7pm. Family and friends will gather at Water Cemetery on Monday, August 20th at 10:45am for an 11am graveside service.

Frances Kilgore Norman

Frances Kilgore Norman, age 83, of Lakeland Florida, formerly of Knoxville, Tennessee passed away on August 12, 2018 at her home in Lakeland Florida. She was of Methodist faith. She was a member of Eastern Star, Mascot Tennessee Order. Frances was a certified nursing assistant. She worked at Lakeland Regional Medical Center and in Home Health Care. She was a loving mother, grandmother, and friend to many.

Dorothy Dean Hatmaker Weaver

Dorothy Dean Hatmaker Weaver, 83, is now with her creator and keeper, Jesus Christ. She died August 13, 2018.
She is survived by her son, Daniel Weaver; sister, Aileen Hatmaker Ruland; nieces, Kim, Tracy, and Renee; a great-nephew and a great-niece.
She is preceded in death by daughter, Candace Weaver Ayers; sister, Barbara Hatmaker Sizemore, and parents.

Thomas "Tommy" Edward Lawless

Thomas Edward Lawless, July 27,1940-August 11, 2018, Thomas (Tommy) Edward Lawless of Maynardville, Tennessee passed away peacefully, Saturday afternoon, surrounded by his loving family at his home on August 11, 2018. Tommy was a graduate of Clinton High School class of 1958. He continued his education at East Tennessee State College and then served in the United States Navy (Vietnam) on a Mine Sweeper as Second Lieutenant for four years. He taught high school math and retired from Frontier High school in Ohio.

Joseph Andrew Weaver

Joseph Andrew Weaver, 62, departed this life to be with his Lord and Savior August 11, 2018. He attended Gospel Light Church of God in Norris, Tennessee. He is preceded in death by father, Charles Weaver; step-father, George Duncan; grandparents, Dora and Jahue Brantley and Pearl Weaver.

Bessie Mae Delozier

Bessie Mae Delozier-age 87 of Luttrell passed away Wednesday morning, August 8, 2018 at North Knoxville Medical Center. The Lord has called. I must go home. I take this time to say goodbye to my family and friends. I was born May 10, 1931 to a pretty little part Indian girl, age 16, Grace Dotson, who married Bill Line. I married at age 16. God gave me 5 wonderful children, 14 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren. I am so blessed with two wonderful step-daughters, three step-grandsons and one step-granddaughter. I leave lots of good friends.

Taniciah Montana Little

Taniciah Montana Little-age 60 of Speedwell was born March 31, 1958 in Middletown, Ohio. She went home to be with the Lord Monday, August 6, 2018. Taniciah was preceded in death by her husband, Larry Little; mother, Lucetta Jane Hodson, father, Pierce Hays; sister Gloria Prater; brother, Perry Hays; nephew, Joey Prater.

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