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.



Get Your Morning Mojo at Liquid Lightning

Liquid Lightning

It is a great time to be a coffee drinker in Maynardville. Whether you are waking up early headed to work, finishing up the morning school drop offs, or just plain love to guzzle coffee all day, with one sip you will be sure to add a new stop to your daily route. Liquid Lightning, a local veteran owned and operated coffee shop, has opened their doors and put the go-juice on to brew with a goal of bringing delicious coffee, lots of laughs, and a sense of joy and comfort to the community.

Win for Author Kaye George

Kaye George

Knoxville TN: Local author Kaye George took home a second place win from BOULD (Bizarre, Outrageous, Unfettered, Limitless, Daring) for her short story Dream Girl. The story is published in BOULD Awards Short Story Anthology and is now available on Amazon.

Shirleys Bread

Shirley's Bread

I got a call from Aaron Russell the other day. He was checking to see how I was doing. He hadn't talked with me in a while. During the conversation, he mentions that he likes to bake bread. Not just any bread, but salt-rising bread. He described the process as well as how good the bread tastes. That got me thinking.

Ambulance Selfie

Ambulance Selfie

“Well, you always want an adventure!” Lynda locked the car doors.

It’s an interesting story how we had gotten to that point. Lynda is my best friend and cousin. We played ball together, ran around together, and went to the same middle and high school.

George Washington Cherry Treat

George Washington Cherry Treat

Fresh pie cherries aren't available in February. That's okay. Food City does my canning for me these days. They have one pound cans of red tart cherries on the shelf every day. I call them sour cherries.

Do you really think George cut down a cherry tree? Do you really think he fested up to the deed? Naw. George was known as a ladies man. I wouldn't be surprised if he did tell a lie now and then.

Science versus Faith

Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal once said, “The heart has its reasons, of which reason knows nothing… We know truth, not only by reason, but also by the heart.”

Pascal was a genius and a genuine polymath who lived in the 17th century. To cover his accomplishments and body of work would require volumes, which have already been written. I want to focus on the concept he so poetically illustrated above – the ever-present battle between the head and the heart. Specifically,

Cherry Creme Fudge

Cherry Creme Fudge

Here is a fudge recipe I made a long time ago, that is, if you call 1981 a long time ago. Fudge recipes have evolved over the years. They are easier to make now. Just cook up some sugar and evaporated milk. Add chocolate and marshmallow cream and you have fudge. But it is not the same as the old fashioned variety. Oldsters will agree with me. (I will share one of those recipes at a later date.).

Failed Back Surgery Is Relatively Common

Failed Back Surgery Is Relatively Common

Failed back surgery (continued low back and leg pain after surgery) is relatively common according to a new report from the Boston University School of Medicine. With each reoperation, success, as defined by pain reduction, becomes less likely and most patients do not improve. However, preliminary studies using a simple procedure to remove scar tissue or adhesions suggests a new treatment could help those with post-surgical, chronic low back pain.

The German Beer Stein

German Beer Stein

I have had a beautiful beer stein since World War II. My brother, Rodney, sent it back from Germany. He was part of a Navy goodwill tour that started at England then went on to Germany. He sent back two beer steins and a Black Forest coo coo clock from there.

When he returned home, Rod took back the coo coo clock and one beer stein. That left me with one beer stein. I have placed that beautiful beer stein in a prominent place in my home as I moved around the country. It is time to give it a permanent home while I am still here to do so.


Interested in Homeschooling?

Monday, February 25, 2019 - 18:00

Join us for our annual Mom's night out. Monday, February 25, at six pm when April Shepherd, from the Smoky Mountain Home Education Association will be speaking at Hardees. April, a proponent of country living and a successful homeschooling Mother, will be speaking on using everyday living to teach fundamentals and life skills. She has titled her talk, "Little House on the Prairie Schooling". Sponsored by the local support group of homeschooling families, more information can be obtained by contacting Connie Dickey @ 865-992-3629

Mens Conference

Friday, March 1, 2019 - 19:00
Alder Springs Missionary Baptist Church

Alder Springs Missionary Baptist Church will be hosting a Men’s Conference on Friday, March 1st at 7:00 P.M. and Saturday, March 2nd at 9:30 A.M.
Evangelists will be Rev. Jerry Vittatoe and Rev. Mike Viles. Pastor, Rev. Jimmy Davidson extends a hearty welcome to all men.

4-H County Baking Contest

Monday, March 18, 2019 - 17:00

After youth have participated in school during February, they will be awarded a blue ribbon to move forward to the county contest. The entries at the county will be due for judging on March 18 then displayed with awards at the Extension Month Open House on March 19 for sampling.

MPL Small Business Expo

Saturday, March 23, 2019 - 09:00

Small Business Expo
Hosted by Maynardville Public Library
296 Main St, Maynardville, Tennessee 37807
Saturday, March 23, 2019 at 9 AM – 1 PM
Our 3rd Annual Expo to showcase the many small businesses in Union County. Drop by to see what our county has to offer and support these local businesses.
If you are a business owner looking to attend fill out the following google form by March 15th


Franklin Delano Capps

Frank Capps-age 85 of Knoxville passed away Thursday morning, February 21, 2019 at U. T. Medical Center. Member of Warwick’s Chapel Baptist Church. He was a U. S. Army Veteran. Frank was a long-standing owner/operator of auto service garages in the Luttrell area. Preceded in death by wife, Ithel McHone Capps; daughter, Brenda Smyth.

Obituary for Mary Carolyn Childress

Mary Carolyn Childress, age 84 of East Knoxville, passed away Thursday, February 21, 2019 at her home. She attended Buffat Heights Baptist Church. She was a long- time employee of Supreme Contracting. She was the daughter of the late Carl and Frances Whitt, Proceeded in death by Jack Childress. Survived by brothers; Ronnie (Phyllis) Whitt, Tom (Jo) Whitt, and Steve Whitt. Several nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews. Longtime friends, Mack and Lily Thomas and Bryan and Sherry Linander.

Janice Ann Beeler Fields

Janice Ann Beeler Fields-age 66 of Corbin, Kentucky passed away suddenly Monday morning, February 18, 2019 at her home. She was a loving mother, nana, sister and friend. She will be sadly missed by all. Janice was a member of Nave Hill Baptist Church and was a former co-owner of Fields Apparel in Monticello, Kentucky. She was recently employed at SEKRI, Corbin, Kentucky for 22 years. Preceded in death by parents, James Aubrey and Lillie Beeler, two brothers, Gary and Terry Beeler; nephew, Adam Beeler.

Robert Bradley Douglas

Robert Bradley Douglas, known as Brad Douglas, was born October 12th, 1978. Brad spent his life in the Knoxville area embracing the Tennessee Volunteers, fishing and hiking. Brad's favorite thing to do was to take him and his family exploring. It is with great sadness that the family of Brad Douglas announces his passing at the age of 40. His spirit, enthusiasm and willingness to put other's needs above his own will be missed but not forgotten.

Robert Bruce Kezer

R. Bruce Kezer-age 84 of Knoxville departed this world for heaven on February 15 from his home. His family was at his side. Born in Jersey City, NJ, on September 30, 1934 to Edwin and Ruth (Adams) Kezer, Bruce graduated from the University of Vermont in 1957. He then entered the US Army and served, in peacetime, for three years until being honorably discharged at the rank of Lieutenant. Bruce loved Jesus with all his heart, and worked to live instead of the other way around.

Thomas Michael McLaughlin

Thomas M. McLaughlin age 57 currently of Maynardville TN, formerly of Edison NJ, passed away on February 8th 2019 at UT Hospital following an exhausting battle with cancer. Preceded in death by father, Thomas W, and brother Michael W McLaughlin.

Survived by wife Kathie, daughter and son-in-law Jennifer McLaughlin and Josh Lamb, son TJ, mother Elaine, sister and brother-in-law Lori and Gary Yurchak, grandchildren Chris and Michael, as well as a host of other relatives and friends.

Judson "Juddy" Bailey

Judson “Juddy“ Bailey - age 79 of Washburn, was born on February 27, 1939 and passed away peacefully on Sunday, February 10, 2019. We all called him Pap. He was a member of Nave Hill Baptist Church. He loved his family, hunting, playing cards, dogs and driving around. He spent his last few months putting on his shoes and saying “I believe I will go home”. He is finally “home“, peacefully in the arms of Jesus.

Frances Jane Nichols

Frances Jane Nichols “Janey”, age 61, of Rockford, went to be with the Lord on February 8, 2019, surrounded by her loved ones. She was a beloved mom, sister, and granny. Preceded in death by parents Jack Huggins and Bernice Van Dyke, brother Jackie Huggins, sisters Sarah Munsey, Sandy Huggins, and Darlene Dunaway.

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