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”.

I have reminisced about teachers H. E. Anderson, Duetta Anderson, Belvia Anderson, Maggie Stiner Walker, Mary Irwin, and Nelson Chesney. Another teacher who taught in my first building was Lelia(?) Whited (1934-1936).

As I mentioned previously, the registers date my original construction as 1895. An untold number of students and teachers taught and attended school in my first building prior to 1932 when the earliest registers for my school are on file at the Union County Board of Education Central Office.

The earliest registers on file record the condition of my building as in definite need of improvement. After 41 years of service, my first building was replaced with a brand new Oak Grove School in 1936.

The first register on file after my “rebirth” containing a “Teachers’ Annual Property Report” (To Be Made Out by the Principal Only) was for school year 1937-1938. It was completed by Teaching Principal O. F. Cook, who taught at Oak Grove in both my first and second buildings and certainly appreciated the improvement in educational conditions that the new building provided.

The 1937-1938 register did not require as much detail as this same report did in prior years. My new building was described as a frame structure heated by an ordinary stove. Three rooms are listed; rooms one and two each had 720 square feet, and the third room had 280 square feet, total 1,720 square feet.

The new building had “window board” ventilation and contained 24 single and 22 double patent desks. Water was provided by a sanitary well on the three-acre grounds valued at $300. Mr. Cook listed the value of my playground equipment as $25, while the building and “heating plant” were valued at $1,000.

At the beginning of the 1937-1938 school year, Mr. Cook recorded no usable books in the school library; one set was added during the school year at a cost of $65. Interestingly, Mr. Cook’s report stated there were no books at the end of the school year, though one hundred books were secured from state traveling libraries during the school year.

Mr. Cook’s register for 1937-1938 listed the following Daily Program of Work:

8:00 to 8:15 Chapel
8:15 to 9:30 English
9:30 to 10:00 English 8th
10:00 to 10:15 Recess
10:15 to 11:15 English 7, 6, & 5
11:15 to 12:00 Reading 8, 7, 6, & 5
12:00 to 1:00 Noon
1:00 to 1:30 7 + 8 Combined, 5 + 6 Combined
1:30 to 2:30 Geography (7 + 8 Combined, 6th)
2:30 to 2:45 Recess
2:45 to 3:00 Geography 5th
3:00 to 3:40 History 8th, 7th & 6th alternated)
3:00 to 4:00 Spelling

A note followed this schedule: “Practically all written work. This Program was not followed strictly as there was alternations in Health, History and Music.”

Mr. Cook’s “Record of the Year’s Work” is somewhat difficult to follow, though it includes the words “complete” or “completed” sixteen times. Obviously the curriculum in those days was dictated by the textbook, and the goal for the year seems to have been to complete each book for each subject in each grade. The “Record of Year’s Work” mentions “Arithmetic” and “Civics”, though the subjects are not listed in the “Daily Program of Work”.

In his “Teacher’s Record”, Mr. Cook described himself as an unmarried white male born on October 9, 1907 who was a permanent resident of Sharps Chapel. He listed his certification as “Permanent”, “Four Year” and his “Examination” as “Four Year”. He was both an elementary and high school graduate, with 122 college credits from the University of Tennessee and 12 college credits earned in the summer of 1934 from “S.T.C. Johnson City” (Dr. Mincey assumes this means “State Teachers College” located in Johnson City, Tennessee). Mr. Cook reported that he was “specifically prepared to teach . . . upper elementary”. In 1937-1938, Mr. Cook was serving Oak Grove as both the fourth through eighth grade teacher and principal of a “2-Teacher School”. Mr. Cook had six years prior experience earned in four different locations. Listing his number of dependents as “one” (Dr. Mincey assumes this would have been himself), the “length of term expected” was eight months with a monthly salary of $83.

A great number of teachers would serve parts of their careers at Oak Grove. The registers on file include the following teachers and the years taught:

Lelia Whited (1934-1936) O. F. Cook (1935-1938)
Lou Baker (1936-1940; 1942-1943) Lewis L. Bridges (1938-1941)
Vera Anderson (1940-1941) Billie Bailey Myers (1941-1942)
Edna Malone (1941-1942) Ruby Baker (1942-1943; 1957-1959)
Gwendolyn L. Lynch (1943-1944) Sarah Williams (1943-1944)
Glen Seals (1944-1945) Thomas Cole (1944-1946)
Ella Jean Davis (1945-1946) Anita Malone (1941-1942)
Mae Woods (1946-1948) Leon Dyke (1946-1947)
Georgina Moore (1948-1950) Emerson Ellison (1949-1950)
Maxine Clawson (1950-1951) Vera Stiner (1950-1956; 1963-1965)
Betty Sharp ((1951-1953) Allena Heath [Sharp] (1953-1956)
Esther Lou Shoffner (1956-1957) Alma Jean Kivett (1956-1957; 1961-1962)
Jo Anne Ellison (1957-1958) Louisa Riley (1958-1960)
Clyde Ellison (1959-1961) Wilma Lou Cole [Tolliver] (1960-1965)
Davis Wright (1962-1963)

Many of these teachers served Union County in other capacities. Additional information and pictures of teachers who served Oak Grove may be found in The Last Echo: A Pictorial History of Horace Maynard High School, Maynardville, Tennessee (Including Historical Data to 1997), compiled and edited by Kathleen George Graves and Lois Campbell Hartsell and 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 were at one time many one- and two-room small schools spread throughout Union County. Over the years, one by one we all closed, our teachers and students “consolidated” into the larger brick and cinder block schools. My last year of service as a public school was 1964-1965. The last teachers to teach at Oak Grove were Wilma Lou Cole Tolliver and Vera Stiner. Beginning in the fall of 1965, all students and teachers from Oak Grove were moved with those from Union, Big Sinks and Rush Strong schools into the brand new Sharps Chapel Elementary School which still serves the Sharps Chapel community today.

I served the Sharps Chapel area as a school in my first building for forty-one years and in my second for twenty-nine years. For many years my second building remained virtually unused. Through the efforts of Preservation Union County and untold hours of work and labor donated by many individuals too numerous to list here, my second building has been renovated and was dedicated to the public on September 30, 2017. Presently, one of the two former classrooms serves as the Sharps Chapel Book Station.

So, that’s my story. I’m 123 years old, on the first renovation of my second building, still serving the Sharps Chapel community. I have been so fortunate to have so many people who have loved, cared for and preserved me. So many of my brother and sister two room schools either no longer exist or are in a sad state of repair. But whether we live or die, old schools always live on in the memories of those who learned and worked there.

Please feel free to come and see me, and check out the Sharps Chapel Book Station. I love to entertain company and remind the public of the glories of the happy school days gone by.

So long for now. Next week, Dr. Mincey will be on his own again and will share a tail of fright and wonder.




Operation Christmas Child Event Set for Sept. 18

Operation Christmas Child Event Set for Sept. 18

Operation Christmas Child by Samaritan's Purse, that yearly effort to pack shoeboxes full of necessities for children in some of the world's most threatening situations, is a blessing for the recipients and donors alike.

Just ask Amie Winstead, Area Coordinator for the Operation Christmas Child Cumberland Pathway Team. She's been packing shoeboxes for nine years, and she says the effort "allows us to be foreign missionaries without leaving our hometowns."

Barbecue Event Upcoming for FFA Homecoming Candidate

Future Farmers of America homecoming queen candidate Savannah Jones

Savannah Jones is running for Union County High School's homecoming queen, representing the Horace Maynard Chapter of Future Farmers of America. But she's not in the competition for the glory or the crown. She's in it because she believes in the FFA and the benefits it gives students. The money she raises as a homecoming candidate will go right back into the FFA program.

Norris Lake Five County Cleanup

Norris Lake Cleanup at Oak Grove

The Norris Lake Project Team is looking for volunteers to help with the Fall Five County Norris Lake Cleanups on September 22nd, 29th and October 6th. “Since 2011, volunteers from the counties surrounding Norris Lake have picked up over 200 tons of trash,” said Stephanie Wells, Director of the Anderson County Tourism Council.

4-H Chickens Auctioned

Golden Comet Winners l to r - Chesney, Richardson, Eubanks, Holt, Sexton, Malone, Smith, Farmer

It is common knowledge that 4-H is a club for kids to learn valuable skills and get their hands dirty. This summer, fifteen Union County 4-Hers were busy carrying water, cleaning cages, and gathering eggs as they indulged in the 2018 Poultry Project. They each received twenty chicks in early March and raised the birds from one day old to young laying hens at twenty six weeks old.

When God Speaks

Terry Kirby

In my years as a journalist, I have had the privilege of meeting many authors. Only a few of those acknowledged God as their inspiration and as the One who impressed them to seek a specific writing goal. Dr. Terry L. Kirby is one of those few.

Kirby is an expository preacher, has been a senior pastor for almost twenty-five years and holds a doctorate in Expository Preaching from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He says the Lord gave him the idea for a different type of Bible.

In the World, Not of the World?

Archie Wilson

(As part of a series entitled “Out of the Skillet and Into the Fire”)

John 17:16
“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

Last time we concluded our 2-part article, JESUS FRIEND OF SINNERS, by pointing out that we should get out of our comfort zones and let our light shine. Someone’s life could be dependent upon you letting your light shine! If Jesus was a “friend of publicans and sinners,” shouldn’t we also do the same?

Crisp Molasses Cookies

Crisp Molasses Cookies

I like molasses. I remember when I was first married and living on the farm, Dad would sprinkle molasses on the milk cows' grain. They loved it. I was curious. The molasses was clean, so I tasted it. It had a better flavor than that you bought in the store back then or nowadays, for that matter. There was no reason not to use it, so I did. We ate a lot of gingerbread and molasses cookies until the molasses ran out. Of course, I didn't tell anybody where the molasses came from. Why bother? Nowadays, don't be concerned. I use Muddy Pond Sorghum when I can find it.

Cool, Man!

Ronnie Mincey

Mincey’s Musings
Year One, Week Thirty-Six

Many people follow the “five second rule”. It goes something like this—if something is dropped on the floor and remains less than five seconds, it is fine to retrieve for consumption by the human body. This holds especially true when referring to the last chip in the bag.

Jesus Picture

Jesus Picture

It’s not something I am too proud of, but I did it. Or rather I didn’t do it. You see, I got out of church for a while. After I started back, I realized I didn’t have any pictures of Jesus in the house. So, guess what I did next? Yep. I went Jesus picture shopping.

I looked at all kinds of Jesus pictures and none of them felt right. Finally, I found one that I really, really liked. That is until I looked at the price tag. You know, it just didn’t seem right to go in debt for it. I didn’t think Jesus would like that.

Identifying Pesky Poop

Bat Poop

I really enjoyed my career as a forester, partly because of the variety. It was rare that I did the same thing two days in a row. I could be walking in the woods collecting field data in the morning and be on a wildfire that afternoon. If you like routine, forestry is not for you. One unique task I did on occasion was identifying animal poop, especially when people would find droppings in their house and badly wanted to know what uninvited visitor left it.



Luttrell neighborhood watch

Thursday, September 20, 2018 - 19:00
Luttrell neighbourhood watch

Luttrell neighbourhood watch meeting every 3rd Tuesday at 7:00pm It takes place in the community building behind the library with speakers each month this can be a great tool for our community to assist one another in brotherly love by watching out for each other. If you need more information contact Jim Bailey at 865-809-4472

Thank you so much
Union County Sheriff's Office
130 veteran’s street suite B Maynardville Tennessee 37807
Phone 865-992-5212
Fax 865-992-2349

Free Eye Exams and Glasses!

Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 08:00

(South Claiborne County, Washburn, Powder Springs, and Corryton also welcome)
Sponsored by the Union County Lions Club
8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
150 Main Street, Maynardville, TN 37807 (Union County High School)
Call Kathy Chesney at (865) 566-3289
Glasses will be distributed 2-3 weeks after this event.
Sponsored by the Union County Lions Club,
In conjunction with the Smokey Mountains Lions Charities.

Hogskin Festival

Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 11:00
Spinning wheel

On Saturday, September 29th, Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center will hold its 19th annual Hogskin History Day Celebration from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This event is family friendly and provides a fun way to celebrate the rich culture and history of our Hogskin Valley community in Grainger County. Event attractions include local musicians, artists, artisans, and historians; children’s activities; exhibits of alternative technology; tours of Narrow Ridge’s eco-friendly facilities and Natural Burial Preserve; a silent auction; good food; and a variety of local vendor and display booths.


Melvin Corum

Melvin Corum – age 78 of Maynardville, passed away peacefully at his home with his loving wife of 60 years by his side on Saturday, September 15, 2018. He was a member of Fellowship Christian Church in Luttrell. He especially loved the yearly fall festival and The Life of Christ drive thru exhibit. Melvin was a dirt track race car driver and won many championship races during his career. His latest hobby was restoring vintage cars and trucks.

Glen C. Carmon, Sr.

Glen C. Carmon, Sr.-age 72 of Maynardville passed away Monday morning, September 17, 2018 at Willow Ridge Center. Glen was a member of Fairview Baptist Church and a U. S. Army Veteran. Preceded in death by parents, Thurman and Hester Carmon; brother, Ed Carmon; sister, Ina Carmon.

Survivors: son, Carroll Carmon of Maynardville; daughter, Jennifer Buckner and husband, Tony of Luttrell; three grandchildren, Kali Buckner, Caleb Carmon and Christian Carmon; sisters, Mary Campbell, Marie Johnson and Betty Williams, all of Maynardville. Several nieces and nephews.

George David "Dave" Murphy

George “Dave” David Murphy, Sr., age 63, of Powell went to be with the Lord on September 16, 2018. He was a member of Central View Baptist Church. He enjoyed farming, raising pigs, and working. He adored his grandchildren. He loved helping people, as he would give you his last of anything. He was a selfless man of God. Preceded in death by parents Hobert and Christine Murphy; and brother Phillip Murphy. Survived by his wife of 45 years Kathy Murphy; children David Murphy, Jr.

Ermon T. Bullen, Jr.

Ermon T. Bullen, Jr.-May 2, 1932-Sept 14, 2018 of Corryton, known by everyone as Junior Bullen originally from Washburn, born to the late Ermon T. Bullen, Sr and Hila Johnson Bullen. Preceded in death by the love of his life of 58 years, Mildred Marsee Bullen. Junior was an Army Veteran and retired maintenance man from Claiborne County Hospital. He also loved traveling with Mamaw, watching grandkids and great grandkids at sporting events, plays and such and faithfully attended church where he was a member at Union Missionary Baptist Church.

Carl Edward Fielden

Carl Edward Fielden, age 84 of Halls Crossroads, peacefully entered into his eternal rest in the presence of his Lord Jesus Christ on September 15, 2018. Saved by God's merciful grace as a young man, Carl was a faithful member of Emory Valley Baptist Church. He served his country in the United States Air Force, honorably. He retired from Fairmont Supply located in Nashville, Tennessee. Preceded in death by parents Hobert and Amy Fielden, son Greg Fielden, all of Heiskell, sister Ann Tudor of Manchester, sister Geneieve Humphrey and brother Rev. Glen Fielden, all of Knoxville.

Raymond Eugene Clark

Raymond Eugene Clark age 71, of Knoxville went to be with with his Heavenly Father on Thursday, September 13, 2018 at his home surrounded by family. He was a member of Texas Valley Baptist Church. Raymond lived most of his life in the Halls Community and was an avid sports fan of all Halls community and school sports teams. He was often thought of as the Honorary “Mayor” and Cheerleader of the Halls Community. Preceded in death by parents; Jack Raymond and Allene Wooten Clark. Survivors; sisters, Rosalee Clark Highland and Diane Clark Woods. Brother; Phillip David Clark.

James Warren "J.W." Hughes

James Warren "J.W." Hughes, age 82, of Halls Crossroads went to his heavenly home, Thursday morning, surrounded by his family. He was a member of Fairview Freewill Baptist Church. He served in the U.S. Army and retired from Jefferson Smurfit Corp. J.W. loved the outdoors; hunting, fishing and camping.

He is preceded in death by parents, C.M and Mary Hughes; and brother-in-law, Leon Spangler.

Mitchell Elvis Kitts

Mitchell Elvis Kitts-age 62 of Luttrell passed away suddenly Saturday, September 8, 2018 while away in Florida for work.

Mitchell was a Journeyman painter who took pride in his craft. He was employed by Larry Mitchell Painting Company. Over the years he coached his son’s youth baseball teams in the Knoxville Area. He was an avid fisherman and loved spending time with his boys on the lake.

Myrtle Anne Covington

Myrtle Anne Covington-age 59 of Sevierville passed away Sunday, September 9, 2018 at Physicians Regional Medical Center with her husband by her side. Those who knew Ann will remember her kindness and sense of humor. She was a member of Walnut Hill Baptist Church.

Velma Lozena Dyer Davis

Velma Lozena Dyer Davis, age 87, born at home on April 9, 1931 in Luttrell, TN and passed away on September 8, 2018 after losing her battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She retired from Standard Knitting Mill. Velma was a member of Greenway Baptist Church for over 60 years and a member of the Golden Circle Sunday School Class. She loved her garden, especially picking and canning her green beans. Her life was spent caring for other people, especially her family who she loved with all her heart.

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