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.



Agriculture Creates Opportunity

Agriculture Creates Opportunity

One of the most important ways to invest in the future of agriculture is to invest in the people who will become tomorrow’s agriculture industry leaders. Students pursuing the agriculture industry often look for careers in planning, implementation, production, management, processing, education, or marketing ag products and services. Tennessee Department of Education predicts that over 60,000 high-skilled agricultural jobs open annually in the United States with just around 35,400 graduates in the Ag, Food, and Natural Resources program studies to fill the openings.

Homer Johnson Stays Busy with Backyard Farm

Homer Johnson on his small farm in Halls

Who says you have to give up farm life if you move to a subdivision?

Not Homer Johnson. Born in Union County and now living in the Cedar Chase subdivision in Halls, Johnson has kept farming and selling his produce. Just this year, he sold 1,500 ears of peaches and cream corn, along with sweet potatoes, okra, tomatoes, peppers, watermelon and cantaloupe. All this is thanks to a lot of just over two acres he bought from Knox County. It sits in the floodplain and has a TVA easement running through it, so a vegetable garden is just about all he could do with it.

Start By Believing Pledge

Rachel "Liz" Stiner

Did you know that every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S.? Many survivors of this abuse do not say anything because they are afraid no one will believe them. Often times a survivor will tell a friend or family member and they are accused of lying or "asking" to be assaulted. As the Sexual Assault Advocate and SART Coordinator for the Union County area I am taking the 'Start By Believing" Pledge to show that I am fully committed to believing each and every person that comes to me as a current victim or survivor.

Winter Tree Pruning


Winter is a good time to prune most trees because they are dormant and their leaves are off, making it easier to see how the branches are laid out. Here are some general guidelines to help keep your trees healthier and more attractive.


Coming in the Clouds


Mark 13:26
“And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.”

In Matthew 13:26, what did Jesus mean by the “coming in the clouds” part of His statement? Three of the four Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark and Luke) all record Jesus’ discussion with His disciples in what is commonly referred to by theologians as “The Olivet Discourse”. We are not going to keep you in suspense, “coming in the clouds” is a figure of speech, or metaphor for Judgement. More specifically the word, “clouds” in this context is a Biblical Metaphor for Judgement.

Baked Doughnuts

Baked Doughnuts

I have had this recipe for years. I love doughnuts, either cake or yeast. I don't eat them much any more. They quickly add pounds to this old frame. With no exercise and a healthy appetite, Anne limits my diet as best she can. However, sometimes we do splurge.

Krispy Creme is on my “do not even look that way” list as we drive by. I do sneak sweets at Revival Vision Church of God's Sunday morning coffee hour before Sunday School. Pat Hunt makes some tasty goodies.

Beach Dental Floss

Brooke Cox

My family and I have had many adventures in Ormond Beach. One is still burned into my memory.

Ormond Beach is like a home away from home for us. When we go down there to visit my step brother and sisters in October, we seem to hit Bike week. It is held in Daytona Beach, which is right below Ormond.

Marinated Vegetable Salad

Marinated Vegetable Salad

New Years 2019 is here ready to start us on another year long adventure. Black eyed peas are supposed to bring good luck. Maybe so, but they taste good anyway. Here is an easy recipe to make. You probably already have the ingredients in your pantry. No need to trudge out to Food City. Let's get marinating!


Need A Ride To Church

Sunday, January 20, 2019 - 10:00
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

Babies and Bagels Program at Luttrell Public Library

Monday, January 21, 2019 - 10:30

Every Tuesday at 10:30 am (unless closed due to holiday) Luttrell Public Library volunteer, Celeste Lanzon, teaches and inspires babies to Pre-K students (siblings are welcome) to learn and engage in fun activities including music and movement and always a story. Highly qualified, Mrs. Celeste has an education degree and professional teaching experience, so that your child is benefiting immensely during this program.

Wine and Canvas with Betty Bullen

Thursday, January 24, 2019 - 18:00

Betty is teaching another wonderful Wine and Canvas Class! This class we will be painting Red Breasted Blue Birds!

Sip on some wine and learn to paint from one of Union Counties best! Supplies are included.

Tickets are only $35 and must be purchased in advance by calling (865) 745-2902 or by coming into The Winery.

Seating is limited and fills up very fast so make sure you reserve your ticket today!

Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

Thursday, January 31, 2019 - 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!" For more information please contact Kathy Chesney at 865-566-3289.

Wine and Design

Thursday, January 31, 2019 - 18:00

Join us at The Winery for a fun Wine and Design event.
During this class, get ready for Valentine's Day by painting
and crafting a wine bottle and wooden love sign. The class is only
$25 and includes all the materials needed as well as a glass
of wine or juice. Seating is limited and tickets must be purchased
in advance by calling The Winery at (865)745-2902.

Class starts at 6 so please come early to taste our wines and choose your favorite.


Rosemary Gail (Wilkerson) Johnson Obituary

Rosemary Gail (Wilkerson) Johnson, of Halls/Plainview, went to be with our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ on Friday January 18, 2019. Rosemary spent 4 years fighting a rare mantle cell lymphoma. Rosemary loved her family, was a believer in Christ, an animal lover, and an all-around genuine person. She was preceded in death by her loving parents, Roy & Mary Lynn Wilkerson; father in law, Raymond Johnson; and brother in law Ray Johnson.

Obituary of Lloyd Russell Lee Sr.

Lloyd Russell Lee Sr., age 68, of Knoxville, Tn was born July 6, 1950 and departed this earthly life on January 17, 2019 to gain his new body in heaven. His life was filled with the love of Nascar, Semi-Trucks, and Family. Lloyd was a self employed over the road truck driver for his entire life to provide for his ever-growing family. Married to Sandra “Sandy” Lee on January 4th 1969, they shared their love of 50 years with their 3 sons Rusty (spouse Mary Duso), Jimmy (wife April), and Billy (spouse Becky Litton).

Ted George Jones

Ted Jones, age 67, of Knoxville passed away on January 17, 2019. He was a bus operator for Knoxville Area Transit for over 43 years, and a member of Amalgamated Transit Union. He was a member of West Side Baptist church. Preceded in death by parents George & Neoma Jones, grandparents William Ellis & Flora Shuemaker, father-in-law Jack Jones.

Nathan Samuel Davis

Nathan Samuel Davis – age 23 of Maynardville, passed away Sunday, January 13, 2019.

He is survived by his parents, Luther and Julia Davis; and sister, Gabriela Eby.

A celebration of life service is being planned for a later date. Trinity Funeral Home, LLC, Maynardville, has the honor to serve the family of Nathan Davis. 865-992-5002

Edward Robert Collette

Edward Robert Collette went to be with his Lord and Savior January 10th, 2019.
Ed was born September 19, 1964. Ed graduated the University of Florida with a degree in Environmental Engineering. He was elected and served as international president of the honor society Phi Theta Kappa. He loved the ocean and spent a better part of his life on the beaches in Florida. His hobbies included fishing, scuba diving, body building, hunting and wood working.

Jack Ray Bohanan

Jack Ray Bohanan, age 78 of Powell, passed away peacefully on January 16, 2019 surrounded by his family and close friends.
He was a longtime member and deacon of Smithwood Baptist Church.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Jack and Ruby Bohanan; father and mother-in-law, LeRoy and Nellene Buckner; and brother, Jerry Bohanan.

Jason Shane Hubbs Jr.

Jason Shane Hubbs Jr., age 31, went home to be with his heavenly father January 13, 2019 while surrounded by his family and friends at UT Hospital, due to an automobile accident. He is preceded in death by his papaw and grandmaw Marvin and Twila DeCost, papaw Joe T. Hubbs; uncles Jeff Humphrey, Tony Hubbs, and Steve Buckner. Jason was the son of Jason and Crystal Hubbs and was the most amazing brother to Dustin, Justin, and Autumn. He was also the most amazing, loving, and caring father. His whole world was his son Cason Shane Hubbs.

Barbara E. Acuff

Barbara E. (Hunter) Acuff-age 88 of Corryton passed away Monday, January 14, 2019 at North Knoxville Medical Center. She was a member of Clear Branch Baptist Church. Preceded in death by husband, Bill Acuff, parents, Clarence and Mossie (Wallace) Hunter; sisters, Geniva and Roy Burnett; Elise and Ken Beeler, Wanda and Don Beeler, Lois and Heral Kitts, Joyce Williams, brothers, Author, Earl, Ralph and Paul Hunter.

Survivors: sister, Carolyn (Leroy) Hensley of Luttrell; special sister-in-law, Lorene Hunter of Knoxville; several nieces and nephews along with a host of friends.

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