Remembering Fiddler "Bitt" Rouse
Palmer Stiner “Bitt” Rouse
1923 - 2007
The Fiddler has Played his last Tune.
The fiddler has played his last tune for the night, but Bitt Rouse will not soon be forgotten. Most people would not know of whom you were speaking when you mentioned Palmer Stiner Rouse, because nearly all his life he was known by his nickname. My sister, Dorothy Kitts, had him as a 5th grade student at the old Rush Strong School in Lead Mine Bend. Then he was called “Bitty” Rouse because he was so small for his age, but he grew to quite a tall man. The nickname was shortened to “Bitt.”
Music was Bitt’s life. Of course he farmed, ran a sawmill and other things for a living, but music was his life. When called on to play, he was always so gracious and so willing to participate without pay to make an event successful. One of my dreams is that the time will come when Union County musicians can and will be paid for their wonderful talent and hours of practice. A few Union County musicians have achieved that–Roy Acuff, Chet Atkins, Chet’s brother Jimmy Atkins, Carl Smith and Kenny Chesney -but they had to leave Union County to do it. Many of our wonderful musicians have chosen to stay home.
Bitt Rouse was a mentor and a source of encouragement to many younger Union County musicians. His group was known as the Union County Ramblers, and play they did. Earl Bull, whose band played at the funeral, recalled how gentle and encouraging he was. Earl said, if you missed a note, Bitt would just say, “Don’t worry about it–you’ll get it the next time.”
Bitt lost part of his right hand to an accident in 1979. His right arm was caught in a corn-picking machine, and it was several hours before anyone heard his cry for help. Myrel Dykes recalled visiting Bitt at the hospital and he asked her to rub his aching arm, which she did for two or three hours. With determination, rehab and a custom-made prosthesis to enable him to hold his bow he continued to make music to the end. I’m told that his friend Roy Acuff was helpful in getting a local orthopedist to make the prosthesis. When Roy vacationed at Cedar Grove–as he frequently did–Bitt, Roy and Pete Sanders fished together by day and played music at night. This began before telephoning was so easy, so Roy would sing “Down in Union County” as a clue to Bitt and Pete that he was headed to Union County.
The Earl Bull Band gave Bitt quite a send off at his funeral. Ernest Graves, who used to play with Bill Monroe, played guitar; John Ingle of Jonesville, Virginia, played guitar and sang tenor; Marvin Lipe of Rogersville played mandolin and sang baritone; Larry Cadle of Harrogate played fiddle; Charlie Blade of Johnson City played standing bass; and Earl, of course, played banjo and sang lead. The group rendered Bitt’s favorites, Old Brush Arbor, Angel Band, and Uncle Penn improvised to “Uncle Bitt.” Jan Daniels “Janiper” Longmire, who is a dear friend of Bitt’s niece, Phyllis, honored him with the following poem. Bitt nicknamed her “Janiper”:
Tune up that old fiddle, Uncle Bitt, that’s what we’d always say,
It’s Saturday night at old Rush Strong. Let’s dance with night away.
Tune up that old fiddle, Uncle Bitt, there’s a crowd gathered ‘round,
All waiting just to pat their feet at your fiddle’s striking sound.
Play Golden Slippers, Uncle Bitt, play Down Yonder too!
Play Uncle Penn and Old Joe Clark, and we will dance for you.
Tune up that old fiddle, Uncle Bitt, how we’ll miss those words so dear,
How will we ever dance again without you and your fiddle here?
Tune up that old fiddle, Uncle Bitt, for your journey to Heaven so fair
To meet with greats like Bill Monroe and play in that Bluegrass band there.
Tune up that old fiddle, Uncle Bitt, and play Amazing Grace,
Play Jesus Hold My Hand, as you look upon His face.
Tune up that old Fiddle, Uncle Bitt, for that greatest Bluegrass Band,
And our hearts will still be listening while you rest in Jesus’ Hands.
Jan Daniels Longmire,
Used by Permission
The evening Bitt died, Saturday night, November 24, 2007, he had gone up to the Rush Strong School building to build a fire to have the building warm for another Saturday night hoedown. He died at the place he loved and where he had brought much joy to the neighbors with his music.
Bitt was laid to rest in his beloved coveralls at Taylor’s Grove Cemetery. This Union County Rambler will surely be missed!
Picture caption –Palmer Stiner “Bitt” Rouse
Historians will record 2018 as the second year in a row of a balanced budget for Union County; likely the most significant legislative accomplishment of the County Commission in a generation. Union County’s budget is one of the most important pieces of public policy the Commission enacts every year.
My husband's widowed mother married her former brother-in-law in our living room. Uncle Charlie had hurt his leg putting down our well on the property of what was to be our new home, closer to my husband's work. The minister said it wasn't written anywhere that you had to stand to be married. We were all seated.
Back to the well. The water table was high at the new place. We didn't need to drill a well, Uncle Charlie said. He would help us pound down a well. It was cheaper to do than drilling a well. The three of us could do it.
Some spices I am privileged to experience from the side line.
That spring evening, my daughter Sara’s softball team was playing the number one, undefeated team in their league. The other team were all 12 years old whereas Sara’s teammates were barely 10. We went in with no illusions of victory. If we were lucky, we may get one run.
At the top of the third inning, Sara went up to bat. At this point, none of ours girls had made it to first base, which was no surprise. At least they looked cute in their red, white, and blue outfits.
The pitcher threw. Sara swung.
I remember when I worked full time in a sewing factory. My mind would wander while sewing. After you do the same stitching over and over, it doesn't take all your attention to do the job. My mind would wander to wondering what I would fix for supper that evening. My kids were in the lower grades in school and came home about the same time I did. They had a long bus ride.
When you run across a snake, their normal reaction is to get away. But if they feel threatened enough all snakes will bite defensibly. If you are bitten, here are some recommended first aide treatments.
Try to determine if it’s venomous or not. If you’re confident it’s not you can treat the bite like you would a puncture wound. Check with your doctor to see if you might need a tetanus shot booster.
"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
The next regular workshop and meeting of the Union County Board of Education will be held on Thursday, July 26, 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.
REGULAR WORKSHOP UNION COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION THURSDAY, JULY 26, 2018 6:00 p.m. Union County High School
1. Discuss School Trips
· None at Time of Publication
2. Budget Amendments and Transfers/Director’s Monthly Report—Ann Dyer
Prayer Meeting for Community Worship & Revival
Thursday July 26 7:00 pm at the ball field in Luttrell is a special prayer meeting asking all the Churches to come join us in prayer for the Lord to guide us in the upcoming Community Worship & Revival scheduled for July 30 through August 1, 2018. Praying together unites us in a common goal of winning souls for Christ.
On February 22, 2018, A Call To Prayer was made in the Luttrell Community. Several community pastor agreed to go back to their respective churches and call on their members to pray for the Lord to guide in an effort to unite our churches with a common goal of a Community Worship & Revival leading folks to Jesus the only begotten son of God.
I would like to take a minute to invite you all to the Annual Youth and Corn Fest at the Union County Farmers Market. There will be an abundance of fresh produce, local crafters, children’s activities and games, corn history, crafts, and so much more. Also, this is a great opportunity for youth in grades 4-12 to showcase their arts and crafts in a fair-like entry. See attached entry form for categories and deadlines.
CONTACT BBERGERO@UTK.EDU WITH ALL ENTRIES AND QUESTIONS
Euawana G. Wolfenbarger, of (Halls) Knoxville, TN, passed away on July 18, 2018, at the age of 75. She was preceded in death by husband Henry L. Wolfenbarger, son Richard Shane Wolfenbarger, mother Grace Gann, and in-laws. She is survived by son Gary A. Wolfenbarger of Knoxville, TN, daughter Susan A. Carter and husband John Carter of Pensacola, FL, brothers Raymond and Anthony Gann, sisters Linda Tatum, Glenda Warren, and Bobbie Jo Cawood,4 grandsons, several nieces and nephews, and was known as “Mamaw” to many others.
Jacob Lee Foust, Sr.-age 62 of Maynardville passed away Friday, July 20, 2018 at his home. He was a member of Grace Full Gospel Baptist Church. Preceded in death by parents, Leonard W. and Agnes Foust; brothers, Wilford Frank and Norman Foust; sister, Anna Jane Foust, mother-in-law, Lucy M. Stafford.
Melvin E. Ingram, age 79 of Knoxville, passed away July 17, 2018. Family will receive friends 6:00-8:00pm Friday July 20, 2018 at Mynatt Funeral Home Fountain City Chapel with service to follow. Family and friends will meet 10:45am Saturday July 21, 2018 at Pleasant Piney Grove Cemetery in Strawberry Plains for an 11:00am interment. Please leave online condolences at www.mynattfh.com
Sandra “Sandy” Jean Estep passed away Friday July 20, 2018 at West Hills Health and Rehab Center. She was preceded in death by mother Helen G. Estep, father Paul D. Estep and brother Danny G. Estep. She is survived by sister Ann Estep Jones, niece Amy Norman Logan (Rhodes), nephew Dale Norman (Melissa), great-nieces Lindsey, Tessa and Wendy; great-nephew Alex, and special friend Brenda Jenkins. Family will receive friends 5:00-7:00pm Tuesday July 24, 2018. Family and friends will meet 10:45am Wednesday July 25, 2018 at Greenwood Cemetery for an 11:00am graveside service.
Benny went to sit on the lap of his LORD and SAVIOR Saturday July 14, 2018 at children's hospital.
Benny our sweet angel is the son of April King. Grandson to Sherri and Matt Bridges. Benny was also a brother to Kyle King and Jesse Perry. Great Grandchild of Barbara Brown along with Ronnie and Tina Bridges. Benny was the nephew of Alley King, Jacob King, Ethan Muehliesen, Leah Bridges, Isaiah Bridges, Faith Bridges and Noah Bridges.
Proceeded in death by great grandfather W.L. Carmon Our love for our sweet Benny will forever be. Always our sweet Angel!!
Donald H. Norris-age 64 of Maynardville passed away Monday morning, July 16, 2018 at his home. He was a member of Cedar Grove Baptist Church. Preceded in death by parents, Roy and Maude E. Norris; brother, David Norris.
Barbara Kay “Momma” Burkhert, age 72, went to be with the Lord on July 15, 2018. She had 3 kids, John J. Viglasky, Liesa Canupp, and Greg Viglasky. She also had 3 grandkids Ashley Taylor, Stacey Canupp, Taylor Viglasky, as well as, 4 great-grandkids. Family will receive friends 5:00-7:00pm Thursday July 19, 2018 at Mynatt Funeral Home Halls Chapel with service to follow. Family and friends will meet 10:45am Friday July 20, 2018 at Fort Sumter Cemetery for and 11:00am interment. Please leave online condolences at www.mynattfh.com
LaVerne McLain Cummings, of Knoxville, suddenly went to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Wednesday, July 11th, 2018 at Parkwest Hospital. Preceded in death by parents Ed and Mildred McLain, grandson Chad Breeden, and sister Sandra Leach. Survived by loving husband Harlan J. Cummings, daughter Angelia (Bob) Love, son Brent Cox, grandson whom she raised Matthew (Amber) Cox, granddaughters Amanda Dykes and Brittney Russell, sisters Faye (Roger) Neff and Burlene Tolman, as well as 6 great grandkids. She was looking forward to seeing her great grandson Grantley expected in August.
Michael Ernest Smith – age 53 of Maynardville, passed away suddenly Saturday, July 8, 2018.
Michael is preceded in death by his parents, Ernest and Mary Smith; and sister, Barbara Smith. He is survived by his son, Daniel; sister, Debra (Stacy) Lynn; special niece, Emily; special nephews, Derrick and Aaron Lynn; several aunts, uncles and other nieces and nephews.