Memories of the Timothy Community
Johnnie Denton Freedle, of Portland, TN, is the daughter of the late Christine Maynord Denton and husband Thomas Woodrow “Woody” Denton who both grew up in Overton County. Johnnie has shared the following memories her mother had of living in the Timothy Community of Overton County. I’m sure many will remember fondly her mother’s descriptions of the places and people who lived in that community. Johnnie writes as follows:
Christine Maynord, born in 1926, grew up in the community of Timothy located on Highway 52 halfway between Livingston, Overton County and Celina, Clay County, Tennessee, about 10 miles either direction. She remembers it as a busy little community with many wonderful hard working people, a great place to live. Christine lived next door to the General Merchandise Store that seemed to be the hub of the community, owned by her grandfather, William Linzy Maynord and parents, (Stanford “Stant” and Etta May (Eldridge) Maynord). She married in 1942, as many young people did after the United States entered World War II and the uncertainty of life became evident. After the war she moved away but still has family roots there and wonderful memories. I will try to record her memories accurately and apologize for any mistakes or omissions that I might make.
Maynord’s General Merchandise Store
The store seemed to be an important gathering place in the community, a place to catch up on the news while picking up supplies. They carried a wide variety of merchandise–groceries, hardware, clothing, boots and fabric. What they didn’t have, they could order. Stant and May both worked in the store, but May spent more time there as Stant helped out a lot at his father’s Saw Mill. Dee Maynord worked in the store. He could possibly have been a part owner because later on he moved to Rickman and opened a store of his own. Dolphous Maynord also worked there; he later went to college at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville. I’m not sure of the relationship between these Maynords. Stant had only one sibling, Myrtie who married Ridley Hunter. At some point the original building burned and another smaller one was built on the same site. The second store building is still standing and is a sad reminder of the once thriving community. After the Maynord’s gave up the store, Bill Buford took over and later on Bryan Chilton ran the store.
William Linzy Maynord’s Saw Mill
The sawmill was on the left across from the general merchandise store. It too was an important part of the community. Christine remembers the huge circular blade used to saw the big logs. It took a great deal of skill to operate it safely and properly. Hoy Clark possessed this skill. Hoy lived back toward Allons next to Bethel Church. Will Linzy owned a lot of land in the area and a lot of the land on which Standing Stone State Park and Lake was built, so he had access to a lot of forest land to clear. Christine remembers her Dad (Stant) and Hoy Clark frequently carrying truckloads of lumber to Nashville to sell. She said the trucks would be so heavily loaded that the front wheels would lift off the ground until they got enough speed to get rolling. Will Linzy Maynord also served as the Registrar as he was responsible for recording all births, deaths, etc for the community. He was a well-respected man in the community. Christine remembers it being said of him that he could write a check on a scrap of brown paper bag and the bank would accept it.
In the early days of telephone service in rural areas, offices consisted of a switchboard located in private homes. For Timothy, it was located in the living room of Will Linzy Maynord’s house located to the left up behind the general store. The house is still standing. Christine remembers the switchboard as a board approximately 3 by 4 feet and was operated by Alta “Altee” Danner Maynord, Will’s wife. It was a party-line situation where everyone could listen if they picked up. Christine doesn’t know how large an area it served. For entertainment, Christine said she and her sisters would wind up (no electricity) the Victorola (record player), call their cousins and friends and play music over the telephone.
Danner’s Grist Mill
James Monroe “Jim” Danner ran the grist mill for the community. People would bring their corn to be ground into meal. It was located near the general merchandise store. Jim Danner was Christine’s step-greatgrandfather. His wife was the widow of his brother, Francis Marion Danner, and she was Will Linzy Maynord’s mother-in-law. After Jim retired, Dillard Buck took over the operation of the mill. Dillard sold the mill in about 1937 and became a traveling salesman for Watkin’s Products. It was important in those days to have all the things sold through Watkins: salves, flavorings, spices, dinnerware, etc. delivered to your home. Dillard was married to Vera Maynord Buck, Christine’s older sister.
Ed and Edith Bilbrey’s Grocery
The Bilbreys operated a store on down the road toward Celina across from McFerrin Methodist Church. They sold mainly groceries.
Timothy Post Office
In her earliest memories, Christine said the post office was located in a small building next to “Dib” Price and his wife’s home and they were the postmasters. It was on the right as you turn off Hwy 52 onto the road that goes through Concord to Hilham. When Standing Stone Park was built both buildings were cleared to make room for the entrance to the park. “Dib” Price and his wife. had three children, a girl born approximately 1918 and two sons, Bill and Otis.
The post office was then moved into Ed and Edith Bilbrey’s Grocery and they became the postmasters.
Standing Stone State Park and Lake
The building of the park by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) brought many jobs to the area during the Great Depression. The park included 11,000 acres within a triangle of roads connecting Livingston, Gainesboro, and Celina. At one time approximately 500 men were working there. Men built roads and check dams with dirt scoops pulled by mules. Christine remembers truckloads of men brought in everyday from surrounding towns, Alpine, Wilder, Livingston, Hilham, etc. to work on the construction. Zel King was the main boss on the project. Two of the other bosses were Buford Stone and ? McDonald. A paymaster office was set up in Maynord’s General Merchandise Store as it was right across the road from the entrance. Many workers would come by either to pick up their pay or to buy cheese and crackers, bologna sandwiches and cold drinks for lunch. One worker told the little girl, Christine, he would never forget her. One day she was talking to the man as she was standing near the potbellied stove unaware she was coming down with the mumps…Not long after that he came down with the mumps and had a difficult time. Christine couldn’t help but hang out in the store as she and her family lived in part of the store building at that time. There was a kitchen, four bedrooms– two upstairs and two down, and a family area. It also had a porch on the back.
An article in the History of Overton Co., Vol I, 1992, states that the Park laborers could only work 140 hours per month and were paid from $19.00 to $40.00 per month depending on their skill. Large limestone rock columns, hand chiseled by the men from a quarry on site, were constructed on each side of the entrance to the park and marked the sides of the roads. (These possibly have been torn down and newer ones built in their place.)
When Christine’s parents first married, they lived in an area now covered by the Standing Stone Lake. Her sister, Lydia Lorene Gentry (Mrs. Fay), often joked that she was born in the middle of the lake. I assume her two older siblings Vera and Mitchell were also born there. There is an area in the park about halfway between Timothy and Hilham called Concord. Other than a few homes the only thing there is a well-kept cemetery. Christine’s maternal grandparents, John Hampton and Myrtie (Burchett) Eldridge and great grandparents, William Carroll and Lannie Emiline (Howard) Burchett are buried there along with 50 or so others.
Bethel Church and Cemetery
Christine said the family moved to the farm at some point during the depression years, it was a couple of miles from Timothy toward Allons, near the Bethel Church. This may have been the home of Jim and Sina Danner as they lived in this area. It was important at that time to have space to raise the animals and grow the crops one needed to survive. Most country folk didn’t feel the effect of the depression as much as people living in towns who didn’t have the space to provide for themselves from the land.
Christine had a younger sister, Geneva, who died in June of 1935 at the age of three. Will Linzy Maynord gave land to the church as a burial place for his granddaughter so she was the first to be buried in the Bethel Church Cemetery. His mother-in-law Sina Jane (Peterman) Danner was buried there in 1938. Many other family members have been buried there since, along with other members of the community. I would say there are at least 50 people buried there and it is well kept. The Church building is now gone, I believe the congregation joined with another in the Allons area; there is another cemetery named Bethel. I don’t know its connection or location.
McFerrin Methodist Church and Timothy Church of Christ
Both these churches were active when Christine was a girl located a mile or two from the general store toward Celina and were important to the life of the community. These churches generally didn’t have full time pastors but a “Circuit Rider” that traveled around preaching to different country churches Sundays on a regular schedule. Lay people would lead the services on the alternating Sundays. Not only were the churches places of spiritual training they meant a lot to the social life of the community as well. Being escorted home by a special beau (walking, of course) after an evening service was something to eagerly anticipate. Easter was always a special time of celebration at church. Saturdays were spent cooking, preparing dishes and dyeing boiled eggs, then on Sunday after services the dishes were spread for “dinner on the ground” for the community and an Easter egg hunt for the children.
Timothy Elementary School
The school at Timothy was named Fairview. It is remembered as a two-room schoolhouse housing the first through eighth grades. It was located maybe a mile down the road from the General Store towards Celina. Christine said she walked from 2 to 3 miles depending on where they lived and she added, “We didn’t have snow days”. Some of the teachers were Claude Carr, Thomas Woodrow Denton. After completing the eighth grade, most children in the community road the bus to Livingston to attend Livingston Academy. After completing the eighth grade, most children in the community rode the bus to Livingston to attend Livingston Academy. Odetta Hunter remembers that the stone entrance to the park was the place where the children of that community had to walk to in order to catch the bus. That’s as far as the bus traveled. It would turn around there and head back on Highway 52, left through Palestine, Hunter Cove and back out at Allons store and on into Livingston. Often times water would be across the graveled road, and if the bus got stuck, the children had to get out and help push. The families had to pay a fee to ride and in the early days, the bus consisted of the back of a truck. The driver prepared the bed of his truck with places for the children to sit and a place to hold their books. The stone pillars were also the gathering place for the young people of the community to “hang out’ and watch the traffic go by.
All of the families were very important to the close knit community and since in some cases she couldn’t remember all the first names or the names of all the children she thought it best to just list some last names and hope she didn’t omit anyone:
Bilbrey, Buck, Buford, Burchett, Carmack, Chilton, Clark, Danner, Davis, Gentry, Holman, Maynord, Peterman, Price, Robbins, Smith, Sullivan, and Upton.