April 23, 2014 - 15:32
Polk County Heritage - 10-23-2013

Related Articles
Views: 669
Print E-mail
More Letters to Newt Rogers in Texas
More Letters to Newt Rogers in Texas

by Marian Bailey Presswood, Polk County Historian

William Henry Williamson, son of John Coffee and Susan Jane Bible was married to Ida Mae Williamson, and they had one daughter, Margaret. He wrote many letters to Newton Rogers in Texas over a period of about ten years, and requested that Newt send them back to him to use to write his history of Polk County.  At least those are the ones that were saved and shared with us many years ago by Sue Williamson Crawford, whose grandfather was a brother to Uncle Billy.  One of our faithful and long time members, Judy Michaels, who lives out in California, transcribed them and added an index for us, which makes it so much easier to find mention of anyone.
We ended last week’s article with a letter telling about the water backing up from the construction of Parksville Lake and Dam, and this week he mentions the electricity being turned on for the first time. Can you imagine how exciting and awesome that must have been? No, it wasn’t here in Polk County, for he wrote, “The Power Company at Parksville is furnishing Cleveland and Chattanooga with electricity, and the dam is full of water, and pouring over!  I haven’t been to Parksville, but am going when the roads get smooth.”
It wasn’t until the 14th of January 1917 that he wrote, “At 20 minutes to six o’clock last night, January 13, 1917, the electric current was turned on in Benton. The town boys yelled so loud when the little city was first lighted up by electricity that we heard them all the way to my house, and I phoned down and learned what they were all rejoicing about.”
That didn’t mean a thing to those of us who lived even a mile away from Benton, as my family did. It took a while to form cooperatives, build the power lines and get houses wired. In fact, if I remember correctly, we didn’t get electricity at our house until about 1948, which was twelve or more years after the Rural Electrification Act of 1935.  And even then we only had one light bulb in the ceiling of each room, with a string or chain hanging down to turn it on and off. The only outlet was one in the kitchen in hopes of someday being able to afford a refrigerator, and one in the living room for the radio. We had no clue that we would ever have anything else that needed to be ‘plugged in.’
September 1913: “Brad Kimbrough was killed at Parksville dam #2 about the first of August. He was boss of the rock quarry, a blast failed to go off and he picked up a stick of dynamite in each hand and went up to the loaded hole to fix it. There was a thundershower going on at the time, and  about the time he got to the place, the lightning struck the wire and set off the blast. The sticks of dynamite in his had went off also and blew both hands off. His body was filled with small rocks like shot. They brought him down over the lake to Parksville. He lived until 2 o’clock next morning. All his folks were there. They cut off his arms trying to save him. He was a Mason and was buried at Cookson Creek by the Masons. I attended and there were more Masons in the funeral procession than I ever saw at a funeral.”
October 1914: “Boyd Rymer died at Cleveland and was buried there a few weeks ago. And this week I saw a wagon and a boy in it that they said was going up to the Rogers or Zion graveyard to dig up the remains of Eli Rymer, Boyd’s father, to take him to Cleveland to bury him next to Boyd and his mother. I believe I would have let his bones rest where they were. It was Eli Rymer’s request that he be buried at Zion. Jug John Rymer died at his son’s Harve Rymer at Sagetown a few weeks ago.
   “Benton has several automobiles, ten or fifteen, I don’t know just how many. Wallace Clemmer, Hurschel Taylor, Walter Harrison, R. J. Bell, Herbert Center, Dr. Nuchols, Dr. Spence McClary, and Meigs Copeland all have autos.  Uncle  Dan Lillard, Wid  Clemmer nor Isham Cross have got one of these ‘stink wagons’ yet.”   
  “George Bishop went to the hardware store and gave $410 for a gun, he swapped the gun for a calf. Swapped the calf for a pig, the pig for a watch, the watch for a game rooster.  He fought the rooster against Oscar Bishop’s rooster, and bet one rooster against the other.  Oscar’s rooster killed George’s rooster and Oscar eat him. Then it quit raining and George went to work again, very well satisfied that he had done lots of business.” (Pretty much a tongue-in-cheek entry, I’d say, wouldn’t you?)
June 1912: “They had an ice cream supper at the courthouse last night and all the young people were there from far and near.  I hear that it will come up again in court tomorrow that somebody is trying to move the county seat to Wetmore again, but I don’t believe there is anything to it.”
I sometimes get asked when the streets of Benton were paved, and this May 1913 entry says,  “Our Pike Road to the Bradley line will soon be finished, and the public square in Benton is piked with crushed rock about a foot deep. No more mud for Benton, or that part of it.   I saw Andrew Cloud the other day and he is bitterly opposed to the pikes, as he has a pike road by his farm from Parksville to Cleveland, and he don’t want no more. He said the farmers would have to take to the bushes as the autos would need all the pikes. He said it was nearly that way at his house now. He said last Sunday that more than a hundred autos must have passed by his house going or coming to Cleveland and Parksville.”
But progress cannot be stopped, and Billy has a vision of Benton becoming a great city. In the entry on January 1917 he says, “Newt, after you and I have been dead and forgotten, a few hundred years from now there will be a great city here. It will extend from Parksville on the Ocoee to Austral at the Hiwassee Gap, and will cover the land from the mountains to the rivers, and all the factories and railroads will be run by electricity. It will be furnished by the numerous power dams on the Hiwassee and Ocoee Rivers, and their homes will be lighted and heated from the same source, and the rich folks will live on the mountain.  I can see them now, great buildings rising tier upon tier on the mountain side to the top where will be a great government turnpike road and east of this the great Appalachian Park for 300 miles to Asheville. I can almost see this great and populous city - but not quite. I will only be here long enough to see a thriving country village, which is the seat for that great city that is to come.”  
Why not record your vision of the future for your descendants to ponder over a few hundred years ‘down the pike?’  

Pictured are Brad and Ethelene Carden Kimbrough.


Untitled Document
Top News
North Potato Creek treatment moves to ..
The North Potato Creek Treatment Plant treats water contaminated with elevated concentrations of metals and acid. It began operation in 2005.
Commission seeks to protect privacy
Commission rejects Ducktown plan
Audit shows overspending in school sys..
Felony Murder charged
Scam suspects sought
May Primary ballot set
Roof plan sent to Fire Marshall
Parksville precinct to stay open
Standards mean accountability
Local News
Ducktown talks park, trails project
Copperhill lowers water rates
CSCC To Host Get Covered America/Affor..
Festival celebrates spring
Fire destroys Copperhill building
TVA requests electricity reduction
Beekeepers look to help others
Ducktown notes
Polk libraries receive donation
Hooker given community service award
School News
Benton Elementary Junior Beta Club rec..
Shown in the picture are the students who stayed and wrapped gifts after school.
Enriques on Dean’s List
Co-op experience leads to employment
Leadership team project raises $1900
Late score puts Boyd on top
PCHS wins STEM contest
Copper Basin Elemetary Honor Roll
Copper Basin Elementary Honor Roll
CMS Fuels Up to Play 60
PCHS 2013 Salutation
Mrs. Dana Renae Worley, age 50 of Farner, TN
Food for Thought
For this week’s installment of Food for Thought, we have some delicious-sounding ways to bring potatoes to the table brought to us courtesy of Ruth Ann Kersey.
Letter to the Editor
Food for Thought
Letters to the Editor
Remember When...
130 years of history
Letter to the Editor
Editorial opinion 6/19/2013
Letters to the Editor
Polk County Heritage
I’m My Own Grandpa!
Polk County Heritage
Sheep in the Meadow . . Cows in the Co..
Polk’s Septaquintaquinquecentennial ..
1913 photo of the Odd Fellows from Con..
Polk County Heritage - 10-23-2013
Polk County Heritage
Bill Baxter’s Polk Folks
Bill Baxter’s Polk Folks
Part 2: Sacred to Their Memory - The M..
Sacred to Their Memory: The McNairs
Local Events
Guided Spring hike Saturday
Tennessee State Parks will offer free, guided hikes on March 22. At Hiwassee / Ocoee State Park, Join Ranger Angelo for an easy 3 mile hike along the beautiful Hiwassee river.
Bulletin Board 3-19-14
Benefit singing March 8
Bulletin Board - 2/26/14
Ft. Loudoun explores Euro-Indian trade
Retirement event
Holocaust Survivor Ester Bauer Back to..
Grape Escape Saturday
Griefshare seminar Nov. 2
A Gem of a show starts Friday
Local Sports
Polk loses ‘Cat fight
Size and speed were important factors in each of the games and three point shooting played an important part
Two ‘Cats named All State
Polk County High School Powder Puff Fo..
Zach Miller and Tanner Plemmons were n..
Polk splits in Battle of States
Copper Basin 2013-2014 Homecoming Court
Juniors lose
Crickets season at 7-2
Lady Cats season ends
Runners in Regions
Friends & Neighbors
Whitmire retires
Whitmire will be honored with a retirement reception on Friday, March 28th from 11 am – 3:00 pm at the 219 Ward Street First Volunteer Office in Benton.
TN Wesleyan honors
Ocoee Region Beekeeper's Association F..
2013 Miss Christmas Belle
Fairest attends convention
Zion Baptist awarded second place for ..
1980-81 Miss Christmas Belle Photo
Burger and Stevens Engaged
Twin sisters arrive
Brock Celebrates Birthday
Nature & Environment
Homeplace daffodils
Sometimes the prettiest daffodils are not in modern home flowerbeds, but are found in the overgrown yard of an old.. » FULL STORY
Spring is coming
Spring crocus
Red-bellied woodpecker
Frost flower
Frozen circles
Bald cypress
Fall colors hit peak
Change of season
Beauty Berry
Recreation & Visitor Information
Kids Fishing Days slated
The first event, hosted by the Forest Service, TWRA, and Trout Unlimited, will be held at Spring Creek on Saturday, April 26th from 7:00 am till 11:00 am.
Changes made at Tumbling Creek
Rail trips start April 5
Turkey shoot
Ocoee River most popular in nation
Recreation season beginning
Watch for flash flooding
Indian Boundary Overflow closed May 7-9
Kid's Fishing Days slated
Advance reservations accepted at Gee C..
Outdoor Sporting
Hog season changes urged
Wildlife Committee members from Polk and surrounding counties met with local lawmakers, wildlife commissioners, and TWRA last Tuesday to discuss the need to revisit hog hunting regulations in Tennessee.
Greasy Creek could close on stocking day
Big bass brought by
Tellico River fishing day slated
Coon hunting to continue
Opposition voiced to coon hunt change
Wild hog regulations change
Record bear harvest in 2011
Comment deadline Feb. 24
Hunter Safety classes available
Classifieds - 4/16/14
Classifieds - 4/9/14
Classifieds - 4/2/14
Classifieds - 3/26/14
Classifieds 3/19/14
Classifieds - 3/12/14
Classifieds - 3/5/14
Classifieds - 2/26/14
Classifieds - 2/19/14
Classifieds - 2/12/14
Public Notices
Public Notices 4-16-14
Public Notices - 4/9/14
Public Notices - 4/2/14
Public Notices - 3/26/14
Public Notices - 3/19/14
Public Notices - 3/12/14
Public Notices - 3/5/14
Public Notices - 2/26/14
Public Notices - 2/19/14
Public Notices - 2/12/14

Untitled Document

Polk County News | P.O. Box 129 | 3 Main Street | Benton TN 37307
phone: 423-338-2818 | fax: 423-338-4574 | email

web site development Lisa Affordable Web Sites