Doyle Capps was born in
1916 in the Stafford's Store community in Weakley County. In olden
days, the area was referred to as Flytown because the Cherokee Indian
Fly tribe occupied this land along the Obion River. In the early 1800's
three young Capps boys came down the Obion River (major means of
transportation) and were among the first to settle the Christmasville
area. The ancestors of Doyle Capps settled later just down the Obion in
the Stafford's Store area, and the family is still in possession of
original land grants. Old Capps graveyards, reflecting the records of
these early settlers, are on land still owned by some of the Capps
family. He considered Indian arrowheads and artifacts he unearthed, as a
boy while plowing, some of his most treasured possessions. His father
and grandfather before him had small country stores in Weakley County
where they sold everything from grocery and farming staples to horse
liniment and saddles.
He moved to Gleason in 1945 at
the age of 29 with his wife, Wylodean, and 2 small children. He and his
brother, Paul, had bought a grocery store on Main St. from Jack Dunning, Sr.
Richee Dellinger at age 94 is one of Gleason’s oldest life-long residents.
Opal was born in Gleason at home on College Street and has lived on that
street all of her life, although she has lived in three different houses.
She was born on January 31st, 1917, to Mattie Wray Richee (1880-1963) and
Alton Monroe Richee (1877-1939).
She was the youngest of three children. Her
brother was Vernon Richee (1908 -1996) and her sister was Rubye Richee
Taylor (1911 -1998). Their father Alton Richee was a merchant and part
owner of Richee Brothers and Parks, a general store that sold everything
from dry goods to groceries. The store stood at the corner of College
Street and Front Street with the main entrance facing Gleason School.
One of Opal's fondest memories of the store was
getting to look into the big glass front candy case and choose candy that
was in individual glass containers. She enjoyed sampling the candy there at
the store and then selecting her favorites to put in a brown paper sack to
carry home. She continues to eat at least one piece of candy or
chocolate each day and believes that doing so has helped her have such a
years, 1951-1964, “Charlie” Dewberry was the town’s most admired and
accomplished barber. Countless young men whose pictures have appeared in
Gleason’s high school annual during those years usually sported a fresh
haircut from “Mr. Charlie’s” barber shop. Many years have gone by, but,
looking at the haircuts from that era, Charlie’s craftsmanship with shears
and clippers is still visible in those pictures to this day. As a
professional businessman, a barber doesn’t rank very high on the business
totem pole such as doctors, bankers, druggist, or some of the other
business professions, but every one of these businessmen came to Charlie’s
barber shop because of his professional grooming abilities and his modern
clean shop. One other thing, Charlie could cut a flattop haircut better
"Insurance Man" and
As I began to
think about Murrell Finch and his life I realized just how little I knew
about him. My early memory of him was as the insurance agent in town.
This was in the 1960's and I was still in High School.
It seemed at the
time he had always been the "Insurance Man". When I turned sixteen he
became my "Insurance Man" as well. I remember, after having an accident,
having to go to his office which, at that time, was in the present Bank
of Gleason building. From the stories I had heard that was not a trip I
was looking forward to. I don't remember much of the conversation that
day except it felt more like a lecture instead of an inquiry. However,
Murrell took care of the incident from the insurance side and I went on
to being an out of control sixteen year old. I would see him from time
to time around the community and knew he must be actively involved. But
to me, he was still my "Insurance Man who, before becoming the
"Insurance Man", had worked for Mr. Bob Smith at Gleason's City Drug
"Big Jack" Dunning
Pillar of the Community and Friend to All"
Jackson "Big Jack" Dunning was born in the 10th district of Weakley
County on August 24, 1904 to Henry Herbert "Hub" Dunning and Lydia Mae
Sanders. He was one of four children, two of which died at birth. Jack
was raised on the farm and received his education at Parks school (a two
room country school). He married Maggie Bell Stallcup on August 10,
He tried his luck at farming for a few years and then followed
his older brother Jim to Gleason to try his hand at public work. His
first venture was barbering since this is what Jim was doing. He then
bought the ESSO service station that was located where Johnnies is now.
A few years later, he bought the farm next to his dad's and moved back
to the country, where he lived for two years.
By this time it was 1938 and Jack had two children "Estelle and Little
Jack". He then bought a Mr. Fowlers grocery store and moved back to
town, living in a house where the Gleason Clinic is now located. His
store was where the new buildings of the Gleason Hardware now stand, but some time later he moved it
in front where the bank is located.
43 years, Dr. Robert McKenzie Jeter practiced medicine and served the
people of Gleason, TN and the surrounding area as their doctor and friend.
He was a devoted doctor, working many hours a week and always striving to
do his best. For many years, he made house calls; he was a true "country
He was born in
Bradford, TN on Jun. 29, 1906 to Wynona Bandy Jeter and Dr. Joshua Edgar
Jeter. While Robert was still a young child, the family moved to Gleason.
Another son, Jack Ward Jeter, was born to Dr. and Mrs. Jeter on Oct. 21,
191 1. The boys' paternal grandparents were Mary Ward Jeter and George
Samuel Jeter. Their maternal grandparents were Ellen Whitworth Bandy and
Robert Wilson Bandy.
Hiron “Bob” Owen was born February 19, 1927 in the Old Union Community of
Henry County, Tennessee. In later years, Bob would always refer to this
area as “the old country” or “God’s country”. His parents were Robert
Orlando Owen and Katie Highfill Owen. Bob had an older sister, Mary
Elizabeth Owen Travillian, and a younger brother, Oscar Ray Owen. Another
brother, James Fleming Owen, died as an infant. The family attended both
Old Union Primitive Baptist Church and Tumbling Creek Missionary Baptist
Church. During that time, Old Union had services on first and third
Sundays and Tumbling Creek had services on second and fourth Sundays. The
family was very active in both churches. Bob’s father was a successful
farmer, but he died suddenly when Bob was only twelve. With his death,
many responsibilities fell on Bob’s young shoulders. He was able to
finish high school and graduated from Cottage Grove High School in 1944.
That same year, he began his banking career at the Bank of Gleason.
Dudley "Butch" Sanders was born in Gleason, Tennessee, on June 11, 1927.
He was the only son of Rokey and Lucy Sanders. He started to school at
Parks one room school house. He walked over a mile to school each day and
then back home to help his parents farm. Being a straight A student all
through elementary school earned him the right to play football as a
seventh grader, prompting his parents to move to town for him to be closer
to practice. Mr. Sanders graduated from Gleason in 1944 and entered the
University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where he played center on the
Volunteers football team. In 1945 he was drafted into the navy and served
eleven months and eighteen days at San Diego, California. He then
continued his education at the University of Tennessee at Martin playing
football and ended his educational career at Murray State where he played
baseball. He graduated from Murray State on May 30, 1950.
Smyth was born in Gleason on August 28, 1902, the son of Clint Smyth and
Theodocia Brogden Smyth. When they married, Clint (a widower) and
Theodocia (a widow) had five children from their earlier marriages. Their
marriage produced four more children, making a household of nine children
ranging in age, at one point, from one to 19. They lived on East Grove
Road, formerly known, not surprisingly, as Smyth Street.
In 1918, at the age of 16, Bob
started working for Dr. Ammons in Ammons Pharmacy on Front Street, thereby
beginning a lifetime association with drugstores. Above the drugstore was
the Gleason Opera House where stage plays were performed and movies shown.
His work with Dr. Ammons must have proven congenial because Bob went on to
complete his pharmacy training in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1928. Four years
later he married Lucille Cochran, a Kentucky girl with ties to Gleason
through her uncle, Monroe Cochran. Bob and Lucille’s daughter Bobbye was
born in 1934. A son, Robert, was born in 1945 .
In times of military conflict on multiple fronts it
is easy to focus attention only on the here and now and forget the many
sacrifices and contributions of brave Americans who have proudly served our country in
years past. The following story of Captain Joseph L. Tuck of Gleason, Tennessee,
published in 1968, is but one such story that bears remembering.
"Jug" Wray was born on March 22, 1926 in Gleason to Sam and Bertie Hall
Wray who had five sons, of whom Jug was the youngest. Sam and Bertie
Wray were sharecroppers, living out in the country and working at
different farms most of their lives. All of the boys went to Peace and
Harmony School, one of the many one-room country school houses in those
days. He followed three of his brothers (Buster, William Thomas and Bob)
to high school in Gleason where the Wray boys were well known for their
sports accomplishments from 1929 to 1946.
Jug himself was a star
football player and, as quoted in the newspaper during his high
school days, was feared by many because of his size. At 6 ft, 5, he
was also was well known for basketball. As an avid sports fan and
participant, not only did he excel at football and basketball, he
also played baseball on Sundays and softball at night at the park as
well as on teams in McKenzie and Milan after graduating.
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