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.
Opal 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 long life.
During the 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 than anyone.
Murrell Jeter Finch
"Insurance Man" and Exemplary Citizen"
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 Store.
Noah Jackson "Big Jack" Dunning
"Business Man" Pillar of the Community and Friend to All"
Noah 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, 1924.
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.
For 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 doctor."
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.
Robert 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.
James 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.
Bob 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.
Buford "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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