For the first time in Gleason's History, the annual Tater Town Special as
been cancelled. Jennifer Cook, President of the Gleason Gazelles talked
about the decision of having to cancel this year's Tater town special.
With the decision to cancel
the Tater Town Special, Cook stated that this was a very difficult
decision for every member of the Gleason Gazelles to have to pass.
The main concern was over
the safety of the community and the executive order for the state of
Tennessee. Cook said. "We felt it was the safest thing for our
The vote to not hold the
Tater Town Special was approved unanimously by all members of the
With bands, sponsors, and
vendors, no one has to be refunded money due to this cancellation.
This is because after the first state of emergency was enacted in
Tennessee, all planning for the Tater Town Special was halted.
The Tater Town celebration
was held every year since 1974, and sponsored by the Gleason
Gazelles, a civic organization composed of women in Gleason who are
interested in he interested in the community.
The created the Tater Town
Special in 1974 and the first one was only a few days. The Gazelles,
at that time, had to borrow money to host the event.
The main goal of the the
Gleason Gazelles and the Tater Town Special was to bring the
community together and to gather together.
Cook also said that there
will be a Tater Town Special in 2021 as long as there is no risk to
the community to do so.
Jennifer also gave this
comment regarding cancelling this years Tater Town Special,
"Gazelles spent lots of time and prayer and consideration into this
years Tater Town Special and the decision to cancel... We plan to be
back in 2021.
Cook also stated that the
Gazelles want to host an even to unify the community but could not
state when or how this would be done. She could only say the topic
would be discussed at the next Gleason Gazelles meeting.
The Gleason Tater Town
Special joins other events in Weakley County being canceled
due to COVID-19. Others officially cancelled include the Dresden
Iris Festival, the Greenfield Fiddlestick Festival and the Martin
More Down Home Humor From Gleason's Best Known Story Teller:
Woody Patton"Pat" Dewberry
those individuals who have grown up in Gleason Tennessee over the years,
the name Pat Dewberry has become synonymous with good wholesome down
home humor. Indeed, reviewers of Pat's works containing
short stories about life in rural Gleason, Weakley County,
Tennessee during the early 1950's through the mid 1960's
have described him as "the quintessential storyteller in the best
The writing and
publication of Pat's books has spanned a period of more than two
decades. The first of these books "Teacher's Pets Ougta be on a Leash
Too", was published in 1996, followed by "Life is too short to wear
Cheap Underwear (2008) and "Uh, as I was saying: More Memories of
Yesteryear in Gleason "Tater Town Tennessee" (2013) and Tater Town:
Back: Back Home to Count the Memories, published in 2017.
On Tuesday, March
6, 2018 copies of these four outstanding books, authored by Pat, were
presented to the Gleason Library at a meeting of the Gleason Library
Board so that all of Gleason can enjoy reading about what life was like
Announcing the Publication of Pat's Most
Recent New Book
"Once Upon A Time Never Comes Again"
1956 - No More Limerick's, She Said
1957 - Her Shoe Made Her Mine
1958 - Teacher with a "Tude"
1958 - Skunks Will Never Replace Aspirin
1958 - French I Ain't, But I Learned
1959 -Ain't Toting No More 'Til The Tipping Gets Better
1959 - The Six Cent Bandit
1960 - It Was The Best of Times
1960 - New Chewing Gum Flavor
1961 - Teen Times
1961 - Heart Times and Good Times
1961 - Missed A Mishap
1961 -Curiosity Killed the Cat, Satisfaction Brought it Back to
Requests for a single copy,
received before Tater Town Day 2020, will be honored at no
this date the price will be $10.00 plus postage ($2.80).
Gleason Native Price Named Tusculum Women’s
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. —Tusculum University named Meagan Price as the
16th head women’s basketball coach in program history announced Doug
Jones, vice president of athletics and university initiatives.
Price comes to Tusculum after serving as assistant women’s
basketball coach at Bethel University in McKenzie for the past two
Price has prior head coaching experience, having compiled a 38-16
record in two years at Hiwassee College, and was an assistant coach
for five years at Truett-McConnell University in Cleveland, Georgia
which included stints as head junior varsity coach and interim head
“We are thrilled that Coach Price has agreed to lead our women’s
basketball program,” Jones said. “Meagan has helped build and
maintain winning programs throughout her coaching career. She is
committed to supporting student-athlete in all aspects of their
lives, helping them thrive academically, athletically and
personally, and she has a clear vision to contribute to the winning
and successful tradition of Tusculum women’s basketball.”
Price, a native of Gleason, Tennessee, began her collegiate
basketball career at Bethel and played two seasons before
transferring to Missouri Baptist University for her final two
Following her graduation from Missouri Baptist in 2011, Price was
hired as assistant coach at Truett-McConnell. She helped the Bears
increase their win total to 14 in her final season before accepting
the head coaching job at Hiwassee in the spring of 2016.
At Hiwassee, Price took over a team that had won six games in
2015-16 and led them to 18 victories and a NCCAA Division I top-10
national ranking for the first time in school history.
In 2017-18, Price guided the Tigers to the NCCAA Mideast Region
championship and a berth in the NCCAA Division I national
Hiwassee finished the year with 20 wins and sixth in the nation,
with Price earning Mideast Region Coach of the Year honors and a
nomination for National Coach of the Year.
Following the 2017-18 campaign, Price returned to Bethel as an
assistant to longtime head coach Chris Nelson. In her first season,
the Wildcats went 28-6 overall and 18-2 in the Southern States
Athletic Conference, earning a trip to the NAIA Division I Women’s
past season, the Wildcats finished 29-4 and won both the SSAC
regular season and conference championship, and would have made
their eighth straight trip to the NAIA Tournament before it was
“I am thrilled for the future of Tusculum women’s basketball and am
looking forward to continuing to establish a culture of excellence
that prepares our players for success in academics, on the court,
and in life,” said Price. “I am also excited to serve and engage the
Pioneer community as well as the East Tennessee area.”
Price earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a writing
certification from Missouri Baptist in 2011, and a master’s degree
in science in sport management in 2014. She is working toward a
Ph.D. in leadership and sports administration from Concordia
University in Chicago.
(Source: Dresden Enterprise)
Railroad Underpass Demolition Underway In Dresden
BY DAVID FISHER
DRESDEN (February 26) — The process of demolishing
the familiar, 100-plusyear-old railroad underpass on Evergreen
Street Extended (Old Hwy 22) in Dresden, got underway last week.
During past meetings, the Dresden City Board had
discussed asking the owner, CSX Railroad, to remove the railroad
tunnel, but the request was not necessary. The railroad decided to
tear out the underpass on its own, possibly due safety concerns and
The antiquated concrete structure has served as a
reminder of the early days of the region when the railroad provided
transportation for people and goods, and promoted industrial
development at a rate that would not have otherwise been possible.
While some view the old railroad underpass with nostalgia, others
see it as a traffic hazard and an impediment to progress. Although
trains have not traveled over the railroad tunnel in decades,
demolishing the old underpass may prove to be a controversial move,
since some local citizens object to its removal.
One reason is
because of its historical significance, having been constructed in
the late 1800s. Another reason certain residents along Evergreen
Extended have objected to removing the underpass is to prevent the
street from becoming a regular truck route. They argue, if semi
trucks are no longer prevented from using the route by the low
ceiling of the railroad tunnel, it will open up the street to
additional commercial traffic, which will increase noise pollution.
underpass is too narrow to allow two vehicles to pass through the
tunnel at the same time. This has created a safety hazard for
motorists. To make matters worse, the narrow underpass was located
in a curve, which made it hard to see if there was anything coming
from the opposite direction.
This situation has resulted in numerous accidents over the years.
The tunnel is not very tall, therefore numerous semi truck drivers
failing to read the road signs warning them have damaged their
trailers. Those who have stopped in time have no place to turn
around on the narrow street. Some truck drivers have attempted to
back into the driveways of local residents to turn around, which
caused property damage and upset homeowners. Trucks have attempted
the Evergreen route due to the mapping information on their global
positioning satellite devices being outdated. As drivers leave local
plants at Dresden Industrial Park, their GPS devices show the
shortest route back onto the Hwy 22 four-lane.
Unfortunately, many of these mapping systems do not inform drivers
that their trailers cannot clear the railroad underpass on Evergreen
Extended. While the loss of a historical landmark is regrettable, it
is nevertheless sometimes necessary for public safety.
history of the old railroad underpass on Evergreen Extended is part
of the story of the growth of Dresden and other communities like it
Weakley County. Since the late 1800s, economic progress has
depended, to a large extent, upon the availability of railroads.
Those communities that prospered the most were those with railroads
coming through them. To better understand the economic development
of the region over the years, one must look at the role the railroad
industry has played in providing a crucial component to its
origins of rail service to Weakley County go back to 1855, when the
Hickman and Obion Railroad was sold to the Nashville and
Northwestern. The Nashville and Northwestern Railroad continued to
push its track from Union City through Martin and Dresden, forming a
junction with the Memphis and Ohio Railroad at McKenzie. This was
completed just after the start of the Civil War.
Over time, the rail lines coming through the county continued to
expand, and underwent numerous name changes, due to the railroads
changing hands several times. By 1873, Weakley County had a rail
connection between New Orleans and Chicago. As soon as the line was
completed, more people began to move into the area being served by
the railroads. Martin, Sharon, and Greenfield owe their start and
progress to this fact (on the IC), as well as Gleason, Dresden,
Ralston, Martin, and Gardner (on the NC & St. L). Martin, the only
location at the junction of both railroads, soon outgrew the other
towns in population and economy. The Louisville and Nashville
Railroad (L& N) discontinued use of its line through Weakley County
in 1982. (Source: Dresden Enterprise).
Gleason Board Approves Minimum
Standards for Firefighter Training
GLEASON (February 13) — During the February 13 Gleason
City Board meeting a resolution adopting the minimum training
standards for firefighters. During discussion, it was noted in 2009,
the State of Tennessee passed Tennessee Code Annotated 4-24-112
specifying minimum training standards for firefighters in the State
of Tennessee; and a number of cities and counties were exempted from
this minimum training by this legislation, based on their
It was further stated, in order to provide for
firefighter safety and a trained and competent fire department to
serve the community, meeting minimum training standards are
essential to meeting the priorities set.
Gleason’s Deputy Fire Chief
Mark Stafford stated Gleason firefighters have been meeting all of
these standards since 2009, but a resolution is needed. Stafford
explained, “Once you all approve it, I’ll send it to the State Fire
Marshal’s Office, and then, we’re eligible to apply for grants.”
minimum requirements are:
. All firefighters must attend a 16-hour
initial training class developed by the Tennessee Fire and Codes
Enforcement Academy in firefighting procedures and techniques, or
complete equivalent training approved by the Tennessee Commission on
Firefighting Personnel Standards and Education before being allowed
to actively fight a fire.
. Every firefighter shall complete the
“basic and live firefighting” course offered by the Tennessee Fire
and Codes Academy, or an equivalent course, within three years of
joining the fire department.
The following firefighters are exempt from the
minimum training requirements:
1. Any firefighter in the fire
service on July 1, 2009, who entered before June 30, 2004.
firefighter who is certified by a medical doctor as medically or
physically unable to complete the training requirements; however,
the fire department may not allow these firefighters to engage in
active firefighting operations.
3. Any firefighter who is certified
by the fire department’s chief officer that they will not operate
within an environment determined to be immediately dangerous to life
and health is exempt from the live firefighting portion of the
In department reports, Police Chief Paul Eddlemon stated he
is short an officer and, like other departments across the state, he
is having trouble filling the position. Deputy Fire Chief Stafford
reported, during the month of January, Gleason Fire Department
responded to three grass fires – one on Liberty Road, another on Old
Hwy 22 and a third on the Hwy 22 four-lane.
He said the grass fire
on Liberty Road started when tree that fell across an electrical
power line, causing it to arc and ignite the grass. Gleason
firefighters also responded to a call for public assistance on
Additionally, a tree was on fire on Hwy 190; a gas
leak was reported on Old Hwy 22; firefighters provided lift assists
– one on College Street and two on Circle Drive; a controlled burn
was on Hwy 22, which got out of control, requiring mutual aid from
Gun Rights Major Topic During Gleason Board Meeting
GLEASON (February 13) — During Thursday night’s
meeting of the Gleason City Board, members heard from Michael Stout
of the Weakley County Chapter of Citizens for Second Amendment
Sanctuary Counties, a grassroots organization supporting the
Constitutional right of citizens to bear arms.
Stout asked the Board
if they heard about proposed legislation in Virginia to outlaw AR-15
style rifles and certain other semiautomatic firearms. He mentioned
the proposed Red Flags law passed in the State House of
Representatives in Virginia. Referring to the strict gun laws
proposed by Virginia lawmakers.
Stout said, “I don’t think that’s
going to happen in Tennessee, because Virginia is so close to
Washington, D.C. But, you can never tell who might get voted into
public office and push this type of legislation.” Stout said,
Tennessee State Representative Gloria Johnson of Knoxville and State
Senator Sara Kyle of Memphis are attempting to pass a Red Flag Law
allowing citizens’ guns to be confiscated without due process of
He gave the example, of a man getting into a verbal argument
with his wife. Stout said if his neighbor hears the argument and
calls the police to report it, and says he thinks his neighbor is a
threat to society, the law can come and take his guns. “Then,
there’s really going to be a fight, because he can’t get up and go
deer hunting in the morning because his neighbor called the police
to come and take his guns,” Stout said.
He stated this is how
citizens could be robbed of their gun rights without ever going to
court to determine if the allegations are true. Stout said, “A copy
of our (proposed) resolution was sent to the Budget Committee of the
Weakley County Commission and County Attorney Allison Rutledge.” He
added the resolution will be presented for a vote at the next
meeting of the Weakley County Commission on Monday, March 16.
Providing the resolution is approved county-wide, the individual
municipalities of Weakley County will not need to approve individual
resolutions declaring they are sanctuary cities. Stout stated the
resolution has already been presented at other board meetings in
Dresden, Greenfield, Martin and Sharon, and many of the board
members and local citizens have already signed a petition showing
their support for the Second Amendment by declaring Weakley a
He then invited Gleason Board members, who wished
to do so, to sign the petition, as well. The only Board member to
question the concept of sanctuary cities or counties was Alderman
Phelps, a retired Weakley County Sheriff ’s deputy. While he
supports the Second Amendment, Phelps stated public officials have
to take an oath to uphold the law when sworn into office.
questioned picking and choosing which laws to enforce. Phelps stated
he believes the resolution going before the Weakley County
Commission will pass. And, while it will support the Second
Amendment, it probably won’t actually use the wording “sanctuary” in
the document or say a law enforcement officer doesn’t have to follow
the law. “I just don’t see that happening,” Phelps said. However,
Phelps stated, he believes the resolution will seek to persuade
Governor Bill Lee to not pass any Red Flag laws.
A member of the
audience stated there are already 22 counties and one city in
Tennessee that have become sanctuaries for those supporting the
right to bear arms. He said, “The people in other states signing
these petitions have stated, ‘We will not comply.’ Whether you like
it or not, that’s what they’re saying.” Phelps replied, “It’s not
whether I like it or not. It’s a matter of, is this country going to
stay together? United we stand; divided we fall.”
Stout stated some
counties in Virginia are considering seceding from Virginia and
incorporating into West Virginia. “This (the gun rights issue) will
divide the United States faster than anything else.” He declared the
law that should be followed above all other laws regarding gun
rights is the Second Amendment. He stated there are already plenty
of laws the government doesn’t enforce. He gave the example of the
immigration laws that are not enforced.
The United States of America
is a Republic and different parts of the nation have laws suited to
the will of the people in those areas because they are different.
According to Stout, what works for one region might not work for
another. When these deeply rooted attitudes and ways of life are
challenged by those from other subcultures attempting to force them
to conform to their ideology or take away something dear to them,
their traditional values are assaulted.
Gleason Celebrates Hometown Christmas
REMEMBERING OSCAR OWEN
Serving His Country
Dana and Clayton Owen, sons of Oscar Owen, hold the
certificate and medal received by their father, Oscar, pictured in the middle.
Sixty-six years removed from his valiant service in the Korean Conflict,
Oscar Owen received a Bronze Star for his unselfish service during that
In 1953, from March through December, Sergeant First Class (SFC) Oscar
Owen was in Korea near the 38th parallel in the fight of his life. For
the past few weeks he has been in the Jackson-Madison County Hospital
engaged in another fight.
Oscar’s commanding officer 1st Lt. George Block recommended him for the
The recommendation said in part: “During the period that he is
recommended for this award, SFC Owen served in the capacity of medical
aid man and litter bearer section leader in the Medical Company of the
31st Infantry Regiment. He performed his duties in an outstanding
manner. SFC Owen gave the type of leadership and inspiration that won
him the respect and admiration of all who knew him.
His performance was outstanding because it was above and beyond the call
of duty. SFC Owen distinguished himself by meritorious achievement in
connection with operations against the enemy near Sangmago-Ri, North
During the period March 6, 1953 to January 10, 1954 SFC Owen served as
company aid man on King Company Outpost, Operations Old Baldy, West
View, Pork Chop and Dale Outpost. His repeated disregard of self while
treating casualties under enemy fire is typical of his high caliber
performance of duty.
It was also during this period that SFC Owen personally directed the
litter bearer section to the highest point of efficiency. It was his
section, while under enemy fire, that saved hundreds of men’s lives
evacuating them from the scene of battle.
SFC Owen personally exposed himself to enemy fire to see that the best
possible evacuation was given to the friendly wounded. His resplendent
example of leadership and high standards contributed immeasurably to the
effectiveness and efficiency of the company.
SFC Owen’s performance reflects great credit upon himself and the Army
Medical Service. His laudable service is in keeping with the noble
traditions of the military service.
Oscar never received that medal, only the lesser Army Commendation
Medal. Sixty-six years later, on August 9, 2019 the Army corrected
Oscar’s military record and awarded him the Bronze Star that his
commander recommended. He has always been very humble about his military
service. Only in the last few years has he told the family a few
God used him to help preserve the lives of hundreds of soldiers. While
medals, awards and commendations are important for recognizing men and
women in uniform, those are only earthly treasures. Oscar Owen would
tell you the greatest gift he received on the Korean Peninsula was not
the praise of men or any military decorations, but salvation.
In 1952, when Oscar was getting on the train at the depot in Memphis
headed for basic training, a Gideon handed him a New Testament. He was
reared going to church, but was not a believer. He began to read that
little testament in earnest. Oscar realized he was a sinner in need of a
Savior. That Christ had given His life so Oscar could be set free from
sin and eternal death. The Bible declares that all who call upon the
name of the Lord shall be saved.
Oscar said that somewhere between the coast and the front lines he
trusted God to save him. Even today in the middle of his battles at the
hospital, Oscar knows that the same God who saved him and whose Spirit
came to live inside him, still holds his hand, and keeps him, and will
one day welcome him home.
Credit to Oscar’s son, Dana Owen for the story and for continuing the
medal ‘journey’ for 30 years. Oscar’s grandson, Caleb assisted (Source:
Gleason Gazelles Hosts 46th Annual Tater Town Special
Gleason and neighboring towns enjoyed the hospitality
and fun of the 46th annual Tater Town Special, a week-long event featuring games, food, music, a parade, and worship
Jimmy Belew was the grand marshal of the Saturday
parade. He was recognized Saturday for his selfless service to the
A new event added this year was the “Lil’ Tater
Bakers”. This cooking event was for young bakers who love to cook up
something really special. Classes were for for 4-6 year olds and
7-10 year olds.
The 2019 Tater Town Block Party, titled “Peace,
Love and Tater Town”, was Tuesday night, August 27, in downtown
Gleason. There was a DJ providing music from 6:30 p.m. until dark,
followed by fireworks.
Activities include a sidewalk chalk coloring
contest, train Rides, fire truck rides, jumpy houses, tie dye
costume contest and “Find the Golden Tater” contest. Several food
trucks present at the Block Party.
Youth night was Wednesday, August 28, at 7:15 p.m.
and featured youth bingo after all participate in a short
Adult bingo was Thursday on the Gazelle Grounds.
During intermission is the annual Gazelle cake auction, with
proceeds benefiting the Gleason Community Benevolence Fund.
Gleason’s best cooks prepared their finest to go on the auction
The 2019 Sweet Potato Bake Off was at the Gazelle
Grounds on Friday night , August 30. as was the Community BBQ. The
band Flashback entertained.
The annual JC Carey 5K Memorial Race was Saturday
The Junior Parade started at 10 a.m. followed
immediately by the Grand Parade. Live entertainment, arts and
crafts, food and jumpy houses will begin at 11 a.m. on the Gazelle
The week’s festivities concluded Sunday with a
community-wide worship service hosted by Gleason Cumberland
Presbyterian Church (Source: McKkenzie Banner).
James Belew is 2019 Tater Town Grand Marshal
2019 Tater Town Special kicked off Sunday for a week long celebration of fun
for the whole family that concludes on Saturday, August 31 with several
major attractions, including the Tater Town Parade.
This year’s Tater Town Special is celebrating
its 46th year of “coming home” which attracts local citizens from Gleason
and neighboring towns, as well as former Gleason residents.
James Grady Belew, who has lived in the
Gleason community for the past 75 years, was honored by being named grand
marshal of the Tater Town Parade. Belew is a member of the Gleason High
School graduating class of ’65.
He played on the undefeated Bulldog football
team of ‘63 as the halfback and linebacker. He worked at Dico for 21 years
until the plant closed; HIS for 7 ½ years until its closure; and then the
Gleason Lumber Company for 12 years until his retirement in 2010.
Jimmy’s parents, Ralph and Annie Belew,
planted his roots in Gleason, along with his four brothers - Clyde, David,
Jerry, and Charles; and five sisters - Carol, Betty, Donnie, Myra, and Mary
Jimmy has two daughters, Malita (Brad) and
Melissa (Nick). His grandchildren Ashley, Jess (Hunter), Drew, and Archie
were his pride and joy until his three great grandchildren Emerson, Bella,
and Fallon came along.
He is known to many members of the community
as Grandpa. He has never met a stranger and takes to every child he meets.
Jimmy bleeds orange and black and can be found
at any and every ballgame the Bulldogs are playing. He arrives as soon as
the gates open no matter how far. For home football games, he has a spot
reserved on the twenty yard line; and at home basketball games, he can be
found standing in his spot between the paint and the door.
During his free time, he enjoys golfing and
rooting for the Tennessee Volunteers. Jimmy’s smile is contagious and a
preview to his kind heart. He is always willing to lend a helping hand or
give words of support to those in need.
Jimmy Belew’s outstanding citizenship makes
him the perfect candidate as the 2019 Tater Town Grand Marshall. (Source:
Mr. Randy Boyd of The Boyd Foundation Presents
Gleason with a $25,000 Grant for Dog Park
During the noon hour on Thursday,
August 22nd, a large number of Gleason citizens and
local dignitaries gathered at Gleason City Hall for Mr. Randy
Boyd of the Boyd foundation to present the City of Gleason with
a check for $25,000 that is to be used for the city to
develop a dog Park.
As a result of the strong support by Gleason's Mayor, Diana
Poole, and the Gleason Board of Aldermen along with other civic
leaders, Gleason was one of 28 cities across the state
that was awarded the $25,000 grant to build a dog park in our
As an added
bonus, to the award ceremony, the Gleason Police
Department made a presentation featuring their new drug dog
named Maverick to the 5th grade class.
Gleason Awarded $25,000 Grant for Dog Park
YOU to everyone who took the time to show their support for a dog park in
Gleason. We were one of 28 cities across the state awarded the $25,000 grant
to build a dog park in our town. Way to go Gleason! -Mayor Diana Poole
to all of our 2019 Dog Park Dash winners! We were blown away by the
amount of community support shown. Without further ado, here are our
Baneberry, Clinton, Collegedale, Crossville (Fairfield Glade),
Elizabethton, Etowah, Louisville, Madisonville, New Tazewell, Rhea
County, Signal Mountain/ Walden
Bartlett, Gleason, Lake County, Memphis, Munford, Newbern, Paris,
Selmer, Trenton, Ripley
*Grand Prize Winners
The Tennessee Dog Park Dash, funded by the Boyd Foundation, is dedicated to
building or enhancing dog parks across the state. Established in 2018, this
program is helping to make Tennessee the most pet-friendly state in America
alongside other major efforts from brands such as Radio Systems Corporation,
parent company of PetSafe (R). Through the Dog Park Dash, more than one
hundred communities across the state of Tennessee will benefit from dog
City of Gleason Receives
Donation of CSX Caboose
The City of Gleason has another
attraction to mark the town’s historic past, just in time for
this year’s Tater Town Special, which will be held August 25th -
September 1. Gleason joins with four of Weakley County’s five
municipalities, which either has a railroad caboose or is
seeking to obtain one.
Greenfield and Martin already have
a caboose on display in their downtown areas located adjacent to
the railroad tracks. Dresden is seeking to procure a caboose,
which it plans to locate next to Dresden Farmers Market, where
the old train depot once stood. Sharon is the only city in
Weakley County with no plans to obtain a caboose at this time.
Charles Anderson, chairman of the
Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee, who spear-headed the
project, was among a group of local officials and other local
citizens on hand to witness the delivery of an old CSX caboose
in downtown Gleason on Wednesday, July 31.
The committee has been working on
the project for the past three years. Anderson said, “About a
year ago, we acquired a railroad caboose from CSX Railroad free
of charge.” He stated the caboose has been stored at Imery
Ceramics, on Old State Route 22, Gleason, and they have been
waiting for the city to determine a permanent location for it.
“We asked the railroad to allow
us to put it where the old train depot used to be, which is
across from the gazebo,” Anderson said.
He stated that the
granted permission to place the caboose on that land, which is
on the railroad’s right of way. They not only gave permission to
place the caboose at this site, they also prepared a rail with ties to
support the caboose.
The caboose, located on Church
Street across from the Gazelle Grounds, was transported to the
site on the railroad tracks that run through Gleason’s downtown
area. It was then moved from the adjacent railroad tracks to the
new stationary tracks
with the generous help of Imerys
Ceramics, a job that involved the use of a huge backhoe and
about an hour and a half of work.
This relocation of the caboose was accomplished at no charge to
Anderson explained the caboose
will be a static display for viewing only, and the interior will
not be open to the public. It will be painted the same color as
the engines that come through town now, which is orange and
white with a yellow stripe.
“We will have a fundraising
drive to buy the paint, which will cost $2,000,” Anderson said.
“It will have to be sandblasted, primed and painted. We hope it
will be an attractive addition to the city for a long time.”
Anderson mentioned the Downtown
Revitalization Committee will be seeking volunteers to help with
the project. He noted metalworking students at the Tennessee
College of Applied Technology in McKenzie have agreed to make
repairs to damaged metal on the caboose free of charge.
These old railroad caboose cars
highlight the importance of the railroad to the area’s
transportation, business, commercial and agricultural
development from the county’s earliest beginnings to the present
(Source: adapted from the Dresden Enterprise).
Commemorating Over 100 Years
of Railroad Service in Gleason
Thanks to the help of Mr.
Richard Bivens, Operations
Manager for the Kentucky/West Tennessee railroad, along with a number of other
individuals associated with the K/WT railroad, and Charles Anderson,
President of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program,
significant gains have been now been made in terms of spiking the
track and ties.
The caboose has now been moved
to its final resting place, with the generous help of Imerys Ceramics.
The next step in the process
will involve the renovation and painting of the caboose.
This project is designed to commemorate over 100 years of railroad
service through Gleason.
Hello Janit Video ... Gleason Receives
[Click on the Link below for Video
Courtesy of the McKenzie Banner]
In the 1913 and 1914 issues of the "Gleason Herald", the following
timetable for Eastbound and Westbound trains on the N. C. and St. L.
Railroad was scheduled.
# 1 Dixie Flyer
# 2 Dixie
Flyer 11:27 P.M.
# 3 Dixie Flyer
# 4 Dixie
Flyer 11:29 A.M.
# 53 Dixie Flyer
# 52 Dixie
Flyer 5:15 A.M.
# 55 Dixie Flyer
# 54 Dixie
Flyer 6:36 P.M.
All trains were met by local citizenry for the fellowship and to see
who was arriving and departing. Even church services were dismissed
for the noon trains. At this time W. V. Overall was the Depot agent.
In the 1913 and 1914 papers, N.C. and St. L. railroad advertised a
round trip to Nashville for $2.00, so when planning your summer
vacation, don't overlook any of the following low fares:
Round Trip Martin to Chicago,
Round Trip Martin to
Louisville, Kentucky 11.30
Round Trip Martin to
Cincinnati, Ohio 16.30
Round Trip Martin to St. Louis,
Round Trip Martin to New
York City, N.Y. 40.30
Another advertisement in the May 23rd, 1913 Herald advertised:
"Let's Everybody Get Ready to Give the Nashville Boosters a Big
Blow-out When They Arrive Here." This will not only boost our little
town, but will be quite a treat for all to see them and their fancy
Some of the early agents were Tom Cooper, Tom Butler, W. V. Overall,
and Mr. McDonald. A familiar sight in the twenties and thirties was
Marion Gibbs, a much loved black man, pushing the small mail cart
from the trains to the Post Office. Also Leonard Brawner picked up
packages at the Depot and delivered them around town for $0.25 per
Section hands working on railroad in front of the
Whitworth Hotel in the early 1920's
The Depot was torn down in 1970 or 1971, much to the displeasure of
many of us who had fond memories of the time spent there. A metal
building was moved onto the site to do railroad business, with L. L.
Bennett as Agent. Following Mr. Bennett's retirement, other agents
who took over were Mr. Rogers, Mr. Sylvis, and Frank Cequin.
The metal building was removed in 1984, since Gleason no longer had
a through train to Dresden. The few freights which run through the
town each week only go to the Clay companies and to Krueger-Ringler
where they turn around.
Note. The material presented above was
originally published in the book Oakwood - Gleason: A Look Back,
by the "Homecoming '86" committee with Joyce Wray serving
as Chair of this Committee.
Sweet Potatoes Shipped by Railroad
The above picture was made by
Marie and Calvin Wheat, developed by Harles Woodard (Gleason, TN),
received from Laurie Beach Pine, and provided to GleasonOnline.com
(Young boy in white shirt (right) - Jimmie Glenn; Man standing on
platform - Gale W. Ray; Lady with suitcase - Rachael Kennon, Man on left
side of Truck - Harry Mac Edwards.)
Celebrating Gleason's Rolling Hills Miniature Golf Course
After many months of planning and lots of hard work, the owners of the Rolling Hills Miniature Golf Course
in Gleason (Audie and Bobbie Ruble) were finally able to enjoy the
fruits of their labors.
Along with a number of dignitaries including, Charles Anderson
(President of the Weakley County Chamber of Commerce), Barbara
Virgin, (Executive Director at the Weakley County Chamber - Jackson,
Tennessee Area), Diane Poole
(Gleason Mayor) Paul Tinkle (President of Thunderbolt
Broadcasting - Martin) as well as
Gleason Police Chief Paul Eddlemon, there were lots of Gleason
citizens that turned out to celebrate ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday April
12th prior to its grand opening on 15th.
The Rolling Hills course is located at 4583
Hwy 22 in Gleason,
just off of Highway 22 North
This beautiful venue, built to honor their niece Tabita Gearin,
features an 18 hole miniature golf course
that offers all the fun-to-play twists and turns one expects, plus
challenging holes. Sadly,
Tabitha passed away shortly before the course opened.
As Bobbie has noted "She never got to play, but we know she has the
greatest golf course on the planet." While the
course was designed for anyone who enjoys
playing miniature golf, it was also developed to
accommodate individuals with special needs. Being "handicap accessible"
anyone in a wheelchair can also play.
For those visitors with young children, the restrooms have baby
changing stations for the dads as well as the moms.
prices are being
kept low for everyone,
indicating that "It is our
desire that every family will be able to afford to bring their
children to Rolling Hills and have a grand time.
Plans are to offer special rates during special
events throughout the year and also to conduct fund raising tournaments
for various organizations.
The course itself features a
beautiful waterfall situated in the back center and cascading down
over rocks, ultimately ending in a fountain pond. There are bridges
crossing the water, and a few surprise water challenges on some of
the holes! Folks are welcomed and encouraged to use any area
as a photo opportunity with their loved ones.
Paul Tinkle and Photographers
and snacks are available for purchase,
with benches and picnic
tables being provided. At some
point, the owners plan to offer t-shirts and other items available as prizes
for “hole in one” shots on certain difficult holes, and of course
The owners indicate, that as with any business there are
rules that must be followed for the safety and enjoyment of all
guest. The park rules and
regulations are posted at the entrance. For example, Alcohol will not be
permitted on the premises and foul language will not be tolerated.
There is a designated tobacco use area, this
includes all forms of legal tobacco products.
(Photo Credit: Weakley County Press)
This project is the first of
three projects planned by the owners. If
all goes well with this venture,
they hope to build a water park, later tag center, or go-cart track
near the existing golf course.
For any questions, comments or
concerns, contact Rolling Hills at : 731-358-2648.
2019 Miss Gleason – (L to R) Fourth Maid – Lillie Ruesken, daughter
of Candy Ruesken, Second Maid – Chasney Brawner, daughter of Chad
and Sherri Brawner, Queen – Whitney Clark, daughter of Tim and
Suzanne Clark, First Maid – Kenady Atkins, daughter of Beau and Cara
Atkins, and Third Maid – Grace Stafford, daughter of Mark and Cris
Stafford. (Picture by Joel Washburn; McKenzie Banner).
Fire Victims Grateful to
his remarks to the Weakley County School Board Feb. 7, Gleason
School Principal Lee Lawrence took a few moments to update the board
and community members present on the status of longtime school board
member and Gleason teacher Lindell and Carolyn Roney after a fire
took their home on Feb. 3. Carolyn taught at Gleason for 22 years,
and Lindell was a Gleason representative of the Weakley County
School Board for 29 years. They are also the parents of Amy
Lawrence, the Gleason School librarian, and wife of Lee.
A fire ignited in the back
of their residence on East Grove Road outside of Gleason that
evening. Approximately 15 firefighters from three fire departments
worked to extinguish the blaze. The Gleason, McKenzie and
Pillowville fire departments responded to the structure fire. They
were on the scene around 6 and a half hours.
Lee said that community
support has been “tremendous” and called the response “a credit to
the community.” In a reply to The Press, Amy explained the family
has experienced an informal, “unbelievable” overflow of community
support and love.
“Gleason, and the whole
county, really come together when someone goes through a tragedy,”
Amy said. She noted that the Methodist Church held a community
shower, replacing many household items. Andy Wilson opened a home he
had for sale on a rent-free basis. They were offered four other
houses as well. They have received more than $5,000-plus in gift
“Although the fire was
devastating, the community outreach has just been phenomenal. It’s
just absolutely humbling and overwhelming. It restores your faith in
humanity, that’s for sure,” concluded Amy. “They are just so
grateful to be alive and to be from Gleason and Weakley County.”
Lee told the board members
that the couple plans on rebuilding in the same location. (Source:
Weakley Country Press).
Gleason Home Destroyed by Fire
Please keep Carolyn and Lindell Roney in your prayers. As you may
know their house burned the night of February 3rd.
Thankfully, everyone got out safely! While family members report
that it was possible to save a few things, the house is
thought to be
a total loss.
As is so often the case, in circumstances like these, there has been
an outpouring of support from the Gleason community during this very difficult time.
As one family member noted in a recent Facebook post,
is the best word to describe the last 24 hours or so.
They went on to
say that "there are too
many individuals to thank, too many to name everyone without
out. To any and all who offered help and who have been so kind to
our family during this difficult time, all I know to say is thank
God is going to see our family through the current circumstances,
and that is in large part because of the kind-hearted people in and
It is also why we will always call this community home. Material
possessions can be replaced. Human lives cannot be valued enough.
Thanks again and please keep praying for us. "
This kind of support represents still
another example of how the good people of Gleason always seem
to come together when friends and neighbors are in need. This kind
of caring for others makes Gleason the type of town that people want
to raise their children in and the kind of town that, even if they
should move away for whatever reason, they often choose to return!
Gleason Native Wins
Snider, of Gleason, received the STAR Award in
CEO Michael Bailey presented Katie the highly valued award.
She was recognized for demonstrating respect,
integrity, teamwork, excellence, compassion, and professionalism,
all traits honored by the organization. Katie is the assistant
director of nursing at Unity Psychiatric Care in Martin and is the
daughter of Mike and Sabrina Snider of Gleason. (Picture features
Katie and American Health Companies CEO Michael Bailey)(Source: McKenzie Banner
Gleason’s New Police Chief Addresses City Board
Welcomes newly hired Police Officer Jacob Howington
by David Fisher
Gleason Police Chief Paul Eddlemon,
who was appointed to the position in December, gave his first
official report during Thursday night’s Gleason City Board
Although Eddlemon is a Gleason
native and well-liked in the community, he was hired amidst a
storm of opposition from many local citizens, who were outraged
that Assistant Police Chief David King was not promoted to the
position, following the retirement of Chief Jeff Hazlewood.
During the December board meeting, there was a
standing-room-only crowd of Gleason citizens in attendance, who
voiced their support for promoting long-time Assistant Police
Chief David King to the chief’s position.
They argued that, it wasn’t that
they didn’t like Eddlemon, but in all fairness, King should have
been hired for the chief’s job. They noted King, who had 25
years of law enforcement experience, had served as assistant
chief for eight of the 13 years he was a member of the Gleason
Although Officer King had the
support of aldermen Jim Phelps and Doug Johnson, they were
out-voted 3-2, by Mayor Diane Poole, and aldermen Jerry “Bubba”
Dunn and Keith Radford, who voted in favor of hiring Eddlemon.
The result was that Officer King
resigned and accepted a job with Dresden Police Department. All
of Gleason’s other full-time officers also quit in protest over
the board’s decision. Two of these fulltime officers were hired
by Greenfield Police Department.
Since this occurred, Gleason Police
Department has been staffed by part-time officers Bryan Chandler
and Tyler Verner, who work full-time for the Dresden Police
Department. Additionally, police officers Steven Scott of Paris,
Sherman Perry of Sharon, and Kyle Beauchamp of Sharon, have
agreed to work part-time at Gleason Police Department.
Eddlemon’s first day on the job as Gleason police chief was
When asked how he feels about the
situation, Eddlemon said, “There was a position open and I
applied for it.” He served as a police officer in McKenzie for
two years prior to being hired as Gleason’s new police chief.
The mood during Thursday night’s
meeting was much calmer than it was a month ago. Chief Eddlemon
introduced newly hired Officer Jacob Howington, who recently
moved back to Gleason. “He’ll be an asset to the police
department,” Chief Eddlemon said. “He was certified four years
ago. And, he has a history of being hard on narcotics
Alderman Phelps asked if there have
been any additional applications submitted for the vacant
full-time officer positions.
Chief Eddlemon stated he has
received several applications from non-certified officers, but
none from officers who have already received certification at
the police academy. The advantage of hiring a certified officer
is that the City of Gleason would not have to cover the cost of
their tuition to attend the police academy, or pay their
salaries while they are receiving their training.
Another major topic discussed
regarding Gleason Police Department was the need for a computer
database system. “TITAN is the State software that we do our
crash reports on through the State,” Eddlemon said. “The
software we have now is Omniform; and basically all we can do is
complete a report and print it out.”
He explained it’s not possible to
create a searchable database with the current software program
being used by the Gleason Police Department.
For this reason, printed reports
must be stored in file cabinets. “We have numerous filing
cabinets at the Police Department, and eventually, we’re going
to be full of filing cabinets with no room to move around,”
The software that the chief wishes
to purchase is Courtware software, which would allow the user to
create an electronic records system. It would also allow
officers to search the police department’s database for
information. All officers have to do is type in a name, date or
other data, and the computer will generate a report listing
every report containing that information.
Chief Eddlemon stated the city
recorder is already using the Courtware system, and the company
has agreed to create the Records Management System (RMS)
database and everything needed to operate the system. He
explained the cost of purchasing the new software will not be
passed on to taxpayers; instead, it will be paid for by
offenders. He said, in order to pay for the new computer system,
citations will be increased from $15 to $22, which amounts to a
$7 hike per citation in the cost to offenders.
The new police chief also suggested
purchasing a new computer. He noted the current computer is old
and uses a different operating system. He stated he’d hate to
put a new RMS on an old computer, because, if it breaks down,
everything would have to be loaded back into the system.
A motion by Alderman Phelps to
purchase the Courtware system passed unanimously. A new computer
on which the Courtware software will be operating has not yet
been picked out, so the cost is not known at this time.
Chief Eddlemon stated he has
completed the paperwork to participate in a program that
provides free surplus military equipment to municipalities for
use by law enforcement agencies, fire departments, public works
departments and other public services.
“We can go pick that stuff up and
use it wherever we need it,” Eddlemon said. “At the end of a
period of time (usually one year or a little more), it can be
sold to the public, and the money can be used to fund the police
department. The government says this is how they’re going to
In the monthly police department
report, Chief Eddlemon stated, during December, there were two
thefts, one burglary, one case of vandalism, four speeding
citations, and 55 calls for service. The fines collected
amounted to $107.10.
Mayor Poole said, “Since yesterday
was appreciation for officers, I do think we need recognize our
officers and members of the Sheriff’s Department.” She expressed
her gratitude to all of the officers who have worked extra hours
to help staff Gleason Police Department, due to a shortage of
officers. She expressed her appreciation to members of the fire
department, and military personnel, and others in uniform.
An item on the agenda that calls
for requiring all local citizens to have address numbers on
their houses and businesses was tabled, due to Public Works
Director Dale Stephens not being present to explain the
necessity for it, the cost, and what is involved. It was
suggested, if it’s not within the authority of the City of
Gleason to require the numbers be installed, it might be
feasible to paint the numbers on the curbs of the streets in
front of buildings. It was mentioned that the Gleason Fire
Department and the Rescue Squad sold house signs approximately
20 years ago as a fundraiser, and since it was very successful,
it might be possible to do it again.
Another topic for discussion was a
proposal to install blinking lights at the intersection of Hwy
22 and Hwy 190, which currently has four-way stop signs. “It’s
been over a year since we talked about that intersection and
doing something about it,” Phelps said. “We really don’t want to
put a traffic light out there.
We inquired about putting rumble
strips out there. TDOT came out there and did a study using
traffic cameras, but that was about it. I don’t know how long it
takes for them to get around to getting something done.”
He stated installing flashing
lights like those at the four-way stop in Trezevant that have
eight blinking lights on the stop signs, would be ideal. These
lights are solar powered, so they require no electrical hookups.
City Recorder Angela Hunt agreed to
consult with Public Works Director Dale Stephens on Friday
regarding the blinking stop signs, due to him having contact
information for State TDOT officials.
In other business, Alderman Phelps
asked about the status of obtaining contact information for
asphalt companies in preparation for paving some of the streets.
Mayor Poole asked board members if they knew any asphalt
contractors, but there was little information available. She
stated the paving issue would be on next month’s agenda.
In department reports, Assistant
Fire Chief Mark Stafford said, “During December, we had one
call. It was ice on trees and power lines that caused arcing.”
When asked about the status of the new building addition to the
Gleason Fire Station, he stated that it is almost completed. He
said the only thing it needs, is to have the electrical wiring
installed, and that should be accomplished in about a week.
Stafford added that gravel has been spread in front of the new
fire department building. The new structure will house
firefighting equipment that is currently being stored outside in
the weather, due to lack of adequate space in the existing
In the Parks and Recreation report,
Mayor Poole stated the City of Gleason is advertising for a new
parks and recreation director. She said the park director’s
duties include sowing grass seeds, mowing the ball fields, and
making sure they’re ready for each game. The park director is
also required to schedule games (in consultation with other park
directors in the area). Mayor Poole stated the job pays $6,000
for six months of the year, which begins in January and ends
either in June or July, depending on whether or not they host
In the Library report, Alderman
Phelps read from a note from Judy Paschall, who serves as
Library Director at Gleason Memorial Library, that reads, “The
computer classes were well attended. There were 60 patrons that
received 12 hours of instruction.” She states the classes were
taught by J.R. Watson. During Gleason’s Hometown Christmas
event, people stopped by the library, which displayed 60
ornaments that were decorated by local youngsters.
Mrs. Paschall, along with Lynn
Shores and Patsy Ezell, served cookies and handed out 80 goodie
bags containing bookmarks, pencils, cups, harmonicas,
hand-clappers, and armbands that read, “I Love My Library.”
Additionally, Paschall says plans
are being made for the Summer Reading Program. She said, “We’ll
be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the landing on the moon,”
and asked for community assistance in developing a program in
celebration of the historic event. With no further business, the
Hometown Christmas Captures True Meaning of the Season
David Fisher - News Writer
citizens of Gleason refused to allow cold and blustery weather to
hamper their Christmas spirit during this year’s Gleason Hometown
Christmas celebration. Gleason’s First United Methodist Church
captured the true meaning of Christmas with a live nativity scene.
There was live music, and holiday songs were performed by local
youngsters. The singers included Wes Wainscott, Anna Eaton and
Paisley McClure. Activities included fire truck rides, a
cookie-eating contest, an ugly sweater contest, an old fashioned
wagon ride provided by Mr. Charles Anderson, a cake auction, and
drawings for prizes. Additionally, Mr. Ron Byington decorated a
school bus and offered rides to young and old alike.
The Elf’s Workshop, inside Gleason Fire Station, offered hot
chocolate and cookies, as well as crafts for the children enjoy.
There were also a lot of vendors set up, including Meo Mio’s, which
provided food for hungry visitors.
Local artisans displayed their wares at arts and craft booths.
Several of the shops in downtown Gleason remained open for the
Hometown Christmas celebration, and door prizes were given away. A
bird’s nest was hidden in one of the stores and the person who found
it received a gift.
Children decorated a total of 60 ornaments at Gleason City Library
to be displayed. And last, but definitely not least, was the
appearance of Santa Claus, which gave children the opportunity to
place their orders for Christmas.
Gleason Hometown Christmas gave the community a variety of
activities that provided local citizens with an evening of good,
clean, family fun (Story Source: Dresden Enterprise).
as well as
“Days of Our
area to a
have been wondering why there is a new addition to "Flowers by Jan" out on
the Pillowville-Gleason road, the expansion of this business is all about
Christmas and "Flowers by Jan-Christmas 365". So if you are someone who
loves the spirit of Christmas, you can now experience the joy of that
special day and a bit of Christmas cheer the year around.
Thursday, November 8, 2018, "Flowers by Jan" celebrated the the Ribbon
Cutting ceremony for the recent expansion of what Jan now has to offer the
Those who came by
for the ribbon cutting ceremony had a chance to get a good look at an
amazing variety of artistically decorated Christmas trees and an
exceptionally wide ranging selection of Christmas related items, along
with many other items for home decoration.
interesting historical tidbit, regarding the new "Flowers by
Jan Christmas 365" room has to do with the fact that the interior walls of
this large room are all made of wood. That in and of itself would not be
surprising, except for the fact that all of the wood used in the new
addition is old wood that has been reclaimed from old buildings (houses,
barns, churches, and other structures) associated with the Gleason
community and the surrounding area.
In looking at
various sections of the wall, one can see what person, what group, or what
business owned the structure, from which each section of the wall was
old-timers will likely recall many of the names of to be found on the wall
of this very special "Christmas 365" room
As part of this
ribbon cutting ceremony, Jan and her husband were presented with a
plaque from the Weakley County Chamber of Commerce by Charles
Anderson who is currently President of this organization as well as
the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program and Barbara Virgin who is also
Executive Director of the Weakley County Chamber of Commerce.
Many of those in
attendance at this ribbon cutting ceremony seemed quite excited about the
wide range of Christmas Trees that "Christmas 365" has available and level
of creativity displayed in the decoration of these trees.
Along with beginning
to get in touch with the Christmas spirit a bit early and having some great
refreshments, most everyone seemed to enjoy this early touch of Christmas.
With Christmas approaching, it's worth
checking out this great store in Gleason. It's filled with beautiful Christmas
themed trees, Christmas decorations, wreaths
for the door, Christmas tree skirts and all types of great stuff for home
If you don't have the time to decorate your
home or business,
Flowers by Jan "Christmas 365"will
come and do it for you!
2018: Gleason's Fourth Annual
We were very fortunate to have Congressman David Kustoff, who is a
member of the United States House of Representatives for Tennessee's 8th
congressional district that covers West Tennessee
along with Andy Holt who serves in the Tennessee General Assembly,
representing District 76, covering Weakley County and parts of Obion and
Carroll Counties join us for the annual Minerals Day event that was held
on October 5th at Mike Snider Park in Gleason.
This annual Minerals Day event is a jointly sponsored by the Gleason
Clay companies that include Gleason Clay Company, Old Hickory Clay
Company, Lhoist/Spinks Clay Company, and Imerys/K-T Clay Company) along
with other sponsors from the local community in conjunction with the
Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee. The President of the Downtown
Revitalization Committee is Mr. Charles Anderson who also currently
serves as President of the Weakley County Chamber of Commerce.
It is fitting that this
event was again held in Gleason as the City of Gleason has been a major
producer of clay since it was first discovered in 1926 on the W.R.
Crawford farm two miles west of Gleason. Famous for its generous
deposits of Ball Clay, Gleason is generally viewed as the Ball Clay
Capital of the Nation.
This year’s Minerals Day
event was again held at the Mike Snider Park, a great venue for this
event, providing for ample parking, plenty of room for multiple vendors
to set up their booths, and a large tent that allowed space for eating
in the shade. Adding to the ambiance of the setting, the weather, while
a bit warm, was comfortable with blue skies and sunshine throughout the
Those in attendance were
provided a ticket for free cold drinks and food as well as an entry
ticket for numerous drawings throughout the day for valuable and highly
sought after door prizes.
Along with the great
setting, good weather, door prizes, free food and other giveaways, the
major focus of Minerals Day 2018 was on its educational component,
designed to help school age children develop an increased awareness of
the role that the clay industry has played in enhancing the Gleason
community over the years and help them understand the importance of clay
and associated minerals to the City of Gleason as well as in other
cities, towns, and states throughout the country.
Given the large numbers of students who were bussed in from Weakley and
Henry County schools along with a large number of others who were in
attendance, this Fourth Minerals day must be viewed as having been a
The City of Gleason has reason to be very proud of the contribution that
the clay industry has made to the local community over the years and of
those clay companies that are based in Gleason and who have made this
Minerals Day possible.
from the above information, it is important to note how much we
appreciate the fact that both Congressman Kustoff and Representative
Holt saw fit to take time out of their busy schedules to come to this
special event here in the City of Gleason.
It was also good to hear, first hand, from Congressman Kustoff how
interested he is in staying in close contact with the people of West
Tennessee, the types of legislation he has been involved with, within
the U.S. House of Representatives, and other initiatives that should
benefit our state in the future.
Again, our thanks to both of you for coming to visit with us. Your visit
was much appreciated by all!
An End of an Era:
Gleason Wishes Johnny Lowery a Great
Another chapter closed on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018
in the history book of "Tater Town".
With temperatures in the 90 plus degrees
approximately 75 well-wishers stopped by J & P Car
Care in Gleason to wish Johnny a relaxing
Most had a story to tell and all had a hug or
handshake to give him with thanks for his service
the past 50 years.
Little did Johnny know when he started washing cars
part-time at the age of 16 on the corner of downtown
Gleason that he would stay for the next 50 years.
Johnny went above and beyond a full service gas
station. His place was the center of information
concerning, not only local new, but just news in
He took very little time off beginning at 6 am and
locking the door at 6 pm unless you called him and
ask him to wait until you could get there.
All things change but the "little old ladies" of the
town that did not want to get out of their warm/cool
car and pump their own gas showed up in full-force
on Sat. to whine about their next fill up.
It will take some time to stop at the 4-way light
and not wave to Johnny and Micah.
The crowd wished Johnny the best and he turned out
the lights to end an era that is sad to let go. Now
Johnny can become one of the loafers and stay in the
cool and warm like the rest of us.
Johnny, thank you for all you were to all of us!
In the picture on the Right
and Iva Grooms (Johnny's sister and brother-in-law)
Lowery (sister) on left and Johnny's wife Carolyn
Photos by Jim Johnson
Swing by Huggins Park on your
way home today and check out our new entry sign!
Brought to you by many volunteer
man-hours and locally donated materials.
The 45th Annual Tater Town Special ended Saturday, September 1,
after an amazing parade was held in downtown Gleason. The Tater Town
Parade included many emergency vehicles from Gleason and other towns
around the area. Scores of children and teens were in the parade,
from church floats to students from Gleason Junior and High School
supporting their graduating classes.
A large crowd came out to witness the event. One of the highlights
of the parade was the marching band and color guard from McKenzie
High School. The marching band provided wonderful music that adults
and children loved, and the color guard amazed the crowd with their
bright-pink flags that mesmerized everyone that watched.
The weather was very hot, but that did not stop local citizens from
coming out to watch their hometown parade. Participants on one of
the floats distributed cold water to those that needed it.
The parade ended with horses and horse and buggy entries. Some of
the horses were decorated for the occasion with flowers and paint.
After the parade, the crowd moved to the Gazelle Grounds, where the
festivities continued. Live music was provided by the band Avonlea,
which preformed a free concert for all to enjoy. Many Weakley County
businesses operated vendor booths to display their products offering
food and drinks for the large number of people that came out to
enjoy the festivities.
The events of the 45th Annual Tater Town Special kicked off with the
Tater Town Block Party held in downtown Gleason with a DJ, Cornhole
games, live music, vendors and food for all.
On Wednesday, August 29, local youngsters enjoyed playing Children’s
Bingo on the Gazelle Grounds, winning small prizes, provided by area
churches. Before the bingo started a short devotional was shared
lead by Chris Snider.
The Adult Bingo game was held on Thursday, August 30. Anyone 18
years old or older could play Adult Bingo. During an intermission, a
cake auction allowed top bidders to enjoy baked goods cooked by
The Gleason Gazelles invited local citizens to come out and enjoy an
all-you-can-eat BBQ and participate in the Sweet Potato Bake Off on
Friday, August 31. The event also featured music, games for the
kids, and other activities. The BBQ was cooked by various businesses
and families in the Gleason community and anyone that paid the small
seven-dollar fee to get into the Gazelles grounds could eat as much
BBQ as they could hold.
The band Flashback, out of McKenzie, preformed during the BBQ party.
Children enjoyed playing corn hole, which became very popular as the
afternoon went by. When the night came to an end, the crowd enjoyed
a spectacular firework show and grand finale.
On Saturday morning, participants took part in the JC Carey Memorial
5K Run. The Tater Town Special ended Saturday, September 1, with the
Jr. Parade then Grand Parade and festivities. The parade was held in
downtown Gleason and featured the McKenzie High School band. A
community church service was held on Sunday morning. Source:
(Photos by Jim Johnson, GleasonOnlnine.com)
High School - Class of 1968 - 50th Class Reunion Held
Labor Day Weekend
Floyd, Jerry Sawyers, Mike Hagler, Pam Poyner McElhiney,
Dale Stephens, Lynn Edminston,
Sue Summers Hinson, Danny
Danner, and Glen Arnold - Photo
by Gary Owens
Gleason's Long Awaited CSX Caboose Has Arrived
With Mayor Diane Pool there to welcome its arrival, the CSX Caboose
that we have been hoping to get for some time completed its trip
from New York and arrived in Gleason at approximately 9:15 AM today
(08/20/2018), thanks to the efforts of Charles Anderson and the
Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee.
The caboose was donated as an in-kind gift to the Gleason Downtown
Revitalization Committee and was made possible due to to the
generosity of CSX railroad and the assistance of
Robert Rahauer, also of CSX.
Plans are to fully
renovate the caboose,
it, make it handicapped accessible and have it serve as a
local Museum that highlights the role that the Railroad has played
in the history of Gleason as well as the major contributions the
Sweet Potato and Clay Mining industries have made to the City of
Gleason over the years.
2018 Minerals Day is set for Friday October 5th
On Friday, October 5th the Gleason Downtown
Revitalization Committee (GDRC), along with the full complement
of Gleason Clay companies (Gleason Clay Company, Old Hickory Clay
Company, Lhoist/Spinks Clay Company, and Imerys/K-T Clay Company)
will host the Fourth Annual Minerals Day at Mike Snider Park.
Rolling Hills Miniature
Golf to Open in Spring 2019
Rolling Hills Miniature Golf,
owned and operated by Audie and Bobbie Ruble, will be having our
grand opening in spring of 2019. It will be located in Gleason
just off of Highway 22 North in close proximity to the Old Lampkins
Log Cabin. It will feature an 18 hole course
offering all the fun twist and turns one expects, plus a few
challenging holes. Our course is designed with 9 holes to
accommodate our handicap friends and families and we have specially
designed clubs to make their experience awesome.
Since we are an 18 hole course,
our challenged & disabled guest will get the opportunity to play the
9 holes twice! In addition, our restrooms will both have baby
changing stations for the dads as well as the moms. It is our
desire that every family will be able to afford to bring their
children and have a grand time, therefore, our prices will be kept
low for everyone. We will be offering special rates during special
events throughout the year and conducting fund raising tournaments
for various organizations.
Our course is designed with a
beautiful waterfall situated in the back center and cascading down
over rocks, ultimately ending in a fountain pond. There are bridges
crossing the water, and a few surprise water challenges on some of
the golf holes!!! Folks are welcomed and encouraged to use any area
as a photo opportunity with their loved ones. The course will have
beautiful landscaping keeping in theme with our rolling hills.
We will have benches and picnic
tables available, drinks and snacks available for purchase. At some
point, we will offer t-shirts and other items available as prizes
for “hole in one” shots on certain difficult holes, and of course
As with any business there are
rules that must be followed for the safety and enjoyment of all
guest. Rolling Hills is no different. The park rules and
regulations will be posted at the entrance. Alcohol will not be
allowed on the premises, anywhere. Foul language will not be
tolerated. There will be a designated tobacco use area, this
includes all forms of legal tobacco products.
We are a proud American Owned
and Operated company and we can’t wait to get Rolling Hills opened
and running. We are thankful beyond words for Gleason not only
allowing us to be a part of the community, but also, supporting our
business. Mayor Diane Poole and her staff, Dale Stephens & Tony
Terrell, have been an integral part of keeping us on track and have
been so very helpful giving guidance. We have and are doing our very
best to keep all of our contractors & suppliers local, so if you see
any of these folks that are listed below around town, give em’ a pat
on the back because making this happen would not be possible without
their service and dedication, so to them, we say, Thank You.
Pastor Antony Hendren & Jen,
Mayor Diane Poole & City Staff, Gleason Water Department, K&W Brush
Cutting: Michael Wade, K&R Trucking: Harrison Radford, Cavi Torre
for creating our beautiful design, James Trevathan: Electrician,
TDOT, Weakely County Municipal Electrical System, Attorney Beau
Pemberton, Mr. Thomas Chandler, Delta Imaging, Eagle Buildings for
designing & building our restrooms to exceed ADA specifications,
This list is not all inclusive as we have not yet finished
construction with this project.
This project is the first of
three we have planned. You can expect to see construction in 2020
for a water park complete with slides and all the other fun things a
water park has to offer. Once opened, construction will then begin
for the bumper boats park!!
Without God, none of this would
have been possible and to Him, we give our praise and glorify His
Can’t wait to see you all
there. This is your park, we just want to be allowed to share in
your laughter and enjoyment. For any questions, comments or
concerns, you may contact us at: 731-358-2648.
Honored as Paul Harris Fellow
GLEASON (June 4) — During
its regular weekly meeting, the Gleason Rotary Club honored Delois
Shaw as a Paul Harris Fellow. A Paul Harris Fellow is Rotary
International’s way of recognizing an individual and expressing its
appreciation for a substantial contribution to its humanitarian and
educational programs. The fellowship is named for the founder, Paul
Harris, a Chicago lawyer who started Rotary International with three
business associates in 1905.
In 1989, Shaw became the
first female to join the Gleason Rotary Club and later club
president. Since joining Rotary, she has left her stamp on the club
as a model Rotarian. Rotarians often designate a Paul Harris Fellow
as a tribute to a person whose life demonstrates a shared purpose
with the objectives of Rotary. She was designated to receive the
recognition as a special expression of appreciation from the Gleason
Club President Jason
Martin, who conducted the presentation said, “It gave me great
pleasure to present Delois as a Paul Harris Fellow. She is a staple
of the club and is a wonderful sounding board when I have had
questions as president.”
The Paul Harris Fellow
recognition acknowledges individuals who contribute, or who have
contributions made in their name, of $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation
of Rotary International.
“I was asked by a
few Rotarians who were Paul Harris Fellows in the club about Delois
joining our ranks as a fellow. As a group, we decided no one
deserved it more. So we made the necessary contribution in her
name,” added Martin.
The Paul Harris Fellow
was established in 1957 to show appreciation for and encourage
substantial contributions to what was then the Foundation’s only
program, Rotary Foundation Fellowships for Advanced Study, the
precursor to Ambassadorial Scholarship. Source: McKenzie Banner.
Monday night the Gleason Rotary Club honored Delois Shaw as a Paul
Harris Fellow. Club President and Assistant District Governor
Designate Jason Martin presented Shaw with a pin, medallion and
certificate marking the achievement.
GLEASON (March 6) — Woody “Pat” Dewberry, author of four books and a
1963 graduate of Gleason High School, recently donated eight copies
of his four books to the local municipal library. Dewberry also
generously donated 50 copies of his recent book “Tater Town: Back
Home to Count the Memories,” to the Gleason Downtown Revitalization
Dewberry’s southern folkish style reminisces about his youth in
Gleason, and tells the story of his upbringing with the characters
of Gleason sprinkled in for flavor. Topics of interest in the books
include his years under Mrs. Opel Dillinger’s tutelage and playing
football at Gleason High School.
After 30 years of marriage, Dewberry
was persuaded by his wife to record his stories. His first book
"Teacher's Pets Oughta be on a Leash Too," was published in 1996,
followed by "Life is too short to Wear Cheap Underwear" (2008),
and, uh, as I was saying: More Memories of Yesteryear in
Gleason “Tater Town Tennessee” (2013) and “Tater Town: Back Home to Count the Memories”,
published in 2017.
Now retired and residing near the Tennessee River in East Tennessee,
Dewberry was contacted by Jim Johnson about donating copies of his
books to the library. With a quick response of yes, Dewberry sent an
additional 50 copies to the GDRC to help raise funds to aide in the
group’s efforts to keep Gleason beautiful. Copies of “Tater Town:
Back Home to Count the Memories” can be purchase for $15 at Gleason
City Hall, Gleason Library and the Bank of Gleason. Source:
The Gleason Library received four copies of Woody
Dewberry’s books. Members of the Revitalization Committee were
present to accept 50 copies of his latest work to go toward
fundraising efforts. From (L to R) – Gary Doster, Charles Anderson,
Jim Johnson, Librarian Judy Paschal, Mayor Diana Poole and Doris
Enjoy Some Down Home Gleason Humor
Best Known Storyteller
And Help The Gleason Community
On Tuesday, March 6, 2018 copies of the four
outstanding books authored by Gleason’s own Pat Dewberry, were presented
to the Gleason Library at a meeting of the Gleason Library Board. These
fine books will be made available in the Library so that all of Gleason
can enjoy reading about what life was like back-in-the-day !
Pat Dewberry has been described by one reviewer as “the
quintessential storyteller in the best Southern tradition”.
books contain numerous humorous short stories about life in
rural Gleason, Weakley County, Tennessee during the early 1950 though
the mid 1960’s.
The writing and publication of these books has spanned a
period of more than two decades. The First of these books “Teacher’s
Pets Ougta be on a Leash Too”, was published in 1996, followed by “Life
is too short to wear Cheap Underwear” (2008), and, uh, as I was saying: More Memories of
Yesteryear in Gleason “Tater Town Tennessee” (2013) and “Tater Town:
Back Home to Count the Memories”, published in 2017.
It should be noted that Pat’s generosity does not end
with his gift of copies of these four wonderful books to the Gleason
Library and Community !
As one who grew up in Gleason, who comes back to visit
Gleason every chance he gets and who has always cherished the hometown
of his youth, Pat has chosen to donate 50 copies of his most recent book
“Tater Town” Back Home to Count the Memories, which was published
just this past year, to the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee to
be used for a fundraising project to support projects designed to
enhance the Gleason Community.
This fundraising effort, which will involve members of
the Downtown Revitalization Committee and the Gleason Gazelles, will be
spearheaded by Charles and Rose Anderson, with Charles and Rose having already
bought the first two books.
Copies of this book are currently available at several
locations in the Gleason community and can be purchased at a price of
$15 per book. Books can presently be purchased at Gleason City Hall,
the Gleason Library and Bank of Gleason.
Annual Sadie Saves Charity - 5K Walk/Run
The Seventh Annual Sadie Saves Charity
5K Run was held in Gleason on Saturday, September 30th, with
pre-race activities being held at the Gleason Gazelle grounds. With the mid morning temperature
being in the low 60's the
weather was just right for running, with some 90 runners in multiple age groups
participating in the 5K run, and many others spectators turning out to support this great charitable event.
noteworthy that this year more than 60 individuals, businesses,
organizations, and/or groups of various kinds each contributed $100 by
serving as sponsors of this years event.
having an auction after the race, as has been the case in
years past, this year's fundraiser involved a "Sadie Saves Meat Sale".
Here, people were able to order a range of great tasting meats
in advance. These included a Rack of Ribs for $20, a Half Chicken for
$6, a Whole Chicken for $10, or BBQ Bologna for $8 per pound. Advance
could be picked up at the Gazelle Grounds between 1 and 3 after the 5K
run and the awards ceremony were completed. Proceeds from the sale were
divided equally between Sadie Saves and the
Gleason Volunteer Fire Department.
A Prayer Before the Start
The Race is On!
First to the Finish Line !
is first to the finish line as the Overall Male winner. The the Overall Female winner was Kenady Atkins.
This annual 5K run is held
each year in memory of
Sadie Cook a graduate of Gleason High School who passed away on November
7, 2010. Her passing resulted from, what the medical examiner determined
to be an asthma attack, thought to be brought on by an
allergic reaction that struck suddenly and without warning.
Her sister, Savanna, determined to
uphold her memory, created the Sadie Saves memorial and fund-raiser
to celebrate Sadie's life. The ultimate goal of this charity is to help prevent a
similar incident from happening to others.
The Sadie Saves charity raises money
to purchase EpiPens and Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), along with providing training in the use of these
devices, for Weakley and surrounding counties.
The EpiPens are made available to
anyone that needs them. To date, they have been distributed to each
of the Weakley County Schools. Money raised from this charity has
also been used to purchase Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)
for the fire departments in Gleason, Dresden, Greenfield Como/Ore
Springs, Latham/Dukedom, McLemoresville, Sharon, and Palmersville
year this charity provided a total of 10 Automated External
Defibrillators to be distributed among the various fire
departments in Carroll County, These AED's were gratefully received by Mr.
Terry Bradshaw, Executive Director of the Carroll County Rural
Volunteer Fire Department.
Gleason to Celebrate Minerals Day October 6
of Gleason is set to celebrate Minerals Day on Friday, October
6. This marks the third consecutive year the Gleason community
has celebrated the event. With over 800 people attending last
year’s festivities, this year promises an even greater turnout.
Downtown Revitalization Committee (GDRC) is taking the reins for
this year’s extravaganza with the support and sponsorship of Old
Hickory Clay, Gleason Clay Company and Imerys Ceramics /
Kentucky-Tennessee Clay Company. Numerous local service industries
are scheduled to help make the day fun and educational.
Day will be on the grounds of Mike Snider Park, 506 North Cedar
Street, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Many pieces of equipment used in
the excavation and processing of West Tennessee Ball
Clay will be on hand including excavators,
dozers, articulated trucks and the world famous “Gleason
Shredder.” Mine tours will be available. Small capacity busses
will transport the public to the mines.
The GDRC and
local businesses are providing hotdogs, chips, snow cones, popcorn,
cotton candy and cold drinks for refreshments. There will be mining
presentations along with drawings, door prizes and giveaways
throughout the day.
ball clay industry began in 1926 on the farm of W.R. Crawford. Some
of the richest veins of clay in the area were discovered within the
20-acre plot. The Bell Clay Company started the arduous task of
removing dirt and debris. The 25 man crew worked with pond scoops
and horses each day to dig the mines. Holes were dug with hand
augers and dynamite placed within to expose the Gleason Ball Clay.
Now, over 90
years later, multiple clay companies call Gleason home. The
expansion of the usage of ball clay drives the ever growing
industry. The sign on the edge of Gleason’s city limits reads
“Welcome to Gleason: Ball Clay Mining Center of the Nation.” Weakley
County’s deposit of the finest quality ball clay is used for china,
porcelain, pottery and many other purposes.
The event is
free to the general public with the hopes of educating those in the
surrounding area about the ball clay industry. For more information
or to RSVP, please contact the Gleason Downtown Revitalization
Committee at P.O. Box 125, Gleason, TN 38229, email email@example.com,
or call Charles Anderson at 731- 695-5753. Source: McKenzie
First Clay Dug in Gleason in
1926 - Crawford Farm; Two Miles West of Gleason
Gleason Dedicates Memorial Wall at Mike Snider Park
The long awaited Memorial Wall at Mike Snider Park
was dedicated on Saturday, September 2nd as part of the
2017 Tater Town Special festivities.
The wall, sponsored by the Gleason Downtown
Revitalization Program under the leadership of President, Charles
Anderson received initial approval by the Gleason Board of Mayor and
Alderman on April 14th, 2016.
As initially conceived, this wall was seen as a way
of remembering the rich history of Gleason as it relates to the
people who have lived here since its founding. It was seen as a way
of allowing cherished family members, civic, business and
educational leaders, along with other outstanding citizens of
Gleason to receive the recognition they deserve for their
contributions to the Gleason community over the years.
Representatives of the Gleason Downtown
Revitalization Committee and the Gleason Rotary Club participated in
a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, May 27th, 2016.
The location of the wall is near the main walkway to
the park, in the vicinity of the children's play area. The wall is
some 80 feet in length, with landscaped brick flower boxes on each
end and in the center of the wall. The center flower box features a
40-foot tall flagpole proudly flying a large 8' by 12' American
Special sections above the flower boxes at each end
of the wall each contain 108 Black Granite Memorial Stones
(approximately 4 x 7 inches in size) that serve to remember family
members and others who have made significant contributions to the
Gleason community over the years or who have, in one way or the
other, provided significant support for the wall. A smaller section
in the middle of the wall is reserved for Memorial stones for those
who have served in the military.
As President Charles Anderson has frequently noted
here and on other occasions, the success of this project was, in
large part, due to the support of both the Gleason business
community and the support of Gleason citizens.
He has noted that the Boral Brick Company of Gleason
provided some 8,000 bricks for the construction of the wall and that
concrete for the foundation of the wall was provided by Gleason Clay
In addition to this important support from Gleason
businesses, the construction of this wall was also made possible due
to the contributions of skilled Gleason residents who freely donated
their time and talent to this major undertaking.
Notable in this regard was Gleason resident Darrell
Bell who took the primary role in laying the brick for the wall from
the beginning to the end of its construction; David Hopper also
contributed to this effort during the early stages of this process.
Darrell also did all of the brick work for the new Mike Snider Park
sign that is located across from the Gleason Community Center, on
the road leading to the park.
Another who also donated his time and skills to the
completion of the wall was Ross Chandler. Mr. Chandler, owner
of Gleason’s Performance Steele was responsible for helping
put together the 40 foot flagpole and attaching
the ropes and other internal equipment necessary to raise and lower
the flag. He then used an auger to dig the 4-foot hole containing
the large metal underground sleeve, designed to secure and stabilize
the flagpole. Using heavy equipment he then raised the flagpole and
positioned it so the area around the underground sleeve could be
firmly set in place with concrete. Early on, a number of other Gleason
residents were also involved in preparing to lay the foundation for
the wall and for the concrete work that was later involved.
Also noteworthy is the large number of citizens of
Gleason and various community groups that supported this endeavor by
purchasing memorial stones to honor family members as well as other
individuals who have made significant contributions to this Gleason
community over the years and deserve being remembered.
The formal dedication of the wall began with some
initial welcoming remarks, by President Anderson, and an opening
prayer which was offered by Chief of Police, Jeff Hazelwood.
This opening was followed by the National Anthem,
sung by Mr. Charles Ross with Keith Dunning also providing a
beautiful rendition of God Bless the USA.
The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Caitlin and
Connor Cook and a tribute to the Military and those in Uniform, was
presented by Mr. Steve Jones.
This was followed by additional remarks by President
Anderson, where he dealt in somewhat more detail with the early
beginnings of the wall and expressed his appreciation for those
businesses and individuals whose contributions made this wall a
Midway through the dedication the crowd was treated
with two low pass flyovers of an AirEvac Helicopter.
The next presenter, Jim Johnson, drew attention to
the Flagpole and American Flag located in the middle section of the
wall and the inscription on the plaque in front of the flagpole
which reads: “Dedicated to the City of Gleason, in Memory of James
B. (JB) Johnson (1911 – 1957) and Sally A. Johnson (1924 – 2004) by
Jim, Gary, and David Johnson.
He indicated that both parents loved the City of
Gleason and were actively involved with the Gleason community, his
mother having been a member of the Gleason chapter of the Order of
the Eastern Star, and a Sunday school teacher at First Baptist
Church, and his father having been an Assistant Cashier at the Bank
of Gleason, a Member of First Baptist Church of Gleason, the Gleason
Masonic Lodge, Commander of the Gleason American Legion Post and a
Veteran of World War II.
Sadly, J.B. Johnson died at age 45, four months after
having surgery for a malignant brain tumor. Not having insurance,
due to a prior medical condition, no other income apart from his
job, and being unable to work after the surgery, the family was in a
very difficult situation financially.
Thankfully, the good people of Gleason were there for
the family, in many ways, during that difficult time - as is so
often the case, when people of Gleason are in need. In this
instance, Mr. Bob Owen, Mr. M.E. Fanning, and Mr. Carl Parks (who at
that time was President of the Bank of Gleason) got together and
somehow were able to work things out so that the Bank was able to
assist the family financially during the four months J.B. lived
after the surgery.
After several months, when Sally decided that the
family needed to move to Michigan where her family lived and there
was no money for the move, Mr. Claude Steele came to the house one
day and generously offered to use one of his Sweet Potato trucks to
move the family to Michigan. He did what he said he would do -
refusing to take a cent for the move.
Jim indicated that these two examples, along with
many other acts of kindness that were shown by others during this
difficult time, not only represent how caring and supportive the
people of Gleason were back in the middle to late 1950’s but how
caring and supportive they still are today – when friends and
neighbors are in need. This kind of caring for others, makes Gleason
the type of town that people want to raise their children in and the
kind of town that, even if they move away for whatever reason, they
often choose to return!
The final event of the dedication ceremony was
presented by Jim Phelps and 5 members of Rolling Thunder who nicely
illustrated the “Missing Man” ceremony, in a way that would touch
the heart of any patriotic American.
The Missing Man Ceremony is one which
remembers and honors those soldiers who are missing-in-action and
very poignantly conveys that the military will always honor their
service, their sacrifice for our freedom, that soldiers left behind
on the battle fields in foreign lands will never be forgotten, and
that attempts to find them and bring them home are never-ending.
The dedication of the wall was concluded
with a heart-felt Benediction by Mr. Jacky Esch, a long-time honored
resident of Gleason and one who has been a valued contributor to the
work of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Initiative.
Gleason Championship Squads Reunite
The Dresden Enterprise
The clock was turned back inside the Gleason High School gym on Friday
evening. Members of both the 1992 and 2007 Class A State Championship girls’
basketball teams reunited at their alma mater for a presentation and recognition
of the squads in between games featuring the current Gleason and Greenfield
To begin the ceremony, the 1992 and 2007 state championship trophies were
wheeled out onto the floor by current members of the Lady Bulldog basketball
program moments after Gleason claimed a 57-50 triumph over G’field.
Then, the 1992 squad was introduced and presented with medals commemorating the
reunion by current members of the Lady Bulldog team. Three of the current
Gleason girls have direct ties to the 1992 squad. Current Lady Bulldog junior
Aubrey Wallace is the daughter of 1992 senior Cristi (Wallace) Sawyers.
Gleason’s Lillian and Martha Nichols are the nieces of Camille (Connell) Legins,
who was a sophomore on the ’92 state champion team.
“Although it’s been 25 years, I still remember winning the state tournament just
like it was yesterday,” Sawyers said. “Seeing all the girls tonight from both
teams as well as Coach (Randy) Frazier, Coach (Joel) Ayers) and Mr. (Mitchell)
Parham brought back some of the best moments of my life. However, the highlight
of it was my daughter handing me the memento from the evening. That brought
tears to my eyes and will be something I cherish forever. I’m so proud to be a
part of the Lady Bulldog team and hope that we will soon have a fourth state
All but five members of the 1992 girls’ state champion team were on hand at
Friday’s celebration, including Becky (Crowe) Padgett.
“Friday night’s 25-year reunion brought back so many special memories like the
love and support of our Gleason community, the bond between teammates, the
admiration and respect for Coach Frazier and Mrs. Terry (Frazier) and the pride
of what it meant to wear orange and represent the Lady Bulldogs,” said Padgett.
“I was overwhelmed by Gleason High School’s warm welcome and hospitality.”
Aside from Sawyer and Padgett, other members of the 1992 squad – which went 33-3
en route to the state championship – present for the reunion were Selena (Dilday)
Hodges, Heather (Lehmkuhl) Leach, Kristy (Freeman) O’Connor, Tonya (Parham)
Lutz, Camille (Connell) Legons, Stacy (Stewart) Cook, Kristy (McKee) Dunn, and
Holly (Crowe) Adams. Lisa (Wallace) Palmer, Ashley (Hopper) Flint, Brandy
(Wiseman) Horler, Olivia (Lowe) Gilliam, Nicki (Stephens) Pace and LeAnn (Bell)
Smith were not present.
Following the introduction of the 1992 state champion team, the 2007 squad was
welcomed back for its 10-year reunion.
A decade ago, Gleason posted a 35-1 worksheet en route to the program’s third
state crown. As was the case with the 1992 squad, the 2007 team’s medal ceremony
had family ties. Current Lady Bulldog Jayden Green – who scored a dozen points
during the win over Greenfield – is the niece of 2007 team member Candace
“It was great seeing everyone again and catching up like old times,” Green said.
“I got a little emotional when my name was called and when Mr. P came out to do
his chant, but I guess that’s expected when you’re nine months pregnant. I’m
very proud of my niece Jayden and it’s an honor to know all those people were
able to watch her win a big game.”
2007 Class A Miss Basketball award winner Kayla (Hudson) Irvin – the current
girls’ coach at Crockett County and a second cousin to current Gleason player
Kenady Atkins – was also on hand to take a bow alongside her teammates from a
“It was such an honor to stand beside the girls I went to battle with 10 years
ago,” Irvin said. “That team became my family. The wins and championships are
fun, but it’s the relationships that make the journey worth it. Those ladies I
love so much are now great wives and mothers. The lessons we learned on the
court permeate into so many other areas of life. I was just so humbled and
grateful to get to reminisce and experience that with them again.
“As a coach myself, I am now aware of the time and preparation our coaches put
in to making us into a team that could succeed at that level. I see with clear
vision that “whys” behind every drill and mental toughness challenge our coaches
put us in. I am so grateful for the opportunity to play for coaches who expected
excellence in all areas. It is my prayer that I am able to teach these same
lessons to my team.”
Along with Irwin and Lindsey, numerous other members of the 2007 Class A state
champion squad (35-1) were on hand on Friday including Ashley Coble, Camille
(Cooper) Legens, Erica (Morgan) Stahr), Sara (Hensley) Webb, Elizabeth (Terrell)
Cunningham, Kim (Edenfield) Marcus, Breanna (Wallace) Nerie, Jenna (Frazier)
Verdell, Taylor Stout, Tiffany Coble, Riley (Auvenshine) Laster and Kim
(Reynolds) Healy along with assistant coach Joel Ayers. Members of the 2007
squad not present were Becca Hodges, Alexis Tipton and Maggie Lowrance.
Following the team introductions, current Weakley County Director of Schools
Randy Frazier – who served as the head coach for both of the honored Lady
Bulldog state champion squads – briefly shared his memories of the two teams
before turning over the festivities to former athletic director/ principal
Parham led the home section of the crowd in a Gleason chant - a staple of
postseason basketball pep rallies and games during his long tenure at the
“It was great to be back in Gleason for the reunion of the 1992 and 2007 state
championship teams,” Parham said. “I enjoyed seeing all the former players as it
brought back very good memories. I also enjoyed talking with many of the great
Gleason Bulldog fans, who are the best. Thanks to Gleason High School for
getting this together and I was honored to be invited to join in with the
celebration. It was great.” Source: The Dresden Enterprise.
Gleason Mayor and Aldermen
Take Oath of Office
Newly re-elected Mayor, Diana
Poole, and four new Aldermen were sworn in on Sunday afternoon,
November 27th. This will be the second term in office for
Mayor Diana Poole and the first term in office for new aldermen
Jim Phelps, Marcus Hopper and Doug Johnson; Jerry (Bubba) Dunn
Jr., has previously served as alderman in the past.
The ceremony began with some
heartfelt welcoming remarks by Mayor Poole - along with some
inspirational readings by Mayor Poole and Tony Terrell.
Gleason City Recorder, Angela
Hunt read the oath of office and swore in the newly re-elected
Mayor for her second term. The Mayor then read the oath of
office for the newly elected Board of Aldermen.
Mayor Diane Poole Swears
in New Aldermen
L to R: Jim Phelps, Doug
Johnson, Marcus Hopper, Jerry (Bubba) Dunn, Jr.
With all indicating their
willingness to adhere to the oath of office, they were duly
sworn in and signed the necessary papers.
There was a good turn out for
the swearing in ceremony, with numerous friends and family
members of the newly elected mayor and aldermen and other citizens of Gleason attending the ceremony.
The swearing in ceremony was
followed by those in attendance enjoying some excellent cake and
refreshments and spending time enjoying the fellowship of
friends and neighbors.
43rd Annual Tater Town Special
By Jason Martin
Co-Grand Marshals, Jeff Hazelwood and the Gleason Downtown
Revitalization Committee ride in the back of the B.A.M.2 truck
GLEASON — The Tater Town
Special in its 43rd year provided the City of Gleason with eight days of
entertainment. Hosted by the Gleason Gazelles, the festival attracted
thousands of people to the quiet community.
The Junior and Grand parades on Saturday, September 3 served as the apex
of the festival. Syncing together in a harmony of floats, four-wheelers,
cars and horses, the parade rolled down the streets as onlookers smiled
and clapped. Children of all ages lined the path as parade participants
threw candy to the eager youths.
This year’s Grand Parade was co-grand marshaled by Jeff Hazlewood and
members of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee (GDRC).
Hazlewood serves as the Chief of Police for Gleason, past-president of
the Gleason Rotary Club, member of GDRC and member of Gleason First
Baptist Church. Hazelwood has held the position of chief for 19 years.
The Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee began in 2014 with the
focus of making improvements to the City of Gleason. Currently, the
committee is building a memorial wall in Snider Park.
At the conclusion of the parade, crowds gathered on the Gazelle Grounds
as a variety of vendors lined the area. Arts, crafts and a multitude of
food vendors were on hand as Keith Dunning provided entertainment under
The Tater Town Special kicked-off on Saturday, August 27 as SWAG
Wrestling took center stage. With scads of theatrics, wrestlers bound
around the ring exciting the crowd with body slams, headlocks and well
placed props. No one left the event without feeling a rush of
Monday, August 29 was the Grand Marshal Reception at the Gleason First
Baptist Church. Friends, family and members of the community came to the
church providing great fellowship to this year’s grand marshals.
Following the reception, The Good Time Singers provided a free concert.
BINGO was the name of the game on August 30 and 31. The Tuesday session
was reserved for adults and was sponsored by Woodmen of the World with a
cake auction during intermission. Wednesday’s BINGO was for the youth at
the Gazelle Grounds.
Jim “the preaching potter” Keeling demonstrated his incredible pottery
skills Thursday, September 1. Keeling, owner of Earthen Vessels Pottery,
Gifts and Bistro, led the hour long demonstration. The event centered on
the use of Gleason ball clay in Keeling’s pottery. With each piece
thrown, “the preaching potter” provided life lessons through Biblical
interpretations showing comparisons between clay and man.
The 2016 Sweet Potato Bake Off was at the Gazelle Grounds on Friday
night, September 2. Entries were turned in at the cook booth by 5 p.m.
The winning entry was Ms. Mary Proulx for her Savory Sweet Potato Bread
Pudding. Her tasty dish took the $50 Cash Prize sponsored by Simply
At 5:30 p.m., the City of Gleason was ready to rock as Flashback took
the stage. Hungry patrons roamed the grounds getting plates and their
stomachs full of some of the finest BBQ available. Cook teams from the
Bank of Gleason, Gleason Clay, Trevathan Brothers and Imery’s (K-T Clay)
provided hundreds of pounds of smoked pulled pork, bologna, ribs,
chicken and plenty of sides.
Saturday morning, September 3 raced into full gear as the JC Carey
Memorial 5K Run started at the Gleason School. With 82 entries, this
year’s race was the largest held with some of the best times. The
overall winner was Colton Delaney for the men and Veronica Rosa for the
In the 13 and under division, first place was Tyler Bell followed by
Baker Atkins in second and Barrett Bowers in third for the men. Ellie
Poole finished first and Lilly Ruesken in second with Carrington Lifsey
in third for the women.
In the 13 to 19 division, Colton Delaney was first followed by Rance
Morris. For the women, Veronica Rosa was first with Lillie Freeman in
second and Alexis Anderson in third.
The 20 to 29 division had Ryan Delaney talking gold as Steven Hawkins
and Jay Hosford brought home the silver and bronze. Melinda Jennings
took first in the women’s group and Karrington Atkins came in second
followed by Lauren Baker.
In the 30 to 39 division, Kenneth Coker was first followed by Josh
Crawford and Rusty Sawyers. Heather Leach was first for the women with
Erica Gibson and Eric Ross in second and third.
For the 40 to 49 division, Randy Davis and Todd Maxey tied for gold as
Mark Spain finished in second with Kerry Futrell in third. In the
women’s division, Nancy Poole was first with Wendy Maxey second and
Becky Padgett taking third. The 50 to 59 division had David Lott winning
first and Al Everett in second followed by Monte Cunningham. Pamela
Castleman took gold and Elizabeth Lott was bronze. In the 60 and over
category, Keith Tucker was first. After the parade, visitors had a
chance to view the Antique Tractor and Truck Show on the school grounds.
The Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee hosted the Tater Town
Throwdown Disc Golf Tournament at Huggins Park. Capping off the day, the
Gleason Saddle Club hosted a Mini Tractor Pull.
The week’s festivities came to a conclusion on Sunday, September 4 with
a Community- Wide Worship Service hosted by the Gleason Cumberland
Presbyterian Church. Source: McKenzie Banner.
The club recited The Collect in unison and the meeting was
adjourned. Source: McKenzie Banner.
Pottery, Gifts and Bistro:
and Open House
Photo Courtesy of The Weakley County Press
Gleason's newest business, Earthen Vessels
Pottery, Gifts and Bistro, celebrated its recent opening by
having a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house on Monday, July
The ribbon-cutting ceremony began promptly at 9 am with Mr.
Jim Keeling, co-owner of the business (along with his daughter
Maria McLain) cutting the
In attendance at the ribbon
cutting ceremony were several members of the Weakley County Chamber
of Commerce, Weakley County Mayor, Jake Bynum, Gleason Mayor Diane
Poole, President of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee,
Charles Anderson, Barbara Virgin of the Weakley County Economic
Development Board, as well as other dignitaries, prominent members
of the Gleason business community and the press. Many others from
Gleason and the surrounding area came to attend the Open House that
After the ribbon cutting
ceremony was over, those in attendance moved indoors to watch Mr.
Keeling as he displayed his considerable skills as a potter and
answered questions that people had about making pottery and the role
of Gleason Ball Clay in the process. He has indicated that he will
be offering pottery classes for those who are interested in
developing skills in this area.
Others attending the open
house had a chance to take a look at the wide range of beautiful
items made from Gleason Ball clay that were on display and visit
with friends and neighbors, while also enjoying some great
coffee and pastries.
Not only did everyone seem to enjoy
seeing what this new business has to
offer the Gleason community, several of them found a piece of pottery
they liked and bought it on the spot and many
others ended up taking some great pastries home with them to enjoy
By turning our in large
numbers, the good
citizens of Gleason did their best to make Mr. Keeling and his
family feel welcome and to let them know that they are glad that
they chose Gleason as the home for their new business.
Welcome Earthen Vessels Pottery, Gifts
Photo Courtesy of The Weakley County Press
Flea Market Comes
to Gleason's Snider Park
By Jason Martin
Gleason (May 26) - Since early
May, the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee has used the grounds
at Snider Park for a flea/farmers market. Vendors from West Tenn.
have set up booths and tables to sell their merchandise.
Each Thursday from 6 a.m.
till 12 p.m. patrons can walk the park, visiting booths and
finding outstanding deals.
Local vendor John Burroughs said.
"We saw a post on Facebook about the flea market and thought we would
give it a try." Within two hours, Burroughs and his son sold over a
Andrew Jackson of Dyersburg has
set up three times at the Gleason Location. "The traffic flow has gotten
better since the first week," Jackson explained as he organized
his collection of Native American artifacts. The arrowheads and other
pieces were gathered along creek beds in the area.
By far the most popular booth is
Eddyville's Pork Skin operated by Edd Daniels Jr. of Dukedom. Like most
vendors, Daniels makes the flea market circuit.
"It only costs $5 to set up, so
we are almost guaranteed to make a little money," explained Daniels. He
added that his sales method was pretty simple, "I just talk to people so
I can get their attention. If they are talking to someone else or not
looking my way, it's hard to sell them something. But a simple 'hey or
how are you' to get their attention is all I need."
The Gleason Downtown
Revitalization Committee and the City of Gleason are looking for more
vendors and shoppers. All proceeds from the flea/farmers' market go
directly to the projects funded by the revitalization committee.
Source: McKenzie Banner.
Groundbreaking and Beyond:
Snider Park Memorial Wall
(Left to Right) Mary Margaret Beasley, Rose Anderson,
Chief of Police Jeff Hazelwood, Mayor Diane Poole, Scotty Corum, GDRC
President, Charles Anderson, Andy Carroll, Jacky Esch, Jim Johnson, &
After receiving approval from the
Gleason Board of Mayor and Alderman to construct the long-planned
Memorial Wall at Gleason's Mike Snider Park on April 14th,
representatives of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee and the
Gleason Rotary Club participated in a groundbreaking ceremony on
Wednesday, May 27th.
The wall, which is to be
constructed near the main walkway to the park, in the vicinity of
the children's play area, will be approximately 80 feet in length and will include bench seating and flower boxes
on each end.
In the center will be a 40 foot flag pole which will be adorned with
a 8' by 12' American flag with a large rounded brick flower box at
the base of the flag pole.
Some 8,000 bricks for the
construction of the wall have been provided by Boral Brick Company
of Gleason and the concrete for the wall has been generously
contributed by Gleason Clay company (GCC: Cheryl Lehmkuhl, Plant
Black granite memorial stones are to
be placed in the inset areas
of the wall. A sample stone, in memory of Charles Anderson's parents
can be seen below. These memorial stones (which can include a
maximum of 13 characters per line and up to three lines per stone) can be purchased by
individuals who might wish to honor special people, to memorialize family members or
others who have passed, or who simply wish to purchase a stone with their own name on
it, so as to show their support
of this community project.
If you wish to order your engraved Black Granite
Copy, Paste and Print the Form Below
(Or pick up a form at City Hall)
Gleason Downtown Revitalization
Memorial Wall Project
These bricks will be placed randomly
throughout the face of the Memorial Wall
being built at Snider Park by the
Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee.
Or take your completed form and payment to City Hall)
Gleason Masonic Lodge #330
Focus on Brotherhood and Community Service
Gleason Masonic Lodge #330 has a long history, dating back to 1867, when
its charter was first
issued. During this span of almost 150 years, the
Masonic Lodge has been an integral part of the
Over the years, the Masonic Lodge has met in several locations.
Its initial meeting location was in the old Masonic Male and
Female Institute, a two story brick building erected in 1904
(across the street from the Bandy - Jeter house),
to replace a private school building which had burned down in 1902.
Gleason's first public school opened in 1906 in this
same building, with the Masonic Lodge continuing to hold their meetings
upstairs in this building until it burned sometime later.
For many years the Lodge met on the second floor of the
old Carl Parks building, located on Main Street, where the Gleason
Library was then located.
1991, the Masonic Lodge has been located at its current site at 202 Main
Street in Gleason, although several changes to the basic structure of
the building have been necessary over time. Most recently, in 2015,
the interior of the building was totally renovated, so as to
provide a modern meeting room, and fellowship hall along with other
Since its inception, the Masonic Lodge has been committed to the local community
and actively involved in the
Gleason community in supporting many worthy causes and helping organizations.
A notable example in this regard is providing support each year for the
Relay for Life, with funds derived from Lodge members, as well as
supporting this important activity by having members park cars for
those supporting this important event.
During both the Tater Town Special and the "Hometown Christmas"
celebrations this year, members of the Masonic Lodge grilled hamburgers,
cheeseburgers, hotdogs and smoked bologna and sold them to
individuals attending these events. Proceeds from each of these efforts
were contributed to the Gleason Downtown Revitalization fund - to
further enhance the downtown area of the Gleason community.
More recently, the Masonic Lodge picked up where the American Legion
left off and agreed to assume full sponsorship of the Big Brothers
program and their activities in this area.
The Masons strong support of, and commitment to, the Big Brothers program was
highlighted during the recent Christmas holidays.
Here, they provided
large grocery boxes to some 50 homes in the Gleason community. These
boxes each contained a frozen chicken, a pound of sliced cheese, a half
gallon of whole mile, a pound of dried navy beans, a pound of red
beans, 5 pounds of flour, 5 pounds of corn meal, along with bananas
and other fruits, as well as a 2 lb box of salt, pepper, and seasonings.
They also delivered fruit baskets to some 170
people in the Gleason area that were seniors, either needy, a widow or widower, and/or unemployed or of low income.
Front/Bottom Row: Bill Lynch, Jonathan McDowell, Kody Owen, Alan Owen,
David Black, T.J. Hicks and Bobby Langley. Back Row: Ronnie Connell,
Eric Owen, Sam Owen, and Blaine Owen -
special acknowledgment goes to Richard Black, (Organizer), Chairman,
Alan Owen, Treasurer, Ken Sanders and Larry Hudson for the use of Steele
Plant facility for storage and assembly.
can be noted that one of the primary goals of Masonry is to "make
better men out of good men".
It is believed that this is best achieved by focusing on strengthening one's
character, improving one's moral and spiritual outlook, promoting
personal responsibility, a belief in God, and by putting these attributes
into practice in daily life. It is believed that, through this process, it
is possible build a better world by building better men to work in their
In looking at the works of the Masons of Lodge #330
today, it appears that they are still living up to the strong tradition of those Masons who founded
this Lodge almost a century and a half ago - in terms of their significant contributions to the
community. (Thanks to Bill Lynch of Gleason Lodge #330 for his
contributions to this article.)
GLEASON HONORS - State Rep. Andy Holt (Center) presented
proclamations to Jim Johnson (left) and Charles Anderson honoring both
individuals for their involvement with last year's Tater Town Festival, where
they led as Grand Marshals. Both men serve on the Gleason Revitalization
Committee and have, along with other members of the Committee, been at the forefront of renovating the city's downtown and
preserving the history and heritage of Gleason. (Weakley County Press)
Gleason Downtown Revitalization:
Look Back at the First Year
As it has now been somewhat over a
year since the work of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee
was formally approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, it seems
appropriate to take a look back in order to assess the
accomplishment of the Committee now that 2015 has come to an end.
Here it can be noted that, under the
leadership of Charles Anderson as President, a wide range of
projects designed to enhance downtown Gleason and the surrounding
area have been undertaken.
At the outset, it should be noted
that many of the activities that the Revitalization Committee has
engaged in during the past year would not have been possible without
the generosity of those Gleason residents who have supported the
work of this committee during the past year. Their generosity has
included furthering revitalization efforts by making contributions
at fundraisers as well as by volunteering their time and talents
in helping make various revitalization projects a success.
Activities engaged in during the past
year have been of a varied nature. Some of these have been
beautification efforts, other have been restorative in nature, while
other, somewhat larger efforts, have represented a combination of
Examples have included providing new
and more visible handicapped parking signs throughout the downtown
area, the painting of fire hydrants, providing flower boxes
throughout the downtown area and making major repairs to the Senior
Citizens Center to deal with significant termite damage.
A major initiative during the first
year has involved making a number of improvements to Huggins Park,
which had previously seen very little community use during recent
During the past year a number of the
building in the park have been painted, an old rusty chain link
fence that posed safety issues has been torn down and replaced by a
brand new 190 foot section of white vinyl fence - thanks to the
generous donation by Imerys Ceramics.
Thanks to the hard work of Luke
Hughes, along with the efforts of committee members and others,
Huggins Park now has a brand new nine hole Disc Golf course which
has to this point hosted three successful Disc Golf tournaments,
with the most recent tournament hosting the University of Martin
Disc Golf team.
Park beautification efforts have
also involved the planting of several memorial trees, the donation
of a fountain (by Charles and Rose Anderson) and planting a wide
range of flower beds to enhance the look of the park.
These park-related enhancements have
resulted in many more citizens of Gleason and the surrounding area
coming to the park to attend a various community events hosted by
the Committee. These events have included an initial Revitalization
Committee fundraiser, featuring Mike Snider and his band, a Gleason
Movie Night which featured family friendly entertainment along with
a full-service concession stand, the Committee's First Annual Fall
Music Fest, and a Chili Supper Cook-off.
These improvements have made Huggins
Park a more suitable venue for an even wider range of community
events that will allow families to enjoy wholesome activities and
entertainment while also spending time with friends.
beautification/restoration project completed during the past year
has involved the painting of the J & P Auto Care building, as well
as the outbuilding adjacent to the service station.
The painting of this business related
to the Committee's belief that J & P Auto Care represented one of
the major landmarks of downtown Gleason, having now been in business
at the corner of Cedar and Main for over half a century.
Much effort was put into completing
this work project prior to the 2015 Tater Town Special to insure
that visitors to Gleason during this event might see the downtown
area at its best when viewed along the parade route.
An additional fund-raising project
during the past year has involved developing a Community Calendar
that provides the dates of important family events such as
birthdays, anniversaries and the like for Gleason citizens. The
proceeds from the sale of these calendars help fund downtown
improvements, as do all proceeds from activities sponsored by the
Completing projects such as these is
seen as important in laying the foundation for obtaining grant money
to support other more costly revitalization projects.
While a major focus of the committee
is on beautification and revitalization of the Gleason community,
another interrelated focus is on highlighting Gleason businesses,
realizing that encouraging hometown shopping by promoting home grown
businesses is a boon to the local economy.
During the past year, President
Charles Anderson has initiated a "Gleason Business of the Month"
initiative, whereby one local business is highlighted each month
through a special article focusing on that business. The article is
first published on the Gleason website (GleasonOnline.com).
The Weakley County Press has also agreed to provide a print version
of each article in their widely read newspaper.
In terms of other items,
it is also noteworthy that, during this past year, the Downtown
Revitalization Program has also filed for and has been approved as a
501(c)(3) non-profit, Tax Exempt organization. This designation
makes it possible for those individuals making financial donations
to the Gleason downtown revitalization effort to declare their gifts
as charitable contributions when filing their income tax return.
Despite those things that the
Committee has accomplished during the past year, much more work
needs to be done during the coming year (and in the future) to
enhance the City of Gleason's ability to attract new businesses, to
improve the economic growth of the community and make the Gleason
community a better place to live, work, raise a family and
experience an improved quality of life.
It is hoped that, based on these
initial accomplishments, the Gleason Downtown Revitalization
Committee will be seen as deserving of the generous support that it
has received from the citizens of Gleason during the past year.
It is also hoped that there will be
others who will join with the Committee and contribute their time
and efforts in helping 2016 be an even better year in terms of
enhancing the Gleason community.
Downtown Revitalization Committee Hosts
Huggins Park - Chili Cook-Off
On Saturday, November 7th, the Gleason Downtown Revitalization
Committee hosted its first Annual Chili Cook-Off. With temperatures
in the upper 50's and low 60's, and a mild wind blowing, the weather
was perfect for eating all the great chili you could eat (for only
$5), along with cornbread, a drink and a great selection of
desserts. Those who came were not only treated to good food at a
great price, but were also able to shop for handicrafts and buy
books at a discount price at the Gleason library book sale.
Here, there was a great selection of books of all kinds and for all
ages for only 25 cents each. And, everyone was treated to some great
music provided by local talent from 10:00 in the morning to 4:00 in
Participants in the Chili Cook-Off included Not-Hig's restaurant in
McKenzie, Gleason's own Andy Carroll and Chris Chadwick from Hawg
County Cookers in McKenzie.
It should be noted
that in 2008 Chris Chadwick won the Gleason Tater Town Special "Back
Yard BBQ" trophy for his bacon-wrapped hotdog with peppers and
onions and has continued to attend and win at the Tater Town
festival. Being a bit of a celebrity, he has also had the
opportunity to share his expertise regarding the art of cooking on
radio and the TV Discovery Channel.
The local musical talent included Gleason's own McKenna Cady, the group
"Forest Drive" (from Martin, TN), Gleason's Jon and Anna Eaton and
Jim Arnold and his group, "Crossroads" from Gleason.
cook-off winner being determined by those who had bought a ticket
for the chili and who chose to vote for one of the three
competitors, Andy Carroll of Gleason managed to edge out the others
to win the Chili Cook-off Championship trophy. An informal survey
seemed to suggest that all of the Cook-off chili was excellent.
As always, the
people of Gleason were generous in coming out on a rather chilly
Fall day in support of this event. With over 90 people being served
throughout the day, a total of some $480 was raised to support
additional Gleason Downtown Revitalization efforts.
Matt Cady - Ready to Sell Some
Emily Bell and Brooke McClure
Mike and Carole Blassingame
Judy Paschall, Library Director -
Gleason Memorial Library
Not Hig's (Tina Neil &
Not Hig's (Tina
Neil & Jerry Morgan)
& Andy Carroll (Behind Tables)
McKenna Cady and Forest Drive (Cooper
Gilliam; Jackson Kellyk Peyton Forrester; Keaton Penick
Jon and Anna Eaton
Crossroads: (Jim Arnold; Keith
Arnold; Thomas Chandler; Jeff Ellis Booths)
Matt Cady - Giving the Chili
Cook-off-Award to Andy Carroll of Gleason
Chris Chadwick (Hawg
County Cookers) - Andy Carroll (Gleason) - Jerry Morgan (Not Hig's)
State Representative Andy Holt
Presents Proclamation to Imerys
Front Row: State Representative
Andy Holt, Arson Potts (Gleason, Imerys - KT Plant Manager), Chuck Laine
(President, Tennessee Mining Association)
Back Row: James Jarrett, Kerry
Arnold, Eric Duke, Donald Cooper, and Brent Eugley (Photo by
The Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program hosted its First Annual Fall
Music Fest on September 26.
With admission being free and free tickets
for drawings being being given to
all in attendance, an estimated 175 Gleason citizens and visitors from
the surrounding areas turned out for this event. They were all treated to
some great music provided by local celebrities at the "new and
revitalized" Huggins Park.
Good food, including Hamburgers, Cheeseburgers, Walking Toco's, Popcorn,
Candy and Drinks were also provided at the Concession Stand.
This was an evening that offered something for people of all ages.
Children's activities started at 4:00 PM and featured Face Painting by
Matt Cady and a "Bounce House", which the younger children seemed to
Hosted by MC Charles Anderson, musical entertainment started at 5:00
PM. Opening the show was Anna Eaton who sang the National Anthem. This
was followed by musical selections provided by Ronnie Story, Keith
Dunning, Wess Whitworth, Larry Morgan, McKenna Cady, Micah Arnold,
David Hoppe and Jon and Anna Eaton.
Among the selection of songs that Anna and
Jon Eaton sang to round out the evening was one very special song, which they wrote,
featured a friend of theirs - Gleason resident Billie Joe Ward.
It is noteworthy that the citizens of Gleason, once again showed their
great generosity in terms of supporting Gleason revitalization efforts by
making donations on the order of $800 during this event. These funds
used to support further downtown revitalization projects.
On September 5th, 2015 Phelps Street in
Gleason, Tennessee was formally dedicated as "PVT Bobbie Dee Phelps
Memorial Way" as part of the 2015 Tater Town Special program. This
dedication was to honor the memory of Private Bobbie Dee Phelps, who
was attached to the 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry
Division, of the US Army, who was killed in action in Korea on April
The dedication ceremony of "PVT Bobbie Dee Phelps
Memorial Way" began with thoughtful opening comments by Gleason Mayor, Diane
Poole and were followed by a heartfelt presentation by Mr. Jim Phelps, who
commented on the circumstances
surrounding Bobbie Dee Phelps making
the ultimate sacrifice for his country - much of which is presented
In his comments Mr. Phelps noted that that Bobbie's Grandfather, Elvis
Jackson Phelps, built the very first house on Phelps Street, where Bobby Phelps was born
- "the yellow house located just down the street on the left"
- (the old Roy Hodges home at 223 Phelps
Tater Town Festival
Wraps up With Parade
By DOUG MARSHALL
Special to the Press
The streets were crowded in small
town USA, Gleason, TN on Saturday, Sept, 5. The air smelled like barbecue, and
the children of the Gleason area eagerly grabbed candy off the ground from the
passing floats. The patrons were gathered to watch and participate in the annual
Labor Day weekend Tater Town Festival Parade.
“This is the 42nd year for small town
USA right here,” said grand marshal Charles Anderson. “Gleason is known for
sweet potatoes and has been for years. Every year on Labor Day weekend we put
together a little Tater Town special. Today we had a tractor show; it is the
11th year we’ve done that, and we really enjoy this. It’s a community time; it
brings that small town pride back to town. People enjoy themselves. It’s a
reminiscent time, and we have a lot of class reunions going on this weekend.
This festival is a hometown event to bring hometown natives back to town.”
“The Tater Town festival is all about a
group of about eight women who pull the community together, just to be together,
that’s all that it’s about. Just giving back to the community!” Jennifer Cook
said enthusiastically about the festival. Jennifer Cook is one of the Gazelles
who helped to put the event together.
“I think it’s a time for the community
to come together like it has been doing for 42 years,” said the other grand
marshal, Jim Johnson. “The Gazelles do a wonderful job with this; we could not
do this without them. I think it’s a place, not even just for the current
citizens of Gleason. I grew up here and was away for a long time, and I kept
trying to figure out how I could keep in touch. I finally developed a website
for current and former Gleason citizens to keep in touch. There are a lot of
people here today; some are here for their 55th class reunion, some for their
50th, and some others for their 40th. All of these people have come back for
this Tater Town Festival, so I just think it highlights the cohesiveness of the
“It’s been a long time tradition here,
of course Gleason is small, but this is one of the major things we do here,”
said Dale Stevens, Gleason’s Director of Public Works. “The Gazelle group, the
girls have recently lost some membership. They’re down to a bare minimum, and
Gleason public works helps them out with this. They are a really great
organization, and we cherish this time every year. We spend a lot of time; the
public works department does a lot of work for them in an effort to help them
out. Everybody, a lot of the classmates from years ago, have come back here
every year and have class reunions and it’s just a tradition now. It’s been
going on for a long time and people expect it and we enjoy helping put it on.”
The parade proudly displayed police,
fire, and EMS vehicles, along with the local National Guard. It was also filled
with local businesses, government officials, local cheerleaders and beauty
queens, along with other local groups and clubs.
TOWN USA— Gleason High’s cheerleaders march through downtown Gleason during
Saturday’s parade (top left photo). From left to right: Amber Watson, April
Watson, Hailey Harrison, Gracie Long, Josie Long, Claire O’Connor, Jessica
Remillian, Maggie Hampton, Madison Gazelle, Dorcy Bell, Bell Fallard, Allison
Rollins. In the top right photo, the winners of the Tater Town beauty pageant
ride through town; (from left to right) Queen: Mary Rollins, First Maid: Jamie
Shay Bailey, Second Maid: Savannah Scarborough, and Third Maid: Chelsea Beasley.
Grand marshals Charles Anderson and Jim Johnson are pictured in the bottom left
photo. In the bottom right picture, motorcyclists ride through the parade.
Weakley County Press.
Enhance the Gleason Community Through Clay:
Charles Anderson, President of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization
Program, receives a check in the amount of $1,500 dollars from Brent
Eugley of Imerys North America Ceramics (formerly KT Clay Co.) for
the new vinyl fence at Huggins Park.
Side: Imerys Ceramics Representatives:
Front Row: Left to
Montgomery - Ball Clay Lab Technician; Katy Lucas (dark green
shirt/brown pants) - Geologist
Back Row: Left to
Collins - Ball Clay Technician; Cruz Legens - Ball Clay Lab
Technician; Eric Duke (white shirt) Production Supervisor; Kerry
Arnold -(EHS) - Environmental Health and Safety Manager; Brent
Eugley (with check) - Environmental Coordinator; James Jarrett
(right side with bright yellow shirt) - Ball Clay Quality Control
Manager/Product Development Coordinator.
Right Side: Revitalization Committee
Left to Right:Mayor
Diane Poole (behind fence), Charles Anderson-President (receiving
check), Rose Anderson, Gary Doster, James Jarrett (Imerys
Representative), Chief Jeff Hazelwood, Doris Owen-Treasurer, Jim
Johnson and Matt Cady.
Hannah Robison, was
crowned Miss Tennessee for 2015 on Saturday, June 20th in Jackson
at the Carl Perkins Civic Center.
Hannah, age 21, is currently a senior at the University of
Tennessee at Martin, majoring in Chemistry and pursuing a minor in
She won her talent preliminary for an outstanding performance on
the piano as well as her lifestyle and fitness preliminary in the
As Miss Tennessee, she will receive an $18,000 scholarship and
represent Tennessee at the Miss America Pageant in September.
Additionally, she will serve as Governor
Official Spokesperson for
Character Education where she will be
children across the state.
The selection of Hannah Robison as Miss Tennessee-2015 makes a lot
of people in the Gleason community proud. And none are prouder than
her grandmother Bobbye Lu Robison of
Hannah is the daughter of Bobbye Lu and the late Buddy Robison's son Rusty
and his wife Pam who live in Buchanan.
Bobbye Lu notes
that it takes a while to come down from the high that is experienced
when a granddaughter wins something like this. She also highlighted
Hannah's ties to Gleason by noting that Hannah was Gleason's "Miss
TaterTown" in 2010.
She went on to
say "I was very thrilled that she won this honor because it's not
just a beauty pageant. It doesn't just involve how one looks, but
also showing composure in what can be a stressful interview, having
talent - and lots of hard work !"
It is noteworthy
that Hannah's Grandmother, Bobbye Lu, is no stranger to beauty
pageants herself, having been named "Miss Gleason" back in 1951. It
seems that talent, composure, and beauty run in the family.
Gleason's First Disc Golf
Tournament Held at Huggins Park
a result of a generous gift from the West Tennessee Disc Golf Club
to the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program and City of Gleason's
Park and Recreation department and, with the help of Mr. Luke Hughes of
Gleason, it has been possible to develop a disc golf course at Gleason's
Huggins Park for use by the people of Gleason and the surrounding area.
The design and development of the course was under the direction of Mr.
Luke Hughes, of Gleason, along with Chris Dodson, Will Trimble and Kent
Fothergill, all of whom are actively involved with this rapidly growing
The course is open to all Gleason citizens who are interested in the
sport and was set up to allow for competitive disc golf tournaments for
players of all ages.
Sponsored by the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program,
Gleason's first disc golf tournament, the
Throwdown" was held on Saturday, May 23, 2015.
Registration for the tournament began at 1:30. The registration fee was
$10, which included a free disc, bearing the "TaterTown Throwdown" logo.
All funds derived from this event will be used to support Gleason
Downtown Revitalization efforts.
Prior to beginning the tournament, a disc golf workshop was
conducted by Tournament Director Luke Hughes. This pre-tournament training session was open to all registrants
served as an introduction to the basics of disc golf, including rules of
the game, disc golf fundamentals, and an introduction to the new Huggins
The tournament itself began at 3:30 and lasted for several hours, with
the 36 participants playing varying numbers of holes,
depending on their age.
The concession stand was open, serving water, soft drinks, hamburgers, cheese burgers, bologna and various
other tasty edibles.
Certificates were given for outstanding play in both the "Novice" and
more "Advanced" disc golf participants.
is hoped that this inaugural tournament will stimulate
participants to come out to Huggins Park and use the facilities to develop their disc golf skills and
enjoy playing the course with friends over the summer.
Be sure to check GleasonOnline.com regularly
for announcements of other disc golf tournaments that may be offered
Tournament Registration: Only Ten
With a Free Disc Included
Concession Stand - Open for
Luke Hughes Provides
Pre-tournament Disc Golf Workshop
Focusing on Fundamentals
Out on the Course
Click on the Above Graphic
for Story and More Tournament Pictures
Revitalization Committee Hosts First Family Movie Night
night, September 13, the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee
hosted its first Family Movie Night at Huggins Park. The featured
movie was Facing the Giants, a PG
rated family-friendly drama about a
high school football coach who, in several years of coaching, has
never had a winning season. Just as he is finding some reason
to believe that the upcoming season might be better his hopes are
squelched when the best player on his team
transfers to another school. After losing their first three games of
the season, the coach discovers a group of fathers are plotting to
have him fired. Combined with pressures at home, the coach has
lost hope in his battle against fear and failure. However, an
unexpected challenge helps him find a purpose bigger than just
victories. Daring to trust God to do the impossible, the coach
and members of his team discovers how faith plays out on the field…
This first Family Movie Night
film sponsored by the Downtown Revitalization Committee, got things
off to a good start, despite the unseasonably cool to borderline
cold temperatures during the evening. More than 75 people came
dressed for the occasion to see the movie, socialize with
neighbors, and enjoy some great hamburgers, cold drinks, coffee, hot
chocolate, and popcorn as well as cookies and other snacks that
could be purchased at the concession stand. The one dollar
per-person admission fee automatically entered everyone in drawings
for various prizes.
CLICK HERE FOR PICTURES!
The next regular monthly board
meeting is Thursday, October 9 beginning at 7 p.m.
GHS 50-year Class Reunion - Class of
The Gleason High School Class of 1964 celebrated their 50th class
reunion during Tater Town festivities on August 30, 2014. The
reunion was held at Mallards Restaurant in Huntingdon, with
classmates having additional time to catch up on old times friends
at the Dixie Carter Performing Arts Center in Huntingdon.
L-R: Rosemary Jorge, Suzette Edmonston, Martha Boone, Brenda Pickler,
Judy Mansfield, Karen Dellinger, Sonja Godwn;
Back L-R: George
Sawyers, Ronnie Dilday, Iva May Lowery, Wanda Maddox, Betty
Bradberry, Sandra Tilley, Martha Brewer, Carol Sue Delinger, Mrs.
Floyd and Mr. Floyd, John Bradberry (Note - maiden names used for
Gleason High School Class of 1962:
Second Annual Follow-up
The Gleason High School Class of 1962 celebrated their second annual
follow up to their 50th class reunion during Tater Town
festivities on August 30, 2014.
Barbara Clement White,
Ronnie Parks, Ferrellin Webb Cassidy, Coy Segraves, Curtis Mayo,
Linda Ray Bevis,
Sammy Tilley, Joyce Holland Straughn, John Ozment, Joyce Stewart
Jones, Bobby Langley, Linda Elinor Boone, Kenneth Doster, Linda
Travillian Langford, Terry Bunnell
Downtown Revitalization Fundraiser:
A Big - Small Town Success
On Saturday, August 2nd,
2014, a Fundraiser, designed to support Gleason Downtown
Revitalization efforts, was held from 5 until after 8 PM at Huggins
Park in Gleason.
The fundraiser was initially organized by the Gleason Downtown
Revitalization Committee (Members: Charles
Anderson, Ron Arnold, Mary Margaret Beasley, Andy Carroll, Gary
Doster, Police Chief Jeff Hazelwood, Doris Owen, and Mayor Diane
Poole) and focused on raising funds to support initial
downtown revitalization projects that can provide the foundation
for grant applications to fund larger projects.
The evening began with an opening prayer, provided by Mr. Jacky Esch
and the National Anthem, wonderfully sung by Mr. Wendell Verdell.
The program consisted of gospel music, generously provided by
"Witness Southern Gospel of McKenzie, Tennessee, as well as
Gleason's own Mike Snider, widely known for being a regular on the
Grand Ole Opry, as
it is commonly known and referred to,
and formerly a regular on the old Hee Haw television
show as well as having received other honors associated with the
country music industry. Additional musical entertainment was also
provided by Ricky Morgan of The Great Pretenders, Wendell Verdell
and Charles Ross and family of Gleason. Each of these individuals
and groups provided their services freely in support of this
Those in attendance were provided with plenty of great food,
including both BBQ plates and hot dogs from
Big Daddy's BBQ, Highway 79,
McKenzie, Tennessee. Soft drinks, bottled water, as
well as snow cones and desserts were also available at the
All in attendance had the opportunity to win more than 20 door
prizes, such as gift cards and a variety of other items provided by
numerous donors. Numerous attendees purchased chances to win various
prizes ranging from gift certificates, to bicycles, to a Winchester
Repeating Arms 12 gage shotgun, along with 5 boxes of shells and
electronic noise-suppression ear muffs.
With approximately 400 total in attendance, including lots of people
from Gleason and the surrounding areas, others coming from further
away, and more than a dozen others who were candidates for local,
and state offices, this event has to be judged as having been a huge
Not only did the citizens of Gleason come out in numbers to support
this important event, but many also made cash donations during the
evening. Others supported this initiative by simply coming to enjoy
the entertainment and fellowship with friends, while enjoying the
excellent food and beverages and buying tickets for the various
prizes that were offered. Numerous other individuals, groups, and
businesses made significant financial contributions, or provided
goods or services that were significantly discounted or given
freely for this event.
Final Flight Outfitters, Union City; Big
Daddy's BBQ, McKenzie; Owen Brothers, Gleason; Pepsi Cola,
Paris; Jim Johnson, Huntingdon; Coca Cola, Union City;
Flowers by Jan, Gleason; Aletha Jones, Gleason; Simply
Southern Restaurant, Gleason; Bank of Gleason, Gleason; WCMT
Radio, Martin; Salon 104, Gleason; Gleason Superette,
Gleason; Jerry Chestnut, General Manager of Boral Brick,
Gleason; J&P Exxon, Gleason; J & J Restaurant, Gleason;
Bryant Video, Gleason; Blossom and Blooms, Gleason; Tumbling
Creek Baptist Church, Gleason;Weakly County
It is heartening to learn that the funds derived from this Gleason
Downtown Revitalization Fundraiser were in excess of $4,000.
This figure seems to highlight
both the generosity of the citizens of Gleason, as a group, and the
degree to which they care for their community and want it to be all
it can be!
Announcing the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Initiative
the most recent meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Gleason resident Charles Anderson
spoke on behalf of the newly constituted Gleason Downtown Restoration Committee.
Mr. Anderson noted that we all take
great pride in our small town and always want it to look its best. He
went on to say that unfortunately, Gleason hasn't kept
up with the times when it comes to the downtown area, as compared to other towns.
While other city's are making improvements, Gleason's downtown area is
moving in the opposite direction.
Mr. Anderson indicated that the focus of this committee
will be on sprucing up the City of Gleason in all ways possible in order to make Gleason a
more attractive destination for visitors. He stated that the Committee
hopes to get all citizens involved in turning the downtown area around and making
it a more enjoyable place to visit.
He suggested that the purpose of coming
before the Board was not to ask the city for money but simply to get support
from the board. He said that the committee hopes to use grants and
individual donations to fund specific projects.
Some initial ideas for possible improvements include
improving sidewalks/parking/awning in front of the school, a new LCD electronic
billboard for the school, Flashing Safety
Lights in school zones, restoring a Railroad Caboose to commemorate the old long
& forgotten train station, new park benches/flower planters, hand painted murals
on walls of buildings (looking for volunteers for artwork), the
construction of a fountain, and potentially the development of a farmers
The Mayor and Aldermen expressed their
excitement regarding the committee's ideas for improving the Gleason community and voted unanimously to support
this new initiative.
Log Cabin Decorated with Autumn Theme
School 50-year Class
Reunion - Class of 1963
class of 1963 had their 50 year class reunion on Saturday,
August 31, 2013. Members of the class participated in the
Tater Town Special parade by riding on a "Class of 1963 ~
50-year Reunion trailer. A member of the Class of '63, the
former Sandra Taylor who was the 1963 Miss. Gleason rode in a red
1963 Chevrolet Corvette owned and driven by Dale Nunnery, also a
member of the Class of 63.
reunion was held at the First Baptist Church on Saturday evening.
The festivities were also attended by several well wishers from
other Gleason High School Classes from the early to mid 1960's. A
good time was had by all!
Below is a
picture of those members of the Class who were in attendance.
Class members attending included,
pictured from left to right are:
Front Row: Carol
(Tucker) Dycus, Delois (Boane) Shaw, Kaye (Billington) Owens, Sandra
(Taylor) Johnson, Wanda (Hodges) Pritchett, Patricia (Reed) Segraves
Back Row: Robert
Smyth, Pat Dewberry, Bobbie Lou (Williams) Chandler, Janis (Hodges)
Featherstone, Jean (Burrows) Cunningham, Dale Nunnery, LeRoy
Click on the Above Link for all Reunion Pages
Gleason High School Class of 1962:
of the Class of 1962 followed up on their last
year's 2012 Tater Town 50-year reunion by having a get
together on Saturday, August 31st at at Hig's
Restaurant in McKenzie. All members of the Class of
1962 and other friends were invited.
As can be seen
from the picture below, the turn out for this follow-up was great,
with 16 Class of 62 members attending and having a good time
interacting with old classmates and other friends from Gleason
School. - Click on the link below for more Class of '62 pictures.
of the Class of 1962 attending included, FRONT ROW:
Joyce (Stewart) Jones, Ferrelin (Webb) Cassidy, Linda (Elinor)
Boone, Joyce (Holland) Straughn, Linda (Ray) Bevis, Lynda (Travillian)
Lankford, Barbara (Clement) White. BACK ROW: Terry Burnell, Curtis
Mayo, Bobby Langly, Ronnie Parks, Coy Segraves, Pert Pritchitt, John
Ozment, Jim Lawrence, Sammy Tilley. (Picture compliments of Linda
Click on the Above Link for More Class of '62 Pictures
Family Recalls Life of Gordon Stoker
By Joe Lofaro
Special to the Press
Stoker, a Gleason native and a member of The Jordanaires vocal group
that backed Elvis Presley, died this past Wednesday, his niece Jenna
Wright said Stoker was “the best uncle in the world.”
“He knew where he came from and he loved the people. He was a great
person,” said Wright, who chairs the department of English at the
University of Tennessee at Martin.
Wright’s son, Zac,
served as a pallbearer in Saturday’s funeral. “I was 12 years old
before I realized Uncle Gordon was famous,” Zac Wright said. “He
always wanted butter beans on okra.”
started at Tumbling Creek Baptist Church, outside of Gleason, when
he was 8 years old. In addition to playing the piano at church, he
played at singing conventions in West Tennessee. “Mom and dad hung
on them (singing conventions),” Stoker was quoted as saying. “I
remember singing in Fulton and Martin.”
Better known as
Hugh Gordon, he performed with the Clement Trio on WTJS in Jackson.
He was recruited, after graduating from Gleason, to be the pianist
in Nashville’s John Daniel Quartet. It was here that Stoker played
on WSM’s Grand Ole Opry.
After three years
in the Air Force, Stoker moved to Oklahoma to be near family, but in
1948 he moved back to Nashville and rejoined the Daniel Quartet, who
was now playing on WLAC radio.
He met his wife,
the former Jean Wilkerson, in 1949, at a church singing in
Nashville. In 1950, he auditioned for and won the piano-playing job
for the Jordanaires.
drew on both black and white gospel music, as well as many of the
hymns Stoker knew by heart from his childhood in rural West
Tennessee,” said Joe Rumble in a recent Associated Press article.
Rumble is the senior historian at the County Music Hall of Fame in
Nashville. Stoker and the Jordanaires became members of the
prestigious Hall of Fame in 2001.
Not only did
Stoker play the piano for the Jordanaires but he also took on the
role as a vocalist, singing tenor. The group performed together for
60 years, singing backup for Presley, Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves,
George Jones, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Red Foley and Kenny Rogers.
“He was so
famous,” Wright said. “But to me he was just Uncle Gordon. He was an
extremely unassuming person.”
Wright said her
uncle attended her high school graduation in Gleason and Stoker, his
wife and three children were in the fieldhouse when she graduated
from UT Martin.
Wright said her
family was extremely close. In fact, Wright’s father, the late Wayne
Stoker, and Gordon were together with others for Thanksgiving in
1983 when Mike Snider dropped by the house.
“Wayne knew I won
the national banjo playing contest in September of 1983,” Snider
said. “It was on Thanksgiving in 1983, when I met Gordon at Wayne’s
house. “Gordon asked me, ‘What do you want to do?’ I told him I
would like to play on the Grand Ole Opry stage one time.”
“I remember Wayne
telling Gordon he had to hear me play because I was something a
little different,” Snider said.
Thanks to the
Stokers, Wayne and Gordon, Snider was able to play on the stage at
the Grand Ole Opry. He also appeared on Nashville Now and starred on
Hee Haw. He is now a member of the Grand Ole Opry and he host
segments this past weekend at the Opry.
“I didn’t even
want to be in the music business,” Snider said. “I was farming. I
couldn’t have done it without Wayne and Gordon. They were two really
nice men who went out of their way to help somebody they didn’t even
Wright will be
the first to echo Snider’s comments about her dad and her uncle.
“When my dad got real sick a couple of year’s ago, Uncle Gordon
would call him every day, no matter where he was.
Uncle Gordon also
called Wright often. “When he would say goodbye he always said, ‘I
love you, baby.’”
At Gordon Stoker’s funeral at Christ Presbyterian Church in
Nashville, Wright was just as unassuming as her uncle.“I am sure there
were some big-name celebrities there, but I don’t keep up with all
that,” she said.
In case your wondering about the music, Gordon Stoker and the
Jordanaires sang backup on Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “No Tears in
Heaven,” Presley’s “Known Only to Him” and Foley’s “This World is
Not My Home.”
Despite the stellar lineup of music, Wright remembers the last words
her uncle Gordon Stoker said to her, “I love you baby.”
Elvis photos on display at UTM: A photography display titled “ELVIS:
Grace and Grit” is featured in the University of Tennessee at
Martin’s Paul Meek Library Museum.
opened Monday and runs through May 31. An opening reception is
Thursday from noon to 12:30.
“ELVIS: Grace and Grit” is the latest traveling exhibition from the
CBS Television Photo Archive.
Shot by various
CBS photographers, the exhibition contains 35 candid and on-air
photographs documenting Elvis before the Las Vegas years — during
the meteoric rise of this star, according to Victoria Ann Rehberg,
exhibition marketing manager.
was curated by National Exhibitions & Archives, LLC of Glens Falls,
NY and the CBS Photo Archive.
The images, taken
by CBS photographers, represent a sampling of over 30 million
memorable images contained in the CBS Entertainment Archives, dating
back to when CBS first began broadcasting as a radio network in
August 3, 1924 in Gleason,
Tennessee, Gordon grew up in a
musical family and by eight was
playing piano in church. He was soon
playing at singing conventions in
Western Tennessee and Kentucky. At
one of the conventions, he caught
the attention of John Daniel of the
John Daniel Quartet
who invited him to become the
quartet’s first pianist when he
finished high school.
joining John Daniel’s group, Gordon
performed on radio in Jackson,
Tennessee as a member of the
Clement Trio and
backed a gospel quartet who
performed on a radio station out of
Paducah, Kentucky. After graduating
high school at age 15, he moved to
Nashville to join the Daniel Quartet
and began performing on radio
joined the Air Force in 1943. After
leaving the service, he enrolled at
Oklahoma Baptist University before
eventually retuning to Nashville and
the Daniel Quartet.
Jordanaires, organized in the late
1940s, became a top gospel quartet.
The group was formed by two
and his brother Monty,
in Springfield, Missouri. Bass
singer Culley Holt
and baritone Bob Hubbard
completed the quartet with Bob Money
acting as pianist early on.
replaced Bob Money as pianist in
1949 after the group moved to
Nashville to back
Grand Ole Opry
Gordon soon became the lead singer
and tenor. After the Matthews
brothers returned to Missouri in the
early 1950s, the group reorganized
with Gordon remaining as tenor with
Neal Matthews Jr. as a
second tenor, baritone
Hoyt Hawkins and bass
joining by 1955. Hugh was replaced
by Ray Walker
in 1958, completing the group that
would be the lineup elected into the
Country Music Hall of Fame.
1950, the Jordanaires were known for
their renditions of songs associated
with both black and white gospel
traditions, a genre they continued
to work in after signing with
Capitol in 1951. The group also
started singing background on
country records and their regular
spots on the NBC network portion of
the Grand Ole Opry and 1955’s
Arnold Time made them a
the group’s gospel albums helped
them be elected into the Gospel
Music Hall of Fame in 2001, they are
best known for the background
harmonies they provided for dozens
of other stars, including
hits such as “Don’t Be Cruel,”
“Are You Lonesome Tonight” and “It’s
Now or Never,” which led them to
work with other rock and roll stars
and Gene Vincent.
1960s and beyond, the group often
worked as many as four sessions a
day. Their recordings with
(“Gone”), Jim Reeves
(“Four Walls”) and
(“Crazy”) showcase the smooth
pop-influenced side of Nashville’s
recording scene during the time
period, while their work with
Don Gibson (“Oh
Lonesome Me’), Johnny
Horton (“The Battle of
(“Stand by Your Man”) Conway Twitty (“Hello
(“Lucile”) demonstrated their
Jordanaires’ contributions to the
Nashville recording industry include
the system of studio music notation
first popularized by Neal Matthews
Jr. and known internationally as the
Nashville Number System. They were
also instrumental in establishing
the Nashville offices of national
performers’ unions representing
radio and television artists and
screen actors. After Hoyt Hawkins
died in 1982,
Duane West joined the
group but left due to illness and
was replaced in 2000 by Louis Nunley.
joined in 2000 following Neal
the Jordanaires were elected to the
Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2002,
the won a GRAMMY with
Larry Ford & the Light Crust
for Best Southern, Country, or
Bluegrass Album, for
Called Him Mr. Gospel Music: The
James Blackwood Tribute Album.
group’s final performance was in
August 2012, in Tunica, Mississippi
according to the
Gordon was the group’s leader and
owner, and The Jordanaires will not
continue without him. “The group is
over,” Alan Stoker, Gordon’s son,
said. “It was a wonderful run. My
father lived a great life, and left
us a great legacy.”
is survived by Jean Stoker, his wife
of 61 years, sons Alan and Brent,
daughter Venita and daughter-in-law
Jeanne, five grandchildren and one
Visitation will be held from 6-8
p.m. Thursday, March 28, and again
on Friday, March 29, at Woodlawn-Roesch-Patton
Funeral Home, 660 Thompson Lane in
Nashville. A memorial service will
be held Saturday, March 30, at 2
p.m. at Christ Presbyterian Church,
2323 Old Hickory Boulevard in
Nashville, with visitation one hour
prior to the service.
of Fame &
Gleason HS Class of 1962 Celebrates 50th Reunion
GLEASON (September 1) Gleason High School Class
of 1962 celebrated their 50th reunion during Tater Town festivities
on September 1, 2012. Class members attending included, pictured
from left: (front row) Barbara Clement White, Lynda Travillian
Lankford, Kitty Wray Oliver, Lynda Elinor Boone, Joyce Stewart
James, Linda Ray Bevins, Joyce Holland Straughan, Ferrellin Webb
Cassidy and Wanda Dilday; (back row) John Ozment, Pert Pritchett,
Curtis Mayo, Jim Lawrence, Coy Segraves, Terry Bunnell, Bobby
Langley, Sam Tilley and Ronnie Parks.
Gleason Home to Another Singing
By Sara Reid, Staff
Posted: Tuesday, July 8,
The City of Gleason
has long been known as
the home of Grand Old Opry star Mike Snider,
but in the near future
it may be able to add
another name to that
list. Last month,
Gleason native Micah
Arnold, 26, took to the
stage in the West
competition in Jackson
and outshined over 200
contestants to take home
the grand prize and the
chance to move on to
Initially, Arnold, who
has been singing since
the age of three, was
hesitant to enter the
competition, but with
the encouragement of his
parents, Jim and Donna
Arnold, he decided to
take the plunge. “Over
200 people were at the
admitted. “First, you
had to sing a capella
and if you advanced past
that, you’d perform to a
live round onstage in
front of the judges and
then a radio round where
people called in and
voted.” Despite the fact
that the competition was
very much like the
television show, Arnold
admitted that the entire
process did nothing to
wrack his nerves. “I’m
used to the stage,” he
said. “I’m in a band
called Leaving Sunday
and we’ve played in
Dresden, Paris, Jackson
and McKenzie. I’ve sung
in Nashville in most
every place. I play
guitar in the band, but
lately, of course, I’ve
been focusing on
vocals.” Arnold hopes to
take his passion much
further than the
competition stage. He’s
hoping to make a career
in the music industry.
“I’d really like to go
further with it,” he
said. “I’ve been wanting
to work on a career in
the music industry for a
while now.” Arnold cites
his musical influences
as being everything from
Keith Urban to Merle
Haggard to Hank Williams
Jr. to Garth Brooks to,
of course, his father
who played music when
Arnold was growing up,
but he relates his own
style of singing to no
one. It’s uniquely his
own. “I try not to sound
like anyone. I try to be
unique. I’ve been told
that I sound like George
Strait or I sound like
Conway Twitty, but I
don’t want to be a
second-rate version of
them,” he admitted.
Arnold wasn’t the only
Weakley Countian to sing
on the West Tennessee
Idol stage, however. Two
other singers from
Palmersville also made
the finals and Arnold
saw their presence as a
comfort. “Emily Rook was
there and Paul Jolley
was there and it was
very comforting,” he
remarked. “I knew them
even before the
competition and it was
great that we all had
each other to talk to
and cope with. It really
made the competition
easier. We banded
together and it really
felt good to see people
I knew there rooting all
of us on.” When Arnold
won the competition and
received his trophy, he
knew all the years of
hard work and practice
had paid off and he had
just taken one step
closer to his dream. “It
really felt good. It’s
something I’ve been
doing for a long time
and it paid off,” he
said. “I still have a
long way to go as far as
making a career in
music, but this was a
huge accomplishment. The
judges were from the
music industry and
hearing the positive
feedback from them made
me feel good about
deserved to win,” he
added. “It was not an
easy win because
everyone was so
talented, but I’m
pleased they chose me.”
Arnold will now compete
in the Tennessee Colgate
State Finals in
Monteagle on Sept. 6 and
with a win, will move on
to national competition
at the Wildhorse Saloon
Life and Times of Mr. Roy Travillian
By Ernie Smothers
has been said that effort constitutes the defining line between those who dream
and those who achieve. Gleason’s Roy Travillian is an achiever. He has not only
dreamed great dreams, but through hard work and diligence, nurtured those dreams
into reality. A spiritual and earnest man, he has lived a life that casts
shadows on most. Laborer, farmer, salesman, business owner, college graduate at
68, author—-it’s easier to state what he hasn’t done rather than list all that
he has accomplished. Quick to smile and even quicker to wit, Roy Travillian is a
man with a story to tell.
Gordon Stoker - Part of Half a Century of Music History
The Jordanaires greeted their fans at their induction into the Country Music
Hall of Fame in 2001. They have sung backup for Elvis Presley, Loretta Lynn,
Patsy Cline and other legends. Quartet members are (from left) Curtis Young,
Gordon Stoker, Ray Walker and Louis Nunley. Source:
Weakley County Press.
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Mike Snider surged from 1983 national
banjo champ to a member of the Grand Ole Opry. After 26 years of perfecting
the three-finger style of banjo playing, three years ago he switched to the
clawhammer style in keeping with his interest in old-time mountain music.
Some who gain fame take due pride in being able to say they’ve never
forgotten their roots. Celebrated banjo player, Mike Snider, on the other
hand, dug his roots still deeper in the town of Gleason from which he’d
sprung, after being welcomed heart and soul into the close-knit bosom of the
Grand Ole Opry and adoring fans everywhere.
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