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A Brief History of Gleason

[Note: The following interesting, though brief, history of Gleason was taken from the Journal of  Dr. R. W. Bandy, A former cashier at the Bank of Gleason.]

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Gleason is situated 135 miles northwest of Nashville - almost due west - on the Nashville, Chattanooga & St Louis Railroad. This railroad was originally called the Northwestern, due to the fact that it extended in a northwesterly course from Nashville to Hickman, Kentucky.

Gleason is also located on the Reelfoot Lake branch of the Memphis-to-Bristol and Broadway of America Highway. The Broadway of America highway has its beginning at New York City, extending through Tennessee to California. Thus, just a few moments drive from the main trunk highway will bring tourists through Gleason to America's fishing and hunting paradise at Reelfoot Lake.

The town was named for the late W.W. Gleason. The first store house was built in 1866 by John Hamilton, half-brother to our esteemed fellow townsman, Will Hamilton. This store was located on the site now occupied by the handsome modern home of George Trevathan. Later, it was moved to the corner at present occupied by the Farmers and Citizens Bank.

The first drug store in Gleason was owned and operated by E. D. and George Lasater, the latter still a citizen of Gleason. The town's pioneer physicians were Drs. Russell and J. W. Bandy, the latter the father of Dr. R. W. Bandy, for many years a leading physician, but now cashier of the bank of Gleason. Both of these gentlemen came to Gleason at the same time and began the practice of medicine, Dr. Bandy coming from Gallatin. Dr Burnett was the father of the late Mrs. Sue Alexander and the grandfather of Mr. Homer Alexander.

Gleason's first church was organized in 1870. It was of the Cumberland Presbyterian faith, and ever since that date to the present time there has be a live active Cumberland Presbyterian Church  here.

The first school was taught in this house of worship, a two-story frame structure, the upper story of which was a Masonic Hall. The Masons were responsible for the school, which was before the days of free schools. Masons of the vicinity secured a charter and established the Masonic Male and Female Institute, and employed Prof. Bass to teach the school. He was an oldtime schoolmaster and made his appearance at the school building each morning with a bundle of long, keen, enduring hickory switches, which he kept by the side of his desk all day long, according to  Dr. R. W. Bandy, who was initiated to their severity upon many occasions.

The Masonic Male and Female Institute continued at Gleason until just a few years ago, when the name was changed to Gleason High School.


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