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The book Oakwood - Gleason: A Look Back, compiled on the occasion of "Homecoming '86", has for more than 20 years served as a useful history of the Gleason, Tennessee community, helping many with a fondness for Gleason remain in touch with the past.


As this book is no longer available in print, the original 1,500 printed copies having been purchased long ago, I am very pleased that it is now possible, to provide visitors to Gleason Online with selections reprinted from this excellent book, along with numerous Gleason pictures from the past. A listing of these selections can be seen in the Table of Contents of the book,  presented below.


As can be seen in the original foreword to the book (presented below), the compilers of the book indicate that . . . "It is our hope that the people of Gleason will be encouraged to research and record additional community and family history [and]. . . add to and improve upon it for future historians. Consistent with the wishes of the "Homecoming '86" History Committee, we will provide a separate "History Update" section on the webpage, below each selection from the book, for those wishing to add important historical information related to the Gleason community during the intervening years, from 1987 to the present.


Again, I am very pleased that it is now possible to provide information from this book online so that it can be available to all those who have an interest in Gleason's history. I especially wish to thank Joyce Wray who, along with other members of the "Homecoming '86" Committee, was responsible for compiling this book, for her helpfulness and support of this effort.


Jim Johnson


The history of Gleason, Tennessee began with the first settlers and continues with each passing day. The Homecoming '86 Committee of Gleason is pleased to offer this history, written for your reference and enjoyment.

The information presented in this book is only a small part of the story of Gleason's history. A sincere thank-you is extended to all those who contributed to the information contained in this book.

We make no claim that the result in complete or without error. It is our hope that the people of Gleason will be encouraged to research and record additional community and family history. It is also our hope that you will treasure your copy of this effort and will work to add to and improve upon it for future historians.

The Gleason School Library would like to express their thanks to the Homecoming '86 committee for allowing the staff and students to become involved in this record of our town's  history.

Homecoming '86 Committee

Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander proclaimed the year 1986 as "Homecoming '86". His purpose was to get Tennesseans back home and to try and draw attention to Tennessee as the location for new industries. Communities across the state formed committees to plan and implement activities and projects in conjunction with the "Homecoming '86" celebration.

The "Homecoming '86" Committee for Gleason was as follows: Steering Committee Chairperson - Julia Fowler' Alumni Committee Chairperson - Linda Godwin: Celebration Committee Co-Chairpersons - Jayne Fowler and Rocky Smyth; Community Worship Chairperson - Bro. Glenn Elliot: Finance Chairpersons - Bob Owen and Martha Hagler; Gazebo Project Co-Chairpersons - Glenn Arnold and Mayor Jack Dunning; History Chairperson - Joyce Wray; Visions Chairperson - Pam McElhiney.

Other Committee Members were: Lena Bradberry, Nelcene Dunning, Peggy Fanning, Richard Horn, Kenneth Lemonds, Patricia Parks, Joy Rouse, Dudley Sanders,  Jerry Simmons, Buddy Sublett, and Gene Trevathan.

Events of the "Homecoming '86" weekend included the Tater Town Special parade and activities, an Alumni Class Reunion and Banquet at the Gleason School on Saturday, August 30, 1986, with over 600 people attending, and the Mike Snider Concert following the Banquet. The "Homecoming '86" quilt was displayed during the day's activities with a drawing in the afternoon; the winner of this heirloom quilt was Mrs. Louise Oliver. On Saturday morning following the parade, the Gleason Gazebo was dedicated. The events of the weekend concluded on Sunday, August 31 with a community worship service and Open House at the school.

This history of Gleason is also one of the "Homecoming'86" projects. Mrs. Joyce Wray served as chairperson of the committee which compiled the history. She and many others worked long and hard, but pleasurable hours compiling and recording the history of our town. They should be commended for all the work it took to put together a book such as the one which has resulted from this labor. Also to be commended is Mrs. Julia Fowler who served as Chairperson of the Steering Committee. She was responsible for seeing that "Homecoming '86" was implemented in the Gleason community. She was also very instrumental in persisting until a book which recorded the History of Gleason, Tennessee was a reality and not just a dream.



Table of Contents

(Items in the Table of Contents are Hyperlinked ~ Just Click to View Specific Selections)


History of Gleason . . .

Interesting Facts About Gleason . . .

History of Weakley County . . .

Gleason Businesses of the Past . . .

Gleason Industries: A Look Back . . .

History of the Bank of Gleason . . .

Histories of Gleason's Churches . . .

Gleason School . . .

Reflections on Gleason School History (Dudley Sanders). . . 

Gleason Civic Organizations . . .

Eastern Star and Masonic Lodge . . .

Gleason's Celebrities . . .

Gleason News From the Past . . .

End Note by Joyce Wray . . .


"Life in Gleason From Newspapers of Yesterday"

Paper One          Paper Two           Paper Three           Paper Four           Paper Five


Gleason Town Charter


Oakwood - Gleason: A Look Back (Compiled by Joyce Horn Wray) was initially printed by Skullbone Printing Service, Bradford, Tennessee

Other Material of Historical Interest





T.N.Drury/Drewry of Gleason TN.

 Mayor of Gleason

 Signed the City Charter in 1903

Courtesy of Ben Rollins



Gleason, Tennessee: Fancy Hotels and Sweet Potatoes

By Virginia Vaughan

Gleason, Tennessee: Clay Mining and Music

By Virginia Vaughan




Sweet Potatoes Shipped by Railroad

Picture Note 1:

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.


Picture Note 2:

Picture made by Marie and Calvin Wheat, developed by Harles Woodard (Gleason, TN), received from Laurie Beach Pine, and provided to by Jimmie Glenn.


Dairy Bar across from the Highway Cafe



Peace and Harmony School ~ Gleason, Tennessee, Early 1900's



Hurbert Materials Company


First Row: 1. Russsell Dilday, 2. Pete Bailey, 3._______,4. Finas Hagler, 5. Charles Nipper, 6. Billy Tuck, 7. Robert Sanders, 8. Rupert Bailey, 9. Joe Summers, 10. Haden Blackard, 11. Coy Segraves, 12. Raymond Barber.

Second Row: 1. Bobby Mansfield, 2. Elmo Spann, 3. Russell Lovett, 4. L C Larry, 5. Johnny Wilson, 6. Lamon Blassingame, 7. _________ Bradberry, 8. J. W. Stewart, 9. Louis   Brawner, 10 R. J. Lowry, 11. Bill Carmer - Plant Manager.


Gleason: The Early 1900's


1958 Junior High Basketball Championship Banquet

The history of the Gleason community provided in Oakwood-Gleason: A Look Back provides an account of Gleason's history up through the time the book was originally published. As some 20 years have now passed since its publication, Gleason Online is providing a "History Update" feature, for each section of the book, for those wishing to add important historical information relevant to the Gleason community. Contributions can be submitted via E-mail attachment by clicking on the "Website Visitor Comments" graphic, provided above.


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