Chapter VII - White County Today
(At Time Seals Wrote -
In this chapter it is the purpose to
give a brief survey of the principal institutions and industries of the
The total population of White County according to the
census of 1930, was 15,543. Of this number only 49 were foreign born,
while the total negro population was 785. The rest of the people in the
County are mainly descended from the first settlers. White County was
settled mainly from Virginia and the Carolinas. The racial stock is
overwhelmingly Irish and Scotch with a small sprinkling of English,
Welsh, and French. In 1810 the population of the County was 4,028. By
1850 it had reached 11,444. This slow growth in population is accounted
for from the fact that since 1820, there has been a slow movement
westward of White County people, so that White Countians and White
County descendents are found in nearly every community westward to the
Pacific Ocean. Sparta had a population in 1930 of 2,211.
The Masonic Lodges of Sparta
On the night of March 20, 1820, Nathan Haggard presided
as Master of the first Masonic meeting held in White County and gave the
Lodge a dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, Grand Master
Oliver Bliss Hayes authorizing the Lodge of Sparta to organize and hold
meetings in Sparta as Lodge No. 32, the dispensation was dated February
5, 1820, Nathan Haggard to act as Master, William H. Campbell, Senior
Warden, John J. Farmer, Junior Warden, and these others, Jesse H.
Vermillion, Adam Huntsman, William Mitchell, George Ailsworth, and
George W. Eastman. Haggard was the pioneer lawyer of White County. He
and his partner, Nelson, founded the Sparta Review, the first newspaper
in the County, in 1822. The first Lodge when its charter list was
complete consisted of Nathan Haggard, William Campbell, John K. Farmer,
William Mitchell, Adam Huntsman, Jacob A. Lane, George Ailsworth, John
C. McLemore, and Jesse H. Vermillion. The charter from the Grand Lodge
was received on October 3, 1820. Officers were elected December 8, 1820.
At an early meeting Jacob A. Lane was elected a member and a Committee
on By-Laws reported. April 17, 1820, two petitions were received, Levi
Oliver, a brick mason, and Dr. Madison Fisk. Some other early Masons
were Richard Nelson, Archibald Overton, Jesse Lincoln, John Catron,
Samuel Turney, and John H. Anderson.
The charter to this old lodge was surrendered and for a number of years
there was no Masonic Lodge in the County. Under the leadership of Dr. W.
S. Findley the Sparta Lodge was reorganized soon after the Civil War as
Sparta Lodge No. 99. At the present time the Lodge is in flourishing
condition. The following are the officers, John Snodgrass, Worshipful
Master; Claude Austin, Senior Warden; Walter Fowler, Junior Warden;
James Snodgrass, Senior Deacon; Quill Cope, Junior Deacon; C. G.
Bostick, Treasurer, and J. T. R. Dillon, Secretary. There is also a
Chapter of Royal Arch Masons in Sparta. The other Masonic Lodges in
White County at the present time are Doyle Lodge No. 522 and Bon Air
Lodge No. 611. There was for more than fifty years a Masonic Lodge at
Cherry Creek, but in 1934 this Lodge surrendered its charter and was
consolidated with the Lodge at Sparta.
In another chapter is given an historical statement of
the churches of White County. In this chapter the purpose is to give a
brief statement about some of the churches which have a definite
Churches of Sparta
Methodist Episcopal South. Numerically the
Southern Methodist Church in Sparta is the largest church in town. The
minister is Rev. B. F. Isom who is now serving his first year as pastor
of this church. The church is very efficient in its organization, has a
good Sunday School with C. T. Mayberry as Superintendent, an
Epworth League, Woman's Missionary Society, and the other societies
usually found in connection with
a church of this type.
Church of Christ. This church has a large membership and a very
active congregation. The Minister is Elder A. R. Hill, who is now
serving his first year as minister in this church. Dr. E. F. Richards is
Superintendent of the Sunday School. In addition to the ministry of its
own congregation this church through its members does a considerable
relief work and ministers to some of the other congregations in the
Presbyterian. This church is the oldest church counting from its
first organization in Sparta and was for a generation the only church in
Sparta. Rev. G. D. Robison is the minister. Professor J. Arliss Passons
is Superintendent of the Sunday School. The church has a Young Peoples
Society, a Westminster Guild, a Woman's Missionary Society, and a Men's
Brotherhood. The minister is at the present time the Moderator of
Cumberland Mountain Presbytery, and the Alternate Commissioner Elect to
the General Assembly.
Baptist. The minister of this church is Rev. F. M. Dowell, Jr.
The congregation is just now building a beautiful new stone church.
Charles Nelson is the Superintendent of the Sunday School. The church
also has a B. Y. P. U. Society, and a Woman's Missionary Society, and
other organizations for young people.
First Christian Church. The minister of this church is Rev. John
T. Meadows, who is serving his first year as minister of this church.
This is the youngest congregation in the town. Has an organized Sunday
School with M. C. Wallace superintendent. It does its mission work, home
and foreign, through its Womans' Council. It also has a Christian
Endeavor connected with the National Organization.
The Church of the Nazarene. The minister of this church is Rev.
S. W. Turner. The church has a Sunday School, a Young People's
Organization and carries on a Missionary Program. H. C. Greene is
Superintendent of the Sunday School.
Outside of Sparta some of the outstanding churches with a regular
program are the following: Mount Gilead, which is the oldest Southern
Methodist Church in the County, has a live Sunday School and regular
preaching service. Shady Grove, another Southern Methodist Church, has a
similar program, as has also Mount Carmel, Dodson's Chapel, Mount
Pisgah, and Doyle Methodist Church. The Methodist Episcopal Church has
two churches in the County at each of which is carried on a good program
of church work. These are Peeled Chestnut and the church in Wild Cat
Cove. The Baptist Church in Doyle has a good church program with a good
Sunday School and other organizations and a resident minister who also
carries on an extension program. The Congregational Church has a larger
parish organization with a splendid parish program and a staff of
competent church workers. The center of this large parish is Pleasant
Hill in Cumberland County, but the
following places in White County are included in this larger parish: Bon
Air, DeRossett, Ravenscroft, Eastland, Clifty, and Mobray. The executive
of this larger parish is Dr. Edwin E. White who has written some
delightful books and who is widely known. He lives at Pleasant Hill. The
Presbyterian Church in Hickory Valley has a resident minister, Rev. Ura
A. Brogden, a Sunday School, Woman's Missionary Society, Young People's
Organization, and has three out stations connected with it. In the
territory north of Sparta is a Presbyterian larger parish, the first
larger parish organized in the South, composed of the following
churches: Blue Spring, Spring Hill, Johnson Church, Cherry Creek and
Robinson Chapel. In this parish is a Parish Council composed of the
following members: For Blue Spring, G. S. Pennington, for Cherry Creek,
G. T. Morris, for Spring Hill, Reed Hale, for Johnson Church, Robert
Henry, and for Robinson Chapel, J. J. Robinson. This Council directs the
policy of the parish, though each church has its own officers. The chief
minister of the parish since 1917 has been Paul E. Doran and his
assistants are now Paul McCormick and Ura A Brogden. This is the largest
parish in the point of membership in the County. The parish house and
office is at Blue Spring. New churches have been built this year at
Johnson and a beautiful stone building at Blue Spring.
Broadway of America. This road was designated to
be a road running through Knoxville to Nashville by the state of North
Carolina in 1785. Soldiers were furnished to escort people over the
mountain because it was so full of travelers and as a result robbers and
hostile Indians beset it. It was piked from Knoxville to Nashville about
1828, and became a link in a national highway. It was by far the most
traveled road across from the East to the West and was called the
gateway. Indian trails and this road was the way almost all of our
settlers came. Robert Burke piked the road from Rockwood, then in White
County, to Bon Air; Barlow Fisk, Charles Barker Lowery and Daniel Clark
piked from Bon Air to Smithville and a Mr. Waters piked it on to Lebanon
Nashville. A road also ran by McMinnville to Nashville over which mail
was carried as well as by Smithville. Sam Clenny, aged fifteen, carried
the first mail over the mountain in 1826, coaches carrying the mail
after they came. The old stable near the Rock House was built soon after
the road was piked. This road was traveled so much that from fifty to a
hundred wagons could be seen coming down the mountain at a time with
trees tied behind for brakes.
A road with stage coaches on it carrying sixteen or seventeen inside and
outside went by McMinnville and another ran the old Kentucky Road.
William Price, a Revolutionary war veteran, kept a hotel on it at the
old Linn place. Barlow Fisk ran the Fisk Inn at the top of the mountain.
The old road through Sparta was the most traveled road crossing the
mountain. It was a pike with stage coaches. It was the only road
crossing the mountains that was passable in fall, winter and spring.
This was the road over which Jackson traveled to Washington.
The economic value of this road to White County cannot be
over-estimated. In the early days the immense travel from the East
moving over this road left a golden thread on the way. Merchants and inn
and hotel keepers along the road reaped a fortune. What is now the
Broadway of America was begun as a modern project in 1918 as a County
Unit to help complete a road from Memphis to Bristol. The road was
completed in 1923. This is now a national highway beginning at Battery
Park, New York, and going to San Diego, California.
Sparta-Cookeville Road. The road from Sparta to Cookeville was
surveyed in 1823 by Moses Fisk and was named by him the Meridian Road,
but the people generally called it the Fisk Road. It is now a State
In 1897 the County built hard roads, appropriating sixty thousand
dollars, then later finishing them with another appropriation of fifty
thousand dollars. J. D. Goff was then the County Judge. J. R. Lee,
Franklin Wilhite, and Perry Officer were the Committee to build the
roads. Officer did the engineering. The road beds were laid off twelve
feet wide which was soon found to be too narrow. This program of road
building had some opposition at first, but it seemed largely to
disappear when it was seen how small the increase in taxes was for road
purposes. A few years ago with the advent of the automobile a new
interest in road building was created and the County bonded itself for
road purposes, then came the gasoline tax to supplement the road funds,
then road building on a large scale was begun. Sparta now has seven hard
roads passing through it. In all there are more than three hundred miles
of good roads in White County, which is more than half the total road
mileage in the County. The dirt roads in the County are for the most
part neighborhood roads.
Sparta has two excellent hotels and some inns and private
boarding houses. The Rhea House was originally built for a branch of the
State Bank. During the many years the Rhea House has run as a hotel it
has enjoyed a fine patronage of the traveling public and has been
through all the years a kind of family hotel as well, many of the
business and professional men and women of Sparta making their homes
there. A number of famous men and women from the outside have spent a
while at the Rhea House. James Whitcomb Riley once spent a part of the
summer there, and while there wrote some of his best known poems, among
them being, so it is said,
"The Old Swimming Hole" and "An Old Sweetheart of Mine." Opie Reed spent
a summer at the Rhea House once and while here wrote probably his most
famous novel, "The Jucklins." It is said also that he gathered the
material for '' The Waters of Caney Fork" while here. At present it is
owned by Mrs. Stanton Dibrell, and the managers are her son and
daughter, Mr. and Mrs. S. S. Dibrell, Jr.
The Lee Hotel is probably the costliest hotel building in this section
of the State. It was built by Lee Brothers a few years ago. The manager
is Mr. and Mrs. Will F. Lee. Being located on the Broadway of America it
enjoys a good patronage.
In addition to these good hotels Sparta has a number of tourist homes
and private inns. Among these are, Fancher Tourist Home, Wilhite
Tourist, Willbanks Corner, Maple Shade, Mountain View Tourist Home, and
the Marchbanks Tourist Home. There are also hotels and inns in Walling,
Quebec, Doyle, Clarktown, and Bon Air.
Towns and Villages
There are three former White County villages that have
now disappeared. These are River Hill, which once had two stores, a
cotton gin, a school, a negro church and a doctor's office and a
blacksmith shop. This is now an open country community. Mitchell's Mill
once had a grist mill, flour mill, cotton gin, furniture factory,
sawmill, planing mill, shingle mill, store and pulp mill. All these are
now gone. Old Bon Air had a post office and a great tourist hotel and
what else we do not know.
The towns and villages of today are Sparta, Doyle, Onward, Quebec,
Walling, Fall City, Bon Air, DeRossett, Ravenscroft, Eastland, Clifty,
and Clarktown. Sparta of course is the chief town of the County, being
the County site and the business and professional center of the County.
The County High School is located here and the town is incorporated and
has its own police force and fire company and maintains its own school
system. In addition to the excellent grammar school for white children
there is Rosenwald school for colored children with a college man at its
head. In recent years Sparta has become a small manufacturing center.
The town has a band, Music Club, a Young Business Girls' Club, which has
as its objective the establishment of a public library in the Community
Building which is now under construction, a Woman's Club, which has
several different departments, Civitan Club, besides fraternal lodges,
and other social clubs. Doyle is the home of the Burrough-Taylor
Factory, has a good school, three churches, and a number of business
enterprises. Onward was once the site of a famous school, Onward
Seminary. This school has long ago disappeared and Onward now has only a
public school. It is now little more than open country. Quebec was once
the site of a normal college. It still has a large lumber interest and
other good business enterprises and a good public school. Walling has a
good public school, some tourist homes, stores and other business
enterprises and near there are some summer camps. Fall City has a great
dam, one of the greatest in America when it was built, and generates
electricity for the Tennessee Electric Power Company. It is also a
pleasure resort with a number of good boarding houses and inns and
cottages. The modern Bon Air was made by the coal interests and is still
a large mining camp. The most of the workers work at Ravenscroft. It is
the property of the Tennessee Products Corporation. It has a goods
school, a baseball park, a commissary and one of the company doctors
lives there. DeRossett is a thriving little village with two churches, a
school, a tourist camp, and a number of stores and other business
enterprises. Ravenscroft is now the largest mining camp on the mountain.
It has a commissary, the offices of the Tennessee Products Corporation,
a school, and one of the company doctors lives there. Eastland is a
mining camp where once were located a great number of coke ovens. These
are no longer in operation. The coal and lumber interest here have
declined in recent years, but there are several hundred people who still
live at Eastland. Many of these still find employment with the Tennessee
Products Corporation. Still others find employment in other places.
Clifty was at one time called the model mining camp of the South, in
those days the mines were running full force, the town had an excellent
club house, school, and public library. For the last few years there has
been little mining here, and the lumber interests have not been large
and the town has declined, but there is still a fine population there
and farming operations are
increasing. Clarktown has for many years been a health resort. It is
famous for its water and its healthful location. Many people from a
distance come here to spend the summer.
Insurance. The White County Mutual Fire Insurance
Company was organized July 14, 1923, with T. H.
Fancher, President, Henry Verble, Vice-President, S. B. Johnson,
Secretary, and John Brock, Treasurer, and with a Board of Directors of
twelve. They began business with fifty-five thousand dollars of
insurance, but reached one hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars by
the end of the first year. This company is a local assessment company. A
small payment in premium is made at the time one insures and when a loss
occurs, an assessment on all the members is made with which to care for
the loss. The other companies operating in White County are Bostick &
Potter who are agents for old line life insurance and a number of
standard fire insurance companies. They also carry automobile liability
insurance. They also are agents for two large bonding companies. The
managers of this firm are Charles G. Bostick and Thomas K. Potter. S. R.
Ware Agency handle bonds, fire and life insurance, and are real estate
agents. Commander A. G. Dibrell is the manager. Gleason Officer
specializes in fire insurance. Miller and Davis also specialize in fire
insurance. Tom Miller is the manager. Sims and Smartt specialize in farm
insurance and life insurance. The managers of this firm are Mark Sims
and Richard Smartt.
Burroughs and Taylor Factory. In 1876 a factory for making cloth
was organized by J. W. Taylor and J. Taylor. It was incorporated in 1890
as Burroughs and Taylor Company. At that time it added the garment
making industry, having previously made cloth only. The annual output is
now from one hundred and twenty-five thousand to two hundred thousand,
consisting of men's pants and work suits. The company employs
eighty-five persons annually. It is now located at Doyle, the cave plant
being abandoned because of the dam at
Fall City. J. M. Taylor operates the plant.
Sparta Spoke Factory. The Sparta Spoke Factory is
due almost entirely to the energy and business ability of J. R. Tubb. At
various times since its organization the company has had mills located
at various places where spokes were club turned partly turned and then
brought to Sparta to be finished. The mill at Sparta buys great
quantities of timber to be delivered at its plants here and which are
made as a finished product. It is the largest spoke factory in the
world. It ships spokes to Europe. In some years they finish as many as
two million spokes a year. The company has brought into the County more
than a million dollars. This has been of great advantage to small
farmers having a little timber and who in cutting their firewood could
sell the saleable part of the trees to the spoke factory.
Sparta-Welwood Silk Mills, Inc. In 1920, largely due to the
activity of the Civitan Club, one of the units of the Welwood Silk Mill
was located at Sparta. Sparta and White County furnished the capital for
the erection of the plant. Since that time the mill has been running
almost continuously, even during the worst depression years it was kept
running. Its pay roll was during those years of inestimable value in the
stabilizing of life in Sparta. The mill operates on a twenty-four hour
schedule. It employs several hundred hands and weaves several hundred
yards of broad silk a week. The raw silk is imported principally from
Sparta Manufacturing Company. In 1902 W. H. Hudgens organized the
Sparta Manufacturing Company. It was at first a cabinet shop. Business
was enlarged in 1915, and at its best it has employed as high as
thirty-five men, and has produced as high as one hundred and fifty
thousand dollars worth of goods in a year. At its best its payroll has
been as high as six hundred dollars a month. Most of their products have
been sold in this County. They have made various types of furniture,
truck bodies, and have done truck repairing and refinishing work. They
also do repair work on radios and phonographs, and carry a full line of
household furnishing goods.
John I. Shafer Hardwood Co. The John I. Shafer Hardwood Company,
one of the largest Lumber Companies in the United States, has yards and
offices in Sparta, under the management of Mr. H. N. Clouse, a native
White Countian. The John I. Shafer Hardwood Co. has yards in Louisville,
Kentucky, Logansport, Indiana, Ozark, Alabama and Sparta, Tennessee. For
many years the Shafer Company has specialized in Appalachian Furniture
and Automobile stock and has furnished millions and millions of feet of
White County lumber to the largest Automobile manufacturers in the
United States. Many of the cars of today are built with materials from
our County, and much of the fine furniture is built from Tennessee
Appalachian Maple and Walnut. Mr. H. N. Clouse 's son, E. C. Clouse, has
charge of their Ozark, Alabama, yards.
Sparta Laundry. In 1928 Joe Mitchell established the Sparta
Laundry. It is equipped with the best modern equipment and is
sufficiently large to handle all the laundry that may come to it. It
gives employment to a number of people and is an asset to the business
interest of Sparta. It is now owned by Gordon Wallace.
Modern Dry Cleaners. A. D. Brown equipped a modern dry cleaning
establishment in Sparta in 1920. It
is one of the best equipped plants of its kind in the State. It enjoys a
Handle Factory. The Turner, Day and Welworth Factory at Sparta
makes all kinds of handles. The cost of raw material runs from, about
three hundred to six hundred dollars a year, and the output has run as
high as fifteen hundred dozen bundles a year.
Timber and Wood. The great forests of White County have for the
most part been cut, but there is still considerable lumber and timber
products manufactured in the County. The chief manufacturers aside from
those mentioned above are the John I. Shafer Hardwood Company, Lee
Lumber Company, E. E. Carter Lumber Company, and the Tennessee Saw &
Planing Mill at Quebec. The Lee Lumber Company manufacture all kinds of
lumber and have a cabinet shop and are retail dealers in all kinds of
building supplies. John I. Shafer Hardwood Company has a unit at Sparta
managed by H. N. Clouse and are manufacturers of hardwood lumber,
particularly walnut, maple, oak, poplar and beech. E. E. Carter conducts
a general lumber business and manufactures and sells all kinds of
lumber. The mill at Quebec is owned and operated by Karl
Cooper and makes a specialty of floors, though the company handles also
other types of lumber and operates a cabinet shop. Besides these there
are a number of small sawmills scattered over the County. Some of these
are steam mills and some are operated with gasoline power. At various
places in the County there are small cabinet shops where old furniture
is remade and new furniture is built on a piece work basis. These are
too numerous to list separately here.
Sparta Water Company. The Sparta Water Company has a reservoir
one hundred by one hundred feet
supplied by a large spring. It has a capacity of a million gallons. It
has a standpipe ninety feet tall and fifteen feet in diameter. It has at
the present time four hundred and twenty customers. The manager is Mrs.
Mary Kate England, there are two other persons employed by the company.
It is owned by a St. Louis company.
Coal Mining. The chief coal mining interest in the County is
operated by the Tennessee Products Corporation. This corporation was
formed in 1917 by W. J. Cummings who bought the old Bon Air Coal & Iron
Company and consolidated with the other large coal companies operating
in the County. At its organization the corporation had for its officers
James R. Oldfield, President, W. J. Cummins, Vice-President and General
Manager, John McE. Bowman, Treasurer, Frederic Leake, Secretary, and
William Wrigley, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. In 1920 Dr. W. B.
Young was made General Superintendent. He is now vice-president of the
company. The different companies which entered into the formation of the
corporation when its organization was completed in 1926 were the Bon Air
Coal & Iron Corporation, the Chattanooga Coke and Gas Company, the J. J.
Gray Iron Works, the Clifty Coal Company, and some smaller companies.
Coal has been mined in White County since 1836, when Brice Little opened
his mine five miles from Sparta. In 1902 the first shaft was sunk at Bon
Air. The Tennessee Products Corporation owns a total of about one
hundred and eighteen thousand acres and does a business of more than a
million dollars a year. In addition to the Tennessee Products
Corporation there are a number of small mines operated by individuals,
among these are Fate Weaver, and Sam Breeding.
Farming has always been the chief industry of the County und the
following statement of the agricultural interest in the County was
furnished by H. W. Andrews, County Agent: White County has a general
diversified farming system. The field crops are corn, hay, wheat, rye,
oats and barley. (Value of grain crops, $604,548, in 1929.) The cash
crops are burley tobacco (very fine quality); Nancy Hall sweet potatoes
(12,000 bushels capacity curing house); Irish potatoes (mostly Irish
cobblers); cotton, about 100 acres, fruits, vegetables and melons,
locally sold; seed corn, fine quality; Korean lespedeza seed (mostly
Live stock--hogs valued in 1929 at $91,000; beef cattle, both pastured
and fed; dairy cattle (cream marketed at local creamery and cream
stations and valued at $150,658 in 1929); sheep for wool, spring lambs
and stockers. All cattle valued at $383,692 in 1929. Good mules and
horses grown locally; also a large number of high class
Western mules brought here for farm use. Mules in County valued at
$238,943 in 1929; horses and colts valued at $79,334.
Poultry--pure bred for hatching eggs, and marketing in cooperative
shipments in car lots for live poultry, and to local produce people.
Poultry valued at $132,674 in 1929, and eggs at $146,594.
Our hay crops are lespedeza, clover and grass, red top, timothy,
alfalfa, soy beans, peas and wild hays, sorghum and corn stover for
feed. Most of our hay and grain crops are marketed through livestock
feeding. Practically no feed is shipped from this County. We grow almost
anything in White County except tropical plants.
Timber and wood--about $159,000 worth sold in 1929.
Fairs--White County has one of the beat county agricultural fairs in the
South. It has been termed by the Commissioner of Agriculture as the best
balanced fair in Tennessee. This fair is run as a free fair, financed by
County tax levy. The fair exhibits go from here to State Fairs and
International Fairs, and have won thousands of premiums. Our farmers
hold a number of championships on field seeds from the International
Stock Show at Chicago.
County Agents--White County has had a County Home Demonstration Agent
for about seventeen years and a County Agricultural Agent for about
Tennessee Electric Power Company. On April 24, 1912, the
Tennessee Electric Power Company was
organized. In that year the corporation got control of the property
belonging to the Great Falls Power Company which had been organized fn
1901. This property was located on the White County side of the Great
Falls of Caney Fork River. Soon after the incorporation of the Tennessee
Power Company it began buying land and preparing plans for power
development. Complete plans were drawn up for the construction of a dam
and power house at Falls City. A force of men were put to work and the
building of coffer dams, making excavations for the dams was begun, but
a great food swept away the coffer dams be fore they were completed. In
1915 the Tennessee Power Company began work again and a forty foot dam
was built. The demands for electrical energy increased and in 1923 the
Tennessee Electric Power Company began the work of raising the dam. A
new 20,107 horse power generator was installed and the old one was
increased to 15,416 horse power, a new brick power house was erected and
the reservoir was cleared. The work was completed in 1925.
Transmission lines have been built out of the Great Falls Power Station
from time to time to serve communities in Middle and East Tennessee. The
Smithville 11,000 volt line was constructed in 1919, the Sparta 11,000
volt line was constructed in 1923, the McMinnville 11,00 volt line in
1925, the Estell
Springs 44,000 volt line in 1927, and the 44,000 volt line to Sparta
with 11,000 volt extension
to Mayland in 1929.
N. C. & St. L. Ry. The N. C. & St. L. Ry. was built in 1884. For
a long time it was the largest tax payer in White County. Since the
building of highways and the trucking interests were developed and bus
lines were established the railroad has declined, but it is still a
great industry in White County. It furnishes employment to a number of
our citizens and is still used both for hauling passengers and freight.
The express office in connection with the railroad office still does a
large business. S. M. Arnold is the agent at Sparta.
Potter Freight Lines, Kelly Potter, Manager, was established in
Sparta in 1930. They operate a fleet of freight trucks in all directions
Garages. Barr Chevrolet Company handle General Motors cars, have
an excellent repair shop and a storage department. The manager is Clay
Barr. Ford Motor Company, Manager, E. C. Trawick, sells Ford and Lincoln
cars, has a repair shop and does a general storage business. Wall Motor
Company, Jim Wall, Manager, handles Dodge and Plymouth cars, has an
excellent repair shop and stores cars. Hudgens Motor Company, W. H.
Hudgens, Manager, handles Plymouth cars and used cars of various types
and operates a repair shop. S. O. Townsend operates a general motor
repair shop. In addition to those listed in Sparta there are a number of
repair shops in the County.
Banks. The First National Bank was first organized as a State
Bank in 1807, became a national bank in 1886. It was one of the few
banks in the State which was able to keep open in the Panic of 1907. It
has a capital stock of one hundred thousand dollars and more than a
million dollars on deposit. Robert L. Hill is the president and R. L.
Snodgrass is cashier. The bank employs six persons. The Commerce Union
Bank was first organized in 1900 as the People Bank. In 1905 it became
the American National Bank. In 1932 it became a branch bank of the
Commerce Union Bank of Nashville, a link in a chain of banks with a
capital stock of eight hundred thousand dollars. This bank has deposits
of more than half a million dollars. T. K. Potter is manager of the
Sparta branch, Hubbard Ray is cashier. The bank employs four people. The
Peoples Bank & Trust
Company was organized in 1921. It has a capital stock of twenty-five
thousand dollars. The President at the present time is Leslie Tubb, O.
L. Davis, cashier.
Sparta enjoys the distinction of never having a bank failure.
Some of the Principal Stores in
There are five drug stores in White County. Gooch
Brothers own and operate a drug store at Doyle and one in Sparta.
Charles Nelson operates a drug store in Sparta; he also has a drug store
in Spencer. The oldest druggist in Sparta in point of service is Casto
Gist. The other drug store is the Royal, formerly Marchbanks Drug
Company, but now operated by Dr. T. H. Alexander.
Funeral Directors. The undertaking business of Beecher Hunter is
the oldest in this section of Tennessee. Mr. Hunter having begun
business with his uncle, J. L. Quarles when he was a young man. The Goff
Funeral Home has only recently been established. It has capable men in
charge and is doing a growing business. Another undertaking
establishment at Sparta recently organized is Thurman and Thurman.
Grocery Stores. Sparta has one large wholesale grocery company,
Ragland Potter Company, of which W. O. Brown is the General Manager, and
the following retail grocery stores: H. G. Hill, Gates Grocery Company,
Knowles Grocery Company, and McDole Grocery. A number of other merchants
carry staple and fancy groceries in connection with general merchandise.
Sparta has one up-to-date fruit store, Grizzard's, which also carries
staple and fancy groceries.
Some of the other important stores in Sparta arc the following: J. M.
Smith & Company, Herbert West, and the Hutchings Brothers are among the
largest produce dealers in this section of the State. The Nashville Pure
Milk Company operate cream trucks all over the County. General merchants
are, T. M. Bonner, S. C. Robinson, A. D. Waggoner, Floris Tompkins,
Tubb's Variety Store, The Economy Store, Five to Five Store, Elkin's
Hardware Company, Jenkins-Darwin, W. M. Mitchell, Little Hat Shop, White
County Mercantile, W. M. Young Feed Store, Stacy Dry Goods Company,
Marie Fashion Shop, Geer Brothers, Ernst Cooper, J. B. Dick & Company, B.
K. Mitchell, M & H Hardware Company, Ellis Furniture Store, and Hershel
Mitchell. Some of these merchants have been in Sparta long enough to
become household words. C. G. Stacy has been
selling goods in Sparta since 1881. Martin Young is a name long familiar
to our people. There are a number of stores out in the County who do an
annual business equal to some of the best of those in Sparta. Among
these might be mentioned the Terry Company at Doyle, Hollaway at
DeRossett, Slagle Brothers, Fred Huddleston, and Sam Cooper.
Sparta is well supplied with barber shops and beauty shops, the best
known of these are the City Barber Shop, and Rush Miller Barber Shop.
The beauty shops are, Ruby Ann Beauty Shop and Lee Beauty Shop.
Sparta is well supplied with restaurants and eating houses. The most
popular of these being the Lee Hotel Coffee Shop, B. & B. Restaurant,
and the Rhea House.
Sparta has two excellent weekly newspapers and printing shops. The
Expositor has been running under the present management about twenty-one
years. It occupies its own building, and has a good job print shop. It
is owned by R. L. Sutton and wife. The Sparta News is owned and run by
Brown Brothers who also do excellent job printing and binding.
Sparta has one excellent photographic studio, owned and operated by D.
The Oldham Theatre is a motion picture house which is trying hard to
give Sparta and White County clean pictures. Mr. James Cardwell is the
In recent years White County has been forging ahead as a
playground and recreational center. Some of the centers which have been
established are educational as well as recreational. Perhaps the largest
of these is Camp Bon Air under the supervision of Mr. E. L. Spain of
Nashville. Various groups come to this camp every summer and some of
them spend the summer there. The camp accommodates about two hundred.
Vanderbilt University also maintains a camp chiefly for its surveying
students at the Overton property at Bon Air. Near Walling is a camp of
the Future Farmers of Tennessee. This camp combines recreation with real
teaching in agriculture. Webb School also has a camp and summer school
on the Caney Fork under the supervision of Mr. Will Webb and Mr. G. Webb
Follin. A number of private individuals have cottages on: the Caney Fork
in White County where they spend a part of each summer. Among these are
Dr. James E. Clarke, on the editorial staff of the Presbyterian Tribune
published in New York City, and George H. Mack, President of Missouri
Valley College. Plans are under way now for the erection of the Sparta
Recreational Camp. This will be one of the largest and finest camps in
the County when completed.
There are at present no private schools in White County,
but the County has a good system of public schools. Heading the system
of public schools is the White County High School which was established
in 1910 under the administration of Miss Ella Snodgrass as County
Superintendent. C. G. Sipple was the first principal. The present
faculty consists of the following: Walter Fowler, Principal; W. A.
Walker, History; Claude Austin, Science; C. O. Jett, English; J. C.
Fooshee, Mathematics; T. L. Leonard, Agriculture; Quill Cope, History
and Science ; Kermit Keisling, Commercial; Mrs. Lena Walton, Music and
French; Miss Bessie Mitchell, Latin; Miss Nan Grissom, Domestic Science.
Since 1914 the school has operated as a Class A High School under the
State Department of Education. It is recognized as one of the best high
schools in this section of the State and is the pride of the County.
Through its department of agriculture it carries on an extension program
in the County and conducts night classes for farmers at a number of
places in the County. It also works through the Future Farmer
The Superintendent of public instruction is Charles B. Johnson. Outside
of Sparta there are something more than fifty schools. The schools on
the mountain, Bon Air, Ravenscroft, Eastland and Clifty are run by the
County in cooperation with the Tennessee Products Corporation which
supplements the public funds in support of these schools. The
consolidated school movement has made considerable progress in White
County in recent years and the County has consolidated schools employing
from two to five teachers at the following places, Quebec, Doyle,
Hickory Valley, Old Zion, Shugart, Yankeetown, and Big Spring. There are
still, however, a number of one teacher schools in the County. The
following statement about the City Schools is furnished by Professor T.
Control: The Sparta City Schools are controlled by a local Board
of Education composed of six members elected by the Board of Mayor and
Aldermen. Two are elected at the first regular meeting in July and
serve for a term of two years. The City Superintendent of Education is
elected by this Board annually and becomes the executive officers of the
Organization and Administration: The organization of the school
during the year 1934-35 is a Modified Platoon school.
Departmentalization is carried on from the third grade through the
eighth. The work in the first and second grades is based on the Activity
Methods. Each child is given an opportunity to develop according to his
ability. The present tendency in the administration is toward activity
or unit work in all grades of the school.
Home work is being eliminated and directed teaching is practiced.
Health, Physical Education, Science, Nature Study, Art, and Music are
being emphasized in the Curriculum as essential to the best interest of
The total enrollment for 1934-5 is 536. The City School carries no High
School work at all.
Building and Grounds: The present City School building was
erected during 1924 at a cost of $75,000.00 and on the site of the old
Dibrell Normal School. It contains 16 class rooms, a gymnasium, a large
auditorium and offices. During the summer of 1934 an excavation was made
under the East wing with T. E. R. A. labor and a modern school cafeteria
was installed. T. E. R. A. labor was also used in terracing and
beautifying the campus.
The Faculty: T. A. Passons, Superintendent; William Little,
Mathematics, Science, and Physical Education for boys; Willie Officer,
English, Reading and Penmanship; Mrs. Toy Taylor, History, Geography,
and Music; Mrs. A. L. Cooper, Geography, Arithmetic, and Art; Margaret
Boyd, English, Reading, and Physical Education for girls; Frances Camp,
English, Reading, and Penmanship; Mrs. S. A. Davis, Geography,
Arithmetic, and Art; Myrtle Gist, English, Reading and Music; Elnora
Davis, Geography, Arithmetic, and Health; Ruth Hamilton, Second Grade;
Jane Mitchell, Second Grade; Cora Townsend, First Grade; Willie Gist,