Saturday, April 6, 2013

From Bank President to Farmer

J.H.Moran III
President, Bank of Dresden
Prior to the depression the Moran family owned the Bank of Dresden and Jim Moran III was the president while Harrell (Uncle Brud) Moran was the chief bank clerk. Jim was the youngest bank president in the State of Tennessee.  He invested heavily in the Dresden bank and other banks too.  

Brud diversified his interests and one way he did that was buying land.   Sharecroppers worked the land owned by Brud.   We don't know what he drove prior to 1929 but many people remembered Brud driving his 1929 Dodge to check on the land and the sharecroppers.   

When the Bank of Dresden failed in 1927 Jim was devastated financially and while Brud was hit hard it didn't wipe him out.  Due to Brud's financial savvy the Moran's were able to keep Moran Place and all of the property together but not enough money to maintain it forever.

One of the family stories about Jim and his "good time attitude" is that prior to the bank failing he had the opportunity to buy a beautiful house on Linden Street that eventually was purchase by Ned Ray McWherter.  But he didn't.  He chose to buy a sports car to the deep disappointment of the family.  

So what happened after the bank failed? They did whatever they had to, to survive.  Jim, who had been elected to the state legislature in 1925, probably used his political connections to secure a position as a bank examiner for the Federal Housing Authority.  He worked in Memphis and would commute back to Dresden on the weekends.  He also spent time in Little Rock for the FHA.  Brud continued taking care of the land holdings.  Most of the servants and workers were let go but a few were retained.  Kitty was the cook and housekeeper and we think she may have been an Irvine.  Some of the other Irvine's were retained and there are memories of one of the Irvine's visiting Moran Place in the 1980's to visit Nathan Moran prior to his death.    Jim's wife, Virginia, began canning the crops that were raised in the garden.  Their sons Jim the IV and Nathan were put to work farming as well.  Nathan continued having a rather large garden up until his death in 1982 and Kent remembers working that garden as well as canning.

This photograph was taken in the 1930's and shows Jim plowing the Moran Place garden.  The small out building behind him is the old smokehouse which was originally an ice house or storage building, it's been called both through the years.  It was built using soft bricks, the same bricks used in Moran Place which would cause problems throughout the years because they crumbled.  The white on the smokehouse is where Nathan Moran had begun stuccoing the building in an attempt to keep the bricks from deteriorating further.  The ice house was converted to a smokehouse after the depression so that they could smoke their own hams.  In addition to growing their own food they also had cows and pigs.  They also were given the occasional pig by some of the sharecroppers.

Jim Moran III, plowing at Moran Place ca 1930's
Everyone settled into their new way of life.  They may not have been rich in money but they were rich in family and friends.  And of course, they still had Moran Place. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Yellow Kid, A Lock of Hair & Minnie Cowden Yowell - 1897

Today I dug into a box and picked up an envelope from Yowell & Williams, State Agents, Union Central Life Insurance Company, Under Capitol Hotel, Little Rock, Ark.  It wasn't addressed to anyone but it had a few things inside which means to me it was personally hand carried and hand delivered to the recipient.

The Yellow Kid
On the back of the envelope is an odd little metal figure who Kent immediately identified as  "The Yellow Kid".   Kent's a fountain of trivia like that but for me, I had to google it and discovered he was a cartoon character that ran from 1895 - 1898 in the New York World and later in the New York Journal.  I don't know if he was supposed to be stuck to the back of the envelope or if it was put on later or perhaps it was something that just accidentally stuck to the paper. I do think he's ugly!

Inside the envelope I found a calling card, a train ticket, and a lock of hair.

The calling card reads "Miss Minnie Cowden Yowell" and on the back is written:

Back side of Minnie's
calling card

"Do you remember the 5 July 1897?  I do.  Dream of the girl that's still in the swing/ring.  You ought to have been here at the wedding."

I don't know what happened July 5 1897 but I know that Fannie Moran and  James Ezzell were married on Oct. 19, 1897 and that the train ticket for Minnie Yowell  expired October 30, 1897 and it's a ticket going from Nashville to Dresden.  Perhaps Minnie was attending Fannie's wedding.

Minnie's Train Ticket
Back of Minnie's train ticket.

This is the backside of the envelope and you can see where the Yellow Kid is attached.  I also used the envelope as the backdrop for the enclosed lock of hair tied with a pale pink or lavender ribbon.

I don't know if Minnie was a distant cousin or just a close friend but I did a bit of research and found the following information.

Minnie Cowden Yowell was born in 1876 to Joel George Washington Yowell and Elizabeth Prudence Rector.  Minnie Cowden Yowell married Robert Leathan Lund August 16 1899 in Washington County Arkansas. They had at least four children: Robert Leathan Lund Jr., Jowel Yowell Lund, William Rector Lund and Dorothy Talbot Lund.  Minnie and Robert moved to St. Louis and are listed in the 1933 city directory where Robert was the executive vice president/treasurer of the Lambert Pharmaceutical Company.

Minnie died in 1953 and Robert followed her to the grave in 1957.  According to family tree's they both died in St. Louis Missouri.

If you're really interested in Minnie's lineage I found her sister, Mamie Snow Yowell Ledbetter, listed in volume 46 of the Lineage Book- National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Updated September 19, 2013
I came across another letter today from Minnie Yowell to Harrell Moran.

The envelope is dated June 16 1897:
My dear Mr. Moran:  Ida asked me to let you know when I passed through Nashville.  She thought that perhaps you would like to go down to Dresden as I do.  I arrived last evening and will leave to-morrow (17th) at 3 o'clock.

I am stopping at Mrs. Matthews no. 400 Belmont ave.  would be glad to see you sometime.  Perhaps we ?could table? it over and you will go down to Dresden as I do.

In haste
Your friend
Minnie Yowell

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dr. and Mrs. Shobe Smith Sr.

I came across an envelope that contained a small piece of stationery engraved with the name Mrs. Shobe Smith, Sr.  

On the inside the following note is written:

This was written by Miss Ida Moran. President of Dresden Music Club.  Reading it at Club meeting in Her Home- Dresden

Maybe some day I'll come across what was read at the meeting!

In the meantime I was curious about the Smith's and who they were.

Before she married Dr. Shobe Smith, Sr. she was Mattie David Wooldridge, daughter of  David Hinds Wooldridge and Martha Jane Senter.  According to the death certificate David Wooldridge died in Nashville and was buried in Gleason, Tn.  

Shobe Smith was the son of Rebecca Shobe and Alexander Hannibal Smith of Smiths Grove, Warren County, Kentucky.  A good biographical profile of A.H. Smith can be found at Rootsweb.  According to Census records Shobe was born Moses Shobe Smith.  He and Mattie were married September 26, 1894 in Weakley County.  James A."Bump" Irvine was a witness and bondsman for the marriage.  He is also our 1st cousin twice removed!   A picture of  "Bump" can be found on an earlier blog post.  The 1910 Census shows the following children of Shobe and Mattie: Raymond age 13, Wooldridge age 10, Frank G. age 7, Shobe Jr age 3 and Clarence was under the age of 1.

Dr. Shobe Smith was a dentist in Dresden.  Here's a scan of an advertisement from the Dresden Enterprise dated October 11, 1895 for his dental practice:

Shobe Smith,
Office in rear John R.
Thomason's law Office.
All Kinds of
Done in first-class Style, and at
reasonable prices.
Oct 11 1 y.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Death of Mrs. J.W. Moran, 1895

Sophia Riley Gunn Moran
Most likely painted after her death. 
This is the obituary that appeared in the Dresden Enterprise.  Another tribute appeared later written by Mary D. Duval of Clarksville TN.  It was published in the paper October 25, 1895.

Death of Mrs. J.W. Moran
Dresden Enterprise
October 11, 1895

  Last Monday afternoon, just before five o'clock, after an illness of eight weeks from malarial fever and brain trouble,  Mrs. J.W. Moran breathed her last, surrounded by her family and other relatives and many friends, who had come from far and near to see the last of one who had been so inexpressibly dear to them in life.  Among the throng gathered about her dying bed was her brother Mr. Lyman C. GUNN, of St. Louis, the last surviving member of a large family.  Dr. WRIGHT, of Huntingdon, was called to see her Saturday, but death had placed his seal upon her, and medical aid was powerless to release her from his grasp.  All that love and money could do was done to save her, but no power was strong enough to restore her to life and health.

  Mrs. Moran, who was formerly Miss Sophia R. GUNN, was born in Nashville in 1852, and was educated principally in Leavenworth, Kansas, where, as here, she had many close friends.  Her education was quite thorough, and especially in music, she taking up the latter as her avocation.  In 1870 she came here a stranger to all, and commenced a class in music which she taught up to the time of her marriage with Mr. Moran a year later, this event, which linked two loving hearts and congenial lives as one, occurring at the home of Col. Jno. A. GARDNER, of Gardner Station, whose wife was a relative of Mrs. Moran.
First paragraph of the obituary
that appeared in the Dresden Enterprise

  Soon after coming to Dresden Rev. B.F. BLACKMAN held a revival which resulted in the conversion of many, and the addition of forty to the church, many of them young people, some of the quite old.  The deceased was one of the additions to the church at that time, and ever after was a consistent member and conscientious Christian.  Her work in the church bore much good fruit, and it will sadly miss her aid and influence.  she was for a long time the competent organist of this church, and her voice has been greatly missed from the choir during the past two years.

  It is seldom we find a wife and mother who so happily combines the many estimable qualities that Mrs. Moran possessed.  While she was for years known and felt in every public work, her home life remained a model system of perfection.  Although for a number of years her life companion was not a Christian, at least not by confession, (though always a man of the strictest moral living), yet from the first she erected the family alter, and every night her little children, ere they could hardly lisp the name of Jesus, were prayed for and with by her.  Her children, each giving promise of a career of usefulness and influence in the religious world.  Mrs. Moran was ever an industrious woman, and though she always had wealth at her command, she never ate the bread of idleness, but was ever employed in some way, at times teaching classes in music after her marriage.  Her home has been open to many for entertainment, and all can testify to the perfect system that was plainly visible in her home, showing that as a housekeeper she lacked nothing as to qualifications.

   Tuesday afternoon her remains were carried to the church where the funeral service was held by Rev. A.J. MEADERS, pastor of the church.  In the congregation were many from distant cities and surrounding towns--in fact the largest crowd that ever attended a funeral was out the, thug giving visible evidence of the high esteem in which she was held.  The casket, which was borne by the following pallbearers, Messrs. J.E. JONES, Dennis BRASFIELD, Will TUGWELL, S.P. SCOTT, all of Dresden, G.W. MARTIN, of Martin, and W.B. WASHINGTON, of Nashville, was literally covered with handsome floral offerings from friends. The music, with Mrs. W.W. BROWN at the organ, was very appropriate, being furnished by Mr. Arch TRAWICK, of Nashville, and Mr. WRIGHT, of Huntingdon, and Mrs. AYRES, of Box Station, assisted by the church choir.  A solo by Mrs. AYRES, "Only Remembered by What I Have Done," a favorite song of the deceased, was sung.  After the services closed the remains were taken to the Moran burying ground, north of Dresden, for interment.

  We all will miss Mrs. Moran from society and the church, and when the hand of charity is needed, for to the poor she was ever a responsive friend.  She is gone from among us, as have so many others during the present year, but let us hope that her good deeds may live after her and find fruit in the relatives and friends who are left to mourn her loss. To the broken-hearted and lonely companion we know how to extend a deep sympathy.  The greatest sorrow that can come into the life of man has been his.  With the children, who are grieving for a loving mother we can also sympathize, for we, too, have suffered the same loss; to the brother left so bereft of kin our heart can also go out in condolence, and for one and all we ask the richest benedictions from a kind, heavenly Father, whose will it has been to take their cherished one.  We say farewell to Mrs. Moran, but in that other life we know we will meet her where others have gone before, and that there all will be peace, love, and joy without separation.

4th Annual West TN Strawberry Festival 1937

Beauty Revue--Mammoth Pageant--Baby and Junior Parade--Revue for Junior King and Queen--Music--Floats Parade--Horse Show--Queen's Ball--Free Acts--Fireworks--Balloon Ascensions

F O U R T H    A N N U A L
MAY 5-6-8, 1937
Humboldt, TENN.
Educational     -    Entertaining

MORE  THAN $1,500.00 CASH
Keep This Card for Reference.
For Full Details of All Programs,
Premium Lists, Stories, Pictures,


Football game=  (Penciled in by Nathan H. Moran)
STRAWBERRY  SHOW -- All Varieties Daily.
Annual Festival Horse Show--Tennessee's Finest.
       First Night.
Second Day.
PROGRAM --Second Day
STUPENDOUS PAGEANT--250 People--Second Night.
FIREWORKS Second and Third Nights.
Third Day.
FESTIVAL MIDWAY---Day & Night During Festival Week.
--Humboldt Golf and Country Club--Festival Loving
Cup Awarded Winner.