Saturday, August 24, 2013

"Mr Aydelotte's Show" 1950

Hope Howard Hart was the daughter of Sterling Reece and Martha Nelson Kennedy Hart of Dresden TN. Among the papers of Virginia Shumate Moran we found a Washington Post newspaper clipping and two typewritten pages titled "Mr. Aydelotte's Show" from Hope Hart to Virginia and Jim Moran.  "Mr. Aydelotte's Show" was a play based on real people and real events that happened in Dresden around the year 1910.   The play featured current Dresden folks taking the roles of earlier Dresden citizens with names you may recognize: McCuan, Jeter, Tansil, Smith, Garrett, Hart, Ingram, Ward, McWherter, Gates and Marcum.

From The Washington Post, March 25, 1950
"There'll be a hot time in the old town tonight" at the National Press Club as this group helps
reincarnate "Aydelotte's Show at the Tennessee State Society Hoe-down.  From Left to Right,
James Dike, Mrs. Sarah Little Ward, Mrs. David Gates, Miss Hope Hart and Dr. David Gates,
all originally from Dresden, Tenn.  Their show, a reproduction of one which toured the South
some 40 years ago, will be part of an amateur contest to precede square and round dancing
at the Tennessee Party.

"Mr. Aydelotte's Show"
Presented by a group of former residents of Dresden, Tennessee, for the Tennessee State Society, at the National Press Club auditorium, Saturday Evening, March 25, 1950.

Forty years ago... That's a long time.   So long that many of the things we like to associate with "the good old
days" have almost faded from memory.  Almost...but not quite.

Not yet forgotten, for one thing, are the first movies we ever saw...the old-fashioned "flickering tintypes." Most of us, nowadays, take our movies pretty much for granted.  But there was a time....back forty years ago...when motion-picture entertainment was...well, quite different.  We didn't have luxurious film palaces in those days...and the pictures didn't talk...and they weren't in Technicolor.

Go back with me, if you will, to the little town of Dresden, in Weakley County, Tennessee.  The year is about 1910. The citizens of this little county seat are all excited, for handbills have just been passed from door to door with thrilling news...Aydelotte's Tent Show is coming...It will present the last word in moving pictures, with musical turns and popular illustrated songs as added attractions.

Back many will recall...Aydelotte's Tent Show was a well-known institution in rural Tennessee.  It came around every spring or fall, playing one-night stands and giving the towns and villages their only taste of the films of that day.  Mr. Aydelotte, himself, was a genial character who made friends with everybody.  He put up his own tent, with the aid of his piano player, Joe Pitts.  he placed the chairs and benches for the patrons and spread a piece of canvas down in front for the kids.  He sold tickets.  He strummed a guitar and sang a little between reels.  He also cranked the projector, read all the titles for the benefit of those in the audience who couldn't read for themselves, and gave a running commentary on the pictures as it unfolded.

And how the "neighbors" he called his patrons...ate it up.

I can see him now...ushering the good folks of Dresden into his little tent.  Perhaps some of those very same people are here with us tonight.  To them and to all of those "dear friends and gentle people" in our home town now, we dedicate this impression from "Mr. Aydelotte's moving picture show," as presented in Dresden, Tennessee, featuring the "Academy awar picture of 1910," John Bunny and Flora Finch in "Go Hang Yourself."

(The curtain opens on a scene representing the interior of Mr. Aydelotte's tent, with chairs arranged in front of the screen and a rug spread on the floor on which the children are to sit.  Mr. Aydelotte lays aside his guitar and busies himself taking up tickets and ushering the patrons to their seats.)

Page 2
At this moment, two well-known matrons of Dresden enter...Mrs. Will McCuan and Mrs. Maude Jeter. They want good seats so they can keep an eye on their young daughters, Ruby and Sarah, probably having their first dates.

And here's His Honor, the Mayor...the Hon. Rice McWherter.

Next is one of Weakley County's most beloved citizens, Colonel Egbert Tansil, a Confederate veteran who fought with Forrest, with his good wife, Miss Jackie. Col. Tansil likes to wear his uniform at all public gatherings.  With them is their niece, Rebecca Tansil, visiting from the nearby town of Sharon.  She's at the giggling stage.

Coming next are Sheriff and Mrs. Ben Wright.  The Sheriff is in on a pass and he'll see that all the young bucks behave.  He might even stop the picture if any scene should be too risky for the town's morals.

Closely following are Dr. and Mrs. Shobe Smith, with granddaughter, Nancy.  Dr. Smith is Dresden's "tooth-dentist."  His wife, known to all as Miss Mattie D., is the music teacher.

There are many greetings for Congressman and Mrs. Finis Garrett, home from Washington where the 61st Congress has just adjourned.  With them are their children, Burns and Virginia.

Last comes my Aunt Alice Killebrew, leading her six-year-old nephew.  It's the youngster's first show and he's quite excited.  And, confidentially, that youngster might be me...forty years ago.

Well, it's about time for the show to start.  The piano player takes his place to knock out some rag-time tunes.  Mr. Aydelotte gets ready to turn out the lights and start the projector.

And onto the screen, with much flickering and jumping, flashes the hit of 1910..."Go Hand Yourself."

Characters in the skit
Mr. Aydelotte......................Dr. David Gates
Piano Player.........................James Dike
Mrs. Will McCuan................Estelle McCuan Gates
Mrs. Maude Jeter..................Sara Little Ward
His Honor, the Mayor............Rice McWherter
Col. and Mrs. Tansil..............Joe and Louella Ingram
Colonel Tansil's niece.............Rebecca Tansil
Sheriff & Mrs. Ben Wright.....Nell Wright Marcum, and
                                               son Jack
Dr. & Mrs. Shobe Smith........Clarence & Imogene Smith
Granddaughter.......................Nancy Smith
Congressman & Mrs. Finis Garrett...Burns and Hilda Garrett
Burns and Virginia Garrett.......Hildagarde & Ann Garrett
Aunt Alice Killebrew..............Hope Hart
Her Nephew..........................Sterling Hart
Introduction written and spoken by Key Hart

Friday, August 23, 2013

Dr. Edward Theoderic Haskins Obituary, 1945

Dr. Edward Theoderic Haskins was born April 25, 1874 in Newbern, Tennessee.  He was the son of Dr. Aaron D. Haskins (1852-1892) and Patty Tucker (1854-1881).  Dr. Haskins married Miss Myra Rainey in 1900. They had no children.  Dr. Haskins died June 16, 1945 in Newbern.

I haven't found a family connection between the Haskins and Moran families so am inclined to think that they were friends through Virginia Shumate Moran.   Miss Virginia had lived in Newbern with her Uncle Quincy and his family until her marriage to James Moran.

Dr. E.T. Haskins Dies After Long Illness
Retired Physician Was Lifelong Resident of Newbern
Special to the Commercial Appeal
Newbern, Tenn., June 16--Dr. E.T. Haskins, prominent retired physician widely known and highly esteemed here, died at 9 a.m. Saturday following a lengthy illness (Myocarditis per the Death Cert.).

Services will be held Monday afternoon at 3 at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, with Holman Funeral Home in charge.  Burial will be in Fairview Cemetery.

Born April 25, 1874, Dr. Haskins was a lifelong resident of Newbern, and a member of a pioneer family which first settled the community.  He was the son of Aaron D. and Patty Tucker Haskins.

He received his education at the Newbern public schools, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and graduated from the Medical Department of Vanderbilt University.  Later he attended new York Post-Graduate School.

In 1892, he received an appointment to West Point and was a second lieutenant in Company F, Second Tennessee Regiment.

Dr. Haskins was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and served on the City Board of Aldermen for a number of years.

He was a member of the county and state medical societies, and the American Medical Association.  He also was a member of the Royal Arch Mason, I.O.O.F. Lodge and K. of P. Lodge.

In 1900, he married Miss Myra Rainey, who survives him.  He also leaves a brother, Creed Haskins, a niece, Mrs. J.E. Wilburn of Artesia, N.M. and a nephew, E.A. Nichols of Newbern.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Postcard from J.W. Moran, 1912

During the last year or so of his life, John W. Moran spent time in Florida where it was believed the climate was healthier. His son Brud was traveling with him.  This postcard by J.W.M was to his other son, Jim, back in Dresden and dated Feb. 1, 1912, just a little over two months before his death.   J.W. Moran began to get worse while in Florida and it was probably apparent he wasn't long for this world.  Brud and JW left Florida by train headed for Dresden.  Unfortunately, his father's illness had progressed so far they had to stop at Nashville where he was hospitalized.  He died in Nashville on April 12, 1912.  Cause of death was Pernicious Anemia. A vitamin B12 deficiency.

Jacksonville, Fla
We arrived here this morning after a very tiresome trip to me.  We are stopping at the "Seminole".  I have rested some and will leave here for "St Petersburg" in the morning, you can write general delivery there.  It is quite cool here.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Shepherd Milner and W.C. Fowlkes 1889

Here is a grouping that includes and invitation to the Wedding of Miss Shepherd Milner of Greenfield, Tenn., to Mr. W.C. Fowlkes of Dyersburg, Tenn., for the evening of December 17th, 1889, at 8:30 pm.  The wedding took place at the Cumberland Church in Greenfield.  You'll also notice a birth announcement for the son of Mr. and Mrs. W.C. Fowlkes, April 11, 1891, Martin Irl Fowlkes.