Folks, before I conclude our look at the early history of Hillsboro, I want to be sure you are able to make plans now to see “Ghosts of History,” a candle-lit tour of of our City Cemetery featuring characters from Manchester’s past! In cooperation with Old Timers’ Day festivities on October 5th and 6th, the Coffee County Historical Society together with the Manchester Arts Center will again provide tours of the Manchester City Cemetery along candle-lit paths. Actors will portray characters buried there and will tell local history stories about who they were and what parts they played in Manchester’s days gone by. Tours will be Saturday evening, October 6th, and begin at 6:00 P.M. Contact the kind folks at the Coffee County Historical Society for further information. They may be reached at 728-0145 or by e-mail, email@example.com.
Early Businesses and Industries
As previously stated (see Hillsboro, Part 1), in 1812 John Herriford and others petitioned Congress to allow the construction of a grist mill at Pond Springs. By 1847, Paul and John Herriford were the “…proprietors of a line of stages from Dalton, Ga. to Nashville, Tenn., and also from Sparta, Tenn., to Huntsville, Ala., making Hillsboro (their) headquarters.” Hillsboro also sported three by stores by that year, according to Dr. James Edwin Hough in his Manchester Times article dated 1885 and reprinted in the CCHQ. One store was owned by Benjamin T. Hollins, one by Reynolds & Howe, and the third by Wileman & Pulley. A fourth store owned by Price & McFarland was in the process of closing out. It is of note that there were only four other stores in the entire county at that time, two in Manchester, one at Beech Grove, and one at Hickory Creek, Dr. Hough continues, and that “…more goods were sold there (Hillsboro) than in any other place in Coffee County.” Other types of businesses in operation and mentioned by Dr. Hough were two blacksmith shops, one run by Calloway Dean and one by John H. Clark. J. H. Williams ran both a tailoring business and a boarding house. E. A. Rutherford ran a second tailor shop. Benjamin T. Hollins was proprietor of a hotel and was the postmaster. W. B. Williams operated a harness shop, L. D. Bean a hatter shop, and H. T. Withrow a cabinet shop. The Manchester Times also made mention that Ben F. Pannel ran a saddle and bridle shop in Hillsboro in 1889.
Hillsboro first received telephone service in 1897, according to a Times article abstracted in the CCHQ. Ewell’s History of Coffee County, Tennessee adds that Dick Glass was a Hillsboro shoemaker. Ewell credits John Marshall with the operation of a stage line that ran from Dechard, Tennessee to McMinnville, Tennessee, but states that it shut down after the Civil War. General Merchandisers of Hillsboro in 1936 were R. L. Sain, General Thomas, and Mrs. W. A. Ashburn. Fred Smith ran a café in Hillsboro, Sam Ashburn a barber shop, and W. H. Walls a cotton gin as of that year. Other 1936 business operations included Hulon Bros. and Bryant Bros. garages, Vernon Kimsey’s feed mill, and Horace Crownover’s corn mill. Finally, W. Y. Phillips ran the town grocery, which was a location where “spiritous liquors” were sold. Mr. Houston Watson, who was born and raised in the Stephenson Community, once worked for Mr. Sam Brashear and reports that Mr. Brashear sold potatoes to the Lays Potato Chip Company in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Mr. Carson “Dick” Long did most of the potato-hauling to the Lay’s Company in Wisconsin. Mr. Watson also states that Melvin Gray helped drive the potatoes to Wisconsin when Mr. Long could no. Mr. Gray also once ran a saw mill business on what is now known as Watson-Cravens Road.
Information from the CCHQ (Vol. XIX, No. 1 & 2, 1988) shows that among the early medical practitioners of the Hillsboro area were Dr. William Renshaw and Dr. Thomas P. Stephenson (name-sake of the Stephenson Community). Dr. Renshaw had removed to Sparta around May or June, 1847. Dr. Stephenson, who was age 76 in 1884 when he wrote a piece for the Manchester Times and stated he had “lived in the Hillsboro area for 71 years.” Dr. Chatam Marian Horry Farrar, born in Hillsboro in 1848, “resided in Hillsboro for about thirty years…” Dr. Farrar “…began his medical practice in this part of the county in 1868” (Ewell). Others were Dr. James Edwin Hough and his son, Dr. Edwin Sylvester Hough, Dr. Blakeley, Dr. Sims, who was a Confederate soldier, and Doctors Dave Hickerson, Stephen H. Woods, and Dixon, all of whom practiced in Hillsboro from about 1870 to 1880. Last, Dr. J. Horace Farrar (began about 1910) and Dr. John Kennerly Farris (retired by or before1936) both practiced for a number of years in the Hillsoboro area.
The following are names of businesses which operated in and around Hillsboro from 1873 to 1891. They are transcribed here from listings found in the Tennessee State Gazeteer and Business Directory for the respective years as compiled and published in the CCHQ: Blanton, Rev. J. O. (Methodist), Brothers, Benjamin, hotel, Clements, W. B., general store, Coll, E. A., distillery, Daniel, Budd, distillery, Dickerson, G. M. D., shoemaker, Dickson, James, blacksmith, Farrar, C. M. H., lumber mnfrs. and corn mill, Farrar, C. M. H., physician, Ganaway, James T., carpenter, Garner & Wildman, general store, Gillett & King, blacksmiths,
Guinn, Rev. George (Methodist), Handlin, Rev. J. W. (M. E. South), Howard, A., corn mill, Howard, James, F., carpenter, Jackson, Rev. V. W. (Christian), Jones, T. E. & Sons, lumber mnfrs. & corn mill, Justice, Pannel, B. F., harness, Lusk, J. A., general store, Mash, A. D., constable, Mead, D. E. & Co., general store, Mead, D. E., general store and Justice, Mead, D. N., general store, Patton & Layne, undertakers, Patton, R. H., undertaker,
Patton, R. H., undertaker, Payne, Rev. J. C., (Presbyterian), Penn, Thomas, blacksmith, Quarles, Rev. William (Methodist), Russell, Rev. Burris (M. E. South), Sims, Rev. P. (Christian), St(r)ickler, Stewart, miller, Stevenson, T. P., physician, Sweney, W. B., carpenter, Wildman, Wm., general store, Williams, John F., harness maker, Wood, Dr. S. H., justice of peace, Wood, J. S., shoemaker, Woods, S. H., physician, Woods, Dr. S. H., justice of the peace.
Crossroads of Coffee County… (2003) researchers Ashley Brown and Samantha Brown report that early schoolhouses in the Hillsboro area included Hillsboro School, Pleasant Hill, Pig Tail, Hog-Waller, Stephenson, and Thompson Hall.” A “subscription school” (Hillsboro Academy) existed in Hillsboro in 1875 (CCHQ, McMahan). The Stephenson community in the Hillsboro area was named for Stephenson College for Teacherage(sic) and later became a county grammar school after Stephenson Institute was “destroyed by fire” (Manchester Times, McMahan). The Hillsboro school built in 1922 had 175 students in attendance daily in 1936 (Ewell).
Early religious services were conducted at Pond Springs campground and church, Union Church, Christian Church, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Methodist Episcopal Church, Beans Creek Church of Christ, Hillsboro United Methodist Church. Prior to the establishment of a church building at Bean’s Creek in 1858, services for the members were held in the home of Mr. and Mrs. R. J. Price. D. E. Mead was on of the founders of the Hillsboro United Methodist Church. The CCHQ records the existence of a non-denominational Christian church in operation by 1881, though the land deeded for the “Union Church” was recorded in 1868. The Manchester Times of July 11, 1884 recorded that a new Cumberland Presbyterian Church was soon to be built at Hillsboro. Until it was ready, the Cumberland Presbyterian church met in the Union Church; on April 7, 1885, the Times recorded that the new Cumberland Presbyterian church was to be dedicated in May.
Logan’s Chapel was located in the Civil District 7 at the intersection of the Old Hillsboro Road and Interstate 24 near what is now the Industrial Park and Love Lane. Arnold Engineering Development Center land now encompasses this historic Coffee County community. Logan’s Chapel School was established during the lifetime of this community. The community of Stephenson is located southeast of Hillsboro near the Grundy County line. Stephenson is reported to have gotten its name from the “Teacherage(sic) College” established there, as noted above. Stephenson was nicknamed “Dogtown” because of all the dogs in the community. Bean’s Creek community lies near Stephenson and southeast of Hillsboro. Like Stephenson, many beautiful farms still operate in the area, as does the Bean’s Creek Church of Christ mentioned previously. The church and Bean’s Creek Cemetery, which lies beside it, are situated on the property of F. M. Thomas, a descendant of F. M. Womack. Another farming community, Thompson Hall, is named for Burrell Thompson. It is located five miles south of Hillsboro between Hillsboro and Pelham. Thompson Hall Elementary School and its forerunner, Pleasant Hill High School operated in the area for many years.
Information for this article was gleaned from the Coffee County Historical Quarterly and other sources. Comments or questions regarding this article may be directed to Greg Keeling (firstname.lastname@example.org).