New alderman moved to town to flee Franklin

Friday, November 18, 2011

By Clint Confehr

Senior Staff Writer

CHAPEL HILL - The town's newest member of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen isn't from here, but she grew up in Williamson County when it was country like this north Marshall County town.

Dorothy "Dottie" Morton is so laid back about her seat on the town board that she's unsure about exactly when she was sworn in, when the unexpired term of her predecessor ends, and whether she plans to run for election to the position.

Town records show that on April 11, Morton succeeded Alderman Henry Frame who was in a term that expires on Aug. 31, 2012.

As for why she was appointed to the board, Morton has a quick and a deadpan quip, adding a more realistic reply.

"Because I'm so pretty. No. I had expressed how much I love city politics, and I knew that, so I went to some city meetings and it was just business. They did it and got gone. Then somebody asked me if I was interested and I said I would. Not everybody likes that kind of stuff," she said of the town board's ability to deal with matters.

"Things must be going smoothly," she said.

Asked about city issues, Morton replies, "I'm real new on the board and I really haven't gotten into some controversy.

"I loved the politics in Franklin because I'd e-mail the aldermen about things, but here, it's not as big and it just seems that everything works," she said. "Things are smooth and logical here, as far as I know."

Morton does "nothing" in her spare time, "because she has grandchildren and her brother, Johnny Guffee, lives in town."

Guffee was the proprietor of the Log Cabin Market in Franklin for many years. It was a well-known stopping place on the main drag between city hall and the interstate, but closer to the highway.

They grew up in Franklin. Her father was Dr. Harry Guffee, a local legend in Franklin for his personal service as a physician who made house calls.

"He would drive his jeep with a trailer behind and drive as far as he could and then take the horse out of the trailer and ride it to the patient's house," she said. "This was back when Williamson County was real country."

Dr. Guffee was seen as a cowboy doctor.

"He'd come straight into town and to the hospital from the farm with his boots on. I'm sure they appreciated that," said Morton, whose last home in Franklin was on Bridge Street, a road used as a by-pass around City Hall, the courthouse circle and Main Street traffic jams. She moved to Chapel Hill four years ago.

"I had enough of that life. I'm a country girl, and besides my brother was here.

"He would tell me the nicest stories about what people did for each other here and I decided that was the kind of life I wanted again, so I moved here and love it. And Chapel Hill has the best cooks. I thought I could cook until I came here.

"I hate to say it, because it sounds like I'm bragging, but I've got it good here."

Morton has a boyfriend. They've dated for 21 years, she said, "He won't marry me and I don't understand it."

She left him unidentified, but adds that he "is loyal and loving until it comes to that M word, then he gone. He lives outside of Franklin on Peytonsville Road."

Chapel Hill's newest alderwoman has two sons.

One is Chas Morton, an attorney in Franklin. He and his wife, Christa, have a girl and a boy.

Chas is the older son. He was captain of the swim team at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. He had a full athletic grant for swimming. He wanted to be on the Olympic Swim Team, but "Stanford needed him more," she said. "He was a long shot to make the Olympics team."

Her younger son is Bert Morton, a civil engineer who recently moved back to Nashville from Knoxville. His wife, Julia, wanted to move back to Nashville, so they did. They have two girls. He's been working for Barge Waggoner Sumner and Cannon. His masters in engineering is from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Morton agrees that people do live through their children, "sometimes."

She and her husband have been divorced for about 25 years. His "fathering skills" were good. Their children are happy to see both of them happy.

She taught school until she raised children and after the divorce she worked as a teller for 15 years at various banks in Franklin as they changed names.

Now, she says, "When you're retired, every day is a holiday and you barely need a clock. You just go."

As for accepting the invitation to be on the town board, Morton says, "I'm glad I did it. I've learned a lot and I'm trying real hard. It just reinforces my belief about what a great little town this is."