Straight from the Tracks of Lynnville

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Greetings from the banks of Robertson Fork Creek where the Town of Lynnville, Tennessee is located. Robertson Fork Creek is named for the early explorer James Robertson, who explored this land in the early 1800s.

The weather has really made a change. We have gone from cold to warm. The rains we are receiving are certainly nice because we need all the rain water we can get.

Mark your calendars for Easter Sunday, April 16 for the Lynnville Community Easter Sunrise Service to be held at 6 a.m. in the Historic Lynnwood Cemetery located on West Main Street. Everyone is invited to attend this service. There will be speaking and singing.

Larry Gates of Nashville will present a dramatic one person play featuring Pontius Pilate as the character. This dramatic production will be held at the Lynnville First Presbyterian Church on April 14, Good Friday. Everyone is invited to attend.

On Saturday, June 3, all graduates, teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and anyone who attended Jones High is invited to attend the annual alumni meeting at the Lynnville Municipal Building with registration beginning at ten o’clock a.m. A potluck lunch will be served at noon with a program to follow. Two scholarships will be given to graduating seniors and three outstanding alumni will be named. Start making your plans now to be at The Robert B. Jones High School Alumni meeting in Lynnville, Tennessee.

From the files of Lynnville History of Sarah Hewitt Dugger:

“During the late teens, twenties, and the thirties in the Town of Lynnville was a lady named Ella Lee Wagstaff Blackburn, who was a music teacher at The Robert B. Jones High School in Lynnville. She was know to her students as ‘Miss Ella’. When one said this name, everyone knew immediately who you were talking about.

Miss Ella was the daughter of Robert Lee and Mary Alice Isaacs Wagstaff. Miss Ella graduated from high school here and attended the famous Cincinnati Conservatory of Music graduating in 1916. She returned to her home town of Lynnville and taught piano at The Robert B. Jones High School in Lynnville and married Sam Blackburn. During Miss Ella’s tenure as piano/music teacher at the school, she produced many recitals on stage to the public and directed many, many other stage productions. Forty or more students studied music with Blackburn and several of her students made music a career by attending the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

In 1938, Miss Ella left piano teaching to begin a new job in Lynnville as the Postmaster at the Post Office. She succeeded her father who had been appointed in 1920. Upon Miss Ella’s retirement as postmaster in 1966, she was followed by her daughter, Mrs. Dorothy Blackburn Smiley. Mrs. Smiley followed a long line of Postmasters in her family. Mrs. Blackburn’s maternal grandfather, Casper E. Isaacs took the office in 1885. Also on Mr. Blackburn’s side of the family, there was John Laird, who was appointed Lynnville Postmaster in 1814, and later Henry and Robert Laird.

Even though Miss Ella was retired, she continued to share her musical talents in Lynnville by helping with programs and musicals. One of her favorite songs to play and requested by everyone was ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’.

Several individuals from Lynnville after graduating from the Lynnville Academy and The Robert B. Jones High School went to the famous Cincinnati Conservatory of Music for a degree. To name some of those attending were: Mildred Smith, Oka Brown, Lillian Brown Richardson, Ann Brown, Jamie M. Edmundson (Miss Jamie), and Virginia Mehigan. Mehigan was the first music teacher at Jones High School in 1900. (If there are others from Lynnville who attended the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music or any other school of music, please send their names to Music Teachers, P. O. Box 66, Lynnville, TN 38472. Mrs. Janet Tuckerman, who moved to Lynnville in 1990, studied music at the Cincinnati Conservatory and has taught piano in Lynnville. Mrs. Tuckerman is the pianist at the Lynnville First Presbyterian Church.

Did you know the name of the gymnasium that on the campus of The Robert B. Jones High School in Lynnville was the George B. Witt Gymnasium. When The Robert B. Jones High School opened in 1900, there was not an athletic facility for the purpose of playing organized sports inside. All sports were played on the outside courts. As time went on, there was a need for a gymnasium. After the Lynnville Academy merged with the new Robert B. Jones High School, the academy building was left vacant. The academy building was torn down and the lumber was used to build a gymnasium south of the dormitory next to McCall Street on the campus of Jones High School in the late teens. Upon completion of the new gymnasium on the famous old campus, a dedication program was held. The gymnasium was christened ‘The George B. Witt Gymnasium’ by Mr. Witt’s wife. The gymnasium was a wooden structure with a balcony on the inside. The structure burned in about 1938 late one evening following a basketball game. Several events other than sports took place in the Witt Gymnasium. If anyone has a picture of the gymnasium, please call 931-527-3466.