Purley as I Remember It
Newsome was born January 20, 1911, the son of Thomas Arch
and Elvira Elizabeth (Betty) Hildreth Newsome. My object
is to record the families of Purley during my early
years, say 1915 to 1930. But first the history of Purley.
Purley was established in the early 1850's. William Henry Cannaday names it for his former town in Tennessee, Puryear. Purley is on the crossroads of Mt. Vernon and Winnsboro and Greenwood, Lonestar roads. Lone Star was just west of where Panther Creek enters Cypress Creek. This was a thriving community until about 1915 to 1920. Lone Star was about nine miles due south of Mt. Vernon, three miles south of Majors.
Purley had neither church nor school until about 1885 or 1886. The Methodists went either to Liberty, one mile east, or Pleasant Hill, two miles west to church. The Baptists went either north to Glade Springs, established in 1858, or south to Cypress church, established in 1851. I don't know where the children went to school prior to 1885. A Post Office was established in 1879, and William Henry Cannaday was appointed postmaster. Uncle Caleb Jordan became postmaster in 1883, and William Long in 1891. He served until 1906, when the post office was closed.
Squire Mann was the first Justice of the Peace in Purley, followed by Jim King, next Uncle J.S. (Stant) Davis. Others followed in order: W.S. Beavers, W.W. Long, R.J. Beall, J.W. Day, B.F. (Tobe) Majors, D.M. Garner, W.H. Spence, W.R. Irby, A.S. Bradley, K.M. Furguson, Jim King, Uncle Cale Jordon, D.M. (Hose) Holley, Baker Stinson, John Blackman, C.L. Jones, C.F. Newsome, J.L. Williams, Mack King, Weaver Morris, T.E. Cannaday and W.W. Hightower.
The Baptist Church was organized in 1886 and has had a successful and prosperous history on the same spot of ground for these 102 years.
The Methodist Church was moved from Liberty to Purley in 1904 or 1905. The Church disbanded in 1952 and the bulk of the members moved their membership to Mt. Vernon Methodist Church.
My first recollections of Purley are these: there was a large blacksmith shop on the southeast side facing the west, facing south on the Greenwood-Lone Star road, also having an opening on the Mount Vernon-Winnsboro road. Moving north and still on the east side of the Mount Vernon-Winnsboro road we had a large grocery and dry goods store. I think it was Uncle Cale Jordan's store. Next we had another grocery and dry goods and implement store run by M.L. Davis. In about 1924 or 1925 Jim Davis built an automobile service station north of the Davis General Store. The Jordan's store contained a drug store in the back. On the west side of the road, and next to the Greenwood-Lone Star Road was the telephone office. Going toward the north we have a barber shop, built and run by Roy Hightower in 1927 or 1928. Next was a grocery store run by Mr. Lee Hightower, then a dry goods store run by Mr. Will McBrayer, then on north was another grocery store run by W.W. Long. Next was a small café, run at times by John Newsome. Next was a public water well. This is Purley, 1915 to 1920.
On the south side of the Greenwood road some 100 steps west is the Baptist Church and the schoolhouse in 1885. The cemetery is west of the school. The oldest grave marker is 1889. Going on toward the west we come to the gin, owned by Uncle Ector Meek. In about 1905 the school was moved from the cemetery to west of the gin about ¼ mile west of Purley. That is where I went to school. My first teacher was Alice Davis Newsome, Claud Newsome's wife. Years later she and I taught together at the Purley school.
This is Purley as I remember it in my youth.
Going north on the Mount Vernon-Winnsboro road, starting from the Greenwood-Lone Star road, the first house was that of William Hardy (Bill) Newsome, my granddad. Grandpa bought this two-story house and four acres of land in 1899 from Mr. Ben Roundtree. He owned some 400 acres of land on Panther Creek a mile or two east of Purley, and about 200 acres north of Purley. Grandpa was born in Pike County, Alabama, in 1852. He came to Titus County, Texas, in 1870 with his parents, Alford and Sarah Elizabeth Newsome. They ought a home in the Majors community. Grandpa had these children: Charlie, Albert, Elizabeth, Alice, Will, Arch, John and Bob. Grandpa was a small, handsome man of strict morals, a staunch Democrat and prohibitionist, a member of the Methodist Church. He died in 1949 and is buried at Liberty Cemetery.
The next house was that of Dr. P.N. (Perry Nixon) Davis. His father was Nixon Davis, who came to Texas in 1857 from Tennessee. Dr. Davis had six brothers and three sisters. They were prominent members of the Purley and Union communities. Dr. Davis was a good and respected doctor and honored citizen of Purley. He and Mrs. Ella had these children: Tennyson, Shelley, Alice, Chilton (Jim) and Snow. He owned the first car in Purley and about one hundred acres of land. His son Shelly was the best athlete in the south part of the county.
Mr. M.M. Barrett came here from Tennessee in 1875, give or take a year or two. He owned a good farm in Panther Creek bottom, about one mile east of Purley, but lived in Purley. He held the office of Justice of the Peace for several years. He and his wife, Aunt Tennie, had three girls. Sudie married Mr. Will McBrewer, who ran a dry goods store in Purley and later moved to Mt. Pleasant. Daisy married Mr. R.B. Hightower. Mr. R.B. was the smartest carpenter in Franklin County. He used algebra and geometry to figure building. Willie married Mr. Tommy Coe. He was a farmer who died at a young age.
Across the road, on the west side, lived Mr. W.W. Long. His house was two-story, with a fancy iron fence around it. He was very influential in the community, having held the office of Justice of the Peace. He was the last Postmaster in Purley, and owned a grocery store.
On the east side of the road lived Uncle Miles (M.L.) Davis. Uncle Miles was born in 1850 in Tennessee. His father Nixon Davis came to Texas in 1857. Miles married Addie Black, and they had these children: Rosie Lee, who married Guy Ward; Oma who married Walter Day; C.C. (Claud); Cious Nixon; Cleave, and Cecil. Addie died, and Uncle Miles married Mary Acker (Aunt Mollie). They had these children, Roy, Ella, Cleo, Park, and Coy. Uncle Miles was a successful farmer and owned several hundred acres of land north and west of Purley. Our farm is made up of some of his land. He also ran a store in Purley. He is buried in Providence Cemetery.
The next home on north was that of Guy Ward. He sold it to Norman Campbell, who sold it to my Dad, T.A. Newsome, who sold it to Dean Peterson.
Lucian Long, son of Warren W. Long, lived across the road from Papa, T.A. Newsome. Lucian Long ran the Purley telephone system. I think he moved to Como, Texas, around 1917.
Next house north was the Methodist Protestant Church parsonage. Brother Jim Parnell, Brother Dimp Pattersosn, Brother Gill, Brother Smith, Brother Elmore, Brother Branch, Brother Boman, Brother Land, Brother Aaron, Brother Aaron, Brother Lively, Brother Banks and several recent preachers have lived there.
The next house on the west side of the road belonged to Mr. Tommy Coe, and the following one to Mr. Jeff Caudle.
On the east side of the road lived Uncle John Newsome. Uncle Albert Newsome lived there in 1910 and 1911. Mr. Jack Clinton also lived there for a few years.
The next house north was the walnut-tree house owned by Dr. Davis. "Shack" Shelly Davis lived there part of the time.
Next we come to the house of Uncle Colonel Davis. Nixon Davis bought this place in 1866, and it became his homestead. Uncle Colonel had five girls and two boys. Toby and Mary were his youngest children. Toby married Brooks Horton, and Mary married "Lefty" Milton Newsom, my first cousin.
The survey next to John Middleton was bought by Mr. Haynes, east of Mt. Vernon. He did not develop this land. It remained in timber until 1901, when Mr. Tom Draper bought it. Tom Draper sold his son Acie Draper ninety acres in the southeast corner. Tom also sold Mr. Douglass, Acie's father in law, sixty acres in the southwest corner. Mr. Douglass sold out to Mr. Cleve Davis, who lived there several years before selling to Dennis Payne. Mr. Payne was a pretty good farmer. He had six girls and no boys. The girls were: Lois, who never married; Alice, who married Jess Goodman; Audie, who married Ralph Cannaday; Faye who married Horace Cauley. Horace had a 1930 model Ford car. He and my sister, Alice Newsome, carried me and Sybil Davis to Texarkana to get married. Sybil Payne married Ray Cannaday. Bessie Lee Payne married A.M. Cockrell. Mr. Payne became cotton weigher for Franklin County.
Across the road lived Mr. Acie Draper. His dad, Tom Draper, came to Texas with Alford Newsome in 1870. Acie's children were Earnest, Allie, Eunice, and Irvin. Earnest married Sybil Wall, and they had a son Melvin and a daughter Pauline. Irvin Draper married Willie Gay Newsome. They had a girl and a boy.
The next house on the north was that of Mr. Lee King. His sons were Jess, Floyd, Hubert, Herman and Cecil. His daughters were Gertrude and Myrtle.
Mr. Kitt Hester is next. He married Willie Draper, daughter of Mr. Tom Draper. Mrs. Tom Draper lived with them in the old home place. Mr. Kitt and Willie had these children: Gertie, Earl, Deacon, Byron, Tinsley, and Christine. Deacon was tall and handsome and liked to dance.
Mr. Stanford Gandy, who had married Maggie Draper, lived in the next house. They had three children.
Across the road lived Uncle Will Newsome. He and Aunt Mary Peterson had five boys and four girls. Carlton was the eldest. The others were Milton "Lefty," Willie Gay, Earl "Karo", Gladys, Dee Wright "Deacon", Robbie Nell, A.C. and Fern. Carlton became county judge around the age of thirty. He is probably the most outstanding of all the Newsomes.
Next up the road north is the Hegler place. They had four girls and one boy. Later we, the Arch Newsome family, lived there. Arch and Betty Newsome had five sons and five daughters. Five were blond and five were brunette. Five called Arch Papa and five called him Daddy. At this writing in 1988, all ten are living. The oldest is seventy-eight, and the youngest is sixty-one. Eight of them have taught school. Nine have degrees-three, Alice, T.C. and Virginia have Master's Degrees. Our names are Alice Newsome Banks, Waymon Carl Newsome, T.C. Newsome, Virginia Newsome Rutledge, Rex Newsome, Sibyl Newsome Miller, Dorothy Newsome Peugh, Jack Newsome, Bob Newsome, and Nell Newsome King. Mama and Papa both lived to be about ninety years old. They are buried in the Liberty Cemetery east of Purley.
Mr. Wilson Hightower lived next door. He and Mrs. Nettie had two daughters, Essie and Jewel. Essie taught school and played the piano. Mr. Wilson lived to be about ninety-nine years old.
In the next house lived Mrs. Oma Day, M.L. Davis's daughter. She had four sons. One of them, Lovice, could walk on his hands. Mrs. Oma lived her religion and was a fine Christian.
Mathew Cannaday patented two hundred acres in 1854. His youngest son, Troy, was living on it when I was growing up. Troy had four sons: Guy, Ralph, Ray, and Klein. Mr. Troy, Mrs. Eunie, and all four boys were singers. Mr. Troy's mother was Mary Ann Hightower. She had eight sons. Mr. Troy was a carpenter and a good entertainer.
Charley and Johnnie Newsome had four boys and one girl. Uncle Charley was in a class by himself. He became a hermit with a wife and five children. Later he enjoyed going places. He always enjoyed company. He grew what they ate. Their grocery bill would not exceed one hundred dollars a year. He was probably the most truthful person I ever knew.
Now let us go west from Purley. Mr. Jeff Williams and Mrs. Birdie Ward Williams had one son, Earl, and two daughters, Opal and Jewel. Jewel was my sweetheart when she was twenty and I was five. Mrs. Birdie and Jewel were two of the kindest women I ever knew. Mr. Jeff was a horse trader and kept eight or ten horses and mules around all the time. He was fair in his trading. Papa traded with him several times. He loved all sports and was a good athlete.
On west we have Mr. Dean Peterson. He had three boys and one girl, and was a good guy.
Across the road lived Mr. Cye Davis. He was my father-in-law. He was the most ambitious man in Purley, a deacon in the church and an all-around good fellow. He was a cow trader and made good money.
Across the road from him was Mr. Dave Garner. Mr. Garner was a blacksmith and a Methodist preacher. He had several children. His oldest son, Fontaine, also became a Methodist preacher. Dave's wife was Minnie Stinson, from on of the fine families in Stringtown.
John Becton Meek came here from Tennessee in the 1840's and patented eighty-one acres one mile west of Purley. His father and one brother came to Texas with him. All three of them went back to visit the old friends, and the father and brother stayed back in Tennessee. John fought in the Civil War. Bill, Loyd, T.C. and I placed with his Civil War Rifle John married a Huggins and had three daughters and four sons. He is buried in Pleasant Hill Cemetery.
Turning north in the Stringtown road, we find the Thompson family. One of the Thompson boys married Captain Hasting's daughter Anna.
Next we find the Jim King family. He was a pillar of the Pleasant Hill Church and school, and raised nine children. His wife Lou, was Captain Hasting's half-sister. Mr. J.J. Chaffin bought the place later, and raised a big family there.
Across on the west side of the road lived Baker Stinson, who married Sara Elizabeth King. They raised a family of eight children.
In 1853 J.B.
Cannaday patented 314 acres. In 1869 Nixon Davis bought
this land and gave it to his two oldest sons, James
Stanton and Miles Leroy Davis. Stanton got he west half,
and Miles got the east half. The next year, 1870, Stanton
Davis married Amanda Newsome. They raised a large family.
One of their sons, Will, made a Baptist preacher.
Addie died, and Miles married Mary Acker. They had these children: Roy, Ella, Cleo, Park, and Coy. In 1899 Miles moved to Purley and opened a store. In about 1900, A.A. Cowser bought Miles Davis's home place in Stringtown. Albert Cowser had these children: Lois, Nealy, Milton, Joe, Loyd Ennis, and Ned.
The next house up the road was that of Claud Davis. He had four sons: Alton, Howard, C.C. and Elmo. Alice Hindman Davis died and Claud married Myrtie Holcomb. They had a son, M.L. and a daughter Ludene.
Going on west from the J.B. Meek place we have Jack King, a son of Jim and Lou King. Jack and Bessie Chaffin King had four children, including a daughter, Bob King and three sons. The oldest boy, Son, was a carpenter who lived in Tyler. Milton was a teacher. He taught at Purley before going to Troup, where he lived out his teaching days. Hix was a big time carpenter, still living in 1988.
The next place is the Mint Huggins place. Jim Pitts who later bought this place, had three sons.
Next was Bill Hughes. Two of his younger children were Sussie and West.
In the Possum Flat area was George Shoat, who married John Meek's daughter. They had several children, the youngest of whom were Lucille, Johnnie, and Joe. Joe is still living in Bogota, Texas.
Mr. Charley White is still living at the age of 101 years. His two youngest children are Mary Lou and Harold White.
South another one-fourth mile we have Riley Pitts, who married Ommie Cannaday, daughter of Curtis Cannaday. They had a large family, mostly girls. Ommie died, and Riley moved to Lamar County.
South of Purley we have several families. Mr. Wiley's place passed to Ector Meek, who married Alice Newsome Meek and had three boys and two girls: Bill Benton, Loyd, Pearl Clovis, and Glenn. Later Mr. Stout lived on that place.
Mr. Jack Furguson married W.H. Cannaday's daughter, and they had a large family. Abbie married Mr. Malcolm Peterson, and they had a large family. Willie Dean Peterson became a Baptist preacher.
Mr. Raney, a close neighbor, had several children. The next place was that of H.E. Solomon, a Baptist preacher and father of a large family. The McGees lived nearby.
East from this area lived B.F. Morris. Ben Morris came to Purley in the early 1850s. His two brothers, Joseph and Marion, came in the 1840's. Uncle Ben had upwards of 2000 acres south of Purley. His son Garrett carried on after Uncle Ben died. Brother Garrett had three sons, Lisbon, R.B. and Lige; and three daughters, Dollie Ann, Emma Jane, and Lucy.
On east we
find J.C. Carroll, a Methodist Protestant preacher. The
Beavers family lived east and south of Liberty. Mr.
Tittle raised a large family about one mile east of
The next place was owned by Mr. Tullis. Going on west we have Uncle Cale and Aunt Kizzie Jordan. Their son Holby, a cripple.
On the Majors road we have Uncle Frank Newsome's place. Frank was Grampa's brother. Frank's children were Stella, Sam, Bert, Ivy, Inez, Cap, Elton and Tob.
Albert Newsome, son of W.H. Newsome, married Gussie Hindman and had Leon, R.A. and Orra Lee. Leon is dead, R.A. lives in Tyler and Orra Lee is dead.
Uncle Joe Hightower had these children: Claudia, Weda, Graves, Blanche, Tom, and Ethel.
North of here we find the Barrons, Uncle Lee's sons Ben and Make. This wraps up Purley pretty well from 1915 to 1930.
I should have named these families:
Aunt Huldy Self and her four sons came to Franklin County in about 1892 or 1893. She was a widow with sons Tom, Fee, Jim and Hose. Mr. Tom and his wife Vicie had these children: Hugh, Ivy, Perry, Essie, Vertis, Merle, Joe, and Pat. They lived in various places, all north of Purley. He was the best farmer in the community of Purley and had the best team of mules in Purley. Hugh was born in about 1906. Mr. Felix and Mrs. Ruthie Beavers had these children: J.B., Marie, Neva Gay, Robbie Ruth and Odessa. Mr. Jim and his wife Addie had several children, including Addie. Mr. Hose and Mrs. Claudia Hightower Self had Irene, Hollie, Virlie and others. They moved to Mt. Pleasant, and we did not see them much.
Mr. Wes Blalock and Ida moved here from Daphne in about 1923. Their children were Raymond and Fay. Mr. And Mrs. Blaylock lived together for about fifty years and never had a quarrel or a fuss.
The Connelly family lived mostly at Cypress, but Mr. Walters was at Purley about half the time. His two children made quite a place for themselves. Hermon became our Banker, and Barbara's husband, Neal Solomon was our state legislator.
Brother H.C. Solomon was an early-day Baptist minister. He was a successful farmer and father of a large family. One of his grandsons, Neal Solomon, was a successful legislator for several terms.
Mr. Jim Parker lived in the Possum Flat part of Purley. He was a clerk of Purley Baptist Church for about fifty years.
Mr. Knotts lived in Possum Flat. He had several sons and daughters.
Mr. Bob Hunt came to our community in the 1890's. He had three sons and one daughter. His sons and grandsons were large men. Bruce weighed over 300 pounds. They were hard-working folks.
Mr. Peterson came to Purley in the 1890's. Aunt Mary Newsome was one of his daughters. Willie Dean, a grandson, became a good Baptist preacher.
The Wiley family came to Purley in the 1860's. One became a doctor; all were fine people.
Mr. Pitts lived in the Pleasant Hill area. He had several sons. They left Purley in the 1930's. His sons were Riley, who married a Cannaday girl, Shelly, and Edgar who married a Cowser girl.
Captain Hastings came to Purley in 1865 and settled in the western part of Purley. He was County Judge and County Commissioner, quite a leader in his time.
Mr. John Chaffin lived in Stringtown, on the Jim King farm. He had a large and interesting family. Jack and Mack King married his two daughters. Owen became a lumberman in Oklahoma City and got rich. David ran a store in Purley.
The Hough family came to Purley in the mid 1880's and settled in the south and west of Purley. They began leaving the community around 1900, and there are none here now.
family came to Pleasant Hill in the 1850's and wee
numerous and fine folks.
These families lived at Purley for a few years: Mr. Stout, Brother Turner, Mr. Stilman, Mr. Bullard, Mr. Anders, Mr. O.T. Davis, Mr. Hoover, Mr. Vick, Mr. Tom Davis, Mr. Pickett, Pop King, John Nelson, Mr. Jim Castle, Mr. Scott, Mr. Joyner, Uncle Burt Gandy, U.S. Lee, Alf Houghs, Judge Williamson, Mr. Giddens, Chess Rogers, Weaver Morris, Mr. Clark, Mr. Brakebill, Tobe Majors, Hose Holley, Mr. Sid Bradley, Mr. Dave Skidmore, the Weatherfords, Mr. Hugh Inmon, Walter Hildreth, Boots Banister, Mr. Carley, Mr. McBrewer, Roger Larence, Mr. Ingram, Larance Carter, Irby Penn, Alvie Lee, C.T. Vinyard, Buddy Pierce, and others who have slipped my mind at this time. Some lived here for only a short time.
Some of my dear boyhood friends were Coy Davis (dead), Ross Newsome, C.C. Davis (dead), Boyd and Loyd Joyner (dead), Lisbon Morris (dead), Rex Davis, Glenn Pitts (dead), Joe Choats, Bruce Hunt (dead), Milton Newsom (dead), Earl Newsome, Ray Cannaday (dead), Irvin Draper (dead), Joe Cowser, C.T. Vinyard (dead). This is as of 1988.
The girls were Pauline Rogers Rose, Sybil Paine Cannaday, Mavie King Smith, Effie Lively, Hester (dead), Lottie King, Romie King, Beatrice Parker (dead), Maggie Lee Peterson Davis (dead), Willie Gay Newsome Draper, Bobbie Corley Davis, Essie Self Jones, Dollie Ann Morris Thompson, Alice Newsome Banks, Ora Lee Newsome Carter (dead), Marie Self, and Gay Davis Joyner (dead).
Some of our schoolteachers: Mr. And Mrs. Charley Proctor, Mr. And Mrs. Charley Agee, Miss Cleo Bass, S.O. Loving, Mr. Joe Holbert, Mr. Lester Martin, Mr. And Mrs. Claud Cox, Leon Chandler, Miss Odessa Lominack, Vera Lamb, Mrs. Claud Newsom, Mildred Weatherford, Gertrude Smith, and Mrs. Heart.
Regarding the farming in Franklin County north of Mt. Vernon, 95% of the tillable land was in cotton. Some did not plant one acre other than cotton. South of Mt. Vernon probably 75% was in cotton. Papa worked about forty acres in cotton, fifteen acres in corn and peas-two rows corn and one row peas, -three acres watermelon, and two acres sweet potatoes. We ran three teams a few years. Shelly "Shack" Davis had about thirty acres of cotton and about three acres of watermelons, one team, hired all hoeing done, some plowing, and all his picking. We made around fifteen to twenty bales, and Shack made around twelve to fifteen bales. We made one wagonload of corn per acre, or less. We had two to four cows to milk. Shack had one some of the time and none some of the time. Living was hard and clothes very limited. Papa would have two dress shirts that would last two years, and one or two pairs of dress pants that would last five years; one pair of shoes that would last three years and a pair of "stronger-than-the-law" work shoes that would last one year; two pairs of blue overalls and two blue shirts that would last one year. Papa went barefoot some of the summer. Uncle Charley Newsome never did. Uncle Will shed his shoes in May, and in November he would put them back on. He did it until he was eighty years old. Men would buy surplus army coats for four or five dollars that would last five years. Every man wore patched overalls, and some wore patched dress pants. Men and boys wore no underclothes in the summertime. We wore straw hats in the summer and caps in the winter. There were no more than two or three overcoats in Purley. I bought my first and only overcoat in 1956 to wear to Boston.
Until 1923 or 1924 all women wore long hair. Alice got hers cut while we lived on the Lowe place. Bobbed hair was "of the Devil."
About Purley's social and religious life: there were two churches, one Baptist and one Methodist. About one-third of the people were Methodist and about two-thirds were Baptist. There was very little strife between them. Purley had very high morals. We never had a bootlegger, no feuds, and very little sex offense. The people were truthful and honest, no thieves, no locks. Most of our outings were to church, and a party on Friday night, where we played Snapp. We never had an outstanding singer, and only one lawyer, John Beavers. We never had one to go to the pen. No killings, and almost no divorces. Pretty good athletes, good basketball players. People loved one another.
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