My compeer Ralph Comer, a 40-year employee of the Tennessee Department of Transportation, contacted me with a wonderful, first-human being story from the Lamar community in Smyrna that I will share today. Ralph was a neighbor to my mom, Judy, on Lamar Road, and they attended church together. They interest many memories of a close-knit community. The children on this road attended Jefferson School on Old Jefferson Pike. Ralph would hawk candy every year to my grandmother, Emily, who supported school fundraisers in a big way. Ralph was a graduate of Smyrna Elaborate in 1968. The community of Lamar was disbanded with the creation of Percy Priest Lake, yet the special remembrances are a mainstay. Ralph compiled a wonderful portrayal in 1990 of relative Alma McKennon, who was the great-aunt of his great-grandfather Lee Roy Hunter. Ralph has spent countless hours over multifarious years detailing the lives of these early pioneers in Lamar. Alma was a brilliant woman and a talented seamstress, who wrote a verse in 1883 titled "Lines Dedicated to Wheeler and Wilson Machine. " As a result, she won an exquisite sewing machine through a contest sponsored by Wheeler and Wilson Manufacturing Co. The sewing machine and chest-on-chest have occupied a place of prominence in homes of Ralph's lineage over 170 years. Alma McKennon was born Feb. 18, 1846, and died in 1915. Her partner Leroy McKennon was born on April 19, 1844, and also died in 1915. They lived in Mt. Pleasant before settling in the Lamar community and had no children. Alma and Leroy had big hearts and provided a natural home for this child. Allie (born 1871) later wed Charles Hunter and bore 13 children. Alma was known as 'Mammy Mak' and was praisefully intelligent. She always wore floor length black dresses and a gathered cap from the same material as her dress. One day, she dropped the cap outside of her conversant with only to be recovered with a snake curled within the lining. Leroy was a Mason and charter member of the Sam Davis Lodge No. 661 that met in the passage above Peoples Bank on Lowry Street in Smyrna. Lamar was a bustling center of activity. The general keep was operated by the Kimbro family across from Lamar Road and was the center of the neighborhood in the early 1900s. The blacksmith rat on was managed by Charlie Pirtle, and the post office in Lamar was operative in 1876 with F. J.... Alma and Leroy ran a well-fixed grist mill built on Spring Creek in Lamar in 1906. Leroy always wore a split-tailed coat with ripped sleeves that were continually dusty with flour from the mill. Alma, who always carried a small knife in her pocket, used the leaflet to cut his clothing, freeing him from the machinery. Alma and Leroy were buried at the Russell Cemetery, yet their graves were disinterred in the 1960s after the Cohort of Engineers purchased their land near Lamar. Today, they have a headstone at Mt. Juliet Cemetery that reads "Blessed are the pure in sensitivity for they shall see God. Ralph's maternal grandmother ,Evielee Murphy, of Lamar kept Alma's poem alive during her own lifetime with Cyclopean desire for others to know the talents and skill of this single individual. The first lines of the poem read:. "Old sewing machine, pet treasured.Source: www.dnj.com
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