Churches, businesses and homes of Townley’s early days
by Ruth Baker
Apr 29, 2012 | 1661 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ruth Baker
Ruth Baker
First Baptist, beside it was the Odd Fellow Hall upstairs, Freewill Baptist Church downstairs. They would say that the windows would all be open in the summer, and the Freewill Baptist would be singing and praying about “devil rum” liquor. “We need to hunt it all out and pour it in the river! First Baptist would be singing, “Shall we gather at the River?” First Baptist would be singing “Shall there be any stars in my Crown” and the Freewill Baptist was singing “No not one, No not one.” These were good-natured tales for laughter.

Just out the road to the left of First Baptist was the Nazarine Church.

Out the road on the right of these churches was the Methodist Church.

There was a split in the Baptist Church and a new Church formed called Second Baptist and built behind the coal mining Commissarie. They went around the town and out in the surrounding area with a car or truck with a loudspeaker and would down some of the churches and invite to their church. The woman preacher on the top of Townley hill at the Church of God got clobbered pretty often.

The buildings on the road across had a Jewish store on the corner called the Jewish Store but its name was Gruisins. A Gruision man had a store in the coal-mining town of Sipsey. He built in Townley for his daughter Bertha and her husband Sam Geezer. They had one son, Sherman. (I recently had a letter from Sherman from California and he reminisced about those years he grew up here.(side story of the German lady and the T-Model Ford_)

In front of the churches was the Manasco two-storied home, next to the right was Mr. E.C. Ellison home and there were homes on both sides and a hill with houses on both sides of the road going up the hill.

Ed King had a store on the opposite corner. Beside this was a Barber Shop ran by the Justices. Just past the Gruisin Store was another building, the Mason’s Lodge for men.

Next was the Theater where movies were shown and the building at times was used for club and plays. I can remember putting on “Sonny of Sunny Side, a play. I was a Tom\ Boy fishing from the banks of a creek. Mr. Rollins was in charge. If he got mad at us flubbing our lines, he would snatch the fishing pole out of my hands and swing it back and forth from where he was standing on the floor and I would jump it every time he swiped across and save taken the licks on my legs.

The city jail was next and has not been gone many years. It was uses as a home for an older gentleman for years.

On the other side from the theater were roads leading up the hill and houses built all behind there, but on the road front was Dr. Shore’s home, and the Methodist Church.

Mr. Rollins would bring us off the hill from the school to some prominent person’s funeral at the local churches.

Behind the Freewill Baptist were stores: A small restaurant(about where the fellowship building is), Right where the Post Office is today was Mrs. Beird’s store. She was a widow with a daughter, Tootsie, a son William. Mr E.C. Ellison had a large furniture store just behind these businesses.

The Boshell Store was where the building still stands.

The old Boshell house still stands today.

Across the street was the Post Office and homes.

Where the Freewill Church is now was the Company Commissarie.

Overhead of this on a building of small businesses down the side street was a hotel.

The town deputy, Newt Wilson lived on this street. Later, the Second Baptist Church built here.

I remember a space back there used for tent revivals in the summer.

Across the highway were Herman Bevill store that sold everything for coal oil to caskets.The Tune Store was next and cross the side road and there was a large Boshell Garage.

Gene Boshell built a house behind it. Next to this was a restaurant. Down the road a piece was Paul Tittles store

The old school was a two-storied building at the top of the hill. The principal was Mr. Rollins (called Domernecker being sure he could not hear it.) He was very stricked and unloved by most. The sxhool originally taught from grades 1-11.

The new school was built behind all these building and burned the first year we moved into it. I was in the second grade when we were moved off the hill and had to makeshift until the school could be rebuilt.

The company houses reached up Renoe Hill and across the Highway to the back of the new school, and up every hill surrounding the town.

Outdoor toilets were built by the company. There was a tub under each hole and the backside was left open. A wagon pulled by mules made regular rounds and emptied the tubs into a wagon bed. This was carried to a convenient place a dumped down a ravine into a valley. A black man was the driver and we would be visiting family and the kids would run behind the leaking wagon and say “PHEW! PHEW!” as we ran.