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Gleason Board Approves Use Of Force Policy

On September 10th the Gleason City Board approved amendments to Gleason Police Department’s Use of Force Policy, as recommended by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee.

In July, Governor Bill Lee gave 60 days for every police department in the state to review its use-of-force policy and duty-to-intervene policy. Gleason Police Chief Paul Eddlemon submitted the department’s revised policy to the Board during its meeting held Thursday evening.

Chief Eddlemon said the language to the policy has changed. Some of the highlights the police chief mentioned include: * The statement officers are required to value and preserve human life.

* The use of chokeholds are clearly defined, stipulating it should considered use of deadly force.

* The use of warning shots are also now prohibited.

* Deadly force is permitted if someone is attempting to run over police officers with a vehicle.

* Discharging a service weapon from a moving vehicle is prohibited unless someone is attempting to block a police vehicle.

* If a service weapon is drawn, but not pointed at anyone, it is not a use of force. However, if it is pointed at a subject, it is regarded as use of force.

* The duty-to-intervene section of the policy states, if a police officer sees another officer violating someone’s civil rights, even if the violator is a superior officer, he or she must act to stop it from happening and report the incident to higher authorities.

* Officers have a duty to render medical aid and call an ambulance if a suspect or someone is injured in an accident needs medical attention. Chief Eddlemon stated officers are instructed to review what the policy says and means, so there will be no confusion as to what actions are allowed and which actions are prohibited. “I read it and think it’s an excellent policy,” Alderman Jim Phelps said. Source: David Fisher - Dresden Enterprise.


Mayor Explains County-Wide Mask Mandate Decision

WEAKLEY COUNTY (August 20) — The decision to implement a county-wide mask mandate by Weakley County Mayor Jake Bynum was not one that came without a daily tracking of COVID-19 data on state, regional and local levels.


“The intended goal of the mask mandate was not to stop the virus. It’s here and while it’s not going to stop, we can reduce the spread and slow the increase in active cases in our community,” Bynum shared.


Bynum checks numbers of positive case counts, active cases and age ranges within the nine-county Northwest Tennessee region daily. Bynum said just in Weakley County from August 1 through August 9, 2020, there was an increase of 222 active COVID-19 cases in the community. That jump, combined with students in the Weakley County School System and the University of Tennessee at Martin beginning classes the next week, prompted the mask mandate.

“We know in-class instruction is the most successful for our students. As a county, we are not prepared due to limited technology and families’ access to reliable, affordable internet, to provide system-wide virtual learning. We also need eyes on the student population,” Bynum noted.

Since the global health pandemic hit, reports of child abuse in Weakley County are down 27 percent. Bynum says experts in the field of handling those situations fear the decrease isn’t good news. Often, school system personnel notice behavior differences in children and keep a watchful eye out for children who may be potentially abused or neglected at home.

Although UT Martin students returned to the campus last week, Bynum said the pandemic team leading the campus reopening at the system level had a smart, diligent, and dedicated plan utilizing online classes, social distancing in the classroom, mask-wearing and implementing smaller class sizes are designed for the safety of students and faculty.

“We know based on what the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), the Department of Health and medical experts say about mask-wearing. Masks aren’t necessarily to protect you, but it helps to keep you and others from spreading COVID to others,” Bynum said.

“I know this community is full of people who want to do the right thing. Wearing a mask doesn’t make someone a sheep. It shows an act of love for our fellow man,” the county mayor added.

Bynum said when the country opted to nearly shut down in March when cases began a slow spread in rural communities, but large impacts in metropolitan areas, the region potentially jumped the gun on business and school closures.

“We are not New York and California. This is not a one-size-fits-all situation. We went home and sheltered in place. I’m not sure that was the right decision for us. We have seen the impact to businesses and schools. By wearing a mask, it allows our schools and businesses to remain open. It is a simple act,” he shared. He added he knows there is a large majority of the population who won’t become deathly sick if they contract COVID-19.

“I was elected to represent 100 percent of the population. I have had phone calls from people in the community thanking me for the mandate. We have grandparents who haven’t seen family members in months. Some tell me with the mandate, they feel more comfortable getting out and going places and visiting family members with less risk of exposure because they see people wearing masks throughout the community,” Bynum said.

As for businesses in the community, owners and managers are asked to enforce mask-wearing in their facilities. Large corporations started issuing company-wide customer mask-wearing policies prior to the Weakley County mandate. While it is understood no one can be forced to wear a mask, Bynum said businesses have a responsibility to do what’s best and they have the option to not serve those who choose not to follow the mandate.

“Honestly, if I go into a business that isn’t enforcing it and there are several people without a mask, I won’t do business there. This has nothing to do with me wanting to tell people what to do. This is a way to be considerate of one’s neighbors,” Bynum shared. In Weakley County, there is a large number of multi-generational homes and the mayor said he is hopeful others are mindful of the impact for those in the community who may lose work or become very sick from COVID.


While he refuses to call mask-wearing the “new normal,” Bynum said he is hopeful seeing people out in the community wearing a mask becomes normalized for families. Students attending the public school system are required to don a mask when entering and leaving their school buildings, in the hallways and during times when social distancing is not possible throughout the school day.

“While there are people who are thankful for the mandate, there are lots of people out there who are upset,” Bynum reported. He said he receives phone calls and emails from people within the community who are voice their anger over the mandate. Although Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee gave the authority to mayors to issue community mask-wearing mandates more than a month ago, Bynum said he sat on that decision and conducted “a lot of soul-searching and praying.”

“This is not a decision I made lightly. I got into this job to help make my community a better place; not for political reasons,” the county mayor said.
He stressed the importance of proper mask-wearing for effectiveness. He explained the mask must cover the nose, be secure to the face and people to limit touching their masks while wearing them.


A cloth mask should be washed daily and disposable masks should be disposed of after use.

There are some exceptions to the mask mandate, which is modeled after Gov. Lee’s recommendation. While houses of worship are not required to make visitors wear masks, Bynum said it is a good practice to wear masks during in-person church services.

Children, age 12 and under, are exempt and those who have trouble breathing as a result of an underlying medical condition are exempt from the mandate.

Other exemptions include within a residence and automobile, while outdoors unless social distancing from others cannot be maintained and while eating or drinking in a restaurant.

The order expires at 11:59 p.m. August 29, 2020, unless it is revoked prior or extended.

For additional information, visit

Weakley County Mayor Jake Bynum gathers COVID-19 data daily, comparing the county with neighboring counties and overall state data. He noticed a significant spike in the number of active COVID cases in the community prompting him to mandate mask-wearing in public spaces throughout the county almost a week prior to schools’ reopening and students returning to the UT Martin campus.

Home Grown EntertainmentBy Deborah Turner

Last week, Weakley County lost one of its favorite sons. Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Arnold died after a short illness. Here are excerpts of a feature written about Ronnie and wife, Martha, in January 2005. It was published in The McKenzie Banner in that year.

GLEASON (2005) — Every year about July, Edgar Floyd of Gleason starts growing his beard because he knows the community wide production of “The Great Pretenders” is just around the corner. That’s when physician assistant J.C. Carey is transformed into a giggling lunatic who makes racy, late night phone calls to the “Margaret” of Ray Stephens fame.

The Great Pretenders, a full-scale impersonation of famed characters that over the past ten years has taken West Tennessee by storm, helps to fund worthy causes from civic club projects to Project Graduations.

And it’s all thanks to the ingenuity of two special folks in the tri-counties community: Ronnie and Martha Arnold of Gleason. That the two cater to high school seniors and their parents is ironically the result of Martha’s dealing with “empty nest” syndrome some 11 years ago. After years of life centered around the activities of their son, Kent, when he went away to college, Martha says, “We looked at each other and thought, “What do we do now?”Because singing had previously been a passion for Martha, Ronnie encouraged her to begin singing once more in order to fill the void she felt in her life.

About the same time, the two were returning from Nashville when they spied a limousine and wondered what country music artist might be inside. With Ronnie a member of the Gleason Rotary Club, the two were also mindful that money needed to be raised to fund a softball field project to which the club was already financially committed. They mused how great it could be if they could stage a major concert in Gleason, but knew the costs would be prohibitive.

It occurred to Ronnie that they could perform the concert themselves, and pretend to be famous performers. He mentioned the thought to Martha and, she says, “once we got the idea, it kind of evolved.”

They started watching their fellow Rotarians, wondering who could best portray which country singers. The gleaned from the Platters hit, “The Great Pretenders”, a name for the project, a title that stuck with the song still performed at the end of each production.

“It’s amazing how people with a little help could really look like the country music stars,” Martha says. “Edgar Floyd made a good Willie Nelson, J.C. Carey was a dead ringer for Ray Stevens and just as crazy, I was really into Patsy Cline, and Ronnie always liked Roy Orbison… We had so much fun with that first production.” And, Ronnie recalls, “It was amazing the participation we had.”

Used to barbecue chicken sales and similar projects that might bring in $200 for a day’s work, the club anticipated selling 300 tickets at $5.00 each to raise the needed $1500. Instead, says Ronnie, “We ended up having two shows. We sold 1,000 tickets and had great fun doing it.”

It wasn’t the last time the Arnolds were surprised by the popularity of their concept. Ronnie recalls that after a big ice storm in the winter of 1994, they figured the show, sponsored by the McKenzie Lions Club and McKenzie High School Project Graduation, would go on just in case someone showed up.

“There was no electricity anywhere, except where we having the show at Bethel (University),” he says. “We didn’t think anyone would come but we packed the house; we had a great show that year.” The show proved that the Arnolds’ step-by-step formula for success, that they share with their customers, works.

Another sell-out crowd occurred just after 9-11. The couple procured a huge American flag that was unfurled during the cast’s rendition of “God Bless the U.S.A.” “That was very, very moving,” says Martha.

The Great Pretenders has progressed dramatically from that first production, when the two juggled cassette tapes between numbers and used homemade spotlights. Over the years, the production has become professional in quality with the Arnolds adding new equipment each year in a continuing effort at improving the set, while also replacing that which has worn out. They’ve added new lights and sound equipment and are especially proud of the confetti cannon that has added pizzazz to the show the last couple of years.

Their second production benefited the Greenfield Rotary Club, a step that has taken them to their current ten to eleven shows per year, having carried on the project themselves when, after a couple of years, it outgrew the club’s ability to keep up with demand.

For both Ronnie and Martha, their greatest joy in the Great Pretenders has been working with the students and parents in fund raising events for Project Graduations in various regional school systems. The events are more special, the two relate, because they represent, for many, the last opportunity for family togetherness and fun before the child leaves home.

“Once that child leaves home they may never have that closeness again,” Martha says, her normally bright smile somewhat wan in remembrance of her own empty nest from which the Great Pretenders was spawned.On a brighter note, Ronnie relates the project also gives parents the opportunity to “act like a kid again.”

He estimates they he and Martha have met between 7,500 and 10,000 people, mostly students and parents, who have participated in the shows. “We don’t always remember names but we remember faces,” says Martha, noting they take particular joy in seeing again those they’ve met in productions.

“In the six weeks we work with them we develop an incredible closeness.” Adds Ronnie, “Part of the joy is that it’s not a talent contest; we take whatever they bring us and we’re always amazed… they come and blossom.” “They spread their wings and shine,” Martha agrees. “We really see the best side of them; we’re always overjoyed with the response we get from the students.”

The Arnolds rave about previously untapped talent that is discovered when students and parents begin practicing for their performances. They love seeing students, who may previously have shunned participation in other activities, realize their potential.

The sheer volume of time and energy it takes to produce the shows takes its toll on the Arnolds’ weekends. Ronnie handles the stage production while Martha performs as emcee and assist with special effects and spot lighting. “It takes all three hands,” Ronnie says. “And some feet,” Martha adds.
It’s sometimes 1:00 in the morning before they arrive back home to collapse in exhaustion. “It may take a couple of days to recover,” smiles Martha, “but when the next one comes along and we see the eager faces, we’re ready to go again.”

Many of their shows are repeats from former years. This will be the tenth production at Huntingdon High School and they have been working with Project Graduations at other schools for eight or nine years each. With repeat performances scheduled from year to year in advance, the Arnolds’ schedule has little room for additions. In order to keep the schedule manageable, their goal is to have no more than two practices for different schools each week. They take bookings for both spring and fall shows.

“About the end of April we wonder why we’re still doing this,” Martha laughs. Besides the Great Pretenders, she says, “We both have jobs and family and that’s about all we can handle.” “And church,” Ronnie adds. The couple attends First Methodist Church in Gleason. Martha works at the Bank of Gleason while Ronnie is employed across the street from the bank at AMA Insurance Company.

Their son, Kent, now 31, is married to Christy Wilson Arnold, also of Gleason. The pair live in Dickson with their two children, Eric, who will soon be 4, and Nolan Elise, 18 months. “They kind of fill our lives right now,” smiles Martha.

“In loving memory of Ron Arnold, you were the best,”
Joel Washburn, publisher, Dresden Enterprise

Ronnie and Martha Arnold

Source: Dresden



The 47th Gleason Tater Town Special is Cancelled

Jasmine Williams

Dresden Enterprise


For the first time in Gleason's History, the annual Tater Town Special as been cancelled. Jennifer Cook, President of the Gleason Gazelles talked about the decision of having to cancel this year's Tater town special.


With the decision to cancel the Tater Town Special, Cook stated that this was a very difficult decision for every member of the Gleason Gazelles to have to pass.


The main concern was over the safety of the community and the executive order for the state of Tennessee. Cook said. "We felt  it was the safest thing for our community".


The vote to not hold the Tater Town Special was approved unanimously by all members of the Gazelles.


With bands, sponsors, and vendors, no one has to be refunded money due to this cancellation. This is because after the first state of emergency was enacted in Tennessee, all  planning for the Tater Town Special was halted.


The Tater Town celebration was held every year since 1974, and sponsored by the Gleason Gazelles, a civic organization composed of women in Gleason who are interested in he  interested in the community.


The created the Tater Town Special in 1974 and the first one was only a few days. The Gazelles, at that time, had to borrow  money to  host the event.


The main goal of the the Gleason Gazelles and the Tater Town Special  was to bring the community together and to gather together.

Cook also said that there will be a Tater Town Special in 2021 as long as there is no risk to the community to do so.


Jennifer also gave this comment regarding cancelling this years Tater Town Special, "Gazelles spent lots of time and prayer and consideration into this years Tater Town Special and the decision to cancel... We plan to be back in 2021.


Cook also stated that the Gazelles want to host an even to unify the community but could not state when or how this would be done. She could only say the topic would be discussed at the next Gleason Gazelles meeting.


The Gleason Tater Town Special joins other events in Weakley County being  canceled due to COVID-19. Others officially cancelled include the Dresden Iris Festival, the Greenfield Fiddlestick Festival and the Martin Soybean Festival.



More Down Home Humor From Gleason's Best Known Story Teller:

Woody Patton"Pat" Dewberry


Jim Johnson


For those individuals who have grown up in Gleason Tennessee over the years, the name Pat Dewberry has become synonymous with good wholesome down home humor.  Indeed,  reviewers of Pat's works containing short stories  about life in rural Gleason, Weakley County, Tennessee during the early 1950's through  the mid 1960's  have  described him as "the quintessential storyteller in the best Southern tradition.



The writing and publication of Pat's books has spanned a period of more than two decades. The first of these books "Teacher's Pets Ougta be on a Leash Too", was published in 1996, followed by "Life is too short to wear Cheap Underwear (2008) and "Uh, as I was saying: More Memories of Yesteryear in Gleason "Tater Town Tennessee" (2013) and Tater Town: Back: Back Home to Count the Memories, published in 2017.



On Tuesday, March 6, 2018 copies of these four outstanding books, authored by Pat, were presented to the Gleason Library at a meeting of the Gleason Library Board so that all of Gleason can enjoy reading about what life was like back-in-the-day !


Announcing the Publication of Pat's Most Recent New Book

"Once Upon A Time Never Comes Again"


May 13, 2020


1956 - No More Limerick's, She Said

1957 - Her Shoe Made Her Mine

1958 - Teacher with a "Tude"

1958 - Skunks Will Never Replace Aspirin

1958 - French I Ain't, But I Learned

1959 -Ain't Toting No More 'Til The Tipping Gets Better

1959 - The Six Cent Bandit

1960 - It Was The Best of Times

1960 - New Chewing Gum Flavor

1961 - Teen Times

1961 - Heart Times and Good Times

1961 - Missed A Mishap

1961 -Curiosity Killed the Cat, Satisfaction Brought it Back to   Life

1962 - No Rainbow After the "Rain"

1962 - Sir Rat

1962 - Dirty Dare and A Mouton Coat

1963 - Didn't Make This Mistake Twice

1963 - These Feet Don't Rock


 Anyone interested in getting a copy of the book can e-mail Pat at

Requests for a single copy, received before Tater Town Day 2020, will be honored at no charge.

 After this date the price will be $10.00 plus postage ($2.80).




Sixty-six years removed from his valiant service in the Korean Conflict, Oscar Owen received a Bronze Star for his unselfish service during that conflict.


In 1953, from March through December, Sergeant First Class (SFC) Oscar Owen was in Korea near the 38th parallel in the fight of his life. For the past few weeks he has been in the Jackson-Madison County Hospital engaged in another fight.


Oscar’s commanding officer 1st Lt. George Block recommended him for the Bronze Star.


The recommendation said in part: “During the period that he is recommended for this award, SFC Owen served in the capacity of medical aid man and litter bearer section leader in the Medical Company of the 31st Infantry Regiment. He performed his duties in an outstanding manner. SFC Owen gave the type of leadership and inspiration that won him the respect and admiration of all who knew him.


His performance was outstanding because it was above and beyond the call of duty. SFC Owen distinguished himself by meritorious achievement in connection with operations against the enemy near Sangmago-Ri, North Korea.


During the period March 6, 1953 to January 10, 1954 SFC Owen served as company aid man on King Company Outpost, Operations Old Baldy, West View, Pork Chop and Dale Outpost. His repeated disregard of self while treating casualties under enemy fire is typical of his high caliber performance of duty.


It was also during this period that SFC Owen personally directed the litter bearer section to the highest point of efficiency. It was his section, while under enemy fire, that saved hundreds of men’s lives evacuating them from the scene of battle.


SFC Owen personally exposed himself to enemy fire to see that the best possible evacuation was given to the friendly wounded. His resplendent example of leadership and high standards contributed immeasurably to the effectiveness and efficiency of the company.


SFC Owen’s performance reflects great credit upon himself and the Army Medical Service. His laudable service is in keeping with the noble traditions of the military service.

Oscar never received that medal, only the lesser Army Commendation Medal. Sixty-six years later, on August 9, 2019 the Army corrected Oscar’s military record and awarded him the Bronze Star that his commander recommended. He has always been very humble about his military service. Only in the last few years has he told the family a few stories.


God used him to help preserve the lives of hundreds of soldiers. While medals, awards and commendations are important for recognizing men and women in uniform, those are only earthly treasures. Oscar Owen would tell you the greatest gift he received on the Korean Peninsula was not the praise of men or any military decorations, but salvation.


In 1952, when Oscar was getting on the train at the depot in Memphis headed for basic training, a Gideon handed him a New Testament. He was reared going to church, but was not a believer. He began to read that little testament in earnest. Oscar realized he was a sinner in need of a Savior. That Christ had given His life so Oscar could be set free from sin and eternal death. The Bible declares that all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.


Oscar said that somewhere between the coast and the front lines he trusted God to save him. Even today in the middle of his battles at the hospital, Oscar knows that the same God who saved him and whose Spirit came to live inside him, still holds his hand, and keeps him, and will one day welcome him home.


Credit to Oscar’s son, Dana Owen for the story and for continuing the medal ‘journey’ for 30 years. Oscar’s grandson, Caleb assisted (Source: McKenzie Banner.)

       Gleason Gazelles Hosts 46th Annual Tater Town Special

Gleason and neighboring towns enjoyed the hospitality and fun of the 46th annual Tater Town Special, a week-long event featuring games, food, music, a parade, and worship service.


Jimmy Belew was the grand marshal of the Saturday parade. He was recognized Saturday for his selfless service to the Gleason community.


A new event added this year was the “Lil’ Tater Bakers”. This cooking event was for young bakers who love to cook up something really special. Classes were for for 4-6 year olds and 7-10 year olds.


The 2019 Tater Town Block Party, titled “Peace, Love and Tater Town”, was Tuesday night, August 27, in downtown Gleason.  There was a DJ providing music from 6:30 p.m. until dark, followed by fireworks.


Activities include a sidewalk chalk coloring contest, train Rides, fire truck rides, jumpy houses, tie dye costume contest and “Find the Golden Tater” contest. Several food trucks present at the Block Party. 

Youth night was Wednesday, August 28, at 7:15 p.m. and featured youth bingo after all participate in a short devotional


Adult bingo was Thursday on the Gazelle Grounds. During intermission is the annual Gazelle cake auction, with proceeds benefiting the Gleason Community Benevolence Fund. Gleason’s best cooks prepared their finest to go on the auction block.


The 2019 Sweet Potato Bake Off was at the Gazelle Grounds on Friday night , August 30. as was the Community BBQ. The band Flashback entertained.


The annual JC Carey 5K Memorial Race was Saturday morning.


The Junior Parade started at 10 a.m. followed immediately by the Grand Parade. Live entertainment, arts and crafts, food and jumpy houses will begin at 11 a.m. on the Gazelle Grounds.


The week’s festivities concluded Sunday with a community-wide worship service hosted by Gleason Cumberland Presbyterian Church (Source: McKkenzie Banner).


James Belew is 2019 Tater Town Grand Marshal


The 2019 Tater Town Special kicked off Sunday for a week long celebration of fun for the whole family that concludes on Saturday, August 31 with several major attractions, including the Tater Town Parade.


This year’s Tater Town Special is celebrating its 46th year of “coming home” which attracts local citizens from Gleason and neighboring towns, as well as former Gleason residents.


James Grady Belew, who has lived in the Gleason community for the past 75 years, was honored by being named grand marshal of the Tater Town Parade. Belew is a member of the Gleason High School graduating class of ’65.


He played on the undefeated Bulldog football team of ‘63 as the halfback and linebacker. He worked at Dico for 21 years until the plant closed; HIS for 7 ½ years until its closure; and then the Gleason Lumber Company for 12 years until his retirement in 2010.


Jimmy’s parents, Ralph and Annie Belew, planted his roots in Gleason, along with his four brothers - Clyde, David, Jerry, and Charles; and five sisters - Carol, Betty, Donnie, Myra, and Mary Alice.


Jimmy has two daughters, Malita (Brad) and Melissa (Nick). His grandchildren Ashley, Jess (Hunter), Drew, and Archie were his pride and joy until his three great grandchildren Emerson, Bella, and Fallon came along.


He is known to many members of the community as Grandpa. He has never met a stranger and takes to every child he meets.


Jimmy bleeds orange and black and can be found at any and every ballgame the Bulldogs are playing. He arrives as soon as the gates open no matter how far. For home football games, he has a spot reserved on the twenty yard line; and at home basketball games, he can be found standing in his spot between the paint and the door.


During his free time, he enjoys golfing and rooting for the Tennessee Volunteers. Jimmy’s smile is contagious and a preview to his kind heart. He is always willing to lend a helping hand or give words of support to those in need.


Jimmy Belew’s outstanding citizenship makes him the perfect candidate as the 2019 Tater Town Grand Marshall. (Source: Dresden Enterprise).
























 Mr. Randy Boyd of The Boyd Foundation Presents

Gleason with a $25,000 Grant for Dog Park

During the noon hour on Thursday, August 22nd, a large number of Gleason citizens and local dignitaries gathered at Gleason City Hall for Mr. Randy Boyd of the Boyd foundation to present the City of Gleason with a check for $25,000  that is to be used for the city to develop a dog Park.


As a result of the strong support by Gleason's Mayor, Diana Poole, and the Gleason Board of Aldermen along with other civic leaders, Gleason was one of  28 cities across the state that was awarded the $25,000 grant to build a dog park in our town.


As an added bonus, to the award ceremony, the Gleason  Police Department made a presentation featuring their new drug dog named Maverick to the 5th grade class.


Gleason Awarded $25,000 Grant for Dog Park


THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to show their support for a dog park in Gleason. We were one of 28 cities across the state awarded the $25,000 grant to build a dog park in our town. Way to go Gleason!  -Mayor Diana Poole


Congratulations to all of our 2019 Dog Park Dash winners! We were blown away by the amount of community support shown. Without further ado, here are our winners!

EAST TENNESSEE: Baneberry, Clinton, Collegedale, Crossville (Fairfield Glade), Elizabethton, Etowah, Louisville, Madisonville, New Tazewell, Rhea County, Signal Mountain/ Walden

MIDDLE TENNESSEE: Cookeville*, Columbia*, Dickson, Fayetteville, La Vergne, Pulaski, Smithville, Springfield, Wartrace

WEST TENNESSEE: Bartlett, Gleason, Lake County, Memphis, Munford, Newbern, Paris, Selmer, Trenton, Ripley

*Grand Prize Winners


The Tennessee Dog Park Dash, funded by the Boyd Foundation, is dedicated to building or enhancing dog parks across the state. Established in 2018, this program is helping to make Tennessee the most pet-friendly state in America alongside other major efforts from brands such as Radio Systems Corporation, parent company of PetSafe (R). Through the Dog Park Dash, more than one hundred communities across the state of Tennessee will benefit from dog parks.


City of Gleason Receives Donation of CSX Caboose


The City of Gleason has another attraction to mark the town’s historic past, just in time for this year’s Tater Town Special, which will be held August 25th - September 1. Gleason joins with four of Weakley County’s five municipalities, which either has a railroad caboose or is seeking to obtain one.


Greenfield and Martin already have a caboose on display in their downtown areas located adjacent to the railroad tracks. Dresden is seeking to procure a caboose, which it plans to locate next to Dresden Farmers Market, where the old train depot once stood. Sharon is the only city in Weakley County with no plans to obtain a caboose at this time.


Charles Anderson, chairman of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee, who spear-headed the project, was among a group of local officials and other local citizens on hand to witness the delivery of an old CSX caboose in downtown Gleason on Wednesday, July 31.


The committee has been working on the project for the past three years. Anderson said, “About a year ago, we acquired a railroad caboose from CSX Railroad free of charge.” He stated the caboose has been stored at Imery Ceramics, on Old State Route 22, Gleason, and they have been waiting for the city to determine a permanent location for it.


“We asked the railroad to allow us to put it where the old train depot used to be, which is across from the gazebo,” Anderson said.


He stated that the Kentucky/West Tennessee railroad recently granted permission to place the caboose on that land, which is on the railroad’s right of way. They not only gave permission to place the caboose at this site, they also prepared a rail with ties to support the caboose.


The caboose, located on Church Street across from the Gazelle Grounds, was transported to the site on the railroad tracks that run through Gleason’s downtown area. It was then moved from the adjacent railroad tracks to the new stationary tracks with the generous help of Imerys Ceramics, a job that involved the use of a huge backhoe and about an hour and a half of work. This relocation of the caboose was accomplished at no charge to the City.


Anderson explained the caboose will be a static display for viewing only, and the interior will not be open to the public. It will be painted the same color as the engines that come through town now, which is orange and white with a yellow stripe.


“We will have a fundraising drive to buy the paint, which will cost $2,000,” Anderson said. “It will have to be sandblasted, primed and painted. We hope it will be an attractive addition to the city for a long time.”


Anderson mentioned the Downtown Revitalization Committee will be seeking volunteers to help with the project. He noted metalworking students at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in McKenzie have agreed to make repairs to damaged metal on the caboose free of charge.


These old railroad caboose cars highlight the importance of the railroad to the area’s transportation, business, commercial and agricultural development from the county’s earliest beginnings to the present (Source: adapted from the Dresden Enterprise).


Commemorating Over 100 Years of Railroad Service in Gleason


Downtown Revitalization Committee Moves Forward on

 Placement of  Caboose


Thanks to the help of Mr. Richard Bivens, Operations Manager  for the  Kentucky/West Tennessee railroad, along with a number of other individuals associated with the K/WT railroad, and Charles Anderson, President of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program, significant gains have been now been made in terms of spiking the track and ties.


The caboose has now been moved to  its final resting place, with the generous help of Imerys Ceramics. The next step in the process will involve the renovation and painting of the caboose.


This project is designed to commemorate over 100 years of railroad service through Gleason.


Hello Janit Video ... Gleason Receives Commemorative Caboose

[Click on the Link below for Video Courtesy of the McKenzie Banner]


See the source imageBUY A SPIKE See the source image






THE Old Depot


In the 1913 and 1914 issues of the "Gleason Herald", the following timetable for Eastbound and Westbound trains on the N. C. and St. L. Railroad was scheduled.


# 1          Dixie Flyer        5:07 A.M.

# 2          Dixie Flyer          11:27   P.M.

# 3          Dixie Flyer        4:25 P.M.

# 4          Dixie Flyer           11:29  A.M.

# 53        Dixie Flyer        2:42 P.M.

# 52        Dixie Flyer             5:15  A.M.

# 55        Dixie Flyer         9:04A.M.

# 54        Dixie Flyer            6:36  P.M.


All trains were met by local citizenry for the fellowship and to see who was arriving and departing. Even church services were dismissed for the noon trains. At this time W. V. Overall was the Depot agent.

In the 1913 and 1914 papers, N.C. and St. L. railroad advertised a round trip to Nashville for $2.00, so when planning your summer vacation, don't overlook any of the following low fares:


                                  Round Trip             Martin to Chicago, Illinois                   $18.00

                        Round Trip             Martin to Louisville, Kentucky               11.30

                        Round Trip             Martin to Cincinnati, Ohio                     16.30

                        Round Trip             Martin to St. Louis, Mo.                           9.50

                        Round Trip             Martin to New York City, N.Y.                40.30


Another advertisement in the May 23rd, 1913 Herald advertised:


"Let's Everybody Get Ready to Give the Nashville Boosters a Big Blow-out When They Arrive Here." This will not only boost our little town, but will be quite a treat for all to see them and their fancy train.


Some of the early agents were Tom Cooper, Tom Butler, W. V. Overall, and Mr. McDonald. A familiar sight in the twenties and thirties was Marion Gibbs, a much loved black man, pushing the small mail cart from the trains to the Post Office. Also Leonard Brawner picked up packages at the Depot and delivered them around town for $0.25 per delivery.


Section hands working on railroad in front of the Whitworth Hotel in the early 1920's


The Depot was torn down in 1970 or 1971, much to the displeasure of many of us who had fond memories of the time spent there. A metal building was moved onto the site to do railroad business, with L. L. Bennett as Agent. Following Mr. Bennett's retirement, other agents who took over were Mr. Rogers, Mr. Sylvis, and Frank Cequin.


The metal building was removed in 1984, since Gleason no longer had a through train to Dresden. The few freights which run through the town each week only go to the Clay companies and to Krueger-Ringler where they turn around.


Note.  The material presented above was originally published in the book Oakwood - Gleason: A Look Back, by the "Homecoming '86" committee with Joyce Wray serving as Chair of this Committee.


Sweet Potatoes Shipped by Railroad

The above picture was made by Marie and Calvin Wheat, developed by Harles Woodard (Gleason, TN), received from Laurie Beach Pine, and provided to by Jimmie Glenn.  (Young boy in white shirt (right) - Jimmie Glenn; Man standing on platform - Gale W. Ray; Lady with suitcase - Rachael Kennon, Man on left side of Truck - Harry Mac Edwards.)



Celebrating Gleason's Rolling Hills Miniature Golf Course

Jim Johnson


After many months of planning and lots of hard work, the owners of the Rolling Hills Miniature Golf Course in Gleason (Audie and Bobbie Ruble) were finally able to enjoy the fruits of their labors.


Along with a  number of dignitaries including, Charles Anderson (President of the Weakley County Chamber of Commerce), Barbara Virgin, (Executive Director at the Weakley County Chamber - Jackson, Tennessee Area), Diane Poole (Gleason Mayor) Paul Tinkle (President of Thunderbolt Broadcasting - Martin) as well as Gleason Police Chief Paul Eddlemon, there were lots of Gleason citizens that turned out to celebrate ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday April 12th prior to its grand opening on 15th.

The Rolling Hills course is located at 4583 Hwy 22 in Gleason, just off of Highway 22 North .

This beautiful venue, built to honor their niece Tabita Gearin, features an 18 hole miniature golf course that offers all the fun-to-play twists and turns one expects, plus some challenging holes. Sadly, Tabitha passed away shortly before the course opened. As Bobbie has noted "She never got to play, but we know she has the greatest golf course on the planet." While the course was designed for anyone who enjoys playing miniature golf, it was also  developed to accommodate individuals with special needs. Being "handicap accessible" anyone in a wheelchair can also play.

For those visitors with young children, the restrooms have baby changing stations for the dads as well as the moms.

The owners note that prices are being  kept low for everyone, indicating that "It is our desire that every family will be able to afford to bring their children to Rolling Hills and have a grand time.

Plans are to offer special rates during special events throughout the year and also to conduct fund raising tournaments for various organizations. 

The course itself features a beautiful waterfall situated in the back center and cascading down over rocks, ultimately ending in a fountain pond.  There are bridges crossing the water, and a few surprise water challenges on some of the holes! Folks are welcomed and encouraged to use any area as a photo opportunity with their loved ones.

Paul Tinkle and Photographers

Drinks and snacks are available for purchase, with benches and picnic tables being provided. At some point, the owners plan to offer t-shirts and other items available as prizes for “hole in one” shots on certain difficult holes, and of course for purchase.

The owners indicate, that as with any business there are rules that must be followed for the safety and enjoyment of all guest.   The park rules and regulations are posted at the entrance.  For example, Alcohol will not be permitted on the premises and foul language will not be tolerated.  There is a designated tobacco use area, this includes all forms of legal tobacco products. 

(Photo Credit: Weakley County Press)

This project is the first of three projects planned by the owners.  If all goes well with this venture, they hope to build a water park, later tag center, or go-cart track near the existing golf course.

For any questions, comments or concerns, contact Rolling Hills at : 731-358-2648.

2019 Miss Gleason – (L to R) Fourth Maid – Lillie Ruesken, daughter of Candy Ruesken, Second Maid – Chasney Brawner, daughter of Chad and Sherri Brawner, Queen – Whitney Clark, daughter of Tim and Suzanne Clark, First Maid – Kenady Atkins, daughter of Beau and Cara Atkins, and Third Maid – Grace Stafford, daughter of Mark and Cris Stafford. (Picture by Joel Washburn; McKenzie Banner).


Fire Victims Grateful to Community


In his remarks to the Weakley County School Board Feb. 7, Gleason School Principal Lee Lawrence took a few moments to update the board and community members present on the status of longtime school board member and Gleason teacher Lindell and Carolyn Roney after a fire took their home on Feb. 3. Carolyn taught at Gleason for 22 years, and Lindell was a Gleason representative of the Weakley County School Board for 29 years. They are also the parents of Amy Lawrence, the Gleason School librarian, and wife of Lee.


A fire ignited in the back of their residence on East Grove Road outside of Gleason that evening. Approximately 15 firefighters from three fire departments worked to extinguish the blaze. The Gleason, McKenzie and Pillowville fire departments responded to the structure fire. They were on the scene around 6 and a half hours.


Lee said that community support has been “tremendous” and called the response “a credit to the community.” In a reply to The Press, Amy explained the family has experienced an informal, “unbelievable” overflow of community support and love.


“Gleason, and the whole county, really come together when someone goes through a tragedy,” Amy said. She noted that the Methodist Church held a community shower, replacing many household items. Andy Wilson opened a home he had for sale on a rent-free basis. They were offered four other houses as well. They have received more than $5,000-plus in gift cards.


“Although the fire was devastating, the community outreach has just been phenomenal. It’s just absolutely humbling and overwhelming. It restores your faith in humanity, that’s for sure,” concluded Amy. “They are just so grateful to be alive and to be from Gleason and Weakley County.”


Lee told the board members that the couple plans on rebuilding in the same location. (Source: Weakley Country Press).



Gleason Home Destroyed by Fire

Jim Johnson


Please keep Carolyn and Lindell Roney in your prayers. As you may know their house burned the night of February 3rd.

Thankfully, everyone got out safely! While family members report that it was possible to save a few things,  the house is thought to be a total loss.

As is so often the case, in circumstances like these, there has been an outpouring of support from the Gleason community during this very difficult time. As one family member noted in a recent Facebook post, "overwhelming" is the best word to describe the last 24 hours or so.

They went on to say that "there are too many individuals to thank, too many  to name everyone without leaving someone out. To any and all who offered help and who have been so kind to our family during this difficult time, all I know to say is thank you! God is going to see our family through the current circumstances, and that is in large part because of the kind-hearted people in and around Gleason. It is also why we will always call this community home. Material possessions can be replaced. Human lives cannot be valued enough. Thanks again and please keep praying for us. "

This kind of support represents still another example of how the  good people of Gleason always seem to come together when friends and neighbors are in need. This kind of caring for others makes Gleason the type of town that people want to raise their children in and the kind of town that, even if they should move away for whatever reason, they often choose to return!

Gleason Native Wins STAR Award

Katie Snider, of Gleason, received the STAR Award in Nashville. American Health Companies CEO Michael Bailey presented Katie the highly valued award.

She was recognized for demonstrating respect, integrity, teamwork, excellence, compassion, and professionalism, all traits honored by the organization. Katie is the assistant director of nursing at Unity Psychiatric Care in Martin and is the daughter of Mike and Sabrina Snider of Gleason. (Picture features Katie and American Health Companies CEO Michael Bailey)(Source: McKenzie Banner).

Gleason’s New Police Chief Addresses City Board

Welcomes newly hired Police Officer Jacob Howington

by David Fisher

News Writer


Gleason Police Chief Paul Eddlemon, who was appointed to the position in December, gave his first official report during Thursday night’s Gleason City Board meeting.


Although Eddlemon is a Gleason native and well-liked in the community, he was hired amidst a storm of opposition from many local citizens, who were outraged that Assistant Police Chief David King was not promoted to the position, following the retirement of Chief Jeff Hazlewood. During the December board meeting, there was a standing-room-only crowd of Gleason citizens in attendance, who voiced their support for promoting long-time Assistant Police Chief David King to the chief’s position.


They argued that, it wasn’t that they didn’t like Eddlemon, but in all fairness, King should have been hired for the chief’s job. They noted King, who had 25 years of law enforcement experience, had served as assistant chief for eight of the 13 years he was a member of the Gleason Police Department.


Although Officer King had the support of aldermen Jim Phelps and Doug Johnson, they were out-voted 3-2, by Mayor Diane Poole, and aldermen Jerry “Bubba” Dunn and Keith Radford, who voted in favor of hiring Eddlemon.


The result was that Officer King resigned and accepted a job with Dresden Police Department. All of Gleason’s other full-time officers also quit in protest over the board’s decision. Two of these fulltime officers were hired by Greenfield Police Department.


Since this occurred, Gleason Police Department has been staffed by part-time officers Bryan Chandler and Tyler Verner, who work full-time for the Dresden Police Department. Additionally, police officers Steven Scott of Paris, Sherman Perry of Sharon, and Kyle Beauchamp of Sharon, have agreed to work part-time at Gleason Police Department. Eddlemon’s first day on the job as Gleason police chief was January 2.


When asked how he feels about the situation, Eddlemon said, “There was a position open and I applied for it.” He served as a police officer in McKenzie for two years prior to being hired as Gleason’s new police chief.


The mood during Thursday night’s meeting was much calmer than it was a month ago. Chief Eddlemon introduced newly hired Officer Jacob Howington, who recently moved back to Gleason. “He’ll be an asset to the police department,” Chief Eddlemon said. “He was certified four years ago. And, he has a history of being hard on narcotics trafficking.”


Alderman Phelps asked if there have been any additional applications submitted for the vacant full-time officer positions.


Chief Eddlemon stated he has received several applications from non-certified officers, but none from officers who have already received certification at the police academy. The advantage of hiring a certified officer is that the City of Gleason would not have to cover the cost of their tuition to attend the police academy, or pay their salaries while they are receiving their training.


Another major topic discussed regarding Gleason Police Department was the need for a computer database system. “TITAN is the State software that we do our crash reports on through the State,” Eddlemon said. “The software we have now is Omniform; and basically all we can do is complete a report and print it out.”


He explained it’s not possible to create a searchable database with the current software program being used by the Gleason Police Department.


For this reason, printed reports must be stored in file cabinets. “We have numerous filing cabinets at the Police Department, and eventually, we’re going to be full of filing cabinets with no room to move around,” Eddlemon said.


The software that the chief wishes to purchase is Courtware software, which would allow the user to create an electronic records system. It would also allow officers to search the police department’s database for information. All officers have to do is type in a name, date or other data, and the computer will generate a report listing every report containing that information.


Chief Eddlemon stated the city recorder is already using the Courtware system, and the company has agreed to create the Records Management System (RMS) database and everything needed to operate the system. He explained the cost of purchasing the new software will not be passed on to taxpayers; instead, it will be paid for by offenders. He said, in order to pay for the new computer system, citations will be increased from $15 to $22, which amounts to a $7 hike per citation in the cost to offenders.


The new police chief also suggested purchasing a new computer. He noted the current computer is old and uses a different operating system. He stated he’d hate to put a new RMS on an old computer, because, if it breaks down, everything would have to be loaded back into the system.


A motion by Alderman Phelps to purchase the Courtware system passed unanimously. A new computer on which the Courtware software will be operating has not yet been picked out, so the cost is not known at this time.


Chief Eddlemon stated he has completed the paperwork to participate in a program that provides free surplus military equipment to municipalities for use by law enforcement agencies, fire departments, public works departments and other public services.


“We can go pick that stuff up and use it wherever we need it,” Eddlemon said. “At the end of a period of time (usually one year or a little more), it can be sold to the public, and the money can be used to fund the police department. The government says this is how they’re going to help municipalities.”


In the monthly police department report, Chief Eddlemon stated, during December, there were two thefts, one burglary, one case of vandalism, four speeding citations, and 55 calls for service. The fines collected amounted to $107.10.


Mayor Poole said, “Since yesterday was appreciation for officers, I do think we need recognize our officers and members of the Sheriff’s Department.” She expressed her gratitude to all of the officers who have worked extra hours to help staff Gleason Police Department, due to a shortage of officers. She expressed her appreciation to members of the fire department, and military personnel, and others in uniform.


An item on the agenda that calls for requiring all local citizens to have address numbers on their houses and businesses was tabled, due to Public Works Director Dale Stephens not being present to explain the necessity for it, the cost, and what is involved. It was suggested, if it’s not within the authority of the City of Gleason to require the numbers be installed, it might be feasible to paint the numbers on the curbs of the streets in front of buildings. It was mentioned that the Gleason Fire Department and the Rescue Squad sold house signs approximately 20 years ago as a fundraiser, and since it was very successful, it might be possible to do it again.


Another topic for discussion was a proposal to install blinking lights at the intersection of Hwy 22 and Hwy 190, which currently has four-way stop signs. “It’s been over a year since we talked about that intersection and doing something about it,” Phelps said. “We really don’t want to put a traffic light out there.


We inquired about putting rumble strips out there. TDOT came out there and did a study using traffic cameras, but that was about it. I don’t know how long it takes for them to get around to getting something done.”


He stated installing flashing lights like those at the four-way stop in Trezevant that have eight blinking lights on the stop signs, would be ideal. These lights are solar powered, so they require no electrical hookups.

City Recorder Angela Hunt agreed to consult with Public Works Director Dale Stephens on Friday regarding the blinking stop signs, due to him having contact information for State TDOT officials.


In other business, Alderman Phelps asked about the status of obtaining contact information for asphalt companies in preparation for paving some of the streets. Mayor Poole asked board members if they knew any asphalt contractors, but there was little information available. She stated the paving issue would be on next month’s agenda.


In department reports, Assistant Fire Chief Mark Stafford said, “During December, we had one call. It was ice on trees and power lines that caused arcing.” When asked about the status of the new building addition to the Gleason Fire Station, he stated that it is almost completed. He said the only thing it needs, is to have the electrical wiring installed, and that should be accomplished in about a week. Stafford added that gravel has been spread in front of the new fire department building. The new structure will house firefighting equipment that is currently being stored outside in the weather, due to lack of adequate space in the existing firehouse.


In the Parks and Recreation report, Mayor Poole stated the City of Gleason is advertising for a new parks and recreation director. She said the park director’s duties include sowing grass seeds, mowing the ball fields, and making sure they’re ready for each game. The park director is also required to schedule games (in consultation with other park directors in the area). Mayor Poole stated the job pays $6,000 for six months of the year, which begins in January and ends either in June or July, depending on whether or not they host tournaments.


In the Library report, Alderman Phelps read from a note from Judy Paschall, who serves as Library Director at Gleason Memorial Library, that reads, “The computer classes were well attended. There were 60 patrons that received 12 hours of instruction.” She states the classes were taught by J.R. Watson. During Gleason’s Hometown Christmas event, people stopped by the library, which displayed 60 ornaments that were decorated by local youngsters.


Mrs. Paschall, along with Lynn Shores and Patsy Ezell, served cookies and handed out 80 goodie bags containing bookmarks, pencils, cups, harmonicas, hand-clappers, and armbands that read, “I Love My Library.”


Additionally, Paschall says plans are being made for the Summer Reading Program. She said, “We’ll be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the landing on the moon,” and asked for community assistance in developing a program in celebration of the historic event. With no further business, the meeting adjourned.


Hometown Christmas Captures True Meaning of the Season

David Fisher - News Writer

Dresden Enterprise


The citizens of Gleason refused to allow cold and blustery weather to hamper their Christmas spirit during this year’s Gleason Hometown Christmas celebration. Gleason’s First United Methodist Church captured the true meaning of Christmas with a live nativity scene.


There was live music, and holiday songs were performed by local youngsters. The singers included Wes Wainscott, Anna Eaton and Paisley McClure. Activities included fire truck rides, a cookie-eating contest, an ugly sweater contest, an old fashioned wagon ride provided by Mr. Charles Anderson, a cake auction, and drawings for prizes. Additionally, Mr. Ron Byington decorated a school bus and offered rides to young and old alike.


The Elf’s Workshop, inside Gleason Fire Station, offered hot chocolate and cookies, as well as crafts for the children enjoy.


There were also a lot of vendors set up, including Meo Mio’s, which provided food for hungry visitors. Local artisans displayed their wares at arts and craft booths.


Several of the shops in downtown Gleason remained open for the Hometown Christmas celebration, and door prizes were given away. A bird’s nest was hidden in one of the stores and the person who found it received a gift.


Children decorated a total of 60 ornaments at Gleason City Library to be displayed. And last, but definitely not least, was the appearance of Santa Claus, which gave children the opportunity to place their orders for Christmas.


Gleason Hometown Christmas gave the community a variety of activities that provided local citizens with an evening of good, clean, family fun (Story Source: Dresden Enterprise).




Gleason Native, Marty Poole's  New Movie, Bernie the Dolphin to Open Friday, December 7th at the Cine in Martin

Jim Johnson


If you have been wondering why there is a new addition to "Flowers by Jan" out on the Pillowville-Gleason road, the expansion of this business is all about Christmas and "Flowers by Jan-Christmas 365". So if you are someone who loves the spirit of Christmas, you can now experience the joy of that special day and a bit of Christmas cheer the year around.

On Thursday, November 8, 2018, "Flowers by Jan" celebrated the the Ribbon Cutting ceremony for the recent expansion of what Jan now has to offer the Gleason community.

Those who came by for the ribbon cutting ceremony had a chance to get a good look at an amazing variety of artistically decorated Christmas trees and an exceptionally wide ranging selection of Christmas related items,  along with many other items for home decoration.

An especially interesting historical tidbit, regarding the new "Flowers by Jan Christmas 365" room has to do with the fact that the interior walls of this large room are all made of wood. That in and of itself would not be surprising, except for the fact that all of the wood used in the new addition is old wood that has been reclaimed from old buildings (houses, barns, churches, and other structures) associated  with the Gleason community and the surrounding area.

In looking at various sections of the wall, one can see what person, what group, or what business owned the structure, from which each section of the wall was obtained.

Many Gleason old-timers will likely recall many of the names of to be found on the wall of this very special "Christmas 365" room

As part of this ribbon cutting ceremony, Jan and her husband were presented with a plaque from the Weakley County Chamber of Commerce by Charles Anderson who is currently President of this  organization as well as the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program and Barbara Virgin who is also Executive Director of the Weakley County Chamber of Commerce.

Many of those in attendance at this ribbon cutting ceremony seemed quite excited about the wide range of Christmas Trees that "Christmas 365" has available and level of creativity displayed in the decoration of these trees.

Along with beginning to get in touch with the Christmas spirit a bit early and having some great refreshments, most everyone seemed to enjoy this early touch of Christmas.

With Christmas approaching, it's worth checking out this great store in Gleason. It's filled with beautiful Christmas themed trees, Christmas decorations, wreaths for the door, Christmas tree skirts and all types of great stuff for home decoration!

If you don't have the time to decorate your home or business, Flowers by Jan "Christmas 365"will come and do it for you!


2018: Gleason's Fourth Annual Minerals Day 

Jim Johnson

We were very fortunate to have Congressman David Kustoff, who is a member of the United States House of Representatives for Tennessee's 8th congressional district that covers West Tennessee along with Andy Holt who serves in the Tennessee General Assembly, representing District 76, covering Weakley County and parts of Obion and Carroll Counties join us for the annual Minerals Day event that was held on October 5th at Mike Snider Park in Gleason.

This annual Minerals Day event is a jointly sponsored by the Gleason Clay companies that include Gleason Clay Company, Old Hickory Clay Company, Lhoist/Spinks Clay Company, and Imerys/K-T Clay Company) along with other sponsors from the local community in conjunction with the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee. The President of the Downtown Revitalization Committee is Mr. Charles Anderson who also currently serves as President of the Weakley County Chamber of Commerce.


 It is fitting that this event was again held in Gleason as the City of Gleason has been a major producer of clay since it was first discovered in 1926 on the W.R. Crawford farm two miles west of Gleason. Famous for its generous deposits of Ball Clay, Gleason is generally viewed as the Ball Clay Capital of the Nation.


This year’s Minerals Day event was again held at the Mike Snider Park,  a great venue for this event, providing for ample parking, plenty of room for multiple vendors to set up their booths, and a large tent that allowed space for eating in the shade. Adding to the ambiance of the setting, the weather, while a bit warm, was comfortable with blue skies and sunshine throughout the day.


Those in attendance were provided a ticket for free cold drinks and food as well as an entry ticket for numerous drawings throughout the day for valuable and highly sought after door prizes.  


Along with the great setting, good weather, door prizes, free food and other giveaways, the major focus of Minerals Day 2018 was on its educational component, designed to help school age children develop an increased awareness of the role that the clay industry has played in enhancing the Gleason community over the years and help them understand the importance of clay and associated minerals to the City of Gleason as well as in other cities, towns, and states throughout the country.


Given the large numbers of students who were bussed in from Weakley and Henry County schools along with a large  number of others who were in attendance, this Fourth Minerals day must be viewed as having been a success.


The City of Gleason has reason to be very proud of the contribution that the clay industry has made to the local community over the years and of those clay companies that are based in Gleason and who have made this Minerals Day possible.

 Apart from the above information, it is important to note how much we appreciate the fact that both Congressman Kustoff and Representative Holt saw fit to take time out of their busy schedules to come to this special event here in the City of Gleason.

It was also good to hear, first hand, from Congressman Kustoff how interested he is in staying in close contact with the people of West Tennessee, the types of legislation he has been involved with, within the U.S. House of Representatives, and other initiatives that should benefit our state in the future.

Again, our thanks to both of you for coming to visit with us. Your visit was much appreciated by all!



An End of an Era:

Gleason Wishes Johnny Lowery a Great Retirement

 By Pam Belew

 Another chapter closed on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018 in the history book of "Tater Town".

 With temperatures in the 90 plus degrees approximately 75 well-wishers stopped by J & P Car Care in Gleason to wish Johnny a relaxing retirement.

Most had a story to tell and all had a hug or handshake to give him with thanks for his service the past 50 years. 

Little did Johnny know when he started washing cars part-time at the age of 16 on the corner of downtown Gleason that he would stay for the next 50 years.


Johnny went above and beyond a full service gas station.  His place was the center of information concerning, not only local new, but just news in general. 

He took very little time off beginning at 6 am and locking the door at 6 pm unless you called him and ask him to wait until you could get there. 

All things change but the "little old ladies" of the town that did not want to get out of their warm/cool car and pump their own gas showed up in full-force on Sat. to whine about their next fill up.  

It will take some time to stop at the 4-way light and not wave to Johnny and Micah.  

The crowd wished Johnny the best and he turned out the lights to end an era that is sad to let go.  Now Johnny can become one of the loafers and stay in the cool and warm like the rest of us. 

Johnny, thank you for all you were to all of us!


In the picture on the Right

Paul Grooms and Iva Grooms (Johnny's sister and brother-in-law) standing

Johnny Lowery (Center)

Robbie Lowery (sister) on left and Johnny's wife Carolyn (sitting)

Photos by Jim Johnson

Swing by Huggins Park on your way home today and check out our new entry sign!

Brought to you by many volunteer man-hours and locally donated materials.

Gleason Downtown Revitalization


Tater Town Special Ends With Spectacular Parade

The Dresden Enterprise


The 45th Annual Tater Town Special ended Saturday, September 1, after an amazing parade was held in downtown Gleason. The Tater Town Parade included many emergency vehicles from Gleason and other towns around the area. Scores of children and teens were in the parade, from church floats to students from Gleason Junior and High School supporting their graduating classes.

A large crowd came out to witness the event. One of the highlights of the parade was the marching band and color guard from McKenzie High School. The marching band provided wonderful music that adults and children loved, and the color guard amazed the crowd with their bright-pink flags that mesmerized everyone that watched.

The weather was very hot, but that did not stop local citizens from coming out to watch their hometown parade. Participants on one of the floats distributed cold water to those that needed it.

The parade ended with horses and horse and buggy entries. Some of the horses were decorated for the occasion with flowers and paint.

After the parade, the crowd moved to the Gazelle Grounds, where the festivities continued. Live music was provided by the band Avonlea, which preformed a free concert for all to enjoy. Many Weakley County businesses operated vendor booths to display their products offering food and drinks for the large number of people that came out to enjoy the festivities.

The events of the 45th Annual Tater Town Special kicked off with the Tater Town Block Party held in downtown Gleason with a DJ, Cornhole games, live music, vendors and food for all.

On Wednesday, August 29, local youngsters enjoyed playing Children’s Bingo on the Gazelle Grounds, winning small prizes, provided by area churches. Before the bingo started a short devotional was shared lead by Chris Snider.

The Adult Bingo game was held on Thursday, August 30. Anyone 18 years old or older could play Adult Bingo. During an intermission, a cake auction allowed top bidders to enjoy baked goods cooked by local residents.

The Gleason Gazelles invited local citizens to come out and enjoy an all-you-can-eat BBQ and participate in the Sweet Potato Bake Off on Friday, August 31. The event also featured music, games for the kids, and other activities. The BBQ was cooked by various businesses and families in the Gleason community and anyone that paid the small seven-dollar fee to get into the Gazelles grounds could eat as much BBQ as they could hold.

The band Flashback, out of McKenzie, preformed during the BBQ party. Children enjoyed playing corn hole, which became very popular as the afternoon went by. When the night came to an end, the crowd enjoyed a spectacular firework show and grand finale.

On Saturday morning, participants took part in the JC Carey Memorial 5K Run. The Tater Town Special ended Saturday, September 1, with the Jr. Parade then Grand Parade and festivities. The parade was held in downtown Gleason and featured the McKenzie High School band. A community church service was held on Sunday morning. Source: Dresden Enterprise).


(Photos by Jim Johnson,

Gleason High School - Class of 1968 - 50th Class Reunion Held Labor Day Weekend

Sitting from left to Right

 Martha Presson Spain, Janice Floyd Steele, Diane Moore Hale, Gloria Gibbs Nolan, &Marilyn Hicks Wynne

Standing from left to Right

Edgar Floyd, Jerry Sawyers, Mike Hagler, Pam Poyner McElhiney, Dale Stephens, Lynn Edminston, Sue Summers Hinson, Danny Danner, and Glen Arnold - Photo by Gary Owens


Gleason's Long Awaited CSX Caboose Has Arrived

Jim Johnson

With Mayor Diane Pool  there to welcome its arrival, the CSX Caboose that we have been hoping to get for some time completed its trip from New York and arrived in Gleason at approximately 9:15 AM today (08/20/2018), thanks to the efforts of Charles Anderson and the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee.


The caboose was donated as an in-kind gift to the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee and was  made possible due to to the generosity of CSX railroad and the assistance of  Mr. Robert Rahauer, also of CSX.


Plans are to fully renovate the caboose,  paint it, make it handicapped accessible and have it serve as a local Museum that highlights the role that the Railroad has played in the history of Gleason as well as the major contributions the Sweet Potato and Clay Mining industries have made to the City of Gleason over the years.



 2018 Minerals Day is set for Friday October 5th


On Friday, October 5th the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee (GDRC), along with the full complement of Gleason Clay companies (Gleason Clay Company, Old Hickory Clay Company, Lhoist/Spinks Clay Company, and Imerys/K-T Clay Company) will host the Fourth Annual Minerals Day at Mike Snider Park.

Click on the Above Picture to read about last year’s Minerals Day Celebration

Rolling Hills Miniature Golf to Open in Spring 2019

Rolling Hills Miniature Golf, owned and operated by Audie and Bobbie Ruble, will be having our grand opening in spring of 2019.  It will be located in Gleason just off of Highway 22 North in close proximity to the Old Lampkins Log Cabin. It will feature an 18 hole course offering all the fun twist and turns one expects, plus a few challenging holes.  Our course is designed with 9 holes to accommodate our handicap friends and families and we have specially designed clubs to make their experience awesome.

Since we are an 18 hole course, our challenged & disabled guest will get the opportunity to play the 9 holes twice!  In addition, our restrooms will both have baby changing stations for the dads as well as the moms.  It is our desire that every family will be able to afford to bring their children and have a grand time, therefore, our prices will be kept low for everyone.  We will be offering special rates during special events throughout the year and conducting fund raising tournaments for various organizations. 

Our course is designed with a beautiful waterfall situated in the back center and cascading down over rocks, ultimately ending in a fountain pond.  There are bridges crossing the water, and a few surprise water challenges on some of the golf holes!!! Folks are welcomed and encouraged to use any area as a photo opportunity with their loved ones. The course will have beautiful landscaping keeping in theme with our rolling hills.

We will have benches and picnic tables available, drinks and snacks available for purchase. At some point, we will offer t-shirts and other items available as prizes for “hole in one” shots on certain difficult holes, and of course for purchase.

As with any business there are rules that must be followed for the safety and enjoyment of all guest.  Rolling Hills is no different.  The park rules and regulations will be posted at the entrance.  Alcohol will not be allowed on the premises, anywhere.  Foul language will not be tolerated.  There will be a designated tobacco use area, this includes all forms of legal tobacco products. 

We are a proud American Owned and Operated company and we can’t wait to get Rolling Hills opened and running.  We are thankful beyond words for Gleason not only allowing us to be a part of the community, but also, supporting our business.  Mayor Diane Poole and her staff, Dale Stephens & Tony Terrell, have been an integral part of keeping us on track and have been so very helpful giving guidance. We have and are doing our very best to keep all of our contractors & suppliers local, so if you see any of these folks that are listed below around town, give em’ a pat on the back because making this happen would not be possible without their service and dedication, so to them, we say, Thank You.

Pastor Antony Hendren & Jen, Mayor Diane Poole & City Staff, Gleason Water Department, K&W Brush Cutting: Michael Wade, K&R Trucking: Harrison Radford, Cavi Torre for creating our beautiful design, James Trevathan: Electrician, TDOT, Weakely County Municipal Electrical System, Attorney Beau Pemberton, Mr. Thomas Chandler, Delta Imaging, Eagle Buildings for designing & building our restrooms to exceed ADA specifications, This list is not all inclusive as we have not yet finished construction with this project.

This project is the first of three we have planned.  You can expect to see construction in 2020 for a water park complete with slides and all the other fun things a water park has to offer. Once opened, construction will then begin for the bumper boats park!!

Without God, none of this would have been possible and to Him, we give our praise and glorify His name.

Can’t wait to see you all there.  This is your park, we just want to be allowed to share in your laughter and enjoyment. For any questions, comments or concerns, you may contact us at: 731-358-2648.

Delois Shaw Honored as Paul Harris Fellow


GLEASON (June 4) — During its regular weekly meeting, the Gleason Rotary Club honored Delois Shaw as a Paul Harris Fellow. A Paul Harris Fellow is Rotary International’s way of recognizing an individual and expressing its appreciation for a substantial contribution to its humanitarian and educational programs. The fellowship is named for the founder, Paul Harris, a Chicago lawyer who started Rotary International with three business associates in 1905.


In 1989, Shaw became the first female to join the Gleason Rotary Club and later club president. Since joining Rotary, she has left her stamp on the club as a model Rotarian. Rotarians often designate a Paul Harris Fellow as a tribute to a person whose life demonstrates a shared purpose with the objectives of Rotary. She was designated to receive the recognition as a special expression of appreciation from the Gleason Rotary Club


Club President Jason Martin, who conducted the presentation said, “It gave me great pleasure to present Delois as a Paul Harris Fellow. She is a staple of the club and is a wonderful sounding board when I have had questions as president.”


The Paul Harris Fellow recognition acknowledges individuals who contribute, or who have contributions made in their name, of $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.


“I was asked by a few Rotarians who were Paul Harris Fellows in the club about Delois joining our ranks as a fellow. As a group, we decided no one deserved it more. So we made the necessary contribution in her name,” added Martin.


The Paul Harris Fellow was established in 1957 to show appreciation for and encourage substantial contributions to what was then the Foundation’s only program, Rotary Foundation Fellowships for Advanced Study, the precursor to Ambassadorial Scholarship. Source: McKenzie Banner.


Monday night the Gleason Rotary Club honored Delois Shaw as a Paul Harris Fellow. Club President and Assistant District Governor Designate Jason Martin presented Shaw with a pin, medallion and certificate marking the achievement.


Charles Anderson Selected as President

Weakley County Chamber of Commerce



Local Author Donates Books to Gleason




GLEASON (March 6) — Woody “Pat” Dewberry, author of four books and a 1963 graduate of Gleason High School, recently donated eight copies of his four books to the local municipal library. Dewberry also generously donated 50 copies of his recent book “Tater Town: Back Home to Count the Memories,” to the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee (GDRC).


Dewberry’s southern folkish style reminisces about his youth in Gleason, and tells the story of his upbringing with the characters of Gleason sprinkled in for flavor. Topics of interest in the books include his years under Mrs. Opel Dillinger’s tutelage and playing football at Gleason High  School.


After 30 years of marriage, Dewberry was persuaded by his wife to record his stories. His first book "Teacher's Pets Oughta be on a Leash Too," was published in 1996, followed by "Life is too short to Wear Cheap Underwear" (2008), and, uh, as I was saying: More Memories of Yesteryear in Gleason “Tater Town Tennessee” (2013) and “Tater Town: Back Home to Count the Memories”, published in 2017.


Now retired and residing near the Tennessee River in East Tennessee, Dewberry was contacted by Jim Johnson about donating copies of his books to the library. With a quick response of yes, Dewberry sent an additional 50 copies to the GDRC to help raise funds to aide in the group’s efforts to keep Gleason beautiful. Copies of “Tater Town: Back Home to Count the Memories” can be purchase for $15 at Gleason City Hall, Gleason Library and the Bank of Gleason. Source: McKenzie Banner.


The Gleason Library received four copies of Woody Dewberry’s books. Members of the Revitalization Committee were present to accept 50 copies of his latest work to go toward fundraising efforts. From (L to R) – Gary Doster, Charles Anderson, Jim Johnson, Librarian Judy Paschal, Mayor Diana Poole and Doris Owen.

Enjoy Some Down Home Gleason Humor


Gleason's Best Known Storyteller

And Help The Gleason Community

Jim Johnson

On Tuesday, March 6, 2018 copies of the four outstanding books authored by Gleason’s own Pat Dewberry, were presented to the Gleason Library at a meeting of the Gleason Library Board. These fine books will be made available in the Library so that all of Gleason can enjoy reading about what life was like back-in-the-day !

Pat Dewberry has been described by one reviewer as “the quintessential storyteller in the best Southern tradition”. These books contain numerous humorous short stories about life in rural Gleason, Weakley County, Tennessee during the early 1950 though the mid 1960’s.

The writing and publication of these books has spanned a period of more than two decades. The First of these books “Teacher’s Pets Ougta be on a Leash Too”, was published in 1996, followed by “Life is too short to wear Cheap Underwear” (2008), and, uh, as I was saying: More Memories of Yesteryear in Gleason “Tater Town Tennessee” (2013) and “Tater Town: Back Home to Count the Memories”, published in 2017.

It should be noted that Pat’s generosity does not end with his gift of copies of these four wonderful books to the Gleason Library and Community !

As one who grew up in Gleason, who comes back to visit Gleason every chance he gets and who has always cherished the hometown of his youth, Pat has chosen to donate 50 copies of his most recent book “Tater Town” Back Home to Count the Memories, which was published just this past year, to the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee to be used for a fundraising project to support projects designed to enhance the Gleason Community.

This fundraising effort, which will involve members of the Downtown Revitalization Committee and the Gleason Gazelles, will be spearheaded by Charles and Rose Anderson, with Charles and Rose having already bought the first two books.

Copies of this book are currently available at several locations in the Gleason community and can be purchased at a price of  $15 per book.  Books can presently be purchased at Gleason City Hall, the Gleason Library and Bank of Gleason.

Gleason approves park use policy for Snider, Huggins Parks

David Fisher

News Writer

During Thursday night’s Gleason City Board meeting, members approved a Park Use Policy for both Snider Park, located at 506 North Cedar Street, and Huggins Park, at 150 Dutchess Lane.

The policy details the daily rental fees charged to commercial groups, private organizations, or individuals, for renting the concession stand, pavilion or ballfields.

According to the park policy, which was developed by members of the Gleason Park Board, a $100 fee is charged for concession stand rental. In addition, a refundable $400 deposit is required in order to rent the concession stand. Damage to concession equipment may result in forfeiture of the deposit and additional fees at the discretion of the park director. A rental fee of $100 per day is charged for all other sections of the park. This includes each ballfield or the pavilion. However, no deposit is required to rent these facilities.

Activities sponsored or co-sponsored by the City of Gleason are exempt from fees. Requests for fee exemptions will be determined by the mayor or designee. The use of restrooms is included free with rental of any of the above-mentioned park facilities. However, in the winter off-season, the restrooms remain locked to prevent vandalism, and portable toilets are provided for outdoor activities at the parks.

Deposits and rental fee payments must be submitted with the application. Refunds are given for weather-related cancellations only.

The park policy was approved by unanimous vote, with all board members present. The board agreed to install security cameras at the concession stand and other areas of the park, as funds allow. This is intended to not only curb vandalism at the concession stand and restroom area, but also help alleviate the problem of rocks being tossed from the flower beds at the Memorial Wall being onto the park lawn.

 “There’s enough happening, I think we need cameras out there,” Alderman Phelps said. “The cameras will pay for themselves, with all of this vandalism.” He also suggested closing the park at sundown and when police catch someone in the park after hours, “Run them off a few times, and if that don’t work, start writing them tickets.”

The board also discussed safety issues at the Hwy 22 and Hwy 190 intersection and helicopter landing pad. (See “Highway safety issues dominate discussion at Gleason City Board meeting. Source: Dresden Enterprise

Rolling Thunder Tennessee VI Honored for Service

Members of Rolling Thunder Tennessee VI were recently honored by the Humboldt National Guard unit for having escorted 35 members of the Guard to the airport in Memphis. The Tennessee Army National Guard soldiers were en-route for deployment to Afghanistan. The Rolling Thunder members were presented with a certificate of appreciation for the outstanding support they provided to the HHC, 30th CSSB, during the 2017 mobilization. It reads, in part, ‘Your dedication to soldiers and your support have been instrumental to the overall success of the 30th CSSB’s mission.’ Pictured are (l-r): Gary Herren, Elton Wilkerson, Jim Phelps, Johnny Sams, George Crawford, Tommy Criswell, and Howard Christensen. (Source: Dresden Enterprise)

Gleason Dollar General Relocates to New Store

Dollar General in Gleason is hosting a grand opening at its newly-relocated store at 3730 Hwy 22 on Saturday, February 3 beginning at 8 a.m.

Customers will enjoy special deals and free prizes at the grand opening event. Additionally, the first 50 adult shoppers will receive a $10 Dollar General gift card and the first 200 shoppers will receive a Dollar General tote bag with complimentary product samples, among other giveaways.

“Dollar General is committed to delivering a pleasant shopping experience that includes a convenient location, a wide assortment of merchandise and great prices on quality products,” said Dan Nieser, Dollar General’s senior vice president of real estate and store development. “We hope our Gleason customers will continue to enjoy shopping at Dollar General’s new location.”

 Dollar General’s new location features a fresh layout, designed to make shop- ping easier and simpler for customers. Some of the store’s new features include seasonal products featured in the center of the store, easily recognizable departments with visible signage and coolers that are more conveniently located at the front of the store.



Gleason Celebrates Hometown Christmas 2017


Click on Picture for Story


Seventh Annual Sadie Saves Charity - 5K Walk/Run

Jim Johnson

The Seventh Annual Sadie Saves Charity 5K Run was held in Gleason on Saturday, September 30th, with pre-race activities being held at the Gleason Gazelle grounds. With the mid morning temperature being in the low 60's the weather was just right for running, with some 90 runners in multiple age groups participating in the 5K run, and many others spectators  turning out to support this great charitable event.

It is noteworthy that this year more than 60 individuals, businesses, organizations, and/or groups of various kinds each contributed $100 by serving as sponsors of this years  event.

Instead of having an auction after the race, as has been the case in years past, this year's fundraiser involved a "Sadie Saves Meat Sale". Here, people were able to order a range of great tasting meats in advance. These included a Rack of Ribs for $20, a Half Chicken for $6, a Whole Chicken for $10, or BBQ Bologna for $8 per pound. Advance orders could be picked up at the Gazelle Grounds between 1 and 3 after the 5K run and the awards ceremony were completed. Proceeds from the sale were divided equally between Sadie Saves and the Gleason Volunteer Fire Department.

A Prayer Before the Start


The Race is On!

First to the Finish Line !

Dawson Gremmels is first to the finish line as the Overall Male winner. The the Overall Female winner was Kenady Atkins.

This annual 5K run is held each year in memory of  Sadie Cook a graduate of Gleason High School who passed away on November 7, 2010. Her passing resulted from, what the medical examiner determined to be an asthma attack, thought to be brought on by an allergic reaction that struck suddenly and without warning.

Her sister, Savanna, determined to uphold her memory, created the Sadie Saves memorial and fund-raiser to celebrate Sadie's life. The ultimate goal of this charity is to help prevent a similar incident from happening to others.

The Sadie Saves charity raises money to purchase EpiPens and Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), along with providing training in the use of  these devices, for Weakley and surrounding counties.

The EpiPens are made available to anyone that needs them. To date, they have been distributed to each of the Weakley County Schools. Money raised from this charity has also been used to purchase Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for the fire departments in Gleason, Dresden, Greenfield Como/Ore Springs, Latham/Dukedom, McLemoresville, Sharon, and Palmersville among others.

This year this charity provided a total of 10 Automated External Defibrillators to be distributed among the various  fire departments in Carroll County, These AED's were gratefully received by Mr. Terry Bradshaw, Executive Director of the Carroll County Rural Volunteer Fire Department.



Gleason to Celebrate Minerals Day October 6


The City of Gleason is set to celebrate Minerals Day on Friday, October 6. This marks the third consecutive year the Gleason community has celebrated the event. With over 800 people attending last year’s festivities, this year promises an even greater turnout.

The Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee (GDRC) is taking the reins for this year’s extravaganza with the support and sponsorship of Old Hickory Clay, Gleason Clay Company and Imerys Ceramics / Kentucky-Tennessee Clay Company. Numerous local service industries are scheduled to help make the day fun and educational.

Minerals Day will be on the grounds of Mike Snider Park, 506 North Cedar Street, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Many pieces of equipment used in the excavation and processing of West Tennessee Ball Clay will be on hand including excavators, dozers, articulated trucks and the world famous “Gleason Shredder.” Mine tours will be available. Small capacity busses will transport the public to the mines.

The GDRC and local businesses are providing hotdogs, chips, snow cones, popcorn, cotton candy and cold drinks for refreshments. There will be mining presentations along with drawings, door prizes and giveaways throughout the day.

Gleason’s ball clay industry began in 1926 on the farm of W.R. Crawford. Some of the richest veins of clay in the area were discovered within the 20-acre plot. The Bell Clay Company started the arduous task of removing dirt and debris. The 25 man crew worked with pond scoops and horses each day to dig the mines. Holes were dug with hand augers and dynamite placed within to expose the Gleason Ball Clay.

Now, over 90 years later, multiple clay companies call Gleason home. The expansion of the usage of ball clay drives the ever growing industry. The sign on the edge of Gleason’s city limits reads “Welcome to Gleason: Ball Clay Mining Center of the Nation.” Weakley County’s deposit of the finest quality ball clay is used for china, porcelain, pottery and many other purposes.

The event is free to the general public with the hopes of educating those in the surrounding area about the ball clay industry. For more information or to RSVP, please contact the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee at P.O. Box 125, Gleason, TN 38229, email, or call Charles Anderson at 731- 695-5753. Source: McKenzie Banner.

First Clay Dug in Gleason in 1926 - Crawford Farm; Two Miles West of Gleason

Gleason Dedicates Memorial Wall at Mike Snider Park

 Jim Johnson

The long awaited Memorial Wall at Mike Snider Park was dedicated on Saturday, September 2nd as part of the 2017 Tater Town Special festivities. 

The wall, sponsored by the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program under the leadership of President, Charles Anderson received initial approval by the Gleason Board of Mayor and Alderman on April 14th, 2016.

As initially conceived, this wall was seen as a way of remembering the rich history of Gleason as it relates to the people who have lived here since its founding. It was seen as a way of allowing cherished family members, civic, business and educational leaders, along with other outstanding citizens of Gleason to receive the recognition they deserve for their contributions to the Gleason community over the years.

Representatives of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee and the Gleason Rotary Club participated in a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, May 27th, 2016.


The location of the wall is near the main walkway to the park, in the vicinity of the children's play area. The wall is some 80 feet in length, with landscaped brick flower boxes on each end and in the center of the wall. The center flower box features a 40-foot tall flagpole proudly flying a large 8' by 12' American flag.

Special sections above the flower boxes at each end of the wall each contain 108 Black Granite Memorial Stones (approximately 4 x 7 inches in size) that serve to remember family members and others who have made significant contributions to the Gleason community over the years or who have, in one way or the other, provided significant support for the wall. A smaller section in the middle of the wall is reserved for Memorial stones for those who have served in the military.

As President Charles Anderson has frequently noted here and on other occasions, the success of this project was, in large part, due to the support of both the Gleason business community and the support of Gleason citizens.

He has noted that the Boral Brick Company of Gleason provided some 8,000 bricks for the construction of the wall and that concrete for the foundation of the wall was provided by Gleason Clay Company.

In addition to this important support from Gleason businesses, the construction of this wall was also made possible due to the contributions of skilled Gleason residents who freely donated their time and talent to this major undertaking.

Notable in this regard was Gleason resident Darrell Bell who took the primary role in laying the brick for the wall from the beginning to the end of its construction; David Hopper also contributed to this effort during the early stages of this process. Darrell also did all of the brick work for the new Mike Snider Park sign that is located across from the Gleason Community Center, on the road leading to the park.

 Another who also donated his time and skills to the completion of the wall was Ross ChandlerMr. Chandler, owner of Gleason’s Performance Steele was responsible for helping put together the 40 foot flagpole and attaching the ropes and other internal equipment necessary to raise and lower the flag. He then used an auger to dig the 4-foot hole containing the large metal underground sleeve, designed to secure and stabilize the flagpole. Using heavy equipment he then raised the flagpole and positioned it so the area around the underground sleeve could be firmly set in place with concrete. Early on, a number of other Gleason residents were also involved in preparing to lay the foundation for the wall and for the concrete work that was later involved.

Also noteworthy is the large number of citizens of Gleason and various community groups that supported this endeavor by purchasing memorial stones to honor family members as well as other individuals who have made significant contributions to this Gleason community over the years and deserve being remembered.

The formal dedication of the wall began with some initial welcoming remarks, by President Anderson, and an opening prayer which was offered by Chief of Police, Jeff Hazelwood.

This opening was followed by the National Anthem, sung by Mr. Charles Ross with Keith Dunning also providing a beautiful rendition of God Bless the USA.

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Caitlin and Connor Cook and a tribute to the Military and those in Uniform, was presented by Mr. Steve Jones.

This was followed by additional remarks by President Anderson, where he dealt in somewhat more detail with the early beginnings of the wall and expressed his appreciation for those businesses and individuals whose contributions made this wall a reality.

Midway through the dedication the crowd was treated with two low pass flyovers of an AirEvac Helicopter.

The next presenter, Jim Johnson, drew attention to the Flagpole and American Flag located in the middle section of the wall and the inscription on the plaque in front of the flagpole which reads: “Dedicated to the City of Gleason, in Memory of James B. (JB) Johnson (1911 – 1957) and Sally A. Johnson (1924 – 2004) by Jim, Gary, and David Johnson.

He indicated that both parents loved the City of Gleason and were actively involved with the Gleason community, his mother having been a member of the Gleason chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, and a Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church, and his father having been an Assistant Cashier at the Bank of Gleason, a Member of First Baptist Church of Gleason, the Gleason Masonic Lodge, Commander of the Gleason American Legion Post and a Veteran of World War II.


Sadly, J.B. Johnson died at age 45, four months after having surgery for a malignant brain tumor. Not having insurance, due to a prior medical condition, no other income apart from his job, and being unable to work after the surgery, the family was in a very difficult situation financially.

Thankfully, the good people of Gleason were there for the family, in many ways, during that difficult time - as is so often the case, when people of Gleason are in need. In this instance, Mr. Bob Owen, Mr. M.E. Fanning, and Mr. Carl Parks (who at that time was President of the Bank of Gleason) got together and somehow were able to work things out so that the Bank was able to assist the family financially during the four months J.B. lived after the surgery.

After several months, when Sally decided that the family needed to move to Michigan where her family lived and there was no money for the move, Mr. Claude Steele came to the house one day and generously offered to use one of his Sweet Potato trucks to move the family to Michigan. He did what he said he would do -  refusing to take a cent for the move.

Jim indicated that these two examples, along with many other acts of kindness that were shown by others during this difficult time, not only represent how caring and supportive the people of Gleason were back in the middle to late 1950’s but how caring and supportive they still are today – when friends and neighbors are in need. This kind of caring for others, makes Gleason the type of town that people want to raise their children in and the kind of town that, even if they move away for whatever reason, they often choose to return!

The final event of the dedication ceremony was presented by Jim Phelps and 5 members of Rolling Thunder who nicely illustrated the “Missing Man” ceremony, in a way that would touch the heart of any patriotic American.

The Missing Man Ceremony is one which remembers and honors those soldiers who are missing-in-action and very poignantly conveys that the military will always honor their service, their sacrifice for our freedom, that soldiers left behind on the battle fields in foreign lands will never be forgotten, and that attempts to find them and bring them home are never-ending. 

The dedication of the wall was concluded with a heart-felt Benediction by Mr. Jacky Esch, a long-time honored resident of Gleason and one who has been a valued contributor to the work of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Initiative. 


Gleason Championship Squads Reunite




Sports Editor

The Dresden Enterprise


The clock was turned back inside the Gleason High School gym on Friday evening. Members of both the 1992 and 2007 Class A State Championship girls’ basketball teams reunited at their alma mater for a presentation and recognition of the squads in between games featuring the current Gleason and Greenfield squads.


To begin the ceremony, the 1992 and 2007 state championship trophies were wheeled out onto the floor by current members of the Lady Bulldog basketball program moments after Gleason claimed a 57-50 triumph over G’field.


Then, the 1992 squad was introduced and presented with medals commemorating the reunion by current members of the Lady Bulldog team. Three of the current Gleason girls have direct ties to the 1992 squad. Current Lady Bulldog junior Aubrey Wallace is the daughter of 1992 senior Cristi (Wallace) Sawyers. Gleason’s Lillian and Martha Nichols are the nieces of Camille (Connell) Legins, who was a sophomore on the ’92 state champion team.



“Although it’s been 25 years, I still remember winning the state tournament just like it was yesterday,” Sawyers said. “Seeing all the girls tonight from both teams as well as Coach (Randy) Frazier, Coach (Joel) Ayers) and Mr. (Mitchell) Parham brought back some of the best moments of my life. However, the highlight of it was my daughter handing me the memento from the evening. That brought tears to my eyes and will be something I cherish forever. I’m so proud to be a part of the Lady Bulldog team and hope that we will soon have a fourth state championship.”


All but five members of the 1992 girls’ state champion team were on hand at Friday’s celebration, including Becky (Crowe) Padgett.

“Friday night’s 25-year reunion brought back so many special memories like the love and support of our Gleason community, the bond between teammates, the admiration and respect for Coach Frazier and Mrs. Terry (Frazier) and the pride of what it meant to wear orange and represent the Lady Bulldogs,” said Padgett. “I was overwhelmed by Gleason High School’s warm welcome and hospitality.”


Aside from Sawyer and Padgett, other members of the 1992 squad – which went 33-3 en route to the state championship – present for the reunion were Selena (Dilday) Hodges, Heather (Lehmkuhl) Leach, Kristy (Freeman) O’Connor, Tonya (Parham) Lutz, Camille (Connell) Legons, Stacy (Stewart) Cook, Kristy (McKee) Dunn, and Holly (Crowe) Adams. Lisa (Wallace) Palmer, Ashley (Hopper) Flint, Brandy (Wiseman) Horler, Olivia (Lowe) Gilliam, Nicki (Stephens) Pace and LeAnn (Bell) Smith were not present.


Following the introduction of the 1992 state champion team, the 2007 squad was welcomed back for its 10-year reunion.


A decade ago, Gleason posted a 35-1 worksheet en route to the program’s third state crown. As was the case with the 1992 squad, the 2007 team’s medal ceremony had family ties. Current Lady Bulldog Jayden Green – who scored a dozen points during the win over Greenfield – is the niece of 2007 team member Candace (Green) Lindsey.



“It was great seeing everyone again and catching up like old times,” Green said. “I got a little emotional when my name was called and when Mr. P came out to do his chant, but I guess that’s expected when you’re nine months pregnant. I’m very proud of my niece Jayden and it’s an honor to know all those people were able to watch her win a big game.”


2007 Class A Miss Basketball award winner Kayla (Hudson) Irvin – the current girls’ coach at Crockett County and a second cousin to current Gleason player Kenady Atkins – was also on hand to take a bow alongside her teammates from a decade ago.


“It was such an honor to stand beside the girls I went to battle with 10 years ago,” Irvin said. “That team became my family. The wins and championships are fun, but it’s the relationships that make the journey worth it. Those ladies I love so much are now great wives and mothers. The lessons we learned on the court permeate into so many other areas of life. I was just so humbled and grateful to get to reminisce and experience that with them again.


“As a coach myself, I am now aware of the time and preparation our coaches put in to making us into a team that could succeed at that level. I see with clear vision that “whys” behind every drill and mental toughness challenge our coaches put us in. I am so grateful for the opportunity to play for coaches who expected excellence in all areas. It is my prayer that I am able to teach these same lessons to my team.”


Along with Irwin and Lindsey, numerous other members of the 2007 Class A state champion squad (35-1) were on hand on Friday including Ashley Coble, Camille (Cooper) Legens, Erica (Morgan) Stahr), Sara (Hensley) Webb, Elizabeth (Terrell) Cunningham, Kim (Edenfield) Marcus, Breanna (Wallace) Nerie, Jenna (Frazier) Verdell, Taylor Stout, Tiffany Coble, Riley (Auvenshine) Laster and Kim (Reynolds) Healy along with assistant coach Joel Ayers. Members of the 2007 squad not present were Becca Hodges, Alexis Tipton and Maggie Lowrance.


Following the team introductions, current Weakley County Director of Schools Randy Frazier – who served as the head coach for both of the honored Lady Bulldog state champion squads – briefly shared his memories of the two teams before turning over the festivities to former athletic director/ principal Mitchell Parham.


Parham led the home section of the crowd in a Gleason chant - a staple of postseason basketball pep rallies and games during his long tenure at the school.


“It was great to be back in Gleason for the reunion of the 1992 and 2007 state championship teams,” Parham said. “I enjoyed seeing all the former players as it brought back very good memories. I also enjoyed talking with many of the great Gleason Bulldog fans, who are the best. Thanks to Gleason High School for getting this together and I was honored to be invited to join in with the celebration. It was great.” Source: The Dresden Enterprise.

Gleason Mayor and Aldermen Take Oath of Office

Jim Johnson

Newly re-elected Mayor, Diana Poole, and four new Aldermen were sworn in on Sunday afternoon, November 27th.  This will be the second term in office for Mayor Diana Poole and the first term in office for new aldermen Jim Phelps, Marcus Hopper and Doug Johnson; Jerry (Bubba) Dunn Jr., has previously served as alderman in the past.

The ceremony began with some heartfelt welcoming remarks by Mayor Poole - along with some inspirational readings by Mayor Poole and Tony Terrell.

Gleason City Recorder, Angela Hunt read the oath of office and swore in the newly re-elected Mayor for her second term. The Mayor then read the oath of office for the newly elected Board of Aldermen.

Mayor Diane Poole Swears in New Aldermen

L to R: Jim Phelps, Doug Johnson, Marcus Hopper, Jerry (Bubba) Dunn, Jr.

With all indicating their willingness to adhere to the oath of office, they were duly sworn in and signed the necessary papers.

There was a good turn out for the swearing in ceremony, with numerous friends and family members of the newly elected mayor and aldermen and other citizens of Gleason attending the ceremony.

The swearing in ceremony was followed by those in attendance enjoying some excellent cake and refreshments and spending time enjoying the fellowship of friends and neighbors.

43rd Annual Tater Town Special

By Jason Martin

Co-Grand Marshals, Jeff Hazelwood and the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee ride in the back of the B.A.M.2 truck


GLEASON — The Tater Town Special in its 43rd year provided the City of Gleason with eight days of entertainment. Hosted by the Gleason Gazelles, the festival attracted thousands of people to the quiet community.

The Junior and Grand parades on Saturday, September 3 served as the apex of the festival. Syncing together in a harmony of floats, four-wheelers, cars and horses, the parade rolled down the streets as onlookers smiled and clapped. Children of all ages lined the path as parade participants threw candy to the eager youths.

This year’s Grand Parade was co-grand marshaled by Jeff Hazlewood and members of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee (GDRC). Hazlewood serves as the Chief of Police for Gleason, past-president of the Gleason Rotary Club, member of GDRC and member of Gleason First Baptist Church. Hazelwood has held the position of chief for 19 years. The Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee began in 2014 with the focus of making improvements to the City of Gleason. Currently, the committee is building a memorial wall in Snider Park.

At the conclusion of the parade, crowds gathered on the Gazelle Grounds as a variety of vendors lined the area. Arts, crafts and a multitude of food vendors were on hand as Keith Dunning provided entertainment under the pavilion.

The Tater Town Special kicked-off on Saturday, August 27 as SWAG Wrestling took center stage. With scads of theatrics, wrestlers bound around the ring exciting the crowd with body slams, headlocks and well placed props. No one left the event without feeling a rush of enthusiasm.

Monday, August 29 was the Grand Marshal Reception at the Gleason First Baptist Church. Friends, family and members of the community came to the church providing great fellowship to this year’s grand marshals. Following the reception, The Good Time Singers provided a free concert.

BINGO was the name of the game on August 30 and 31. The Tuesday session was reserved for adults and was sponsored by Woodmen of the World with a cake auction during intermission. Wednesday’s BINGO was for the youth at the Gazelle Grounds.

Jim “the preaching potter” Keeling demonstrated his incredible pottery skills Thursday, September 1. Keeling, owner of Earthen Vessels Pottery, Gifts and Bistro, led the hour long demonstration. The event centered on the use of Gleason ball clay in Keeling’s pottery. With each piece thrown, “the preaching potter” provided life lessons through Biblical interpretations showing comparisons between clay and man.

The 2016 Sweet Potato Bake Off was at the Gazelle Grounds on Friday night, September 2. Entries were turned in at the cook booth by 5 p.m. The winning entry was Ms. Mary Proulx for her Savory Sweet Potato Bread Pudding. Her tasty dish took the $50 Cash Prize sponsored by Simply Southern.

At 5:30 p.m., the City of Gleason was ready to rock as Flashback took the stage. Hungry patrons roamed the grounds getting plates and their stomachs full of some of the finest BBQ available. Cook teams from the Bank of Gleason, Gleason Clay, Trevathan Brothers and Imery’s (K-T Clay) provided hundreds of pounds of smoked pulled pork, bologna, ribs, chicken and plenty of sides.

Saturday morning, September 3 raced into full gear as the JC Carey Memorial 5K Run started at the Gleason School. With 82 entries, this year’s race was the largest held with some of the best times. The overall winner was Colton Delaney for the men and Veronica Rosa for the women.

In the 13 and under division, first place was Tyler Bell followed by Baker Atkins in second and Barrett Bowers in third for the men. Ellie Poole finished first and Lilly Ruesken in second with Carrington Lifsey in third for the women.

In the 13 to 19 division, Colton Delaney was first followed by Rance Morris. For the women, Veronica Rosa was first with Lillie Freeman in second and Alexis Anderson in third.

The 20 to 29 division had Ryan Delaney talking gold as Steven Hawkins and Jay Hosford brought home the silver and bronze. Melinda Jennings took first in the women’s group and Karrington Atkins came in second followed by Lauren Baker.

In the 30 to 39 division, Kenneth Coker was first followed by Josh Crawford and Rusty Sawyers. Heather Leach was first for the women with Erica Gibson and Eric Ross in second and third.

For the 40 to 49 division, Randy Davis and Todd Maxey tied for gold as Mark Spain finished in second with Kerry Futrell in third. In the women’s division, Nancy Poole was first with Wendy Maxey second and Becky Padgett taking third. The 50 to 59 division had David Lott winning first and Al Everett in second followed by Monte Cunningham. Pamela Castleman took gold and Elizabeth Lott was bronze. In the 60 and over category, Keith Tucker was first. After the parade, visitors had a chance to view the Antique Tractor and Truck Show on the school grounds. The Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee hosted the Tater Town Throwdown Disc Golf Tournament at Huggins Park. Capping off the day, the Gleason Saddle Club hosted a Mini Tractor Pull.

The week’s festivities came to a conclusion on Sunday, September 4 with a Community- Wide Worship Service hosted by the Gleason Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Source: McKenzie Banner.

The club recited The Collect in unison and the meeting was adjourned. Source: McKenzie Banner.


Earthen Vessels Pottery, Gifts and Bistro:

Ribbon Cutting and Open House




Photo Courtesy of The Weakley County Press


Jim Johnson

Gleason's newest business, Earthen Vessels Pottery, Gifts and Bistro, celebrated its recent opening by having a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house on Monday, July 11th.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony began promptly at 9 am with Mr. Jim Keeling, co-owner of the business (along with his daughter Maria McLain) cutting the ribbon.

In attendance at the ribbon cutting ceremony were several members of the Weakley County Chamber of Commerce, Weakley County Mayor, Jake Bynum, Gleason Mayor Diane Poole, President of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee, Charles Anderson, Barbara Virgin of the Weakley County Economic Development Board, as well as other dignitaries, prominent members of the Gleason business community and the press. Many others from Gleason and the surrounding area came to attend the Open House that followed.

After the ribbon cutting ceremony was over, those in attendance moved indoors to watch Mr. Keeling as he displayed his considerable skills as a potter and answered questions that people had about making pottery and the role of Gleason Ball Clay in the process. He has indicated that he will be offering pottery classes for those who are interested in developing skills in this area.

Others attending the open house had a chance to take a look at the wide range of beautiful items made from Gleason Ball clay that were on display and visit with friends and neighbors, while also enjoying some great coffee and  pastries.

Not only did everyone seem to enjoy seeing what this new business has to offer the Gleason community, several of them found a piece of pottery they liked and bought it on the spot and many others ended up taking some great pastries home with them to enjoy later.

By turning our in large numbers, the good citizens of  Gleason did their best to make Mr. Keeling and his family feel welcome and to let them know that they are glad that they chose Gleason as the home for their new business.

Welcome Earthen Vessels Pottery, Gifts and Bistro

Photo Courtesy of The Weakley County Press



Flea Market Comes to Gleason's Snider Park

By Jason Martin


Gleason (May 26) - Since early May, the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee has used the grounds at Snider Park for a flea/farmers market.  Vendors from West Tenn. have set up booths and tables to sell their merchandise.


Each Thursday from  6 a.m. till 12 p.m. patrons can walk the park,  visiting booths and finding outstanding deals.


Local vendor John Burroughs said. "We saw a post on Facebook about the flea market and thought we would give it a try." Within two hours, Burroughs and his son sold over a dozen items.


Andrew Jackson of Dyersburg has set up three times at the Gleason Location. "The traffic flow has gotten better since the first week," Jackson explained as he  organized his collection of Native American artifacts. The arrowheads and other pieces were gathered along creek beds in the area.


By far the most popular booth is Eddyville's Pork Skin operated by Edd Daniels Jr. of Dukedom. Like most vendors, Daniels makes the flea market circuit.


"It only costs $5 to set up, so we are almost guaranteed to make a little money," explained Daniels. He added that his sales method was pretty simple, "I just talk to people so I can get their attention. If they are talking to someone else or not looking my way, it's hard to sell them something. But a simple 'hey or how are you' to get their attention is all I need."


The Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee and the City of Gleason are looking for more vendors and shoppers. All proceeds from the flea/farmers' market go directly to the projects funded by the revitalization committee. Source: McKenzie Banner.



Groundbreaking and Beyond:

The Mike Snider Park Memorial Wall

 Jim Johnson

(Left to Right) Mary Margaret Beasley,  Rose Anderson, Chief of Police Jeff Hazelwood, Mayor Diane Poole, Scotty Corum, GDRC President, Charles Anderson, Andy Carroll, Jacky Esch, Jim Johnson, & Lynne Shores.


After receiving approval from the Gleason Board of Mayor and Alderman to construct the long-planned Memorial Wall at Gleason's Mike Snider Park on April 14th, representatives of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee and the Gleason Rotary Club participated in a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, May 27th.


The wall, which is to be constructed near the main walkway to the park, in the vicinity of the children's play area, will be approximately 80 feet in length  and will include bench seating and flower boxes on each end.

In the center will be a 40 foot flag pole which will be adorned with a 8' by 12' American flag with a large rounded brick flower box at the base of the flag pole.

Some 8,000 bricks for the construction of the wall have been provided by Boral Brick Company of Gleason and the concrete for the wall has been generously contributed by Gleason Clay company (GCC: Cheryl Lehmkuhl, Plant Manager).

Black granite memorial stones are to be placed in the inset areas of the wall. A sample stone, in memory of Charles Anderson's parents can be seen below. These memorial stones (which can include a maximum of 13 characters per line and up to three lines per stone) can be purchased by individuals who might wish to honor special people, to memorialize family members or others who have passed, or who simply wish to purchase a stone with their own name on it, so as to show their support of this community project.

If you wish to order your engraved Black Granite Memorial "Brick"

Copy, Paste and Print the Form Below


(Or pick up a form at City Hall)


Gleason Downtown Revitalization

Memorial Wall Project

Black Granite Memorial Brick

These bricks will be placed randomly throughout the face of the Memorial Wall

being built at Snider Park by the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee.



Memorial Brick Purchase Price: $100.00 Donation

"What a wonderful way to memorialize our loved ones for generations to come."

Memorial Brick Information Form

Date: ___________________________

Name of Purchaser: ___________________________________________

Inscription: __________________________________________________

(Name of person the brick is in memory or in honor of)





Send the Completed Form and Payment To:

Gleason Downtown Revitalization Fund

P.O. Box 125

Gleason, Tennessee 38229


(Or take your completed form and payment to City Hall)

 Gleason Masonic Lodge #330

Focus on Brotherhood and Community Service


 Jim Johnson


Gleason Masonic Lodge #330 has a long history, dating back to 1867, when its charter was first issued. During this span of almost 150 years, the Masonic Lodge has been an integral part of the local community. 


Over the years, the Masonic Lodge has met in several locations. Its initial meeting location was in the old Masonic Male and Female Institute, a two story brick building erected in 1904 (across the street  from the Bandy - Jeter  house), to replace a private school building which  had burned down in 1902.

Gleason's first public school opened in 1906 in this same building, with the Masonic Lodge continuing to hold their meetings upstairs in this building until it burned sometime later. For many years the Lodge met on the second floor of the old Carl Parks building, located on Main Street, where the Gleason Library was then located.

Since 1991, the Masonic Lodge has been located at its current site at 202 Main Street in Gleason, although several changes to the basic structure of the building have been necessary over time. Most recently, in 2015, the interior  of the building was totally renovated, so as to provide a modern meeting room, and fellowship hall along with other amenities.

Since its inception, the Masonic Lodge has been committed to the local community and actively involved in the Gleason community in supporting many worthy causes and helping organizations. 

A notable example in this regard is providing support each year for the Gleason Relay for Life, with funds derived from Lodge members, as well as supporting  this important activity by having members park cars for those supporting this important event.

During both the Tater Town Special and the "Hometown Christmas" celebrations this year, members of the Masonic Lodge grilled hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hotdogs and smoked bologna and sold them to individuals attending these events. Proceeds from each of these efforts were contributed to the Gleason Downtown Revitalization fund - to further enhance the downtown area of the Gleason community. 

More recently, the Masonic Lodge picked up where the American Legion left off and agreed to assume full sponsorship of the Big Brothers program and their activities in this area. 

The Masons strong support of,  and commitment to, the Big Brothers program was clearly highlighted during the recent Christmas holidays.

Here, they provided large grocery boxes to some 50 homes in the Gleason community. These boxes each contained a frozen chicken, a pound of sliced cheese, a half gallon of whole mile, a pound of dried navy beans, a pound of red beans, 5 pounds of flour, 5 pounds of corn meal, along with  bananas  and other fruits,  as well as a 2 lb box of salt, pepper, and seasonings.

They also delivered fruit baskets to some 170 people in the Gleason area that were seniors, either needy, a widow or widower, and/or unemployed or of low income.

Front/Bottom Row: Bill Lynch, Jonathan McDowell, Kody Owen, Alan Owen, David Black, T.J. Hicks and Bobby Langley. Back Row: Ronnie Connell, Eric Owen, Sam Owen, and Blaine Owen - A special acknowledgment goes to Richard Black, (Organizer), Chairman, Alan Owen, Treasurer, Ken Sanders and Larry Hudson for the use of Steele Plant facility for storage and assembly.

It can be noted that one of the primary goals of  Masonry is to "make better men out of good men". It is believed that this is best achieved by focusing on strengthening one's character, improving one's moral and spiritual outlook, promoting personal responsibility, a belief in God, and by putting these attributes into practice in daily life. It is believed that, through this process, it is possible build a better world by building better men to work in their own communities. 

In looking at the works of the Masons of Lodge #330 today, it appears that they are still living up to the strong tradition of those Masons who founded this Lodge almost a century and a half ago - in terms of their significant contributions to the local community. (Thanks to Bill Lynch of Gleason Lodge #330 for his contributions to this article.)

GLEASON HONORS - State Rep. Andy Holt (Center) presented proclamations to Jim Johnson (left) and Charles Anderson honoring both individuals for their involvement with last year's Tater Town Festival, where they led as Grand Marshals. Both men serve on the Gleason Revitalization Committee and have, along with other members of the Committee, been at the forefront of renovating the city's downtown and preserving the history and heritage of Gleason. (Weakley County Press)


Gleason Downtown Revitalization:

A Look Back at the First Year

 Jim Johnson

As it  has now been somewhat over a year since the work of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee was formally approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, it seems appropriate to take a look back in order to assess the accomplishment of the Committee now that 2015 has come to an end.

Here it can be noted that, under the leadership of Charles Anderson as President, a wide range of projects designed to enhance downtown Gleason and the surrounding area have been undertaken.

At the outset, it should be noted that many of the activities that the Revitalization Committee has engaged in during the past year would not have been possible without the generosity of  those Gleason residents who have supported the work of this committee  during the past year. Their generosity has included furthering revitalization efforts by making contributions at fundraisers as well as  by  volunteering their time and talents in helping make various revitalization projects a success.

Activities engaged in during the past year have been of a varied nature. Some of these have been beautification efforts, other have been restorative in nature, while other, somewhat larger efforts, have represented a combination of the two.

Examples have included providing new and more visible handicapped parking signs throughout the downtown area, the painting of fire hydrants, providing flower boxes throughout the downtown area and making major repairs to the Senior Citizens Center to deal with significant termite damage.

A major initiative during the first year has involved making a number of improvements to Huggins Park, which had previously seen very little community use during recent years.

During the past year a number of the building in the park have been painted, an old rusty chain link fence that posed safety issues has been torn down and replaced by a brand new 190 foot section of white vinyl fence - thanks to the generous donation by Imerys Ceramics.

Thanks to the hard work of Luke Hughes, along with the efforts of committee members and others, Huggins Park now has a brand new nine hole Disc Golf course which has to this point hosted three successful Disc Golf tournaments, with the most recent tournament hosting the University of Martin Disc Golf team.

Park beautification efforts have also  involved the planting of several memorial trees,  the donation of a fountain (by Charles and Rose Anderson) and planting a wide range of flower beds to enhance the look of the park.

These park-related enhancements have resulted in many more citizens of Gleason and the surrounding area coming to the park to attend a various community events hosted by the Committee. These events have included an initial Revitalization Committee fundraiser, featuring Mike Snider and his band, a Gleason Movie Night which featured family friendly entertainment along with a full-service concession stand, the Committee's  First Annual Fall Music Fest, and a Chili Supper Cook-off.

These improvements have made Huggins Park a more suitable venue for an even wider range of community events that will allow families to enjoy wholesome activities and entertainment while also spending time with friends.

Another major beautification/restoration project completed during the past year has involved the painting of the J & P Auto Care building, as well as the outbuilding adjacent to the service station.

The painting of this business related to the Committee's belief that J & P Auto Care represented one of the major landmarks of downtown Gleason, having now been in business at the corner of Cedar and Main for over half a century.

Much effort was put into completing this work project prior to the 2015 Tater Town Special to insure that visitors to Gleason during this event might see the downtown area at its best when viewed along the parade route.

An additional fund-raising project during the past year has involved developing a Community Calendar that provides the dates of important family events such as birthdays, anniversaries and the like for Gleason citizens. The proceeds from the sale of these calendars help fund downtown improvements, as do all proceeds from activities sponsored by the Revitalization committee.

Completing projects such as these is seen as important in laying the foundation for obtaining grant money to support other more costly revitalization projects.

While a major focus of the committee is on beautification and revitalization of the Gleason community, another interrelated focus is on highlighting Gleason businesses, realizing that encouraging hometown shopping by promoting home grown businesses is a boon to the local economy.

During the past year, President Charles Anderson has initiated a "Gleason Business of the Month" initiative, whereby one local business is highlighted each month through a special article focusing on that business. The article is first published on the Gleason website ( The Weakley County Press has also agreed to provide a print version of each article in their widely read newspaper.

During the past year some 10 Gleason businesses have been  highlighted in this manner. These include Gleason Superette , Jozelle's Beauty Shop, City Drug Store., Gleason Lumber & Supply Company, Floyd Greenhouses, Gleason Hardware, Eveready Auto Parts. Gleason Clinic, Steele Plant Company and the Bank of Gleason.

In terms of other items, it is also noteworthy that, during this past year, the Downtown Revitalization Program has also filed for and has been approved as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, Tax Exempt organization. This designation makes it possible for those individuals making financial donations to the Gleason downtown revitalization effort to declare their gifts as charitable contributions when filing their income tax return.

Despite those things that the Committee has accomplished during the past year,  much more work needs to be done during the coming year (and in the future) to enhance the City of Gleason's ability to attract new businesses, to improve the economic growth of the community and make the Gleason community a  better place to live, work, raise a family and experience an improved quality of life.

It is hoped that, based on these initial accomplishments, the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee will be seen as  deserving of the generous support that it has received from the citizens of Gleason during the past year.

It is also hoped that there will be others who will join with the Committee and contribute their time and efforts in helping 2016 be an even better year in terms of enhancing the Gleason community. 


Downtown Revitalization Committee Hosts

Huggins Park - Chili Cook-Off

Jim Johnson

On Saturday, November 7th, the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee hosted its first Annual Chili Cook-Off.  With temperatures in the upper 50's and low 60's, and a mild wind blowing, the weather was perfect for eating all the great chili you could eat (for only $5), along with cornbread, a drink and a great selection of desserts. Those who came were not only treated to good food at a great price, but were also able to shop for handicrafts and buy books at a discount price at the Gleason library book sale.  Here, there was a great selection of books of all kinds and for all ages for only 25 cents each. And, everyone was treated to some great music provided by local talent from 10:00 in the morning to 4:00 in the afternoon.

Participants in the Chili Cook-Off included Not-Hig's restaurant in McKenzie, Gleason's own Andy Carroll and Chris Chadwick from Hawg County Cookers in McKenzie. It should be noted that in 2008 Chris Chadwick won the Gleason Tater Town Special "Back Yard BBQ" trophy for his bacon-wrapped hotdog with peppers and onions and has continued to attend and win at the Tater Town festival. Being a bit of a celebrity, he has also had the opportunity to share his expertise regarding the art of cooking on radio and the TV Discovery Channel.

The local musical talent included Gleason's own McKenna Cady, the group "Forest Drive" (from Martin, TN), Gleason's Jon and Anna Eaton and  Jim Arnold and his group, "Crossroads" from Gleason.

With the cook-off winner being determined by those who had bought a ticket for the chili and who chose to vote for one of the three competitors, Andy Carroll of Gleason managed to edge out the others to win the Chili Cook-off Championship trophy. An informal survey seemed to suggest that all of the Cook-off chili was excellent.

As always, the people of Gleason were generous in coming out on a rather chilly Fall day in support of this event. With over 90 people being served throughout the day, a total of some $480 was raised to support additional Gleason Downtown Revitalization efforts.

Matt Cady - Ready to Sell Some Great Chili


Emily Bell and Brooke McClure

Mike and Carole Blassingame

Judy Paschall, Library Director - Gleason Memorial Library

Not Hig's (Tina Neil & Jerry Morgan) McKenzie, TN

Not Hig's (Tina Neil & Jerry Morgan) & Andy Carroll (Behind Tables)

McKenna Cady

McKenna Cady and Forest Drive (Cooper Gilliam; Jackson Kellyk Peyton Forrester;  Keaton  Penick (Martin, TN) 

Jon and Anna Eaton

Crossroads: (Jim Arnold; Keith Arnold; Thomas Chandler; Jeff Ellis Booths)

Matt Cady - Giving the Chili Cook-off-Award to Andy Carroll of Gleason

Chris Chadwick (Hawg County Cookers) - Andy Carroll (Gleason) - Jerry Morgan (Not Hig's)


State Representative Andy Holt Presents Proclamation to Imerys



Front Row: State Representative Andy Holt, Arson Potts (Gleason, Imerys - KT Plant Manager), Chuck Laine (President, Tennessee Mining Association)

Back Row: James Jarrett, Kerry Arnold,   Eric Duke, Donald Cooper, and Brent Eugley (Photo by Charles Anderson).



Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program

Hosts First Annual Fall Music Fest


Jim Johnson


The Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program hosted its First Annual Fall Music Fest on September 26.

With admission being free and free tickets for drawings being being given to all in attendance, an estimated 175 Gleason citizens and visitors from the surrounding areas turned out for this event. They were all treated to some great music provided by local celebrities at  the "new and revitalized" Huggins Park.

Good food, including Hamburgers, Cheeseburgers, Walking Toco's, Popcorn, Candy and Drinks were also provided at the Concession Stand.

This was an evening that offered something for people of all ages. Children's activities started at 4:00 PM and featured Face Painting by Matt Cady and a "Bounce House", which the younger children seemed to really enjoy.

Hosted by MC Charles Anderson, musical entertainment started at 5:00 PM. Opening the show was Anna Eaton who sang the National Anthem. This was followed by musical selections provided by Ronnie Story, Keith Dunning, Wess Whitworth, Larry Morgan, McKenna Cady, Micah Arnold, David Hoppe and Jon and Anna Eaton.

Among the selection of songs that Anna and Jon Eaton sang to round out the evening was one very special song, which they wrote, that featured a friend of theirs - Gleason resident Billie Joe Ward.

It is noteworthy that the citizens of Gleason, once again showed their great generosity in terms of supporting Gleason revitalization efforts by making donations on the order of $800 during this event. These funds will be used to support further downtown revitalization projects.

Click Here for Music Fest Pictures

Remembering & Honoring Private Bobbie Dee Phelps

By Jim Johnson


On September 5th, 2015 Phelps Street in Gleason, Tennessee was formally dedicated as "PVT Bobbie Dee Phelps Memorial Way" as part of the 2015 Tater Town Special program. This dedication was to honor the memory of Private Bobbie Dee Phelps, who was attached to the 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, of the US Army, who was killed in action in Korea on April 29th, 1951.


The dedication ceremony of "PVT Bobbie Dee Phelps Memorial Way" began with thoughtful opening comments by Gleason Mayor, Diane Poole and were followed by a heartfelt presentation by Mr. Jim Phelps, who commented on the circumstances surrounding Bobbie Dee Phelps making the ultimate sacrifice for his country - much of which is presented here.


In  his comments Mr. Phelps noted that that Bobbie's Grandfather, Elvis Jackson Phelps, built the very first house on Phelps Street, where Bobby Phelps was born - "the yellow house located just down the street on the left" - (the old Roy Hodges home at 223 Phelps Street).  READ MORE...

Tater Town Festival Wraps up With Parade


 Special to the Press

 The streets were crowded in small town USA, Gleason, TN on Saturday, Sept, 5. The air smelled like barbecue, and the children of the Gleason area eagerly grabbed candy off the ground from the passing floats. The patrons were gathered to watch and participate in the annual Labor Day weekend Tater Town Festival Parade.

“This is the 42nd year for small town USA right here,” said grand marshal Charles Anderson. “Gleason is known for sweet potatoes and has been for years. Every year on Labor Day weekend we put together a little Tater Town special. Today we had a tractor show; it is the 11th year we’ve done that, and we really enjoy this. It’s a community time; it brings that small town pride back to town. People enjoy themselves. It’s a reminiscent time, and we have a lot of class reunions going on this weekend. This festival is a hometown event to bring hometown natives back to town.”

“The Tater Town festival is all about a group of about eight women who pull the community together, just to be together, that’s all that it’s about. Just giving back to the community!” Jennifer Cook said enthusiastically about the festival. Jennifer Cook is one of the Gazelles who helped to put the event together.

“I think it’s a time for the community to come together like it has been doing for 42 years,” said the other grand marshal, Jim Johnson. “The Gazelles do a wonderful job with this; we could not do this without them. I think it’s a place, not even just for the current citizens of Gleason. I grew up here and was away for a long time, and I kept trying to figure out how I could keep in touch. I finally developed a website for current and former Gleason citizens to keep in touch. There are a lot of people here today; some are here for their 55th class reunion, some for their 50th, and some others for their 40th. All of these people have come back for this Tater Town Festival, so I just think it highlights the cohesiveness of the town.”

“It’s been a long time tradition here, of course Gleason is small, but this is one of the major things we do here,” said Dale Stevens, Gleason’s Director of Public Works. “The Gazelle group, the girls have recently lost some membership. They’re down to a bare minimum, and Gleason public works helps them out with this. They are a really great organization, and we cherish this time every year. We spend a lot of time; the public works department does a lot of work for them in an effort to help them out. Everybody, a lot of the classmates from years ago, have come back here every year and have class reunions and it’s just a tradition now. It’s been going on for a long time and people expect it and we enjoy helping put it on.”

The parade proudly displayed police, fire, and EMS vehicles, along with the local National Guard. It was also filled with local businesses, government officials, local cheerleaders and beauty queens, along with other local groups and clubs.

TATER TOWN USA— Gleason High’s cheerleaders march through downtown Gleason during Saturday’s parade (top left photo). From left to right: Amber Watson, April Watson, Hailey Harrison, Gracie Long, Josie Long, Claire O’Connor, Jessica Remillian, Maggie Hampton, Madison Gazelle, Dorcy Bell, Bell Fallard, Allison Rollins. In the top right photo, the winners of the Tater Town beauty pageant ride through town; (from left to right) Queen: Mary Rollins, First Maid: Jamie Shay Bailey, Second Maid: Savannah Scarborough, and Third Maid: Chelsea Beasley. Grand marshals Charles Anderson and Jim Johnson are pictured in the bottom left photo. In the bottom right picture, motorcyclists ride through the parade. Source: Weakley County Press.

Helping Enhance the Gleason Community Through Clay:

Charles Anderson, President of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program, receives a check in the amount of $1,500 dollars from Brent Eugley of Imerys North America Ceramics (formerly KT Clay Co.) for the new vinyl fence at Huggins Park.

Left Side: Imerys Ceramics Representatives:

Front Row: Left to Right: Kim Montgomery - Ball Clay Lab Technician; Katy Lucas (dark green shirt/brown pants) - Geologist

Back Row: Left to Right: Stacy Collins - Ball Clay Technician; Cruz Legens - Ball Clay Lab Technician; Eric Duke (white shirt) Production Supervisor; Kerry Arnold -(EHS) - Environmental Health and Safety Manager; Brent Eugley (with check) - Environmental Coordinator; James Jarrett (right side with bright yellow shirt) - Ball Clay Quality Control Manager/Product Development Coordinator.


Right Side:  Revitalization Committee Representatives:

Left to Right:  Mayor Diane Poole (behind fence), Charles Anderson-President (receiving check),  Rose Anderson, Gary Doster, James Jarrett (Imerys Representative), Chief Jeff Hazelwood, Doris Owen-Treasurer, Jim Johnson and Matt Cady.

(Click Here for Full Story)


Hannah Robison Named Miss Tennessee 2015

Making Gleason Proud

 James H. Johnson

Miss Scenic City, Hannah Robison,  was crowned  Miss Tennessee for 2015 on Saturday, June 20th in Jackson at the Carl Perkins Civic Center. Hannah, age 21, is currently a senior  at the University of Tennessee at Martin, majoring in Chemistry and pursuing a minor in Psychology.   

 She won her talent preliminary for an outstanding performance on the piano as well as her lifestyle and fitness preliminary in the swimsuit competition. 

 As Miss Tennessee, she will receive an  $18,000 scholarship and will represent Tennessee at the Miss America Pageant in September. Additionally, she will serve  as Governor  Bill Haslam's Official Spokesperson for Character Education where she will be interacting with children across the state.

The selection of Hannah Robison as Miss Tennessee-2015 makes a lot of people in the Gleason community proud.  And none are prouder than her grandmother  Bobbye Lu Robison of Gleason. Hannah is the daughter of  Bobbye Lu and the late Buddy Robison's son Rusty and his wife Pam who live in Buchanan.

Bobbye Lu notes that it takes a while to come down from the high that is experienced when a granddaughter wins something like this. She also highlighted Hannah's ties to Gleason by noting that Hannah was Gleason's "Miss  TaterTown" in 2010.

She went on to say "I was very thrilled that she won this honor because it's not just a beauty pageant. It doesn't just involve how one looks, but also showing composure in what can be a stressful interview, having talent - and lots of hard work !"

It is noteworthy that Hannah's Grandmother, Bobbye Lu, is no stranger to beauty pageants herself, having been named "Miss Gleason" back in 1951. It seems that talent, composure, and beauty run in the family.   



Gleason's First Disc Golf Tournament Held at Huggins Park


Jim Johnson


 As a result of a generous gift from the West Tennessee Disc Golf Club to the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program and City of Gleason's Park and Recreation department and, with the help of Mr. Luke Hughes of Gleason, it has been possible to develop a disc golf course at Gleason's Huggins Park for use by the people of Gleason and the surrounding area.


The design and development of the course was under the direction of  Mr. Luke Hughes, of Gleason, along with Chris Dodson, Will Trimble and Kent Fothergill, all of whom are actively involved with this rapidly growing sport.


The course is open to all Gleason citizens who are interested in the sport and was set up to allow for competitive disc golf tournaments for players of all ages.


Sponsored by the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Program, Gleason's first disc golf tournament, the "TaterTown Throwdown" was held on Saturday, May 23, 2015.


Registration for the tournament began at 1:30. The registration fee was $10, which included a free disc, bearing the "TaterTown Throwdown" logo. All funds derived from this event will be used to support Gleason Downtown Revitalization efforts.


Prior to beginning the tournament, a disc golf workshop was conducted by Tournament Director Luke Hughes. This pre-tournament training session was open to all registrants and  served as an introduction to the basics of disc golf, including rules of the game, disc golf fundamentals, and an introduction to the new Huggins Park course.


The tournament itself began at 3:30 and lasted for several hours, with the 36 participants  playing varying numbers of holes, depending on their age.


The concession stand was open, serving water, soft drinks, hamburgers, cheese burgers, bologna  and various other tasty edibles.


Certificates were given for outstanding play in both the "Novice" and more "Advanced" disc golf participants.


It is hoped that this inaugural tournament will stimulate participants to come out to Huggins Park and use the facilities to develop their disc golf skills and enjoy playing the course with friends over the summer.


Be sure to check regularly for announcements of other disc golf tournaments that may be offered this summer.


Tournament Registration: Only Ten Bucks

With a Free Disc Included

Concession Stand - Open for Business 

Luke Hughes Provides Pre-tournament Disc Golf Workshop

Focusing on Fundamentals

Out on the Course

Click on the Above Graphic for Story and More Tournament Pictures


Downtown Revitalization Committee Hosts First Family Movie Night

On Saturday night, September 13, the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee hosted its first Family Movie Night at Huggins Park. The featured movie was Facing the Giants, a  PG rated family-friendly drama about a high school football coach who, in several years of coaching, has never had a winning season.  Just as he is finding some reason to believe that the upcoming season might be better his hopes are squelched when the best player on his team transfers to another school. After losing their first three games of the season, the coach discovers a group of fathers are plotting to have him fired. Combined with pressures at home, the coach has lost hope in his battle against fear and failure. However, an unexpected challenge helps him find a purpose bigger than just victories. Daring to trust God to do the impossible, the coach and members of his team discovers how faith plays out on the field… and off.

This first Family Movie Night film sponsored by the Downtown Revitalization Committee, got things off to a good start, despite the unseasonably cool to borderline cold temperatures during the evening. More than 75 people came dressed for the occasion to see the movie, socialize with neighbors, and enjoy some great hamburgers, cold drinks, coffee, hot chocolate, and popcorn as well as cookies and other snacks that could be purchased at the concession stand. The one dollar per-person admission fee automatically entered everyone in drawings for various prizes. CLICK HERE FOR PICTURES!

The next regular monthly board meeting is Thursday, October 9 beginning at 7 p.m.

GHS 50-year Class Reunion - Class of 1964


The Gleason High School Class of 1964 celebrated their 50th class reunion during Tater Town festivities on August 30, 2014. The reunion was held at Mallards Restaurant in Huntingdon, with classmates having additional time to catch up on old times friends at the Dixie Carter Performing Arts Center in Huntingdon.

Front L-R: Rosemary Jorge, Suzette Edmonston, Martha Boone, Brenda Pickler, Judy Mansfield, Karen Dellinger, Sonja Godwn;

Back L-R: George Sawyers, Ronnie Dilday, Iva May Lowery, Wanda Maddox, Betty Bradberry, Sandra Tilley, Martha Brewer, Carol Sue Delinger, Mrs. Floyd and Mr. Floyd, John Bradberry (Note - maiden names used for ladies).

Gleason High School Class of 1962:

Second Annual Follow-up to their 50th Reunion


The Gleason High School Class of 1962 celebrated their second annual follow up to their  50th class reunion during Tater Town festivities on August 30, 2014.


Barbara Clement White, Ronnie Parks, Ferrellin Webb Cassidy, Coy Segraves, Curtis Mayo, Linda Ray Bevis, Sammy Tilley, Joyce Holland Straughn, John Ozment, Joyce Stewart Jones, Bobby Langley, Linda Elinor Boone, Kenneth Doster, Linda Travillian Langford, Terry Bunnell

    Gleason Downtown Revitalization Fundraiser:

     A Big - Small Town Success

 James H. Johnson


On Saturday, August 2nd, 2014, a Fundraiser, designed to support  Gleason Downtown Revitalization efforts, was held from  5 until after 8 PM at Huggins Park in Gleason.

The fundraiser was initially organized by the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee (Members: Charles Anderson,  Ron Arnold, Mary Margaret Beasley,  Andy Carroll,  Gary Doster, Police Chief Jeff Hazelwood, Doris Owen, and Mayor Diane Poole) and  focused  on raising funds to support initial downtown revitalization projects that can  provide the foundation for grant applications to fund larger projects.

The evening began with an opening prayer, provided by Mr. Jacky Esch and the National Anthem, wonderfully sung by Mr. Wendell Verdell.

The program consisted of gospel music, generously provided by  "Witness Southern Gospel of McKenzie, Tennessee, as well as Gleason's own Mike Snider, widely known for being a regular  on the Grand Ole Opry, as it is commonly known and referred to, and formerly a regular on the old Hee Haw television show as well as having received other honors associated with the country music industry.  Additional musical entertainment was also provided by Ricky Morgan of The Great Pretenders, Wendell Verdell and Charles Ross and family of Gleason. Each of these individuals and groups provided their services freely in support of this initiative.

Those in attendance were provided with plenty of great food, including both BBQ plates  and hot dogs from  Big Daddy's BBQ, Highway 79, McKenzie, Tennessee. Soft drinks, bottled water,  as well as snow cones and desserts were also available at the concession stand.

All in attendance had the opportunity to win more than 20 door prizes, such as gift cards and a variety of other items provided by numerous donors. Numerous attendees purchased chances to win various prizes ranging from gift certificates, to bicycles, to a Winchester Repeating Arms 12 gage shotgun,  along with 5 boxes of shells and electronic noise-suppression ear muffs.

With approximately 400 total in attendance, including lots of people from Gleason and the surrounding areas, others coming from further away, and more than a dozen others who were candidates for local, and state offices, this event has to be judged as having been a huge success.

Not only did the citizens of Gleason come out in numbers to support this important event, but many also made cash donations during the evening. Others supported this initiative by simply coming to enjoy the entertainment and fellowship with friends, while enjoying the excellent food and beverages and buying  tickets for the various prizes that were offered. Numerous other individuals, groups, and businesses made significant financial contributions, or  provided  goods or  services that were significantly discounted or  given freely for this event.

Valued Supporters: Final Flight Outfitters, Union City; Big Daddy's BBQ, McKenzie; Owen Brothers, Gleason; Pepsi Cola, Paris; Jim Johnson, Huntingdon; Coca Cola, Union City; Flowers by Jan, Gleason; Aletha Jones, Gleason; Simply Southern Restaurant, Gleason; Bank of Gleason, Gleason; WCMT Radio, Martin; Salon 104, Gleason; Gleason Superette, Gleason; Jerry Chestnut, General Manager of  Boral Brick, Gleason; J&P Exxon, Gleason; J & J Restaurant, Gleason; Bryant Video, Gleason; Blossom and Blooms, Gleason; Tumbling Creek Baptist Church, Gleason;  Weakly County Electric.

It is heartening to learn that the funds derived from this Gleason Downtown Revitalization Fundraiser were in excess of $4,000. 

This figure seems to highlight both the generosity of the citizens of Gleason, as a group, and the degree to which they care for their community and want it to be all it can be!




Announcing the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Initiative

At the most recent meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Gleason resident Charles Anderson spoke on behalf of the newly constituted Gleason Downtown Restoration Committee.

Mr. Anderson noted that we all take great pride in our small town and always want it to look its best. He went on to say that unfortunately, Gleason hasn't kept up with the times when it comes to the downtown area, as compared to other towns. While other city's are making improvements, Gleason's downtown area is moving in the opposite direction.

Mr. Anderson indicated that the focus of this committee will be on sprucing up the City of Gleason in all ways possible in order to make Gleason a more attractive destination for visitors. He stated that the Committee hopes to get all citizens involved in turning the downtown area around and making it a more enjoyable place to visit.

He suggested that the purpose of coming before the Board was not to ask the city for money but simply to get support from the board. He said that the committee hopes to use grants and individual donations to fund specific projects.

Some initial ideas for possible improvements include improving sidewalks/parking/awning in front of the school, a new LCD electronic billboard for the school, Flashing Safety Lights in school zones, restoring a Railroad Caboose to commemorate the old long & forgotten train station, new park benches/flower planters, hand painted murals on walls of buildings (looking for volunteers for artwork), the construction of a fountain, and potentially the development of a farmers market.

The Mayor and Aldermen expressed their excitement regarding the committee's ideas for improving the Gleason community and voted unanimously to support this new initiative.

Log Cabin Decorated with Autumn Theme



Gleason High School 50-year Class Reunion - Class of 1963

The class of 1963 had their 50 year class reunion on Saturday, August 31, 2013.  Members of the class participated in the Tater Town Special parade by riding on  a "Class of 1963 ~ 50-year Reunion trailer. A member of the Class of  '63, the former Sandra Taylor who was the 1963 Miss. Gleason rode in a red 1963 Chevrolet Corvette owned and driven by Dale Nunnery, also a member of the Class of 63.

The 50-year reunion was held at the First Baptist Church on Saturday evening. The festivities were also attended by several well wishers from other Gleason High School Classes from the early to mid 1960's. A good time was  had by all!

Below is a picture of those members of the Class who were in attendance.

Class members attending included, pictured from left to right are: Front Row: Carol (Tucker) Dycus, Delois (Boane) Shaw, Kaye (Billington) Owens, Sandra (Taylor) Johnson, Wanda (Hodges) Pritchett, Patricia (Reed) Segraves Back Row: Robert Smyth, Pat Dewberry, Bobbie Lou (Williams) Chandler, Janis (Hodges) Featherstone, Jean (Burrows) Cunningham, Dale Nunnery, LeRoy Segraves.


Click on the Above Link for all Reunion Pages


Gleason High School Class of 1962:

Follow-up to the 50th Reunion

Members of the Class of 1962 followed up on their last year's 2012 Tater Town 50-year reunion by having a get together on Saturday, August 31st at at Hig's Restaurant in McKenzie. All members of the Class of 1962 and other friends were invited.

As can be seen from the picture below, the turn out for this follow-up was great, with 16 Class of 62 members attending and having a good time interacting with old classmates and other friends from Gleason School. - Click on the link below for more Class of '62 pictures.

Members of the Class of 1962 attending included, FRONT ROW: Joyce (Stewart) Jones, Ferrelin (Webb) Cassidy, Linda (Elinor) Boone, Joyce (Holland) Straughn, Linda (Ray) Bevis, Lynda (Travillian) Lankford, Barbara (Clement) White. BACK ROW: Terry Burnell, Curtis Mayo, Bobby Langly, Ronnie Parks, Coy Segraves, Pert Pritchitt, John Ozment, Jim Lawrence, Sammy Tilley. (Picture compliments of Linda Bevis).


Click on the Above Link for More Class of '62 Pictures

Family Recalls Life of Gordon Stoker

By Joe Lofaro
Special to the Press

When Gordon Stoker, a Gleason native and a member of The Jordanaires vocal group that backed Elvis Presley, died this past Wednesday, his niece Jenna Wright said Stoker was “the best uncle in the world.” “He knew where he came from and he loved the people. He was a great person,” said Wright, who chairs the department of English at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Wright’s son, Zac, served as a pallbearer in Saturday’s funeral. “I was 12 years old before I realized Uncle Gordon was famous,” Zac Wright said. “He always wanted butter beans on okra.”

Stoker’s career started at Tumbling Creek Baptist Church, outside of Gleason, when he was 8 years old. In addition to playing the piano at church, he played at singing conventions in West Tennessee. “Mom and dad hung on them (singing conventions),” Stoker was quoted as saying. “I remember singing in Fulton and Martin.”

Better known as Hugh Gordon, he performed with the Clement Trio on WTJS in Jackson. He was recruited, after graduating from Gleason, to be the pianist in Nashville’s John Daniel Quartet. It was here that Stoker played on WSM’s Grand Ole Opry.

After three years in the Air Force, Stoker moved to Oklahoma to be near family, but in 1948 he moved back to Nashville and rejoined the Daniel Quartet, who was now playing on WLAC radio.

He met his wife, the former Jean Wilkerson, in 1949, at a church singing in Nashville. In 1950, he auditioned for and won the piano-playing job for the Jordanaires.

“The Jordanaires drew on both black and white gospel music, as well as many of the hymns Stoker knew by heart from his childhood in rural West Tennessee,” said Joe Rumble in a recent Associated Press article. Rumble is the senior historian at the County Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. Stoker and the Jordanaires became members of the prestigious Hall of Fame in 2001.

Not only did Stoker play the piano for the Jordanaires but he also took on the role as a vocalist, singing tenor. The group performed together for 60 years, singing backup for Presley, Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, George Jones, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Red Foley and Kenny Rogers.

“He was so famous,” Wright said. “But to me he was just Uncle Gordon. He was an extremely unassuming person.”

Wright said her uncle attended her high school graduation in Gleason and Stoker, his wife and three children were in the fieldhouse when she graduated from UT Martin.

Wright said her family was extremely close. In fact, Wright’s father, the late Wayne Stoker, and Gordon were together with others for Thanksgiving in 1983 when Mike Snider dropped by the house.

“Wayne knew I won the national banjo playing contest in September of 1983,” Snider said. “It was on Thanksgiving in 1983, when I met Gordon at Wayne’s house. “Gordon asked me, ‘What do you want to do?’ I told him I would like to play on the Grand Ole Opry stage one time.”

“I remember Wayne telling Gordon he had to hear me play because I was something a little different,” Snider said.

Thanks to the Stokers, Wayne and Gordon, Snider was able to play on the stage at the Grand Ole Opry. He also appeared on Nashville Now and starred on Hee Haw. He is now a member of the Grand Ole Opry and he host segments this past weekend at the Opry.

“I didn’t even want to be in the music business,” Snider said. “I was farming. I couldn’t have done it without Wayne and Gordon. They were two really nice men who went out of their way to help somebody they didn’t even know.”

Wright will be the first to echo Snider’s comments about her dad and her uncle. “When my dad got real sick a couple of year’s ago, Uncle Gordon would call him every day, no matter where he was.

Uncle Gordon also called Wright often. “When he would say goodbye he always said, ‘I love you, baby.’”

At Gordon Stoker’s funeral at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Wright was just as unassuming as her uncle.“I am sure there were some big-name celebrities there, but I don’t keep up with all that,” she said.

In case your wondering about the music, Gordon Stoker and the Jordanaires sang backup on Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “No Tears in Heaven,” Presley’s “Known Only to Him” and Foley’s “This World is Not My Home.”

Despite the stellar lineup of music, Wright remembers the last words her uncle Gordon Stoker said to her, “I love you baby.”

Elvis photos on display at UTM: A photography display titled “ELVIS: Grace and Grit” is featured in the University of Tennessee at Martin’s Paul Meek Library Museum.

The display opened Monday and runs through May 31. An opening reception is Thursday from noon to 12:30.

“ELVIS: Grace and Grit” is the latest traveling exhibition from the CBS Television Photo Archive.

Shot by various CBS photographers, the exhibition contains 35 candid and on-air photographs documenting Elvis before the Las Vegas years — during the meteoric rise of this star, according to Victoria Ann Rehberg, exhibition marketing manager.

The exhibition was curated by National Exhibitions & Archives, LLC of Glens Falls, NY and the CBS Photo Archive.

The images, taken by CBS photographers, represent a sampling of over 30 million memorable images contained in the CBS Entertainment Archives, dating back to when CBS first began broadcasting as a radio network in 1928.

Published in The WCP 4.2.13

Gleason HS Class of 1962 Celebrates 50th Reunion

GLEASON (September 1) Gleason High School Class of 1962 celebrated their 50th reunion during Tater Town festivities on September 1, 2012. Class members attending included, pictured from left: (front row) Barbara Clement White, Lynda Travillian Lankford, Kitty Wray Oliver, Lynda Elinor Boone, Joyce Stewart James, Linda Ray Bevins, Joyce Holland Straughan, Ferrellin Webb Cassidy and Wanda Dilday; (back row) John Ozment, Pert Pritchett, Curtis Mayo, Jim Lawrence, Coy Segraves, Terry Bunnell, Bobby Langley, Sam Tilley and Ronnie Parks.


Gleason Home to Another Singing Sensation

By Sara Reid, Staff Writer

Gleason home to another singing sensation | Micah Arnold, West Tennessee Idol

Micah Arnold

The City of Gleason has long been known as the home of Grand Old Opry star Mike Snider, but in the near future it may be able to add another name to that list. Last month, Gleason native Micah Arnold, 26, took to the stage in the West Tennessee Idol competition in Jackson and outshined over 200 contestants to take home the grand prize and the chance to move on to state competition. Initially, Arnold, who has been singing since the age of three, was hesitant to enter the competition, but with the encouragement of his parents, Jim and Donna Arnold, he decided to take the plunge. “Over 200 people were at the audition,” Arnold admitted. “First, you had to sing a capella and if you advanced past that, you’d perform to a live round onstage in front of the judges and then a radio round where people called in and voted.” Despite the fact that the competition was very much like the “American Idol” television show, Arnold admitted that the entire process did nothing to wrack his nerves. “I’m used to the stage,” he said. “I’m in a band called Leaving Sunday and we’ve played in Dresden, Paris, Jackson and McKenzie. I’ve sung in Nashville in most every place. I play guitar in the band, but lately, of course, I’ve been focusing on vocals.” Arnold hopes to take his passion much further than the competition stage. He’s hoping to make a career in the music industry. “I’d really like to go further with it,” he said. “I’ve been wanting to work on a career in the music industry for a while now.” Arnold cites his musical influences as being everything from Keith Urban to Merle Haggard to Hank Williams Jr. to Garth Brooks to, of course, his father who played music when Arnold was growing up, but he relates his own style of singing to no one. It’s uniquely his own. “I try not to sound like anyone. I try to be unique. I’ve been told that I sound like George Strait or I sound like Conway Twitty, but I don’t want to be a second-rate version of them,” he admitted. Arnold wasn’t the only Weakley Countian to sing on the West Tennessee Idol stage, however. Two other singers from Palmersville also made the finals and Arnold saw their presence as a comfort. “Emily Rook was there and Paul Jolley was there and it was very comforting,” he remarked. “I knew them even before the competition and it was great that we all had each other to talk to and cope with. It really made the competition easier. We banded together and it really felt good to see people I knew there rooting all of us on.” When Arnold won the competition and received his trophy, he knew all the years of hard work and practice had paid off and he had just taken one step closer to his dream. “It really felt good. It’s something I’ve been doing for a long time and it paid off,” he said. “I still have a long way to go as far as making a career in music, but this was a huge accomplishment. The judges were from the music industry and hearing the positive feedback from them made me feel good about myself.” “Every contestant there deserved to win,” he added. “It was not an easy win because everyone was so talented, but I’m pleased they chose me.” Arnold will now compete in the Tennessee Colgate State Finals in Monteagle on Sept. 6 and with a win, will move on to national competition at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville.

The Life and Times of Mr. Roy Travillian

By Ernie Smothers

It has been said that effort constitutes the defining line between those who dream and those who achieve. Gleason’s Roy Travillian is an achiever. He has not only dreamed great dreams, but through hard work and diligence, nurtured those dreams into reality. A spiritual and earnest man, he has lived a life that casts shadows on most. Laborer, farmer, salesman, business owner, college graduate at 68, author—-it’s easier to state what he hasn’t done rather than list all that he has accomplished. Quick to smile and even quicker to wit, Roy Travillian is a man with a story to tell.

Gordon Stoker

Gordon Stoker - Part of Half a Century of Music History

The Jordanaires greeted their fans at their induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001. They have sung backup for Elvis Presley, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline and other legends. Quartet members are (from left) Curtis Young, Gordon Stoker, Ray Walker and Louis Nunley.  Source: Weakley County Press.  - Click Here For Full Story

Featured Series From the McKenzie Banner

Gordon Stoker - Gleason's Musical Marvel Makes it to Nashville: Part one of a two-part series By Deborah Turner   Source: The McKenzie Banner

Gordon Stoker - "The Amazing Years": Part two By Deborah Turner   Source: The McKenzie Banner

 Mike Snider

Mike Snider-Always Gleason's Hometown Boy

By Deborah Turner ~

Mike Snider surged from 1983 national banjo champ to a member of the Grand Ole Opry. After 26 years of perfecting the three-finger style of banjo playing, three years ago he switched to the clawhammer style in keeping with his interest in old-time mountain music.

Some who gain fame take due pride in being able to say they’ve never forgotten their roots. Celebrated banjo player, Mike Snider, on the other hand, dug his roots still deeper in the town of Gleason from which he’d sprung, after being welcomed heart and soul into the close-knit bosom of the Grand Ole Opry and adoring fans everywhere.  Source: - Click Here for Full Story!



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