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Rural home sites proposed for 231 corridor

The Trousdale County Planning Commission voted unanimously during Monday evening’s meeting at the Hartsville-Trousdale County Community Center to approve a preliminary plat for a newly-proposed, 16-home subdivision out in the Highway 231 corridor of Trousdale County.

Developer Jordon Fleming of Fleming Homes has plans to build the new Freedom Estates subdivision, and with recent growth in Trousdale County, many developers like Fleming are looking for suitable land on which to build new home sites while maintaining a rural feel.

“This (preliminary plat approval) is for Freedom Estates located out on Bass Road on 34.96 acres with 16 lots,” said Trousdale County Planning Commission Chairman John Kerr.

“Mr. Fleming has been before (the planning commission) a couple of times and is now back with a preliminary plat.”

Fleming added, “The property is in Bethpage, just off of Bass Road. It’s beautiful farmland out there. It’s beautiful and open. There will be 16 homes in the subdivision. The smallest (lot) will be 1.3 acres, and they will graduate up to 5.01 acres.”

The subdivision is the second property within the 231 corridor on which Fleming plans to build rural home sites. Back in October, he had a 47-acre property rezoned from A-1 (agricultural) to R-1 (residential), with the intention of building new, single-family homes.

Although a few housekeeping tasks remain for Fleming before receiving final approval from the planning commission, which includes ironing out a water-line issue with the water utility district, his hopes are to begin the building project as soon as he gets the green light.

“I think it will get approval contingent on the water line, and I think we have the water line worked out,” said Fleming. “It may take 120 days or so.

“Then, I’d like to see (houses) going up. It is just beautiful farmland, and I think it is going to be a home run for people.”

Hartsville's historic treasures

Hartsville is the home of two historic treasures that stand as a monument to Trousdale County’s past.

The old Hartsville Train Depot and the Living History Museum are pieces of history that tell not only the story of Hartsville, but they also give an account of the pre-1900s South.

The train depot was built in the late 1800s. Through the years, it has been largely unaltered and still stands on its original site at the corner of Broadway and White Oak Street, where both passenger and freight lines ran between Hartsville and Rogana.

“It is the original train depot for Hartsville,” said Trousdale County Historical Society Vice President Jim Bills. “It is one of the few that are still remaining, because most towns tore down their depots when the trains stopped running, but Hartsville did not.”

Trousdale County Historian John Oliver added, “(The depot) is mostly original. It is rare to find everything still intact. It still has the original ticket-teller’s cage, where people could buy tickets. (Inside), there was a black waiting room and a white waiting room for passengers and probably a door in between, because they would have kept black and white separated. They would have each had their own door (into the depot).”

Back in its heyday, the Hartsville Train Depot did not provide modern amenities to its passengers that today’s travelers have come to expect.

“There would have been a potbelly stove in here,” said Oliver. “We added a bathroom when we got a grant to restore the depot, because it never had a bathroom.”

By the 1950s, the passenger line from Hartsville had been discontinued.

“Passenger service stopped a long time before freight, although it didn’t stop until around the 1950s,” said Oliver. “Freight service stopped in the 1980s, and sometime after that, they removed the railroad tracks.”

Across White Oak Street from the depot, where the railroad tracks used to be, is the Living History Museum. The museum is a recreation of a 1930s tobacco farm which helps tell the story of rural Trousdale County. The museum includes an old farmhouse, a shed, a barn, a meat-drying house, and an old privy.

“The museum is actually an entire house with beds and quilts and a full kitchen with a dining table,” said Bills. “It has a bedroom and a loft, which is probably where the kids stayed. The house was actually on another property and was moved here. It’s pretty remarkable. It is amazing to see houses like this all over Trousdale County.”

Because the train depot and the living museum both require some restorative work, they are not currently opened to the public, but they are accessible by making an appointment. However, the Trousdale County Historical Society is hoping to continue doing work at both sites and eventually offer regular Saturday hours for tours.

“We did have the depot opened for a long time,” said Oliver. “It’s been at least 15 years though since the it’s been opened to the public. We would like to get it reopened. Maybe one Saturday a month, we could have it opened to the public, but it probably won’t be ready before the end of summer or next spring.”

Bills added, “John’s hope is that by spring we can continue to improve the depot and living museum. We can get the outside painted and some rotten wood repaired and a few other things like that. Then, we can start doing tours again and having open houses, especially for special occasions. Maybe sometime soon, we’ll be able to open the living museum on the first Saturday of the month and the depot on the second Saturday of the month. We definitely see light at the end of the tunnel.”

The search continues

Continuing her search for the lost Beal Cemetery, Hartsville resident Carla Jean Ferraro has made significant progress in her quest over the past few weeks as she has received help from Smith County resident and grave finder John Waggoner, Jr.

After purchasing the property in 2006, Ferraro found out that the old Beal Cemetery was located within the confines of the property but was bulldozed by a previous owner.

On Feb. 7, Waggoner made a trip to the property in Trousdale County, which is located close to the Smith County and Macon County lines, to offer his assistance in locating the graves through the use of dowsing rods (a practice that uses two wire rods that cross when a disturbance in the ground is detected), a technique that he has successfully used for more than two decades.

“I’ve been helping to find graves for probably 20-25 years,” said Waggoner. “A few years ago, Smith County relocated a cemetery from where they built the new jail in Carthage. (Along with) two funeral homes, we used dowsing rods to find the graves. We had a permit to move the cemetery, so we could legally dig down and see what was there. Every time we’d get a reading, we’d dig down, and there was a grave. We moved 71 graves.”

With Waggoner’s expertise, Ferraro was able to locate and mark roughly 21 of approximately 26 graves on the property.

“Mr. Waggoner found 14 graves by some trees and seven behind the barn,” said Ferraro. “So, there was a total of 21 graves that he found.”

Waggoner added, “We found seven graves on one site, plus another 15 or so. Altogether, we found several grave sites there.”

But because the graves were originally marked with fieldstones and never marked with engraved markers, it is likely that the individual identities of those buried in the graves will never be discovered.

“Mr. (Tommy) Scruggs, (a neighbor) who is 92 years old, remembers that his mom and his aunt are buried there,” said Ferraro. “In which one of the graves, I don’t know. It would be a guess. There are no markers to let you know. He knows his mother was probably buried at the end of the barn, so that might be the first, second, or third grave, but I really don’t know.”

According to Waggoner, Ferraro’s story is not that uncommon.

“It is not unusual to have lost cemeteries,” said Waggoner. “They always say that the third generation will forget the family cemetery, because they never knew the people who were buried there.”

Better late than …

The Hartsville Vidette is publishing question-and-answer profiles of the Trousdale County educators who have been selected as the teacher of the year in their respective schools.

We begin the profiles with a glance at Penny Story, who is an English instructor at Trousdale County High School …

Name … Penny Story

School … Trousdale County High School

Age … 59

What grade/subject do you teach? I teach 10th and 12th-grade English.

How long have you been in education? I have taught for 12 years, but I was an educational assistant for 10 years beforehand.

How many years have you taught at your current school? I have taught at TCHS for 12 years.

What is something unique about you — whether it’s a hobby, skill or past accomplishment — that most people likely wouldn’t be aware of? I did not begin college until I was 40 years old. It took me six years to complete my education, and it was definitely a family effort. Many evenings, I would be in the kitchen preparing supper, and one of our daughters would be typing one of my hand-written rough drafts … and my husband did a fantastic job of keeping dishes and clothes clean.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time (hobbies, etc.)? I love woodworking, crafting, cooking, and making homemade ice cream.

Is there anything unique about your teaching situation that you’d like to detail? I taught Spanish for three years before I transitioned to English.

How would you describe your teaching style? I am certainly not a traditional teacher, because the role of the teacher has certainly changed since I was in school. Lecturing is held to a bare minimum. Therefore, I am more of a facilitator in the classroom.

Could you share a couple of strategies for how that you keep students engaged and motivated? My students love group work that allows them to collaborate on a specific objective. Within the group, each member has a specific role/task to complete. Also, my students love to participate in a Socratic seminar, which is a lively, student-led discussion that allows for multiple perspectives to be presented.

Have you ever encountered a challenge in teaching that required you to rethink your teaching methods and/or approach? The most challenging year was when we ran a hybrid schedule due to COVID restrictions. We had to rethink many of our old strategies and how to best present materials for distance learning.

What is different, unique and/or enjoyable about the school that you are currently teaching at? I love the feel of family among my colleagues. We are a tight-knit group.

Why did you choose teaching as a career path? I have always had a passion for teaching-even during my early adulthood, I liked training new employees which is a form of teaching.

What is the most fulfilling part of teaching? I love seeing my students’ light bulbs come on whenever they have an ah-ha moment. Also, I enjoy former students stopping by my room just to say hello.

What is the most challenging part of teaching? Keeping up with the workload and ensuring that I’m giving timely and beneficial feedback.

How has your view of teaching changed since you first embarked on your teaching career? I feel that I’m very fortunate to have a job that I truly love. I am thankful that I followed through with sage advice to get my degree.

How have you seen the profession change over the course of your career, and how do you see it continuing to evolve going forward? I have seen the teacher’s position to be more of a facilitator rather than presenting lectures. Additionally, assignments and texts are more rigorous than they used to be.

If there was any one variable that you could control or enhance to help with the educational process, what would that be and why? Hidden cell phone usage and playing unblocked games during class time is absolutely detrimental to students capturing critical assignments and materials needed to be successful.

Who is somebody who has been especially impactful in your teaching career, and why did he/she make such an impact on you? In the spring of 2000 while I was working as a substitute teacher at TCHS, the secretary, Mrs. Glenda Fisher, talked to me about becoming a full-time substitute teacher. Our daughters were in elementary school, and I told Mrs. Fisher that I wanted a job at TCES. I’ll never forget what she told me ... “You know, Penny, I understand why you would want to work at the elementary school. The children are so sweet and adorable and so easy to love, but our guys need love too.” Her words made such an impression on me that I could not shake the weight of her words. After working full-time at TCHS, Mr. Toby Woodmore encouraged me to begin college to pursue my teaching career. He told me that if I was going into teacher’s rooms (to substitute) and doing the same job as they did, why not get my education and get paid for it? His logic made complete sense to me.

Could you share what has been one of your most memorable moments in teaching? Perhaps one of the most impactful experiences I’ve had is when a former student took time out to contact me to tell me that he applied everything he learned through his capstone project (résumes, cover letters, mock interviews, etc.) and landed his dream job. Affirmation is one of the most rewarding feelings a teacher can have.

What is the most meaningful thing a student could say to you? Thank you for preparing me for … the PreACT, Junior year, end-of-course test, life, etc. The students who keep coming back to my room to say hello to me mean so much to me.

How would you ideally like to be characterized or remembered as a teacher? Caring yet challenging. I strive to give each student my best each and every day.