Life on a Farm in Peavine, TN circa 1913

Now we come to the historical journals that represent life on a farm in Peavine, TN during 1911-13. These are legal-size ledgers, handwritten in fountain pen by my great-grandfather Chauncey Edward Brookhart.

As interested as I am in reading these pages, carefully dated and inscribed, it is not to be an easy task, although the handwriting is far more legible than that of either of my own sons today. Chauncey Edward Brookhart was the local postmaster, which I am assuming was a business conducted from his Peavine, TN home. (Today this is the Fairfield Glade area) Family & friends are gathering for Christmas in 1913 in the three pages I reference here, and there is quite a bit of illness going around.

December 20, 1913: I am feeling a little better. I help tend to the P.O. A big lott of mail goes out.

December 24, 1913: (Weds.) John Spick brings Sarah and her three little ones down about noon and leaves them, then goes back to Dorton and goes to Wartburg. I am about the same. Not much appetite.

December 25: All at home but Athol. We have a (unable to read) chicken. Athol comes a foot from Dorton gets here just before dark.

December 26: Marlen, Athol and Wilbur start out early to hunt hogs. They bring up two big dandy sows and a year old sandy shoat. Getting in third load of wood when Athol was taken with sudden sickness and chills and Marlin had to bring him in. Dr. Lewis comes about 10o’clock, but helps him but little. George (my grandfather) rides to Crossville and back during the night in three hours (today a 15 minute car ride) for child of Lawson that has diphtheria. The child died about morning.

December 27: Dr. Lewis says Athol has acute gastritis and pneumonia sets in during the night. We send word to Willie and she and baby comes down with Horace Oaks. Athol grows slowly worse all day.

December 28: Athol very much worse. Dr Ganus says he has pneumonia in both lungs and no hope of saving him. John comes about 10 ock and takes Sarah and her little ones home then brings Mrs. M. Potter here to stay with us all night. Athol grows continuously worse and passed to the other life about 6 ock in the evening.

December 29: John takes Mrs. Potter home and goes to Crossville to arrange about grave and notify the Odd Fellows. George goes to Crossville with team to get coffin and clothes and is late getting back. Neighbor men dress and put Athol in coffin and sit up all night.

December 30: Professor March and Miss Wetley come out from (unreadable) and Prof. March conducts short service at 10 ock then Miss Wetly sings two songs and they start for Crossville. The Odd Fellows bury Athol.

And on it goes, with Chauncey always back at the P.O., someone always hauling in a load of wood, everyone afflicted with colds or the gripp. Snow falls in early January, the colt, Ginger, has dysentery (?) and badly swollen throat. All the Brookhart men and boys take turns doing the chores with those who feel best doing the harder work while the others recuperate.


Personally I am wondering where Chauncey’s wife, Mary Stevens, married in 1878, is during this time. She may already be deceased. And I’ve really no idea who Athol is. (Note added 8/2: Athol is one of Chauncey’s four children, Marlen (b.1880), Athol (b.1881), George (b. 1885) Wilbur (b.1887) His seems an unusual name. Found a census page which lists all family members. The man I thought to be my grandfather in picture, George, must be Marlen. Wilbur, the baby stands next to George. The children’s ages in the photo do not seem to quite match 1900 census info, but would indicate this photo taken around 1889, perhaps.) The ledgers I have date from some 23 years later. Athol would have been 32 at his death.

My purpose here is to honor the Brookhart lineage of fathers in past generations of which I have mementos and records. My knowledge of my grandfather, George Frederick, (2nd from left) is sketchier, even though I remember him well and have several of his artifacts saved by his wife, Mary. George’s mother, sister, and wife were all named Mary. That will have to be Part III.

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5 comments on “Life on a Farm in Peavine, TN circa 1913”

  1. What a wonderful piece of family history to own!

  2. So my grandmother is a Brookhart and she is Marlens daughter. I just happend to google Peavine Tn. and came across your blog. She says that Marlen took this picture as she has the same one at home. I sent her the link to your article and hopefully she will be able to give you more information!

  3. Marlen was my father I had thought he had taken this pic. as he had a hobby of photography but he was to young. We are taking my bro, Norman to the grave site at the home place for buriel this Sat.Oct.10,2009.I will check the date of grandmas death on her tombstone. Clara B.

  4. My name is Bobby Sherrill and i have done a family tree on my mothers side…..the Brookharts. You are more than welcome to look at my site and take what info you can use and if you find any mistakes or info that i don’t have, please let me know. i have included the website below. hope it can be helpful to you.


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