Some History and Descendants of the Deal Family

This is a work in progress.  Additions and corrections would be very much appreciated, and I would love to hear from any descendant of this family!  Any desired changes to this document will be made.  Please contact Chris at

William Washington Deal was born in Tennessee on 20 November 1842.  (The date is on his death certificate.)  He grew up in the household of a woman named Eliza Deal, who was almost certainly his mother, but there has been some doubt about this; and Eliza may have been William’s aunt.  Eliza’s maiden name was Russell.  She was the widow of a man named James Deal, who had died sometime prior to 1850.

The Deals and the Russells lived on Sam’s Creek in what is now Cheatham County, Tennessee.  The 1850 census shows Eliza Deal, age 35, living just two doors down from her brother Joseph F. Russell.  Her household included four children: William Deal (our ancestor), age 8; James Deal, age 8; Mary Deal, age 6; and Delilah Russell (Eliza’s niece), age 8.

They lived close to the mineral springs at the head of the Creek, six or seven miles north of current-day Pegram, Tennessee.  A dozen households away lived John Riggan (b. 1790 in North Carolina), one of the earliest settlers of the Sam’s Creek area.  Riggan had a double log cabin, known as Riggan’s Tavern, which was a landmark for those seeking the head of the spring, whose waters were considered to have healing properties.

From the springs, Sam’s Creek flows northward for about a dozen miles until it empties into the Cumberland River near Lillamay, across from what is now Ashland City.  In the lowlands along the south bank of the Cumberland, there were a number of good-sized sized plantations.  But further upstream, where Eliza Deal lived, there were only small farms and hunting camps.

This was the neighborhood where William Washington Deal was a boy, and where Eliza (Russell) Deal lived from sometime before 1850 until her death, at age 39, in 1854.  She died without leaving a will, and her only heirs were minor children, so her property was sold at auction on September 14. The estate settlement lists her personal property in detail, but makes no mention of real estate; so it appears that she did not own the house where she lived.

The list of Eliza Deal’s belongings is a biography in itself: the auction included her spinning wheel, soap trough, rocking chair, shotgun, and a full range of household goods (coffee mill, skillet, water bucket, and so on).  Her furniture (for herself and four children, and in addition to the rocking chair) consisted of a table, five chairs, three beds, and a cupboard.  Her stock included a cow and calf, a yoke of oxen, a mare, sixteen chickens, and twelve head of hogs.  Including cash on hand, her belongings were worth $218.02.

The largest portion of Eliza’s estate was purchased by her brother Joseph F. Russell, who bought her mare ($47.00), her crop of corn ($66.50), and several other items.  The other buyers were almost all close neighbors as well: John Dillard bought Eliza’s side saddle, her chickens, the knives and forks, cups and saucers, basin, a crock of lard, and one of the bedsteads.  Asa Riggan bought her yoke of oxen and her hoe.  Claiborne Charles Hooper bought her pitcher, plates, and a pair of pot hooks.  Other purchasers included J. Abernathy (possibly her late husband’s brother-in-law James Abernathy), Joseph A. Work (who also served as executor) and half a dozen or so others.

After Eliza Deal’s death, the children were probably cared for by their uncle Joseph Russell; and the youngest child, Mary Deal (age ten at Eliza’s death), was still living with the Joseph Russell family six years later in 1860 (by which time this family had moved to Dickson County).  William Washington Deal stayed in Cheatham County, but he moved a few miles west to a village named Chestnut Grove.

Chestnut Grove and Bell’s Bend

You can’t find Chestnut Grove on a current map, but it was in roughly the same location as the town now called Shacklett.  It was bordered on the west by the Harpeth River and on the south by Dog Creek, and it extended up to the Scott Cemetery, just across the Harpeth from the Indian burial grounds at Mound Bottom.  

Chestnut Grove and Mound Bottom were just one bend in the river away from the Narrows of the Harpeth, where the river makes a meandering, seven mile loop – surrounding an area called Bell’s Bend – and then comes back to within three hundred feet of itself, but separated from itself by a high limestone bluff. 

The bluff provides a spectacular view of Bell’s Bend, and William W. Deal must have come up to the bluff to admire the view and to marvel at the greatest engineering feat in the state: back in the early 1820’s, industrialist Montgomery Bell – who owned iron furnaces throughout the area – had conceived the idea of digging a tunnel through the limestone bluff to connect the river to itself at the Narrows. 

On the south side of the bluff, the river is ten feet lower than on the north, so Bell saw that a tunnel through the bluff would create a powerful waterfall.  Bell owned around three hundred slaves, and he had them blast and dig a tunnel, through solid rock, three hundred feet long, twenty feet wide, and eight feet high – tall enough for a man to stand up inside, except that once the tunnel was complete, the river flowing through it made that difficult.  The new falls turned a row of eight waterwheels.  The waterwheels were connected to the mechanical arms of four drop hammers, which ran day and night, hammering billets of pig iron into wrought iron plates and bars.  The head of each hammer weighed sixty-five pounds.  It was the most powerful forge in Tennessee.

Chestnut Grove, where William Washington Deal was living in 1860, was just about two miles from the Narrows of the Harpeth.  Chestnut Grove was not a big place – the post office served a population of around 200.  The postmaster was James H. Fulghum, who also ran a general store.  Fulghum employed William Washington Deal as a store clerk, and Deal lived with the Fulghum family.

We can’t pinpoint the location of Fulghum’s store – it might have been on Cedar Hill Road, or on Scott Road, or on some road which no longer exists; but my guess is that it was on what is now called Dog Creek Road.  This road is narrow, and now quiet, and it dead-ends a few miles west of Cedar Hill.  But at the time, it was part of the old stagecoach route from Nashville to Charlotte – the Charlotte Pike.

Cheatham County marriage records show a marriage between W. W. Deal and Fannie Scott on 11 May 1861, a few weeks after the Civil War broke out.  Fannie was the daughter of Thomas W. Scott, who lived quite close to the Fulghum household.

I have not been able to discover what William W. Deal did during the Civil War.  He was nineteen years old when the war broke out, and should have been conscripted; but I cannot locate a service or pension file for him.  Wherever he spent the war years, William was back (or still) in Chestnut Grove by August 1865.  (He appears in the records of the estate sale of his later father-in-law, Thomas W. Scott.)

William Washington Deal and Louisa Wynn            

In 1870, William W. Deal filed for divorce from his wife Fanny Scott, claiming that she had abandoned him in favor of another man (named T. S. Bryan).  Two years later, on 24 September 1872, in Cheatham County, William W. Deal married Louisa “Lou” Wynn (born 12 March 1856).  William was almost thirty and Lou was only sixteen. 

Lou was from Colesburg.  She was the daughter of James Henry Wynn and Theodosia Hooper, and she was the granddaughter of Eleanor (Goodrich) Hooper.  Lou’s great-grandfather was the Rev. James Goodrich, a Baptist minister had owned an iron furnace on Yellow Creek, and was a competitor to Montgomery Bell.

William and Louisa settled in Cheatham County District 10, near the Harpeth River.  Their grandson Howard Deal remembered a story about what happened when they left Colesburg.  William and Lou had loaded all their belongings into the wagons and set out for Bell’s Bend, where William had made arrangements to rent a place; but the Harpeth River was in their way.  Howard recalled:

They had a place rented over in Bell's Bend down here and the river was up when they got down there and there was a house empty there before you cross the river, so they just put the furniture in it and they lived there for eighteen years.

So the west bank of the Harpeth, near Bell’s Bend, is where William and Louisa’s children were born – eventually there would be ten children altogether.  It’s also where William was living when he received an 1873 license to become a dealer in retail liquor and manufactured tobacco, “business to be carried on at Parmer's Mills.” And William ran a sorghum mill, pressing the juice out of sorghum cane and boiling the juice down into sorghum syrup, also called “sorghum molasses.”  William didn’t know it, but he was starting a family tradition of sorghum-making which would run for at least five generations.

William and Lou’s older children grew to adulthood in Cheatham County – the eldest daughter, Eliza, married Samuel A. Old in Cheatham County in 1889.  And the eldest son, James Henry Deal (who was born in 1875), later told his children about helping his father run the sorghum mill.  James’s son Howard later recalled,

[James Henry Deal] said his daddy run a mill down in Bell’s Bend, he could remember back when he was nine years old, so that was in 1884.  And he didn’t know how long his daddy run the mill, so I just count it from 1884, been in the sorghum business.

On another occasion, James said that he worked at his father’s Cheatham County sorghum mill for nine years, that is, until about 1896.

But then in the late 1890’s, the family moved again – with all ten children, even their married daughter Eliza, who now had children of their own.  They moved just few miles west, across the county line into Dickson County, and they settled near White Bluff, where William and Louisa – and most of the children – would live for the rest of their lives. 

The town of White Bluff did not exist prior to the Civil War: from Nashville, the railroad went only as far west as Kingston Springs.  But after the Federal seizure of Nashville in 1862, the Union generals realized that another fifty miles of track, extending the existing rails to the Tennessee River at Johnsonville, would open up a valuable supply line. 

The owners of the Nashville and Northwestern had intended, previously, that as the line was extended west, it would reach Laurel Furnace, to bring iron ore and limestone to the furnace and to take the pig iron away.  But the Federals were only interested in the quickest route to the Tennessee River, so the furnace was bypassed.  The new tracks ran along a plateau a little above the surrounding area, and at the widest point in the ridge – between mile posts 31 and 32 – the Yankees constructed a work camp with buildings including a field hospital.  This site would later come to be known as White Bluff.

After the Yankee soliders went home, a pair of Scotsmen named George H. Morton and Alexander Wright built a general store alongside the new tracks, at the former work camp.  (Though Morton was Scottish, his Confederate credentials were impeccable – he had been Lieutenant Colonel of the First Confederate Regiment and had been injured in battle half a dozen times.)  Another Scotsman, Alexander Kerr, opened a grist-mill.  The railroad started calling itself the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis; and the town of “White Bluffs” was platted by Alston Myatt.

By the late 1890s, when William Washington Deal and Lou Wynn Deal arrived with their ten children, the town had a population of around four hundred.  The children were:

1.Eliza Ellen Deal, b. 20 June 1873.

2.James Henry Deal, b. 2 January 1875.

3.Louisa May “Lula” Deal, b. 29 January 1877.

4.Hattie Elizabeth Deal, b. 4 April 1879.

5.William Andrew “Will” Deal, b. 5 January 1882.

6.Richard Douglas Deal, b. 27 August 1884.

7.John Franklin Deal, b. 10 April 1887.

8.Mary A. “Mamie” Deal, b. 14 January 1890.

9.Robert V. Deal, b. 15 February 1892.

10.George Washington Deal, b. 16 December 1894.

The eldest daughter, Eliza, was already married (to Sam Old) and had children of her own; but Eliza and Sam moved with the rest of the Deals to White Bluff.

The eldest son, James Henry Deal, later talked about how after the move to White Bluff, he and his father William W. Deal would go fishing on Trace Creek, or sometimes just set out trot lines and come back the next day to see what they had caught.  Lou later told her grandchildren about what a great hunter and fisherman William W. Deal was, and how he would come home with so may fish that they would have fried fish for breakfast.

James Henry Deal may not have been as good a hunter as his father William was, at least not at first.  On one occasion, he and his hunting companions had some trouble with some of the wild hogs that still ran loose in the woods, and this story was told by James’s son Earlie Ray Deal in a 1979 interview:

I’ll tell you a good one on Dad – people used to hunt, possum hunt, you know, at night a lot.  Hogs was always running out in the woods.  So they was all out possum hunting one night and the dogs gone on and caught the sow of a pig.  Well, naturally, them sows take out after them dogs, and when they take out after the dogs, well they come right back to you.  So everybody hollered, let’s climb a tree.  Well, everybody climbed a tree.  But dad – and he thought he was sitting up on a big limb – he thought he’d done climbed up there, you know.  So – finally everything got quiet, and everybody got down but him.  And they hollered for him to get down, and he said, I can’t – said, you’ll have to bring the lantern so I can see how to get down.  So they carried the lantern down there to where he was up the tree at, and he was sitting locked around the tree with his feet on the ground.  He never had got off the ground.

James said he thought he must have climbed up further and “scooted back” without realizing it.  It took him a while to live that one down.

At first, the family seems to have lived on Trace Creek, but in March 1899, James Henry Deal purchased five acres of property on the Charlotte Pike, and he started building a house there for his parents William and Lou, plus a separate cottage for himself.

On day in late 1900, James Henry Deal took his rifle, got on his mule, and rode out hunting along Trace Creek.  He didn’t find any game, but he was attracted by “a big washing hung out in the sun,” and met the girl doing the laundry, nineteen-year-old Ida Victoria Petty. Ida was a beautiful girl.  She got her dark hair, high cheekbones, and olive complexion from her mother, Tennessee Frances Daugherty, who was part Cherokee.

The next Sunday, Jim rode the same mule up the same creek, but this time it was for a date with Ida.  Jim was soon a regular visitor to the Petty household.  Another visitor, Cassie Howell, later recalled Ida’s mother, Tennessee Frances (Daugherty) Petty:

All the young people called her Aunt Tenn.  She was a dear person.  And a treat to see and hear.  She always had snuff in the corner of her mouth.  She was a tall, skinny woman with gray streaked, stringy hair and some teeth missing.  And a cackle laugh.  Everyone like her.  I loved to go there.  She could always make you laugh.  She would tell our fortunes with coffee grounds, tea leaves, or cards.  She kept the coffee pot on the stove all the winter.

Within a few months after he had met Ida, Jim finished building the house and cottage on Charlotte Pike (now Highway 70); and on 13 January 1901, Jim and Ida were married at her sister’s house by Tom Whitfield, a local preacher. William and Lou moved into the new house, and Jim and Ida moved into the cottage in back.

The house is gone now, but it was fifty or seventy-five feet south of the old Charlotte Pike (and so a little further south of the new road).  William and Lou’s great-grandson Gerald Miller recalls the place: there was a central hall, with a bedroom on each side.  Each bedroom had a small wood stove.  Past the two bedrooms, you went down a few steps to the rear area of the house, where there was a kitchen on the left and an unheated storeroom on the right.  In back of the house was the cottage, plus a garden, a barn, a henhouse, and an outhouse.

Ida had all the skills of a pioneer woman.  (Later on, her daughters fought over her wooden butter-mold.)  So she was a great asset to the sorghum-making business which the Deals had started back in Cheatham County and brought with them to White Bluff.

The mill was powered by a team of mules (at first, just a single mule) walking around and around in a circle, turning a set of gears which took in the sorghum cane one stalk at a time, squeezed out the sugary juice which ran into a holding tank, and then spit out the cane leavings.  Then the juice was transferred to a galvanized steel evaporator pan, where it ran through a series of compartments heated by a wood fire, as the juice was boiled down into syrup.

For a while, Jim and Ida ran their own mill (their son Howard could point to where the old evaporator pan had been left out in the woods); and sometimes Jim worked for other people.  Then, for a while, Jim and Ida quit making sorghum altogether and Jim worked for the railroad. James and Ida started making Sorghum again in 1921, and from that point forward, sorghum-making was their primary livelihood.  Their son Earlie Ray Deal recalled, in a 1979 interview with the Tennessee Folklife Project: 

Earlie:  Well, when we first started making, back in 1921, we had a small mill, used one mule to it, going ‘round and ‘round.  And a small pan, nine foot pan.  About 35 gallons a day was the limit.  See, you have to boil down from ten, twelve gallons of juice to get a gallon of syrup.  We’d start at four o’clock, and quit when it got so dark we couldn’t see, cause we didn’t have no lights then.  Lanterns.

Folklife:  And did all the neighbors bring [their cane]?

Earlie:  Well, the first year, nobody but us, we made two hundred and – two hundred and how many gallons?  Two hundred and two gallons, wasn’t it.  I remember that.  Two hundred and two gallons the first year, that was from our own cane.  That’s what we had.  Well then after that, people got to bringing it.  And we’d charge a third.  Take a third of the molasses.  We’d cook it, strain it, and put it in a bucket, or cans, or whatever they brought, and we’d get a third of it.  So they got to bringing so much that we didn’t have time to raise none ourselves and had to quit.  That was back in poorer times.  Times was hard.

Sorghum cane – originally a tropical plant – does not tolerate cold weather, so it had to be cut before first frost.  Once cut, it could be stored for up to a month before it was milled.  So from the beginning of September to the end of October, Jim and Ida and their children made sorghum molasses.  Since they kept one third of the molasses made from cane brought by other farmers, they could sell their portion at twenty-five cents a half gallon.  So as production increased, the money wasn’t bad, but the cash flow lasted only for two months a year.  Jim and Ida kept a garden but had no other source of income.

Sorghum cane had been imported into Tennessee in the 1830’s as a substitute for sugar, for areas which too remote for people to buy sugar at the store.  White Bluff did not look remote on a map – in addition to the railway, it was on the main road from Nashville to Charlotte, the county seat.  But when a woman named Jennie Woodworth came to White Bluff in 1905 (seven or eight years after the Deals arrived), she was a little bit shocked.  Jennie considered herself accustomed to rural Tennessee – as a girl, she had lived near Cumberland Furnace – but White Bluff was different:

White Bluff was a distressing looking place; many shabby houses, very few board sidewalks and they of short length, the streets a mass of mud, and pigs and cows roaming everywhere…  The school they had was irregular; possibly two or three months a year only.  The improvised school-house they used, was a vacant house, almost too old for habitation.  Pigs slept in it at night, and mornings the pigs were driven out to hold school…  White Bluff was truly a primitive place, with old ideas and habits.  There was no progression.  It was fifty years or more behind the times.

Over time, Jennie Woodworth became one of the guiding lights of White Bluff.  She was successful in getting a law passed requiring wood sidewalks, and she lobbied for legislation to keep pigs and cows confined, so that they could no longer wander onto the porches of the stores.  In 1914, she founded a social services agency called “Elizabeth House” to relieve poverty and improve education in White Bluff, and she started this venture by calling on John Howe Peyton, President of the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railway.

Peyton admitted to Jennie Woodworth that White Bluff was “the trouble station in the line,” and that it was “in need of cleaning up.”  He was not sure, however, how much difference she could make.  Jennie recalled, “He told me I had undertaken a big job, but he gave me ten dollars to start with, but said he could not give me any encouragement knowing the reputation the town had with vice and corruption.”  A typical fundraising letter by Woodworth describes White Bluff in these terms:

This is a village of 400 souls, on what is known as the “Ridge Lands” in Tennessee… This section is burdened with ignorance, illiteracy, hookworm… Sanitation is unknown…  The awful drouth of the past year made our poor people poorer.  Having no ready money to buy necessities, many are in actual need.  Dried beans at six cents a pound are too expensive for the man who has a large family…  In many homes, a sack of flour is a rare sight, a little corn meal and sorghum being the staple crop.

Jennie Woodworth was able to establish a public library.  She got the town incorporated, with a charter calling for an elected mayor, six aldermen, and a constable.  She campaigned against the evils of whiskey.  And when in 1914 she held a Christmas celebration where she gave away oranges, apples, candy, and soap, she had about a hundred visitors – one quarter of the population of the town – and she reported that many of those who came had never before seen a Christmas tree.  The next Christmas, 1915, she had five hundred visitors – more than the entire population of White Bluff, because people rode from miles away to see a Christmas tree.

William Washington Deal and his family were much better off than most, and his sons look prosperous in early photos (though Jennie was right about literacy: Lou, the boys’ mother, could read a little, but she never did learn to write).

Still, it’s not entirely clear what the Deal family thought of Ms. Woodworth’s “progression.”  It is an actual fact that the Deal family sorghum mill in White Bluff continued to be powered by mules until 1972.  James Henry Deal’s son Howard Deal, who ran the mill at this time, wasn’t trying to be quaint.  He just wanted to make and sell sorghum.  (Howard did finally switch to using a tractor engine to run the mill, which cut down on the nuisance of photographers, folklorists, and students writing school papers about “the old ways.”) 

And I’m not sure what the Deals made of Ms. Woodworth’s campaign against whiskey.  In 1901 (the same year that James H. Deal married Ida Petty), two of William Washington Deal’s daughters, Hattie and Lula, had married a pair of brothers, James Cathey and Fred Cathey.  The Catheys were well-known moonshiners.  Fred and James Cathey had regular jobs – Robert Harold Deal recalls that his uncle Fred worked for Colonel William James, the largest property holder in the area, walking the property line to make sure everything was OK – but everyone knew their real occupation.

So while I’m sure that the Deals appreciated many of Jennie Woodworth’s improvements, some of her ideas may have been lost on them.

The Deals seem to have been a pretty tight-knit family.  The 1910 census of White Bluff shows four consecutive related households on Charlotte Pike.  First is the household of William Washington Deal and Lou, with their five youngest children (Douglas, John, Mamie, Robert, and George) still living at home.  Next door to them is their daughter Lula Deal with her husband Fred Cathey and five children (Annie, Stevie, William, George, and Clarence).  Next in line is Hattie Deal with her husband James W. Cathey and their three children (Nannie, Sam, Acy).  And next door to them is James Henry Deal with his wife Ida and their five children (Clara May, Laura, Ola Dell, Earnest, and Winnie).  Will and his wife Lydia and two children (Sadie and Gladys) are just a short distance away on Harpeth River Road.  Most of these families would continue to grow over time.

The two middle sons, Douglas Deal and John F. Deal, both started out as photographers.  In 1910, they both were still living in their parents’ home, but they were working as agents for a photography studio in Nashville, taking orders and sending film to be developed. But while he was still taking pictures, he went out to the town of Neptune, Tennessee (near Springfield) and met Ina Reams Evans (the “i” in “Ina” is long: eye-nah).  Douglas and Ina were married in 1913.

Ina the only child of Carrie Emily Swift and David Augustus Evans – prominent people from the town of Neptune.   Ina’s father David Augustus Evans did not approve of Ina’s choice of a fiancée.  He thought that Ina should end up in someplace like Springfield or Clarksville, certainly not White Bluff.  Ina seems to have been happy with her choice of a husband, and she used the little money she did receive as an inheritance to buy land in White Bluff on both sides of the Charlotte Pike.  But she never really adjusted to White Bluff.

The Nashville, Chattanooga, & St. Louis

The town of White Bluff had crystallized around the train depot, and for many years the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railway was the town’s largest employer.  Five of William Washington Deal’s six sons – Jim, Will, Douglas, Robert, and George – were railroad employees for at least a few years (some longer), and the sixth son, John, worked independently using the family’s mule to help pull railroad cars out of the tram cut.  At least one of the daughters, Mamie, was married to a railroad employee.

James Henry, the oldest son, worked for the railroad for a few years as a young man, and cousin Jimmy Deal has James’ “railroad watch.” But James Henry was in a railway accident in which his legs got cut up pretty badly – he had the scars for the rest of his life – and he quit the railroad after that, in favor of farming and sorghum-making.  The second-oldest son, William Andrew Deal became a section worker, repairing track.  Will and his wife Lydia Stephens lived in White Bluff at least until 1930.  He later moved to Marietta, Georgia, but he still owned a small farm in White Bluff, with a little house, and this land was connected to Douglas Deal’s farm.

Douglas Deal kept working as a photographer until the First World War, when there was a film shortage; so he quit taking pictures as a profession and went to work for the railroad.  Douglas was a brakeman.  But a bout of typhoid fever left him weakened for months afterward, and he was forced to take a less demanding (and much less well-paying) job as a section worker, like Will.

The two youngest sons – Robert V. “Bob” Deal and George Washington Deal – also went to work for the railroad.  Bob was a fireman on the line by the time he was 17, when he was still living at home, but then he moved to Nashville.  Myra Deal Jones recalls that Bob was a very handsome man who never married; she thinks he might have died of influenza.  He died at age 22, in 1914.  George Deal also worked as a railroad laborer.

William Washington Deal’s youngest daughter, Mamie, married Joseph Engles, another brakeman on the Nashville-Chattanooga line.  Mamie and Joe were married in Dickson County, but later moved to the Belmont section of Nashville.  When the trains went through White Bluff, Joe Engles would stand on the platform at the rear of the caboose and throw candy to his nieces and nephews (especially the children of Clara Mai Deal). 

The Generations Change

William Washington Deal died on 13 September 1917, after spending a few days in a hospital in Nashville.  His widow Louisa later moved in with Douglas, in the house on his farm, which adjoined the Hutton Cemetery.

Lou was now the matriarch of the family in White Bluff.  Robert Harold Deal remembers that his grandmother Lou taught the boys how to set traps – “jump traps” they were called – using parched corn as bait.  (They were always hoping to catch a fox and sell the hide, but usually just caught possums). 

And Lou would teach them about planting.  Robert Harold helped with the garden, and Lou would tell him how to plant and tend beans and potatoes – things his mother, Ina, didn’t know and his father, Douglas, wasn’t home to tell him.  Lou would tell her grandchildren stories about how plentiful chestnuts were before the blight, and how they used to split fence rails out of chestnut trees.  She talked about the time when there were still wildcats (panthers) in Tennessee, and how the cry of the wildcat was just like a woman’s scream.

Sometime between 1920 and 1930, however, Lou had to find a new place to live.   Doulgas’s wife Ina (Evans) Deal had decided that she could stand White Bluff no longer.  “I’m not going to live out here anymore, Douglas,” she told him.  “I’m just not going to live out here.”  Douglas agreed to move to Kingston Springs – just a few miles away, but a more sophisticated place.  Kingston Springs was a resort town with two big hotels, and people came by rail to “take the waters,” (which, Douglas’s daughter Myra says, “stank to high heaven”).

So Lou moved in with her son William Andrew Deal and daughter-in-law Lydia.  Every Monday, Lou would walk down to James and Ida’s house.  This was Ida’s wash day.  Ida would wash clothes in a big iron kettle in the rear yard, under the walnut tree.  Lou would stay for washday dinner, and then walk back to William and Lydia’s house.  Lou gave her sewing machine to her granddaughter Dorothy Deal (James and Ida’s youngest daughter) for Dorothy to make doll clothes.

Around 1936, Lou, who had been to Dickson, was getting off the bus back at home, and she fell.  After that, she never walked without crutches.  Louisa (Wynn) Deal died on 21 June 1937 and is buried in the Hutton Cemetery in White Bluff, next to her husband William Washington Deal. 

William and Lou did not have carved headstones, but a very large fieldstone – large enough that it probably took three or four men to lift – was placed over their graves.  (Much later on, in the early 2000’s, the large stone disappeared, and William and Lou’s grandchildren Myra Deal and Robert Harold Deal had proper markers carved for their grandparents.)

After Lou passed on, her eldest son James Henry Deal was clearly the head of the family in White Bluff.  Although James lived into the 1960’s, he never drove a car.  If he needed to go someplace, he walked or hitched up a team of mules to the wagon.  One early photo of James shows him wearing a suit, but this must have been for a very special occasion.  Later on, James always wore overalls, even to church – the White Bluff Church of Christ, where he was an elder. 

Jim and Ida’s grandson Gerald Miller lived with them through the 1940’s and into the early 1950’s, and he has vivid recollections of the household.

Ida was usually in the kitchen.  She always wore an apron, and if she was outdoors, she’d wear a bonnet (“the kind the Mennonites wear,” Gerald says).  The kitchen stove was one of those enormous, cast-iron and porcelain affairs, with warming bins and a compartment for heating water.

Water had to be drawn from the Naul spring a quarter mile away, and transported by wagon to the house (this also changed, in the early 1940’s, when James and Ida had a well dug). 

The kitchen also had an icebox, and you would leave a sign on the porch saying how many pounds of ice you wanted when the ice wagon came around – five, ten, or fifteen pounds.  (This eventually changed: around 1945, James had the house wired for electricity, and four or five years after that, he purchased an electric refrigerator).

There was a root cellar, where apples, pears, and potatoes were stored, wrapped in newspaper.  There was a garden, a smokehouse, a barn, and, further back, an outhouse.  Jim and Ida never did get indoor plumbing.

Out in the rear yard was where the clothes were washed – by hand, on a ribbed glass washboard, until the late 1940’s when they got one of those Maytag washers with two tubs and a wringer in between.

They grew corn, of course, and in the barn was a hand-cranked corn sheller, which James Henry would let Gerald run.  Then they would hitch up a team and take the dried corn kernels to a gristmill out toward Pegram Station, to be ground into meal.

In the garden, Ida grew several varieties of beans and peas, and she grew cabbages, which she made into sauerkraut, since it would keep through the winter.  Ida made lots of sauerkraut, in quarter-barrel wooden kegs.  Ida’s granddaughter Dorothy (Deal) Prowell recalls, “I hated that stuff.”

And of course, every autumn, it was time to harvest the sorghum cane and run the mill.  Here’s a story which Earl told in 1979 about the skimming hole (where the liquid waste of the cooking process was thrown out), and the eventual fate of one of the hogs:

I tell you, back when we first started, when you had your skimming hole right there… well, there was no fence at all then.  No, cattle and hogs would all run out.  And so them pigs, hogs, we had about eight or ten, I don’t know how many, now, I’ve forgot.  But they’d come up there at the morning, and that stuff’d ferment in that hole, skimming hole where you’d throw it out.  And it’d make ‘em drunk.  And them hogs’d get drunk every morning.  And you talk about squealing and carrying on, and staggering, but they’d do it.  And one of ‘em got cross-eyed, why, the other one, they had a car run into it and killed it.  And we just skinned and barbequed it.

The usual time for hog butchering was in November, after sorghum-time was over and the weather was colder.  That was when it was time to cure meat for the winter.  Jim and Ida would get several of their neighbors together, and each family would bring a hog, so there would be four or six hogs.  They’d shoot the hogs in the morning, and bleed them out.  Then they’d drag them into the rear yard. 

In the rear yard was a big, cast-iron cauldron to heat the water for scalding the hogs.  The cauldron was about three feet in diameter and rested on three short legs.  They’d then hang the hogs up, take hot water from the pot, and pour it on the carcasses to scald them.  Then they’d take a big knife and scrape the hair off, holding the knife sideways with both hands, until the skin was clean and white.  Then they’d rip a long cut down the center of each hog, catching the entrails in a #2 galvanized iron washtub underneath.  “I can still smell that smell,” Gerald says – “It was awful.” 

Once the carcasses had cooled, they would be blocked out.  You would cut the hams off, cut the sides out, cut the shoulders off, and trim the cuts of meat.  Then you would put the meat down and salt it, all except the tenderloin (backstrap), which would be eaten that night: the evening meal would be backstrap and eggs.  “This,” Gerald says, “was a very big deal.  We didn’t have a lot of meat.  We ate a lot of cornbread and beans and sorghum.”

Just about the only foodstuffs that Jim and Ida bought at the store were flour, coffee, and salt, plus other pepper and other spices.  Anything else, they grew themselves, or did without.

James Henry Deal and Ida Petty celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1951.  There was a large family celebration, and they invited Gordon Turner, a reporter from the newspaper in Nashville, who wrote filed a story:

…  All these Deals, most of the children now grown, married and with children and grandchildren of their own, read and enjoy THE NASHVILLE TENNESSEAN.  In a family caucus last week, they elected to invite me to the golden wedding and molasses-making anniversary celebration.  Staged a few days ago at the old home (and molasses mill) near here, nearly 100 kinfolks, neighbors, and friends came for the big dinner and to bring gifts to the honored couple.

Late in the day, at the molasses mill where tourists from all 48 states and several foreign countries have stopped to see sorghum made and buy it, the elder Deals told me of their humble but magnificent “sweet obsession.”  Of course it was the off season but, with the copper evaporating pan clean and overturned for safe-keeping and the muledrawn mill still, everything is ready for the 51st season come early September.

Many years of cane leavings were rotting away near the mill where the juice was extracted, and the hewn-out “lever pull” was in place ready for the instant hitching of the mules when another planting and harvesting is done.  All in all, the mill scene with the little home in the background befittingly portrayed the end of a perfect day as well as 50 years for the Deals.

But Ida was becoming ill.  Her lifelong habit of dipping snuff – a habit she inherited from her mother, Tennessee Frances Daugherty – gave Ida cancer of the lip, and she died from it in 1956.  Her body was laid out in the hallway of the home – no funeral home was involved – and someone sat with the body around the clock until Ida was buried.  One of the Catheys dug the grave.

Then James Henry Deal, now in his eighties, broke his hip, and could no longer take care of himself.  So Clifford Deal’s wife Frances Dorothy Deal paid for her father-in-law’s surgery with the money she had gotten from her hogs and her chickens; and she told Clifford pointedly that they were going to take James Henry in.   James Henry Deal lived in a room at the back of Clifford and Frances’s house for the rest of his life.  James Henry Deal died in 1963.

It is striking how many of the Deals are buried in White Bluff.  The Hutton Cemetery and the Olds’ Cemetery are both on Highway 70, less than half a mile apart.  In just these two, small cemeteries are the graves for William Washington Deal and Louisa (Wynn) Deal, plus seven of their ten children – Eliza, James Henry, Lula, Hattie, Douglas, Mamie, and Robert – plus the childrens’ spouses, and many of William and Lou’s grandchildren.

Eliza and Mamie had lived most of their lives in Nashville, but they came home to White Bluff to be buried.  Eliza died of pneumonia in January 1937, at her boardinghouse in Nashville.  She had been separated from her second husband, Bill Jones, but is buried next to him in the Olds’ Cemetery.

Mamie died of cancer in 1952.  She passed away at a clinic converted from an old private home near the Vanderbilt campus.  The entry in Ruby (Garton) Deal's memo book says, “Aunt Mamie died October 10, 1952 Buried Oct 12th.  She had $567.15 in Insurance and Savings.  Funeral expenses was $415.00 to John Gupton $15 to preacher & singer $40 for monument $396 for express on luggage to Joseph to Los Angeles and $3.50 to Loyd Deal for flash light films for pictures made of the flowers. I had $79.69 left I added 31c & gave the Joe Wertham Home $80. for caring for her.”  Mamie is buried in the Hutton Cemetery.

Three of the ten children ended up buried in other places. William A. “Will” Deal and his family moved to Alabama.  Robert Harold Deal tried to get in touch with them but could not; and he doesn’t know where in Alabama they moved to. 

John Franklin Deal spent the last years of his life working as a portrait photographer in Miami, Florida; and he is buried in the Dade Memorial Gardens. 

And it’s a little bit surprising that the youngest son, George Washington Deal, is not buried near his siblings, especially since his wife Kathryne (Radford) Deal is right there in the Hutton Cemetery. 

But George made good.  He had started out as a railroad laborer, like the rest of them.  But George worked his way up, and eventually became conductor on the City of Memphis streamliner – the gem of the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis line.  As a consequence, George moved to Bruceton, 120 miles west of White Bluff.  Bruceton was the mid-point of the Nashville-to-Memphis route, where the crews changed.

The City of Memphis had made its inaugural run in 1947, and was a thing of beauty.  The cars were air-conditioned.  The windows were made larger than usual, so the passengers wouldn’t feel cooped up.  At the rear was an observation lounge car, with magazines on the tables.  The engine itself wasn’t new: it was a 1913 Baldwin 4-6-2, re-built to make it lighter and faster, and encased in a new, streamlined shell painted blue, gray, and black.  It was unlike any other train in the N.C. & St. L. system.

After Kathryne died, George remarried, and his new wife, Mae, had no ties to White Bluff.   George was still conductor on the City of Memphis – and it was still the gem of the line – in 1957, when the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railway was merged into its arch-rival, the L & N, and ceased to exist as an independent line.

Myra (Deal) Jones recalls that in May of the following year, 1958, Uncle George ate some fish at a restaurant on the Tennessee River, got food poisoning, and died two days later.  Mae had him buried in Bruceton.  He is in the Prospect Cemetery, and Mae was later buried next to him.

Children and Grandchildren  of William Washington Deal and Louisa Wynn:

1.  Eliza Ellen Deal was born on 20 June 1873. Four months before her sixteenth birthday, on 10 February 1889, she married Samuel Old in Cheatham County.  Eliza and Sam’s children were:

A.John William Old was born on 4 December 1889.  He grew up in White Bluff and Kingston Springs.   In 1917, he filled out a WWI draft registration card.  At that time, he was living in Cloverdale, Arizona, but listed his permanent address as White Bluff, and stated that he was single, with no dependants.

On 23 April 1918, he married Elizabeth Marian Glanville, 26.  Marian was from England, and she was the daughter (or possibly stepdaughter) of Henry Glanville of Barnstable, but she had immigrated to the United States two years earlier, in 1916.

Just two and a half weeks after his marriage, John W. Old was inducted into the U. S. Army at San Francisco.  He was assigned to Company L-31 of the 21st Infantry and was sent overseas.  He was honorably discharged a year and a half later.

By early 1923, John and Marian were living in St. Louis Missouri, where John worked as a streetcar conductor.  John applied for a passport, stating that he and Marian planned to sail from New York on the Aquitania on 22 May 1923.  Their destinations were England, Germany, and France; and the purposes of the trip were to visit relatives and to travel.

That November, Marian’s sister Nora Irene Glanville sailed from England to America on the Berengaria.  She stated that her final destination was her sister’s home in St. Louis.

In the 1930 census, John W. Old and Marion are living in St. Louis, along with John’s sister-in-law Nora Glanville.  John’s occupation is “conductor,” Marion’s is “stenographer,” and Nora’s is “telephone operator.”  There were no children living with them in 1930.

B.Charlie Thomas Old, b. 20 May 1892 in White Bluff, Tennessee, married a woman named Bessie.  In 1917 (when he filled out a WWI draft registration card), he was living in Kingston Springs and working as a clerk in a grocery store owned by L. H. Pendergrass. 

C.James Allen “Jimmy” Old, b. 14 January 1895.  He was living in White Bluff in 1917, by which time he was married with two children.  This might be the James Old in the 1920 census of Nashville, a railroad flagman and lodger in the home of Louise Powell.  This James Old was married to a woman whose name looks like “Rose,” who was born in Tennessee about 1894).  Purely a guess: Rose might be the Rose Old (22 Jan. 1894 - 24 Aug. 1923) in the Olds’ Cemetery on Highway 70.  I would love to hear from anyone who knows for sure about this.

D.Addie Old, b. March 1897; probably the same as the Addie Old Willey, 1897-1925, buried in the Olds’ Cemetery on Highway 70.

E.unknown Old.  In the 1900 census, Liza says she has given birth to five children, four of whom are living.

F.Lela Old, b. abt. 1902.  She is listed in the 1910 census as the step-daughter of Eliza’s second husband, William E. Jones, and Dorothy (Deal) Prowell remembers her slightly.

Sometime after 1902, Eliza married a carpenter named William E. “Bill” Jones.  Eliza and William are recorded in the 1910 census of Kingston Springs, on the road to Craggie Hope.  They are recorded again in the 1920 census of White Bluff, and then the 1930 census of Nashville, on 12th Avenue South, where Eliza ran a boardinghouse.  Eliza was a strong, independent woman, who had something of a temper, and “if she didn’t like someone, she would just tell them to get out.”  She separated from Bill Jones sometime after 1930.  Eliza died of pneumonia on 13 Jan. 1937.  I think but am not quite sure that Eliza and William only had four children – I would love to hear from someone who knows more about them:

G.Early L. Jones, born about 1908.

H.Odie Jones, born about 1910.

I.Walter W. “Britches” Jones, b. about 1912.  According to several of our cousins, Britches got his start as a bootleg runner, but afterwards went legitimate and had a liquor store on Shelby Avenue at the end of the Shelby Street Bridge.  He was well-to-do, and was influential in local politics.

J.infant Jones, born and died in Kingston Springs on 1 Jan. 1914 (Cheatham County death records).

2.  James Henry Deal was b. 2 Jan. 1875 in Ashland City, TN.  On 11 January 1901, in Dickson County, Tennessee, he married Ida Victoria Petty (b. 18 July 1881, the daughter of William J. Petty and Tennessee Frances Daugherty).  Ida died on 31 July 1956, and Jim on 11 January 1963.  They are buried in the Hutton Cemetery.  Their children:

A.Clara Mai Deal, born in Tennessee on 2 January 1902.  Clara Mai had two early marriages – to Murray Scott and then to Ted Mason.  Clara then married Lester Widener and had six children.  Clara lived to be ninety-six and was, according to Connie McGahey, “a wonderful, devoutly religious, hardworking woman.”  Clara died in February 1997 and is buried at Harpeth Hill.  Clara and Lester’s children included Phyllis Ruth Widener, who played guitar and sang, and got a recording contract under the name “Tabby West.”   Phyllis recorded a number of singles, and was a regular on the Red Foley Show.

B.Laura Gean Deal, born in Tennessee on 20 Dec. 1903.  In 1925 she m. Arley Estes Neely.  After an accident, Laura was hospitalized for some years at the Clover Bottom Developmental Center.  Laura died on 5 January 1986 at Goodlark Hospital. 

C.Ola Dell Deal (female), b. in Tennessee on 28 Jan. 1905 and d. (from diptheria) on 21 Oct. 1912.

D.Earnest James Deal, born in Tennessee on 30 Sept. 1907.  In 1928 he married Nettie Lucille Wilson (b. 10 July 1912 in Russellville, AL; d. 22 Sept. 1992 in Dickson Co., TN).  Earnest served in the Navy in World War II – he was one of the Seabees – and later on he was a carpenter and a member of the Church of Christ in White Bluff.  He died on 23 May 1986 in Nashville and is buried in the Williams Cemetery.  His obituary appeared in the Dickson Herald.

E.Winnie Mildred Deal, b. 04 June 1909.  According to her sister Dorothy, Winnie “more or less named herself Mildred” since she didn’t like the name Winnie.  She worked at a Plymouth auto factory in Detroit.  She was married twice: (1) Walter Murrell and (2) Zertie Lee (Gerald) Choate.  Mildred is buried in Detroit.

F.Lera Louise Deal, b. 12 June 1911.  In 1925, Lera married Kelley Edward Collins, who worked at a fertilizer plant in west Nashville.  Lera lived to be 96 years old, and her nephew Gerald Miller recalls that “Lera was a feisty woman who wasn’t afraid of anything.  The neighborhood where she lived had become kind of a bad neighborhood by the time she was old, but nothing stopped her.  She carried a gun in her pocket when she went to play bingo at the Catholic Church.”  Lera died in 2007.

G.Arthur Robert Deal (stillborn).  James Henry Deal’s Bible says, “Little Brother was born 21 June 1913.”

H.Earlie Ray Deal, b. 14 Aug. 1914.  On 26 June 1935, in Dickson County, he m. Maydell Josephine Heath.  Then Howard’s brother Earlie Ray Deal opened a rival sorghum mill, just across Highway 70, within sight of Howard’s operation.  It was a friendly rivalry, at first.

Earlie Ray was at a disadvantage – he only had one arm.  He had lost the other in an auto accident, coming down the hill toward Pegram, where he lost control of his vehicle.  But Earl was a hard worker; he could do more with one arm than most men could with two.  And he was using superior technology.  He cobbled together a sorghum mill out of spare parts from other mills, and hooked it with a belt to the engine of a tractor, dispensing with mules altogether.  It ran like a dream. Cane juice flowed like water.   And Earl installed a gas boiler, instead of a wood fire, at his cookhouse.

Earl’s operation could run rings around Howard’s.  Earl was constantly ribbing Howard about how his own outfit ran smoother.  He didn’t have to lead mules out from the barn every morning, to hitch them up in the dark.  He didn’t have to stop to feed and water the mules, or change teams if they got tired.  He didn’t have to fool with constantly feeding wood into the stove.

But Earl’s sorghum wasn’t as good.  If Howard had temporarily run out, he would suggest that the customers go across the street and buy from Earl; but after a few seasons, his customers would say, no, that’s all right, we’ll come back here later. 

Things came to a head at the end of one season when Howard was completely sold out.  He had no cane left on the lot, and then frost came, so any newly-cut cane that a farmer might bring in wouldn’t be any good, anyway. 

On the other side of the road, Earl had cases and cases of unsold sorghum in mason jars.  Earl suggested to Howard that, seeing as how Howard was all sold out, maybe Howard should just take a few cases over to his side of the road and sell them there.  Howard refused.  It became a bitter disagreement, which soured their relationship for years.  But eventually, they patched things up.

Earlie Ray Deal died on 9 April 1986 in Dickson County, Tennessee.

I.Howard Henry Deal, b. 12 March 1917.  His tombstone in the Hutton Cemetery reads, "Howard H. Deal TEC5 US ARMY World War II March 12 1917 - March 21, 1980."  Dickson County marriage records show that he was married to Odessa Harper on 7 April 1936.  Howard Henry Deal then married Margaret Elizabeth Dugan, who is buried next to him: “Margaret E. Deal Dec. 29, 1926 - June 17, 1997, Dgtr of Collon Dugan.” Howard inherited the family sorghum mill, and his farm was on what is now called “Howard Road,” which was named for him, the name “Deal Road” having already been taken, near Burns.

Whatever fame you can get out of a small-scale sorghum operation, Howard got.  Howard’s son Eric Deal, who with his wife Donna Deal ran the mill for a few years in the early 1980’s, shared with me a dozen newspaper articles written over the years, with titles like “White Bluff Family in Old, but ‘Sticky’ Business,” “Family Happy for 50 Years Through ‘Sweet Obsession,’” “Youngster Learns Sorghum Secrets,” “A Sure Sign of Fall,” “Sorghum Time!”  “To Carry On Deal Family Tradition,” and “The Sweet Smell of Success.”  Howard was a little bit annoyed by the interruptions of interviewers and photographers, but he didn’t mind the publicity.

J.Charles Clifford Deal, b. 7 June 1919.  On 19 August 1941 he m. Frances Dorothy Shelton (b. 1922).  He worked at Hardaway Construction.  His younger sister Dorothy described him as “a down-to-earth guy who worked and stayed at home.”  He died on 9 May 1989.

K.Dorothy Elaine Deal, b. 02 June 1922.  When she was visiting her sister Mildred in Detroit, she met and soon married Walter Miller.  They lived together for three years, and then she returned home to Tennessee.  During World War II, Dorothy worked for Tennessee Aircraft as a riveter (“just like Rosie,” she says).  She helped build B-24 bombers, P-38 “lightning” fighters, and PBY patrol planes.  If she had everything set up right, she could shoot 365 flush rivets a minute into the seam of an airplane wing, which she believes was some sort of a record.  She later married Charles Prowell.

3.  Louisa May “Lula” Deal , b. 29 January 1877.  On 25 Sept. 1901, she married George Frederick “Fred” Cathey (b. 8 June 1864, son of Samuel Green Cathey and Lucinda Edwards).  The Catheys were living just a few doors down from the William Washington Deal household in 1900.  Robert Harold Deal recalls that uncle Fred worked for William James, the largest landholder in the area – Mr. James owned several thousand acres.  Fred walked the property line for him, making sure everything was OK.  Lula died on 12 Dec. 1923.  George Frederick Cathey died on 18 March 1940.  Their children:

A.Annie Adeline Cathey, b. 1 July 1902 in White Bluff.  In November 1925 in Jackson, Tennessee, she married William Henry Brim (b. 22 Feb. 1873 and d. 31 Dec. 1964).  She died on 20 May 1947.  They are buried in the Olds Cemetery. 

B.Stevia Greene Cathey, b. 6 Jan. 1904 and d. 10 Nov. 1914 in White Bluff.  He is buried in the Olds Cemetery.

C.William Raines Cathey, b. 19 Mar. 1906 in White Bluff.  In November 1925 in Jackson, TN, he m. (1) Roxie Mae Hunter (b. 21 July 1907 and d. 20 March 1928 – one day after giving birth to their son).  Roxie is buried in the Olds’ Cemetery.  Mr. Cathey was a fine carpenter, whose son William Raines Cathey Jr. was occasionally heard to remark, “I’m a disgrace to the Cathey family.  I can’t build anything and I can’t make whiskey.”

D.George Washington Cathey, b. 5 Apr. 1908 in White Bluff (twin to Clarence).  He went into the home distilling business with his first cousin, Sam Cathey.  In 1975, one of our cousins purchased a piece of property on Glendale Road next to George Cathey, and brought a bulldozer onto the property to clear out some small pine trees.  George ran out of his house next door, arms waving and yelling, shouting to stop.  It turned out that there was sixty gallons of moonshine buried in a trench on the property, covered over with brush and leaves. 

In old age, George would just hang around the sorghum mill, telling stories.  He would describe himself, to anyone who would listen, as a “retired moonshiner,” though “moonshiner-kicked-out-of-the-family-business-for-drinking-up-the-profits” would be more accurate.  But everyone liked George, who bought candy for the neighbor children and fed snickers bars to his dog. George died on 16 Jan. 1986 in White Bluff.  He is buried in the Olds’ Cemetery.

E.Clarence Frederick Cathey, b. 5 Apr. 1908 in White Bluff (twin to George).  In 1933 he m. Elizabeth Davis in Pensacola, Florida.  He died on 20 November 1978 in Fort Myers, Florida.

F.Ruby Alena Cathey, b. 19 Nov. 1911 in White Bluff.  On 18 September 1940, she married Ray Brazelton in Nashville.  On 7 June 1956 in Angola, TN, she married Alan Ferguson.

G.Lillie Irene Cathey, b. 31 Dec. 1914 in White Bluff; m. William M. Whitaker.  She died in 1943 in Dickson, TN.

H.Edgar Lee “Eddie” Cathey, b. 31 Dec. 1914 and d. 27 Jan. 1915 in White Bluff.  He is buried in the Olds’ Cemetery with the inscription “only sleeping.”

4.  Hattie Elizabeth Deal was born 4 April 1879.  On 4 July 1901, she married James Washington Cathey (b. 13 Feb. 1862), brother of George F. Cathey.  When Hattie would get mad at her husband James, she would leave White Bluff and go stay in Nashville for weeks at a time.  This pattern continued even after the birth of their daughter Nannie.  Then, in early 1903, Hattie returned to White Bluff after an extended absence, was reconciled to Mr. Cathey, and, Hattie later said, “That was how I got Sam.”  Sam Washington Cathey was born in 1903.  Their next child, Acy Calvin Cathey, was not born for another seven years, and Clyde was born five years after that.  Hattie then separated from Mr. Cathey, and owned a small grocery store near Bellview.  Later on, Hattie had a second marriage to Dan King.  Robert Harold Deal remembers that she did not have to work in her later years, since Mr. King was “reasonably well off.”  Hattie died 6 Dec. 1956 and is buried in the Hutton Cemetery.

A.Nannie L. “Kathleen” Cathey  was born abt. 1902. Dorothy (Deal) Prowell says that Nannie married a dentist, Dr. Rogers, had a daughter named Kathleen, and then decided she liked the name so much she started calling herself Kathleen.  Notes received from Reba Wynn Harris say that “Nannie died before December 1956.”

B.Sam Washington Cathey, b. 22 Nov. 1903 in Pegram, Tennessee.  On 17 March 1928 in Bellevue, TN, Sam married Nell Benton (b. abt. 1912), and they lived on Glendale Road in White Bluff.  Sam made whiskey for a living, and everyone knew it; but Sam was not a bumpkin.  He had the first television set in the neighborhood, (to the great delight of the neighbor children), he never kept whiskey in the house, and his daughters were educated and polite.  Sam died on 3 August 1996 and is buried in the Olds Cemetery.

C.Acy Calvin Cathey, b. 6 March 1910. Around 1920, James Henry Deal realized that someone was stealing his chickens, and one day he saw a boy inside his chicken lot, which was enclosed by a six-foot-high wire fence with a locked gate.  James Henry wasn’t sure which of the boys it was, though he it looked like Acy or maybe his cousin George Cathey, so James fired his shotgun over the boy’s head, and when Acy started yelling, James could tell by the sound of his voice just who it was.  Acy made the world’s fastest trip up the inside face of that wire fence, and an even faster trip head-down on the outside, but he wasn’t hurt.  Acy died on 8 November 1969 and is buried in the Olds’ Cemetery.

D.Clyde Vernon Cathey, b. 15 Jan. 1913; m. Priscilla Sawyers.  The Social Security Death Index lists a Clyde V. Cathey, b. 20 Jan. 1914 who died in Davidson County, Tennessee on 10 Jan. 1998. 

5.  William Andrew “Will” Deal was b. on 5 January 1882.  He married Lydia Stephens in Dickson County on 18 June 1906.  He was a section foreman on the N. C. & St. L., and the railroad transferred him to Marietta, Georgia, just outside Atlanta.  He still owned a small farm in White Bluff, with a little house, and this land was connected to Douglas Deal’s farm. Will and Lydia’s children:

A.Sadie Deal, b. abt. 1908, married Tom Dodds.

B.Gladys Lorain Deal, b. abt. 1909, married Dean Cantrell.

C.Christine Deal, b. 28 December 1913, married Lobert “Dizzy” Vermillion.

D.William Edmon Deal, born 1 May 1917, married Willie Nell Kendall.

E.Lucile Deal, b. abt. 1921, married first, a Mr. Cranfill, and then, Jim Avery.

F.Marie Deal, b. 21 June 1923, married Iverson Copeland.

G.Jewell “Judy” Deal (female), b. abt. 1926., married Walter “Sonny” Cox.

6.  John Franklin Deal was born 10 April 1887.  In May of 1914, he sat down to write a description of the different things he had done.  And even though he was only twenty-seven years old and not yet married, he titled this document “History of My Life.”  It’s a sometimes tedious account of his drifting and odd jobs, and except for a single reference to an unnamed brother-in-law, there is no mention of his family.  But here it is:

History of my Life – J. F. D.

Somerville, Tenn.

May 20th, 1914

Brief history of my life and the different things I have worked at, was born Apr. 10, 1887 near White Bluff Tenn on the Farm, while at home I did some of most every kind of farmwork from that to Jinsinging, cutting timber, shaving hoops, Hauling timber, etc.  I begunmy first Public work when about 16 or 17 years old as watter boy and general roundabout, after surviving about one year I begun driving our old mule pulling tram cars out of the R.R. cut, when through I fired the steam shovel for a few days only, then to Jasper Ala to drive team for a few days only, then back home for short while, and back to Ala with Bro in law to Drive mules drive Steers act as woods boss and by and load timber at different points for Holland and Blow Stave Company.  I did this for about one year, then back Home worked at Stave Mill few days, Stacked Lumber a few days.

Then in Jan 1906, I, 19 years old, begun work taking portrait orders for Freeman at Nashville at $20.00 month & expence.  I worked about one year then was permoted to crew manager at Erin, Tenn after 6 or 8 months I quit that begun work at Kingston Spgs. as Barber where I spent one winter, in the spring my pants wer getting very thin in places so I quit that begun the Portrait Business for myself.  To send off my first order which cost about $50.00 I had to pawn my gun, razor, and every thing I had that would rais money to pay for the order, finally I managed to get a letter of credit signed by James Howell of White Bluff, then I was on my feete again.

Worked for myself some time then in May 1910, I went to Nashville learned to make novelty pictures.  I worked this for a percent untill able to by machine, then for my self.  I worked the county fairs and with different circuses for two seasons then bought me a view camera learned at Little about Finishing at Winchester Tenn.  Worked in store in Fla. one winter I butched on train short while Memphis to Paducah & Nashville to Evansville then I traveled short while with A.A. Griswold of Nashville working on percent then for myself.  In april 1913 I borrowed $50.00 which with what I had I rigged me a road studio being very successful I paid the loan and had $220 August 1913 then home for a while partly sick. Then on the road again my First Popular Contest ?? was pulled off at Bolivar Tenn in April 1914 then to Somerville Tenn. which runs up to date May 20, 1914 with $135 in the bank.

John married Ruby Mai Garton on 2 May 1917.  They moved to Columbia, Tennessee, south of Nashville, where all of their three children were born.  John Franklin Deal rented a small office in Columbia for his photography work, but business was sporadic.  He then bought a car and used it as a taxi service – the first taxi in Columbia, Tennessee – and for a while, the money was good.  But then their income slacked off.  John looked around for other jobs, but nothing was available.  He declared bankruptcy in July of 1929.

Feeling the need for a fresh start, John decided to move the family out to California.  They sold everything, and piled two adults and three children into the small taxicab.  They drove all the way to the Pacific Ocean, arriving at Long Beach, near Los Angeles, where they stayed with Ruby’s Uncle Needham Garton and Aunt Docia.  But John was still unable to find work.

Ruby liked Los Angeles.  She liked staying with Uncle Needham and Aunt Docia.  But John was homesick; he wanted to go back to Tennessee.  After some bitter discussions, they piled back into the car and were back in Columbia by the end of September 1929.

The next month, the stock market crashed. 

The family’s situation was becoming desperate when John heard that there might be jobs at the DuPont chemical plant in Old Hickory, Tennessee, sixty miles northeast of Columbia.

The Old Hickory community was an actual company town: the DuPont Corporation had laid out the streets and started construction on the plant early in 1917.  The plant was built to provide gunpowder for World War I.  When the Armistice was signed, and the plant was abandoned.

But then in the 1920’s, DuPont licensed some European technology for manipulating cellulose fibers, and developed the technology further.  It was possible to process the fibers in different ways: cellulose it could be made into a synthetic fabric, which the company called “fibersilk” – later named Rayon – or into a clear plastic sheet, which DuPont called Cellophane.

On the train going out to Old Hickory, John struck up a conversation with the man next to him – who turned out to be a hiring agent from DuPont.  John had a job offer before he got off the train.

Depression or no Depression, there was a market for Cellophane.  As the depression eased, demand skyrocketed.  John worked at DuPont for the next eighteen years, and that was how he kept food on the table for the three children as they grew up.  And so it was Cellophane that saved the family.

A.John Wilson "J. W." Deal, born 25 January 1918 in Columbia, TN.  He lived in the Nashville area, where he founded the John Deal Company, manufacturers of ceramic products and adhesives.  He married Evelyn Sanders on 3 March 1940.  J.W. Deal was a life-long sports fan, a high school football hero and lifeguard who became an unbeatable golfer, a member of the fabled "Hickory Sticks" golfing team at the country club in Old Hickory, Tennessee.  The foursome also included Harold Eller, Elmer Odom, and Fred Smith.  It was a pro-am team - Harold Eller was the club professional at Old Hickory - and they were in the sports pages nearly every weekend for years.  Not only was John a phenomenal player, he was also funny and charismatic, and a great storyteller.  Sportswriters loved him, because they could always get a quip or quote from him, even on the rare occasions when he didn’t shoot well.  John qualified for the U. S. Open once, in 1956.  The qualifying round was at Richland Country Club, and John shot a blazing 64, tying the course record.  When the lineup was announced, John learned that he was paired with two other golfers, and that his threesome would play immediately in front of a threesome that included Ben Hogan.  John arrived at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York, and with twenty thousand people, including Ben Hogan watching his every move, John shot a 91.  The Nashville Banner reported, “He paid long, intimate visits to the tall grass, and spent many unhappy moments sunbathing on the sand.”  John told the reporter, “The folks up here are wonderful, they keep asking for autographs.  When I got about fifteen over par today, I started signing my name, ‘Pro Harold Eller, Old Hickory, Tennessee.”

B.Juanita Deal, born in Columbia, TN on 14 October 1919.  Juanita attended the Nashville Business College in 1938; then entered the Womens’ Air Corps.  On September 7, 1946, she married Tim Edward Madden, the son of Harry Glenwood Madden and Susan J. Clark of Cairo, Nebraska. Tim was in the Air Force, and during World War II his plane went down over Germany and he spent the last part of the war in Stalag 6.  Juanita stayed in the WAC’s and they were stationed together after the war in Japan, in Greece in the early 1950's, in Hawaii, and later in Paris.   They returned to the States in 1966 and moved to Arizona, where the lived in a terrific house with a view of Camelback Mountain.  Juanita’s military and real estate activities got her listed in Who's Who of American Women, once, in 1977. She was very proud of this.  Her entry reads,

MADDEN, JUANITA DEAL, real estate broker; b. Columbia, Tenn., Oct. 14, 1919; d. John Franklin and Ruby Mae (Garton) Deal; student Nashville Bus. Coll., 1938; m. Tim Edward Madden, Sept. 7, 1946 (dec.). Sec., ops. officer U.S. Mil. Aid Mission to Greece, 1958-60, hdqrs. U.S. European Command, Paris, 1963-67; real estate broker, owner Madden Realty Co., Scottsdale, Ariz., 1972.  Served with AUS, USAAF, 1943-46.  Mem. Nat. Assn. Realtors, Ariz., Scottsdale bds. realtors, Rho Epsilon Kappa.  Democrat.  Home: 4624 E. Calle del Norte Phoenix AZ 85018.  Office: 6900 E Camelback St. Suite 405 Scottsdale AZ 85251.

C.Jean Deal, born January 13, 1924 in Columbia, TN.  She attended David Lipscomb College in Nashville and received a master's degree in piano performance at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  While in Ann Arbor, she met Hugh Carey Hanlin, Jr.  They were married on June 23, 1951. 

7.  Douglas Deal was born on 27 or 29 August 1884, and married Ina Reams Evans. Douglas died on 2 April 1944 and Ina on 24 Jan. 1973.  They are buried in the Hutton Cemetery.  Douglas and Ina had six children:

A.L. B. Deal, b. 9 August 1914.  In October 1937, he married Annie Marie Shelton.  They lived in Nashville.  According to notes by Evelyn Deal (wife of Robert Harold Deal), “Anna Marie with the computer brain …  always knew all the happenings in the family and dates.  We could always count on her.”  L. B. Deal appears to have died in Nashville in April 1984.

B.David Augustus Evans Deal, b. 21 Sept 1915.  On 8 June 1938, he married Kathleen Yancy (b. 14 June 1918). They lived at Hopkinsville, KY.  David Evans died in Hopkinsville on 21 March 2001, and there was a death notice for him in the Nashville Tennessean

C.Robert Harold Deal, born 25 March 1921, worked at DuPont in Old Hickory and, for a while, roomed with Ruby Garton Deal at Old Hickory.  On 19 August 1941, Harold married (1) Nell Crowder.  On 11 October 1991 (after Nell Crowder Deal was deceased), Robert Harold Deal married (2) Evelyn (Russell) Tucker.

D.Lloyd Harding Deal, b. 9 Oct. 1924.  On 7 October 1949, he married Reba Jane Corlew (b. 13 December 1931).  They lived in Nashville.  Notes by Evelyn Deal (wife of Robert Harold Deal) state that “Lloyd survived the Battle of the Bulge but came home to his family, luckily.”   Lloyd died on 24 October 1994.  Reba later married William Murray.

E.Harry Eugene Deal, b. 26 July 1926.  He served in the Navy in WWII.  On 26 January 1947, he married Peggy Jean Lampley.  They lived at Goodlettsville, TN.  Harry Eugene died on 29 April 1998 and is buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens in Goodlettsville, TN.

F.Myra Eudora Deal, b. 10 May 1932.  On 19 June 1953 she married James Preston Robinson.  For a while, Myra sang in nightclubs, but Jim made her quit.  When I asked Myra about her very brief singing career, she said, “Well, you know, the Deals were never very smart, but they were always good-looking and musically talented.”  On 13 June 1998, Myra married Charles E. Jones.

8.  Mary A. “Mamie” Deal b. 14 Jan. 1890 in Ashland City, TN married Joseph Edward Engles (b. 6 Nov. 1889 near LaVergne, Tennessee).  They were married in Dickson County on 6 April 1913.  The 1930 census shows them living on Laurel Street in Nashville, and Joseph (Sr.) is working as a brakeman on a steam railroad (which was the N. C. & St. L.).  Mamie’s niece Jean (Deal) Hanlin described Mamie as “Beautiful and proud.  She paid lots of attention to clothes.  Her husband left her, but even in the most penurious conditions, she always managed to look like a million dollars.”  Jean also remembered that whenever it came time to do the dishes, Mamie had always “just painted her fingernails,” and couldn't help.  The one child of Joe Sr. and Mamie Deal:

A.Joseph Edward Engles, Jr., born 16 Feb. 1918 in Tennessee.  He appears at age 12 in the 1930 census of Nashville with his parents.  He moved out to California as a fairly young man.  He married QueenEsther Coffman.  Joe Jr. died in Los Angeles on 30 Jan. 1981. 

9.Robert V. Deal was born on 15 February 1892.  He is recorded in the 1900 and 1910 censuses of White Bluff, living at home with his parents.  City directories of Nashville from 1912-1914 show a Robert V. Deal, employed as a brakeman with the Nashville, Chattanooga, & St. Louis Railway.  Myra Deal Jones recalls that Bob was a very handsome man who never married; she thought he might have died of influenza.  He died on 8 April 1914 and is buried in the Hutton Cemetery in White Bluff, next to his parents.

10.George Washington Deal was born 16 Dec. 1894 and is listed in the 1910 census as a railroad laborer, living with his parents.  On 26 October 1915, in Dickson County, he married Almira Kathryne Radford (b. 3 Feb. 1899 and d. 15 Feb. 1938, daughter of Jeff Radford).  George and Kathryne are recorded in the 1920 census of White Bluff, on Maple Street. Kathryne died in Bruceton (there is an obituary in the Dickson County News from 25 Feb. 1938) and is buried in the Hutton Cemetery.

A.Mildred Cecile Deal, b. 9 September 1916 near Benton, TN.  On 5 September 1936 in Benton, TN, she m. Bailey A. Cain (b. 1 July 1912, son of Aire A. Cain and Ruby Pierce).  She died in Benton in 1974 and he in Howard City, Michigan on 23 March 1988.

B.Kenneth Blair Deal, b. 15 November 1920, graduated from Central High School in Bruceton in 1937.  He died on pneumonia in Chicago, Illinois, on 12 July 1960, after a brief stay in the Cook County Hospital.

Myra (Deal) Jones recalls that after Kathryne died, her uncle George Washington Deal married a woman named Mae.  They lived in Bruceton, in Carroll County.  The Huntington (Carroll County) Republican for May 2, 1947 mentions that “Mr. and Mrs. George Deal visited her mother, Mrs. G. G. Gardner in Hurstburg Sunday.” George is buried in the Prospect Cemetery (“George W. Deal 1894 – 1958”) next to Mae (“Lula Mae Deal 1910 – ).