View Full Version : Memories of my Grandfather as recalled by my Uncle.

12-03-07, 12:33 AM
Some stories of my ancestors past as remembered my my uncle:

My Grandfather in his WWI Military attire.
http://img2.putfile.com/thumb/9/26315081224.jpg (http://www.putfile.com/pic.php?img=6669027)

Dewey Harrison Marlow was born in Campbell County, Tennessee on April 9, 1898. When he was less than a month old, his father, Maynard Marlow died from tetanus poisoning from an accident with a pitchfork. His mother, Rosa McGhee Marlow, had five young children to raise on her own. Rosa’s sister, Parisyda, had married Maynard’s father, Thomas Marlow, less than two years before, after the death of Maynard’s mother Millie Ann. Thomas & his young wife took the family in and helped raise the children with their own.

When Dewey was in his teens he fibbed about his age and joined the army. He was first stationed Camp Chaffe, Arkansas. While there, he met a young girl by the name of Lessie Kathleen Lewis at a YWCA dance. After leaving school, Lessie and her sister Azalee had come to Little Rock from Lafayette County, Mississippi to work at Gus Blass’s Department Store. They stay with their mother’s sister. The aunt was a little too strict on the girls, so they moved into the YWCA. Dewey and Lessie dated off and on for several months. Dewey proposed marriage, and Lessie declined stating she vowed never to marry. The Army transferred Dewey to Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, and the two corresponded by letter for several months. He got a furlow and took a train back to Little Rock. He told Lessie he didn’t care if she vowed never to marry, he came back to Little Rock to marry her and that is exactly what he did.

Dewey was an enterprising young man. When he first transferred to Georgia, he got a car, an old Essex, and ran a taxi service from Fort Oglethorpe into Chattanooga; hauling soldiers on leave to town. The taxi business became quite lucrative and he purchased a new Model T Ford for $400 and hired an army buddy to help him. He did a little bootlegging on the side and helped the soldiers find “entertainment” while on leave.

Dewey first came through Crossville on his honeymoon in 1921. As Dewey told the story, he was traveling from Little Rock, Arkansas to his hometown of Lafollette, Tennessee, taking his new bride home in his Model T home to impress the family. He said as he started to climb the mountain from Sparta to Crossville on the dirt road he became stuck in the mud. He had to pay a farmer $2.00 to pull the Model T up the mountain with a team of mules. He always accused the farmer of carrying water to pouring onto the roads, making it impassible.

The couple made their home near the military base in Fort Oglethorpe. Soon Lessie was pregnant with her first child; she gave birth to Margie at the military hospital on the base in February of 1922. Later that year Dewey left the military and moved his into Chattanooga. The family continued to grow with Harold being born in August of 1923, Juanita in January 1926 and Ray in June 1927.

During this time, Dewey bought half interest in a poolroom, still bootlegging on the side. His partner skipped out on him and he took over the poolroom completely. Prohibition came and Dewey was in the position to take over the bootlegging business in Hamilton County, which he continued for three years.

He had three or four ways to market the liquor; one of the major istribution sources was through his milk and ice delivery services. He stored liquor in various hiding places; one the children remembered was in a three to four hundred gallon catch hidden under the fuel coal pile in the garage.

The moon-shiners on Signal Mountain distilled the liquor and Dewey provided the transportation to get the “shine” into the city. The local authorities didn’t disturb the business, because they were on the payroll. Dewey’s biggest problem was hijackers stealing his loaded delivery trucks coming down the mountain. He hired “shotgun guards” to protect his trucks, putting an end to the hijackings.

The ATU (Alcohol & Tobacco Unit) began to investigate bootlegging in Chattanooga. They caught two of Dewey’s major employees distributing liquor; one was his close friend, Tom Hunter from the army days. The ATU was “railroading” Tom. Dewey paid $27,000 to get charges dropped against him. Prohibition was over and Dewey was out of business.

In 1929, Dewey decided it was time to leave Chattanooga. He bought an old run-downed farmhouse and 85 acres on Pomona Road near Crossville for $2,250. Dewey hired carpenters from Chatta-nooga, restored the old house and moved the family in 1930. The family continued to expand with Aaron, born in July of 1933, and Ralph in January 1935.

Dewey tried his hand at farming and discovered he didn’t know anything about it. He hired his neighbors for fifty cents a day to farm his land and started “pen hooking” cattle. He would buy livestock from the farmers and take them to the livestock sale. In 1936, Dewey and a schoolteacher by the name of Fred L. Hampton started a stock yard sale in the barns where Garrison Park is today. Every Tuesday, Dewey’s son, Harold had permission to leave school early to assist at the sale. He received 25 cents a day for his efforts. Dewey along with Burr Cole, Leonard Cole, Mr. Hamby and Ralph Potter pooled their resources building the old red stock barn on Elmore Road and moved the stock sales.

About 1945, Dewey bought an old warehouse built in the 1920’s from Tom Randolph between West Avenue and the railroad. He contracted with Tom Flynn to renovate the warehouse for his new business, Farmers Supply Warehouse. He would provide the necessary startup supplies for the farmers in the spring and wait for payment when the potato crops harvested in the fall. On the first floor, Dewey planned to have a cold storage warehouse. When the building was about ninety percent complete he found the cold storage equipment was on a three-year backorder. The plans fell through.

Margie had married Mutt Lewis in 1942 and Harold married Marie Hinch when he returned from the service in 1946. The whole family worked to sort and pack the potatoes for shipment. The farmers would empty their potatoes into a hopper at the rear double doors of the building. The hopper would sort the potatoes according to size, the boys would sort out the rocks and bad potatoes and Charlie Barnwell would weigh each before passing the bags to Lessie and another lady to sew the bags. The bags were then loaded onto boxcars, three hundred bags to a car, and shipped. A&P was their largest customer.

In 1947, when Ray returned home from the Navy, Dewey didn’t think Farmer’s Supply could support four families and they needed to develop another source of income. Dewey had seen an advertisement in the Knoxville paper for dealers for Kaiser-Fraiser automobiles. He went to talk to the distributor and Marlow Motor Company became the new business with Dewey’s son, Harold as his business partner in the dealership. They started out with $3,000 capital and two cars, one Kaiser and one Fraiser.

In early 1948, Dewey & Harold decided they needed a line of trucks; a Rio Truck dealership was acquired. Within a year, they also had Willys and Studebaker. Strip mining was a big industry in Crossville and the Marlow’s truck sales went well.

Later in 1948, the Marlows signed an agreement to sell Pontiac & GMC. GM had strict stipulations on the dealership, sales were one car a month and they must divorce themselves from all other automotive lines. The Marlows formed a second dealership, Crossville Motor Company for the Kaiser-Fraiser, Rio and Willys sales. Crossville Motor Company was in a filling station ran by Ross Maynard, positioned where the LP Shanks building are today. They also had to provide a garage facility to repair the vehicles. Ernest Anderson had been renting half of the downstairs of the Farmer’s Supply building and using it for a repair facility. After much persuasion, Dewey convinced Ernest to work for him running the repair side of the business. The first Pontiac they sold was to Lloyd Hill, the assistant postmaster for $1360. It was one of the more economical models. Second was a loaded Silver Streak, sold to Roy Stone for about $1800. It had a straight eight, 105 horsepower. It could run 100 miles an hour; it just took five minutes to get there.

In the early years, the profits were very lean. Sometimes when earnings were low, Dewey would call York Brothers and wholesale used cars to them for working capital. By 1952, Kaiser-Fraiser was going out and GM was less strict on their demands. The two companies combined into Marlow Motor Company.

Harold discovered there was good money in used cars. He would purchase inventory from a company in Cleveland, Tennessee owned by Cletis Benton. Mr. Benton had the largest used car distribution in the south, selling about 2,000 cars weekly. He had a crew of men on the road purchasing used cars from rental companies like Hertz and Avis. He brought them in, refurbished them and sold the units wholesale to dealers. If parts were not available for repairs, Mr. Benton had the facilities to make any parts needed, from bodywork to upholstery to mechanical.

The business continued to grow. Dewey’s son, Aaron, became involved in Marlow Motor Company. He attended GM College in Detroit and helped with the day to day operations of the business.

Dewey had suffered two heart attacks and his health was beginning to decline. He became concerned with the well being of the family businesses so he took $12,000 from the working capital from Marlow Motor Company and paid off the mortgage on the building. Harold received a promissory note for his share of the working capital.

On a Sunday evening in late July of 1953 after spending the afternoon playing with his grandchildren, Dewey again began suffering chest pains. He went to his bedroom to rest and later died on the little balcony outside his bedroom. Besides his wife, Lessie, he was survived by their six children: two daughters, Margie, Mrs. Earl Lewis; Juanita, Mrs. William Ewing of Oak Ridge; four sons; Harold, Ray, Aaron and Ralph, and eleven grandchildren.

Ralph was in parts unknown, discovering the world with Milo Boston. Harold contacted the local sheriff and within hours, he located Ralph in Little Horse, Yukon awaiting repairs on his wrecked Pontiac. Ralph had been traveling to Alaska when he came upon a landslide. He tried to straddle a rock in the center of the road and cracked the transmission case. Ralph chartered a plane to Seattle, Washington and continued with a commercial flight on to Crossville arriving about thirty minutes before Dewey’s funeral.

Life changed for the Marlows. Son-in-law, Mutt Lewis and Ray took over Farmers Supply and Harold, Aaron and Ralph operated Marlow Motor Company. Aaron was just 19 years old and was considered a minor although he was married with three children. He was unable to sign any contracts for the company because of his age. A local attorney, Ligue Tollett suggested he file a petition with the court to remove the “disability of infancy”, which he did.

As the years went on each brother found his niche in the company. Harold was President, Aaron focused on the day to day operations and sales, and Ralph took care of the parts and service department.

In order to set up a retirement plan as suggested by General Motors Management team, the brothers found it necessary to incorporate the business. So on June 13, 1956 Marlow Motor Company filed a petition for incorporation with Harold as President, Lessie as Vice President and Aaron as Secretary-Treasurer. The following year, Lessie transferred her stock to Ralph and he became Vice President of the corporation.

To be continued............

12-03-07, 12:37 AM
Page two:

In the late fifties, Mutt and Ray purchased the old Farmer’s Coop building at auction and moved Farmer’s Supply Warehouse a few hundred yards down West Avenue and changed the name to Mountain Builders Supply.

GM decided they needed a smaller car to compete in the market, so they began selling Vauxhall, a small Pontiac manufactured in England and Opel, a small Buick made overseas. Opel had a fast little two-passenger sports car with a four-cylinder engine. The speedometer registered 160 mph and it could probably do that. A good fast bicycle could out run it in the first 100 yards, but it would take off after that. The headlamps would recess into the front of the car with a little lever. Pontiac began making the Tempest in 1961 and we said good-bye to Vauxhall.

Harold decided to expand to Rock-wood in 1960. He purchased a small trailer unit from Crossland Industries for an office and set up a used car lot on the left going into Rockwood from Highway 70, near the lumberyard. It wasn’t successful and closed within the year. You could find the little trailer on our used car lot with Linc Barker inside selling cars until 1986.

There were always stories to tell on the customers. We had a good customer that was a psychiatrist out of Cookeville. One time he brought his Pontiac Tempest wagon in for service with a piano strapped to the top of the car. We told him we couldn’t work on it until he removed the piano – we couldn’t even get it into the shop. Linc told the doctor he wished he would move his practice to Crossville, because he had plenty of sense, he just needed someone to teach him how to use it.

The business continued to grow. In 1966 the Buick dealership was acquired when D’Armond Motor Company closed. A few years later, in 1970 Marlow Motor Company purchased the old warehouses next to the original building from the Potato Farm after the death of Mr. Carter. The wooden warehouses were torn down and the brick structure was remodeled into service bays. An addition was added, joining the new service bays with the original building providing a new parts and service area. The original building was also renovated, expanding the offices and showrooms. The Midway Café was purchased and removed for additional space.

As some of the grandchildren grew older they too became involved in the business, George, Aaron’s son and Garry, Ralph’s son, began working after school washing cars and sweeping the lot. Following graduating from high school in 1973, George attended GM College and focussed on sales and management while Garry began working in the shop as a mechanic.

In January 1976 Harold underwent by-pass surgery and was advised to limit his activities in the company. Health problems continued to plague the brothers when Ralph was involved in a near fatal automobile accident on September 4, 1976. Due to his injuries, Ralph was unable to return to work. He felt it necessary to sell his stock back to Marlow Motor Company and retire in January 1977. Harold’s health did not improve and he too found it necessary to retire and sell his stock later that year.

In July 1979, George decided to invest in the company, purchasing his first block of stock and becoming Vice President and Secretary of the Corporation with Aaron as President and Treasurer. The following month, Garry was killed in an automobile accident on Lantana Road.

August 29, 1990 is remembered by many in Crossville, especially by Mar-low Motor Com-pany. It was on this day, in mid afternoon, a dark cloud covered the County. Winds up to 80 miles per hour and golfball to baseball size hail pounded anything in the storm’s way. In less than an hour a path from Dripping Springs to Big Lick was carved by the storm. Marlow Motor was in the middle of the path. The building was secure with damage to the roof and several broken windows, but nearly all the car inventory was totaled from this natural disaster. Through the assistance of General Motors, the hail-damaged vehicles were donated to safety testing and for educational purposes. Slowly the new inventory began to arrive and business continued.

Aaron began having some health difficulties. He noticed some shortness of breath and chest pains. On May 23, 1996 Aaron had by-pass surgery. When he returned to the business the doctors suggested he reduce his work hours, turning more of the day to day operations over to George. In January 1998 Aaron developed a cold he couldn’t seem to shake. Near the end of January he discovered he had lung cancer. After a brief battle with the disease he died on March 14, 1998. Shortly afterwards Aaron’s brother, Ralph discovered a tumor in his throat. He too lost his battle on March 31, 1998.

Family members operated the business today.

There is alot more if anyone is interested.

Let me know.

Fire and Ice
12-03-07, 12:45 AM
Very personal and interesting. Thanks for sharing!


12-03-07, 12:48 AM
That's a WWI uniform in the picture, Same as my dad.

12-03-07, 12:53 AM
I never got the opportunity to meet my Grandpa.
He passed away in 1956 from a massive heart attack at his home at age 48.

I'm proud of my past and wanted to share it with all.

12-03-07, 12:54 AM
My bag WWI uniform not WWII.