Memories of Oak Grove

Part One:
Preface, Forward, Oak Grove - Incorporated, and Growing Up

by Goldman Dewitt Freeland
Reprinted with permission.






It is my desire that those mentioned in my memory of Oak Grove and its people can and will use this as somewhat of a foundation upon which to build.

Every family mentioned can extend their own group to children and grandchildren and make it a part of this story if they find it is part of their memory, too.

You may also correct and/or rewrite sections to fit your memory if you choose. If you do, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

If anyone decides to continue the story of Oak Grove from where this ends, please provide me a copy.


This is the story of Oak Grove from the early 1800's to the early 1940's as learned and/or lived by Goldman Dewitt Freeland. The information from the 1800's was passed down from grandparents, parents, relatives, and friends. I lived and experienced the period from 1918 to 1936 and stayed close to the area till the early 40's. It's my old home place.

We visit the present church on yearly homecomings and the graveyard of my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents in the Sherron cemetery regularly. Maybe someone, someday will pick up this history of Oak Grove and tell its more recent story from a personal viewpoint as I have tried to do. I'm sure that many interesting stories can be told about this lively community during this period.

I recalled Oak Grove in the 20's and 30's in a talk that I gave to the Sons of the American Revolution. Following the talk I was requested to give my notes, pictures, etc. that I had used to the Sumner County Archives. My scratched notes would not have helped so I have prepared this material hoping it would suffice. I am no historian. I have never tried to prepare any kind of ancestral data. All of this is from memory, from sisters and a brother-in-law with a good memory, namely Wayne Durham. By recording this and by using so many names, I fully expect to leave out important names, places, and events. Forgive me. It is not intentional. I have tried to confine names to those people who grew up in or around Oak Grove - maybe taking some liberties when it comes to my family.

February, 1993
Hendersonville, Tennessee

Oak Grove - Unincorporated

The sign entering the center of the community said "Oak Grove Unincorporated." It is in the northern part of Sumner County on State Highway 52 halfway between Portland and Westmoreland - 8 miles east of Portland, 8 miles west of Westmoreland, 16 miles north of Gallatin, and approximately 4 miles south of Fairfield or maybe 15 or 16 miles south of the Kentucky line. It is bordered by Chestnut Hill, Sulphuria Bonair, Fairfield, Corinth, Mount Moria, Liberty, and yes... Stinking Creek.

The one church in Oak Grove was and is a Presbyterian Church. It was formed from the Presbytery in the Louisville District. Many of its members came out of Round Pond, a Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and Fairfield Methodist Church. My mother and grandmother were charter members of this Presbyterian church.

We had a two year high school there when I grew up that drew from the surrounding communities.

There were two to three stores depending on the early period or later period of my career.

We had one to two barber shops. One barber shop was operated by Harve Brown for a long time in a small building outside of one of the stores. Another barber shop was operated by Morphew Douglas in another one of the country stores in Oak Grove. Doug was later, as some will remember, a very popular barber in Gallatin having owned one or more barber shops there. He was a well known young man of the Oak Grove community.

There were two doctors in the early 1920's - Dr. Walden and Dr. Hunt. We had blacksmiths, gristmill operators, and carpenters. We had a garage with auto mechanics. We had McNess peddlers, Watkins peddlers. And yes, we had bootleggers.

Growing Up

Now, let me tell you about some people of Oak Grove. First, I am Goldman Dewitt Freeland. At Oak Grove they call me Dewitt. I grew up helping in my dad's county stores that he owned at two different periods of my growing up. I farmed, drove a school bus and hauled ice to the country stores part of the time when daddy ran the stores.

As a teenager, I tended the stores while he did his duty as a school board member and other business duties. I went to school at Oak Grove school and Portland High School. I drove a school bus to Portland High School when I was 16 to 18 years of age. My route started at Oak Grove, went toward Sulphuria, to Anderson, backtracked then to Oak Grove, then down Highway 52 to Portland. One summer I hauled WPA workers to Gallatin and loafed all day around the courthouse absorbing an education -- both good and bad.

Following high school I began working for DuPont in Old Hickory. I spent 45 years with DuPont in Old Hickory, Chattanooga, and South Carolina. I married Sarah Clay of Old Hickory in 1940 and we still enjoy a happy and healthy life. We have three daughters -- Sandra, Sheila, and Debby and seven grandchildren -- 3 boys and 4 girls -- Tracy, Mindy, Brad, Jeff, Gretchen, Ryan and Misty. We have one great-grandchild named Rick. This hardly makes me an expert about Oak Grove but I think you will see the connection.

My Oak Grove connection is that I am the son of Harris Freeland and Cassie Anglea Freeland. I am the grandson of Sid Freeland and Julie Gant Freeland. I am also the grandson of George Anglea and America Tennessee Sherron Anglea. I am of English, Irish, and French background.

At one point in time when I grew up in Oak Grove, I would estimate that I was related to 75% of the people there, coming from the Sherrons, from the Angleas, from the Freelands and Gants. The largest contributor to this relative situation and the population of Oak Grove was from my grandmother, America Tennessee Sherron Anglea. Granny was one of 13 children. Her dad and mother were William Buck Sherron, born in about 1820, and Chaney Lee Sherron, born in about 1828.

Part Two: The Sherrons, The Freelands, The Angleas, and The Others

Part Three: Living and Working

Part Four: The Church and The Cemetery

Part Five: The Schools, The Stores, and The Garage

Part Six: The Blacksmiths and the Grist Mill, The Carpenters,The Doctors, Roadwork, Recreation, Health, etc., The Little Book, A Special Place

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