- [S83] Willis LaRue Funeral Home Records, (Cocke County, Tennessee).
James Furman Franks obituary
- [S24] The Newport Plain Talk, (http://www.newportplaintalk.com), 27 Mar 2015.
Just Plain Talk: Looking back some 50 years connecting people, places
Spring got a boisterous start waving its pink, yellow, white and purple blossoms around our hometown, with temperatures peaking in the high 70s before descending into rain and cold to welcome April Fool’s Day on Wednesday.
Over the past several weeks we have been talking about the Huff and Robinson families from Northport near Knowles Market. I got to talk with Patti Briggs, who descends from the Robinson family. In March I also dropped in on Willie and Robin Green who were close friends to Nan (Robinson) Huff until the day she died. We were able to borrow the 80th birthday celebration photo of Jessie Robinson that was published in the Newport Plain Talk on Jan. 24, 1966. I noticed reading the story probably written by Lifestyles Editor Nancy R. Petrey that it took place at the dining room of the Rhea Mims Hotel on a Friday. At the honoree’s table red carnations and white baby breath drew attention. Did you know Mrs. J. Q. Wagner? She asked the blessing with some 95 friends and relatives attending. Specifically mentioned as out-of-town guests were Mrs. C. Ray Johnson, of Greeneville, Mrs. H.E. Elliott, Mrs. Paul S. Kelley, Mrs. Monroe Weaver, and Mrs. Mark Huff, all of Knoxville. Just a few photos most likely survive to retell the stories from about 90 years time period we have been covering.
Did you know Betty Harper?
Patti gave me more insight into Betty Harper to help me appreciate her more. I’ve always had good feelings about her from various comments over the years and stories/photos in the Plain Talk about Betty. After her mother’s (Lena Robinson Franks) death, Betty was raised by Jessie and that is why Nan and Betty were almost like sisters. Nan was Jessie’s other daughter. They are standing next to each other in the Plain Talk 80th birthday photo for Jessie Robinson. You recall that Nan and Earl Huff moved to Knoxville and eventually Atlanta to help open Huff’s Furniture with their son, Jim, who was born in Newport. After the most unexpected death of her husband, Betty got even busier working. By the way, Charles died three days after Patti married Blake Briggs, of the Briggs Auto Body business off Knoxville Highway. Which reminds me I haven’t seen granddaddy Jack Briggs doing lap swimming at the community center where several of us swim regularly. He might be handling the early pool shift. I think Betty learned a strong work ethic from Jessie, who Patti described as “A handsome woman, a strong individual.” After Jessie’s husband Jim died, she turned the home into Robinson’s Station boarding house and operated it as such for many years. I think one of the first places I bumped into Betty was at the state employment/unemployment office in the Food City East plaza. She worked there for 30 years. Also she did commercial cleaning of such businesses as National Bank, Newport Utilities operations center, and Lisega. Patti said she also helped Mom. Patti started with Newport Utilities in 1988 and stayed until 1998 and took a break. That may have been to raise their sons, Adam and Zach. Adam works at Briggs’ Body Shop and Zach wants to train to manage golf courses. From 2008 until 2010 Patti worked for Tennessee State Bank and then rejoined Newport Utilities. Betty finished her state career at the Dandridge office. She also served on the Newport Housing Authority Board of Commissioners. So you can see why I gained a new respect for Betty and other family members. Perhaps we will revisit them one day.
Nan’s Boutique, the new store
I tried to find a photo of Nan Huff’s Boutique as it existed next to the Merchants & Planters Bank but found none. After talking with Robin Green, who has a sharp memory, she was able to pinpoint October 1989 as the grand opening of the new Boutique next to Newport Printing & Office Supplies. Willie said that he owned some land next to the corner building, occupied by attorneys such as Tom Testerman. Looking back, Willie remembered buying his current building and land from John M. Jones. Sr., of Greeneville, after the Plain Talk moved to its current location in the mid-1960s. Willie also bought a lot from Dr. Nathan Ford, who owned at least part of the building and property. Willie sold enough land to Nan so she hired Dan Metcalf to build her shop. While we chatted, Willie conveyed some of the history he heard about his building. He said that Maggie Stansbery told him that there had been a restaurant in at least a portion of it downstairs. Upstairs, Dr. Northcutt had a hospital with about 12 rooms. Robin said you could still make out the shadow of room numbers left by the metal numbers that are long gone. This dates the building to the early 1900s, he said. Also, at some point, Windy Giles operated Giles Auto Parts in the same building housing Newport Printing. During the telling of these stories, Robin inserted that Betty Harper had her tonsils removed by Dr. Northcutt in his hospital just above our heads as we chatted in the printing room.
To be continued
- [S112] Census, 1940.
Name: Bettie Jean Franks
Event Type: Census
Event Date: 1940
Event Place: Newport, Civil District 6, Cocke, Tennessee, United States
Marital Status: Single
Race (Original): White
Relationship to Head of Household (Original): Granddaughter
Relationship to Head of Household: Granddaughter
Birth Year (Estimated): 1934
Last Place of Residence: Same House
Household Role Gender Age Birthplace
Jessie L Robinson Head F 54 Tennessee
Bettie Jean Franks Granddaughter F 6 Tennessee
Helen Whitlock Servant F 31 Tennessee
Albert C Wiegand Lodger M 23 New York
William C Motsinger Lodger M 19 Ohio
John Payne Lodger M 25 Virginia
- [S113] Manes Funeral Home, (http://www.manesfuneralhome.com), 26 Jul 2014.
(December 31, 1933 - July 26, 2014)
Betty Franks Harper age 80 of Newport passed away Saturday July 26, 2014 at her home in Newport. Graveside services will be held 11 am Wednesday July 30, 2014 in Union Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6-8 pm Tuesday July 29, 2014 at Manes Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to First United Methodist Church of Newport.
COMPLETE OBIT WILL POST LATER.
Manes Funeral Home in charge.
- [S147] Find a Grave, (Memorial: 133371532).
- [S58] Marriage Certificate.
Name: Betty Jean Franks
Event Type: Marriage
Event Date: 19 Feb 1955
Event Place: Jefferson, Tennessee, United States
Spouse's Name: Charles Harper