Black History Spotlight: Strong women

Black History Spotlight: Strong women

My last article didn’t say Dr. Robert W. Brandon Sr. was the doctor who would do the surgery at the black hospital in Martin when Dr. M. Lay was out of town.

Dr. Robert Sr. built Weakley County Hospital in 1924. Daisy Rogers was hired as the hospital cool. George worked for the Brandons for more than 60 years. For their faithfulness, the Brandons had a home built for them on Old Fulton Road. He also gave Effie “Cavitt” Jones a home and paid her taxes and insurance as long as she lived. The same love was shown to Inez Hancock by Dr. Robert Brandon, Jr. who gave her home to Mable Dysart. 

Willie M. Gardner was a kind and generous man to work for many years.

Grace Beard was the wife of V.P. Beard. She left three people in her will – Doris Owens, Willie Gardner and yours truly, Col. Bob Smith.

The Dodd family, Violet and George Dodd, rewarded Emma Martin a home. Emma thought so much of the Dodd family that she wanted to be called Emma “Dodd.”

Frances “Ralston” Howard worked for the Clarence Dodd family for 40 years. Mr. Dodd was the father of Marilucile Counce. She tells how they loved her not as a maid, but as family and the way that she was treated.

Mary Lynn Benson, a lifelong friend of mine, was a lady of love and the compassion for blacks she knew or worked in or around her home.

Doris Owens was one who received a monthly endowment from this fine lady until she died.

Hazel Lawler worked for Arthur Douglas and his mother Minnie for 30 years as a cook and maid. When Mr. Douglas passed he left in his will money for five black employees – Hazel Lawler, Will Fulton, Gallien Fulton, Ruben Randle and Bob W. Smith.

My sister Wilsie Fulton worked for UT Martin for 40 years and worked three jobs.

Nettie Nall Hilda Thurman made sure that Wilsie would have a home. She gave her a home at 406 Fulton Rd.

Helen Royster was housekeeper for Mrs. John Elrod. The family had a cook, nanny and a loyal worker. She was given many gifts from New York where Mrs. Elrod would go to purchase her fine dresses from the best designers of women’s clothing, so the women of Martin could dress in fine fashion. 

These apparels could be found at the Merry Lee Dress Shop located on Lindell Street in downtown Martin.

The ladies that I have written about have been the most appreciative people that could ever live in the most friendly of places of Martin, Tenn. in the U.S.A.

Thanks be to God that he has let me live to tell of the interminable love that has been shared by both races.

wcp 3/03/11

Leave a Comment