Labor Day was a set as a day to recognize outstanding local citizens in Decaturville for many years. The event was sponsored by the 45-member civic club who set Labor Day as a permanent annual homecoming date for a big celebration in tribute to some outstanding citizen of Decatur County. The initial program on Monday, Sept 1, 1947 honored Decatur County’s venerable country doctor, Dr. Tav Rogers, as he reviewed a parade of hundreds of his “babies” ranging in ages from two weeks to 58 years.
The deliver-bouquets-to-the-living idea was so popular that club members voted to make the day honoring labor go a little further each time by calling up for special recognition some man or woman who had worked so long and hard among them.
The plan was for Dr. Rogers to remain the outstanding guest at each year’s gathering as long as he lived. Other annual top-notchers in turn joined him to form the panel of county greats to watch newcomers ushered into their own hall of fame. Mrs. Lela Stout was honored at the second such event in 1948. Mrs. Stout is believed to have taught more than half of Decaturville’s townspeople in the first grade during her 40-odd years of school teaching.
The pictures below were made at the eighth annual Dr. Rogers Day on Sept 6, 1954. The honorees that year were Mrs. W. L. Wheat and Mr. J. Hyder Smith. The Day was under the direction of E. H. Wylie and James L. England, president and secretary of the Civic Club. Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture, Buford Ellington was the principal speaker and Gordon Turner made the memorial address honoring Dr. Rogers and Mrs. Hettie Miller. Honorees of past years were present: Lela Stout, Kittie McMillan, Houston Chalk, Rev. O. H. Lafferty, P. H. Welch, Lillian Vise and Jesse W. Blount.
Lela Stout, Houston Chalk, Rev. O. H. Lafferty, Kitty McMillian, P. H. Welch, Lillian (Grace) Vise, Gordon Turner, Mrs. W. L. Wheat (Honoree), J. Hyder Smith (Honoree), E. H. Wylie (Civic Club President), Buford Ellington (Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture), James L. England (Civic Club Secretary)
Lela Stout, Houston Chalk, Rev. O. H. Lafferty, Kitty McMillian, P. H. Welch, Lillian (Grace) Vise
Gordon Turner, Mrs. W. L. Wheat (Honoree), J. Hyder Smith (Honoree), E. H. Wylie (Civic Club President), Buford Ellington (Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture), James L. England (Civic Club Secretary)
Thanks to Garey Wheat for providing these pictures. Thanks to Dian Brasher and Larry Yarbro for providing information for this page. Newspaper articles written by Gordon R. Turner provided many of the details.
Please contact me if you have additional pictures or newspaper articles about Dr. Rogers day in Decaturville.