The following was composed by Mr. Moore I wanted to share it because it was so interesting. Maybe repeating myself but still interesting.
Hope you enjoy this history of Dancyville . I will share some of the ghost stories I have been told over the years about this beautiful area of Haywood Co.
Another bit of history I have come across is on West Tennessee State Normal School 1916-1919 when my Grandmother English attended school to learn how to teach and run her Creamery. She never taught but she did run her Creamery until she and grandfather opened their grocery store.
As you read this you will see bar be que has always been a part of West Tn history
by Joe B. Moore, 1963
Dancyville, named after Isaac Dancy, an old settler, is a post village, thirteen miles south of Brownsville, so said Goodspeed’s History of Tennessee, published in 1887. Goodspeed continues, “It was established in 1837 by Fennel T. Carpenter and John Southernland, who were it’s first merchants.”
Legend has it that when these merchants bought their first merchandise in St. Louis, they were asked where it should be shipped. There was no post office and the community did not have a name. When the merchants told this, they were asked if there were any kind of businesses in the community.
They answered, “Nothing except a blacksmith shop run by Isaac Dancy”. The wholesalers replied, “We will call it Dancyville and ship the goods there.”
So that is how the boxes were addressed.. Dancyville, Tennessee.. and they went by boat down the Mississippi and up the Hatchie River to Lowery’s Landing. From there they were hauled by ox cart to Dancyville.
Mr. Dancy died in 1863 and his son, John Henry Dancy, qualified as his administrator.
¹Quoting another source – Early Surnames of Dancyville area residents: Archbell, Caldwell, Cherry, Coppedge, Crawford, Dancy, Dixon, Douglas, Ford, Hughes, Hunter, Jones, Kerr, Key, Link, McFarland, MaMahon, Moore, Morris, Neblett, Payne, Ragland, Rawlins, Russell, Scott, Tanner and Tripp.
At this time roads in the vicinity of Dancyville were practically nil. The minutes of the County Court, dated March 5, 1838, shows “A committee to view and mark out a road from the Fayette County line through Dancyville in a direction to Brownsville was appointed and instructed to report at the next term of court.” This committee included John Coppedge, Isaac Dancy and others.
Also a similar committee was appointed¹ on April 2, 1838, to “View and mark a road in the direction of Somerville.” John B. Moore was appointed “Overseer to cut and clear said road from the corner of McFarland’s field through Dancyville to the Fayette County line and work his own hands, the hands of Zachariah Payne and all the citizens of Dancyville and report said cutting to the next or succeeding term of court.”
On October 7, 1839, another committee was appointed..a “Jury to view and mark a road commencing at the Fayette County line, near the Wesley Camp Ground and to intersect the Bolivar Road by running between Gridley’s and Mayes’ and report to the January term of Court.”
The early settlers of Dancyville brought with them the principles of Christianity. The Methodist Church was established in 1837. The present edifice erected about 1850, is the second building used by this denomination.
In 1941, Eldon Roark, in his Strolling column, called the the Dancyville Methodist Church,”A veritable picture of antiquity.” Although the building has been completely redecorated since that time, this atmosphere still prevails.
A Baptist Church, established soon thereafter, continued for many years but is no longer in existence. The Presbyterian Church was organized in 1852 and is still active. The original building was remodeled in 1939 and is now one of the most beautiful churches in Haywood County.
²Early Churches: 1837 Methodist Church ~ 1837 Baptist Church ~ 1853 Presbyterian Church
A petition for a Charter to Incorporate Dancyville was presented to the County Court in Brownsville in 1854 and approved. There were thirty signers to this petition and included I.W. Coppedge and Dr. Felix McFarland.
Early in the Civil War, two companies of soldiers were formed in Dancyville. Quoting Goodspeed’s History relative to the Civil War,” The Dancyville Grays was organized in the Spring of 1861, at Dancyville, with the following officers: Henry Douglas, Captain; Robert Pewett, First Lieutenant; William Scott, Second Lieutenant; W.R. Tripp, Third Lieutenant. The company contained about sixty-five men and was mustered into service at Jackson, in May 1861, and assigned it’s position as Company A, Ninth Tennessee Infantry.”
Still quoting Goodspeed,”Company L, Ninth Tennessee Infantry, was organized at Dancyville in March 1862, with the following officers: W.J. Lyle, Captain; G.R.Pewett, First Lieutenant; T.F. Ragland, Second Lieutenant; B.F. Phillips, Third Lieutenant. It contained about sixty-five men and was mustered into service at Corinth, Mississippi.”
“These two companies served under General Cheatham during the whole war. The principal battles in which they were engaged, and in all which they lost heavily, were: Shiloh, Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chicamauga, Atlanta, Franklin and Nashville.” J.F. Ragland, killed at Chicamauga, was brought home and buried in the Methodist Cemetery.
Dancyville has ever been school minded. Many of the early schools were subscription schools, charging ten dollars per year tuition. Academies furnished the more advanced education. Some of the academies located here were: the Dancyville Female Academy, organized in 1849; Dancyville Female Institute, organized in 1851; and the Baptist Female College, organized in 1855, The academies were gradually replaced by public high schools.(County Archives, Pages 5-6)
Quoting Goodspeed again,” The Brownsville Methodist District High School, established in Dancyville, in 1884, under manage of a board of trustees, is doing an excellent work.”
On July 22, 1886, the community sponsored a public bar-b-que in the Joe B. Moore wood lot for the purpose of raising funds to add classrooms to the high school building. Old timers reported that over ten thousand dollars was raised that day. The two parallel pits which were used to bar-b-que the meat were each about two hundred feet long and are still there resembling miniature breast works.
In the mid-eighteen-nineties, the Methodist Church discontinued sponsorship of the Brownsville District High School, and it’s name was changed to Dancyville Male and Female Academy, and as such, continued in operation for a number of years.
Early Schools: in Haywood Co.
1849 Dancyville Female Academy (met upstairs, Masonic Lodge Building)
1851 Dancyville Female Academy School Building erected
1851 Dancyville Male Academy organized
1855 Baptist Female College organized
1884 Methodist Brownsville District High School started
¹Minutes of County Court, 1838