Continuing facts about Mercer
OG Gardner started the lumber Co. in 1893 his lumber yard and mills did more to help Mercer grow. The lumber investment grew from one acre to 12 acres and expanded to other mills and yards in Jackson.
It was believed that Edgar Pentecost was severely injured when he was working for Mr. Gardner at the lumber yard. The story goes he was with a crew loading logs at the rail yard . As he was walking by a railcar some of the logs that were not secured properly rolled off the car knocking Edgar down and injuring him.
In the 1890’s A J Hayes had a water mill on the new canal and the mule powered gin .The first steam powered gin ( Rainey and Cobb Gin and Mill )was located where the CoOp is now.
In 1905 the Bank of Mercer was charted it failed in 1933 when the nation was undergoing some tragic times.
During the 1st World War as the troop trains passed through Mercer at 615 each evening. The men on the train would toss their letters off the train at the crossing. Word was that the citizens of Mercer who would be there to wave to the troops, they would pick up the mail and see that it was posted to their loved ones.
Mercer had it’s own Opera House.The performers would travel by train stopping in
Mercer to put on shows for the citizens from Denmark and Mercer. Then they would head on to their next stop.
In the 1930’s Edgar Hays Pentecost was the undertaker for the community. He was reported to have a beautiful hearse with glass windows and lanterns. His neighbors were uneasy because he kept it in the barn between their houses.
The Methodist Church was the first church in Mercer dating back to early 1894.
In October of 1894 the Mercer Baptist Church was organized. They experienced a fire that destroyed their records from 1894 to 1926. It is known that Dr G W Savage for 30 years was the pastor of the Mercer Baptist Church and also served as President of Union University in Jackson durning that time. The congregation used the Big Black Creek to hold baptismal services until a baptistery was installed in the church in 1938.
The first school opened in Mercer in 1894 in the lower floor of the Masonic Lodge. ( the lodge was located where Katherine Pope’s and Frances Ford’s houses stood.
Early teachers were J J Pennington, Professor Holt , and Professor JR Winds. In 1908 the added rooms and staff that included Miss Sally Fletcher, Miss Kate Sharp and Miss Mary Reid.
A new brick school building was built in 1912 at the top of the hill which is now Midgett St.
Another interesting fact was in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s Mercer had a Drive In Movie located at the intersection of Estanaula Rd and Hwy 138.
There was also a ball field where the community would gather for ballgames and pubic gatherings . For example a typical July 4th celebration would be the citizens holding stew cooks ( over night cooking stew in big black pots over fires ,while they would barbecue whole hogs in pits. They would dig the pits on the edge of the woods. While the men were cooking the stew and barbque the ladies would be home cooking ‘the sides’ .The next day they would have a celebration with eating ,having greased pig races as well as ball games. A simple time.