Editor’s note: This series will run weekly throughout 2016 to highlight Bartlett’s history in honor of its 150th anniversary this year.
My family roots run deep in Bartlett. My maternal grandparents, Hugh and Lucille Allen, “lived on the hill” in Bartlett by the Bartlett Methodist Church. Everyone knew the Allen family who lived on the hill. My maternal grandfather’s family had lived in the same spot since 1868.
My great-great grandparents, Nelson and Amanda Greer Allen, moved to Bartlett around 1868 from the Dyer County, Tenn., area. Originally from William-son County, Tenn., Nelson Allen and Amanda Greer were married on Aug. 26, 1852.
Nelson inherited a sizable estate from his Aunt Elizabeth Hodge, who lived in the Dyer County area. Nelson and Amanda moved from Brentwood, Tenn., to Dyer County and presumably lived on the estate.
They had three children: Hugh H. (1853-1927), John E. (1860-1908) and Sarah A. E. (1863-1954).
The Allens moved to Bartlett around 1868. They purchased 8.75 acres, which included a residence, from James Oglesby for $4,000.
Mr. Oglesby was the town carpenter and builder of many Bartlett homes, including the Blackwell House.
Records indicate that he built the residence around 1862.
Mr. Oglesby was a Mason, and he proudly displayed a Masonic emblem above the front door of the home. Family legend has it that when Union soldiers marched into Bartlett in June 1862, camping there for several days before heading into Memphis, some of the soldiers attempted to take some chickens and burn an outbuilding. An officer, himself a Mason, saw the Masonic emblem and instructed his men to leave the family alone.
The home burned around 1942, and my grandparents eventually built a ranch-style home on the property.
Nelson and Amanda ran a small dairy farm on the property. They raised cotton, chickens and hogs, and they sold their goods in and around Bartlett. Nelson passed away at home on Feb. 21, 1872, from heart failure, leaving Amanda and her sons to run the farm. The homestead passed to the eldest son, my great-grandfather, Hugh H. Allen. I am not certain when Amanda passed away, but it was probably in the late 1890s.
Hugh helped run the dairy farm and also worked for a short time as a Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputy, guarding prisoners at the Penal Farm. He met my great-grandmother, Effie Eugenia Mayo, and they were married on May 17, 1898. Effie’s parents were Joseph and Fannie Bond Mayo.
Fannie was the daughter of John and Susan Bond and niece of Samuel Bond. Samuel Bond is most noted as the builder of Cedar Hall in Ellendale, Tenn.
The middle Allen son, John, married Lucy Eddins in 1884, and they had four children. John also was a dairy farmer.
The youngest Allen child, Sarah, married Elijah Pulliam in 1889, and they had two children. Sarah moved with her husband and children to Osceola, Ark., where they also owned a farm.
Hugh and Effie ran the Gilt Edge Dairy, providing fresh milk for many families in and around Bartlett and beyond. The cows were milked by hand, and the milk cans were kept in large concrete troughs filled with water.
Hugh and Effie had one son, Hugh H. Allen Jr., my grandfather, born in April 1912. They led a small-town farming life. They sold eggs, vegetables and meats. Family members described the Allen property as bucolic, and it was overrun with sunflowers, daffodils, irises, cedar trees, apricot trees and peach trees.
My grandfather and Kate Bond were cousins. My mom remembers visiting Kate so my grandfather could trade flowers with her. Effie even had a large fish pond built in the shape of a “B” for Bartlett. When my mom was young, her parents cleaned out the pond, and the neighborhood kids would come for a swim.
The Allens were Methodist and attended Bartlett Methodist Church. When the original church burned on Oct. 23, 1923, the church decided to purchase part of the Allen property at the corner of Raleigh Bartlett Road (now Stage Road) and Shelby Street. The church paid Hugh and Effie Allen $1,000 for the property, and they in turn donated the money to start a building fund.
Hugh Allen Sr. died in 1927, and Hugh Jr. and his mother continued to run the dairy together until the early 1930s.
My grandfather graduated from Bartlett High School alongside his lifelong friend, W.J. “Jody” Freeman. After high school my grandfather went to work for Crump Brothers Store on Jackson Avenue, where he met his future wife, Lucille Hall. Lucille was from Stephens, Ark. and had moved to Memphis to work. They were married on Aug. 25, 1938, and had one child, my mother, Charlotte.
Effie Allen passed away in 1940 from breast cancer. My grandfather was drafted in WWII, and when he came home he went to work for Plough Inc. (later Schering- Plough), where he worked until his death in 1980. My grandfather served as a Bartlett alderman for many years alongside his friend, Jody Freeman.
Family legacy continues
My mother graduated from Bartlett High School in 1963 and eventually married a boy named John Horn, whom she had met in the first grade at Bartlett Elementary. My parents still live in Bartlett about a mile from where my mom grew up.
I also live in Bartlett — in the Ellendale area, and more than likely on land that was once owned by my fourth great uncle, Samuel Bond.
Shortly after my grandfather passed away, my grandmother sold the remaining four acres to the Bartlett Methodist Church, and she remained in her home on the property until shortly before her death in 1991.
I believe my great-grandparents would be thrilled to know that the Bartlett Methodist Church now calls their entire former property home.
Written by By Melanie Horn Busch, special to the Express.