Towns & Communities

Sugar Tree

Sugar Tree, located in the northern corner of Decatur County, is 12 miles from Parsons.  It received it name from the sugar maple trees that lined on side of the main street.

One of the early business places in the thriving, unincorporated town was Fry and Wesson General Mercantile, which carried everything from hair pins to horse collars.  A small drug store was located at Sugar Tree where doctors came to fit glasses and make teeth.  They built the town's hotel, which was operated by Wylie Coble and Joe Odle.  Nattie Fisher kept boarders also.  Blacksmiths were Jack Bates, Dol Spence, Tom Bates, John Farlow, and Bill Terry, whose blacksmith shop was located beneath a big sugar maple tree.

Another thriving business was the tobacco factory, owned by Nathaniel A. Wesson.  A big two-story barn was used to smoke the tobacco leaves.  A cotton gin was operated by Arthur Odle who also operated a mercantile business.  A stave mill was also in operation for a while.  Staves were transported to Ledbetter's Landing by oxen-drawn wagons.  Hugh Cox was one of the drivers.

A brass band was organized and received much publicity.  It was drawn by a wagon and team and the uniformed band members presented a colorful show.  They made personal appearances on Children's Day at Wesson Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church and Cantrell Chapel Church of Christ just across the line in Benton County.  Hal Fry was the drummer and others in the band were Dick Walker, Dock Odle, Joe Odle, Ernest Fry, John McLin, Dude Odle, Erie Wesson, Claude Spence, Joe Spence, and Bud Spence.  To finance the band, box suppers and other fund drives were launched.

At on time Sugar Tree boasted a college, located on the present school ground.  Among some of its early teachers were Dub Wesson, Zack Amerson, Mattie Fisher, Stella Britt, Zeda Fowler, Opal Odle, Mike Spence, Mel Tucker, and Bess Wesson.  Later, there were 60 students taught by one teacher.


From "Tennessee County History Series: Decatur County" by Lillye Younger 1979. ISBN 0-87870-077-3