Family Ties to Watertown Schools Run Deep

As WHS celebrates centennial, 1961 grad reflects..


When the doors to the original Watertown High School opened to grades one through 12 in the fall of 1911, in a roundabout way, Charlotte Huddleston Johnson, 69, was there.

She’s no time traveler, but due to her grandmother’s habit of saving every little bit of scrap of paper as well as writing notes, Charlotte knows the details as well as anybody of September 6, 1911, when the cornerstone was laid in that brick, two-story structure dedicated to educating the young minds of southeast Wilson County.

watertown4You see, her great-grandfather, Dr. James L. Davis, served as president of the Watertown Board of Education 101 years ago. And her grandmother, Marguerite Davis, class of 1915, was 13 on that special day and placed a copy of her father’s speech in the cornerstone.

Marguerite was still in Watertown 70 years later on Nov. 13, 1981, when that 1911 cornerstone was plucked from

watertown5 its place of pride in the old school, which was being demolished, only to be put in a special niche of the newly remodeled Watertown High School. “They were tearing down the old high school to have a place to build the new school,” says Charlotte, class of 1961. “I remember she was the only living person at that time that had put anything in the cornerstone. She was almost 84. She lived to be 100 and died in 1997.”
Charlotte’s sister, Margaret Huddleston Gwaltney, class of 1968, was also a WHS graduate, as were their parents, Billie Love Cathcart Huddleston and Howard Huddleston, class of 1939.
So Charlotte, who lives in Lebanon, can tell you that her hometown’s first high school stood proud for 70 years. Created for 12 grades, that original building became the elementary school in 1929 when the second high school building, a three-story structure, was erected right beside the first one. Today’s Watertown High campus was built in 1964 and remodeled in 1981. And hopefully, in a few years, Watertown High School No. 4 will be raised on the other side of Highway 70 along Neal Road. No doubt, Charlotte’s great-grandfather, who died in 1935 at 69 years of age, would be elated by the thought.
“He stressed education from day one to his children. Granny (Marguerite) always said he wanted them to all get an education and was insistent that they all go on to college. He sent himself through school. He knew he didn’t want to farm. He became a doctor, graduating from Vanderbilt in 1893,” said Charlotte of Davis, who was born and raised on a farm in Statesville and operated a practice for seven years in Norene before opening an office in 1900 on the west side of the Watertown square.
watertown2On the Watertown Board of Education along with Davis 101 years ago were T.R. Patton and William Phillips. They and the residents of the community raised nearly $10,000 to build that first school and hired Nashvillian Joe W. Holman as architect.
The dedication program on that momentous day featured the Lebanon Military Band performing the Star Spangled Banner and Watertown school children singing America. The honor of laying the marble slab cornerstone were given to Charles Comstock of Crossville, Tenn., grand master of the Tennessee Masons. As for the plentiful items placed in the cornerstone, these included the Holy Bible, rosters of the officers of Watertown, the school teachers, and the officers and directors of the Bank of Watertown. Also put in the hollow of stone were the town ordinances, copies of Watertown, Lebanon, Alexandria and Nashville newspapers and a mint-condition 1911 dime.

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Politics, Religion and…

Besides religion, politics and sex there’s one more hot button issue that should be added to that list of taboo topics never discussed in mixed company. Not war. Not equal pay. Not even the latest shocking elimination on Dancing with the Stars. Nope, it’s breastfeeding. I understand that because this word actually includes part of the female anatomy some would argue it falls under the ‘sex’ category but trust me it’s shouldn’t.

Pat & Katie Ryan

Take a Tour of Salem’s Farm

Got Goat’s Milk Soap? Salem Farms not kidding

Pat & Katie Ryan

Photos and Story by Ken Beck

The way Pat Ryan sees it, Salem Farms is a nursery, a goat farm, a dairy and a soap factory. 

He and wife Katie moved into the 1918 farmhouse on the old Armstrong Arnold place near Norene 7½ years ago. First, they tried raising Boer goats for meat, but in October of 2010 they switched their herd to Nubians for milk.

Continue reading “Take a Tour of Salem’s Farm”

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wlm founders

Notes from the Founders – May June 2012

In just a few short weeks, 2012 will be half over! Can you believe it? The weather in Middle Tennessee has been gorgeous and that means most of us arewlm founders busy shuttling the kids between baseball, tennis and other outdoor activities. In the off chance you have some spare time, check out the calendar of events on pages 8 & 9. There’s plenty going on in and around Wilson County.

Our new and improved website has been up and running for nearly two months now and thanks to our faithful readers, it’s a huge hit! We credit our bloggers with generating much of the traffic. So check out our website and check it often for blog updates, breaking news, events and to register to win some fantastic prizes at www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com.

May is stroke awareness month. To recognize this, we sat down with Wilson County resident and stoke survivor, Jason Gray. Jason and his wife, Danielle recount details of the days that led to doctors telling this healthy father of two he had five strokes. You will be inspired by how this family made it through a year riddled with hospital stays and tests and are now stronger than ever. Look for the story on page 10.

Styles and Trends are changing every day. Lucky for readers Wilson Living’s, Erin Brown, keeps up with all you need to know to be in the know. Check out what beauty products are hot for Spring on page 30.

We also have some delightful new recipes from Food Editor, Stacey Meadows and a new restaurant review from Dining with Doc, Dr. John Gallaher. Plus, a new article by Roy Harris that’s sure to inspire you, and one from our newest contributor, Randy Rudder.

Before we go, we’d like to wish all of the Moms and Dads a Happy Mother’s Day and Happy Father’s Day.

Until next time, keep reading!

Angel Kane
Becky Andrews

Email Angel at angel@wilsonlivingmagazine.com or Becky at becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com

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Table Of Contents – May June 2012


May / June 2012 Features

6       Notes From the Founders

8       Calendar of Events
         Meet Your Neighbor
  Stroke of Luck
         Wilson County Is the Place to Be 
14    Family Ties To Watertown Schools Run Deep

         City Between the Lakes
22    Get a move on at Re:MOVE

         Health & Well-Being
Dr. Gill Helps Patients live Happier, Healthier Lives


May / June 2012 Features

For the Love of the Game

         Styles & Trends
30    What Beauty Products are Hot for Spring?
         Food For Thought
36    Berry, Berry Good Summer Recipes

         Dining With Doc
37    Dining with Doc at Mo’Cara

         Living in the Past 
A Look Back At 1941 

         Finding Your Piece of the Good Life
  Take a Tour of Salem Farms



Finding peace at Salem Farms with the Ryans  See Page 40

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Notebook Nerd

Into my notebook goes anything that is interesting enough to stop me in my tracks–the slump of a pair of shoulders in a crowd, a newspaper entry, a recipe, “chewy” words like ragamuffin or Maurice . . . For me, it all begins with a notebook: it is the well I dip into for that first clear, cool drink.

Rita Dove