W. B. Myers House

Caption on the reverse: Mrs. W. B. Myers’ home-Goodlettsville, Tenn. Where we lived the first five years of our married life. From Sept. 1927-June 1932. Also Summer of 1933.

The caption on the above photograph appears to have been written by Clarence Colton Dawson (1897-1966), a teacher born in Linton, Trigg County, KY, the son of Thomas Arnold Dawson (1871-1944) and Leona Alice Ricks (1880-1851). He married Mary Elizabeth Riggins (1898-1988) in August 1927. Mary was born in Mintonville, KY, the daughter of John Byron Riggins (1859-1934), a farmer, and Orpha Jane McClure (1869-1962), natives of Columbia, KY. They had one child, John Thomas Dawson (1937-2001) who, apparently, never married.

The house is located at 127 North Main Street in the village of Goodlettsville, TN which is located about 12 miles north of Nashville, the county seat and state capital. It was built circa 1907 by William Benjamin Myers (1870-1925) and his wife Mary Olivia Milam (1872-1956) to replace a house that burned down that year. Myers was the proprietor of B. F. Myers & Son, a dry goods store across the street from the house which his father, Benjamin Franklin Myers (1843-1907), established before the American Civil War. B. F., who was born in New York state and brought to Goodlettsville as a child, was also a founder of the Bank of Goodlettsville of which W. B. was later a vice president. Today the house is the home of the Cole & Garrett Funeral Home and Cremation Services which bought it in 1933. The funeral home is decorated with art depicting Goodlettsville’s history and you can see other photographs and take a virtual tour on their website.

The Dawsons taught school in Goodlettsville while they lived in this house, he in the high school where he taught business and coached athletics, and she as a teacher and basketball coach in the grammar school. Colton, as he was known, received a master’s degree from Nashville’s George Peabody College for Teachers while living there (1931, and another in 1938). Mary received a bachelor of science degree in commerce from Peabody in 1938. Both Mary and Colton were very active in the civic life of the village while they lived there.

Mary taught in West Virginia, Georgia, and Adair, Warren, Franklin, and Trigg Counties of Kentucky. She was a member of the Columbia Christian Church and the Kentucky Education Association, and had been a vice regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution James Thomas Chapter of Trigg County. Colton was chairman of the Department of Business at Berea College and was an assistant professor in the business department at Eastern Kentucky State Teachers College. After his 1928 bachelor of science in commerce from the University of Kentucky and the master’s degrees mentioned above, Colton did graduate work at New York University, Ohio State University, and the University of Kentucky. He worked on a PhD dissertation, History of Tax Administration in Kentucky since 1850, but never received the degree. He was a veteran of WWI, a Mason, and a Methodist. They are buried with John Thomas in East End Cemetery in Cadiz, Trigg County, KY.

Colton (center) was faculty sponsor of the Commercial Club at Goodlettsville High School in 1931 (Nashville Banner, 21 March 1931, p. 28)

I’m doing research for another project and came across this photograph in an online auction a few weeks ago. It was a diversion, but I learned a lot, including some information informing the other project. I was raised in Goodlettsville and a century’s worth of relatives on my father’s side were buried by the Coles and the Garretts. My earliest memories recall being sad, confused, and bored at funerals in that house, open caskets, a break room full of food homemade by friends and relatives, unceasing cigarette smoking and coffee drinking, a bewildering array of relatives (I had about 60 first cousins). Walking the halls of Goodlettsville High School (1917-1985), I frequently looked up at the class photographs hanging in the hallways and probably gazed upon the faces of students taught by Mary and Colton; I probably knew their descendants who were fellow students.

W. B. Myers House

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