1880 to Present
by Michael E. Watkins
The area we call Peach, Tennessee is located in the southwest corner of Giles County and extends into Lawrence County. The dam on Sugar Creek, prior to 1880, was built of wood and a man named HAWKINS owned it and the area was called Hawkins Mill.|
As far as I know that was the only thing in the area, although later on there was a store and blacksmith shop. The mill was bought along with 50 acres on Sugar Creek by Ephraim WATKINS and Mrs. Lillian (Can't remember her last name) When deeding this new land from Mr. Hawkins, Ephraim was ask what he was going to name his mill and he said I want to call it Peach Rolling Mills.
This area is still known as Peach to this day. Ephraim then tore the old dam down and built one made from the limestone rock in the area. Ephraim brought his wife and seven children from Ardmore, Alabama to the area around 1881 and built a log home there on another 310 acres he had purchased.
In 1884 Ephraim built the home that still stands and is in use today. In 1886 Mrs. Lillian died, and to keep the mill, Ephraim paid off her children and put the land and mill in his name.
I really don't know much about the families that lived there in the early 1880's, but some names of people I do remember lived in Lawrence or Giles county are Mr. & Mrs. William TUCKER Tucker, Mr. and Mrs. Taylor CRABB, Mr. and Mrs. William HAMMONDS, Mr. and Mrs. Earl SHELTON, The BUFFALO family, The HARRISON family, Jesse FORSYTHE and family, The NORWOOD family, Jimmy HARRIS and family, The GREEN family, the ROSSON family, the BUCANNON Family, The TOWNSEND Family, the NEWTON family, the WHITE family, and the PETTY family who moved there in the early 1900's.
On one side of Peach was Minor Hill and across Sugar Creek there was a community called Appleton. The Punchon area was nearby and a school there where most of the Peach kids went to school.
Ephraim's wife Mary Ann HODGES died in 1891 and Ephraim remarried Sarah Ann BASS daughter of Benjamin Batey BASS. There were 3 more children brought into this family but only one, my grandfather, lived to adulthood Logan Cal WATKINS born in 1894. By 1890 Peach had grown to a store and a blacksmith shop. Ephraim died in 1898 and to settle his estate the mill was sold to Marvin HARRISON, but the surrounding 50 acres along with another 50 was kept by the WATKINS family. Sarah Bass WATKINS had a lifetime lease to live in the home Ephraim built until her death and after Logan Cal married Clara Mae PETTY he bought the 50 acres on Sugar Creek along with the other 50 or so acres of what was left of the WATKINS estate where he farmed until his death in 1960. By the early 1900's Peach was a booming little town of people that lived a typical everyday farm life. Jesse FORSYTHE by 1920 ran the black smith shop William and Nola HAMMONDS ran the general store, and Clarence PETTY ran a saw mill. By the late 1940's Peach was all but a forgotten little town. People took their goods to be milled to Appleton and Minor Hill became the major little town of the area. In the year 2002 the only reminder of this little farming area is part of the old dam and the memories of generations that grew up hunting, fishing and swimming around Sugar Creek.
In the picture you see Clarence PETTY (my great grandfather) , Clara Mae PETTY WATKINS (my grandmother) Maude Lee PETTY ( grandmother to Maurice WOODARD of Pulaski) Louise PETTY WOODARD ( Maurice WOODARD's mother) and Ruth and Edith PETTY ( my grandmother's sisters) taken about 1915 just below the dam at Peach on Sugar Creek.
Submitted by Michael E. Watkins
This is copyrighted material, displayed with the permission of the author.