Studying a guest editorial


In the Feb. 10, 1966, issue of the Union Appeal, J.P. McMahan wrote a guest editorial on the “Growth of Union.” He stated, “In my boy-hood days, some odd 70 years ago, I can remember when there wasn’t but twenty-four homes in what is now known as the town of Union.” Mr. McMahan then gave locations of those 24 homes.  In this article, Mr. McMahan’s remembrances of locations as he stated in the 1966 paper will appear in quotation marks. Following each one, I will give additional information and then identify the locations of these homes using today’s addresses.

“The Dr. and Mrs. Abbie Hoye house was located where Grover James now lives.” Mrs. Hoye is listed as one of the three charter members of the Methodist Church in Union in 1863. Grover and Wilma James bought the property and built a home on the old Will Cleveland place in 1957, so they would have lived at 910 E. Jackson Road in 1966. Today, Jim Ogletree owns the property.

“The Tom Reagan house was where Mrs. Jim (Jesse) Luke now lives.” The J.S. Lukes moved to Union in 1929 and first lived on North Street in the home Jim later sold to Tal Hataway for his Union Funeral Home. Then in September 1940, Jim, who had bought the old home of G.W. Todd at 102 5th St., and demolished the house, built a new home for his family with the house facing Jackson Road, the house where Miss Jesse still lived in 1966.

“The John Petty home was located where Jim Freeman now lives.” Jim and Mary Freeman, who owned Freeman Department Store and Freeman and Thomas, lived at 401 S. Decatur St., the southeast corner of Decatur Street and Jackson Road. Jim built a new house on the corner in 1933.

“Captain Hunter home was where the old ‘Magnolia Inn’ is now located.” Captain Abel Brinkley (Abe) Hunter (1820-1899), who gave the original property for the cemetery to the town of Union in 1861 and served as leader of Company D of 1st Mississippi Cavalry in the Civil War, had a pre-Civil War home at 708 Jackson Road, approximately where the Tobacco Store and Subway are today. In 1921, the house was moved to 702 Jackson Road, the southeast corner of Long Street and Jackson Road, where it still sits. Dr. W.A. McMahen, who had moved to Union from Little Rock in 1918, then built a home where the Hunter home had been located. The McMahen home burned in 1936, and they moved into the Abe Hunter home that had been moved to the corner. Dr. McMahen died in 1937, and his wife Miss Cora lived the remainder of her days in that home. The McMahens’ grandson John Davis owns the home today.

“The Luther James home was in back of where George Hollingsworth lives.” George Hollingsworth, whose father W.R. Hollingsworth had bought the grocery and service station on South Decatur Street and named it W.R. Hollingsworth Service Station in 1933, operated the store after his father’s death until he sold it in 1947. George lived at 304 James St.

“Rufus Harrison home where Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Miller live.” These were Iva Miller’s parents, who lived around 911 E. Jackson Road, the W.A. Edgar home area today.

“John C. Portis, (father of Mrs. Maria Wells), where Mr. and Mrs. Robert Carleton live.” John C. Portis (1837-1909) was a Methodist minister, a Confederate veteran, the county treasurer, a founder of Greenwood Institute, and Union’s first mayor. His wife Margaret Boyd Portis was the daughter of William Boyd, one of the first white settlers coming to the town of Union in 1829. Margaret ran a boarding house and was a piano teacher. Their daughter Maria, one of three children, married William R. Wells, and they became parents of five children; Lura White (Arcus), who lived at 112 North Decatur Street, was one of them. The Robert Carletons lived at 111 N Decatur St., in 1966. The John Portis house was in disrepair but still standing when the Carletons bought the property in 1960. They razed it and then built their home in its former location.

“The Tom Wells (father-in-law of Mrs. Maria Wells) home was where Mr. and Mrs. A.V. Hardy now live.” Tom Wells was the great-grandfather of Charlotte Wells Brackeen. He originally lived on the Wells property south of Union. After his son Robert and Fannie Forrest ‘Queenie’ Nicholson married, Tom and his wife Adeline moved to Old Town, leaving the property to Robert. Then Robert’s son Charlie and his wife Ethel inherited the property where their daughter Charlotte lives today, keeping that property still in the Wells family. In Old Town, the Hardys lived at 106 N Decatur St. The house is still standing.

“The Bud Lewis home was where Mrs. O.A. Stribling now lives.” Bud Lewis ran the second store on the east side of the street in Old Town.  The store burned in the fire of 1914.  Mrs. Stribling lived around 201 Portis St.

“The Bud McMahen (father of the late W.A. McMahen) home was where the George Blackwell residence is now.” W.S. McMahen, a postmaster who was also called ‘Bud’, and his wife Emma Hunter McMahen had four children: Evelyn, who married Vic Horton; Dr. W.A. McMahen, who married Cora Nicholson; John, who married Era Cooper; and Archie, who lived only about one year. The Blackwells lived at 108 Chestnut St., in 1966. 

“Dr. Bill Lewis home where W.M. Johnson Sr. now lives.” Mr. Johnson lived at 605 Jackson Road, the northwest corner of Jackson Road and Long Street. The lot is vacant today.’

“The Joe Houston home was located where Lee Chevrolet place of business now is.” This is 105 Jackson Road, the current site of the Spaceway office building.

The remainder of the homes will be in next week’s newspaper. If you have a correction or any additional information on any of these families, please contact me at or 601-774-5564.


Funeral services for Juanita Hall were held 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, at St. John M.B. Church...