|MJ History: The Everetts and Curds|
|Tuesday, September 25, 2012|
We have another entry from the Mt. Juliet Homecoming Book, which is published along with the event each fall. This one is titled “The Everetts & Curds.” It was written by Thomas Ramsey. This is part one.Gela Everett Ramsey, my mother, was the offspring of two old Mt. Juliet families – the Curds and Everetts. Mother was born in November 1919, graduated in the 1938 class of Mt. Juliet High School, attended Cumberland and graduated from Peabody College. During the war, she met my father, C.P. Ramsey, married him and gave birth to a first-wave Baby Boomer. She taught at Mt. Juliet High in the early 1950s and later in Metro Nashville Schools, retired and died Dec. 26, 2009 of Alzheimer’s less than a half mile from place where she was born, amazingly enough.
Mother was mildly interested in Everett and Curd genealogy, and all the more so as she saw some of the old people she knew passing away. Genealogy in and of itself – names and dates assembled on a tree – is not very interesting, and in fact quite boring unless you hear the stories passed down from generation to generation. These stories become much better when you remember those about whom the stories are told, breathing life once again into their memory. Mother often took me (or rather dragged me) to visit different Everetts and Curds and seemed to refer to them all as “cousin so-and-so.” Now that she is gone, I wish I had paid more attention and am sorry for taking relation as seriously as she did. I apologize to them all, living and dead – Melvin, Carroll, Orville, John Wayne, Janice, Jerry and so on – for not being entirely clear on how we were related. And although the Everetts remain in abundance in the Mt. Juliet area, I know far less about their history and relation than perhaps I should.
My mother’s father, Burkett F. Everett, didn’t dwell on relations either. He was his own person and a workaholic before the word had been coined. There are few people around now who actually remember him. He was born June 18, 1876 (a week before Custer’s Last Stand), the only male in the middle of three sisters. He was not an overly affectionate person, and I can remember only a few times he and I actually sat and talked. I would sit in the wicker chair in his old kitchen as he baked cornbread in a Black Diamond wood stove and listened to WSM, the only radio station he could receive. Most of his childhood was spent going back and forth between Wilson County and Palmer, Texas – his mother’s (Mattie Hancock Everett) homeplace before she married his father, Nick Cook Everett. As a young boy, I recall listening with my eyes as big as saucers as he told me a particularly gripping Palmer yarn in which one of his uncles, a deputy, pulled out a revolver “as long as my arm” (measuring to a point near his elbow) and shot an escaping prisoner in the head.
In 1909, he bought from his paternal uncle, Thomas Harvey Everett, an 85-acre farm and house off what is now Sunset Drive. In the one or two weeks of spring (between the last snow and the point where weeds are knee-high), you can still see the foundation of the old 1840 house on a knoll behind Doorknob Records and Houston’s Meat Market. He lived and farmed there for the next 50 years, taking produce to Nashville and selling it near the Stockyards. In 1917, he married Mae Curd, losing her to “hardening of the arteries” (Alzheimer’s) in 1945. The only vehicle he ever owned was a green 1928 Chevrolet truck, which was stolen in Nashville and later found stripped. He vowed never again to buy another and was true to his word until he bought a 1952 John Deere. He drove this “vehicle” until late in life, up to the day he veered a bit too close and the John Deere’s extended axle “keyed” a few cars at Toppy McFarland’s gas station. The tractor was sold and he never drove again.
In 1938, when the current Mt. Juliet Road was surveyed and right-of-way plotted through the middle of his farm, he traded the right-of-way for an equal area of Old Mt. Juliet Rd. in front of his house. It is still there today and, I believe, one of the last segments of original pre-Civil War road in the area.