Sunday, August 2, 2009

Regional - Tennessee History

Cannonsburgh; Murfreesboro, Rutherford County, Tennessee. As the Stones River winds all around Rutherford County, Tennessee, this area was well known for its abundance of old mills. The photo below is a restored mill of our county. Grist mills, powered by water, were very popular as they would grind grains such as wheat, rye, oat, or barley into flour and meal. The miller is paid for his services of milling by collecitng a toll--a portion of the grain brought to the mill for grinding.

Murfreesboro Purity Milk
Third-generation, family-owned businesses may be rare these days, but Murfreesboro Pure Milk Co., is still going strong. The Murfreesboro-based company got its start just before the Great Depression, and today it employs about 60 people and serves 12 Middle Tennessee counties. Murfreesboro Milk was a full-service dairy producing milk and ice cream here in Murfreesboro until the 1960s. That’s when Murfreesboro Pure Milk Co. became a distributor for Purity Dairies. Young’s brother, Brad, is vice president of sales, and their father, Bud, is the company’s president. Source: Tennessee Living website

In 1873, the first train robbery in America was pulled off by Jesse James and his gang. They took $3,000 from the Rock Island Express at Adair, IA. Stick ’em up. Did Jesse James – that most infamous of American outlaws – once live in Rutherford County? The life and death of James, an ex-Confederate partisan, is the focus of a new motion picture starring Brad Pitt. The movie pitches Jesse as one of America’s first celebrities and has rekindled interest in the Missouri native.

It is well documented that James, along with his brother Frank and their families, did live in Tennessee following the Sept. 6, 1876 Northfield, Minn. raid. But did the outlaw ever live in the Murfreesboro area? An old newspaper article contends he did, at least temporarily. The Murfreesboro Post claims that a story, published March 28, 1941 in the now-defunct Rutherford Courier, claims Jesse and his brother Frank spent part of a summer “hiding out” around the Kittrell area.

This set could go under my food section or in regional history as "Little Debbie" snack cakes are a Tennessee Tradition. The McKee story began during the height of the Great Depression when young entrepreneur O.D. McKee began selling 5 cent snack cakes from the back of his car. He was just out of college and newly married, and he was eager to get into the baking business. Soon after, he and his wife, Ruth, bought a small, failing bakery, using the family car as collateral. Money was so tight they had to put up a sheet near the back of the bakery for the family's living quarters. In 1960, McKee Foods founder O.D. McKee was trying to come up with a catchy name for their new family-pack cartons of snack cakes. Packaging supplier Bob Mosher suggested using a family member's name. Thinking of what could be a good fit for the brand, O.D. arrived at the name of his 4-year-old granddaughter Debbie. Inspired by a photo of Debbie in play clothes and her favorite straw hat, he decided to use the name Little Debbie® and the image of her on the logo. Not until the first cartons were being printed did Debbie's parents, Ellsworth and Sharon McKee, discover that their daughter was the namesake of the new brand. The first family-pack was produced in August of that year and consisted of the original snack cake, the Oatmeal Creme Pie. Family-packs were one of the first multiple-item baked goods available with individually wrapped products. The cost per carton was only 49 cents. By combining a quality product with outstanding value, Little Debbie® quickly became a member of America's households. After its initial introduction, more than 14 million cakes were sold within 10 months. While the Oatmeal Creme Pie was the original Little Debbie® snack cake, there were 14 different varieties by 1964 including the ever-popular Nutty Bars® Wafer Bars and Swiss Cake Roll. Since 1960, Little Debbie® snacks have remained a value leader. Currently, they sell for less than other leading brands while providing quality products. More than 75 varieties are available. Little Debbie® snacks are available in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, as well as on U.S. military bases throughout the world. (Source: McKee foods website)

Murfreesboro Train Station

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