Stamper Family Project

She Once Lived On A Houseboat

Nesting in a corner just off the TAG Railroad track in Chesterfield is the bungalow home of Mrs. Vernon B. Wade, who is known as Mrs. Nemie Wade,
a lovely 88-years young women, who came here from Tennessee. Actually Mrs. Wade is a Kentuckian. Here in the house by the railroad lives a women
whose life has been like a picture story.

Lattice work is to one side of the porch of the five-room house. Shrubbery and spring flowers add to the picturesque beauty of the place. When the
young Wades came to Chesterfield around 1931, there was an old store building here, and down a ways was a post office and two walls of a house
were standing. Hunters had used the flooring and other walls keeping warm.

Seated in the bedroom of the Wade home, Mrs. Wade relaxed as she talked about the yesteryears. Her daughter Sylvia sat in another chair and a visitor
was seated across from Mrs. Wade.

“We bought the place from a Mr. Holder” said Nemie Wade, a former practical nurse. “There was a large eight-room house upon the hill that Mr. Holder
had renters in. They farmed the 25 acres, the Holders lived in Chattanooga. The House burned and was never rebuilt, and the place was let go to grow
up. At one time the place was owned by Mr. Estes.”

Estes had run the only store in the area. It was a general store, and had everything in it. The train stopped here back then. There were packing sheds
here where people brought peaches and watermelons to be shipped to markets in the east and to northern places.”

We lived in Chattanooga and we heard Mr. Holder wanted to sell the place. My husband contacted Mr. Holder and we bought the 25 acres of land and
the two walls left standing. It was grown up; it was just a big wilderness, We started-cleaning up the place. We rebuilt the house and moved in. At first
the trains coming through at night frightened the children. Sylvia would leap out of the bed and Norman Franklin, although smaller, would be frightened
too. The trains never bothered me”.

Nemie Wade is the former Nemie Stamper of Estil County , Kentucky. Nemie’s mother, her sisters, and Nemie too, always helped the people in the
community-or really in the county-when any member of the families became ill.

When Nemie was 17, she visited her sister, who lived in Winchester, Kentucky; and this sister’s daughter had a daughter just about Nemie’s age. The two
were sitting on the front porch one afternoon when a furniture truck passed. The two youths on the truck waved at the pretty teen-aged girls, and the
girls waved back. One of the boys was Vernon B. Wade.

Nemie, her sisters, and the niece were attending a banquet at the courthouse, and Vernon, the boy on the furniture truck, hunted Nemie up. When he
found her he said “I’m Vernon Wade.

Vernon asked to walk the girls home. He asked Nemie if he could see her Sunday afternoon, she said “yes”. And Sunday afternoon Vernon came driving
up in a fine buggy and took Nemie to the ballgame in Winchester.

“I didn’t see him for several days, then he came back. I realized he was serious. We married October 26, 1905, in Cincinnati , Ohio. Vernon had graduated from college in Lexington, Kentucky. His Parents James Wade and Patty Landrum Wade, were owners of a bluegrass plantation. Mr. Wade ran a livery stable and had a dairy farm. Vernon’s mother owned a large estate. His mother died the year before we were married. Her estate was divided between the children. Vernon sold his farm and we traveled a lot. We went all all over the United States, and we stayed in Canada six weeks”.

The Vernon Wades settled for a while in Paducah County , Kentucky. Nemie’s father , Mr. Stamper, was killed before she was 17. He contracted and delivered it to various places. A tree fell on him one day , Killing him. Nemie’s mother had 13 children to care for.

Vernon and Nemie stayed in Paducah County eight years, Then they moved to be near the oil fields where Mr. Wade worked. They lived in a tent. Nemie’s mother Mrs. Stamper lived at Standing Rock , Kentucky.

From the oil fields, the Wades returned to Paducah . They gave their milk cow and their household things to Nemie’s mother. Back in Paducah, they started out again. And their children, Sylvia and James Vernon were born. Mr. Wade decided to run a fish camp. Nemie learned how to knit nets.
Wade had 100 fish nets at one time. He carried a load of fresh fish to the market every morning.

Wade grew tired of the fish camp because he couldn’t get the hands to help, So the Wades decided to try musseling, This is hunting mussels. Vernon went up to the mussel camp to learn all about the mussel business. He bought a motor boat and four flat boats with mussel brails on each. He employed four men.

Wade took each flat boat with his motor boat to the head of the mussel beds, then would turn the flat boat a loose, and the flat boat would drift down - the brails had hooks, these were let down and as the boat drifted down, the hooks drug the bottom of the river and would catch a mussel. When brails would get heavy, the men would pull them up and come into camp by using large oars. If they needed help in getting into camp, Wade would take the motor boat and get them.

The wives got the pearls when they were found in the mussels. A tow boat came for the mussel shells and took them to a button factory where they
were dyed and had holes punched in each.

“We stayed here quite a while,” said Nemie Wade, “then we moved on again. We always lived in tents in these camps. Vernon bought a big houseboat with five rooms. It had been a showboat. It was pretty. We lived on this houseboat quite a while. Sylvia was born while we lived on it. We got tired of the river and went back to Standing Rock, where my mother was.”

The pleasant-faced women smiled, ”Vernon purchased a car and became a salesman. He traveled around. When he was going to stop awhile at a place, he’d send for us and we’d stay with him. We went to North Carolina, where Sylvia was enrolled for her first year of school. This was in Charleston, From here we moved to Chattanooga. Vernon wanted to settle in a place so the children could go to school. We lived there nine years. Both Sylvia and James went to school there. James went with his father on a sales trip.” Her voice was saddened now, but she went on. “ They were gone three months. They stopped at a lake for James to go in the lake. Vernon didn’t know the owner had put barbed wire on the bottom of the lake. James got hurt on
the wire and it caused blood poisoning. He died. We buried James in Winchester, Kentucky, with his grandparents.”

Nemie Wade has nursed people all of her life. She has stayed with mothers after their babies were born. While they lived in Chattanooga, she worked with the doctors. When a practical nurse was needed, Nemie would be assigned to the case. She worked out of Erlanger Hospital. While the lived in Chattanooga, Vernon Wade had a stroke. He got better but the stroke left him crippled.”

We decided what I made couldn’t take care of all the bills, so we decided to buy a place and move out in the country. That is why we came to Chesterfield. We lived on Route 1, Menlo.”

Sylvia was in high school when they moved. Just before the Wades left Lakeview, Georgia, which is a suburb of Chattanooga, their third child was born, a son whom they named, Norman Franklin. The son attended school in Chesterfield, in Jamestown, and graduated from Gaylesville High School. Sylvia attended Menlo High School.

After the Wades came to Chesterfield, Nemie quit nursing to look after Vernon. “

There used to be a post office down the road and the Government took the post office away and relocated it in Jamestown. The old building was torn down and sold. We bought it and Jesse Calvin and I ceiled the house and put a new floor down. This is Sylvia’s bedroom.”

Even after Vernon Wade was left crippled, he continued his salesman work. He employed a man to drive the car. He traveled quite a little while, but he got so he couldn’t take the grueling days, and he quit. Mr. Wade passed away in 1955.

Norman Franklin married Mary Anderson and lives on Route 2, Lyerly. Sylvia married Max Collins whom she met while attending high school in Chattanooga and church at Lakeview.

When the Vernon Wades moved to Chesterfield, Norman Franklin was five years old. The “Scooter” ran then. It went down to Gadsden at ten every morning and back to Chattanooga at four each afternoon. A freight went down every morning and came back at night.

People would come to the Wades and ask, “Has the train gone ? Or has the “Scooter” passed yet?”

Sylvia always wanted to ride the freight. Nemie Wade rode the Scooter once, this was to go home and see about her mother.

When Mrs. Stamper, Nemie’s mother, died several years ago, she was a hundred and two.

“ They tried to keep the Scooter operating, but people didn’t ride it enough to keep it operating between Gadsden and Chattanooga.”

In reply to the question , did she like here, Nemie Wade said, “ I always made myself like anywhere’s we went . I married my husband for better or worse, and I stayed with it. Whatever came along we shared it together. I’ve been in almost all of the states in the United States. Vernon traveled
in all of the states.”

In a reflective mood, Mrs. Wade continued, “ We traveled eight or ten years. Sometimes Vernon would have to go to a store and buy me a new
shirtwaist and a pair of stockings before we could go out for breakfast.”

Mrs. Wade loves living in her little home by the TAG Railroad track. She has two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen, and dining room.

“ I cherish my grandchildren . Sandra is employed by Gulf Oil Company in Atlanta; Jeanie is Mrs. Dennis Tucker ; Norma Lynn is in high school. Tony
is in elementary school ; and Carla isn’t quite old enough for school. I cherish my children , Sylvia and Norman Franklin.”

Nemie Stamper Wade was 88 March 12, . She is content, living in her little home. “ Sometimes I think of the home we could have built from all the
money we spent traveling ; but I’ve seen many states.”

Looking at the picturesque little home with the spring flowers in the yard and the pretty green yard, one imagines that here lives a woman who has
had a “picture-story" life.

The newspaper article above, written in 1976 was submitted by Leslie Martin Stamper. The author is unknown at this time ....
if anyone knows; please let me know so credit can be given. Tony Wade found the article in his family's papers and sent it to Leslie Martin Stamper .

Note* (from John) .. Nemie Stamper Wade was the sister to my Great Grandfather John Wesley Stamper, son of Richard and Emaline Horn Stamper.
Leslie and John are cousins.

"Thanks" to Leslie Martin Stamper for submitting the article; and to John Wesley Stamper
for transcribing it.

Email dated May 10, 2006 - THE ARTICLE ON NEMI 'SHE ONCE LIVED ON A HOUSE BOAT' WAS WRITTEN BY A REPORTER
FOR THE "CHEROKEE COUNTY HERALD".
LOCATED IN CENTRE, ALABAMA. IT'S STILL IN BUSINESS.

LES M. STAMPER

Note: The reporter's name is Dixie C Miller. ... Golden

The Stamper Family Project
is the property of Golden Combs Ferguson