This month we are looking at some newspaper clippings that have been donated to the Historical Society.
You may have an old shoebox at home where you stick letters, post cards, birthday cards, and newspaper articles that you want to save or just can’t bring yourself to toss into the trash.
With time these get faded and brittle, but you hold on to them for the memories associated with them.
Unfortunately, when you pass on to “the great reward” that old shoebox will still be stuck away in the closet or chest of drawers for your family to sort through.
That is where the Historical Society comes in.
We will get a phone call or someone will run into one of us at the grocery store and say, “I’ve got this box of old letters, obituaries, and stuff that my grandmother kept… You wouldn’t want it for the archives, would you?”
The answer is, “Of course!”
That is what the archives do – we preserve the past for the future.
We have lots of letters, old photos, and documents that have been given to us – and, lots of yellowed newspaper clippings.
It is amazing what we discover from the past because someone thought to grab a pair of scissors and cut out an article from the newspaper because it mentioned Hartsville or Trousdale County.
This week we meet a man and his cow!
In June of 1956, The Tennessean ran an article on Reverend Odell Franklin Roberson and his cow “Mary.”
The cow, it seems, was newsworthy!
We give you the article:
“Hartsville, Tenn. – Folks down around Hartsville are buzzing about the Rev. O.F. Roberson’s seeing eye cow, Mary.
Roberson, who is in his 70’s, is losing his eyesight, and can’t get around so well any more. He usually shuffles along with the aid of crutches or canes.
But, the other day, when he was having trouble getting up a small slope behind his house, Mary took it upon herself to give him a few helpful nudges.
The result was a push and pull combination that allows the retired minister to move about with considerably more ease than he has enjoyed in several years.
With the canes in front for him to lean on, and Mary behind pushing away, they go around the yard. When he stops, Mary stops; when he starts walking, Mary starts pushing.
“It’s quite a sight to see and nobody knows why the cow decided to help,” said Jesse McMurry, Hartsville postmaster. “But, Reverend Roberson used to be so active, as a carpenter, undertaker, and preacher, that this has been a blessing to him.”
Mary has proved to be pretty good at rescue work, too. When her owner fell recently, he was unable to get up unassisted.
So, Mary-on-the-spot simply nosed him over to a small tree where he could reach a branch and pull himself upright.
Until Mary began her unusual chores, Roberson’s wife, Bertha, had tried to help her husband around. However, she had her own work to do, and was unable to spend all of her time with her husband.
“That cow is really remarkable.” McMurry said.
The rest of Hartsville agrees.”
This newspaper article was picked up by other newspapers and it traveled across the whole United States!
The Vidette also ran an article on Rev. Roberson and his amazing cow.
And it was featured in a syndicated cartoon column that ran in several newspapers, similar to “Ripley’s Believe it or Not!”
Rev. Roberson lived just a few more years after the article was written, passing away in 1960. He is buried in the old Hager Cemetery. His wife Bertha passed away in 1979 and is buried alongside her husband.
We don’t know what happened to Mary, but not many cows get written up in the newspaper! We hope she lived out her remaining years chewing her cud, peacefully and contentedly.
And if you have a box of old clippings that you don’t know what to do with, pass them along to the Historical Society. We would be delighted to have them!