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A Giles County Tennessee History Chapter

Many of the Past People, Places, and Histories of Stella Tennessee

  Pleasant Hill/Stella Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Stella Cemetery area views of 2004
Historic Stella School
Church of Christ History
Old Samuel Kerr home and history on H. Smith Rd.
Ray Davis Store
J. S. Brownlow Family and Home on T. Dawes Rd.
The Reagin's & the old Homeplace.
Old Stella photo
Mt. Carmel Methodist Church
Map and Drawings of old Stella

The Hull Hancock Family
History notes from James Norwood


As told by Bruce Cosby, one of her oldest citizens. 

Stella a quiet little community situated in the southwestern part of Giles County, Tennessee, was given its name by Dr. M. S. Waters, one of her most prominent early citizens. The name was chosen in honor of the sweetheart of Dr. Water's youngest son, David. The first settlement of Stella dates back to the middle of the 19th century. The first store in Stella was opened in the spring of 1868 with W. G. Inman from Aspen Hill as its first proprietor. A plot of land to be used for the first school ground and on which the present school building now stands was given by Mr. W. P. Paisley. Included in this plot was that to be used as a community cemetery just back of the school building. At that time, Mr. Paisley lived in the house now owned by Mrs. Mary Cosby. It was in this house that the first Post Office was opened. With the improvement of travel and mail service, this post office was discontinued and the people were served by a rural route from Bethel, Tennessee. Prominent names of those days in Stella were Tom Reagan, M. F. Hunter, who ran blacksmith shops, and Peter Kincaid who had charge of a saw mill located on the small stream which runs back of the present (1941) saw mill and store. The present building of the Cumberland Church was erected in 1865 and was served at that time by Reverend A. M. (Addison Mitchell) Kerr who lived in the house now occupied by Renzo C. Smith. Reverend Kerr also taught school in the old log church located just below the new church building. Dr. M. S. Waters was the doctor who served the people of Stella at that time. Dr. Waters was succeeded for a number of years by other members of his family. Dr. Water's family members were always prominent in the medical profession. As Stella advanced, J. D. Coffman, Sr., opened and ran a store just east of the present store site. Later a store and gin were opened and operated by J. H. Hagan and J. E. Chiles. J. H. Kerr opened and ran a store in the building in which Roy Davis now has a store. The first Methodist Church building was built in 1872. H. Taylor Smith (for whom the Smith road is named) taught school at Stella, also known at one time as Pleasant Hill. The original plot given by Mr. Paisley has been retained as a school ground and the building now standing was erected on this plot in 1926. That is the place the original CP church building stood but which is now up the hill. Today (2004) the store last operated by Roy Davis is still standing. Modified and revised 7/24/2004

Historical Contact: Marilyn Kerr Hare /or/ Wayne Austin

First compiled by Wayne Austin 22 Jul 2004 Added here: 10 Jan 2009. Sources: Community Histories of Giles County Tennessee, 1941. Family history records of Marilyn Kerr Hare & Wayne Austin. Cemetery records of Stella Cemetery by Wayne Austin & previous to that Giles County Historical Society in the book Giles County Tennessee Cemeteries. I am indebted to these Kerr researchers: Raymond Kerr Evans of Nashville Tennessee, a 1960s researcher. Frank Kerr McDaniels, a 1980s researcher from California. [Wayne Austin 5 Jan 2010]