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 Coffee - Barlar - Austin - Thurman family reunion of 1953


This is an old reunion photo from about 1953 of the Paul Austin, Tom Barlar, William F. Coffee Leroy Thurman, and Wilson Chaffin families.

Front left to right: Ruby Barlar Austin, Ernie Austin, Wayne Austin, Royce Thurman, Paulene Thurman. 
Second Row: Warren Austin, Peggy Chaffin, William Fine Coffee, Sally Chaffin, Wilson Chaffin Claxton Barlar. 
Back Row: Paul Austin, Tom Barlar, Nell Coffee Chaffin Barlar, Joyce Austin Hatton Grigsby (back), Jo-An Chaffin, Bobby Chaffin son of Wilson.  
This photo session took place south of Hatton School East Colbert County Alabama in the 1950s. Missing are the young daughters of Paulene and Ruby probably inside in the crib. I guess Uncle Leroy Thurman made the photo with the old Polaroid camera, because he never missed a family gathering and was usually the most talkative one of all.

Family Relationships:
The eldest progenitor pictured above William Fine Coffee leaning on a cane. He is in his mid eighties here. At this point in life he had seen a lot of family misery having outlive
d two wives and two of his four children and some grandchildren. He himself was orphaned by the early death of his father from the civil war related issues in 1867. Seven years after his father died in 1868 diseases of the times took his mother when he was seven. He was born shortly after his father's death. He was at one time a farmer, a Saw Miller while he was living in Giles County. His last vocation was store owner on the old Bear Creek Pike, Maury County Tennessee, part of the road that does not exist today in Maury County. 
Paul & Ruby (Barlar) Austin were husband & Wife and all six of the kids with the Austin surnames were their children. 
Nell & Tom Barlar were Husband & Wife. Nell & Tom were married late in life after Nell's sister Lela Coffee Barlar died of cancer in the early 1950s and Tom married his widowed sister-in-law Nell Coffee Chaffin who was married to Mack Chaffin until his death in the 1940s. Pictured on our right is Claxton (Buddy) Barlar the only son Tom & Lela Barlar. 
Mack & Ethel Nellie Coffee Chaffin had one son who is Wilson Chaffin pictured above.
Wilson & Sally Chaffin were husband & wife and Bobby, Jo-An & Peggy Chaffin all pictured above were their children.
Leroy & Paulene Thurman were husband & wife and Royce & Wanda were their children.
Aunt Nell (as we called our great aunt and step grandmother) above was a very special person to us and to all who knew her. She was a delightful personality, full of energy and love for all. Heaven has to have a special place for persons like her.


Old Paul Austin family home before they built a home in the Brick Church Community in 1964.

This is a graphic rendition of the home where the reunion above took place. It was located south of (little) Hatton 
School East Colbert County Alabama about 1 mile south of what is termed 2nd street. This house s
at at the time smack in the middle of a fifty acre tract of land in front of which was swamp land. Fertile farm land was on the other three sides. The house was behind the photographer in the above photo. He was facing toward us. In the photo one can see the long lane to the Jarmon lane. This old house I think was built in 1913 by whom I am not sure but I believe maybe someone in the Streit family who lived around this neighborhood in earlier times. Our nearest neighbor was the Truman & Ocie Cobb (black) family who lived back to our right (west) of this place about 1/4 mile. Further west up Jarmon lane were more good black neighbors and a bootlegger or two who refused to obey the law. This 50 acre tract actually sit in the intersection of Jarmon Lane and Hatton School Road. 

Families who lived on Hatton School Road to our left of the above house the 1950s

From Hatton School going south the first family were the Peden family about 500 yards down on the left coming south. He drove the Hatton School Bus for a number of years. If a student misbehaved in those days he would put them off the bus and let them walk home no matter how far. Yes, yours truly was one of the misbehaving trudgers one time, but only one time, because that is all it took.
Next and almost across the road was the farm of Tom Oldham. This was a home built probably in the 1890s. In a freak accident Tom's wife was run over by a road grader. Tom was so despondent that he also ended his life leaving this house vacant and after many years it fell down and was abolished. It too was a tall two story home with big chimneys on the sides.
Another 200 yards on the right was a frame house that sat next to the road where the son of Tom Oldham ,Virgil Oldham lived for a time until he built a new house in the Brick Church neighborhood. Hillard & Joyce Hatton lived there for a time early in their marriage.
Next house was a small frame house on the right back off the road. It was at one time an old sharecropper rental residence. The people that live there the longest were the Peden family possibly related to the first Peden family mentioned above. Jim the son was in fifth grade at Hatton Elementary School in 1956. Later "Fitz" Newson (black, a close relation to the star Alabama tight end (Ozzie Newson) and later Pro-football player) lived for a time there.  Times were hard for that family but they were happy. Next house on the left was the the nice home of the Sam Streit family. At one time the kin of  this family owned Streit Dairy Products in Sheffield Al. Later the Simmons family owned this home and ran the Simmons Tire company on 2nd street in Sheffield during the 1960s & 1970s. About 300 yards further down the road and across the street was a stately old mansion of about 5,000 square feet with 20 feet ceilings. It was an old Antebellum home they say built in the 1840s.

Next back on the other side (left) of Hatton School Road was the home of the Charles Ray Posey family.  I don't believe they had any children Charles Ray Posey worked for Robbins tile company on 6th Street in Tuscumbia, AL and he enjoyed all night stints at hunting raccoons using coon hounds. I was enlisted to go as a youngster but it was not really a pleasant event for me to trudge thru the woods at night with an old Carbide light chasing the sound of coon dogs.
The next house was on the right was the house displayed above as the Austin house but it actually fronted on Jarmon Lane. Bratcher's'owned it before my Dad Paul Austin
The next family was a black family on the left that I do not remember the surname, but I believe he had two or three young sons. I am sure we young boys got on his nerves trudging across his private land hunting arrow heads. He never complained but probably should have.
The next family was the James Family farm. They reared 4 or five children. The father was killed by a drunk driver in a traffic accident at Underwood Crossroads (2nd Street & County Lind Road) about 1951. Albert Streit witnessed that accident and described it this way: "My family witnessed the death of the James family father.  We were going to church on a Sunday morning and their truck was a about 200 yards ahead of us. The father was riding in the back of the truck, standing up. They were heading west on second street road. As they were turning right to head north a vehicle occupied by a drunk driver came from the south and hit their truck throwing the father out of the truck. They were en-route to the Ford City Baptist Church. 
The children were: 1. Blanton, 2. Paul, 3. Kay and 4. Douglas (Doug), Kay was homecoming queen at Colbert County Hi School in 1962-3. Members of the James's family were very personable and talented folks, but they were messy housekeepers. 
Next on the right across the street were the Silas Crittenden family  who moved there in the mid 1950s. Jerry Lee was the eldest son and  had a few behavior issues as a youngster. He was always getting into trouble with authorities and had wild and crazy thoughts, but I don't recall any major problems with the law. His sister Jo-Ann was just the opposite always in control who married (well into) the Burden family. I believe there were a young set of twin boys living there in the late 1950s early 1960s.The father was strict and domineering and we kids were afraid of him. He and his wife who were married 65 years died in 211 and are buried in the Shaw Cemetery over on 6th Street three miles from this place.
Last house was the Grissom family. They lived on the right at the intersection of Hatton School Road and 6th Street. Very friendly folks. The lady was always trading flowers with my mom Ruby.  I do not remember any children from this family. They might have been older.
I do not have a good recollection of the black families that lived down Jarmon Lane in the 1950s Except for our neighbors the Cobb family, the balance of these kept to themselves except for occasional contact. There was one Jarmon family that it is said had 23 children that lived down that lane. 
As remembered in the 1950 to 1960 along Hatton School Road by C. Wayne Austin. updated 31 Oct 2014