BETHLEHEM CEMETERY, MARSHALL COUNTY TENNESSEE
MAUPIN, Marvin Lewis, 3 Mar 1937 - 24 Oct 2009 - Plot# 427 - Son of Lee Andrew Maupin and Mary Emma Montgomery Maupin.
Meet Marvin Maupin, the "Peanut Man"
(Excerpted From the Daily Herald, Saturday, July 14, 1979)
By MELINDA HUGHEY Herald Staff Writer
It is quickly obvious to most visitors that there are many unique and interesting individuals to be found in Lewisburg.
Ask any of the "old-timers" that occupy shady benches surrounding the massive courthouse on the square and they'll probably be able to list a host of prominent citizens that have gained special places in residents' memories throughout the years.
Among the most colorful and well-loved of these is Marvin Maupin. He is known not only on the square but throughout Marshall County. Perhaps better known as "the peanut man" because of his most recent profession. Marvin became a fixture in Lewisburg traveling around in his bright yellow cart selling small bags of unshelled peanuts for 25 cents apiece.
For those unfamiliar with Marvin, his story is fascinating and inspiring. He. his sister, Mrs. D. S. (Marcella) Spence and I met one recent afternoon at the Verona General Store and discussed a myriad of subjects. He has overcome the obstacles of a major handicap to become a prosperous and productive individual.
Marvin Maupin was born in Belfast, Tenn., the son of Mr. and Mrs. L.A. Maupin. The youngest of two children, he doesn't like to reveal his age. According to his sister, he appeared perfectly normal until he was stricken with polio at the age of three months. Although one leg was slightly shorter than the other, he finally began walking at age four. The disease, however, left him totally unable to speak. His hearing is unimpaired and he communicates quite freely via sign language.
At the time of Marvin's birth, there were no known facilities in the area for educating the handicapped. He was taught solely at home. Mrs. Spence. Seven years older and a high school graduate said she taught him all she could "and of course our parents were always working with him."
Described as an avid reader, Marvin owns an extensive talking-library and from childhood has appeared to be extremely ambitious. At age 11, he set his sights on learning how to ride a bike, so his parents bought him the biggest three-wheeler they could find. After he mastered that, he took his ambition one step further until he graduated to a full-fledged two-wheel bicycle.
As part of that ambition and mostly "just to say I could" Marvin rode that same bicycle from one end of Marshall County to the other. He also used it to enter the business profession at an early age. He began selling Grit magazine at age 15 and continued until a tragedy struck that was to affect him "very deeply."
Throughout his childhood, Marvin's mother sold Watkins products to support the family because his father was in ill health and forced to stay home. Consequently, father and son spent many days inside together and formed a close relationship. When Marvin was 17, his father died and he abandoned his paper route, leaving home only to accompany his mother on her Watkins route until he finally resumed his own career at age 21.
In January 1965, Marvin was looking in new directions and hit on the idea of selling peanuts. He sought and was granted a restricted license to operate his motor scooter around town. Not satisfied with restrictions, he composed a letter to the Department of Safety and had it signed by three local residents. As a result he was granted a regular operator's license.
Marvin was to become a familiar sight around Alford's Drugstore, Okay Tire Store and the Lewisburg Tribune where he maintained "steady" customers for years.
His ever-expanding business paid off and with only one year's tips he was able to purchase his most prized possession - a vintage 1961 Corvair. The car has become an all-consuming hobby for him as he busily works on its restoration, complete with a shiny new paint job. "Really. I don't believe it would have gone "50 more miles." he recalls explaining that he has overhauled every part of the car except the speedometer. Although he has it in top running condition now, like everyone else Marvin complains, the six-cylinder engine could get better gas mileage.
His vehicle will be put to the test next months as he plans to drive himself to Easter Seals Camp to be held in Mt. Juliet on Old Hickory Lake. He is somewhat a veteran having attended the camp for over 13 years.
He explained that the annual event offered many different experiences for the campers. "We have fishing, swimming, wrestling and dancing," he said proudly adding that one year he was voted King of the Prom. "One year I was also chosen best coffee-maker,' he laughed explaining that he always packs his portable coffee pot to keep hand, in the cabin. Marvin also takes his camera along to capture the many fond memories.
He lives at a more leisurely pace now. He gave up his peanut route shortly after his mother's death last March and now he only occasionally sells Watkins products to get out of the house and keep up with his old friends.
Marvin lives alone "with a lot of help" at the old family home-place in the Verona community. He cooks some, listing sausage, baked sweet potatoes and coffee among his specialties.
He enjoys using a 22 Colt revolver to hunt rabbits, squirrels and groundhogs, "but I don't like to fish," he says. Possibly, his favorite past time is listening to the Grand Ole Opry and adding to "the best" record collection around, namely his own. He owns complete volumes of Roy Acuff and Jeanne Shepard among others.
Regardless of the path Marvin Maupin chooses or where the future leads him, he will always hold a special place in the heart of Marshall Countians who have supported him in his achievements.
Update - October 26, 2008: Marvin currently resides at the NHC Healthcare Center on Mooresville Pike in Lewisburg, Tennessee. He still listens to his old 'timey' country music from the 'best collection around, namely his own', and he listens to it as loud as he is possibly allowed to.
Update - October 24, 2009: Marvin passed away today and was laid to rest at the Bethlehem Cemetery - Grave #427.
Information assimilated by Wayne Sharp 24 Oct 2008.