Can You See It? An Awesome Home for Heroes
In loving memory of all those that passed before us.
Andy and Stephanie Bohrman, that’s us, bought this house in 1980. It became our home. It was years before I gathered the proof for its background, but finally, I did. We spent most of our life here – working on the building and learning about its history.
I stepped into the house. It sat on the most awesome lot in Atoka, Tennessee. I made my way into the house. The possibilities were endless. This would be our home. At the time, I knew nothing about its background. It was just pure potential. Our first baby would be here soon.
We were probably the only contenders for a house that had been sentenced to the rubble pile. Nobody wanted it, even as a haunted house. The bank was willing to sell it for more than they would ever be willing to loan on it. But we made a deal and the work began. Yes, we were
Our Home – the Early Years
We bought the house from Munford Union Bank. The South Tipton Jayceys returned it to the bank or the bank repossessed it. I don’t know which.
I vaguely remember this house as a haunted house, but it was cool. My best memory is of someone jumping out of one of the large trees in a costume to scare people. I never went inside before we bought it. But even that got old. People stopped by, still thinking it was a haunted house. Other people roamed our yard, picking up pecans from the old trees. This just wasn’t going to cut it for me.
We got the remains of what the Jaycees used as a haunted house. The walls were black. There was fake blood everywhere. The back rooms had clothes where it looked like people were camping. Someone lowered some ceilings from 12 feet to 10 feet. The public bought fireplace mantels as antique pieces at the time. Someone snatched this one. The Jaceys painted the walls black for the haunted house. No one wanted the house. And honestly, we probably paid too much for it. But the lot was beautiful. I wouldn’t learn about the full history of our home for years. At the time, it was just another adventure. Restoring an old house and making it our home! What could be better!
Our Home Was Never-ending Work
Memories of Dad
Dad wanted us to buy this house and helped as much as he could. His workers helped mostly. He provided the down payment. Whenever he did manual labor, he usually hurt himself. He cut himself on the heavy metal that covered the windows and blocked out the sun for the haunted house. He sliced a curve in the wooden floor (my personal memory of him) when he tried to help Uncle Manard Cole install the new wood floors. But he always helped!
Andy – Remarkable
Andy built stairs to the attic, put up a wall to divide a bedroom from a hall, rebuilt the porch and filled it with concrete, put concrete under the woodstove. He built the brick exterior stairs and concrete walkway out front. We heated our home for several years with the woodstove and several other, gas and kerosene, stoves. Andy provided the wood and almost always had to keep the fire going. He hung all the light fixtures. With help, Andy rewired and replumbed. Andy’s father was a Civil Engineer and Andy was proud of the work he was able to do.
I Just Helped
The bricks for the stove inset and the porch came from the scrapped chimney and other bricks on the land. I cleaned mortar off of bricks and stripped of paint and repainted window facings.
After years of working, I learned that the work never ended. This became the home for my children. My first child laid in his crib with construction boards propped over the crib. That first winter we lived here, 1983, ice formed on the walls in the living room and the bathroom. We continually added to our todo list.
Andy did so much. He spent a lot of time going to auctions. The interior doors are from the Peabody Hotel remodel in Memphis. The interior window facings came from the Sparky, Cousin Anne, Bradley, and Brett Pickard’s house in Munford. The underpinning concrete blocks came from an auction at the Mason Lumber Company.
Celebrations Close to Home
As a member of the Homecoming ’86 Committee, I was proud to let celebration goers park in our yard. But it soon got to be a problem when people attending the celebration thought they could park in our yard without permission. Call it being possessive or protecting what you bought and paid for. People weren’t paying us for a parking space and our home’s yard was not their personal parking area. I couldn’t be nice all the time. Yes, I had my Mother’s disposition and my Father’s occasional disposition – “I worked for it, get your own home parking lot.” I felt cold-hearted at times.
Stephanie – Part-time Recorder
These deeds say “lots” in the town of Atoka, but Atoka didn’t have it’s own Planning Commission until around or after 1987. Atoka built the public sewer sometime later. I was the Atoka Recorder, one of two part-time employees. The other employee was Mr. Brooks, John Brooks’ Dad. I’ll go to my grave complaining about two-acre lots being made to abide by Planning Commission subdivision regulations that apply to much smaller lots. The fact is if citizens of Atoka expected to be paid for their sewage liens, neither the sewer or many of the subdivisions in Atoka would have been built. A lot of people gave away lien money. I’m not sure that will ever happen again.
Our Home Has a Wealth of History
Many people lived here and many had visited the house.
Lucy Gragg Lived Here
Thomas Gragg’s wife, Lucy, lived here at one time. You can see Thomas Gragg’s name on the concession stand at Nancy Lane Park.
People that had some connection with the house asked about it at several Celebrations in Atoka. It has a long history.
Deeds – Who Else Owned Our Home
My job was also doing research. I applied for the house to be a historic site. I never heard anything back. But I’m proud of our home and the work we did to make it livable.
Before there was Blaydes Estates, there was Dr. J.E. Blaydes, who had a son named Dr. Almond B. Blaydes. These two deeds refer to the property that belongs to Andy and Stephanie Bohrman in 2019.
You’ll Learn a Little About the Lives of Daring Heroes
In a list
Dr. J. E. Blaydes to Dr. Almond B. Blaydes
James E. Blaydes was born in Madison County, Tennessee, November 28, 1839. He was the son of John K. (born 1802) and Sallie Coleman (born 1808), both from Virginia. In 1865, Dr. J. E. Blaydes practiced in Portersville and later moved to Atoka, Tennessee. He invested in land by using his earnings from his medical practice and several thousand dollars that belonged to his wife. At one time, he owned 3,500 acres.
There is no way to tell from this deed whether there was a building on the property at the time of the sale. But Dr. J.E Blaydes transferred a lot 57 in Atoka to his son, Dr. A.B. Blaydes.
Deed from J.E. Blaydes to son:
J.E. Blaydes and wife to Deed Lands to Almond B. Blaydes…Filed 18 March and Registered 4 March 1898.Deed of J.E. Blaydes to Almond B. Blaydes – 1898
4th A lot in the Town of Atoka, in said County, imbracing the whole of lot no. 57 of said Town of Atoka and a 2 acre lot originally conveyed to Wm Bartlett by Wm Coward and is thus bounded …
…Said lot no 57 was conveyed to one by Holmes and Wood of R.H. Munford, died, by deed now of record in Register’s office…
Dr. A. B. Blaydes to Adaline Adkison, Mother of Joseph B Adkison
Then, Dr. A.B. Blaydes and his wife transferred a house and lot 57 to Adeline Adkison in 1906. Dr. A. B. Blaydes made a name for himself in the area. He grew up in Atoka, owned the first Model T in Atoka, and had six children. Also, he owned a resort in Tipton County called Glenn Springs. In February 1940 he died. His grave is at Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis.
A black man named George Harris said he drove Dr. Blaydes’ car for him and looked after his children sometimes. George Harris lived to be 100 years old and was still living in 1986 because we have a picture of him and our oldest son sitting on the front porch of Andy’s Atoka General Store.
Deed to Adaline Adkison:
A.B. Blaydes & Wife deed to home and lot in Atoka Tenn Filed 12th & Reg’d 16th Nov. 1906Deed of A.B. Blaydes to Adaline Adkison – 1906
…I A.B Blaydes, do sell & convey unto the said Adaline Adkison the following described real estate lying & being situated in the 7th, civil district of Tipton County Tennessee and in the Town of Atoka, Tennessee, and their bounded, to wit = A lot in the town of Atoka in said County, imbracing the whole of lot No-57- on the inside of said town of Atoka and part of a 2 acre lot originally conveyed to W.M. Bartlett by Wm Coward and their bonded = …
Joseph B. Adkison, Recipient of Congressional Medal of Honor
The following is information that Adaline Adkison was Joseph B. Adkson’s mother. Atoka named the road in front of our home Adkison Circle and the park in front of our house is Adkison Park.
Joseph Adkison was born January 4, 1892, and died May 23, 1965, at age 73. He received the Congressional Medal of Honor. The Government presented Mr. Adkison with the medal at Atoka Presbyterian Church. The church had a large stone engraved to commemorate the occasion.
In 1986, the celebration committee moved the commemorative stone from the church to what is now Adkison Park during Tennessee’s Homecoming ’86, when the citizens of Atoka created the park. I was a member of the Homecoming ’86 Committee. Daphne Stroud was the Chairman of the Homecoming ’86 Committee. As a member of the committee, I was aware of where the stone originated from. When Mr. Koral (June 7, 2011 – April 10, 2018), Town Administrator of Atoka, had the stone’s original carving covered with a “new and improved” commemorative statement.
Proof that Joseph B Adkison was the Son of Adaline
Information about Joseph B. Adkison from the 1940 census shows that Adeline Adkison is his Mother.
1910 Census showing Adkison Household – People Who Lived in Our Home
Draft Card of Joseph B. Adkison:
Celebrating Medal of Honor Day: Meet the Atoka man who earned the Medal of Honor in World War I” in the Leader written by Sherri Onorati as a Special to The Leader on Mar 25, 2018.
1928 Tornado – Our Home Survived
The tornado of 1928 destroyed most of downtown Atoka. The tornado missed this house. The porch may have been knocked off. But the tornado mostly missed th house and it still stands today. One person in Atoka died during that tornado. The tornado also missed the Methodist Church in Atoka, but it has since been rebuilt.
It Looked Like an Absolutely Impossible Lifetime Job
Before we could move into our house, it had to be re-wired, re-plumbed, and re-roofed. We cleaned out the mess later. We Paid off our fist loan within a year and a half while I was working at General Maintenance and Painting in Brighton.
The first year we lived in the house, a six-pack of colas froze near the baseboards. Frost appeared on the inside of the bathroom walls. We tried to protect our first baby, but he grew up in an unfinished home where boards often laid across his crib. He never seemed to notice.
One day, before we fixed the porch ceiling, a large snake dropped out of the porch ceiling and immediately undulated inside. The thing was moving fast, mostly off the ground, and I couldn’t tell where it went. I jumped on the couch. Eventually, I was able to get our baby out of his crib, and we ran to the car. My husband dealt with the snake. You never heard it from me, but there was probably a lot of squealing and flailing if arms by moi.
Unbelievably, Always Something Extra to Do
Stairs were built in the living room to access the very large attic area. For a time the stairs had open runners, with no rail. Good balance was a wonderful thing.
The old steel bathtub was nasty. We “re-porcelain-ed” it dark blue. This didn’t work at all. We decided to get a fiberglass tub and wall insert instead. The bathroom is now on its second set of floor covering. You can actually see the outside of the old house above the bathroom ceiling. My guess is that the bathroom was one time a porch and was enclosed to create the bathroom.
This house had no closets and no garage. Every closet that exists now was built by my husband.
It Was Astonishing – Lots of People Helped
Front Porch and Roof
My husband and his middle brother filled the front porch with concrete. The porch is covered by cleaned bricks that were originally part of the fireplace. Dad and Mom gave us the posts for the porch.
My husband and his brother also turned the hip roof in the back into a full gable. His brother put a hole in the dining room ceiling when he slipped off of a ceiling joists while in the attic. There was no attic floor at the time. Very scary when the ceilings are twelve feet high and it must have hurt too.
On the outside, the windows were covered with pieces of heavy metal. I wasn’t there, but I remember hearing about Dad cutting his hand on the metal when they were removed. The interior window trim came from an auction in Munford, Tennessee. I believe it came from the Pickard house. This had to be stripped of all paint and repainted. Stained glass, to replace transoms, came from a vendor in Memphis.
Interior doors came from an auction that occurred when the Memphis Peabody was remodeled.
Red Williams & Manard Cole (Floors)
The wood-burning stove in the living room was bought from Vermont Castings. We bought new hardwood flooring and Maynard Cole, my uncle from Drummonds, Tennessee, installed most of the wood flooring.
We have a special reminder of Dad. He was “helping” with the wood floors. (Dad was a much better boss than a helper.) He tried to do something with Uncle Maynard’s circular saw and didn’t realize that Uncle Maynard kept his safety shield latched open. Well anyway, there’s a gouge in the living room wood floor from when Dad tried to move the saw. It has been covered with wall-to-wall carpet for a long time. I think I’m ready to uncover it now.
Ruthless Mind-Blowing Work Was Insanely Never Ending
Underpinning & Fireplace
My husband bought cinder blocks, for underpinning the house, at the Mason Lumber Company auction. We hired someone to do the work. The bricks from the crumbling fireplace were removed and cleaned by us. The old fireplace mantle, a favorite for antique hunters, was long gone.
Insulation & Heating
Contractors blew insulation upstairs between the ceiling joists in the attic and in the exterior walls. The old sash windows, originally hollow on the sides with weights for opening and closing, were replaced with double-pane windows.
We had central heat and air installed. Prior to this installation, we used the Vermont Castings wood-burning stove in the living room. There were several old gas heaters hooked up to the City of Munford gas. The rest of the heating was done with kerosene heaters. Our youngest son placed a plastic toy on a kerosene heater once. Other than that, I don’t remember having any mishaps with the heaters. We kept our wood-burning stove going continuously when it was cold. My husband had to keep
We bought the kitchen cabinets from a nearby company who also installed them. This was a big expense. I can remember saving for it.
The Siding of Our Home
At one time, we replaced the lap siding on the house. I insisted that it be replaced with lap siding similar to the original. But I never knew how difficult it would be to paint the whole thing. We eventually covered the lap siding with vinyl siding.
Interior Walls of Our Home
For years, most of the interior walls were black, because we did not have time to paint them. We found that the best paint to cover fake blood was Kilz – a paint primer. The walls had been painted black for the South Tipton County Jaycees for their Haunted House. The Jaycees turned the house back into the Munford Union Bank. We originally bought the house from the bank. We had several loans, one at a time, and paid them off along the way.
A decorative lattice fence was once on the south side of the house. My husband built the posts for it with a pointed top. The lattice did not hold up and some of the posts rotted at the bottom.
Home Vegetable Garden
At one time, we had a small vegetable garden and shared the extra produce with our neighbors. Who knew that such a small garden could be so useful.
Jobs Outside of Home
This was not a full-time job for us. We both had full time jobs elsewhere.
How to Finish a House When It Will Never Be Done
Finally, we decided to get vinyl siding, finish the attic, build wooden steps outside on the back, and level the dropping dining room floor. That was our last major purchase for the house. We painted the attic ourselves.
Time to relax for a while.
The Last Heroes to Live Here
I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the last two heroes that grew up here – our sons.
Attempt to Scare Mom
I came down the hall one day and turned left to go into the kitchen. This happened often, so my oldest son knew exactly where I would go. He had been watching me. He was waiting in the room past the hall, on the right right side of the hall exit. I turned left and he screamed behind me. I turned to face him and screamed and screamed. He said – What’s wrong Mom? I scared him. There was no way I would be screaming that long because of him. (He thought.) And I screamed – I don’t think I stopped screaming until I ran out of breath.
Our Sons Helped Make This Home
Our boys helped with the concrete walkway in the front. They also helped with the stone walkway around the birdbath in front. A man that worked for Dad brought the birdbath from the Fertilizer Plant later, with a forklift. Our youngest son built the trellis for the Carolina Jasmine on the front north side of the house. My husband has since added extra support for the trellis. Both of our sons cleaned a messy attic.
Short List of Accomplishments – Our Oldest Son Called This Home
Our oldest son graduated with a bachelors degree, summa cum laude, in computer science, from The University of Tennessee at Martin. He is working in his field of expertise and raising four young men with his wife.
Short List of Accomplishments – Youngest Son Called This His Home
Our youngest son joined the Army National Guard. He graduated from a Specialty Program in Texas. Then stayed in the National Guard past his original contract time of six years, so he could go to Tikrit, Iraq. He bought a house recently and decorated it with his own creations.
Our heart and soul are in this house. And many of the hearts and souls of people who have lived in Atoka are here also. My sons actually claim they say ghosts here when they were little. I was never really afraid in the house. Most of our home’s noises can be explained by natural occurrences. But who am I to disbelieve.