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By Sue Ann Lewis

      By 1850, Yuma had settlers with the surnames of Gooch, Small, Hill and Bryant.  Mr. Woodruff operated a saw mill and a school house was built.  All the area of what we call town today was owned by R.J. Hill and J.A. Gooch.  A post office was established May 9, 1884 with Albert G. Hill postmaster.  The name of Grovewood was given to the community and later changed to Yuma February 18, 1895.  Dr.  Albert Hill lived next door to the post office and served as postmaster. He also practiced medicine and sold groceries and whiskey.  Mail was brought from the Tennessee River every two weeks.  There was a public "still" near the creek operated by Mr. Suggs.  People from all over the country brought corn to be made into whiskey and peaches and apples to make into cider and brandy. To get to Huntingdon, you had to go by the "still" on to where the overhead trestle is toward Westport and across the country in a westerly direction to Clarksburg to Huntingdon.
     In 1891, surveyors came and a railroad was built. Grovetown boomed, new houses and school enlarged, businesses multiplied and new enterprises came in.  Mr. John Belew built the first dwelling after the railroad.  It became a boarding house.  Through the influence of Mr. Belew, the Clarksburg Methodist Church was torn down and built here.  The building was used for all denominations.  Bud King operated the gristmill and hotel.  Billy Dobson and the James Brandon family were merchants. There was a brass band consisting of 14 musicians. 

    When the railroad was completed, the rail fence separating Mr. Hill’s property form Mr. Gooch’s was taken down and this became Broad’s Ferry Road.  This allowed river traffic to get to the railroad. Grovewood was renamed. On an inspection tour, a group of officials stepped off the train, walked out and looked at the level land growing fine corn. On remarked, “This looks good”.  Another said, “Why not call it that?” In Indian language, YUMA means good, peaceful and progressive.

The first charted Masonic lodge was organized near here at Farmville in 1850.  This lodge moved to Yuma in 1901. Members from Westport and Wildersville area traveled by train to attend lodge meetings. In about 1921, the lodge moved to Wildersville.  Yuma had one time three cotton gins, four sawmills, one shingle mill, two hickory mills and twelve stores. The extra volume of business came from the Natchez Trace Park when cotton, crossties, stave bolts, chickens and eggs were marketed.  Garr Bradford drove herds of cattle and hogs to the stockyards here to be shipped by rail. The Cotton Growers Bank was built.

    The first school was damaged by storm by 1916 a second time and the county agreed to build a new one.  Workman framed the two story building and ran out of money. The local Woodman of the World Lodge pledged to finish the building, but after completing the second floor, their money ran out, also. Yuma Improvement Club organized and swung into action.  They organized a brass band, bought a new piano and ordered play books entitled “Kentucky Bell” and staged plays in the Methodist Church to earn money to build the school stage and stairway. Citizens signed a note at the bank for $1,650.00 for band instruments and piano, which they repaid by having plays. Mr. Connie Blow of McLemoresville instructed band two nights a week for two years. This club backed the school for any money the County could not afford.

    Yuma Church of Christ was built in 1948.

     The World’s Largest Pecan Tree, 163 years old, is located on one of the ridges in the north end of Natchez Trace Park. The tree is almost 10 feet in diameter, shades more than one acre and is probably the largest attraction in the Park.  It’s limbs, some more than one hundred and fifty feet long must be propped up but they still bear pecans. Time and elements have left their mark on this “granddaddy” of all pecan trees but the concrete fillings and steel cables have helped preserve this giant.  The local legend is that the tree grew from a pecan brought back by one of Andrew Jackson’s soldiers on his return from the Battle of New Orleans. People of the area say the tree has changed very little in their lifetime. The U.S. Forestry Service dates the planting about 1816.  In the book “Westward to the Roundtop, Mr. Morris mentions the pecan tree as a landmark in 1830.  Families came to Carroll County going to Lexington from Roundtop Community passed this tree, already bearing fruit.




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