Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Tribute to the Mothers of Riverview

There were times in Riverview when only a Mother's love,
Could understand our tears, could soothe our disappoints, and calm all of our fears.

There were times in Riverview when only a Mother's love,
Could share the joy we all felt.. when something we've dreamed about, quite suddenly became real.

There were times in Riverview when only a Mother's faith,
Could help us on life's way, and inspire in us the confidence we all needed from day to day.

Whether we were theirs or not.. a Mother's heart and a Mother's faith, and a Mother's steadfast love
Were fashioned by the Angels, and sent from God above.



                                                         MRS. ANNIE GILLENWATER

Annie Gillenwater was a mother to her grandchildren, a grandmother to her great grand children and some ways a mother to many other children in the Riverview Community and always willing to lend a helping hand at neighborhood events, giving of herself with us her blood and all children who needed her. She was always willing to give a helping hand to others whether it was at church events, neighborhood events, and she was always helping out at Rev. Edges Place serving out those hot dogs, hamburgers and pork chop sandwiches. She was a big part of who I became and she instilled in me the manners. the morals, and the respect that i have for others. I can only hope that i can be as much of an influence on my children and others as she was to me. Without her as my foundation who knows where I would be ... 

Teecie Simpson


                                                          MRS. BARBARA HORTON

Our mother Barbara Horton, was our "life Coach" when she was here with us and her legacy is now our heritage, forevermore."

Frank Horton and the Horton children    


                                                                  Mrs. Gladys Blye

If the world were comprised of people like 'GLADYS BLY' (my grandmother) or 'Mama Bly' or even 'Aunt Glide', it would be clean and orderly – there would be no poor people or lack of social justice. The world would be devoid of hatred and spite. Everyone would have food and hope. Everyone would have a good story to share and the friendliness to share it. Everyone would have a great and legitimate concern for one another. She was one of the few genuinely good people that carried the 'weight' of Riverview on her shoulders all the while tending to her own 'large' family. She was capable of both delivering and experiencing immense joy, and served as both the 'Light and 'Glue' of those who lived ,came and went in the Riverview Community through the years of its existence. Our light and Our glue. She gloried in her family and friends, friends of friends, acquaintances and strangers. She deserved more peace and happiness – and less difficulty – than was afforded to her over the years. But she and her 'legacy' became greater than all of us, and she lived as the best among us.

She was not just... a Mother or Aunt or Grandmother that died. But she was known..then and now as the "Matriarch" of Riverview, and her iron will forged Riverview (as a Community) into what it is even today....Multiple threads of family woven into one. She was our historian, and her stories and hard-bitten memories of a tough early life informed us of a world we otherwise could not have imagined. She grew up in hard times and then equipped many a child with the tools to survive anything..if..they so desired.

She was everybody's Mother, and that's what she was called 'Mama Bly' and through that role we could not have asked for a better or stronger woman. She did everything she was supposed to do and more – she took care of 'all' when 'all' were sick, celebrated the victories of 'all', comforted 'all' in defeat, punished severely those that dared harm us, and pointed 'all' – rather firmly at times – in what was inexorably the right direction.

Gladys Bly (my Grandmother) after all that , was and will always remain 'Riverview's' Ancestor, Mama 'Bly'. We will someday do our best to honor her with the dignity and integrity and grace and utter selflessness that defined her. Our best hope in life is to emulate her brilliance and give of ourselves to others as purely as she always did. We will tell our children about her and they will know her name, and who she was, and what she means to us.

Any and Everyone who grew up, resided, visited Riverview will tell you how 'thankful' that 'Mama Bly' taught us to love each other in a way that made getting through anything is possible.

Some may tell you that Mama Bly was a Saint, and that her only fault was giving too much of herself. She was.

Below are her four (4) Daughters (also Mothers of Riverview) Mrs Janie Goodwin, Mrs Dallas Watterson, Mrs Judy Phillips and Ms Delores Bly.

From Linda "Peaches" Blye


The Mothers of Riverview- Carolyn Elizabeth (Bristol) Brady

A wonderful Mother then and a Great mother Now. She was always involved in many aspects of raising us and all the neighborhood children.  She is so kind and caring to everyone she meets and knows. She can't do enough to help people, even today. She is truly a gift from God. As a Single Mom she raised 5 children in Riverview, After her marriage, 2 more.


Michael Bristol


                                                    Mrs. Clellie "Mama Clellie" Baylor


When she was with Kingsport Parks and Rec, she was in charge of dozens of kids.. she always treated them like they were her own kids.  Don't expect to get away with anything.. if your own mama wouldn't let you get away with it, don't expect Mama Clellie to let you get away with it, either.  And the kids just loved her.

from daughters Jeannie Hodges and Francine Mason


Doris E. (Tarter) Adams, resident of 420 Wheatley Street, Kingsport, TN when she passed away in 1996.

She was both mother and father to me and my 2 sisters, Loretta (Adams) Hodge, and Jovetta (Adams) Dennis, and also my brother, William (Billy) Tarter.

She taught us to be smart, and be proud. And she was a mother to a lot of our friends growing up. She was a neighborhood mother, who would get on you if she saw you doing something in public that you know was wrong.
She used to tell us, "Once a task is first begun, never leave it 'til it's done. May the task be great or small, do it right or not at all!" I still live by this motto that my mother pounded into our heads. I wish I could hear her say it just one more time.

                                                               Doris E. (Tarter) Adams




Fonnie Ray Canty .. It is hard to put into words what she has meant to me.  She has been a great teacher, mentor, mother, sister, and grandmother.  She loved working with children and has seen a lot of her students grow up through the Kingsport Nursery School where she worked for over 30 years.  She was strict, but showed a lot of love to all that came through her class.  She not only been there for me through the good but also through the ups and downs, helped nurse me back to health on several occasions.  We could never repay everything what our mothers have done for us, but we try to be there just like she was to us.
Thank you Mother for everything you have done. Princess Charlene-Canty-Stewart-Hodge



She was the best mom in the world.. loved by the children and grandchildren of the neighborhood, both Rotherwood and Riverview.

Love, children Barbara Campbell, Jerry Campbell


Annie Okadel Ruffin - Mamma

Wife of Milton, Mother of Bobbie, Faye, Ronald, Cassius and Connie

You were there when we needed you. We all loved you, but we took your time here on earth for granted. We assumed you’d grow old and would get the see all you grand kids. You were taken from us much too soon.

Quoting “Edgar Allan Poe”

To My Mother: 

Because I feel that, in the Heavens above, The Angels, whispering to one another,
Can find, among their burning terms of love, none so devotional as that of “Mother,”

Therefore by that dear name I long have called you- You who are more than mother unto me,
And fill my heart of hearts, where Death installed you.

In setting my Virginia’s spirit free.  My mother-my own mother, who died early, was but the mother of myself; but you are mother to the one I loved so dearly, and thus are dearer than the mother I know by that infinity with which my wife was dearer to my soul than its soul-life.



                                                          Mrs. Willie Kate Bradford

My Mom, Willie Kate Bradford, loves to cook and enjoys home cooking, singing God's praises and praying. There was always food for the family and food for our friends in the neighborhood. While growing up when we had friends at our house during meal time our friends would eat right along with us whatever was on the table. We always had dessert to go along with the meal.

Mom also was a role model on how to treat one another. Mom didn't believe in fighting... she would sit you down and have you explain why you were having any disagreements and no matter what you said, she would make you hug each other. That just how it was. What everybody didn't know was the fact that Mom would start praying for you at that point.  What you also didn't know was the fact that the prayer would not be a one time prayer but you were now on her "Prayer List". Mom didn't pray when you were in her presence because she didn't want to scare you. After all, Mom's voice level when praying was loud and we didn't have an air conditioner; therefore, the windows would be open and sound travels. Yet and still she had her set time of the day for praying. It got to the point that Mom just starting calling all of our friends names in the neighborhood when she prayed especially as we got older.

At 93 years old, Mom still enjoys good home cooking, singing God's praises and the Power of Prayer. When our friends return to Riverview and stop to visit, they are now asking her to pray for them without realizing they always remained on her "Prayer List." Mom always says, "Prayer Changes Things."

The greatest impression a mother can leave on her child is the message of her living faith, unwavering hope, and steady trust in God that will be engraved on their heart forever.

To All the Kingsport Riverview Mothers From Back in the Day!

"You're a Mother of the Heart.
The kind of woman who brings life where ever she goes..
Who brightens up the room and encourages those in it.

The one whose ready with a hug or a smile just when you needed it.

You encouraged us daily whether you realized it or not.


HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY 2013                                                 




Mrs. Irene Huff Elder

She is a phenomenal woman still to this very day. She will be 98 years "young" in September 2013!

She raised us and the rest of the kids that would stop by our house. She fed us and them too because she was always cooking, sewing and just lending a helping hand to others. Everybody called her "Ms. Huff". She loved it when we all played board games in our living room. If we got too loud or started to disagree, she would jump in and calm things down a bit!

That settled it. She is simply the best. We are thankful to still have her with us today.

                                                             By Brenda Huff Bond


                                                                        Mrs. Icey B. Jones

My mother is Mrs. Icey B. Jones.  Along with my father Nathan Jones, she raised 12 kids; I repeat , 12 kids - 8 boys and 4 girls. No twins, triplets, or quadruplets. The first one was born in 1942 and the last one born in 1963.

How they managed to raise all of us, you have to ask my mother. We all turned out to become respectable and loving adults. We all make sure my mother is all taken care of.
If it is God's will she will be 90 years young on August 9th 2013.

                             from Vivian Stewart


                                                             Mrs. Josephine Goodson


I can remember both grandmother and mother preparing for the winter by growing a big garden in the "country" and bringing the harvest to the house for all of us to prepare for canning and freezing.  Many of my friends would come to help and were rewarded with treats.  Also, both would send friends home when the street lights came on to make sure everyone was home safely and of course on time.

Mrs. Joyce Goodson Maxwell Dungey

from the Dungey, Maxwell children


First I want to thank Mr. Calvin Sneed, for giving us this wonderful opportunity to participate in this Honor..

                                                                                      ---Shirley Powers

Mrs. Lena Burnette

It was a blessing when we moved to Riverview, because all the Mothers took care of their children and all of us.   We lived next door to the Cartwright family, they had 10 children. The Burnette family, our family had 8 children.   We all played, ate and obeyed our mothers. If we were punished by them, we were punished again when we got home. This training, discipline and love came from what the Bible said, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it". Proverbs 22:6.We raised our children Denise, Ben and Cindy Powers following this scripture and thank God they are grown and still successful. Yes, it does take a village to raise a child and it could not have been done without "OUR MOTHERS OF RIVERVIEW".

Survived by Shirley Powers, Chattanooga, TN, Major Burnette, Newark, DE and Deborah Malone, Kingsport, TN

Submitted  by Shirley Powers


                                                           Mrs. Lucille T. Watterson

Happy Mother Day We Miss and Love you Mom!

Andrew and Andra Watterson



                                       Miss Lula Mae Garrett. With her sons Pierce and Toby.

                                           The Icy Queen, 25 cents for small 50 cents for large.

                                            We love you and miss you Happy Mother's Day!


Lula Mae (Snook) Garrett was born Jan. 9, 1920 in Knoxville to the late Tom and Mamie Cox Eckels. She departed this life on Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 at her home.  She married Elmer Pierce Garrett, and to this union, two sons were born. Lula’s parents, husband and son, Toby, all preceded her in death.  The family resided in Kingsport for several years, and Lula was a member of Central Baptist Church.

                                                         from Pierce and Deane Garrett


Pastor Lillian Turner

My mom is a great inspiration to all of the women in the church and the Riverview community.. she helped many mothers and trained them, giving them a lot of advice.. a lot of the children in the community respected her and looked up to her.. a lot of them still call her Grandma.. she's been a great influence and has had a huge impact on the lives of the children, as one of the "Mothers of Riverview." She has been and continues to be a blessing in the community to this day.. she is a loving, caring mom, who's not just concerned about her own children, but also the children in all of the neighborhood. She is a mother to all.

Pastor Lester Turner



                                                                 Mrs. Minnie E. Lyons

- Lifelong member of the Voguettes Club - These ladies spent enormous amounts of time and energy trying to help young black women learn the basics of etiquette and the necessary self-esteem they needed to be the best "Lady" they could be. Events the club held included luncheons with topical speakers, training classes for properly setting a formal dining room table, sewing, poise, and self confidence, and cooking. They participated annually in the parades conducted in Kingsport, and they were always well dressed and Ladylike. They also taught Roberts Rules of Order to their "Debutantes" providing them the knowledge they needed to preside over official meetings.  The Debutante Ball was an annual event that gave the Debutantes an opportunity to showcase the things they had learned during the year and it also served as their formal presentation to the community. This affair was always very successful, and was often covered by the Times News.

- Member of Shiloh Baptist Church (as long as I can remember) who served on the Usher Board, was a Deaconess, worked with the Pastors aide, was part of the kitchen staff, member of the Mass choir and the Voices of Peace, Annie Hickman club member, a Golden Saint of Shiloh and prayed for me until I accepted the LORD in my life. (please check with J.J. Jones or someone else at Shiloh - I've been gone a long time)

- Conducted a Black History class at East Tennessee State University and received a plaque commemorating her contribution to the University.

-  She taught me how to cook, clean, sew, wash dishes, and dance !!! She would offer her services to anyone else that had an interest in learning these things too.

                          from Roxy Lyons


                                                                       Lorraine Lollar

                                             Lorraine..  generations of after/before school care

                                                                 From Mary Hankins


                                                               Mrs. Mildred Hardy

With the recent home-going of Mrs Mildred Hardy, I could not pass up this opportunity to express the importance of this woman in raising children, young and adult, in her community. If it "takes a village to raise a child", how blessed I was to be in her village.

I first met her in the late 70's and I knew the first time I met her how wise and wonderful she was.   Mr and Mrs Hardy always welcomed me into their home with open arms and LOTS of love. Over the years, we
had so many good times and conversations that helped me so much, whether I knew that I needed it or not. She spoke with loving actions and her kind words. She talked to me about God and His goodness and mercy and how he would take care of me if I just let Him. Over the years with many visits to their home, I saw that they had more adoptees than most adoption agencies. When you were in their home, the love just poured on your head and you could not help but feel it in so many ways. Her love, her watching me and helping me when I needed it, her laugh, her advice, her smile are all so missed. How blessed I am to have been part of her family and for her to be a Mother to me.

                                                                  From Mary Nell Horne


                                                                  Mabel Williamson

My mother (MABLE R. WILLIAMSON) is a wonderful woman of God. Even back in the day she was always a fovorite among my friends. When my friends would come to the house they would spend time with my mother laughing & listening to her talk; I didn't understand then but I do now because she was and still is full of wisdom. She was firm but she always added some humor to break the ice / when telling us right from wrong. My friends would say I wish Ms. Mable was my mother; that blew my mind back then!!! Looking back, now I see why they said that she was a great provider and so very creative in our home, which was always different in decore. BLESSINGS & HONOR to my mother whom I adore!!!




                                                                 Virgealia "Jill" Ellis

Virgealia "Mama Jill" "Mama Ellis" is one of the many East Sevier moms from "the highway" Douglass students.  On one short 700 block of East Sevier Avenue, there were 57 children.  Give us a "shout out" if you were part of the "East Sevier Gang" back in the day!

"The East Sevier Gang"

The Youngs
The Smiths, including Pauletta Senasabaugh and Pete Crockett
The Worleys
The Hales
Harry Truelove and Larry Truelove
The Simontons
Jewel Davis
The Davis's
Saron Lindsay
Margaret "Pumpkin" Camp
Jackie and Anthony Woods
The Skaggs
The Graves
The Ellises


                                                                  Mrs. Juanita McGue

I can remember when my mom would let our Riverview friends come over and have sleep-overs, she would take us back and forth to Horsecrickers at Eastman, movies, church, take us to choir practice at St. Marks Church... she would take any children to school that didn't have a ride.   She would let our friends come over and have dinner with us.   This is something u cant do today,but if she saw any children including us doing something wrong, she would correct them and then take them home to their parents.   She babysitted some of our friends sometimes.  A true "Mother of Riverview."

                                                 From Shelia, Sandra and Roderick McGue


                                                                 Mrs. Faye H. Long

My mom taught sixth grade at Douglass from 1958 to 1966.  She wanted her students to succeed.  Often, you could find students at the house being tutored, or given extra work to improve their grades.  I don't know a lot of particulars on how she inspired her students, but she must have been pretty tough.  I can say that by the number of fights I got into, because my mom spanked or chastised someone.

From Benjamin "B.B." Long


                                                                 Mrs. Lillian Horton

                                          Arno - Stonega, Virginia                Detroit, Michigan

My mom, Lillian Horton, called "Sis" by almost everybody who knew her, might have been the best listener God ever put on Earth. She believed that if she could get you to her supper table, she could solve all your problems. She had given birth to 21 children, and yet she always acted that she didn't have nearly enough people at her table for meals. She was always bringing someone home to eat. She would whip up some biscuits and homemade syrup and whatever troubles you had, had seemed far less bothersome. Even though we didn't have much, my mother always wanted to share what we had. Today, we have reunions to bring families together, but back then we had reunions every weekend. My parents believed in family and community.

Willie Horton, Detroit Tigers Baseball Star, from his book "Willie Horton, the People's Champion"


                         Cleve and Mary "Miss Mutt" Rutledge  

Back in the day, it goes without saying that "it takes a village to raise a child." In Riverview, there were several "Mothers" who helped to raise children that did not belong to them.
I know my Mother, Mary Rutledge, affectionately known as "Miss Mutt," "Sister Mutt" or Mrs. Rutledge had a hand in raising a few in the church (Central Baptist) and in the community.
During this time, if any of the Mothers saw someone doing something wrong, they would be corrected and the parents told afterward and you would get a punishment from them.
Even (and especially) in church if you we're seen talking, passing notes, or chewing gum my Mother or other Mothers would leave the choir stand and put a stop to it and remind you what would be waiting for you when church was out.
After some of these kids grew up and had children of their own--they would stop by and tell Mama "thank you" for all you did for me when I was growing up.
Those were the good ole days, because now if you tried to do this, you probably would be disrespected.
I thank God for my Mother and what she meant to so many people in our community.

From Pam Rutledge Sensabaugh


                  Mrs. Thelma V. Webb

There wasn't a teacher that didn't raise us.

There wasn't a teacher that didn't praise us.

They made significant differences in all our lives.

Like queen bees in their individual hives!!!!

I saw my mom, Thelma Webb, help students all the time as I walked the halls and peeped into her classroom. Up and down the rows of desks - bending down (as much as she could, with those tight skirts and high heels) to give her assistance. And if anything were to ever go wrong - just like another hen in the hen house - she would call the Mother Hen that evening.........and TELL!!

From Bert Webb


                                                                   Mrs. Pinkie Horton

Most of my mom's work was done in the Central Baptist Church, working with the youth. all her life.. making them sing, and discovered talent in some of them.   She found out that Vicky Miller could play the piano, and when she didn't want to play the piano in church, Mama  would pay her $5.00 if she'd do it.   Lisa Williamson says, she remembers when she would pop them and make 'em sing.   She'd also pop 'em and make them behave.
Mama was very strict as most of the moms in Riverview were.  She always got the young kids involved in the church service, with plays, singing and performing.  She was almost like a talent agent, she aways seemed to find that hidden talent inside them.  If they misbehaved, she'd hit them with her shoe.. just pop 'em if they were bad and that would straighten 'em right up.  But she always had an eye out for helping them discover their inner talents.

From Sinora Horton


                                                                   Mrs. Alene Sneed

Mother was very adventurous.   She would take chances with her students, both in school and Sunday School at Central.  She always talked about the potential in young people, and she seemed to like looking for it.   They were not afraid to ask her questions and she made friends with the school students easily.  But she would never just give you the answer to something.. she'd make you work until you figured it out.   She had a sense of humor, and the kids at Jefferson loved her gym classes.
She was always volunteering to help out in the community, and seems like she was always busy.  When she wasn't helping students with lessons, she was planning something with the grownups, Mrs. Hendricks, Mrs. Cox, Mrs. Webb, Mrs. Dobbins, and the other teachers even after Douglass closed.  

From Sonya Sneed



Mrs. Ressie (Hoard) Long 


My Mama was born at Phipps Bend, Hawkins Co., TN. She was married to Willard Claude Long and to this union were 5 sons and 3 daughters which I am proud to say that I am one of them. All kids think their Mom is the greatest and I truly think my Mom was a very good Mom and a  good person.   She died in 1992 and I still miss her.  She lived a major part of her life at 317 Carver Street (Riverview).  
                                                                From Helen Bunting



                                                      Willie Anna Lee Henegar Price

Although my mother only lived in Kingsport on Dunbar Street for three years, I consider myself to be a Riverview kid. She often talked about children on Dunbar and the surrounding streets. She loved children and often helped to raise some of my other family members as well.

She was a Christian mother that worked hard and looked to the Lord to help raise her child along with a FIRM hand. She loved God, family, church family, gardening, cooking and canning which was her ministry in the Cleveland, Tennessee community.

Mama instilled in me several values that I needed to carry me in life. One was to except Christ as my Savior, to live for Him and to stay grounded in His word, two to love my family unconditional, three to further your education, four to help those that are in need. These are just a few that have helped me to be the person that I am today.

On Dunbar, there are two other mothers’ that helped my mother with me and they are Lilly Smith and Parthenia Deal. To me they are my aunts that loved me as they’re child. Aunt Parthenia is no longer on Dunbar she went home to be with the Lord but her love will forever remind in my heart. Aunt Lilly, she is the laughter in my life. She is so funny and doesn’t miss a beat. I thank God she is still with us and I will always love her.

These three Riverview Mother’s is a wonderful combination to be apart of. They have put a little of themselves in me and I am grateful.

I thank God for the mother that He chose for me. She was a blessing to me and our love for one another will forever shine.

Submitted by Tacia K. Price-Green (daughter)


                                                            Nellie Maude Phipps Price
                                                                     (New Canton)

My grandmother, we called her grandmaw, was a soft spoken, loving, caring and quiet person. Alot of times you wouldn’t know that she was in the room. But if you got out of line, she quietly got you back into order.

Although she married young to my grandfather, Frank Price, she was a good example of a wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was the mother of seven children, all deceased and the grandmother and great- grandmother of many.

She was a woman of God and active in her church, Lyons Chapel AME Zion Church, were she played the piano. She loved piano and was able to pass this trade onto her daughter, Geraldine Price-Bradley and granddaughter, Marie Lyons – Robinson. But she also loved music in general, especially singing and we were all passed down that talent as well.

Grandmaw loved in her own special way by showing us how to be a good wife and mother. As the Bible states, she was a good help meet to her husband and together they trained up there children in the way they should go.

My grandmother know only loved and took care of her own children but she took care and loved all the children in the community no matter what color they were. With as many grandchildren and great-children that she step in as a mother to many of them.

Although I didn’t get the quiet trait, I did receive the musical gene and for that I am blessed. But one thing we all received and that was the love that she had for us all.

Submitted by: Tacia K. Price- Green (granddaughter)


Mrs. Roberta Deal (Big Mama)

(From sister Helen Bunting)

 (From Nikki Deal)                                                            

To say something small wouldn't be enough. I can't remember a time of anyone being at her house cold or hungry. We always had plenty of good food I think she could have easily been a Martha Stewart/ Paula Deen. She was proud of her neighborhood!! Heck she is still right there :-)

3 children

8 grandchildren

14 great grandchildren

4 great- great grandchildren  

From Nikki Deal 


Please click on "Older Posts" to go to page 2 for more tributes to "The Mothers of Riverview"