By Ralphine Major
“In the mid-1920s, Dad and Walter McBee bought the store in Corryton from the McClellans and called it The Luttrell & McBee Co. Our family moved from Luttrell House to the apartment above the store. Luttrell House was rented to tenants,” he wrote. The late Woodrow Luttrell documented many of the Luttrell family’s challenges as he remembered them.
His grandfather, Amos Carter Luttrell, and grandmother, Margaret, were living on their 44-acre farm on Burkhart Road in the Ritta Community. “He had a team of small mules used for farm work and to pull his two-seated hack with a top. Grandpa had a stroke about 1926. Dad and family members made arrangements to sell that farm and move them to Luttrell House,” Woodrow recalled. “The hack and ‘girl’ mules, Maude and Sally, were moved also, plus furniture and tools. In 1927, or early 1928, as an 11- or 12-year old, I was sent down to live with them.” Woodrow shared more childhood memories of everyday life: “Grandpa could walk with a cane, but mostly had to sit in a chair. When weather was good, he always sat out on the front porch. There was one garden back of Luttrell House and another larger one up in a field back of the orchard. Up in the larger garden, there were several rows of Irish potatoes. Bugs were really plentiful and eating up the leaves. Grandma and I would go up every three or four days with a coal bucket and a small broom for her to gently knock the bugs off the plants into the bucket that I held. When finished, we took the bugs back to the house and sprinkled them with kerosene.”
On the afternoon of May 18, 1928, the Luttrell family’s life changed. “We rushed to finish as a bad storm was coming up and we began to see lightning and hear thunder. Grandpa was not in the house, so I hurried out on the front porch,” Woodrow recalled. The young boy found his grandpa on the floor between his chair and the front door. He was dead. “It was raining rather hard, but I went running across the road to where the Tarver sisters lived to tell them to come and help. As I crossed the road, Dad happened to be driving by in the Model-T from a trip into Knoxville and saw me. He stopped to see why I was there and was told the sad news.”
Events that took place in the Luttrell family’s life were important, and Woodrow remembered them in great detail: “Not long after that our family was moved back to Luttrell House with Grandma. In due time, Dad rented all of the Tarver farm across the road. Molly and Prince and Maude and Sally were all used to do the farming for a few years, and I believe the pair of mules outlasted the horses. I always tried to use Molly to plow the garden because Prince was harder to keep from stepping on plants.” It is no wonder Woodrow recalls with fondness the family home known as Luttrell House. It was a most important place in his life as well as the lives of his siblings, their parents, and grandparents.