Mrs. Jessie Watson Burton, age 98, a resident of Gordonsville, Tenn. in Smith County, died Sunday, October 12, 2008 at Ft. Sanders Regional Hospital in Knoxville, Tenn. with complications from a fall at her home in Gordonsville.
Mrs. Burton was born October 11, 1910 in DeKalb County, Tenn., the daughter of the late Willie Fitts and Alpha Roy Watson. A brother, Martin Watson and a son Tommy Hooper Burton preceded her in death. She was married to Hooper Burton on September 4, 1937, who preceded her in death on December 30, 1997. They made their home on a farm in Lancaster until they moved to Gordonsville in 1986. Mrs. Burton received her teaching certificate from (TPI) Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, Tenn. and taught school in DeKalb County in a one-room schoolhouse, teaching all eight grades for ten years. She would ride a horse to school having to cross a creek. When she got to school, she would unsaddle the horse and saddle him back up when it was time to return home. She had to arrive at school early to build a fire for the children to stay warm. If you talk to any of her students, you will hear that she was a strong disciplinarian and they had to know their schoolwork. They thought she was a “mean” school teacher until they grew up and came to the conclusion that she was one of the best. Her sister was only seven years of age when Ms. Jessie married and started teaching and was one of “sister’s”, as she affectionately called her, students. She served as Postmaster at the Lancaster Post Office from August 31, 1954 until her retirement in 1980 at the age of 70. She had to go in and build a fire in the mornings. The Library was in the post office and a bus would come by each month and leave books for the people to check out. She loved reading to her grandchildren and great grandchildren and she loved poetry. It was amazing that she could recite lengthy poetry from authors, such as Tennyson, from those poems she learned as a small child. She was a long-time member of the Lancaster United Methodist Church and a member of the Home Demonstration Club, the “Club” as she called it, until her death and missed very few meetings up until she fell, if any. Ms. Jessie was a remarkable lady. At her death, her memory was crystal clear, her hearing was perfect, and she still had all her natural teeth and had very few health problems. She read the daily Tennessean and Carthage Courier from front to back. She was very well versed on current events. She never talked politics. Her husband was a “die hard” republican who was very vocal with his opinions and everyone knew his stance on every issue, which would always be for the republican side. Everyone assumed that “Grandmama” was republican and the family only found out recently that she was a democrat and she and “Daddy Hooper” could have very well just stayed home when it came time to vote. She still lived alone and did her own cooking and housework. Mrs. Burton is survived locally by, daughter-in-law, Shirley (Phillip) Anderson, Red Boiling Springs, granddaughter Gina (Mark) Dillon, Carthage, owners of Lafayette Hometown Respiratory and step grandson Bob, and wife, Lauren Lowery of Hartsville, formally Wildlife Officer in Macon County. Funeral services were held at the Bass Funeral Home in Gordonsville on Tuesday, October 14, 2008 at 2 p.m. with interment in the Gordonsville Cemetery. The family asked that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Lancaster United Methodist Church.