William Landon York (1871-1940)
The Landon York family. Front row: Father William Landon holding
Melburn, mother Fannie holding Wilma, Glance. Back row: Clyde Marvin, Clara and Clifford.
William Landon York was born on Indian Creek in Fentress County in 1871. He was the son of
William Mitchell (1841) and Sarah Bailey York. Landon grew up on Indian Creek in Fentress
County, and farmed with his father. His father, Mitchell, is credited by Leonard Franklin,
a neighbor, with being among the more progressive old time farmers. According to Mr.
Franklin, Mitchell brought the first horse drawn mowing machine into his community. The
gears on it were put together so crudely that the horses pulling it had to trot before it
would cut hay.
Little is known of Landon's early life. His father, Mitchell, and mother, Sarah, reared a
large family. Their children were: Theodocia married John Linder; Franklin died young;
Mary Susan died young; Bell married John Cooper; Thomas married Minnie Garrett; James
(Jim) died in Fentress County; John moved to Texas in early life; Loretta married Walter
Garrett; Clementine married Joe Booher; Landon married 1st. Susan Robbins, 2nd. Frances
About 1897 Landon married Susan (Susie) Robbins, daughter of Bud Robbins of the
Robbinstown Community. Three children were born to this union - daughters Pearl and Bertha
and a son who died in infancy. Pearl, the older daughter, married Ambers R. Smith, son of
Porter Smith, who lived on Obey River near Gunter's store and post office in Pickett
County. Bertha married Albert Norrod, son of Tom Norrod of the Hanging Limb Community in
Overton County, Tennessee. Landon's first wife, Susie, died at or near childbirth when the
son, who died in infancy, was born. Susie had brothers: Andy, Mack, Eddie and Fayette who
lived part of their lives in the Fentress area and part in the industrial centers in the
Landon was employed by the Davidson, Hicks and Greene Lumber Company of Nashville,
Tennessee. This firm, reported to be English, owned and ran a timber cutting and saw
milling operation at Cooktown just across the Fentress County line in Overton County.
In 1908 Landon married Mary Frances (Fannie) Smith. She was the daughter of William
Granville (Legs) Smith and Genetta Catherine Smith. William (Bill) 12-17-1849 to 12-7-1920
was the son of John (Legs) Smith (1830) and Mary E. Beaty 11-15-1827. This Mary was a
sister to Lucy Catherine Beaty Reagan. Genetta Smith 1855-1884 was the daughter of David
Smith 1818-1860's and Fannie Cobb ca 1822 - after 1870. She, Fannie Cobb, was part
Cherokee Indian. William Granville and wife moved from Fentress County to the McDonald's
Chapel Community in Overton County.
The first child, Clyde, was born to Landon and Fannie at Cooktown on December 25, 1909.
Soon thereafter they moved to a farm in the Wirmingham Community near where Landon's
father, Mitchell, had earlier moved from Fentress.
Landon and Fannie owned and rented farm lands in the Wirmingham (Overton County), Oak
Grove and Boom (Pickett County) communities and reared six children - namely: Clyde Marvin
married Florence Mullins of Alpine, Tennessee. Clara graduate of Berea College; married
R.G. Hickey of White County, Tennessee; a Presbyterian minister. Clifford a.U.T. graduate
and county agent in Wayne County; married Hester Brewer of Waynesboro, Tennessee. Glance
attended University of Tennessee; farmed in Maury and Warren Counties married Jennette
Bradford; Glance deceased. Melburn attended Tenn. Tech University; married Katherine
Campbell; farmed at Columbia and Spring Hill; now retired at Spring Hill, Tenn. Wilma
married Paul Parsons; farmed in Maury and Giles counties; now retired at Pulaski,
Landon promoted and assisted in the construction of the first paved road between
Livingston and Byrdstown, Tennessee. There was only a dirt road between these two county
seat towns until 1923-1924. Landon and his children contributed their labor in
construction of the Midway Christian Church on Highway 42 near Boom.
At retirement age, Landon and Fannie moved to Columbia, Tennessee where their two youngest
sons, Glance and Milburn, had gone to seek improved farming opportunities. My parents
lived there until 1940 when father, Landon died; and until 1964 when mother, Fannie died.
Both are buried at the Wirmingham Cemetery in Overton County, Tennessee.
by Clyde Marvin York