DNJ, Mark Bell, Sunday, February 10, 2013 — J.C. Rogers remembers as a young boy hearing Uncle Dave Macon play his banjo and guitar on Macon’s front porch in this small community located out Woodbury Highway.
J.C. Rogers, now in his 80s, grew up around the community right near the Kittrell Halls Hill Road house that he and his wife,
Stella, now call home, and less than a mile from what was once Grand Ole Opry star David Harrison Macon’s home and place of business.
Macon’s old Kittrell home still sits off Old Woodbury Highway near present-day Macon Road.
“He owned all the land through here, including where this house is sitting now,” explained J.C. Rogers. “I seen him when I was a little boy. He’d catch that bus to go to Nashville. He’d have red britches on, a red hat, a red coat and a red shirt. He would drink a half gallon of whiskey before he’d go.”
J.C. Rogers remembers helping Macon out one day by getting him some whiskey.
I crossed the front porch of his house — he had a place over there where he reworked wagon wheels, pushed spokes, hubs and all that in and put it on wagons. He’d hauled rocks and stuff down through there,” he recalled. “He told me where to go and what to do.”
J.C. Rogers also remembers being able to hear Macon’s music for miles around the old neighborhood and how he was able to “swing that guitar plum around his back and play it.”
“You knew when it was his time for picking,” Stella Rogers added.
J.C. Rogers also recalled going to town with his dad one day as a young boy and how everything used to cost a lot less.
“Before we went, he said, ‘I got us a dollar a piece. I say we go down to Murfreesboro and don’t come back with nothing.’ We went down there and bought a whole outfit for $1.”
Stella Rogers, who is 10 years younger than her husband, didn’t move to Kittrell until later on in her life, she said.
She spent the majority of her “growing up” days a little farther down Woodbury Highway on Hills Creek Road in Cannon County.
She recalled as a young girl being chased around her father’s farm by a Southern black racer snake.
“We had cows, hogs, things like that, and when you grow up on a farm you have a lot to do,” she said. “I remember it was mad dogs days, and I had all these cows off in a field by myself. I kept hearing this noise behind me, and I turned around and there was a black racer just sailing right after me.”
Stella Rogers said the faster she got, the faster the snake got.
“I run until I couldn’t run no more, and then I just stepped to the side, and he just kept on right by me,” she said. “My daddy laughed at me later and said, ‘That’s what you got to do. A black racer is blind when mad dog days come.’”
Stella Rogers later moved to Kittrell with her first husband, who bought another piece of land that was once owned by Macon, she said. They bought the property for $10,000, built a home and a barn and raised cows and hogs.
Modern-day Kittrell is a lot more quiet these days without Macon, according to Stella Rogers. Some might even say it’s sleepy.
Today, there is a volunteer fire department there, on the same property as the old Kittrell School.
There’s also the more recently built Kittrell Elementary School just down the road a bit, along with a few small privately owned businesses.
It’s a good place for the Rogers, they said.
Both are retired from the old Samsonite factory off Middle Tennessee Boulevard in Murfreesboro, where they both used to make furniture.
They still have some of the pieces they made to this day.
These days, you’ll find J.C. Rogers carving on something just about every day, he said.
He makes chairs, birdhouses, just about anything you can think of that can be carved, he said. He’s got his own workshop not far from his house.
One of the things he’s most proud of is his airplane windmill, which he built to scare off the moles off his property, he said.
“The wind will get to blowing that propeller on there around and it vibrates the ground, scares them off,” he explained.
J.C. and Stella Rogers’ home in Kittrell is one of the few that doesn’t have a water bill associated with it, they explained. Instead, ground water is pumped into their home from well that’s 186 foot down in the ground.
“The county wanted to come through and put water through my yard, and I told them I didn’t needed,” he said. “I’ve got this well, and it is some of the best water you will ever drink in your life.”
“We’re proud of our water,” Stella Rogers added. Wastewater goes to a septic tank on another part of the Rogers property.
Stella and J.C. Rogers said they plan to live out the rest of their days in Kittrell.
“It’s good enough for Uncle Dave Macon to be buried in, it’s good enough for me to live in,” J.C. Rogers said.