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Talkin’ Halls Mill with Daphne Paschal Motes

By ZOË HAGGARD
Posted 10/8/22

For many of its residents, Halls Mill runs from the intersection of Highway 41A to the intersection of Highway 270 and everything in between that branches off.  

There’s the Triangle …

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Talkin’ Halls Mill with Daphne Paschal Motes

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For many of its residents, Halls Mill runs from the intersection of Highway 41A to the intersection of Highway 270 and everything in between that branches off.  

There’s the Triangle Community Club— named for the three points of Halls Mill, Poplin’s Crossroads, and Crowelltown. Then, there’s the Halls Mill Market Store as well as the annual Tractor Pull and Sorghum Festival. It’s a small community to say the least.  

“But there’s so much history here,” said long-time Halls Mill resident Daphne Paschal Motes

And it’s full of her own family history.  

Halls Mill is named after Civil War veteran John V. Hall, born in 1841. In 1874, he purchased a water-powered saw, corn and flour mill on the Duck River from Samuel Crowell and became the community’s namesake. 

Motes, nee Paschal, has lived or participated in her community her whole life and recently purchased her family home last March. Daphne’s parents, Delmous and Emogene, who lived there for many years, have passed away. The family attended Crowell’s Chapel Lutheran Church and were laid to rest there in the church cemetery.  

Today, Motes’ youngest brother, Byron, lives next door; her sister, Gwyn Davis, just across the street, and her oldest brother, Hollis, a little way up the road.  

“We’ve always been like that . . . I don’t know what it’s like to not have them nearby,” Motes said.  

The house  

The house where Motes grew up is a white frame farmhouse built in the early 1900s. It has a large porch that hugs the corner of the house. Sitting on the porch you can watch the lightning bugs float in the twilight touching the farmland—a reminder of those simpler Halls Mill days.  

Originally, the property included 70 acres at one time, on which Motes’ family farmed tobacco, soybeans, and even had a strawberry patch. The red clover was a sight to behold.  

Back in those days, Motes recalls they had no AC and only an outhouse in the back. Though the home was remodeled in the 1970s to include those modern touches, the upstairs still has no AC— just yet another reminder of those simpler Halls Mill days.  

Her maternal grandfather, Percy Crowell, was an educator and farmer and would build cherry furniture. His craftwork still decorates much of Motes’ home.  

Large trees provided shade in the summer while the large front porch and nearby picnic table served as the living and dining rooms. Motes said they were just used to it and knew no other way.  

But now, like the rest of Bedford’s landscape, Halls Mill is changing.  

“Change is constant. And I don’t have a problem with people coming up. Just keep it authentic,” Motes said. “I’ve always been able to look out the window and see fields.”  

“I still want to keep it country and the way things are going it seems less and less.”  

Halls Mill Store  

But a little part of Halls Mill that still has that authentic feel is the Halls Mill Store, which is simply dubbed “the Store.”  

It’s recently been purchased and has been remodeled to become The Halls Mill Store and Lucky Duck River Rentals. The store has been around since the community’s founding.  

Motes’ paternal grandparents, Robert “Eb” & Robbie Paschal, ran the store when she was a child; she remembers being over there two to three times a day.  

“It’s always been there,” Motes said. They sold everything from nails to canned goods to meat to candy and cold drinks. Motes remembers getting those iced cold Coke-a-Colas, worth 11 cents, which she would help her grandfather fill up every night.  

“It was just a meeting place . . . . All the men and women would be gathered on the front porch, drinking Coke-a-Colas and the kids would be running around playing. You’d just discuss all the world events going on and hear all the tall tales. It was just an easy, laid-back life,” she said.  

It was a laid-back life, but they still had their friendly competitions, like games of cup ball in the summer and seeing who could grow the biggest tomato in their garden. And as a self-acclaimed tom-boy, Motes recalls riding bikes up and down the road and playing baseball—probably the second girl in Bedford to do so, she said.  

“You got to know your neighbor. Everybody knew everybody, so if anybody ever got sick or hurt, everyone banded together to get what that person needed, whether it was help mowing the yard or food,” Motes said.  

But, “Nowadays, people don’t know each other. People are afraid to get out and meet people,” she said. 

Motes says she enjoys being sociable because of those summer days sitting on the front porch. You learn a lot that way. She remembers sitting in her grandfather’s lap at the store where he taught her how to count money and operate a cash register.  

“My grandparents set in my work ethic,” she said. Eventually, Motes’ brother and sister ran the store and Motes herself would help out on occasions.  

After graduating Middle Tennessee State University, Motes worked at Goggin Trucking for 10 years. When the company sold, she followed founder Pat Marsh to Big G. Today she works as facility manager at the Deason location and hit 23 years of service last January.  

All the while, Motes can say, “I never had any desire to move out of Bedford County.”  

“We’ve always been a close family. We cut up a lot, we laugh a lot, and you’ve always got someone to help nearby. That’s how we were raised.”  

The Triangle Community Club  

Outside of the store, the other main meeting place was the community club. They hosted ice cream suppers after the Fourth of July celebrations as well as picnics, square dances, and baseball games.  

These events have faded out through the years, according to Motes, so the community brought on the spotted saddle horse show for about 20 years, of which Motes was the chairman.  

Today they also host a tractor pull twice a year. It’s the community’s big fundraiser and all volunteer based.  

“Everything that went on in this community I was taken to,” Motes recalled.  

One group that still meets at the Triangle Community Club is the Mid-State Cloggers, with which Motes has been an instructor for 14 years.  

They’re a group of Appalachian precision clogging dancers, and they have around 50 members ranging from four-years-old to 68.  

When the group expanded from Manchester to include Shelbyville, they held classes at the Halls Mill Triangle Community Club. Motes decided to take some classes with her daughter and niece.  

Now, she’s been dancing for 20 years, all the while enjoying the comradery, which is reminiscent of those “olden days” on the Halls Mill Store porch.  

“When we go out and perform, we want to put on a good show and be professional. But it’s a family atmosphere,” she said. 

It’s like anything else, so you’ve got to stick with it.  

“Once you get your basics down, everything else follows,” like learning that country rhythm

No doubt, Halls Mill continues to keep that “country rhythm” as well, which is why it seems everyone keeps coming back, generation after generation.  

And for those who are visiting or new to the area, welcome! 

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