with Melea Beshires
As we enter the New Year, I would like to share some history from the life of Mrs. Sarah Chandler, Silerton’s oldest resident. She celebrated her 98th birthday on Dec. 19. Her daughter, Judy Dillard, shared with me some of her mother’s story and early remembrances of Silerton.
Sarah and her twin sister, Sue, together completed the last of 12 children born to Joe and Marty Tull. The family lived on Tull Road near Piney Grove. Sarah attended Silerton school briefly before transferring to Hornsby where she finished her education. Sarah was no stranger to hard work, growing up a farmer’s daughter. The children all pitched in to help with the farm chores such as churning butter, working in the field and picking cotton.
For some, love comes early, and this was certainly the case for Sarah. She met her husband-to-be, William Chandler, when she was 14 years old. William was a friend of her brother, and Sarah says she knew from the beginning that he was “the one.” The two began dating around 1941. William was drafted into the Army the same year. They kept a correspondence, even when Sarah’s family moved to Memphis. Sarah worked at a hotel in Memphis and even trained to do riveting on airplane wings. As the tale goes, William took a trip to Memphis to visit Sarah, and upon seeing her he thought she looked as if “she would work herself to death.” William’s remedy was to get married. He offered Sarah a plane ticket to Vermont, which she accepted and the two were married in July of 1943. Sarah and William lived on Sunshine Road next to J L Rush’s house for much of their children’s lives and had many happy memories there and good friendships. Sarah attended the Silerton Church and was dear friends with Annie Ruth Black, Hazel Beshires and Catherine Siler.
Sarah began working at Harmon Automotive in 1964 and worked until she was 62 years old. William farmed and worked at the sawmill. In 1969 the couple moved to Fitts Lane. Some of Sarah’s past times included reading and journaling. These days she enjoys time with her family and visits from old friends. I consider it a privilege to offer just a peek into such a beloved woman’s past.