Minnie Cole Sudberry
by Alan Cole Freeman

Will and Minnie Cole Sudberry ca.1907
Photo Courtesy of Aubrey G. Cole

Minnie Cole was born September 16, 1888 in Eagleville, Tennessee, and died of natural causes on January 6, 1973 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee at the age of 85. Minnie was the daugher of William (Pape) Glenn Cole and Mary Tennessee Manire.

She was the first child of her parents to survive childhood and grow to be an adult and marry. Her mother was 22 and her father 31 at the time of her birth. She was followed by three sisters and one brother. Her siblings names were Clarence, Ellis, Eris, Mattie, Ruth Ester, Adelaide Frances, Annie "Mae", and Robert "Bob" Marvin Cole. Ruth, Mae, and Bob all grew to be adults and have children.

Minnie married William (Willie) Bell Sudberry on December 22, 1907. He was born July 29, 1885, and died October 2, 1969 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, from head injuries suffered in a pedestrian auto accident.. He was the son of Richard Pitts Sudberry and Sally (Sarah) Jane Williams. Minnie and Will had no children. Both are buried at Simpson Cemetery at Rover Tennessee.

Her father, nicknamed "Pape" was born Mar 3, 1857 in Rutherford County Tennessee. He lived to be 91 years old and died July 22, 1948, of natural causes. He is buried in Murfreesboro, Rutherford County, Tennessee at Evergreen Cemetery.

Minnie's mother was Mary Tennessee Manire born in 1865 in Rutherford County, and died in 1913 in Rutherford County. She lived only to be 48. She bore nine children, only to be survived by four. She is buried in Rockvale, Rutherford County, Tennessee at Earl McKnight Farm Cemetery. When "Pape" died 35 years later, they were no longer allowing folks to be buried at the farm cemetery anymore. My grandfather, Bob Cole, had always wanted to have her grave moved to Evergreen Cemetery, but it never came to be.

Minnie's brother Robert Marvin Cole, was my grandfather. He was born on August 7, 1900, and died in 1979 at the age of 79. The remaining siblings lived to be over 80.

Minnie and Will were among my favorite aunts and uncles. My granddad Bob, whom we called "Daddy Cole"; used to give them a ride to church on Sundays, along with my big sister Glenda and me. They were members first of the Westview Baptist Church, and then later the Bellwood Baptist Church, under the Rev. Woodrow Medlock after Westview closed. Woodrow is 88 now and married to my aunt Ruth Templeton. He still preaches.

Minnie had beautiful red hair which was long enough to go to her mid-drift, except that she kept it braided and wrapped around her head in a most beautiful fashion. She was nearly deaf, and wore a hearing aide. Aunt Minnie and Uncle Will, as we called them, lived on the outskirts of Murfreesboro a good portion of their married life on January St. The street was only a few miles from downtown at that time, but in a small neighborhood with some farm land. They had some hogs, a chicken coup, and farmed.

Willie would chop fire wood, garden, and tend to their little one-man farm. He was mute and almost deaf. He could read lips and when he talked he would mumble. Once you were around him enough, as we were, we perfectly understood everything he had to say for the most part, and he understood us.

Aunt Minnie used to bake home-made biscuits; to die for! She kept them in a little glass cabinet and we always raided it when we were over. She made the most fantastic chicken-and-dumplins too. She cooked them on an old pop-bellied stove. Mind you, this was in the 60's too! She had an old pump-organ that we kids used to play with, and of course she had one of those massive feather beds that was pilled so high with mattresses you could hardly climb onto it. When you did get in it, you sank like a rock in the middle of it.

Minnie and Will never owned a car, and I don't think they knew how to drive. It did not matter to them, however. Will walked everywhere he needed to go. They never had any children, but they loved us like their own. We spend days with them in the summertime when school was out for vacation.

The city decided to run a freeway through their property, so they finally, with great remorse, moved out and up the road a mile or so. They moved into a little house, a bit more modern, with an electric stove, that Minnie was not fond of. The new place was nice and quaint, but I am fairly sure they were not as happy with it as they were their old home.

They raised a few chickens, and they had a mean, but lovable old dog, and Minnie always had a house cat, who loved her and her alone. It would never let anyone else touch it and would hide under the bed, chair, couch, etc.

Will could not hear well, and one day on his way to the store he was hit from behind by a car. The boy blew his horn to warn Will, but was totally unaware that Will couldn't hear him. Even so, he couldn't stop. No charges were filed. Willie was in a comma from head injuries. I remember my Grandpa Cole and me visiting him before he died, at the hospital there in Murfreesboro. He never regained conciousness. Minnie was heart broken. They were so much in love. She died about four years later.

I have a picture I will post here later. I did release a version of this story in the "History of Rover and 10th District" along with the picture. In that book is more detail on the ancestory of Will and Minnie.

2001 Alan Cole Freeman