100th Birthday for Bertha Payne

Bertha and daughter MargaretFamily and friends held a reception in honor of Mrs. Bertha Payne's 100th birthday at New Tazewell's First Baptist Church on Wednesday evening. Five generations of family were represented at the reception. Mrs. Payne's only surviving daughter, Peggy Payne Chumley (pictured) and her son-in-law, Bill Chumley were joined by four of her grandchildren (Jim Chumley from Texas, Joe Chumley, Bill Payne Chumley and Margaret Schneider - all from Florida); 21 great grandchildren and two great, great grandchildren. Mrs. Payne's extended family includes many friends from church where she serves as an unofficial grandmother to many of the children. Photo by Ed Baldwin  (More Pictures Here)


What a miracle GOD bestowed upon BERTHA D. (CAMPBELL, aka Mrs. Clarence C PAYNE) of New Tazewell.

One Hundred years ago, on October 19th, 1905 the tranquility of Bear Creek “hollow”, first heard the cries of a “new born” baby.

Bertha D. Campbell was the third child born to Ewin & Martha Shumate Campbell. Her older brothers Lon, Neal and younger sister Eliza, constituted the family.  (Bear Creek is located SW of Lone Mountain near the old Walkers Ford, on the then Knoxville Road from Lone Mountain.)

Who would have thought that 100 years later, she would be attending her beloved Church and be so fortunate, as a bonus, to have many relatives and friends, gathered from all across the country plus having FIVE generations present? (She had not seen the last ones yet!)

Mrs. Payne is the widow of Clarence "Popa" C. Payne. "Popa" formerly owned the Pontiac & International Harvester dealership in New Tazewell, (in the 1940s and 50s) near the present Century Telephone building, along with his son Bill- wife Sammie, daughter Ruth and her husband Dave Lipton.

Exactly, one hundred years later, on the evening of October 19, 2005, Bertha D. Payne, an amazing lady, AT THE YOUNG AGE OF 100, was honored at a reception, which proceeded the Wednesday night Prayer Service of the New Tazewell Baptist Church. She was the "oldest member in the recorded church history (so we are advised). The church memberships "CENTURY" celebration of her birthday, kinda spilled over into the Prayer Meetings allotted time.

Oh well, no one seemed to mind, as she seemed to again steam as the evening rapidly waned. For the first time in many years, she was out of the house to go to her church, instead of involuntarily being transported by ambulance to the hospital.

She visited with a seemingly never ending group of the many well wishers attending, some traveled many miles, to honor this very inspirational lady. Many of them, she had not seen in many years

Bertha is well known & remembered by many, although, she says most of my friends have passed on, as she has lived in New Tazewell most all of her life, and for many years has served as the gathering center for the visiting Payne & related clans, which includes many nieces and nephews, that always visit with Aunt Bertha when in town. In fact, she spent most of the birthday on the phone with those that could not attend, but remembered her birthday

We have no doubt, but that the Lord intervened, (along with Alex, Rev Randy Pressnell and others) but everyone was glad that she finally consented, giving the scattered family (Florida, Texas, Ark, S.C. and Alabama along with the others that my "halfheimers" overlooked) an opportunity to gather for reminiscing, while enjoying seeing and holding her two new great-great grandchildren, (Rhys Santiago Gomez and David Landon McCormick) both under the 2 year old mark. The current 5 generation circle was composed of; Bertha Payne, Peggy Payne Chumley, Jim Chumley, Beth Chumley Gomez and her son Rhys (pronounced Reece).

Due to the untimely death of Ruth Payne Lipton in Arkansas a few years ago, there was a gap in the other 5 generation set, but Bertha, Jane Lipton Wesson, Anna Jane Lipton McCormick and her son David L enjoyed the party.

This was the first time, in at least 10 years, that Bertha has been transported in an automobile, as opposed to riding an ambulance, headed for the hospital. This time, the destination was her beloved First Baptist Church in New Tazewell.

She, (along with her sister Liza Campbell (Mrs. Glen) Carmack), had been an active member of the New Tazewell Baptist Church, for many years. With the advancement of age, she finally parked Ole Betsy (her 1977 Buick) in the small garage (built for 1950 size vehicles) at her home on 5th Ave., New Tazewell, ending her regular church attendance, but did not give up the Sunday morning radio service. She was relegated to the life of a shut in, by necessity, as her mobility had gradually been curtailed,

Bertha has been adamant & determined, in expressing her desires, as she says "I don't want anyone watching me sleep", but has all of the companionship and care, that she will accept, in the form of her excellent & dedicated caretaker (Joyce Watson) who has for a number of years, kept close tabs on her (as much as Bertha P. will allow her to do), and is always on call. Joyce has always been there within minutes, if needed 24/7.

The evolution of this celebration of the 100th was rather interesting, as Bertha, being the lady that she is, reserved the right and utilized, the privilege of changing her mind. After giving us the impression that she did not want any celebration of the 100th, she later, agreed to attend. We, at last, realized that she, in reality, was actually looking forward to it. After all, it's always been said that changing of the mind is a women's right.

A few weeks before the birthday, Kathryn Ault Watts (niece, South Carolina) called Peggy, saying: her daughter Judy Watts Breckenridge, (Greeneville, TN.) phoned me to see if you folks have planned anything to celebrate Aunt Berthas' 100th birthday, and if not we would like to arrange something. Peggy responded; "Mother has so much difficulty understanding when more than one conversation is going on, and she wants to talk to all, therefore preferred visiting with only a few at the time, and based on what she has indicated to me, may not be in favor of it."   

During these days, some of the Lord’s messengers, Alex Pressnell, Chris & Nancy Whitaker, Rose Ann Clark, and some other local talents, were trying to get BP to agree to some festivities at the church.

She finally agreed to attend, for a couple of hours before the usual Wednesday night prayer service, in fact, when she indicated to us, on the telephone that“ Bill, (son in law in Florida), and Gene, (grandson in Texas), can get me into the car and take me up to the church”, we finally felt that it was a “go”!

Food, decorations and a LARGE 100th Birthday Cake, were very graciously provided by the good cooks of the Church, and we all enjoyed the nostalgia that exudes when many “old” pictures from “by gone” days are relocated from all over, are viewed.

The picture collection & display, was organized by Chris & Nancy Whitaker, with some of the pictures “showing up” only at the last minute. (How did they do it?) We are grateful to Rose Ann Clark for taking pictures during the “party”, (which we have yet to see), and all of the fine folks behind the scenes, that arranged for serving the “party” food.

Thanks to e-mail and telephone, many of those attending from far off places, made last minute plans to get someone to “cover for them at work”, catch planes, meet planes and make the scene a memorable one. 

Members of her immediate family, attending from out of town, were:

Her daughter Peggy Chumley, (husband Bill), from Cocoa/Rockledge, Fl.; her grandson Jim Chumley with his daughter and her great grand daughter Beth (Gomez) and great, great grand son Rhys from Austin, TX; her grandson Joe & Cheryl Chumley from Lakeland, Fl; grandson Bill P, Kathy & great grandson Dennis Chumley from Titusville, Fl.; granddaughter Margaret Schneider, great grand daughter Shannon and great grandson Matthew from Titusville, Fl,

Her daughter-in-law, Sammie McCrory Payne (Widow of William G. “Bill” Payne) came from Welder, TX, with (her son) grandson William G. “Gene” and wife Trudy Payne from Dallas, TX, granddaughter Susan Payne & husband Harold Cobbler, with great granddaughter Jennifer and her fiancé Antonio from Victoria, TX.

Her granddaughter, Jane Lipton Wesson (daughter of Ruth), great granddaughter Anna Jane McCormick and great, great grandson David Landon McCormick from England, Ark.

Her niece Kathryn Ault Watts from Union S.C., with her daughter Judy Watts Breckenridge, and one of their daughters, Audra, now residing in Greeneville, TN.  (Judy’s’ husband, Dr. Rufus Breckenridge made the scene also. He’s also good at changing flat tires, too!)

Mary Ault Cooper, grandniece from Alabama (grand daughter of Irene & Lawrence Ault) and her husband, Johnny

Her niece Amy Payne Potts, daughter of Roger & Alberta Cody Payne came from near Columbia, S.C.

Numerous out of town guests” visited with Bertha by telephone " finishing off several action filled” days, and she “weathered the storm” real well. In fact, one could surmise that it was really good for her!

The family would like to express their most sincere appreciation to the NEW TAZEWELL BAPTIST CHURCH folks, on her behalf (and ours), for prevailing on her, to allow these festivities, hosting a celebration party, Chris Whitakers' video show, hospitality and food.

May the Lords’ blessing be upon those that worked so diligently to prevail on her to allow so many to see and honor her on that day, as she finally conceded that she too, in reality, did want it to happen.

Campbell Genealogy

Byrd Payne Genealogy

Tn. "Post mortems" 'er something! June 26, 2007

While I don't know where to start, ( and I'm trying to include so many) You'll just have to "bare" with me, as I, in my "elderly" condition have not recuperated yet, ( Peggy/mom, too!) but you can bet I"m/we're workin' on it!

Once again, we "ran the gauntlet" from Fl to Tn. to check on Bertha and see the "clan" and enjoyed all of it., and say thanks, once again, GOOD LORD, that we're able to make the scene

Recent research told us that in the past 9 years, we've averaged 6 trips per year, ranging from a high of 9 down to 3 trips per year, so we should be getting used to it! Unfortunately, since I had to quit flying the 3 1/2 hour trip, each one seems to be getting longer, in spite of my best of around 10 1/2 hours "car time" - but it's worth it, as Mamaw Payne seems to brighten up when she has company to look forward to, and it finally culminates, and this time we had a real bonus, with all of you that visited her..

Joyce (Bertha's "on scene" caretaker,) had "warned us" about the refrigerator "stinking" since somehow the freezer portion got "tuned off", resulting in one heck of a lingering stink.In spite of Joyce's cleaning, "de-stinking" etc. for a couple of weeks before we arrived. I bought and completely utilized .a BIG box of Arm & Hammer soda "de- stinker" stuff during the week, only to find that the stink outlasted the "destinker". It also lingered on during our entire visit, so we just left it, (we thought).

Not so, as we later found out, while heading south to Florida, it was accompanying us "capped up" in our "iced up" water bottle, as some of the residual remained in our ice cubes. Oh well. so much for that, needless to say, we endured in spite of that!

We understand that Mamaw enjoyed the visits of her company/family, and even expressed the thought that it was spread too thin. What does she expect? I'm not sure she would be happy, even if every one "lines up" in a "que" outside the nursing home so she can "talk" to each one individually. It seems that she gets distracted, by too many conversations going on at one time. Oh well, overall, I would score it rather high on the successful impromptu success ladder. I feel we are very fortunate to have her around at her almost 102 age, with the facilities that she continues to possess. In other words, thanks to all that found the time to visit her.

We arrived in Tn. on Tuesday, did our visiting with her, "doctored the refrigerator" took inventory, made the grocery store scene, and "settled in" . Wed was more of the same settling in; in fact, I even got some of the "big cooler full" of "old fashioned picture "slides" out of the car, and did some "slide shows", throwing out some of the more faded ones (also some that were pure bad photography, by you know who.

Thursday was a day of family arrivals, as Joe & Chryl with the dog I call ""Dust Mop"; Bill, Kathy, Dennis and their dog "Dingo", Margaret. Shannon, Mat & dog "Beau", Jane Lipton Wesson, Doug, Elizabeth, & Gene Payne, but Gene had to return to the Knoxville airport the next day to "rescue his bride, Trudy. Anna Jane, Clint and Landon (Janes' grandson from Arkansas) & Margarets' James with his buddy Anthony also arrived to enjoy the meeting of relatives. Hope I have not inadvertently omitted any one

While all of this was going on, it seems that someone saw fit to "push the lock in" on the downstairs bathroom door, and proceeded to close the door, thus effectively locking up the "potty room" for everyone.

Thursday night, after working on it for what seemed to me to be a long time (I was somehow under the impression, that we had one of the kids locked in there) the old "cold chisel with the accompanying hammer" finally worked, as they built locks like "Fort Knox" back in the 50's. However, the someone that I thought, was supposed to be "locked in" had magically disappeared. Thank the good Lord.!

Friday & Saturday saw a big "dent" made in Colonel Sanders Finger Lickin' Fried Chicken & the paper plate supply, so we didn't have much dish washing to do, leaving more visiting time for all.

Friday morning after all the "vittles" had disappeared, Joe and I started in on the "replacement job", which from past experience, I knew that "what had been standard" in 1950 had long ago changed We made the first of the ensuing three trips to the Ace hardware, buying a new door lock etc., along with a "jig" needed to enlarge an already existing hole with no solid "center", to start with. After returning to the house, it seems that we also needed a "rat tailed file/wood rasp to finish up the alignment of the "new" hole. Upon our return, we discovered that we should have also bought a 1/'2 inch wood chisel, too. So back to the store we went. We finally completed the job.

Margaret started vacuuming the downstairs, only to discover that the vacum cleaner was not "sucking" and was ready to go get a new one, when we decided to "let's look at this one to see if we can find what is wrong with it." We did and ended up, disassembling same to remove about an 8" long "plug" of stuff "stopping it up", then finished the job, late in the afternoon, thus somewhat limiting our proposed visiting. We did make a quick, but short, visit to Lone Mountain.

I thought I'd make it down to Knoxville, to see my "old cohort in crime" cousin Tom Ailey, but Margaret & I got involved in housecleaning and repairing the vacuum. (Mom later told me there was another one upstairs.)

Saturday afternoon, Mom & I were late getting started down to Lone Mountain, to do our "mingling" and getting there late, missed some of the "official" photographs.

We, later, were advised that there may have been some earlier "confusion", by a few, as to who should be included in some official pictures, made before Peggy arrived. How confused can one get, when allegedly stating, (or words to that effect): " Why are we waiting? The Chumley family doesn't belong in the picture!" They are not Payne's !"

I suppose you all realize that your mom ("Peggy" PAYNE Chumley) just happens to be the OLDEST LIVING, DIRECT (BLOODLINE), DESCENDENT of B.M. & A. Payne, but apparently some folks didn't realize it, as someone apparently didn't consider her, or you, as part of the PAYNE family. HELLO ! I believe someone may have had a lapse in memory, since we didn't see anyone else around there that had any more "Payne blood" in them than Peggy and you kids! So, we strongly feel that all do qualify.(or maybe we have been "divorced". Bertha is oldest Payne by name, but NOT a bloodline descendent.)

Of course Mom & my late arrival may have contributed to the "faux pas", as we had not arrived in time. the fact is that we didn't even know that there was to be an "official" photographer involved, or we would have tried to get there in a timely manner.

Oh well, although I may not be, Peggy & you are sure enough "blood line HALF PAYNE". I know I'm not, but for the last 62 years, I've always thought you were! Maybe some of the younger ones present, didn't realize that, and certainly some of the older ones should not have forgotten.

We really appreciate the folks, (Linda, David, Mike and all the others) that contributed to making it happen and giving us the opportunity to get together once again.

To all, the best, and we love ya all.

End of 1st 'spasm"- stay tuned to see what else evolves - if and when there is a 2nd "spasm"!

Love ya a bunch
Dad n Mom and to others whatever "turns ya on"

Some of Bill and Peggy's Family Pictures in Sunny Florida

Joe Payne's Claiborne County Website

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