Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway aka NC&StL, NC&Stl.L, ncstl,  

Wilburn Darnell

Abandoned NC&STL Railway
Route Between Memphis, Jackson & Bruceton

Wilburn and Robbie Darnell

I have the white paper from my mother, Betty J. (Pepper) Fleet written about the lives of Mr. & Mrs. Darnell for me on November 18, 2006 read:

Wilburn Darnell was born December 28, 1920 in Michie, TN (near Selmer). His growing up years were spent in Michie and Moscow. He met Robbie Patterson and they were married December 8, 1945. Her pet name for him was “Snookie”. Wilburn served in the Army during WWII, first in North Africa and then in Italy. When the war was over he returned to Fayette County and became the agent-operator for the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railway Depot in Somerville, TN from 1946 until 1948. When Mr. Ollie H. Priddy ended his employment at the Whiteville Depot, Wilburn was his replacement. He rode the train from Somerville to Whiteville each day and back to Somerville at night. Sometimes Robbie would visit him during the day and they would return to Somerville in the evening. Because of his employment with NC&StL all their rides were free. Soon they found a house in Whiteville and moved there. This house was on Webb Street next door to my grandparents, John R. and Nina Pepper. For approximately twenty years he used the telegraph, sold tickets, signaled the train and many other duties. In approximately 1968 the Interstate Commerce Commission ordered the closing of Whiteville Depot and removal of the tracks and station. There were three section houses (south on U.S. 64 west of Whiteville) which Mr. and Mrs. Darnell bought. They later sold these three houses to a man in Grand Junction, TN for $3,500. The new owner had the houses moved to Grand Junction. He converted them to a bed and breakfast and later to his own home. Today they may still be seen near the Norfolk Southern Corp. in Grand Junction.

1973 First Baptist Church Directory
of Whiteville. Contributed by Betty Fleet.

Mr. and Mrs. Darnell were members of First Baptist Church in Whiteville. They both sang in the choir and he was a deacon. They had no children. Wilburn died April 3, 1979 from a coronary aneurysm. Today Mrs. Darnell is residing in Whiteville.

In May 6, 2006 I visited with Mrs. Darnell to learn this history. She gave me an L&N red glass lantern (above) used by her husband at the Whiteville Depot. A special thanks to Mrs. Darnell for sharing this history. I am deeply grateful for the gift of the lantern.

Click for enlargement

NC&StL passenger train ad card (mid-1950's). Contributed by Steve Johnson.


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