Danville News

TRIBUTE TO MERLE BURCHELL ROBERTS OSBORN

 

Christian love and heartfelt sympathy goes out this week for the family of Merle Burchell Roberts Osborn of Danville and Hartselle. Merle attended Danville schools and became a well-known and loved businesswoman. She managed her husband Joe Robert’s store, located on the main street corner in Hartselle.

She helped so many brides with selecting beautiful home items, with teas, shows and baby showers and also anniversary celebrations. Her gift-wrapping was phenomenal. Merle was a home nurse as well. Her husband Joe and son Arthur had long-term illnesses. Also daughter, Marilyn Jeffreys died after fighting cancer for sometime.

Still, Merle found time to take part in church and Hartselle civic affairs. Merle found another talent in All Day Convention Gospel Singings, when married to Palmer Osborn from Center in the forest. Merle led songs with Palmer and enjoyed meeting people everywhere. Her son Mark has sales at the store periodically. When the store closed for good, Merle’s memory, will always linger on. She has been missed while in senior citizen facilities. Those who knew Merle cherish her kinship and friendship.

I want to thank Larry R. Brown for giving his permission to use the following article from his book “A History of Neel Community”. (Play Ball) Baseball was a favorite sport of the community in the early 1900’s. Teams were made up of local men of the community and they were considered semi-pro teams. The season kicked off with a game and picnic on or near July 4th. That was the traditional time, the crops were “laid by” and much of the farm work was completed until time for fall harvest. All of the local communities had baseball teams. Danville had an oval Sulkie horse track inside of which was the baseball field. Johnson Chapel’s baseball field was near the school in Wash Robert’s pasture. Neel on the other hand played in any available pasture. A favorite place was Golson Maddox’s pasture and Edwin Puckett’s pasture. They also played in a pasture near the crossroads. There was no backstop at Neel’s ball field and no bleachers. They usually mowed the pasture before games. Two mules pulled the mower.

The Luther Long family at Pumpkin Center had their own baseball and basketball team. Some members of Neel’s baseball team were Able Hicks, Murphy Woodruff, R.B. Ellis, Edwin Puckett, Jim and Earnest Maddox. Ruff Ellis was usually the pitcher. Elk Roberts was coach. The wives of players made uniforms. It was an all day affair with a picnic dinner of home made ice cream, hot dogs, watermelon and soft drinks and two baseball games of nine innings each.

 

 

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