Chucky Valley

Contributed by Nell Fox

Chucky Valley is located on Highway 107 in the southern part of Washington County between the communities of Lamar, Embreeville, and Clark’s Creek.

In 1872 Charles F. Decker, Sr. with his four sons came to his section, by way of Pennsylvania and Virginia, from Germany, and established a “one-of-a-kind” pottery.  Mr. Decker purchased one hundred acres of land along the Nolichucky River where he built a temporary kiln to make the brick for the large permanent kiln where he would “burn’ the many items that he produced.  The Decker Pottery did will and helped the economy in this area, employing as many as twenty people.  The stoneware was delivered and peddled by wagon.  Jars, crocks, jugs, pitchers, grave markers and spittoons were the main products made.  They sold for ten cents per gallon of capacity.

The Alfred A. “Alf” Taylor family was prominent in this community and owned a large farm.  The river bridge was named Taylor Bridge for this family.  Other early landowners were Schuyler Remine, Nathan Gammon, Charles Decker, Sr., Charles Decker Jr., Charlie Carson, James Strain, Jim Love, and Sam Carson.  The Carson farm was used as a breeding place for Belgian horses, which were sold to local fire departments and to persons in the community.

The postmasters in the community were James B. Strain 1875; Samuel H. Strain 1883; Nathan V. Gammon 1886; William Decker 1889; Ann H. Gammon 1893; and Charles F. Decker 1897.  The post office was moved to Embreeville in 1901.

The farmland in this area is mostly river bottomland and produces high quality crops.  The money crops grown are strawberries, watermelons, cantaloupes, cucumbers, corn, peppers, tomatoes and tobacco.  Migrant workers are now employed to plant and harvest strawberries, cucumbers and tomatoes.

In the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s, there was a large dance hall and people gathered from all around on Saturday nights to have dances.  Richard H. Decker was noted for his fiddle playing and Levi Coffee played the guitar and banjo for the dances.  During the winter, ice skating on the Nolichucky River was another form of entertainment.

In the early 1900’s a church and school were in the same building, located on the farm owned by Alf Taylor.  The teachers were known as “missionary teachers;” Margaret Wheeler from Washington College and Bess Newman from Jefferson City were two of the teachers.  There was a boarding house, operated by a Mrs. Moffitt, on the Decker farm where the teachers lived.  The school children enjoyed eating the “Haws” berries, blackberries and plums as they walked the path to and from school.

The first road followed close to the river.  Most of the families in the community lived near the road and river.  Charles Decker, Jr. was a doctor making his own drugs and selling them in the store that he operated.  The flood of 1901 ruined most of the buildings close to the river.

In 1960, W.C. (Bill) Decker opened up a small airport on a four-acre field between the river and Highway 107.  This is named Decker field and is still in use.  People from all over the area come to take short rides in the planes.  At one time, there was a parachute jump club organized there called “The Leaping Lizards,” later changing the name to “The Falling Stars.”  There were some sixty members of this organization.  These members learned to use the parachute and made several jumps.  Several members joined the 82nd Airborne and later became Golden Knights, appearing at the Appalachian Regional Fair in Washington County.  The planes most used at Decker Field are Piper Apache Twin Engine, carrying two passengers, and 185 Cessna, carrying six passengers..