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Mary Denman Hankins was born in Oliver Springs, Roane County, Tennessee, on January 31, 1930. She grew up in Middle and East Tennessee, and has lived in Greeneville, Tennessee, since her marriage in 1951, with the exception of eight years, from 1987 to 1995, when she lived in Cedar Hill, Texas.
Alaskan Cruise 2004 Double click photo for large image.
Her parents were Lela Emaline Cox and
Elmer Hoyle Denman. Lela Emaline Cox, b. May 1, 1904, died June 12, 1972;
Elmer Hoyle Denman, b. July 21, 1903, died March 27, 1991.
out, brief candle! Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that
struts and frets his hour upon the
stage, and then is heard no more."
Mary Denman Hankins
The above quote that I memorized from Macbeth, when I was in high school, has always remained in my memory. I am reminded of it whenever I consider the short while each of us has on this earth. Our hours upon the stage come to an end, and our brief candles produce their final glow. Volume I of this series began with the lives of my parents, Elmer Hoyle and Lela Cox Denman; my paternal grandparents, Judge Harrison and Frances Daniel Denman; my maternal grandparents, Samuel Marion and Mary Isa Cox; my aunts, uncles, cousins; eight siblings, and myself, from the year of my father’s birth in 1903 until the year of my marriage in 1951.
Volume II continued my family’s story, from March of the year 1951 through the middle of July, 1978, just after the death of my husband, Charles Russell Hankins. In addition to the story of the Cox and Denman families, and that of my husband and children, this volume related the story of his parents, Charlie Lee and Kitty Clyde Hankins, his five siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. This volume also included family genealogies.
Volume III began in the latter part of July, 1978, and related stories in the enlarging Cox, Denman, and Hankins families through May of 1995. At that time I returned to Greeneville, Tennessee, after having lived in the Dallas, Texas, area for eight years. A main focus of Volume III, and also Volume IV, is on the new generation of grandchildren, nieces, nephews, great nieces and great-nephews.
Volume IV begins in June, 1995, when my years as a retired teacher began, and concludes in September of 2005, ten years later. I include stories and incidents in the lives of my immediate family and myself, as well as information and stories about the large extended families of Samuel Cox, Elmer Hoyle Denman, Charlie Hankins, and John Bohannon. Also, there are travel diaries about interesting places I have been fortunate enough to visit since my retirement, as well as tales about friends who have blessed my life during the past ten years. Updated genealogies of the Cox, Denman, and Hankins family genealogies are a part of the book, and more genealogy of the John Bohannon descendants, on the Hankins’ side of the family, is included in this volume.
Volume IV also ends the story of our lives for more than a century. My plans were to conclude the story in 2003, exactly one century later, but time moved faster than I. It is more than two years past my original date for the conclusion of Our Hours upon the Stage. During this span of slightly more than a century in the lives of the extended Denman and Hankins families, some of our short lives here on earth have been replaced by newer generations. Some of the memories of those who came before us are recorded in these pages, lest we forget.
I wish to thank those who encouraged me to write this book, especially my son, Charles Thomas, who first suggested it some years ago. My daughter, Amy, has been of great help in the editing and publication of this manuscript. Without her help, I could not possibly have finished the project. I appreciate the revival of memories which I obtained from some of my brothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, nieces, and especially my children and grandchildren. My aunts, Cora Lou Bishop and Stella Cox, who have both died since November of 2003, related some early incidents in the Cox home. Cousins Lesley Cox, Amy Cox, Glenda Wood, Patricia Cox Denney, Norma Garrison, Eloise Reed, Jack Cox Wheeler, Arnold Cox, Mary Jane May, Carol Little, Kelly Cox Smith, Gayle Pratt, and Janice Patterson contributed information. All of my brothers and sisters: Carolyn Leonard, Elmer Hoyle (Denny), Leland, Rachel, Roselyn Witherspoon, David, Jim, and Kay Payne, have helped jog my memories. In the Hankins family, Gypsy Norton, Pam Benko, Karen Baylor, Mary Ellen Honeycutt, Kathy McInturff, Betty Gott, and Donna Parrack have helped provide essential information. My children, Jennifer Haag, Amy Griffith, Susan Giraldo, and Charles T. Hankins have recounted stories. For Volume IV, my grandchildren: Eric Haag, Andrew Haag, Brandon Key, Megan Key, Natalie Key, and Thomas Hankins have had fun relating some of their memories to me. I also want to thank Andrea Daniels, Gloria George, Drucilla Thomas Surber, Brenda Thomas, and Susan Holzschuh for their information on Uncle John Bohannon, on the Hankins side of the family. I deeply appreciate all the help I have received in collecting some of the family genealogy, history, stories, and pictures.
The staff at HistoryPreserved.com, a division of Agreka History Publishing, has been very friendly and helpful in advising Amy in the preparation of the manuscript and in producing a high-quality finished product. Amy and I are very grateful for their kind assistance.
The stories and incidents in this book are related as I remember them and told from my perspective. Some of your recollections may be different, but I have told them to the best of my ability. Therefore, I apologize for any mistakes or information which has been recorded incorrectly.
My wish remains that some descendants of the Cox, Denman, and Hankins families will continue the story of our lives into the future, so that those coming after us will know more about their ancestors, and will also have a record of their family connections that they can carry into future generations. This story involves five and six generations. The newer generations will continue shining their lights as they march across new stages into the future. May all of our shining candles brighten the corners of our descendants’ lives with faith, hope, and love from generation to generation, so that our hours upon the stage shall forever reflect the Light of the World.
Mary Denman Hankins
"Next stop, Greeneville, Tennessee! Home of the seventeenth President of the United States!"
For many years, that is what the porter on the old passenger train through Greeneville called out as he walked through the cars, when the train headed toward Greeneville for its next stop. On June 2, 1995, my next stop was Greeneville. Susan, Ed, and I set out from Nashville early that morning, on the last leg of my journey back to Greeneville after having lived in Dallas for the previous eight years. I was heading into an unknown future back in the town I had previously called home for thirty-six years; however, I was excited to be returning there, to the southeastern part of our country where many of my relatives live, either in Tennessee or Georgia.
Six of my siblings were still living in Tennessee, as well as two of my children and their spouses, four grandchildren, a step-grandchild, and several nieces and nephews. Another daughter, Amy, was in Charlotte, North Carolina, not too far away. My youngest sister, Kay Waggoner, and her two children continued to live in Greeneville. When I arrived in town later that day, she and her children came over to help me get moved into a new townhouse.
"You light up my life; you give me hope to carry on. You light up my life; you fill the nights with song..." These words by Joe Brooks to the once popular song, "You Light up My Life," remind me that God was still a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path as I dared to return to a former stage in my life to act out my years of retirement. The burning candles were my friends and family, the lower lights who helped light the path for my move back to my long-time home in Greeneville.
PART ONE Home Again!
PART TWO A Season of Despair
PART THREE Sunshine After the Rain
PART FOUR Counting Our Blessings
PART FIVE Living in a New Century, 2000-2003
PART SIX The Shows Must Go On, 2003-2005
APPENDIX I Family Genealogies and Updates
Cox Family Update and Samuel M. Cox Genealogy
Denman Family Update and Elmer H. Denman Genealogy
Hankins Family Update and Charlie L. Hankins Genealogy
Simon John Pleasant Bohannon Family and Genealogy
APPENDIX II American Cultural History, 1990s-2005