Buena Vista Tennessee Community Club minute book, 1938-1945

I recently visited my family in Nashville. While we were there, my kids uncovered the minutes of the Buena Vista Tennessee community club at my grandmother’s house. My mother had it scanned, and the links to download it are at the bottom of this post.

Buena Vista (pronounced “Bewna Vista,” or just “Bewny”) is a tiny town in Carroll County, Tennessee, located right between the county seat, Huntingdon, and Kentucky Lake on the Tennessee River. My family has been in the area for around 200 years. I could tell just by flipping through the minute book that I am probably related to every person mentioned in it.

My great-grandmother, Ruth Dickerson Cole, also appears throughout the book. Much of it is in her handwriting, as she served as secretary and treasurer of the club. That is probably how the book ended up at my grandmother’s house.

The “community club” appears to have been composed mostly of the women of Mount Nebo Baptist Church, founded in 1834 by–you guessed it–some of my relatives. The ladies collected dues of 5 cents per member, organized ice cream socials and quilting bees, decorated the church, looked after two local cemeteries, and performed various benevolent acts in the community.

The BVCC was a small club that took itself seriously: the minutes are detailed, the accounting is precise, and the members are decorously referred to  as “Mrs Ruth Cole,” “Mrs Ruby Butler,” “Mrs. Lillie Spoon,” and so on.

By-laws of the Buena Vista Community Club
A typical entry from December 19, 1940. The ladies had agreed to get stockings to put fruit in for the “old folks,” presumably for Christmas. Unfortunately, they “failed to get stockings, and had to use sacks.”

The minutes start in 1938 and end in 1945, but get a bit scarcer toward the end. It is unclear whether the club continued past that date, or whether there might be another volume lurking out there somewhere. But I thought that this was an interesting window into small-town southern life at the time.

Download the Buena Vista Community Club minute book with these links:

Download a low-resolution PDF

Download a high-resolution PDF in a zip file

2 thoughts on “Buena Vista Tennessee Community Club minute book, 1938-1945

  1. Very interesting and quite a find. I do know in Nashville there was a Buena Vista Community in North Nashville, that had social clubs, my husband’s family grew up in that vicinity. I was so hoping to see some familiar names,


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