I'm going to tell you a story about a young man from Tallassee, or to the folks from Tallassee it would be Jordanville, a section of Tallassee. You see, for many years Tallassee was in many sections, there was the mill villages and houses for those that didn't work in the mill. There was Jordanville, Carrville, Tallaweka, and etc. The man I'm speaking of was Charles Davis Tillman and he was born here to a traveling preacher on March 20, 1861. He grew-up following his daddy as he preached revivals from town to town. Charles sang tenor and did this until he was grown. I guess when he was first nationally being recognized was after attending a revival of a black congregation. They sang a song with a tune that he found fascinating and he refined it and came out with That Old Time Religion, a song that has lasted through the years. How many of you saw the movie Sgt. York, which starred Gary Cooper and won him the Academy Award? The background music was by our own Charles Davis Tillman. Charles started peddling song books to church singing schools and revivals. He continued to write and publish his own songs and he turned out plenty. Recently on a trip to the Tallassee Falls Museum on the corner of Barnett Blvd and Sistrunk St, and with the help of Bob Taunton and Bob Reed we came up with five or six of Charles' song books. He published twenty-two different song books and they ranged in price from fifteen cents to thirty-five cents. I would suggest that you go by the museum, it is a hidden jewel waiting to be discovered. During Charles' hey day about 1890, Charles set to music a hymn by a Baptist preacher, Life's a Railway to Heaven. When I was growing-up that song was known as Life is like a Mountain Railroad, which is the first line in the song. Recently, I heard this song done by a local group, Whistling Dixie. This song has been recorded by at least eighty-two different groups The Chuck Wagon Gang, The Oak Ridge Boys, to name just a few but my favorite was Patsy Cline and she sangs it as a solo. Later Willie Nelson dubbed his voice into her version and made a duet out of it. This was one of Tennessee Ernie Fords favorite hymns and Red Foley's also. Charles wrote many other songs such as My Mother's Bible, which will make you cry. Johnny Cash put out one of Charlie Tillman's songs Poor Way Faring Stranger. So many people sang his songs people like Peter, Paul, and Mary, and Ernest Tubb to name a few. If you are looking for songs that were recorded by Charles Tillman, he recorded on Columbia Records and was based in Atlanta, Georgia. For a long time Charles had a radio show on WSB in Atlanta and was inducted into the gospel music hall of fame in 1993. Charles was a handsome man who was married and had four daughters and one son. He wrote and published over one hundred songs and published over twenty-two books. Charles Davis Tillman is buried in Westview Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia. He died in 1943 at the age of eighty-two years old. When I started this article I said I bet you didn't know. Did you know that this man was from Tallassee?

Email Reach Admin