Past Tense Tilly Mill Road

Carlton Renfroe and sister, Esther, enjoy a wagon ride at their Tilly Mill Road home in Dunwoody.

In 1941, Carlton Renfroe’s family moved from a home at the corner of Harris Street and Techwood Drive in Atlanta to Tilly Mill Road in Dunwoody. His father purchased the home a few years earlier, but his mother refused to move there until the road was paved and telephone service became available. Those requirements were met in 1941. 

Renfroe recalls that his family usually had goose for Thanksgiving. The goose would be purchased from a store. They raised chickens and ducks on their farm, and some years the family had duck for Thanksgiving.  

Just a couple of weeks after Thanksgiving 1941, on December 7, the Renfroe family gathered around the radio and heard the news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. That was a night that Mr. Renfroe will never forget.  

Joan Moore is the daughter of Sue Kirby Jameson and Thomas Jameson. Her grandparents, Tolleson Kirby and Laura Little Kirby, brought her mother and all the family to Dunwoody in the early 20th century by way of the Roswell Railroad. Tolleson Kirby worked as a teacher at Ebenezer School and Chestnut Ridge School, then began delivering mail to Dunwoody and Sandy Springs in the 1910s and 1920s.  

Moore recalls traveling to her Uncle Dwight and Aunt Louise Donaldson Kirby’s farm in Fayetteville for Thanksgiving.  The couple would invite all the Kirby and Donaldson family to come to their farm for Thanksgiving dinner. Some family members went hunting while visiting the farm. 

Long tables were set up outside for the Thanksgiving meal. The tables were loaded with food from all the family farms, including chicken, ham and vegetables preserved from the summer gardens. No one bought a turkey from the grocery store. Then, all the families would find a place to sit outside. She doesn’t recall any of these gatherings being rained out.

Thanksgiving 1997 was special for Sue Kirby Jameson and Thomas Jameson. As was their usual tradition, the couple attended church in Roswell on Thanksgiving. The following evening, there was a Jameson family reunion at Lickskillet Farms at 1380 Old Roswell Road. Four generations of Jamesons attended the gathering in the 1840 farmhouse restaurant which also happened to be the place where Thomas Jameson was born in 1913. (As I Recall: Stories by Sue Kirby Jameson)

At Lawson General Hospital in Chamblee in 1944, many of the patients were far away from home and family. However, a Thanksgiving feast was prepared for the soldiers. Two hundred patients were able to make it to the mess hall for dinner. Another 1,600 had dinner in their hospital beds.  

One hundred fortunate patients from Lawson were able to leave the hospital for a special outing. They were taken in army trucks to the Sewanee versus Georgia Tech B team football game at Grant Field. The game was played to benefit Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital.  

The Canteen Service of the Red Cross served the patients hot dogs, doughnuts, potato chips and beverages. They even gave the soldiers sandwiches in case they decided to stay downtown for the evening to attend a show. (Atlanta Constitution, Lawson Soldiers Thankful as They Eat Holiday Dinner, November 24, 1944)

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