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Fannie Charlotte Hutcheson biographical sketch

I think that this was written by her daughter, Helen Coffman Baaso
Fannie Charlotte Hutcheson, daughter of LT Hutcheson and Olive Kuykendall, was the fifth daughter in a row born into this farm and general store family in Spencer, Tennessee, and was not exactly greeted with open arms. Farm families need boys to help run the farm. This family, like many others, had the older girls taking care of the youngsters as more babies came along. Kathryn took care of young Fannie and this special relationship lasted all of their lives. This family was also unique in that every child was to receive a college education at Burritt College just up the road. All, except James David, who did not want to go to Burritt. So his dad sent him to mechanics school in Cincinnati, Ohio. David, as he was called, became the family mechanic and had the job of checking out autos that other family members wanted to purchase.

Fannie and most of her siblings became teachers of English, Mathematics, Music and Ministers of the church of Christ. This love of the arts has filtered down through the Hutcheson descendants in many ways.

When Hubert Coffman came calling on Mary Hutcheson, he brought his younger brother Archie Lee Coffman along. Arch liked Mary’s younger sister Fannie so the two brothers eventually married the two sisters which made their off spring "double cousins". There were many similarities in the two families because of this close relationship.

It was at Fannie’s insistence that her husband Arch left Kentucky and found a job in Detroit in about 1915. She had told her young husband that she was not going to continue to be a coal miner’s wife and had taken her three children, Oliver, Hannah and Helen home to Spencer, Tennessee.

The family suffered traumatic losses in the early 1920’s when Oliver died of kidney disease and Baby John was a "blue baby" and was hardly a year old when he died.

Shortly after these deaths, Archie Jr., Gordon, and Edith were born. Edith was just a baby when Arch, Sr. died, leaving Fannie with five children to support. As in the Hutcheson family, the older girls, Hannah and Helen, took care of the younger children.

Arch Sr. had left the family in pretty good financial shape with his real estate investments and other assets. Fannie went to the President of Beecher, Peck and Lewis and asked his advice on investing his money. His advice was to put it into the stock market which as everyone knows "crashed" only two years later. This was when Fannie knew she had to go to work and found employment at the huge JL Hudson store in downtown Detroit, where she was to work for many years in the Ladies’ Accessory department (Martha Swallows Walker remembers her Aunt Fannie always wearing high heels). Fannie was able to place Archie Jr in the Henry Ford trade school in Dearborn, Michigan where he could help support the family and learn a trade at the same time. Hannah and Helen helped tremendously at home doing things that Fannie would ordinarily do. Helen had a budget of one dollar a day to spend on groceries on Shoemaker Avenue and that is how Helen learned to stretch the money so well.

These were the depressions years when 25% of the work force did not have a job. Our family did not realize that were at the poverty level since almost everyone was in the same boat.

The family survived the depression years by sacrifice and hard work and was finally able to afford a telephone and later an automobile. But the family was able to stay together with all of the children doing whatever they could to earn money to help but it was mainly through the efforts of Fannie whose "iron will" never faltered or if it did it was never seen by the children.

Fannie lived a long fruitful life, loved by her many descendants, including great great grandchildren. She died at age 98 and on her tombstone are the words "A Brave Lady".


Owner/SourceAlice Murphy
Linked to
AlbumsHutcheson, through about 1980

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