This week, our feature article is about a Senior Citizen who recently celebrated a birthday - her 89th. She is Mrs. Lola Dunivan who lives in the family home on the Miles Darden Road, a few miles from town. Perhaps someone has not heard the legend of Miles Darden. He was the big man who weighed over 800 pounds and for whom a historical marker has been placed near his home. The road and the town of Darden are both named for him. He was buried on Mrs. Dunivan's land.
Mrs. Dunivan was honored on her birthday July 13 when her large family gathered at the home of one son, James, and it was quite a gathering. She is the mother of 11 children, nine of whom are still living. With their children and grandchildren present there are 37 grandchildren, 57 great-grandchildren and 24 great-great-grandchildren.
Mrs. Pauline Johnson, the oldest of Mrs. Dunivan's children, furnished the information for this article, even giving the birthdates of each member of the family. From Pauline's birthday in 1920 until Jean's in 1942 there was a succession of births. In a family of 11 children born during that tie, there must have been a continuous patter of little feet in the Dunivan household.
Beginning with Pauline, who is married to Jim Johnson, the roll call includes Louise, [Mrs. Dee C. McPeake], Eula Mae, [Mrs. Elmer Horton], Lorene, [Mrs. Roy Reeves], Frank, who is married to Imogene McPeake], James, [married to the former Miss Betty McAdams], Dorothy Mae, [married to Jack McAdams], June, her husband is David Henry; Carl, married to the former Martha Dodd, who works at Methodist Hospital of Lexington; Joe V., who is married to Mary Lou Woods and Joan. Eula Mae and Joan are deceased.
Mrs. Dunivan, the former Lola Mae Warren, recalls going to a little one room log school in East Tennessee where her family lived. Her parents were William and Savanna Warren. As a young girl, her hobby was square dancing. She also liked to play ball and riding horses. The family raised peanuts on the farm. The children picked them off by hand, 4 bushels to a sack for which they received 40 cents. With the money, the could buy calico cloth for 40 a yard. Lolas grandmother knitted their stockings. When they went to church on Sunday they wore bonnets. When she was 17, she was married to Will Dunivan. He died Feb. 27, 1970. She has been a member of the Chapel Hill church for 58 years. She still goes to church and sings in the choir.
The Dunivan family lived on a farm. They had a cow, plenty of milk and butter, a big garden, lots of canned fruit and vegetables. Mrs. Dunivan remembers she had a bench at the well-filled dining table where she served countless number of meals. She had a big pan in which she made blackberry dumplings which she cooked on top of the wood burning stove as the pan was too big to go in the oven. She made lots of butter rolls, biscuit puddings, also molasses cake. She fed children who came on weekends to play with the Dunivan young folks. They lived close to the railroad for a long time and she fed all the hoboes who came by for a bite to eat. No one was turned away hungry. Her children were all born at home, here in Henderson County. There were no hospitals then in our area.
Mrs. Dunivan says she pinned lots of diapers on other babies besides her own. The oldest one of these "babies" is now 60 years of age. Washday meant washing the clothes on a washboard and boiling them in a big black kettle.
Mrs. Johnson pays tribute to her parents by saying, "We nave a wonderful mother. She is so dear to us and we love her so very much." They loved their father too. Thay had a happy home. Most people call her "Ma Dunivan", "She loves everybody and everybody loves her." Mrs. Johnson says, and concludes, "Mother has been so blessed and we children have too."
Lexington Progress "Interesting People" August 14, 1991