Home » Henry Harrison Mayes » Map of All Known Markers » Tazewell, TN – Big 40 ft. Roadside Sign

Tazewell, TN – Big 40 ft. Roadside Sign

This is Harrison Mayes last sign, he set up near his old homeplace in Tazewell, TN. According to Google Street View, the sign was still present in 2014, but was gone in 2016.

Thanks to Martha Carver who provided a photo from 2000.

From the book, “A Coal Miner’s Simple Message” by Catherine Mayes:

This sign is located along a stretch of the old Highway 33 that has now been widened. The sign can be seen from the newly widened highway. It is situated off the main highway, so one must exit at the New Hope Exit. After the New Hope exit, bear to the right, and the sign will come into clear view. Daddy Mayes knew precisely “where” and “how” to install his special signs throughout the United States.

Now, let me share a secret about the large sign below Tazewell. It was erected around 1978. Clyde, Harrison’s youngest son, assisted Daddy Mayes in putting up this sign. As Daddy Mayes often said, “You’ve got the wheels,” implying that Clyde could handle the driving. Meanwhile, Harrison took care of everything else necessary to erect those signs.

And here’s the intriguing part: there was a very small personal sign attached to the larger one. This smaller sign went unnoticed from the highway. Daddy Mayes used a thin white aluminum cross, measuring 12 inches long and 9 inches across the arm of the cross, to inscribe his personal message. In this heartfelt message, he paid a “touching tribute and honor” to his grandparents. The small cross was securely nailed to a thick wooden square, also measuring 12 inches by 12 inches. These words were printed in green.

Our Grandparents

  • Grandfather Johnson Mayes
    • Born: Apr. 21, 1817
    • Died: Apr. 22, 1900
  • Grandmother
    • Born: Feb. 22, 1814
    • Died: Sept. 20, 1887

This sign is in honor of both of you. Over the years, the small sign began to weather and deteriorate. While Clyde and I were out scouting and taking pictures, we revisited the large aluminum sign. Clyde noticed the poor condition of the attached smaller sign and decided to remove it before it fell off. We now have the small sign in our collection and will take good care of it. For the sake of family history, it’s something to always treasure. It may be just a little piece of metal and wood, but imagine the sentiment as he nailed that tiny cross to the massive 40-foot-long sign. How wonderful that he thought of it—now, it can be passed down to the younger generations.

The big aluminum sign remains in excellent condition, according to Clyde, who has a keen eye for such things.

This large roadside sign (40 feet) is the last sign that Harrison erected. Despite failing health, he climbed around the hillside, giving precise directions and setting the poles just right to ensure its strength. He wanted to place this particular sign close to his old homeplace and near a state highway. With permission from his friend Max Cupp (now deceased), they planned and executed this sign—just right!

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