Mail on the Rails


Charles Paysinger, age 17

By the time Charles Paysinger married Lola Belle Tenery on Christmas Eve, 1899, their families had been in the adjacent Lincoln and Giles Counties, Tennessee, for four generations. While many aunts, uncles, and cousins pursued their fortunes westward to Arkansas, Texas, or elsewhere, the portions of the family that remained had set deep roots along the Tennessee and Alabama border, having been there virtually since the beginning of European-American settlement. But the world was changing at the turn of the century and Charles and Lola Belle would pull up those roots and become members of the 20th century economy – following job and career opportunities – rather than engaging in the 19th century’s relentless westward pursuit of new agricultural land.


Lola Belle Tenery, age 23

Charles and Lola Belle were both school teachers in the community of Diana, virtually on the border of their respective counties of birth (Lincoln and Giles). Soon they did head west to the Oklahoma Territory, but Charles sold Bibles rather than setting up a new farm. Their eldest son Robert Wade Paysinger was born in Oklahoma in 1904. By 1907, they were back in Giles County in time for the birth of their daughter Frances Louise Paysinger, but were soon off to Athens, Alabama, where Charles taught school and worked in a grocery store. His career was set, however, when he obtained a job with the United States Post Office Railway Mail Service in 1912. After a brief stint in New Orleans, he then worked the Nashville, TN to Montgomery, AL route for more than a quarter century until his retirement in 1939 (a retirement that was interrupted when he was called back to service during WWII). He was promoted to the clerk in charge of the route in 1930.

The family settled in Nashville as their base for Charles’ career, and their last child, Charles Jr., was born in that city. Of their three children, Robert Wade Paysinger never married and Charles Jr.’s only child John Robert Paysinger died relatively young without children, so this branch of the Paysinger family continued only through the children of Frances who married Ben Fohl Loeb in 1930. Charles and Lola Belle remained in Nashville until their deaths in 1958 and 1968, and are buried at Woodlawn Memorial Park in Nashville.


Charles and Lola Belle Paysinger at their home at 1902 Boscobel St., Nashville, Tennessee

Biographical Sketch of Charles Paysinger from the John Robert Paysinger Collection

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