Luther Hamby, 65, who served as a member of the Hamilton county
quarterly court from 1928 until 1941, died yesterday at his home in Ooltewah
from a heart ailment. The former justice of the peace had been in ailing health
for the past three years. Friday he was too ill to report for work and went to
bed. The end came yesterday morning as the former justice of the peace
attempted to sit up on the side of his bed and drink a glass of water. At his
death Hamby was an employee of the William L. Bork Memorial hospital. He had
been working at the hospital for several weeks and prior to that service he was
a night guard at the Silverdale (ink spot over last part of name) Workhouse. A
native of Ooltewah,, Mr. Hamby was born March 11, 1880. In his early manhood
the former squire operated a farm in the Ooltewah area. About 30 years ago he
quit the farming business and opened a grocery in Ooltewah. He remained in the
mercantile business for some 15 years. A Republican, Mr. Hamby has taken an
active interest in local politics for many years. At first, he was active in
the politics of what formerly was James county. And when James county was
annexed to Hamilton county he then took an interst in Hamilton county politics.
In 1928 he made his first race for a Hamilton county office. The late W. O.
Watts resigned as justice of the peace from what was then the Fourth civil
district and Hamby became a
candidate to succeed him. He defeated the Democratic nominee, A. K. Poe, and became a member of the Hamilton county quarterly court. He was
re-elected for a full six-year tern in 1930 and re-elected in 1936. For most of his career in the county court Mr. Hamby supported the administration of former County Judge Will Cummings. But in 1939 he joined five other members of the court to rebel against the Cummings administration and voted to elect Marshall Clark as superintendent of the school system over the then incumbent, forer Supt. Arthur L. Rankin. The Ooltewah squire remained in the "rebel" ranks of the court after that time and voted with a group that styled itself as the "Big Six" consistently until his political fortunes turned in the race for seats in the Tennessee
general assembly of 1941 from Hamilton County. The issue in that campaign was the abolition of the justice of the peace system of government, as well as courts, and the substitution there for of the County Council and the general sessions court. With the enactment of that legislation Hamby and his associates lost their political hold in the county. Another bill, the redistricting act, was passed also in the 1941 session and that law abolished Hamby's district--the Fourth-and therefore his office. Since passing from the political scene in the county court with the 1941 enactments Mr. Hamby has lived rather quietly at his Ooltewah home but had been employed by the county for the past few years. Funeral services will be held this afternoon at 3 o'clock at the Ooltewah Baptist Church with the Revs. Fred Johnson and J. B. Tallent officiating. Active pallbearers will be A. C. Newton, Gene _____(ink spot), Bill Hall, Ed Rice, Arthur ______(ink spot), and George Wolfe. Honorary pallbearers will be the member of the Ooltewah Men's Sunday School class. Mr. Hamby was a member and a deacon of the Ooltewah Baptist Church and the Masonic Lodge 741. The Masons will have charge of ceremonies at the gravesite. Interment will be in the Sylar Cemetery.
Surviving the former justice of the peace are his wife, one daughter, Mrs. Mabel Auburn of Ooltewah, four sons, Cpl. T. G. Hamby, who is with the army in Italy; Hoyt Hamby, who is with the army in China; J. E. Hamby of Tyner and Gus D. Hamby of Atlanta, Ga; three grandchildren, Jimmie Lou Auburn,
Mary Ann Hamby and John L. Hamby.
The Chattanooga Times, September 25, 1945.
Submitted by Phebe Morgan