Stray Signals

Weekly 150: Max Carlton Manley – The Mckenzie Banner

While anchored in Alameda, California, near San Francisco, Max and a group of buddies traveled to Richmond. While walking down the street, his sailor cap blew off and landed at the feet of a group of girls. One of the girls caught his eye, Beth Allen. A short time later, Max and Beth were married in San Francisco.

When he achieved enough points to be sent home, Max brought Beth back to Tennessee. They lived with his mother and father for a short time. It was a change of pace for Beth, as the Manley house did not have electricity.

In 1942, his uncle bought the old Caledonia schoolhouse. Moved by a mule team, the schoolhouse ended up on Como Road adjacent to where Max and Beth would eventually call home. His father, grandfather and uncle put the house together, finishing three rooms, with one still incomplete by the winter. The following summer, Max entered the Navy. When he returned from the war, he bought the house from his uncle. Beth and Max called the house home for 25 years before moving into the brick home next door.

Once home, he began farming. After two dry years, he knew it was time to make a change. He decided to sell his cows and equipment and payoff everything he owed. This left him with $35. By this time, he and Beth had two children Sharon and Janet.

He took a job helping build a house and attended a farm school program for veterans. He was paid $97 per month. A friend he met during the class suggested he start selling insurance. While in training, the insurance program paid $75 a week for 13 weeks. He had planned to return to farming after the 13-week training, but in the end, he was making $100 per week. “I never did go back to farming,” said Max.

He attended classes in Jackson and obtained his GED. Max had contemplated college but decided it would be more lucrative to take over an established State Farm Insurance business and built it to where he could make a good living. In the four or five years it would have taken to finish college, he was able to obtain some independent companies and a real estate license.

In 1956, Max’s father died at age 55. Max’s mother, Virgie, decided she wanted to move to town. Instead of buying a new home, she had

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