Around The Center…Built on a solid foundation

As my Wife and I walked into the 1970’s solid brick rancher we felt instantly welcomed. The home was neat and clean.
Furniture laid out to make a person feel comfortable. The home, like the owners, is built on a solid foundation.
This is the home of Frankie and the late Larry Searcy. The Searcy name is the embodiment of a community local.
Since the 1700’s many generations of Searcy’s helped build this part of Rutherford County. Frankie and Larry met the same way Larry’s parents met. 

The home of Frankie and Larry Searcy. Photo courtesy Chuck Landever.

They met at Bills Creek Baptist Church. They both quickly decided that they found the perfect person to spend their lives with. 

Young, Larry was 16 and Frankie 15, and in love they got married. When they met Larry was living with his parents on Bills Creek Road.
Frankie lived off Buffalo Creek Road up the hill from where Lil’s Thrift shop currently is located. Frankie’s sister, who lived in the Sunnyview community of Polk County, 

had a little house that she allowed the new Newlyweds to stay in. Their first house was small but the Newlyweds thought it was a perfect place to start a new life together.

Larry loved to farm. He grew up farming next to his father and his grandfather. He had a special farming knowledge that one gains only from working a piece of land with several generations of farmers. 

Larry knew the farming business and he knew that a small farming business would not provide the financial support that he and his young family required. 

Coming to this conclusion, Larry sought out other lines of employment. He learned and worked in a number of different jobs over the next decade. He worked for a pulp mill company loading and delivering logs. He worked for manufacturing companies. The Searcy family lived in Polk County for several years. Two things happened that brought them back to the Bills Creek Community, that brought them home. The first is that Larry’s grandfather gave Larry and Frankie 3.5 acres of land to build a home on. This land was next door to Larry’s parents home. 

The second thing that prompted the move was not so pleasant. While sitting at home one evening, a drunk driver lost control of his car. This driver must have had a fresh batch of shine in his system.
He, (I say he because to quote my wife, “A woman would not be that stupid”), was going so fast that after he ran up the Searcy’s yard and after he hit a wood shed he was still going fast enough that when his car hit a pile of wood the car vaulted into the Searcy’s house. The force of the collision propelled the drunk’s car through the front wall of the Searcy’s home finally stopping in the family room just feet away from where Frankie and her young Son Dwayne were sitting. It was time to move. A couple of years after that the couple decided it was time for them to come back to the Bills Creek Community and to build their own home on the piece of land that Larry’s grandfather gave them. The Searcy family became an invaluable part of the community. 

Frankie went to work for the school system. She worked for the Rutherford County School system for 28 years. Her starting pay was $35.00 per Month. At first she was driving a bus. Children from our area went to school in Gilkey. Most of the rural roads, including Cedar Creek, were not paved back in the early 70’s. It took two hours, one way, from the top of Cedar Creek Road to the Gilkey School.  

Frankie Searcy is an important volunteer at Bill’s Creek Community Center. Photo courtesy Cuck Landever.”

The Bills Creek area also lacked a very important part of the community, a Volunteer Fire Department. Larry Searcy, along with Wallace Earley, Jimmie Howell, Colman Norblitt and several other Community leaders saw the need of a fire department to protect the growing community. Larry was one of the founding members of a group of neighbors who took the idea of a fire department to a reality. Much like the Bills Creek Community Center, the Bills Creek Volunteer Fire Department was built by the neighbors who lived in the area. Larry and Frankie joined many neighbors raising money and building the first Bills Creek Fire Department. While this was going on, Larry also turned his attention to farming. Larry helped his Father farm and eventually acquired more than 40 acres of his own land. He had several heads of cattle and grew a wide range of vegetables for human and animal consumption. He raised bees and sold honey. He also grew sorghum cane. Cane, a plant that looks like a corn stalk, is used for making molasses. The Searcy family molasses was legendary. The process of growing the Cane, harvesting the plant at the proper time and processing the plant to extract the maximum amount of sweetness was a family secret handed down through the generations. At its peak, the Searcy family molasses was sold in Tennessee, North and South Carolina. Larry had a passion for farming. Being outside, caring for the environment, gaining the feeling of accomplishment that comes from hard work. He worked the land well into his 70’s. In November of 2022, Larry Searcy passed away due to an accident on the farm. Per Frankie, tragedy will not stop the Searcy family, “my Son Dewayne and Grandson Caleb said they would continue the Searcy tradition of growing Cain and making molasses.”

When asked what was their proudest moment? Frankie replied that “Life can’t be tied down to a moment. We had good times and hard times, I guess what makes me proud is that we faced whatever came together.”

Frankie Searcy remains an important volunteer at the Bills Creek Community Center, a beloved member of the Bills Creek Baptist Church and a glowing personality to all who meet her.

A community is only as good as the people who live in it. The Bills Creek Community is lucky to have many wonderful people, like the Searcy’s, who call this area home.

If interested in finding out more about the Bills Creek Community Center please visit our web page at

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