Lloyd and Patsy Beasley stand in front of the remains of an old house that Patsy inherited from her great uncle. When the house burned, Lloyd’s coat, containing the mortgage payment, was inside. Photo by Jeff Bobo.
CARTERS VALLEY — A Hawkins County couple who lost a farmhouse to fire earlier this month may end up finding a foreclosure notice in their Christmas stocking this week.
That’s because Lloyd and Patsy Beasley’s mortgage payment burned up in the fire at 2518 Carters Valley Road in an old house that Patsy inherited from her great uncle.
The couple, who are both employed as custodians at Church Hill Middle School, live in a double-wide mobile home on a lot beside the century-old farmhouse, which is part of a former dairy farm near the Fudges Chapel Road intersection.
They put up all the land, approximately five acres, as collateral when they bought the mobile home. Lloyd says that he deals mainly in cash as far as paying bills.
One of his daily rituals is to feed the dog and cats that live at the old farmhouse next door. It was unseasonably warm the evening of Dec. 8, and when Lloyd entered the farmhouse he took off his jacket and hung it on a hook in the kitchen.
When he left he forgot the jacket, which happened to have his mortgage payment in an envelope in the pocket.
Shortly after midnight the old farmhouse caught fire. Investigators have ruled it an accident involving a kerosene heater. The working theory is that someone broke into the enclosed back porch, lit the kerosene heater, and then somehow knocked it over.
Regardless of how the fire started, it wasn’t until the next day that Lloyd realized he’d left his jacket and money in the house. When he went to look for it there was nothing left but ashes.
Now the Beasleys have until Friday to come up with a little more than $1,000 or they will lose the five-acre lot and the double-wide.
“(The finance company) doesn’t care about excuses,” Beasley told the Times-News Sunday. “They say that they want $1,020 before Dec. 28 or we’re going to lose everything.”
Patsy inherited the property and farmhouse from her great uncle, Kelly Brewster, who had lived there since the 1930s.
Brewster was an orphan in Greeneville, and in the 1930s farm owner Effie Bean took him in as a youth to help work the farm. She had no children and left him the farm when she passed away in the early 1970s.
The Beasleys were in the process of renovating the farmhouse when the fire occurred. They’d hoped to restore it to the original log cabin exterior. The farmhouse would have served as a “homeplace” for Patsy’s family.
Although many of Patsy’s family heirlooms were lost in the blaze, firefighters were able to save some antique furniture. The Beasleys have been trying to sell whatever they can to raise the money, but so far there haven’t been many takers.
The house was insured, but they’ve been told not to expect a settlement for six to eight weeks.
In desperation, the Beasleys went to the Of One Accord Ministry in Rogersville seeking help. Of One Accord has established a fund to help the Beasleys save their home.
Anyone who would like to make a donation to help them keep their home can send a tax- deductible contribution to Of One Accord Ministry, Shepherd’s Center, P.O. Box 207, Rogersville, Tenn., 37857 and earmark it for the Beasleys. For more information, please contact the Shepherd’s Center at 272-4626.