Mr. Idus Hartsfield was known to everyone in Jackson County and everyone agrees he is known in the most positive of ways. Hartsfield was born in the Mt. Tabor community in 1916 and he would be the first to tell you he was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He gives much of his success in life to his humble beginnings on what he calls the family farm. He said the farm provided him with a very meaningful and varied life.
When Hartsfield finished high school, he attended Tuskegee College in Alabama from 1938 to 1942. He graduated with a degree in agriculture.
Born in the 1916 in Mr. Tabor community of Jackson County, Mr. Idus Hartsfield has risen from humble beginnings on the family farm to enjoy a meaningful and varied life. Jackson County has been blessed to have this man and his family as local citizens. Mr. Hartsfield attended Tuskegee College in Alabama from 1938-1942, where he graduated with a degree in Agriculture. While at Tuskegee, he worked in the office of the famous Dr. George Washington Carver during the time he was engaged in his renowned research on uses for peanuts and sweet potatoes.
In an interview with the TIMES prior to his death, Hartsfield said of this time, “I remember Dr. Carver as being a rather quiet, withdrawn man. However, he was always very nice and polite to me. He would often say to me, young man, just speak to the earth and it will teach you”.
He graduated in 1942, and at that time married Minnie, a lady from Selma Alabama who was a registered nurse. Minnie Hartsfield went on to get her masters in nursing from Columbia, and worked for many years in accreditation and certification of nursing programs at colleges throughout the country.
After graduation from Tuskegee, he returned to Jackson County, and was immediately given the job of teaching the eighth grade and being principal at his former school, Mt. Tabor. Hartsfield recalled, “Many of the students knew me as a fellow student, and knew me from living in the area. They wanted to know what to call me. I told them they could call me anything as long as they obeyed me”.
The next year he had to enter the Army, where he served until the end of the war. After leaving the military service, he entered Michigan State, where he earned a masters degree in Agricultural Education.
Next, he went to work in North Carolina, teaching at Graham, North Carolina and living in nearby Burlington. After a few years there, he left teaching and moved to Chicago where he went to work as a Federal Agent. After retirement from the government, he and Minnie returned to Jackson County.
Eventually the family built the Hartsfield Market located at the corner of the Caverns Road and Highway 71, and Mr. Hartsfield thus became a county businessman. He, his son Don, and his wife Minnie operated the store for many years. Idus and Minnie were married for sixty-three years, until she passed in 2005. Moving a little slower in his older years, Hartsfield kept quick mind and wit.
Hartsfield can be proud of his accomplishments and the manner in which he has lived his life. Jackson County is fortunate to have had Idus Hartsfield. He was a leader, a mentor, and served by example. He led a prosperous life not only financially, but with friends and respect from his community. Jackson County is proud to have had the influence of Idus Hartsfield on our community.