McNairy County, like many counties in rural West Tennessee, has been replete with characters during the last 200 years. One of the biggest characters, both literally and figuratively, in McNairy County in the early 20th century was Logan McCaskill. A promoter and resort owner, Logan McCaskill had a hand in many enterprises. He was a barber, a merchant, an insurance salesman, the owner of Logan’s Lake Resort on Highway 45 just south of Finger, and an interesting character with many interests in life.
Born in 1896, he came of age when progress in McNairy County was still in full swing. The automobile was liberating people and allowing them to travel outside the confines of their own small circles. A natural born huckster, McCaskill built up one of McNairy County’s most renowned resorts at Logan’s Lake. He operated a three-story lodge building, several cabins behind the lodge, a swimming pool and store, and entertained guests from all the United States. He fed guests and wayfarers traveling from Chicago to Miami on a daily basis.
His lodge was known for the parties and gatherings it hosted. A well-known fixture in North McNairy County, Logan was colorful. He was the friend of the prominent and the common. Logan was a large man with large appetites and large ambitions. He was also known for having a nervous trigger finger. The story has persisted that on one late evening he was investigating a break-in at one of his businesses. As he quietly and stealthily walked about in the darkness, he passed a mirror and caught a glimpse of his own image. Upon seeing his image and being startled, Logan fired his revolver at the mirror, thus “fatally wounding” his reflection.
Logan could be very enterprising in many ways. He once carried a young man with him to fish in the Tennessee River. The pair drove a truck full of empty barrels. Once at the river, Logan and the young man proceeded to fill them and as they caught fish, Logan put the fish live in the barrels to transport back to Logan’s Lake to restock the lake. The ride back was harrowing, the fishing partner reported some six decades later. On another occasion with the same fishing partner, Logan needed to stock up on fish for a fish fry at the lodge. His partner reported that the pair stuffed their catch in the trunk of Logan’s car, from which Logan had removed the spare tire so they could fill the empty wheel well. The pair dumped fish in the back floorboards and in every other conceivable place in that old coupe. Logan wasn’t worrying over the catch limits as much as he was worrying over running out of fish at his upcoming fish fry.
Logan never missed a photo opportunity either. Whether he was at home in North McNairy County or away on a trip, he never missed an opportunity to record his exploits on film. On a trip to Arkansas in 1926, he is pictured acting as bovine navigator while pulling his friends, McNairy County Superintendent of Schools Roy Estes and local Finger, Tennessee physician, Dr. Mark Barnes. Another photo shown here depicts Logan in his chicken house gathering eggs to feed his many guests. Still another depicts Logan cutting his own birthday cake in 1953 with a machete.
Logan married Alice McIntyre, a daughter of one of the founders of Finger, Tennessee. The couple had no children but made an enterprising couple. Careful with their finances and always realizing an opportunity, they did well together. Logan died in 1960 and thus closed a colorful chapter in the history of north McNairy County. Alice lived on until 2008 dying at the age of 99, full of years and memories.