Look up the term “metamorphosis” in the dictionary, and you may find a picture of Nancy Hatfield. As a young woman in Moore County, she was the shy, retiring, second daughter and sixth child of Paul Ray and Lela Edde Cashion.
Nancy graduated in 1976 and was married in 1977 to Larry Hatfield. Within two months, she went to work in the DeLong Sportswear Factory, which was located in what is now the IBIS Building. She worked out of the public eye for 10 years and chose to remain in the background.
Around 1991, Nancy’s life was transformed. She was temporarily laid off from the factory, at a time when Jerry Dunn needed some help in the Farm Bureau Insurance Office. Larry Hatfield was on the Farm Board and suggested that Nancy could provide assistance.
Although she had never done office work, she had taken typing in school. She soon discovered that she enjoyed working with the public. When she was offered the job as Insurance Secretary, she took it and held it for 7 years.
Nancy credits that opportunity as life changing for her. Without it, she is sure she would have never had the courage to run for County Council Clerk in 1998, the same position that her father had held in the late 1960s. She was elected and has run without opposition every four years since.
Once a shy girl in a sewing factory, she now holds a very public job which involves dealing with complex licensing issues, taking minutes and keeping records for the County Council and, most unique, performing weddings.
In larger county clerk’s offices, there are multiple people and they are assigned to specific jobs. In the Moore County office, Nancy and her part-time Deputy Clerk, Gail Preston, do it all.
As Nancy aptly put it, “You never know what is going to walk through that door!”
A recent challenge has been issuing a title and a license for a resident’s “Rat Rod.” By Wikipedia’s definition, the term ‘rat rod’ has “been used to describe almost any vehicle that appears unfinished or is built simply to be driven. Chopped tops, shaved trim, grills, tail lights, and other miscellaneous body parts continue to be swapped between makes and models.”
Another creative citizen applied for a title and a license for his home built tunnel hull boat. These were both “firsts” for Nancy and Gail.
Moore County is a popular spot for weddings and the county clerk is authorized to officiate. Nancy has a variety of wedding stories. Once there was a couple in their 70s who had divorced years ago and had come to be remarried, accompanied by their two adult children.
One of the most unusual was a Spanish couple who spoke no English. They had arranged, through the Distillery, to be married by the statue of Jack Daniels at the Cave. Nancy had to fill out the forms and conduct the ceremony through an interpreter.
Usually couples have prearranged their wedding, but Nancy can remember at least one occasion when they made a spur of the moment decision to “just do it!” In Tennessee, there is no waiting for a license and no blood test required. If they have notarized proof of pre-marital counseling, the license costs $40. Without that documentation, the license costs $100.
Besides the statue, other popular wedding spots are the grounds around the courthouse, the Gazebo, or simply in the Clerk’s Office. Nancy likes to use the version of vows that asks the couple to repeat them. She tells them that they are to look at each other, because they are making a commitment to each other. She receives cards, pictures and visits from couples for whom she has “tied the knot.”
For Nancy and Larry, that knot has been tied for 36 years. They have two children, Tyler, married to Kaleigh (Fletcher) who are the parents of 3-month-old Madison Nichole; and Lea, who is married to Ryan Dickert.
After 15 years, Nancy still expresses gratitude for the opportunity the voters have given her. Whether you want a license for your bike, your boat, your business or your bride-to-be, you will be assisted in the County Clerk’s Office with competence, efficiency and genuine Moore County hospitality.
n Editor’s note: In the June 6 article regarding Dwight Stubblefield, it was written that Mr. Stubblefield has distributed 10,000 bottles of Ensure and Boost. He has, in fact, distributed 100,000 bottles. We apologize for the error.
—By JUNE PUGH (June Pugh is an award-winning writer whose “More About Moore” column is featured in the Moore County News every other week.)