A spring 1912 Comet article addressed the reason why area East Tennessee farmers were poor. The piece was addressed to Mr. Tennessee Farmer: "The reason why this occurs is always a vital question, so I stopped beside the road, let my old mare browse at some nearby sedge grass while I figured it out. Well, I figured it out and here is my explanation.
On March 15, 1884, Nathaniel C.T. Love published the first issue of the Comet newspaper in Johnson City, Tennessee. Attorneys Robert Burrow and Robert L. Taylor (later Tennessee governors) served as the newspaper’s editors. The paper’s salutatory piece affirmed its perspective: “In politics, we are democratic; in religion, we are orthodox.” At the time of the Comet’s first issue, the town had just one other newspaper, the politically independent Enterprise, established the previous year.
In September 1899, reports circulated about the discovery of caves in the mountains of Claiborne County, located about 100 miles from Johnson City. Reportedly, the caves, if true, would rival the famous Mammoth Cave of Kentucky or the Luray Caverns in Virginia.
Today's column is an 11-year cornucopia of "newsy news," from around the state, ranging from July 1874 to January 1885. Several items deal with the latest newspapers coming to the area and the status of railroad projects."
In earlier times, some newspapers gave numerous news briefs of small communities from around the East Tennessee area, such as Watauga, Austin's Springs, Flourville, Unaka Springs, Brush Creek, Hampton, Spurgin and numerous others.
In May 1910, Harry W. Brimer, a reader of the Washington (DC) Herald, wrote an editorial to the newspaper commencing with these words: "I would like to say a word about the State of Tennessee that, while great and prosperous, has not received the public recognition to which she is dually entitled."
One of the pleasures of writing this column is meeting so many nice folks who interface with me about a subject near and dear to their heart. Such was the case of Kristi Bolding Seal, daughter of the late Wallace Clark Bolding, who passed away on Feb. 18, 2016, just one week prior to his 88th birthday. He once resided at 800 Wilson Avenue (at Frances Street) in Johnson City.
During Christmas, 1985, Tom Hodge addressed the subject of Halley's Comet in his column. "Several years ago while writing about the impending approach of Halley's comet in early 1986," he said, "several local residents reported their own sighting of the 1910 comet to me.