Davy Crockett (1786–1836), frontiersman, congressman and defender of the Alamo, was born to a pioneer family living on the Nolichucky River near Limestone in East Tennessee. The rugged outdoorsman is referred to by many as the ‘King of the Wild Frontier," as in the chorus of the famous Walt Disney song. He was raised in East Tennessee and acquired a solid reputation for his enjoyment of storytelling, hunting and fishing.
Obituary notices can be an excellent source of information, especially if your name was George L. Carter. A December 31, 1936 newspaper clipping offered a depiction of the man who was responsible for the early growth of Johnson City and, for half a century, was a leader in the industrial expansion of Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
On April 18, 1889, a newspaper writer for the Nashville Herald expressed his blatant opinion that his generation was certainly living in a mercenary age because everything appeared to have had a commercial value placed upon it. The choicest products of the human mind were said to be "laid upon the alter of Mammon, along with the treasures of the heart whose incense ennobled humanity."
Henry Johnson, Johnson City founder, passed from this life on February 25, 1874. His obituary notice was posted in the Jonesboro Herald and Tribune on March 26, 1874. Except for paragraph breaks, it is listed below just as it appeared in the newspaper:
Today's feature is a continuation of my mid-march Daniel Boone tree column, which contained paraphrased news briefs taken from a variety of newspapers. Today's feature is a continuation of that theme spanning 1897-16.
According to the late T.C. Karns, University of Tennessee professor and a turn of the century writer of Tennessee history, had this to say about Catherine Sherrill (1755-1836) in 1904. "She, a daughter of one of the first settlers on the Watauga, was tall and slender with dark eyes and hair, clear skin and a neck that was said to be like that of a swan. She was strikingly beautiful as well as being one of the greatest and bravest girls in the settlement."
Listed below are five Daniel Boone tree paraphrased news briefs taken from a variety of newspapers between 1874-97. The famous tree was popular with area history buffs throughout the years. It all started when the rugged pioneer paused at a beech tree in Boon's (Boones) Creek, likely rested his rifle against a tree and carved in it indelible characters documenting the highlight of his day's work: "D. Boon cilled a bar on the tree in year 1760."
Dr. Ted Thomas, Milligan College Professor of Humanities, History, and German, sent me an interesting clipping from an August 27, 1918 Johnson City Daily Staff that dealt with a visit of four distinguished visitors to the city: Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone and John Burroughs.
In my unvarying search for Northeast Tennessee history, I often uncover attention-grabbing material. Recently, I spotted something from the late 1800s that aroused my curiosity because it pertained to Davy Crockett, a favorite theme of mine. It concerned an actor from Kentucky who became rich and famous for his on-stage portrayal of the noted hunter and storyteller.
East Tennessee State University's Archives of Appalachia is a gold mine of area history. Case in point is a newspaper clipping from the Lester Moore Collection containing a reprint of an undated Johnson City Chronicle article written by John Smalling, a grandson of city founder, Henry Johnson (1809-1874).