March 2015

A few weeks ago, Joe Avento, a Press Staff Writer, produced an interesting article for the newspaper titled, “From a goat to a parrot: ETSU's choices of nicknames, mascots quite the colorful tale.” In the piece, he noted the various mascot names the school has adopted over the years, such as Bucky, Pepper, Captain Kidd I and Captain Kidd II. Joe further explained that Captain Kidd I came on board in 1950 and disembarked in 1957, allowing Captain Kidd II to take over the helm.

Joe's article reminded me that the 1953 ETSU annual in my library featured a live goat named Billy the Kid (not Kidd). The book showed a sketch of the domesticated animal on the cover, plus an additional 34 photos and caricatures throughout the pages that depicted the friendly critter.

The yearbook officers that year were Charlene Wright, editor; Don Lockmiller, business manager; Drury Cargill, sponsor; and Louie Kinch, photographer.

A perusal of the contents of the book revealed an account of the class of 1953's college days with the ever-present “assistance” of the school mascot. The opening title, spread over eight pages, defined the noble goal of the annual: “Billy the Kid makes tracks, taking us back over the trail, bringing back memories of a year's events as the class of 1953 presents The Buccaneer.”

Slightly enhanced captions for 17 of the pictures of Billy are listed below (top to bottom, left to right:



01. “I am a good second baseman, coach.”

02. “Don't kid me, Kid.”

03. “Cream and sugar, please. Here's my nickel.”

04. “I love water sports.”

05. “Remember that every little “butt” helps.”

06. “A mixed reaction to a goat in class.”

07. “At last, it's graduation day.”

08. “Coach Brooks certainly knows basketball.”

09. “Oh goody, a letter from Aunt Nanny.”

10. “Sir, my aim is to become a 4-star general.”

11. “We need to patronize sponsors of our yearbook.”

12 “Billy the Kid makes his presence “felt” on campus.”

Indeed, that was all. Billy the Kid must have leaped, bucked, skipped, galloped, and trotted on his hooves into the sunset after that one year concluded because he was not the mascot in the 1954 annual. According to a reference in the 1952 annual, Captain Kidd 1 was the mascot that year. No mention of a mascot is noted in the 1954 edition, but we know it was Captain Kidd 1. Maybe a former student or other knowledgeable reader can shed clarifying light on why Billy the Kid only served one year in 1953. Also, does anyone recall any stories about this popular goat?




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The historic Boones Creek community was the site of the famed old Boone tree that for more than 150 years carried the inscription carved by Daniel Boone with his hunting knife: “D. Boone cilled a bar on the tree in year 1760.” On Friday, May 14, 1948, the community residents hosted a noteworthy open-house event.

Johnson City Press-Chronicle

The affair was sponsored by the Boones Creek Community Club, which was the 1947 winner in the Washington County and East Tennessee Community Improvement Contest.

Roy Brumit, president of the community, said everything was in readiness for the entertainment of an estimated 600 visitors from 150 communities in 25 counties.

Approximately 75 representatives of the Knoxville Civic Club, sponsor of the East Tennessee contest, awarded more than $3000 annually to contest winners. Also, representatives of the Johnson City Press-Chronicle were guests of honor. They annually sponsored the Washington County contest with a contribution of $700.

In addition, invitations were extended to Extension Service personnel at the University of Tennessee, as well as presidents of the other 14 Washington County community clubs, radio and newspaper representatives from Knoxville, Kingsport and Johnson City. Several Tennessee Valley Authority personnel were also on hand.

Between 18 and 20 automobiles transported the Knoxville delegation. They were met at the Greene County line by representatives of the Boones Creek community, Extension Service personnel and Press-Chronicle representatives, led by a state Highway Patrol escort. The officers escorted them through historic Jonesboro (Jonesborough) and Johnson City to Boones Creek.

All of the communities' facilities were open to visitors. The day schedule started with a tour at 10 a.m., starting  at the high school building, luncheon at noon in the school cafeteria and a program following the luncheon.

The concluding feature of the program was the awarding of a silver platter to Carl S. Jones, Jr., publisher of the Press-Chronicle, sponsor of the country contest. The award was made by Terry Horn, chairman of the East Tennessee contest for outstanding service in the development of better homes and farms in East Tennessee.

The tour included three stops. The first was at the home of Mrs. J.D. Kefauver with a view of her kitchen and walk-in freezer. The Keefauver Brothers' prize-winning Angus herd was also inspected.

The next stop was the super-pasture demonstration project sponsored by the Boones Creek Community Club and at the farm of Mrs. W.T. Hayes. The final visit was at the Wayland Crouch home to inspect a new dairy barn and the owner's herd of registered Hereford cattle.

Buses were then engaged to take the visitors on a tour where community leaders pointed out points of interest, including remodeled and new homes, registered cattle, good pastureland, churches and several historical spots. Sound practices of farming  and organizational development techniques were explained to the invited guests.

During lunch, the visitors were taken for a ride to the top of the John Glaze Hill for a panoramic view of the community. The program began at 2 p.m. with group singing and devotions by the Rev. Paul White. Roy Brumit, club chairman, gave the welcome address and recognized the visitors. Reports on 1947 community work was given by Ivan Range, Mrs. Lee Carter, Wayland Crouch and W.M. Bowman.

Explanation of the community work was outlined by the building of a pyramid, which represented the communities endeavor to build and develop the people, soil, plants and animals, country homes, business and industry, city homes, public utilities, taxes and roads, schools and recreation and churches.

And finally, the newspaper participated in the program by explaining the part of business and industry, city homes, public utilities, taxes and roads.

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My column today is a collection of “Newsy News” from Okolona between 1886 and 1902:

Feb. 1886:Mr. W.G. Anderson, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Okolona's M.E. Church, South, thanked the people of Johnson City and surrounding area for contributions made for a new church building. Regrettably, he announced that the building had burned just as it was nearing completion. He promised that his church would immediately begin work on another building, a new brick one measuring 28 by 44 feet. 

Apr. 1886: Although Buffalo Creek was rarely in the local news, Okolona had a sweet little creek that was sodden with the finest of grass and beautifully hedged with the yellow of golden willow. During corn-planting time, their little summits glistened with frost and snow as they displayed their frigid loveliness.

The Okolona post office changed hands from Mr. Buck to Dr. A.J. Peoples. Since the former one had served the community so long and with such honesty, it was hopeful that Dr. Peoples would keep Mr. Buck as his assistant to “bring in some sunshine and a few cherries at the proper season of the year.”

May 1886: Mr. S.M. Anderson offered his 250-acre farm for sale. It was located along the waters of Buffalo Creek, one mile from a good merchant mill. His farm had a good fence, was in a fine state of cultivation, was well timbered and watered, had six or seven good springs and had running water through the farm. It contained a fine brick house, a large well-constructed barn, an apple house and granary and all other necessary outbuildings. There were upwards of 1000 fruit-bearing trees, including peach and apple.

Mar. 1890: Fifty teams were needed to haul bridge timber and ties on the CCC Railroad in Carter and Unicoi counties. Interested parties were to apply to V.E. Steen, contractor, Okolona Post Office.

Jun. 1896: W.S. Anderson, known as “The Apple King of East Tennessee,” became the leading authority on the culture and the preservation of apples. He had on his table some very fine apples of that year's growth as well as preserved ones from the crop of 1895, a distinction to which few fruit growers had ever made claim. He developed a system of preserving apples intact as they came from the trees. (Can anyone shed more light on Mr. Anderson?)

Sep. 1897: The Rev. H.M. Peebles and his little son of Okolona, who had been suffering with diphtheria, were much better and expected to recover soon.

Nov. 1898: While fishing near his home at Okolona, John K. Haynes, the 10-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. George Haynes fell in the creek and was drowned. He was afflicted with a falling sickness and supposedly fell in the creek during a spasm. 

Dec. 1898: Mr. Zach Pugh came to Johnson City from his Okolona home and combined business with pleasure by subscribing to The Comet newspaper, a duty he believed  every man owed to his family.

Jul. 1899: An excursion was advertised that would run from Johnson City to Unaka Springs on Sunday, July 30. The train departed Market Street at 8 a.m. and returned at 6 p.m. The outing afforded residents a splendid opportunity for spending a day in the beautiful East Tennessee mountains. Round trip fare was as follows: Johnson City $.65, Okolona $.60, Marbleton $.50, Rose Hill $.40, Unicoi $.25, Rock Creek $.30, and Erwin $.20. Tickets could be purchased at Gump Brothers on Main Street.


Nov. 1902: My column photo shows a South & Western Railway Co. passenger schedule between Johnson City and Spruce Pine, NC, a distance of 64 miles, which included 22 stops. The Okolona stop was between Johnson City and Marbleton. The “f” identified flag stops, meaning you had to flag down the train in order to gain access. The “t” defines those stops with telephone availability.

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In 1929, Helen Jackson, a former resident of the Southern mountains and a current resident of Brooklyn, NY, had cautious words to describe the Southerners she loved so much. They supplied her business with high quality pedigreed mountain pottery: “I love my mountain people,” she said, “and I don't want to call them illiterate. They just haven't had the advantage of an education.”

Jackson routinely traveled to the Unaka Mountains and returned with ware for her New York business. The majority of it was used to make lamp bases with parchment shades that she designed herself.

This mountain range, along the Tennessee-North Carolina border, supplied fine clay for the potters whose work sheds were dotted in all directions throughout the region that she had known since childhood. She, like the other children of the region, always took great delight in watching her talented neighbors at work.

“My lamps are pedigreed lamps,” she explained, ''They're made of the same clay that was used by the famous Josiah Wedgwood & Sons, a firm known for making highly prized ware. I even have the log made by the Wedgwood firm that was sent to America from England in 1767.”

The rich veins of clay in those mountains had been known to the Cherokee Indians, who inhabited the region years before any white settlers arrived. The Indians made use of it for their own purposes and when the first white colonists arrived, they quickly learned of the presence of this superior clay. The fame of their products spread not only throughout the colonies but also to England, with the result that Wedgwood sent representatives to America to obtain five tons of the prized clay.

English potters migrated to the new clay fields and the inhabitants of the district were the descendants of those early settlers. They used the same primitive method that their ancestors relied upon, such as weighing out clay by using a bucket of stone for a weight.

The ancient kick-wheel of centuries past was still the preferred choice of mountaineer potters and each piece was burned in wood-fired kilns. “My potters don't want new methods,” declared Mrs. Jackson. “They say that power-wheels would spoil their product because they shape a vase as much with their feet as with their hands, feeling their product as they made it. It is this individual attention to each piece that gives this unique pottery its own particular charm. Each article is different from the rest.”

Many shapes such as “Bible” pitchers were made by the potters when Mrs. Jackson first began studying their work. Many of the shapes were evidently traditional, having continually been handed down from parent to offspring.

Helen Jackson Displays Her Unaka Mountain Pottery Products in 1929

The colors of the vases were particularly delightful because no kiln full of pottery ever came out the same; each vase took on different coloring, depending on its nearness to the open flame. From the same firing, one vase would emerge as bright red, another streaked with brown and a third having dark red with green shadings. The possibilities were beautifully endless.

Mrs. Jackson carefully named all her lamps. “The Widow” was a dark, metallic vase with a shade of black and gray. “The Cedars” came out red, yellow and green-white, showing slim evergreens pointing upward on the shade. Many of her designs were taken from the subtle effects in pieces of chintz (glazed calico textiles) she had chosen.

“The Fountain,” in red and cream, displayed a red vase with a creamy shade, each panel showing a spraying fountain. Mrs. Jackson had some huge porch vases that stood several feet high, beverage bottles with pinched in sides that made them easy to handle, cups to match, corncob stoppers, lovely long-necked pitchers, flower vases and a dazzling variety of sizes and shapes in lamps.” 

Mrs. Jackson concluded by saying: “I have the added advantage of being adaptable for seasonable usage. There were autumn colors, those suggestive of winter holidays and others reminiscent of summer's glory.” 

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A May 1892 Jonesboro Herald and Tribune newspaper offered a diversity of news reports and low priced ads from the surrounding area:


An Advertisement from 1892

“Green coffee, 15 cents a pound at The Bee Hive, Johnson City.”

“Misses Addie Patton, Bonnie Broyles and Ada Roach attended commencement exercises at Washington College last week.”

“Does your watch need repairing? If so, take it to I.N. Beckner, Johnson City, who guarantees satisfaction on all work in his line.”

“Charles A. Ross of The Twinklings returned Monday night from a week's visit to Washington College and vicinity. He reports a lively time.”

“Brooms 10 cents each, best tea 50 cents a pound, good tea 40 cents a pound, sugar 23 pounds for $1. Pure drugs and medicines at The Bee Hive.”

“Miss Dolly Johnson, one of the ladies who leaped from the Loveman Block during the great fire in Chattanooga, is in the city visiting Mr. and Mrs. C. L. Taggart.”

“J.T. Browing, editor of the Staff and President of the Alumni Association of Washington College, attended commencement exercises at that place last week.”

“As H.P. Little left the city last Saturday afternoon on Train 1 , he was singing, “Home, Sweet Home.” We can't say where he landed, but to our surprise, he returned Sunday night.”

“Miss Gertie Hilbert, after a protracted stay in the city, returned to her home near Matuta (Washington County community, no longer in existence) Thursday morning, accompanied by the heart of one of our best young men. She would have taken him, but he could not leave his mother.”

“The event that has been so long looked for by the society people of Johnson City was consummated last Wednesday evening by the marriage of R.S. Boyd to Miss Forme Barkley, one of the most charming and accomplished young ladies. The knot was tied by Rev. J.C. Atkins at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Will Harr on Fairview Avenue. A reception was tendered the happy couple at the Hotel Carnegie by the young men of the city and never before has such an elegant reception been given in Johnson City.”

“Attention, GAR (Grand Army of the Republic): Jonesboro Post No. 85, Department of Tennessee, GAR is hereby called to meet in a called meeting at 2 p.m. sharp, on Friday, May 27, 1892, for the special purpose of taking proper steps to observe Memorial Day. The members are all requested to be present.”

“It is said that the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad will put into effect a new time card next Sunday. The changes proposed will be about as follows: Train #2 will be one hour and a half later and Train #3, one hour later. There will be little if any change for numbers, 1 and 4.”

“Beware of Ointments for Catarrh that contains mercury. Mercury will destroy the sense of smell and completely derange the whole system when entering it through the mucous surfaces. Hall's Catarrh Cure, manufactured by F.J. Cheney & Co., Toledo, Ohio, contains no mercury and is taken internally directly upon the blood and mucous surfaces of the system. The price is 75c per bottle.”

“Owing to the settlement of the affairs of the CC&O Railroad, the Iron Belt Land Company of Johnson City has decided to have a sale of lots in their magnificent addition, West Park, in Johnson City, on June 1 and 2.” 

And finally: “The prohibitionists of Washington County are hereby called to meet in mass convention in the court house in Jonesboro on Monday, June 6, for the purpose of nominating a candidate for representative and a full or partial county ticket, as may be deemed most advisable. Let everybody who believes in the annihilation of the rum power be present.”

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