August 2019

“Last Friday night, the pupils of Martha Wilder School, under the supervision of of the teachers, gave one of the most delightful and successful entertainments of all the spring festivals.

“The program opened with a glad welcome song by the children of all the rooms and was followed by a cunning folk dance by eight little girls dressed in snow white of Miss Williams’ room.

“The Train To Mauroö was the dramatic feature of the evening in which little Miss Dorothy Remine played the role of Mrs. Buttermilk, a country woman who believed “charity to all with her herbs and rootsö and and who had advice to spare to everyday.

“Little Buster Barlow as Johnny Buttermilk had come to the conclusion that nothing on earth could keep his mother from talking, especially when he was starving to death for a piece of ginger bread. The station clerk, played by Elbert Whiteside, did not appreciate Mrs. Buttermilk’s advice and was greatly irritated by her insistence on going “To Mauraö today.

“Springtime was beautifully represented by Millicent Fflollett, who was clad in a dainty white frock, wearing the fairy crown and carrying her magic wand. By the wave of her wand. By the wave of her wand, she called forth the lovely spring flowers, which were represented by little girls dressed in exquisite frocks of all colors.

“A bunch of small boys in white suits slipped in behind Springtime and played  the spirits by sprinkling frost over the pretty flowers which withered and died. Seeing the death of the flowers, the Queen of Sunbeams, acted by Doris Serl, appeared with her magic wand and put to flight the little spirits and smiled so warmly upon the flowers that they again raised their graceful little heads.

“The teachers of Martha Wilder are to be commended for such a delightful program. So happy were all that they joined in and sweetly sang “Springtime.ö

“The Sick Doll,ö a clever dialogue, and the “‘Swing Songö by Ida Mae Walker were greatly enjoyed. The last number of the program was a reading my Miss Kate Remine which was a fitful climax for the whole affair, as the most delightful gave “Naughty Zell,ö impersonating a charming little naughty girl.ö

Martha Wilder Funeral Notice

On a further note, I came across a funeral notice of Martha Wilder, noting that the city founder’s daughter had passed away:

“A funeral was held yesterday at Chattanooga for Martha Wilder, 88, for whom one of Johnson’s City’s oldest schools was named. She died Sunday at her home in Media, Pennsylvania.

“Miss Wilder was a daughter of the late General John Thomas Wilder, one of the founders of Johnson City. He gave the land for the school, now used for vocational training and for other public buildings here.

“Another school, Annie Wilder Stratton, was named for a sister who married Frank Stratton.

“General Wilder, a Union Army officer, came here from New York shortly after the close of the Civil War. He moved from here to the Chestoa section of what is now Unicoi  and built several hydro-electric power dams.

“He also operated two blast furnaces at Rockwood, Tennessee and had extensive business interests in East Tennessee. He was a former mayor of Chattanooga and was the officer who led the Union forces against Chattanooga in August, 1863.ö

“Old-timers will recall it was General Wilder who built two hotels on Roan Mountain, the first being a log building. The large frame hotel built in 1885, was destroyed by fire.ö

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Over the years, Johnson City acquired several city directories with many of them ending up in public libraries and local colleges. These books painted an amazing journey throughout the years. Over time, I added several volumes to my collection, including several from pricey estate sales.

The first one from 1908-09 offers an introduction: “In presenting to you this our first directory of Johnson City, we do so with pride and much pleasure.

“They are delightful because the book has been carefully arranged and compiled and the publisher felt that they were presenting to Johnson City the best directory that could have been published under existing circumstances.

“Minor mistakes can be found occasionally, it being absolutely impossible to make any directory perfect. especially, so we have had previous issues for a guide, but as a whole, we think our directory will prove satisfactory, and we hope will find its way into the business house of every business man in your city.

“By a count of the number of names taken on canvass, we find that we have over 3,500 names, exclusive of firm names and businesses. We are prepared to give the population of Johnson City and nearby suburbs, which we place at about 9,000 people. We also state that we found very few vacant houses and many new ones, which is a sure sign of growth.

“We take pleasure in presenting to you this directory because we believe you realize the need of such, judging from your support and co-operation, without which we would have been unable to publish the work.

“We thank our patrons for their business and extend our thanks to the public in general, for the courteous way in which they gave and supplied us with proper data, and we hope that you will liberally patronize the public spirit men who have advertised and thus aided in giving the citizens of your city a good up-to-date directory.

“If there be any who did not have an opportunity to subscribe for a copy of the directory, they can obtain the same by writing us at our home office located in Asheville, NC.

“Yours very truly, Piedmont Directory Co., by E.H. Miller.”

  Turning the pages to 12 and 13 display the street guide for 1908-1909: Afton, Ashe, Baxter, Boone, Buffalo, Carnegie, Cherokee Road, Cherry, Chestnut, Commerce Avenue, Division, Eighth Avenue, Elm, Elmo, Ernest, Fairview Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Fourth Avenue, Fulton, Grover, Hamilton, Harris Avenue, Henry, Holston Avenue, Humboldt, Ivy, Jobe, King, Lamont, Locust, Main, Maple, Market, Maupin, Millard, Montgomery, Myrtle Avenue, New, Ninth Avenue, Oak, Pine, Popular, Public Square, Railroad (parallel with Southern Railway tracks), Roan, Second Avenue (Carnegie), Seventh Avenue, Sixth Avenue, Spring, Stuart, Summer, Tenth Avenue, Third Avenue (Carnegie), Unaka Avenue, Walnut, Watauga Avenue, Wellborn, Whitney, Willow and Winter.


Physicians listed in this directory (and location of practice) include: CJ Broyles (Kress Bldg), EE Byrd (Natl Soldiers Home), HM Cass (King Bldg.), Jno W. Cox (w Roan), Dulaney HP, Soldiers Home, Dykes LM (DO, MD, 1-2-3 Miller Bldg, Estes Elmore, 307 e Main, Hartsook, NE (eye, ear, nose and throat), Kennedy WT, 834 W Maple, Long EA, 6-7 Brown Bldg, McKay SS, 406 W. Main, Matthews WM, 6-7 King Bldg, Miller HD, 7 Miller Bldg, Miller WJ, 100 w Watauga Ave, Moss JG, 4-5 Miller Bldg, Preas, JH, 241 e Main, Randall, J.P., 4-5-6 Brown Bldg, Sells GJ, 3-4-5 King Bldg, Sherrill OW, 140.5 E Market, West, ET and 26-27 Kress Bldg.

More peeks into Johnson City impressive directories will be featured later.

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