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).
On Sept. 17, 1890, a Memphis journalist, known only as Mr. J and who was a cousin of Johnson City's mayor, Ike T. Jobe, took a train ride to our city, first on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad and then over the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad.
The 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).
If George Washington is considered to be the "Father of our Country," who then is the "Father of Tennessee?" In spite of all the great men who helped found "The Volunteer State," the accolades likely belong to John Sevier.
One of my favorite writers, the late Hal Boyle, former Associated Press writer, questioned in a July 1955 column if Davy Crockett was really “King of the Wild Frontier.” “Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier?” he wrote. “Why, man, there are people here in Davy's old home state who’ll tell you he was nothing but a wet-eared boy in an oversized coonskin cap compared to Sam Houston.
The 1916 black and white silent film version of Davy Crockett was a dramatic contrast to the 1950's Technicolor one.
John Sevier (1745-1815) is recognized as our state's great pioneer and statesman. He was so popular that, after his first term as governor of Tennessee, the people reelected him to that office as long as the law would permit. Although the limit was six years, after being out of office for two years, he was chosen for three more terms of two years each, giving him a total of 12 years service as governor.
Recently, I examined the book, Tennessee History Stories (T.C. Karns, B.F. Johnson Publishing Company, 1904). One subject grabbed my attention - Nancy Ward, who became Tennessee’s Pocahontas. What did she do to earn such a prominent place in Tennessee history?
(Note: The subject of this article is controversal and will likely be rewritten to address some response that came in after it appeared in the Johnson City Press. Some people maintain that it is accurate as written, while others believe it was Robert Young who owned Sweetlips and brought down the British leader Patrick Ferguson at the Revolutionary War Battle of King's Mountain. Check back later for updates and comments. If you have information on this subject and would like to post a blog at the end of the article, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)