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.”
Harry went on to provide interesting facts about the Volunteer State, which I paraphrased and quoted:
The Tennessee State Flag with Three Stars Representing the Three Main Sections of the State
According to Brimer, the east portion of what once belonged to North Carolina briefly became known as the State of Franklin. “An old-time log cabin now standing at Greeneville, Tennessee,” he said, “was used as the first capitol of the State of Franklin. The last session of the Franklin assembly met here in September 1787.”
Brimer noted that Tennessee is 432 miles in length, 109 miles in breadth and covers an area 45,050 square miles. She is bounded on the north by Kentucky and Virginia; on the east by North Carolina; on the south by Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi; and on the west by Arkansas and Missouri.
Thus, she touches eight other states and with the exception of Missouri, no other state has so many on her borders. She has had four capitals, which are Knoxville, Murfreesboro, Kingston and Nashville, the present one.
In Middle Tennessee, beyond the river valley lies a magnificent plain of some 5450 square miles which is filled with grain cotton and tobacco fields
Tennessee also contains the largest red cedar forests in America. East of this rich garden is the great Cumberland Plateau, which rises to the stately height of 1000 feet above the Tennessee, a river which twice crosses the State of the name she gloriously bears.
The Cumberland Plateau displays wealth in coal and limestone. Among the Cumberland Mountains are caverns, which are many miles long, through which flow powerful underground streams. The bones of extinct animals are to be found here also.
The highest peak to be found in the State is Clingmans Dome, which is 6,660 feet high. The leading rivers of the State, besides the Tennessee, are the Cumberland, the Holston, the French Broad and the Hatchie (also referred to as the Big Hatchie River and Arteguet River).
The leading products are corn, tobacco, hay, wheat, cotton, oats and potatoes. In 1889, Tennessee stood fifth among the states in tobacco, which manufactures amounts of over $75 million yearly. Cotton, wool, iron and steel, cottonseed, oil, lumber and leather are also present.
Harry further avowed: “The first railroad was the Memphis Railroad chartered in 1831 when there was only 50 miles in the country. Hernando de Soto was probably the first white man to tread upon the soil of this my native state. Tennessee seceded from the Union on June 8, 1861 and was readmitted in l866.”
Many of the hardest fought engagements of the Civil War took place on her rich soil. In 1900, the attendance at public schools was 485,393, of which 383,643 were white children and 100,750 were black.
“The population of the territory separated from North Carolina and which now forms a large part of the State of Tennessee. In July 1791, it was 36,043. In the last census taken, her population was 2,020,616.
“The census that is being taken shows an enormous increase. Tennessee is wealthy and thriving. She now stands among the foremost of her sister States.”
A 1905 SHHS Student Sketched the State Flag for the Student Annual, The Echo
A hardy “Thank You” to the memory of Mr. Brimer for sharing with us some interesting facts from 1910 about our favorite state- Tennessee.