Recent Posts

Old Book Offers A Glance Back to the 1913 Carolina Mountains March 6, 2017 Other - My passion is reading vintage history books about Northeast Tennessee and its surrounding areas. One treasured volume was written in 1913 by Margaret W. Morley of the Houghton Mifflin Company. Here is a sample of her prose: "The Blue Ridge: What mountains ever offered themselves to the sun so enchanting as the long curve of… Continue Reading
Floyd Collins: Mining Tragedy in 1925 Claimed Live of Young Caver February 6, 2017 Other - The words to the song, “The Death of Floyd Collins,” speak of a Kentucky mining tragedy that claimed the life of a young cave explorer on January 30, 1925. Andrew B. Jenkins, a blind Atlanta evangelist, composed the original song and Fiddlin' John Carson (Okeh Records) and Vernon Dalhart (Perfect Records) each recorded the song… Continue Reading
The Comet Offers An Analysis of Why 1912 East Tennessee Farmers Were Poor December 26, 2016 Other - A spring 1912 Comet article addressed the reason why area East Tennessee farmers were poor. The piece was addressed to Mr. Tennessee Farmer: "The reason why this occurs is always a vital question, so I stopped beside the road, let my old mare browse at some nearby sedge grass while I figured it out. Well,… Continue Reading
The Comet Newspaper’s 22-Year Run November 14, 2016 Other - On March 15, 1884, Nathaniel C.T. Love published the first issue of the Comet newspaper in Johnson City, Tennessee. Attorneys Robert Burrow and Robert L. Taylor (later Tennessee governors) served as the newspaper’s editors. The paper’s salutatory piece affirmed its perspective: “In politics, we are democratic; in religion, we are orthodox.” At the time of… Continue Reading
Enormous Cave Discovered in Claiborne County, Tennessee in 1899 November 7, 2016 Other - In September 1899, reports circulated about the discovery of caves in the mountains of Claiborne County, located about 100 miles from Johnson City. Reportedly, the caves, if true, would rival the famous Mammoth Cave of Kentucky or the Luray Caverns in Virginia. Map of the State of Tennessee Showing the Three Divisions of the State. Claibourne… Continue Reading
Vintage Area Newspapers/Other Newsy News around the State (1874-1885) October 24, 2016 Other - Today's column is an 11-year cornucopia of "newsy news," from around the state, ranging from July 1874 to January 1885. Several items deal with the latest newspapers coming to the area and the status of railroad projects." July 1874: "Ex-president (Andrew) Johnson, Gov. McMullin, Mr. C. S. Bekem of Abingdon and Mr. Peltier of the… Continue Reading
1894 Comet Periodically Offered “This & That” Desultory Banter September 19, 2016 Other - The Comet, an early newspaper of Johnson City, occasionally included a column titled, "This and That," aptly named because of its unusual subject matter and curious wording. One 1894 winter edition offered several diverse entries. The vintage newspaper received news that a nameless Johnson City voter had exchanged his registration certificate for anything he could… Continue Reading
1917 Local Newspaper Asked Readers: “Housewife, Have You Tried These?” August 15, 2016 Other - In March 1917, Ms. Geneva Conway, Specialist in Home Economics at the University of Tennessee, penned an article for a Johnson City newspaper titled, "Mrs. Housewife, Have You Tried These?" "Discarded Safety Razor Blades: They are good for cutting threads when quilting, as they are light, sharp and most people have them. "A Good Duster:… Continue Reading
Spurgin News Correspondence Dated Mar. 7, 1895 from “Tattler” August 8, 2016 Other - In earlier times, some newspapers gave numerous news briefs of small communities from around the East Tennessee area, such as Watauga, Austin's Springs, Flourville, Unaka Springs, Brush Creek, Hampton, Spurgin and numerous others. According to History of Washington County, Tennessee (Joyce and W. Eugene Cox, The Overmountain Press, 2001), John R. Spurgin was appointed postmaster… Continue Reading
In 1910, Newspaper Reader Believed Tennessee Lacked Public Recognition July 11, 2016 Other - 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… Continue Reading