My column last week, disclosing the news that some anonymous person has possession of Johnson City’s Boone Trail Marker, spurred several notes to me. As promised, I forwarded each one to the unnamed owner for his consideration. Two of the suggestions grabbed his attention.
I contacted Mr. Gary Marshall, Managing-Director, Boone Trail Highway and Memorial Re-Association and author of a book on the subject, “Rich Man: Daniel Boone.” The organization’s leader was delighted that the marker’s rescuer is coming forward to secure the monument’s return to public service. “What a pleasant announcement you make. Please commend the anonymous caretaker of the Johnson City Boone marker in my behalf. I stand ready and willing to do whatever I can to assist in this significant effort.
Mr. Marshall sent a complimentary copy of his book to the undisclosed marker owner, showing several nationwide designs. He suggested that the city pay particular attention to one in downtown Wytheville, VA. “I watched a bit of the construction of this monument. I observed that they used an arrowhead shaped metal insert inside the monument, around which the mason constructed the stone and mortar arrowhead.”
I quizzed the managing-director about an old photo of Science Hill High School, depicting a square recessed area above the plate and what appear to be raised bars emitting from it: “The crest-like feature above the metal tablet was distinctive to each monument. The authentic Indian arrowheads, collected from donations received by supporters of the Boone Association, were imbedded in the concrete of the monument in various geometric designs. Sometimes the central square feature was a glass case containing a paper listing of the names of the local contributors to the cost of the monument. I am sure the original monument at Johnson City would have featured authentic arrowheads, for that is what your photo would indicate.”
Mr. Unknown previously shared with me a membership receipt issued to Mrs. Justus T. Whitlock, regent of the State of Franklin Chapter of the DAR. The expiration date showed June 1, 1933. “These certificates were issued as receipts for donations to the association in support of its work nationally. The memberships were annual, so I interpret the date of this certificate as one year prior to its noted expiration.”
The historian stated that the Jonesborough monument was dedicated on July 4, 1930 as part of their Sesquicentennial Celebration. Mayor J.T. Whitlock received the Jonesborough monument on behalf of the town.
“The Johnson City tablet, like the Jonesborough one, is a style-3, making it among the later vintage tablets, dating after 1923. “It seems to me that Mr. Rich was active in East Tennessee about 1927 (date of the Elizabethton marker), and 1930 (date of the Jonesborough one). I would suppose that the Johnson City and Kingsport monuments also date from this era. “Every Johnson City patriot should and must rally to the cause of this proud heritage, restore this community artifact, and commend its significance to the generations of citizens yet to come.”
If anyone has any additional suggestions for the marker, please contact me right away so they can be considered before a final decision is made. I will announce in a future column the final decision and details for placing the marker in Johnson City.