Spurgin News Correspondence Dated Mar. 7, 1895 from “Tattler”

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 of the little community of Spurgin on July 24, 1889. The next and last individual to occupy the office was Frederick W. DeVault, who took over it on February 4, 1893. The post office was discontinued and its papers moved to Jonesborough on November 30, 1900. 

A March 7, 1895 newspaper blurb titled “Spurgin”  offered delightful as well as depressing news about the little community:

“Rev. Moore preached at Fordtown last Sunday. Millis Johnson, a local resident about 13 years of age, died Saturday, February 23, and was buried at Buffalo Ridge Cemetery (located on a hill along Hales Chapel Road) on Monday. A brother and sister of this boy are sick and their recovery is rather doubtful.

“William Dillow, a highly respected citizen, died last Friday evening and was buried at Fordtown on Sunday. His daughter-in-law, Mrs. Alex Dillow, is also ailing and her death is expected at almost any time.

“Miss Inez Martin, who is attending school at Jonesboro, came home last Friday evening on a visit and to take part in the Demorest Oratorical Contest (research this item) at Hale's Chapel Church. She returned to school Monday. Miss Ina Yoakley and Miss Chase were guests of Miss Ollie DeVault on Monday.

“Despite inclement weather, the contest, which took place at the church last Friday evening, was a complete success. There were eight contestants: Misses Hassie Grisham, Laura Hale, Inez Martin, Oilie DeVault, and Messrs. Charley Gray, E. Crouch, Willie Grisham and Gentry Hodges.

“There was a good sized audience present, and the speakers acquitted themselves with honor. The committee, consisting of Messrs Steele, Murry and Maden, decided that the popular assistant postmaster of Spurgin, Miss Ollie C. DeVault, was entitled to the prize, which consisted of a handsome silver medal, which, after a few well-selected words, was presented to Miss DeVault by S.R. Keebler.

“Monday night, at the residence of M.V. Adams, Joseph W. Dove, Esq. was married to Mrs. Sarah Adams with S.H. Gray, Esq., officiating.

“The wedding came off at a rather late hour, owing to the fact that William Hodges, who went to town after the license, came back on a different road than Squire Dove was expecting. He stood beside the road in the cold for about two hours before Mr. Hodges removed him from his watch and brought him inside to the fireplace to thaw out.

“After this, all went well, and it is to be hoped the joy deferred will be only the better appreciated. That a life of happiness and prosperity may be their lot is the wish of everyone on March 5, 1895.”

This report was prepared by someone using the name,  “Tattler,” which appeared in other similar stories. Another reference to Mr. Spurgin during that same time frame stated:

“John R. Spurgin, our bachelor, still talks optimistically of finding someone to love and care for him when he gets old. It is hoped that Mr. Spurgin will yet leave a memorial of his philanthropy in erecting an observatory on his great hill. That way pleasure seekers may whittle away a few leisure hours watching the mogul engines on the 3-C's railroad (which unfortunately went bankrupt) wind the tortuous track for four miles, drawing trains of trade and travel from and to the great coal fields of Johnson City.

Tattler's concluding words were “Here at Spurgin's Rest, we may behold the majestic eddies of the Holston River and look for the steamboats, which may never come further than the ancient 'burg' of Kingsport.” 

An Old Advertisement from March 1895, Same Date as the Article