Three Press Readers Respond to 1925 Ford and 1939 Football Columns

I received three responses pertaining to my recent columns concerning the 1925 Ford motorcar and the 1939 SHHS football season.

Murvin H. Perry wrote, “The public anticipation of the introduction of the ‘New Fords’ occurred in 1927 as Ford geared up to present the Model A, which came out as a 1928 model. People referred to the Model A as the ‘new Ford’ rather than its model designation. Also, the new car you describe as a 1925 model was really the 1926 Model T. It may have been introduced in 1925, but the features you enumerate – nickel plated radiator shell, gas tank in the cowl, crowned fenders, 29 x 4.40 balloon tires – appeared in the 1926 model. Balloon tires were an option in 1925, but the standard tire was the 30 x 3½ on a clincher rim.”

I checked my Sept. 16, 1925 newspaper source for the article. It spoke of a Ford showroom frenzy that year. Perhaps it continued to 1927 or resurfaced. Based on Murv’s note, the Fords showcased in the fall of 1925 were definitely 1926 models. Perry is a hands-on vintage Ford restorer and author of Murv’s Motoring Memories (Overmountain Press), a nostalgic collection of old-car memories.”

The next contributor was an anonymous John Doe: “Your article today on the 1939 Hilltoppers got my attention, especially since the Science Hill – Erwin High game wasn't mentioned. I noticed the article you were using was published on Nov. 22 and the Erwin game was played on Nov. 17 so that may explain the missing information. Erwin High was 9-2-1 in 1938 with the tie being a 7-7 game with, guess who, Science Hill. Erwin was 5-4-1 in 1939 going into the game with Science Hill.”

Mr. Doe then quoted from Lou Thornberry’s out-of-print book, “Remembering Old Erwin”: “Johnson City received 1,500 reserved tickets from Erwin High to sell during the week of the game. Additional blenchers were set up at Gentry Stadium to accommodate an expected 5,000 fans for the game. A crowd of 4,000 football fans turned out for the big game. The Blue Devils got off to a quick start as they recovered a Johnson City fumble on the Toppers' 21-yard line on the first series of plays. The Devils picked up one first down at the 11-yard line, but that was as close as they got to scoring. In fact that was the only first down the Devils earned all night.

“Johnson City scored their first touchdown in the first quarter. The Hilltoppers moved into Devil territory after a poor punt by the home team. With the ball on Erwin's 29-yard line, the Toppers pulled off one of their own trick plays. Fred Dulaney took the ball from center and ‘shoveled’ the ball to Kermit Tipton, who then lateraled the ball to Jack Osborne, who sprinted to the end zone. The extra point attempt was blocked by the Devils.

“The only other score came in the third quarter, again by Science Hill. Those six points came from a Kermit Tipton pass of twelve yards to Gayle Cox in the end zone. The Hilltoppers blanked Erwin 12-0 to tie Kingsport for the Big Five title. The report in the Johnson City paper noted that Erwin tried the ‘sleeper play’ twice, but the Toppers detected the play both times. That the Blue Devils failed to score against the Toppers was not too surprising. Johnson City's defense only allowed one touchdown all season and that was in a non-conference game at Mountain City.” 

I agree with you that the Hilltop article was written before the season ended and the Erwin game was omitted.

Carolyn Peoples Guinn: “I am the daughter of Jack Peoples. You mentioned Daddy in your Nov. 1, 2010 article about the 1939 SHHS football team. My brother, Alf Peoples, and I cannot locate Daddy in that photo.”

Sorry, I should have caught that. The Hilltop article was printed in Nov. 1939 while the photo came from the May 1939 Wataugan depicting the 1938 football squad. The correct 1939 team photo is shown above.