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Today in Johnson City History: May 11

Rebecca Henderson and Johnson City Press • May 11, 2019 at 7:45 AM

May 11, 1816: Benjamin F. Swingle was born in a section of Washington County (now Unicoi). Swingle was an influential citizen here before and after the Civil War. He was connected with the County Court for 27 years and was clerk and master of Washington County for 12 years. At the beginning of the war, he was postmaster at Unicoi City, then known as Swingle. He died May 10, 1911, one day short of his 95th birthday.

May 11, 1899: The Comet carried the obituary of Jesse Potter, the 9-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. J.G. Potter. The boy had died at home of spinal meningitis. “He had been ill but a few weeks, and his death was a severe blow to his family.”

May 11, 1903: A street fair was held in Johnson City. The fair concluded on May 16. Thousands of people attended.

May 11, 1969: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle ran a picture from 1912 of a recruiting wagon. The recruiting wagon was used around 1912 to recruit students to East Tennessee Normal School.

Sources: History of Tennessee; The Comet; Dr. William A. Bridgforth; Johnson City Press-Chronicle.

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