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Today in Johnson City History: May 21

Rebecca Henderson and Johnson City Press • May 21, 2020 at 11:00 AM

May 21, 1873: The Press and Messenger, a newspaper in Knoxville, told readers of the advice of a C. Austin from Johnson City: If one had caterpillars in their fruit trees, “Put one good charge of powder in a shot gun; put no wad on it, but shoot into their nest and you will instantly clean them all out if well charged and judiciously done and do no injury to your tree.”

May 21, 1887: The Knoxville Journal reported that Johnson City was flourishing. There were a dozen or more nice residences being built, as well as four or five large brick business houses going up. The Johnson City Furniture Company was crowded with orders.

May 21, 1903: Readers of The Comet learned that “Mrs. W.T. Givens was in from Milligan Thursday. Mr. Givens has recently purchased the City Livery Stable and is now giving it his personal attention. They will move to Johnson City as soon as they can get a suitable dwelling.”

May 21, 1908: Mrs. W.T. Mitchell had met with a painful accident the previous Sunday. She was seated upon her front porch in a rocking chair and by some means fell backward to the ground three feet below and sustained such injuries that she had not been able to walk since.

May 21, 1950: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle published a photo of Science Hill High School graduates Gene Harbin and Jane Peterson representing the Class of 1950.

May 21, 1954: The Press-Chronicle published photos of one of the largest moonshine whisky stills to be found in Washington County in some time. Deputy Tom Helton, Constable Cline and Deputy Charlie Johnson, as well as D.H. Byrd and Police Photographer Bill Shipley, participated in the raid.

May 21, 1955: East Tennessee State College ROTC Band led the college's unit in the Armed Forces Day Parade in downtown Johnson City.

May 21, 1931: A Mrs. Perkins was cited for selling milk with no permit; her case was dismissed.

May 21, 1958: Faircloth Chevrolet Co., 71-79 Wilson Ave., advertised that country singer Roy Acuff and his Smoky Mountain Boys would perform at the dealership that Thursday, Friday and Saturday. This was four years before owner Roy Faircloth was shot and killed while hosting another “jamboree” featuring Acuff. Acuff was later a witness in the murder trial of Hack Smithdeal, a Johnson City businessman who had pulled the trigger during a scuffle. Although he never denied shooting Faircloth, a jury acquitted Smithdeal of first-degree murder on Sept. 21, 1962, after determining he shot his former friend as a means of self-defense.

May 21, 2009: North Side Elementary School students were treated to a rare look an original original copy of the Declaration of Independence. It was a Dunlap broadside — one of 200 original copies printed on July 4, 1776.

Sources: Press and Messenger; Knoxville Journal; The Comet; Johnson City Court Records; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Ted Bowers/Johnson City, Tennessee, Memories; Johnson City Press