April 29, 1886: The Comet brought sad news of several deaths. “The angel of death was busy in our neighborhood last week. The first that died was Jane, wife of Samuel J. Foust; the next was Letetia, wife of James butler (sic); the third was Harriet, wife of R.W. Smalling, who departed this life at 5 o’clock, a.m., Saturday, April 24th, at her home, 2 miles east of this place. She was buried yesterday and her funeral was preached by Rev. Moses Eaton, and she was followed to her grave by her family and a large concourse of neighbors, relatives and friends.”

April 29, 1899: The Chattanooga Daily Times, reporting with a dateline of Johnson City, informed readers about a legislative change affecting Johnson City. “Quite a surprise, creating a sensation in certain circles, was sprung on our citizens when it was announced that the last session of the legislature had passed a bill amending the charter of Johnson City, so as to abolish the salaries of mayor and aldermen. The city attorney is also limited to only $100 per annum and the city recorder $600. The total among thus saved to the city will amount to exactly $1,100. Quite a few knew of the bill, but everybody seems generally pleased.”

One hundred dollars in 1899 is now worth about $3,168, making six hundred dollars from 1899 currently worth about $19,000. Eleven hundred dollars in 1899 is presently worth approximately $34,857. (Source: www.in2013dollars.com)

There was not a daily newspaper published in Johnson City in 1899. The Comet was published weekly.

The Chattanooga Daily Times is now published as the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

April 29, 1901: With a Johnson City dateline, the Knoxville Sentinel reported on the progress of several buildings in Johnson City. “A large addition is to be built to the city livery stable on Buffalo street (sic).”

“Thos. J. Cox is gathering material for the erection of a fine residence on Willow street (sic).”

John A. Key has let a contract for a neat cottage for his own use, on Maple street (sic).”

“J.W. Cardwell has secured plans from a Knoxville architect for a completely modern residence, which he expects to erect on Unaka avenue (sic).”

“Fifteen new cottages are now being built in the city and are to be constructed soon.”

There was not a daily newspaper in Johnson City in 1901. The Comet was a weekly publication.

The Knoxville Sentinel is now published as the Knoxville News Sentinel.

April 29, 1918: The Johnson City Daily Staff reported a correction that may have been intended for April Fool’s. “A practical joker for the first time using his brand new head, brought in to the Staff office Saturday the written announcement of the approaching marriage of Miss Alvada Davis to Mr. C.M. Medlin, which in good faith was printed.

“Today Miss Davis states that this item of news had no authorization in view of the fact that she had not the pleasure of knowing the Mr. Medlin mentioned.”

The article continued, “The erroneous statement, therefore, is corrected, and the gentlemen with the brand new head commended to the tender mercies of his table mates at the boarding house from which he hails.”

April 29, 1921: Exactly a century ago today, according to the Bristol Herald Courier, “The Johnson City Country Club will give a dance at the new club house (sic) tonight for club members and their out-of-town guests. Several from Bristol are planning to attend the dance.”

There was not a newspaper published in Johnson City in 1921.

The Bristol Herald Courier is still published.

April 29, 1931: The Johnson City Staff-News reported on the recent travels of a prominent Johnson City lady. “Mrs. Allen Harris returned Monday from New York City, where she went to see her son, Mr. Allen Harris Jr., who is connected in business there. Mrs. Harris met Miss Frances Stanley, of Los Angeles, California, Friday, who was returning on the S.S. Mauritania from a Mediterranean tour. She spent the past several weeks in London and Paris.”

“After a visit with friends in New York, Miss Stanley will come to Johnson City for a visit with Mr. and Mrs. Allen Harris, Orchard Place.”

“Mrs. Harris attended the first three days of the National Congress Daughters of the American Revolution in Washington City.”

Washington City is now called Washington, D.C.

April 29, 1941: According to the Johnson City Chronicle, “Rex D. Pierce, Johnson City magistrate, is somewhat improved at Appalachian Hospital, where he was admitted for treatment of a heart condition. His condition remains serious, however.”

The Appalachian Hospital was a forerunner of Memorial Hospital, which was a forerunner of Johnson City Medical Center.

April 29, 1951: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle quipped, in a quote from The Leader, “There is something feminine about a tree — it does a strip tease in the fall, goes out with bare limbs all winter, gets a new outfit in the spring, and lives off the sap all summer.”

April 29, 1962: Readers of the Johnson City Press-Chronicle learned about an infant who had been beaten by her father. “A three-month-old girl was treated at a local doctor’s office and at Memorial Hospital yesterday for injuries received Friday night when her father struck her while drunk, police information indicated.”

“Phyllis Jean Rayfield, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Rayfield, 408 E. Chestnut St., was released after treatment for bruises about the head and face.”

“Police said that Mrs. Rayfield told them her husband came home drunk Friday night and struck the baby because it was crying. Mrs. Rayfield was also struck, police said.”

“Rayfield was apprehended by police yesterday afternoon when the pick-up truck in which he was riding struck a tree on Maple Street. He was turned over to county authorities who had a state warrant charging Rayfield with assault on a three-months-old child and wife beating.”

Finally, readers learned “Rayfield was released on $1,000 bond later last night.”

As mentioned elsewhere in this column, Memorial Hospital was a forerunner to Johnson City Medical Center.

One thousand dollars in 1962 is now worth about $8,710, according to www.in2013dollars.com.


Rebecca Henderson is a contributing columnist for Johnson City Press.

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