Feb. 12, 1869: The East Tennessee Union Flag, a newspaper in Jonesborough, reported on the recent death of a prominent local citizen. “Col. John R. Branner died at his residence about 2 p.m. on Monday last. Some months ago, he was prostrated by an apoplexy. We suppose, he died from this disease. He was for some years President of the East Tenn. & Va. R.R., and labored with indefatigable zeal to promote its interest. He was a man of public spirit and invested liberally in internal improvements. His loss in this respect is irreparable. The condolences of this paper are tendered to his friends and relatives.”

We now call an apoplexy a stroke.

Feb. 12, 1903: The Nashville American, a newspaper in Nashville, Tennessee, reported on a bond issue in Johnson City. With a Johnson City dateline, the newspaper said, “The Board of Trade will recommend the issuance of $10,000 in improvement bonds at its meeting Friday night.”

Ten thousand dollars in 1903 is currently worth about $296,000. (Source: www.in2013dollars.com)

Feb. 12, 1914: The Nashville Banner, with a dateline of Johnson City, reported that Johnson City would purchase an auto fire engine. “The City Council, of session here Wednesday morning, recommended the purchase of an auto fire engine and the contract was awarded to the American La France Fire Engine Co. of Elmira, N.Y. The machine, which is 11 horse power (sic) and furnishes 700 gallons of water per minute, was bought for $8,500 net. The machine is to be delivered here within ninety days. A number of other companies submitted proposals.”

Eight thousand, five hundred dollars in 1914 is currently worth approximately $221,402. (Source: www.in2013dollars.com)

Feb. 12, 1919: The Johnson City Daily Staff informed readers “Mayor and Mrs. C.P. Faw left today on train No. 41 for Umatilla, Fla., for a fifteen days visit.”

Feb. 12, 1925: The Johnson City Staff-News reported, “Mr. Henry P. Bridges arrived Thursday from Baltimore to join Mrs. Bridges as the guest of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Vint M. Thomas on East Unaka avenue (sic).”

Mrs. Bridges was the former Shelly Thomas. Mr. and Mrs. Bridges built and lived in Shelbridge, now the home of the president of East Tennessee State University. The name “Shelbridge” was derived from Mrs. Bridges’ first and last names. (Personal communication between Nancy Stanton, former first lady of ETSU, and Rebecca Henderson.)

Feb. 12, 1936: The Johnson City Chronicle reported that Limestone had 16 inches of snow. “The roads are almost impassable. School buses can’t run and it is difficult to deliver mail, the mail carrier being forced to carry a pick and shovel in order to dig out of drifts.”

Feb. 12, 1946: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle recounted that a prominent Johnson Citian had passed away. “Chancellor S.E. Miller, 72, member of a Pioneer Johnson City family, passed away at his home, 413 Lamont street (sic), last night …” Chancellor Miller had “served as chancellor of the First Judicial District since 1928. Prior to that time, he was appointed referee in bankruptcy under Judge Xen Hicks.”

The article further stated that Miller was “active in church and civic affairs, serving as mayor of Johnson City for two terms, also city attorney and for several years was a member of the city board of aldermen and also a member of the city school board and the county board of education. A member of the First Methodist Church, Chancellor Miller was president of the board of trustees.”

The article further noted, “Chancellor Miller served as a member of the State Assembly about 1904, and was a trustee of Tennessee-Wesleyan College at Athens, successor to Grant University from which he was graduated in 1898.”

His wife, Mrs. Kate Miller survived him, as did two daughters, Mrs. E.T. Brading and Miss Frances Miller, and two sons, William E. Miller and Samuel B. Miller, who was “in naval service on duty at New Orleans.” Several other relatives also survived the Chancellor.

Feb. 12, 1948: The Bristol News Bulletin reported tragic news from Johnson City. “The body of Herman E. Milhorn, who was killed in action in France July 30, 1944, arrived in Johnson City this morning on the Southern Railroad’s streamliner, the Tennessean.”

The article continued, “He was the only son of Mr. and Mrs. John E. Milhorn, 422 West Locust St., Johnson City.”

“Young Milhorn was a lifelong resident of Johnson City, and was graduated from Science Hill High School and Milligan College. He majored in business administration at Vanderbilt University and was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity.”

“A member of First Christian Church, he was prominently mentioned with music activities in the church. He was a member of the Little Theatre Guild.”

Milhorn entered the military in April of 1941. “He was assigned to overseas duty in April, 1944, and participated in the Normandy invasion on June 6.”

Feb. 12, 1955: The Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle, a newspaper in Clarksville, Tennessee, reported on a sales tax bill. With a Johnson City dateline, readers learned, “Washington County school teachers have gone on record as opposed to the three per cent sales tax bill unless more of the increase is earmarked for education.”

The article continued to say, “Meeting here yesterday, 283 teachers unanimously approved a resolution urging State Sen. Joe Swanay (R-Elizabethton) to vote against the levy unless the proposed salary scale for teachers is increased.”

Feb. 12, 1969: According to the Johnson City Press-Chronicle, “A dark brown, ranch mink stole, valued at $1,100 has been reported missing by Mrs. Fred Fuller, John Sevier Hotel resident. Patrolman Kelly investigated and found no signs of forceable entry to her hotel room.”

Eleven hundred dollars in 1969 is now worth about $7,800. (Source: www.in2013dollars.com)

Feb. 12, 1970: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle reported on a freak accident that could have had disastrous consequences. “Dee Hyatt, 58, 3314 Mayfield Drive, was wounded in the left chest at noon today at his home. …”

The article continued, “He told sheriff’s deputies that he removed a revolver from the glove compartment of his car and started toward the house when he slipped and fell on ice and snow beside his car, causing the gun to discharge.”

“Hyatt, a kiln operator at Harris Manufacturing Co.’s No. 2 plant on Tennessee Street, had been an employee of the firm since Harris took over the old Miller Brothers plant in 1960. He had been an employe (sic) of the Miller firm prior to that.”


Rebecca Henderson is a contributing columnist for Johnson City Press.

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