Feb. 22, 1867: The East Tennessee Union Flag reported, “We are informed that on the evening of the 20th instant, the down Express Passenger train ran off the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad, between Bristol and Union Station, caused by an axle giving way from under the tender, doing but little or no damage.’

As used above, “instant” means in the same month, meaning the train rain off the track on February 20, 1867.

The East Tennessee Union Flag was a newspaper published in Jonesborough, which was spelled that way in 1867.

Feb. 22, 1898: The Knoxville Sentinel, reported with a Johnson City dateline, informed readers of changes made because of the smallpox outbreak. “By proclamation of the county board of health, there was no Sunday-school or church services in this town Sunday. It was undoubtedly the quietest day ever seen in Johnson City. The proclamation also prohibits congregating on the streets or in the saloons. There was no new case of small-pox either Saturday or Sunday, but another child of Dowell’s was taken to the pest house Monday.”

The article continued to report, “It is now generally felt that the disease is under control, and we will soon be relieved from the stagnation of business.”

A pest house was a building used to isolate people with communicable diseases.

Small-pox is now generally spelled smallpox. It is contagious and often fatal, and can now be prevented by a vaccine. There is no treatment or cure for smallpox.

There was not a daily newspaper published in Johnson City in February 1898. The Comet was a weekly newspaper.

Feb. 22, 1910: The Bristol Herald Courier reported that Johnson City might soon have two daily newspapers. With a dateline from Johnson City, readers learned, “Johnson City surely may have two dailies if someone does not back down. Bell and Little have secured under agreement more than 50,000 inches of advertising matter, have contracted for news service and optioned supplies. They say they are going to be ready by April the first without fail.”

The article further related, “The Staff is pushing ahead making arrangements for turning its semi-weekly into a daily, having ordered – so Mr. Slack says – a typesetting machine.”

There was not a daily newspaper published in Johnson City in February 1910.

Feb. 22, 1922: According to the Johnson City Chronicle, “Rotarian James Baldwin of Knoxville attended the Rotary meeting yesterday.”

Feb. 22, 1934: Bold headlines in the Johnson City Staff News informed readers “Fire Razes Kress Building: $200,000 Damage,” Three firemen had been sent to the hospital, having been overcome by heat and smoke.

Two hundred thousand dollars in 1934 is now worth more than $6,057,000. (Source: www.in2013dollars.com)

Feb. 22, 1940: The Bristol News Bulletin, with a dateline of Johnson City, reported on a tragedy. “While crossing the new Elizabethton highway to her family’s mail box, Lois Woody, five-year-old adopted daughter of Fred Woody, was killed yesterday when struck by a truck Sheriff Ernest Brumit of Carter county said was driven by Ralph Neas, 27, of Johnson City.”

Feb. 22, 1942: The Sunday Press-Chronicle alerted readers about changes being made on the occasion of George Washington’s birthday, which would be observed on Monday, February 23. “Because of exigencies of the nation’s war effort, George Washington’s birthday probably will be observed on a smaller scale in Johnson City this year than at any other time within memory.”

“Last night Colonel Lee B. Harr, manager of Soldiers Home, said that for the first time in the institution’s history the natal day of the Father of His Country would be allowed to go unobserved.”

The article continued with a quote from Col. Harr: “’We’ve always observed it here before, but the war emergency is such that we felt a holiday should not be taken at this time.”

More details included, “There will be a morning mail delivery in the city tomorrow but no afternoon delivery. Rural carriers will take the entire day off, and the post office stamp and general delivery windows will be open only from 9 to 10 a.m.”

The Soldiers Home is now known as the James H. Quillen VA Medical Center.

Feb. 22, 1956: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle reported, “A total of 2,256 children have received their first polio shots in the Washington County Schools according to the county health department.”

Feb. 22, 1962: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle published an article about the various Washington’s Birthday sales on that day. “Down came the cherry tree when George Washington whacked it with an axe.”

“And down will come prices on special merchandise as progressive and energetic merchants put on their annual Washington’s Birthday Sale!”

Buyers would be tempted to part with their dollars when they read this information: “Truly great savings will be available on seasonal items today through Saturday, and thrifty shoppers will be amazed at the way their budget dollars stretch to cover all the things they need and want.”

“The following stores are participating: Bailey and Ferguson, Charles Store, Dosser’s, Fields, Inc., Firestone Stores, Free Service Tire Sore, Kings, Inc., Kress, McClellan’s,

Mullins Hardware and Supply Co., Music Mart, Nettie Lee Shops, New Vogue, Robinson’s Bootery, Shoe Center, Walker Furniture, Woolworth’s and Young’s’ Supply.”

Feb. 22, 1967: In two captioned photographs on the front page of the Johnson City Press-Chronicle readers learned “Mrs. Charles H. O’Brien, top left, general known across the state as ‘Miss Anna Belle’, and sister of former Gov. Frank G. Clement, was the featured speaker last night at the annual Civic night banquet of the Johnson City Pilot Club. Her husband, bottom left, is a state senator. Welcoming them are club president Lena Jones, bottom right, and District Governor Anna Belle St. Clair.”

Feb. 22, 1972: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle reported on efforts being made to move the medical school possibility into a reality. “Upper East Tennesseans have responded to each call for assistance in the drive to locate a medical school here.”

The article continued, “Now, Citizens for Medical Advancement for Tennessee is asking for more assistance.”

“Coordinator David Torbett has issued a call for as many interested Upper East Tennesseans as possible to go to Nashville tomorrow for the legislative hearing on a bill appropriating money to start the medical school.”

Feb. 22, 1982: Tom Hodge, in his column in the Johnson City Press-Chronicle, had bits and pieces from all over. “New bumper sticker ‘Custer wore an arrow shirt.’”

“According to a recent report, people with O type blood live longer…..if memory serves me correctly, about 65 percent of the population is type O.”

“An old-timer remembers when electric companies gave away light bulbs to boost sale of power.”

“There’s a sign outside a Nashville automobile dealer’s place. The dealer sells imports. And the sign says, ‘Saab stories told here.’ ”



Rebecca Henderson is a contributing columnist for Johnson City Press.

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