Feb. 28, 1868: The East Tennessee Union Flag reported on the death of an infant. “At the Methodist Episcopal Church parsonage, near Johnson’s Depot, on the 15th inst., Clinton Fish, infant son of Rev. Thos. S. Walker and Mary, his wife, aged about seven months. Thus has another of earth’s most lovely cherubs been suddenly called to join the angelic host above. He has gone at the invitation of his Savior who has said, ‘Suffer little children to come unto me, and forget them not; for of such is the Kingdom of God.’”

The East Tennessee Union Flag was a newspaper printed in Jonesborough, which was spelled that was in 1868.

Johnson City was known as Johnson’s Depot in 1868.

“Inst.” was an abbreviation that signified the event took place in the same month.

Feb. 28, 1889: The Comet opined, “There are more big things talked of for Johnson City than are dreamed of for any other town in the State.”

Feb. 28, 1895: Readers of The Comet learned several things of interest. “J.E. Braiding is able to be out after an illness of several weeks.”

“Miss Annie Miller, who has been very sick for the last week or so, is improving.”

“Miss Nannie Martin is at home for a few days from Martha Washington College at Abingdon.”

“Harry Gump, of the firm of Gump Bros., is in the Eastern market purchasing spring clothing and furnishings.”

“Capt. W.F. Miller met with a very painful accident this morning while removing a rock from the track to the gorge. The rock rolled on his foot, smashing it very badly.”

Feb. 28, 1910: With a Johnson City dateline, The Daily Journal and Tribune, based in Knoxville, reported about the death of a prominent Johnson Citian. “Dr. J.M. Ayers, former United States consul to Argentina republic, having been appointed by President McKinley, died at his beautiful home, ‘Crest Bon Air’ in Johnson City last night at nine o’clock with bronchial pneumonia. He had been ill only a few days and is survived by a widow. The funeral will likely take place Monday.”

The obituary continued, “Dr. Ayers was a native of Ohio and a gentleman and a scholar of rare worth. He was a little over seventy years of age and had made his home in Johnson City for the past three or four years. He was a member of the Watauga avenue Presbyterian church (sic).”

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

Feb. 28, 1911: The Daily Journal and Tribune, a newspaper in Knoxville, reported on the importance of tobacco to the region’s economy. With a dateline of Johnson City, readers learned, “Dr. J.F. Arnold, of Limestone, in the heart of a prosperous farming section in the lower part of Washington county (sic), states that the tobacco sales at that place are at an end for the season. Over 1,000,000 pounds were handled on the Limestone market the second season. The tobacco grown the past year being of an inferior quality brought only nine cents a pound. Over 2,500,000 pounds was handled by the four warehouses in Greeneville. The tobacco growers are very well satisfied and will plant large crops this year.”

Nine cents in 1911 is now worth about $2.47. (Source: www.in2013dollars.com)

There was not a daily newspaper published in Johnson City in February 1911.

Feb. 28, 1918: Several Johnson Citians were afflicted with various illnesses and maladies, according to The Johnson City Daily Staff. “James I. Scott, operated on several weeks ago for gall stones (sic), was removed today from Memorial hospital (sic) very greatly improved.”

“Mr. J.M. Byrd has been to Greeneville today to bring back his wife, who is recovering from an operation in Dr. Foxs (sic) Hospital. Mrs. Byrd underwent a very serious operation some two weeks ago.”

“Clair Dickey, who underwent an operation at Memorial Hospital this week is improving nicely.”

“Miss Elizabeth Fisher is improving after a severe case of Tonslillis (sic).”

Feb. 28, 1923: Apparently, a dog staying in a hotel is nothing new. The Johnson City Daily Staff ran this classified advertisement: “Lost Female, brindle police dog. Answers to the name of ‘Marks’. Has collar marked Earl C. Offinger, 18th Infantry. Return to Colonial Hotel and receive reward.”

Feb. 28, 1930: The Johnson City Chronicle reported on an upcoming event. “Handsome engraved invitations have been issued by Captain and Mrs. Earl L. Hunter, to the officers of the National Soldiers Home, for Saturday evening at eight o’clock., complimenting Colonel and Mrs. David Townsend.”

We now know the National Soldiers Home as the James H. Quillen VA Medical Center.

Feb. 28, 1936: The Jackson Sun, a newspaper in Jackson, Tennessee, reported an unsolved crime with a Johnson City dateline. “William Isaac Giles, perennial seeker after public office, was the butt of practical jokers during the 60-odd years of his eccentric life.”

“But since October 25, 1931, when mortally wounded he staggered home to die of a brutal assault, the memory of Giles has stood as an incentive to every law enforcement officer who has heard his story.”

The article continued, “Who killed him has not been discovered and, Sheriff J.B. Worley said, it may never be.”

“Mrs. Giles often expressed her fear that William Isaac might accidentally get elected. ‘If we went to Washington, who’d take care of the pigs and chickens?’ she asked.”

Finally, readers learned, “But hers, of course, was a fear that never materialized. And when the colorful Giles did ‘go’ finally, stricken by a mysterious enemy, she was left sorrowfully behind to wonder at the cause of his fate.”

Feb. 28, 1943: The Sunday Press-Chronicle reported, “Service men need books — and your Victory Book campaign leaders can have more than one book representing each Johnson City and Washington county (sic) soldier, sailor and marine only if you will contribute.” The article went on to state that the local quota was 3,000, but only 700 books had been donated at that point. Prior to March 5, 1943, an additional 2,200 books were needed. Book donations could be taken to the Mayne Williams Library. Mrs. Allen Harris was in charge of the Washington County drive.

The Mayne William Library was the forerunner of the Johnson City Public Library. The building housing the Mayne Williams Library now houses The Melting Pot.

Feb. 28, 1952: “The election of six new directors of the Chamber of Commerce was announced last night by Paul T. Hill, president.”

The article continued, “They are J. Lafe Cox, T.E. Deakins, T.F. Dooley, Steve Lacey, John Mouton, and Nat T. Winston.”

Additional information stated, “Hill said these directors will begin their terms of office on May 1 and will serve for a period of three years.”

Feb. 28, 1960: “Johnson City merchants figured that if 1960 has an extra day — and tomorrow’s it — then it’s time for an EXTRA SPECIAL big Leap Year Day sale,” according to a front-page story in the Johnson City Press-Chronicle.

Many bargains could be had, including “Boxes of soap powder at five cents ... Lubrication for autos at one cent,” the same price as soft drinks. “Wool and nylon throw rugs for $1.90,” while wedding bands could be purchased for $4.98.”

The participating merchants included: “Gregg Electric Co., London’s, ... Kyker Furniture Co., The Jewel Box, Youngs’ Supply Co., Bailey and Ferguson, Nettie Lee Shoe Box, Wright’s Super Markets, Johnson City Laundry, Dosser’s, Parks-Belk Co., Woolworth’s, Mullins Hardware, Ben’s Sport Shop, Penney’s, Sears, Firestone Stores, Kress, Masengill’s, Thomas’ Ladies Shop, King’s, Paty Lumber Co., Sterchi’s, Powell’s, Hannah’s and Free Service Tire Co.”

A penny in 1960 is now worth about nine cents. A dollar and ninety cents would now be worth about $16.72. Four dollars and ninety-eight cents currently is worth approximately $43.82. (Source: www.in2013dollars.com)

Feb. 28, 1968: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle opined, “Marriage is an institution held together by two books — cook and check.”

Sources: 

Rebecca Henderson is a contributing columnist for Johnson City Press.

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