July 20, 1896: One hundred and fifteen years ago today, The Journal and Tribune reported, “Mr. J.T. Burch, of the Nashville American, was in the city yesterday en route to Johnson City, where he will join Gov. Taylor.”
The Journal and Tribune was a newspaper published in Knoxville. It ceased publication in 1924. The Nashville American was published in Nashville from 1894 until 1910. There was not a daily newspaper published in Johnson City in 1896. The Comet was a weekly publication.
July 20, 1911: The Comet reported, “A meeting of the board of mayor and aldermen was held on Monday afternoon, for the purpose of considering the issuance of paving bonds and the fixing of interest. Bids will probably be opened next week and work will begin at once The matter, however, was not definitely decided, but will come up for final adjournment in a few days.”
July 20, 1918: The Johnson City Daily Staff reported, “Next Monday, July 22, is the day set for the next bunch of Washington county (sic) boys to leave for training camp. They will leave here on a special train, which is due to arrive in Johnson City at 7:30 a.m., and will go to Camp Gordon at Atlanta, Ga.”
“These men are ordered to report at the office of the local board at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 21, and will spend the night in the city, food and lodging being furnished by the government.”
July 20, 1920: The Johnson City Comet reported on news from Fall Branch. “Dr. White’s little child has flux and is not expected to live.”
“T.S. Evans is very ill with tuberculosis.”
“Ernest McCrary has typhoid fever.”
“Dr. S.L. Smith has a new girl at his home. It is No. 2.”
Flux is amoebic dysentery.
July 20, 1921: A century ago today, the Nashville Banner printed a continuation of a story that appeared in this column on July 18 and July 19. With a dateline from Johnson City, readers learned, “Men carrying shotguns and rifles acted as an escort Tuesday for the body of Robert Houston at his funeral near Watauga, after it had been reported that John Green, who Sunday morning is alleged to have shot Houston to death, said he would attend the funeral. Posses have been searching the mountains since Sunday for Green. Houston had seen Ira Blevins and John Green together before an attempted highway robbery and assault upon the person of Harry Vines with which Green was charged. Houston was summoned as a witness for the state in the trial at Elizabethtown (sic), at which trial Green was given a prison sentence. Meanwhile Green had been convicted in Washington county (sic) for carrying a pistol and Judge D.A. Vines had imposed a jail sentence. When a motion for a new trial was entered at Elizabethtown (sic), he was returned to the Tennessee jail, from which he escaped.”
The news item continued, “It is alleged that out of revenge Green last Sunday strode into the Houston home, a few miles northeast of Johnson City, and shot Houston to death.”
“Green has a criminal record, which began about twenty years ago. He was arrested in Johnson City by a young policeman named Walter McPeak. Green stabbed McPeak through the heart with a jackknife. McPeak died in his tracks and Green, then a youth of 19 years, made his escape, to be apprehended some months afterward and sentenced for twenty years. After serving twelve years he was paroled.”
Finally, readers learned, “Houston was known to his neighbors as a quiet, hard-working citizen. The tragedy has caused high feelings here.”
The Nashville Banner ceased publication in 1998. We do not have access to any newspapers that were published in Johnson City in 1921.
July 20, 1937: According to the Johnson City Chronicle, “Robert Porterfield’s Barter theater (sic), under the auspices of King’s Mountain post and the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the American Legion, will present at 8:30 o’clock tonight at Junior high (sic) school (sic) auditorium last winter’s outstanding Theatre Guild success, ‘Storm Over Patsy,’ This will be the first play ever presented by the Barter group in which the central character is a dog, and what is more a mongrel dog. The play is a hilarious comedy about a poor widow woman and her dog who steal the spotlight in a big political campaign.”
In another story from the same issue of the Johnson City Chronicle, readers learned, “Animals obtruded themselves conspicuously into Washington county’s (sic) week-end (sic) news.”
“A mule was responsible for Tom Cox of Jonesboro receiving emergency treatment at Appalachian hospital. It did what ‘funny paper’ quadrupeds always do – kicked while it was being shot (sic).”
“’It gave me a compound fracture of the left ankle,’ Cox said.”
“He added, however, that the mule’s name, unfortunately, was not Maud.”
“City fire company 4 was called shortly before noon Sunday to Sherman Jarrett’s residence in the Y section and found that a (sic) 1,100-pound Holstein cow had distinguished herself in an original way.”
“The cow jumped a fence, landed upon the planks which covered a cistern, broke through them and fell into the hole, which was 20 feet deep. The cistern top was about eight feet wide.”
“’Plenty of pumping had to be done by the firemen to keep Bosey from drowning,’ Chief L.L. Geisler said, ‘After they did their share, workers from a city garage got the cow out by using a wrecker.’”
Jonesboro was spelled that way in 1937.
The Appalachian Hospital was a forerunner to Memorial Hospital, which was a forerunner to the Johnson City Medical Center.
Maud was a popular comic-strip mule in the early part of the last century.
July 20, 1946: Seventy-five years ago today, the Johnson City Press-Chronicle reported that the brother of Carroll Reece had passed away. “Raleigh V. Reece of 1415 South Roan street (sic), brother of B. Carroll Reece, chairman of the National Republican Committee, died at 8 o’clock last night at Veterans Administration Hospital.”
The news account continued, “Reece, textile manager of American Bemberg Corporation in Elizabethton before entering the armed forces in 1942, was removed to the Veterans Hospital at Mountain Home from Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., a week ago. He had been ill for sometime (sic).”
The article also said “Col. Reece, intimately known to his associates as ‘Hunky,’ was a telegraph editor for the Johnson City Chronicle for some time during the early ’20’s.”
The Veterans Administration Hospital at Mountain Home is now known as the James H. Quillen VA Medical Center.
July 20, 1971: Half a century ago today, readers of the Johnson City Press-Chronicle read of the progress of the hoped-for medical school. With a dateline from Washington, D.C., readers learned, “The Veterans Administration Medical School Assistance Act, co-sponsored by Congressman James H. Quilen (sic), passed the House yesterday, 371-2.”
“The vote came after Quillen took his case for a new state medical school at East Tennessee State University to House members.”
“The measure, if passed by the Senate and signed by President Nixon, paves the way for a new medical school in Johnson City, but only if the Administrator of Veterans Affairs can be sold on the location.”
July 20, 1996: A pot-bellied pig may have saved the lives of her human family. The Johnson City Press, in an article with the byline of Gregg Powers, reported, “Four-month-old Charlotte helped save a Limestone family’s bacon last week.”
“Nobody paid much attention to the pot-bellied pig’s communication skills until about 1 a.m., July 10 when Ronald and Margaret Brickey’s Carson Circle trailer caught fire.”
“’We were sitting there watching TV and went to bed a little later on,’ Margaret Brickey said. ‘About 1 o’clock we heard the pig start squealing.’”
“Ronald Brickey then got up to check on Charlotte and discovered the fire.”
“The blaze, apparently caused by a short in an electrical cord, heavily damaged the kitchen and living room of the mobile home, but thanks to Charlotte, everyone was able to escape without injury and members of the Limestone Volunteer Fire Department put out the blaze.”
The article further reported that Charlotte “lived in the family’s trailer like any other house pet” and was housebroken.