Church of the Brethren

A 1972 photograph published in the Johnson City Press-Chronicle of the former First Church of the Brethren shows the church partially torn down. The church congregation moved to Bart Greene Drive to make way for the Appalachian Highway, now Interstate 26.

March 28, 1872: The Herald and Tribune reported, “Mr. David O. Fleming, returned to this place a few days since. We trust his visit among his relatives and friends of whom he has many, will be both pleasant and profitable.”

The Herald and Tribune was and is published in Jonesborough, which was spelled that way at the time, as it is in 2021.

March 28, 1885: Readers of The Comet read of recent Johnson City election results. “The election last Wednesday resulted as follows: Col. S.H. Yocum, Mayor. Aldermen, Gen. W. Hickey, Will Harr, C.K. Lide, Eli McNeaes and L.C. Hoss. J.W. Crumley, Magistrate, Wilhern Hodge, Constable. On Thursday evening the Board elected T.H. Luck, Recorder and William Morgan, Marshall. The Board is composed of excellent men, and we have every reason to hope for many substantial improvements under their management. Well done, Johnson City.”

March 28, 1885 was a Saturday.

March 28, 1895: According to The Comet “Dr. Kirkpatrick was sent up from Boone’s (sic) Creek Tuesday by his wife to purchase, among other items, twenty pounds of granulated sugar at the Bee Hive for one dollar, she having read the Bee Hive’s ‘ad’ in The Comet last week.”

The Bee Hive was a store in downtown Johnson City that sold groceries and other necessary items.

March 29, 1895 was a Thursday, so apparently Dr. Kirkpatrick had gone shopping two days before.

March 28, 1900: The Knoxville Sentinel reported with a Johnson City dateline: “G. Kirkpatrick, L.T. Duke and W.P. Range, who have had a long siege of la grippe, are all able to be out again.”

“Capt. Commodore Coolidge, (sic) Jerusalem, Judea, and Commodore Rutherford, Jericho, Judea, are in the city on a prospecting tour.”

La grippe is now known as influenza.

There was not a daily newspaper in Johnson City in 1900. The Comet was published every week.

March 28, 1908: With a dateline from Johnson City, The Chattanooga News reported on two recent gatherings of the M.G.R. Club. “Miss Marian Friberg delightfully entertained the M.G.R. Club Tuesday at five hundred. After the games a delicious salad course, with ices, coffee, mints and nuts, was served. Mrs. Amzi Smith won the visitor’s prize and Mrs. E.O. Riddle won the club prize.”

“Mrs. Louis Gump entertained with five hundred Wednesday afternoon in honor of the M.G.R. Club. The dainty score cards were tied to Easter lilies and the refreshments served were ice cream, in shape of lilies, cake, coffee, almond and mints. Miss Mildred Dickey won the visitor’s prize and Miss Alice Carr the club prize.

Johnson City did not have a daily newspaper in 1908. The Comet was a weekly newspaper.

March 28, 1918: Scarlet fever was apparently going around Johnson City, according to The Johnson City Daily Staff. “On account of scarlet fever in the community, the old time singing at McKinley was postponed until Easter Sunday. All are cordially invited attend.”

Scarlet fever is not preventable, and there is no vaccine for it. However, it is not nearly as prevalent as it once was. Antibiotics treat it.

McKinley likely referred to a church, or possibly the neighborhood around the current McKinley Road.

Easter Sunday was March 31, 1918; therefore, March 28, 1918 was the preceding Thursday.

March 28, 1920: The Bristol Herald Courier reported on several items of interest to Johnson City residents. With a dateline from Johnson City, Bristolians learned, “The construction of the new plant of the Johnson City Shale Brick Corporation in Carnegie, the manufacturing section of the city, is being rapidly pushed, a force of thirty five (sic) men being new on the job. The plants will be completed by the early part of the summer and will consist of thirteen kilns, an office building and a machinery house and dryers. All machinery will be modern and of the best quality obtainable. The brick will be dried by the (indecipherable) heat system.”

The newspaper carried another article that was important to the future of Johnson City. “At the election yesterday the Bond (sic) issue carried. $150,000 will be used in erecting new school houses and playgrounds for the Children (sic) of Johnson City.”

One hundred and fifty thousand dollars in 1920 is now worth about $1,962,000. (Source: www.in2013dollars.com)

A wedding in which the bride and groom were members of two prominent Johnson City families was also featured in The Bristol Herald Courier. “Of much interest to a wide circle of friends throughout Tennessee and surrounding States (sic) is the marriage of Miss Ellen Rebecca Bowman, the charming and accomplished young daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Adam Bowman and Captain Frank L. St. John, which was beautifully solemnized Wednesday afternoon at the home of the bride, in the presence of relatives and a few intimate friends. For the happy occasion the attractive interior of the home was a bower of graceful smilax and bride’s roses. In the reception room, where the ceremony was performed by Dr. Jason McMillan, and (sic) improvised alter of evergreens and stately calla lilies was created. Preceding the ceremony, Mrs. Earnest Young and Miss Helen Wilson rendered exquisitely ‘If I Knew’ accompanied on the piano by Miss Ethel Riddell. At the appointed hour of the strains of the wedding march, Miss Adelaide Bowman, Maid of Honor, gowned in a lovely two-tone creation of blue and gold and carrying pink roses descended the broad stairs, then came the dainty little flower girl, little Miss Love St. John, wearing a fluffy frock of white, carrying, white and pink sweet peas. The bride, exquisite (indecipherable) modish tailored suit of blue tricotine, with harmonizing accessories and carrying a graceful bouquet of orchids, rose buds (sic) and valley lilies with showers of rosebuds and sweet peas, descended the stairs on the arm of her brother, Mr. Adam Bowman, Jr., who gave her in marriage.”

The wedding account continued, “The groom was attended by his father, Mr. F.H. St. John. During the ceremony, Miss Riddell softly played ‘Romance.’ Following the impressive ceremony the guests numbering sixty were invited into the dining room…..Ices in form of slippers and wedding bells were served by Misses Sarah McCown, Elizabeth Jones and Kate Allen. The popular young couple were the recipients of many handsome gifts. Captain and Mrs. St. John left on train 42 for a bridal tour in the East.”

Tricotine is usually made from wool and rayon.

There were not any newspapers published in Johnson City in 1920.

March 28, 1934: The Johnson City Staff News reported, “Washington county (sic) is without the services of the office of trustee.”

The article continued to say, “This revelation was made during the investigation by county officials Wednesday morning after repeated calls at the offices at Jonesboro and Johnson City failed to bring response.”

“Major J.W. Weeks, newly elected trustee, named Monday by the County Court to fill out the unexpired term of office, after the office had been declared vacant by the County Judge, said that Frank Haws, former trustee, had refused to turn over keys to the offices.”

Jonesboro was spelled that was in 1934.

March 28, 1946: According to the Johnson City Press-Chronicle, “Mrs. Robert C. Hunter celebrated her 85th birthday anniversary Tuesday with a small luncheon for intimate friends and relatives in the private dining room of the John Sevier Hotel.”

March 28, 1955: The Bristol Herald Courier, with a dateline from Johnson City, a date of March 27 and a byline with David McClellan, reported “East Tennessee State College’s 1958 track team, which began tuning up for the forthcoming cinder season last week, is scheduled to participate in five meets this spring, Track Coach Julian Crocker announced yesterday.”

East Tennessee State College is now known as East Tennessee State University.

March 28, 1965: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle carried a report about a young service man’s recent activities. With a dateline from Watauga, Johnson City Press-Chronicle readers learned, “Clyde Carver, whose wife, Lynnelle, lives here, had a role in the recovery of two astronauts the past week.”

“Carver has been attached to the USS Intrepid a year. It was one of 20 Navy warships stationed along the expected return route of the spacecraft,”

“Mrs. Carver received a letter from her Navy husband mailed from Norfolk on the day the vessel departed for its assignment.”

The article continued, “A former student at Mary Hughes High School, Piney Flats, Carver has been in the naval service two years. He underwent basic training at Great Lakes, Ill.

“His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hobart carver (sic) moved from Piney Flats to Pensacola, Fla., two years ago.”

“Young Carver’s wife is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C.C. Fair, Watauga.”

The two astronauts referred to are Gus Grissom and John Young, as they returned to Earth on Gemini III.

March 28, 1972: In a captioned photograph, Johnson City Press-Chronicle readers saw that a church was being torn down to make room for what is now I-26. “It almost has the appearance of ancient Greek or Roman ruins, the front remaining, the rest eroded by time. But, instead, it is all that’s left of the First Church of the Brethren. Located at 301 E. Chilhowie Ave., the church is being torn down because it is in the right of way for the Appalachian Highway.”

First Church of the Brethren relocated to Bart Greene Drive in Johnson City.

Sources: 

Rebecca Henderson is a contributing columnist for Johnson City Press.

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