May 3, 1867: The Union Flag reported news about a shoplifter. “On Tuesday night last, a young man by the name of Haze, living in Greene county (sic), came to town, riding a sorrel horse, and while at the store of Dosser and Fain, quietly slipped a pair of pants under his coat, but the old saying, of ‘any fool can steal, but it takes a smart man to hide,’ was again verified; for sly as he thought he was, he was nicely caught and made to own up. While board and lodging were being engaged for him at Mr. Pruett’s, the jailor, he mounted his horse and left at a 2-40 rate. In these days of thievery all should be on the watch especially when Mr. Haze is about.”

Sorrel is a reddish-brown color.

The Union Flag was a newspaper that was published in Jonesborough, which was spelled that way at the time.

May 3, 1888: The Comet reported, “W.W. Faw, Esq., has returned from Florida where he has been to settle up his father’s estate there. Mr. Faw has been reading law under Judge White at Chattanooga for some time but will finish his course with Isaac Harr, of his city. He has already made application to be admitted to the bar.”

May 3, 1906: The Comet, quoting from the Knoxville Sentinel, reported about work being done on the railroads. “The locating surveys for the Johnson City Southern railway, which the Southern railway has started from Embreeville, Tenn. to Marion, N.C., have been completed. The engineer corps will be removed this week from the line to Asheville, N.C., where preparations are being made to survey the Morristown-Asheville line of the Southern railway for double track.”

“The Johnson City Southern railway will be built between Embreeville and Marion, and will be ninety-eight miles long. The railway will have about thirty tunnels, varying in length from 100 feet to 1,500 feet. The longest tunnel will be near Gillespie Gap, through the Blue Ridge mountains (sic), which tunnel will be 1,500 feet long.”

“The Johnson City Southern railway will cost $5,000,000 to $6,000,000. It will be one of the most difficult pieces of railroad work east of the Rocky mountains (sic).”

“Twenty-two miles of the road east of Embreeville are under construction. “

The Knoxville Sentinel is now published as the Knoxville News-Sentinel. There were not any daily newspapers published in Johnson City in 1906. The Comet was published weekly.

Embreeville is a community in Washington County.

Marion, North Carolina is about 65 miles from Johnson City.

Gillespie Gap is in North Carolina and is located near Little Switzerland, North Carolina.

Five million dollars in 1906 is now worth approximately $147,154,000. Six million dollars in 1906 is now worth about $176,584,666. (Source:

May 3, 1911: The Johnson City Comet reported on an upcoming dance. “The dance at the Elk’s Home next Tuesday evening following the law fete promises to be a brilliant affair, as well as a swell social event. There will be a charge of 50 cents a couple for dancing, but it will in no sense be a promiscuous affair. The fact that it will be given under the auspices of and chaperoned by Mesdames James A Summers, Robert Martin, Martin Gump, Amzi Smith, Horace Burleson, C.O. Biddle, Harry Gump, S.C. Williams, Haynes Miller, John Copenhaver and Louis Gump is sufficient guarantee that all will be well. Harry Gump and Charlie Biddle will be floor managers and Amzi Smith will sell tickets. The hundreds of the other chaperones will assist in the affair and nothing will be left undone that will add to the pleasure of the evening. Ices and strawberries and fruit punch will be disposed of for a small consideration and there will be several interesting raffles. There are nearly 100 cakes to be disposed of in this manner and some lucky person will secure a season ticket to the park for a song. Make your arrangements to be present.”

May 3, 1918: The Johnson City Daily Staff reported, “Professor Hiram Balach, principal of the school at Flag Pond and one (of) the noted mountain educators is here today. Mr. Balach is a graduate of Maryville College and has a noteworthy reputation as one of the foremost men in school and community work in and around the Flag Pond District.”

Flag Pond is a community in Unicoi County.

May 3, 1921: Exactly a century ago, The Journal and Tribune, with a dateline of Johnson City, reported, “Buster Barlow of the Martha Wilder school (sic) won the first diamond medal in Tennessee last Friday night at the final contest of the Democrat and W.C.T.U. medal held in the city auditorium here before a crowd which packed the house.”

“Barlow won the three tenths of a point over Macon Johnson of the Westside school (sic), his nearest competitor.”

“President Gilbreath, of the East Tennessee State Normal, President Martin, of Sullins College, and President Sams, of Carson-Newman College, were the judges.”

Both the Martha Wilder School and the Westside School were in Johnson City.

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

Sullins College was located in Bristol, Virginia, but ceased operations in 1976.

Carson-Newman College is now Carson-Newman University.

There were not any newspapers published in Johnson City in 1921.

The Journal and Tribune was a newspaper published in Knoxville. It ceased publication in 1924.

May 3, 1930: The Johnson City Chronicle reported, “General contract for consideration of the addition to the Johnson City High School building was awarded to the Marshall Construction Company of Johnson City, whose bid of $41,660 was lowest of those submitted at an adjourned meeting of the City Commission Friday afternoon.”

The Johnson City High School became Science Hill High School.

Forty-one thousand, six hundred and sixty dollars in 1930 is now worth about $660,765, according to

May 3, 1945: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle reported, “Wanda M. Potts, seaman first class, has been home on a five-day leave. She is stationed at Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, Va. She came home to visit her brother, Pvt. Robert C. Potts, who is on a 15-day furlough. He graduated from AAF Radio School at Schott Field, Ill., and will go to Reno, Nevada for further training. Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Potts, route (sic) one (sic), Erwin, are their parents.”

May 3, 1950: According to the Johnson City Press-Chronicle, “Earl Kilbourne, route (sic) 4, Jonesboro, was given emergency treatment Monday at Swingle Hospital for a shoulder injury sustained while wrestling at Boones Creek School.”

Jonesboro was spelled that way in 1950.

The Swingle Hospital was a private hospital located on North Roan Street, near Science Hill High School.

May 3, 1970: According to the Johnson City Press-Chronicle reporting from East Tennessee State University, “George Spence, associate professor of speech, will serve as advisor for the drama ‘Davy Crockett.’ ”

which will be presented by the Tennessee Arts Commission in Rogersville in July and August.


Rebecca Henderson is a contributing columnist for Johnson City Press.

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