Do you enjoy reading about the history of Northeast Tennessee and surrounding area? If so, welcome to "Bob Cox's Yesteryear" website, containing my local history columns and features, most of which have appeared on Monday's History/Heritage page of the Johnson City (Tennessee) Press newspaper:
My site contains over 500 articles with new ones being added weekly. Check back frequently. Also, use the "Search this site" button at the left or click on "article catagories" to find subjects of interest. Use quotation marks to narrow your search. Click on the photos along the right side and the corresponding article will be shown.
Subjects deal with the glorious beginnings of this beautiful Appalachian mountainous region.
My focus lies mainly within Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina, with particular emphasis on Johnson City. Click on any photo along the right side and you will be directed to the corresponding article. I am currently in the process of adding many new photos to my articles.
Click on "Photo Galleries" at the top left to preview all the photos contained in my articles. The rotating questions at the top can be answered by clicking on them, which takes you to the article that contains the answer. So now ... sit back, relax and return with us to those glorious carefree days of yesteryear. I can be reached at
The late Ralph McGill (1898-1969) is one of my favorite newspaper writers of yesteryear because of his history focus on the South. The Vanderbilt graduate was winner of the "Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing" while working for the Atlanta Constitution, authoring several books, including one humorously titled, "The Fleas Come With the Dog."
If George Washington is considered to be the "Father of our Country," who then is the "Father of Tennessee?" In spite of all the great men who helped found "The Volunteer State," the accolades likely belong to John Sevier.
Eddie Baldwin reminisced about his employment at Wilson Pharmacy at 273 W. Market Street in the late 1950s and early '60s. He lived on W. Main Street within a short walking distance to the store. He previously worked at nearby (Hubert C.) Dyer's Venetian Blind Laundry.
Johnson City's mayor in 1908 was Guy L. Smith, who also worked for the Armbrust-Smith Co, a furniture store at 204-06 E. Main (much later the site of Nettie Lee's Boy and Girl Shop). If we could somehow ask Mr. Smith what Johnson City was like soon after the turn of the twentieth century, he would likely answer us like this:
Dr. Nat Winston, Jr., former Johnson City resident, leading psychiatrist, healthcare pioneer, previous Commissioner of Mental Health and a past candidate for governor of Tennessee, passed away peacefully on December 31, 2013. Susan Taylor Carson, a close friend of the Winston family, forwarded me several notes of conversations she had with Nat's widow, Martha Winston. She also scanned and sent a number of photos obtained from Mrs. Winston.
In April 1891, two years after being in office, President Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901), the 23rd President of the United States (grandson of William Henry Harrison, the 9th President) had begun what was widely regarded as a perilous 9,000-mile journey by train. After the President rolled out of Washington Station, the next morning's newspapers were studded with quotes at each brief stop of well-expressed speeches for which he was known.
The recent passing of W. Hanes Lancaster, Jr. evoked my recollections and fondness of early television comedians whom I eagerly looked forward to watching every week. The following is an brief exercise to see how many of the funnymen listed below you can match with their corresponding descriptors. If you do well on it, you are likely on Social Security.
In 1921, an advertisement in a local Johnson City newspaper contained these words: "If you are going to farm, why not sell out and buy where you can get every advantage for yourself and family?" The real estate ad was placed by Stanyarne Little of the Johnson City Development Company (later known as the Stanyarne Little Co.