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
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.
I enjoy receiving correspondence from folks who once worked at long-deceased businesses. Such was the case for Ledford's Food Center, once located at 206 N. Roan, just down the street from The Gables, a popular confectionery.
I thoroughly enjoyed my years at the University of Tennessee while pursuing my engineering degree. While I have many favorable reminiscences from that era, there is a particularly bad one that occurred on Feb. 1, 1965 when I was a junior. The forecast for that wintry, 15-degree Monday morning was rain turning to sleet, followed by an accumulation of up to 6-inches of snow by early afternoon.
The Original Carter Family, who resided in Maces Springs adjacent to Clinch Mountains, became a legend in the early country music field. The original singers, comprised of Mother Maybelle Addington Carter; her brother-in-law, A. P. Carter; and his wife, Sara Dougherty Carter, produced a vast assortment of country music hits. A.P acquired an remarkable collection of songs that he either wrote or rescued from obscurity.
According to T.C. Karns, a Tennessee history writer from around the turn of the century, “old field" schools existed in this country in the 1800s, each standing in a crop-depleted field, hence the name. They were centrally located in a village to allow near-equal distance access by area students. That would have been the type of grammar school familiar in the little village of city founder, Henry Johnson.
Today's column is a quiz to see if you can identify in which year all of the 19 items below appeared in the Johnson City Press-Chronicle newspaper. The answer is revealed in the last paragraph. I will narrow the choices to 1951, 1956, 1961, 1966, 1971 and 1976. Read on and take a trip down East Tennessee's memory lane:
In 1870, an unidentified writer, whom I will refer to as Mr. John Doe, described a train trip he took to Clinch Mountain. The range was about 25 miles south of the Cumberland River and ran nearly parallel with it for many miles, with several breaks and name changes.