Jay "Terry" Prater, an avid fan of the Johnson City History/Heritage page, has been in the ministry for over 50 years. He has pastored churches in several states, along with East Park and Oakland Avenue Baptist churches in Johnson City. He recently shared some photos from his early years in Johnson City.
I recently uncovered two interesting articles from my yesteryear collection. Tom Hodge, a former Johnson City Press writer, penned the first one in April 1987. It contained an unidentified, undated poem sent to the columnist by Rena Helvey, providing a less-than-complimentary but interesting lyrical reflection of the old city:
In 1911, The Progressive Farmer, a popular rural oriented monthly magazine, started a crusade to promote the painting of southern farmhouses. The publication noted that painting a house added greatly to its beauty and attractiveness of the entire farm on which it was situated. In addition, there could be no doubt that it created a subtle psychological effect in bringing the residents to a more cheerful frame of mind.
In April 1895, Charles Russell, a longtime resident of Jonesborough, Tennessee, gave readers of the Herald and Tribune newspaper an unusual story to read. Here is a paraphrase of his account.
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:
John Thompson recently wrote an article for the Press concerning Nicholas ("Nick, the Hermit") Grindstaff (1851-1923), a celebrated legend of yesteryear who spent most of his adult life in solitude on 4,000-foot Iron Mountain in Johnson County. My aunt, Doris Cox Anderson, reminded me that Nick was her husband Dana's great uncle. He shared added facts about his kin.
Dr. Frans M. Olbrechts (1889-1958), a Belgian anthropologist with the Smithsonian Institute, became known for his work with seven Indian tribes, which included the Cherokees. Of particular interest was his documenting of atypical native American customs.
The Powell County "history mystery" that I wrote about a few weeks ago has been partially resolved, thanks to the excellent publication, History of Washington County (compiled by the Watauga Association of Genealogists, Upper East Tennessee, 1988).
Walter Blevins, alias Walter Curtis, alias Walter Dean, a criminal with Johnson City connections in 1917, rivaled the exploits of Jesse James with his attention-grabbing experiences and daring adventures. Although Blevins boasted that he belonged to the famous Harvey Logan clan, his claim was disputed.
Recently, I read an interesting entry from Jeff Fleming's impressive (www.kingsportblogger.com) website, written in 2008 about a Powell County being located in East Tennessee in 1839. An inspection of a current map offers no hint of the county.