Today in Johnson City History: February 8 | Tennessee State Titles
February 8, 1894: The Comet presented its readers with a lesson in history; the deadline was Jonesboro. “In just over two years from now, June 1896, Tennessee will be one hundred years old. The presently agitated proposal to properly observe the hundredth anniversary of its admission into the federal union is one which should meet with the approval of all the citizens of the state. It is in this immediate vicinity that much of its early history was made. It was long about 1790 that Tennessee was first erected as a territory, and on August 7, 1790, William Blount of North Carolina received his commission as governor of that territory, and on October 10, 1790, he arrived at the house of Wm. Cobb on the east bank of the Watauga (sic) river, in Sullivan (sic) county, and about ten miles from there. Cobb Farm is now known as the place Massengill and is about a mile up the river from where Wm. Beane built his first cabin in 1769. Further down the river where the Watauga joins the Holston (sic) river was Fort Patrick, and further up the Watauga, near where Elizabethton now stands, was Fort Lee. It was at Fort Lee in 1776 that Katie Sherrill, then closely pursued by the Indians, jumped over the palisades, about eight feet high, into the arms of John Sevier, her other husband!
“Why did Governor Blount choose such a remote location for the seat of government? The story does not say. It seems, however, that he only stopped with his friend Cobb until he could appoint and commission civil and military officers for the District of Washington, then made up of Washington, Sullivan, Greene, and Hawkins counties. , after which it descended to Knoxville, which became the capital for many years.
“Upon the admission of Tennessee in 1796, Mr. Blount and Wm. Cocke were elected United States Senator and Andrew Jackson was Tennessee’s first congressman. But because of the legislature having made the mistake of providing two members of Congress and four electors, our senators were not admitted. Governor Sevier therefore hastily summoned the Legislative Assembly in the summer of 1796 so that the error could be rectified in time to elect a member of Congress and the presidential electors.
“And it may be interesting to note how presidential electors were designated in 1796. The state was divided into three districts: Washington, Mero, and Hamilton. And the act provided “that the said electors be elected with the least possible trouble for the citizens. Be it decreed that John Carter, John Adams, and John McAllister, of Washington; John Scott, Richard Gammon and Jas. Gaines, of Sullivan, and three others for each of the counties in the districts of Hamilton and Mero, “are nominated electors to elect one elector for their respective districts.” Voters named in the act were to meet in Jonesboro, Knoxville, and Nashville and elect one voter for each district. The three electors thus elected were to meet on the first Wednesday in December, at Knoxville, and “to proceed to the election of a President and a Vice-President of the United States, according to an Act of Congress.”
Jonesboro was spelled that way in 1894.
Cobb Farm, later known as Massengill Place, is now known as Rocky Mount State Historic Site.
February 8, 1917: Johnson City staff posted an advertisement for Masengill informing them that they were selling items such as spring suits and spring dresses, as well as “silks, twills, waists and skirts.” Masengill’s was located at the corner of (South) Roan St. and Main Street.
February 8, 1922: A century ago today, according to the Johnson City Chronicle, “Last night Mr. and Mrs. DD Marable entertained themselves with dinner followed by an evening of Rook, in special tribute to (sic) Mrs. Sam Taylor, Jr., a newly wed at their lovely home on W. Unaka Ave. On this occasion, the reception rooms were beautifully decorated with ferns, flowering plants and Valentine’s Day suggestions. , the picture table with its damask had for floral decoration a cut glass case filled with red carnations and the place cards were valentines. A delicious four-course dinner was impeccably served. At the end of the dinner, the guests, by means of delicate scorecards, found their place at the card tables where the evening unfolded in an enjoyable game of progressive turn.
February 8, 1947: Seventy-five years ago today, the Johnson City Press-Chronicle reported on an upcoming race for the City Commission. “Commander John Roach of King’s Mountain Post No. 24 of the American Legion eliminated himself yesterday as a potential candidate for City Commission in the May election.”
“Three members of the City Commission will be chosen in the May 13 election. Roach was mentioned as a possible veteran-backed candidate for one of the positions. The outgoing members of the commission are: Thomas Mitchell, Mayor Welsford Arts and Sam Fain Mitchell fulfills the late Warrant Officer Dyer’s warrant.
“’I want to make it clear,’ Roach said, ‘that at no time did I consider myself a candidate for the local commissioner’s race. However, I personally believe that the citizens of this community should support the most qualified candidates for this position which is so important in determining the future well-being of our city.
“The Legion Commander emphasized that the American Legion’s Bylaws (sic) prohibit Individual Posts from endorsing as a body any candidate for political office or officially endorsing any organization engaged in political activity.”
“‘However,’ he said, ‘the Legion as an organization has a vital interest in good government and members are urged to actively support those candidates whom they consider most qualified.’ ”
“‘The Legion strongly urges all members who are citizens of Johnson City to qualify so they can vote in the upcoming election and to be active in ensuring that every responsible citizen is qualified as soon as possible,’ he said.”
“The local post office executive committee, Roach said, believes that every veteran should be considered a citizen first and a veteran second.”
“‘It is the duty of veterans of both wars to see that only the most qualified men are elected to local office,’ Roach said.”
February 8, 1972: Fifty years ago today, in an article with the byline of Henry Samples and a date from Nashville, the Johnson City Press-Chronicle reported: “The legislative battle to locate a medical school in Johnson City was launched here yesterday during the opening session of the 87th General Assembly.
“Sen. Marshall T. Nave, R-Elizabethton, introduced the measure that would earmark $500,000 for a second public medical school during a short 15-minute Senate session, making the school’s proposal of medicine one of the first to fall into the 1072 legislative hopper.”
Half a million dollars in 1972 currently has a purchasing power of about $3.325 million, according to www.in2013dollars.com.
February 8, 1997: Twenty-five years ago today, The Tennessean reported, with a Johnson City deadline, “The Mountain Home Veterans Center is now the Mountain Home James H. Quillen Veterans Department Medical Center. “
“The retired congressman who represented northeast Tennessee for 34 years says he can’t take credit for the center’s growth.”
“‘An individual can do nothing without the support of the people,’ Quillen, who retired last year, said at a ceremony yesterday.
“East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine has part of its campus in the middle.”
“Federal officials talked about downsizing or closing Mountain Home in the 1960s and 1970s, but Quillen lobbied to keep his funding.”
The Tennessean was, and still is, a newspaper published in Nashville.