Today In Johnson City History: Dec. 12 | Living | – Johnson City Press (subscription)

Dec. 12, 1894: The Herald and Tribune, reported, “Lee W. Sams, a first-class merchant, of Flag Pond, was in town Monday.”
The Herald and Tribune was, and still is, a newspaper published in Jonesboro, which was spelled that way in 1894.
Dec. 12. 1921: A century ago today, with a byline from Johnson City, The Knoxville Sentinel reported distressing news. “Blair’s Gap, near the Hawkins and Sullivan county (sic) line, was the scene of another shooting Friday night when Fred Yankee, deputy sheriff of Hawkins county (sic), Ernest Morelock and a man named Burgess, riding in an automobile, were fired upon from ambush, according to meagre information received here. Deputy Sheriff Yankee was wounded in the hip by a bullet that penetrated the side of the car. The wound is reported not serious.”
“The car was halted in the road by a barrier built of fence rails. At the first fusillade of shots out of the darkness the men in the car beat a hasty retreat. Yankee returning the fire. After the occupants of the car were driven away the attackers set fire to the automobile and it was burned.”
“Saturday bloodhounds were put on the trail at the scene of the attempted ambush, and according to information received here the dogs followed a trail that led to the home nearby. A rifle of the same caliber as the bullet which lodged in Yankee’s clothing was found at the house, it is reported.”
“It was in this same section that a battle took place between prohibition officers, led by Prohibition Officer Floyd Hopkins, and the Dykes on or about October 22.”
The Knoxville Sentinel is now published as the Knoxville News-Sentinel. We do not have access to any newspapers published in Johnson City in 1921.
Dec. 12, 1946: Seventy-five years ago today, readers of the Johnson City Press-Chronicle learned that “Christmas should be something to bring peace and happiness to the world, Dr. Ferguson Wood, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, told members of the Johnson City Business and Professional Women’s Club at a dinner session Monday night at John Sevier Hotel.”
“The meeting emphasized ‘giving’ and members brought gifts to be sent to sister club members overseas. Leola Daugherty was in charge.”
“Pointing out that that people are growing up in a spirit of cynicism, when there are many who would have ‘us believe that Christmas is a costly season, that it is foolish to buy gifts, that people are too busy to waste time on such foolishness,’ Dr. Wood emphasized the art of giving.”
“’Christmas gives to the world something the world needs,’ he declared, ‘and if there ever was a time that people needed to give, it is now. Man cannot live by bread alone.’”
“Referring to ‘Christmas as an alabaster box of ointment,’ the speaker urged the giving of something foolish. He added that ‘it isn’t enough to give. Love doesn’t count the cost.’”
Dec. 12, 1947: According to the Johnson City Press-Chronicle, “Kyle Edward Chinouth, 20, of Johnson City, route (sic) 3, received treatment yesterday at Appalachian Hospital for a sprained left knee sustained while playing ball at East Tennessee State College, where he is a student.”
Appalachian Hospital was a forerunner of Memorial Hospital, which was the forerunner to Johnson City Medical Center.
Dec. 12, 1953: With a dateline of Johnson City, The Knoxville News-Sentinel reported, “The Johnson City Hilltoppers rolled to their third straight basketball triumph here last night, outclassing Boons (sic) Creek, 71-42.” Sidney Smallwood was the Hilltoppers coach.
The Knoxville News-Sentinel is still in publication.
Dec. 12, 1971: Fifty years ago today, Johnson City Press-Chronicle readers learned, in an article carrying the byline of Henry Samples that “The National Commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars yesterday endorsed Johnson City as a site for a Teague Bill-supported medical school.”
“Joseph L. Vicites, commander of some 10,000 VFW posts throughout the country, toured Mountain Home and East Tennessee State University yesterday and added his endorsement to the drive underway to locate a school here.”
“He said the VFW will be extending its full support to have the Teague Bill enacted into law and Johnson City designated for one of the five schools.”
“Vicites said location of a school here would ‘improve veterans’ medical care and be invaluable in recruiting and retaining doctors and paramedical personnel at the five VA facilities which are selected.’”
“‘I am sure a proper evaluation will prove Johnson City is ideally suited for one of these five projects,’ he said.”
Dec. 12, 1973: Readers of the Johnson City Press-Chronicle read details of the Christmas tree display at the Carroll Reece Museum at East Tennessee State University. “The Johnson City Council of Garden Clubs and the Reece Museum are responsible for the display of trees set up by members of local garden clubs. The trees fit the theme, ‘Christmas Kaleidoscope’, which permitted garden club members to use their imagination when decorating their trees.”
Dec. 12, 1979: Lewis Grizzard provided readers with a chuckle in his column in the Johnson City Press-Chronicle. Mr. Grizzard was writing about a sign that said, “Bad Dog.” He opined, “If the dog is so bad you have to put up a warning sign, by the time I’m close enough to read it, I’m probably already a Gaines Burger.”
Dec. 12, 1986: With a dateline of Atlanta, the Johnson City Press reported, “Emmanuel School of Religion, a graduate seminary in Johnson City, has received full accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.”
The article continued to say, “Calvin L. Phillips, Emmanuel president, said he was ‘especially pleased to receive a 10-year accreditation on our page-front application. It adds to the credibility of our academic program and ensures our churches and supports of the quality of our programs.’”
Dec. 12, 1996: Twenty-five years ago today, with a byline from Jim Wozniak, Johnson City Press readers learned about a beneficiary of The Christmas Box, a nonprofit that has been sponsored by the newspaper since the early 1920s. “Deciding to leave her abusive husband was relative easy for Martha. Actually packing the car and leaving was another story.”
“But after her children saw one of the monthly incidents of physical abuse and Martha sensed her husband was ready to abuse her again, she decided to leave him permanently. Her decision also was prompted by an argument he and her mother had that left her children crying.”
“So Martha (not her real name) moved with four children to Johnson City, first staying at Safe Passage, a domestic violence shelter, before moving into public housing. She is still married to her husband though.”
“Life has changed in other ways. Gone is any share of her husband’s $15-an-hour income. Now she lives on food stamps and receives TennCare. She was working, making $5 an hour, but Martha is pregnant by her husband, and her doctor has ordered her to the sidelines.”
“’He drank a lot and was pretty rough when he was drinking,’ Martha said.”
“She said her husband never hit her four children who were fathered by her two other husbands, but when they had their last major argument, he pushed them out of the way and took the phone out of their hands when they tried to call 911.”
“Martha said her husband usually would stop drinking for a few months after abusing her, but after the incident her children witnessed, he did not stop drinking or receive counseling. He left, but Martha let him come back after he said he would stop drinking.”
Fifteen dollars in 1996 is now equivalent to about $26.44, so five dollars would be worth approximately $8.81 in today’s dollars, according to
Rebecca Henderson is a contributing columnist for Johnson City Press.
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