Today In Johnson City History: Dec. 9 | Living | – Johnson City Press (subscription)

Dec. 9, 1840: The Whig reported news of the death of Mrs. Jane Robinson. Mrs. Robinson was 53 years old, and was the wife of John Robinson. “Mrs. R. was a worthy member of the Baptist Church, and died in the triumphs of her faith of that Gospel, which has brought ‘life and immorality to light.’”
The Whig was a newspaper published in Jonesborough, which was spelled that way in 1840.
Dec. 9, 1875: The Herald and Tribune, a newspaper in Jonesborough, gave a recipe for “soft cake.” Readers were instructed thusly: “A cupful of molasses, half a cupful of lard, a dessert-spoonful of soda dissolved in half a cupful of boiling water, a teaspoonful of ginger, one of salt, four cupfuls (sic) and a half of flour.”
There was no mention of how long to bake the cake, nor the kind of pan to bake it in.
The Herald and Tribune was, and still is, a newspaper in publication in Jonesborough, which was spelled that way in 1875.
Dec. 9, 1896: One hundred and twenty-five years ago today, the Herald and Tribune reported “The W.C.T.U. meets every Thursday in the basement of the First Presbyterian Church at two thirty o’clock P. M. The first Thursday is a meeting for reports of local superintendents of work done in the month. The second Thursday is the monthly Bible reading. The third, we have the responsive readings on the different departments of work. Fourth Thursday, mothers’ meeting. The public are cordially invited to attend any of these meetings.”
As noted above in today’s column, the Herald and Tribune was, and still is, a newspaper published in Jonesboro, which was spelled that way in 1896, according to the newspaper.
Dec. 9, 1897: The Comet quipped, “This has been a week of feasting and thanksgiving with us. Our neighbors all killed hogs and remembered the poor with their customary generosity. It’s offal nice of them and we wish them continued success in their hoggishness.”
Dec. 9, 1916: The Johnson City Staff reported, ‘Of much surprise and interest to their many friends in Johnson City will be the announcement of the marriage of Miss Mildred Exum and Mr. Wm. Kyle Worley, made public by Mr. and Mrs. Wm. J. Exum today.”
The article further explained, “The young couple were married by Judge W.C. Pierce, uncle of the groom, on June 9th, and on account of their youth kept the matter secret until yesterday. Their wedding was solemnized last evening by the Rev. W.A. Jonnard, rector of St. John’s church (sic), with the Episcopal ceremony, only the families and near relatives of the young couple being present.”
Dec. 9, 1921: A century ago today, The Journal and Tribune reported tragic news from Johnson City, with a dateline from the same. “Fire of undetermined origin destroyed the drying sheds and a large amount of stock of the L.J. Ambrister Stave company (sic) early this morning. The stock destroyed included 800,000 staves, 300,000 of which were ready for shipment. A small amount of machinery in the building was destroyed. Slight damage was done to the adjoining barrel factory, an adjunct to the concern. The main building and mill was saved.”
“The loss, amounting to about $10,000, only partially covered by insurance, was suffered largely by Dr. J.H. Preas, of this city. The operation of the plant had been in charge of L.J. Ambrister.”
“Due to the location in a comparatively localized portion of the city, the fire had gained considerable headway before it was discovered.”
According to, $10,000 in 1921 is currently worth approximately $154,518.
The Journal and Tribune was a newspaper that was published in Knoxville. It ceased publication in 1924. We do not have access to any newspapers that were published in Johnson City in 1921.
Dec. 9, 1938: The Johnson City Chronicle somehow intercepted and printed several letters that had been mailed to Santa Claus. One of the most heart-breaking letters was from Gladys Stanley of 209 New St.
Gladys wrote, “Dear Santa Claus: Please bring me some things for Christmas. I am a little girl, Four years old and my Father has no got any work to buy me any thing he has been sick for 3 months and if you dont bring me some things I wont get any thing. I want you to bring me a doll and candy and some shoes and dresses. I have got a brother and sister I want you to bring them some thing. Will close hoping to see you Christmas.”
Dec. 9, 1946: Seventy-five years ago today, the Kingsport Times informed readers, “The B Sharp Music Club met with Sarah Lou Basinger recently with Barbara Gott as co-hostess.”
“After the minutes of the last meeting were read, a short business session was held. Each member was asked to bring a new members to the next meeting.”
“The study hour, ‘The Life of Schubert’ was under the direction of Mrs. J. Gillenwater.”
“Two piano selections were given. ‘Birthday March,’ by Barnett, played by Sue King and ‘Amaryllis,’ played by Catherine Ann Jones.”
“One new member, Margaret Bright, was introduced to the club, and one visitor, Joyce Gillenwater, was present at the meeting.”
The Kingsport Times is now published as the Kingsport Times News. The Johnson City Press-Chronicle was not published on Mondays in 1946. In that year, Dec. 9 fell on a Monday.
Dec. 9, 1971: Fifty years ago today, the Johnson City Press-Chronicle reported news about the proposed medical school for Johnson City. In an article carrying the byline of Henry Samples, readers learned that “Sen Vance Hartke, chairman of the committee presently considering the Teague Bill, will visit Johnson City Wednesday in connection with the measure, Hartke’s office said yesterday.”
“Frank Brizzi, Hartke’s administrative assistant, said the Indiana Senator will make an on-site inspection of Mountain Home and will also tour East Tennessee State University ‘if time permits.’”
“Hartke is chairman of the Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee, the group presently is considering a measure which could lead to the establishment of five medical schools throughout the country.”
Dec. 9, 1972: Readers of the Johnson City Press-Chronicle were greeted with over-the-masthead scores of several high school basketball games from the night before. Science Hill beat Unicoi County by a score of 59 to 54. Happy Valley defeated University High, 55 to 42. Hampton won over Daniel Boone by a score of 65 to 61, and Elizabethton defeated Sullivan East, 71 to 55.
Rebecca Henderson is a contributing columnist for Johnson City Press.
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