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Stories recall past winters’ news in Jonesborough

This famous downtown photo takes us back even further in time, to the great snow of 1886. While such a snow could easily hit downtown Jonesborough anytime this winter — and even though the streetscape is still almost the same —  we are fairly certain the odds of ever seeing a cow stroll down Main Street are slim to none. (Photo submitted by the Heritage Alliance)


Residents of Jonesborough continued living their daily lives as the participation of the United States in World War I began in the winter of 1917, a hundred years ago.  The cost of a year’s subscription to the H&T was $1.25 a year – in advance.


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On Nov. 1, 1917 the Herald and Tribune informed readers that the “SMALLPOX SCARE OVER – No New Cases Have Developed – The smallpox situation here has improved.  C. H. Haire, the only one who has smallpox, is convalescing rapidly and will assume charge of his business in a day or two.  Miss Ruth Haire, one of Mr. Haire’s daughters, has gone back to her position in high school.  No new cases are expected to develop.”

In other health related news, “JONESBORO PHYSICIAN HIGHLY HONORED – Dr. H. P. Panhorst, at the recent meeting of the East Tennessee Medical Association, which was held in Johnson City, was elected president of the Association.  Dr. Panhorst is eminently fitted for his position and will, no doubt, be influential in making the next meeting, which is to be held in Athens, a successful one.”

“ATTORNEY-GEN VINES HAS NO OPPOSITION” read another front-page  headline: “Attorney General D. A. Vines has announced himself as a candidate for nomination for circuit judgeship to succeed Judge Harmon, and it seems will have no opposition.  Mr. Vines is a self made citizen of Washington county, and well deserves any honor that has been conferred upon him.  He is eminently fitted for the position he seeks and he should be promoted to the bench without opposition.”

Other political announcements during November included this item on the editorial page: “We are pleased to announce the name of HAL H. HAYNES as a candidate for the nomination for Chancellor, subject to the will of the voters at the Republican Primary election to be held December 8th, 1917.”

Democrats also had an announcement: “The Democrats of Washington County are hereby called to meet at Jonesboro on Monday, the 3rd of December, 1917 at 1 o’clock p.m. to select delegates to select delegates to the judicial convention which meets in Nashville on December 10th, and to transact such other business as may come before the convention.  E. J. Baxter, Chairman; Paul E. Carr, Secretary.”

There was an editorial comment in reporting a suit with this headline: “WORKHOUSE SUIT DECIDED AT LAST – Saturday, the Supreme Court at Knoxville, in the case of Alexander Patterson vs. Washington county, affirmed the decision of the Chancery Court in which it was held that the workhouse tax levy was valid.  The suit was entered over a year ago, and the people in general are unusually glad to be favored with such a prompt decision.  If it takes our courts eighteen months to decide a common question like this, affecting only a county, how long O. Lord would it take to settle a matter affecting the whole State?

A teacher’s meeting notice was also front page with a headline and story reading: “TEACHERS’ INSTITUTE AT LIMESTONE – There will be a teachers’ institute at Limestone Nov. 2.  All teachers are invited and especially those of adjacent districts.  9:10, Devotional Exercises – Rev. Munsey; 9:40, Welcome Address – Frank Ruble.” The following speakers and their lecture topics included: “Dean W. J. Wilkinson — The School as a Social Center; Frank Ruble, G. A. McAndrews – History in the Public Schools.” This lecture was followed by lunch and an afternoon program.

The paper carried “NEWS NOTES” from Fall Branch, Bowmantown, Cherokee and Conkling that reflect the daily living of Washington county residents.  Following are few samples of those items: Fall Branch, Oct. 27 – Rev. H.N. Cate of Blountville filled his regular appointment at the Baptist Church Sunday; Miss Epps Haws, teacher in Erwin high school, visited her brother, Frank, here Friday; Madeline, the small child of Dr. H. L. Smith is very sick.  Bowmantown, October 29 – Ben Bowman has his new dwelling house almost completed; Dave Bowman, Jr. entered school at Washington College Tuesday.  Mrs. W. T. Mitchell and son, Tom, were shopping in Jonesboro Tuesday; Several people from here attended the fair at Sulphur Springs Friday; Born to Mr. and Mrs. H. D. Armantrout Thursday, the 25th, a son; Gathering corn and sowing wheat is the order of the day in this section.  Cherokee, Oct. 26 – The farmers of this section are behind in their work owing to the scarify of farm hands; Jasper Hale and Hunter Archer, who are working with a bridge crew at Paint Rock, N.C., spent Sunday with homefolk.  Conkling, Oct. 27 – Mr. and Mrs. Frank Odom and family who have been in Illinois for a few years, returned last Sunday; Mr. & Mrs. Jas Ruble have gone to Cherokee to reside on the farm vacated by John Edens; Born to Mr. and Mrs. John Sauls, a baby boy.

A report from the Board of Health stated: “544 DEATHS OCCUR IN THIS COUNTY – The annual report of the State Board of Health, just issued for the year 1916 shows that 544 deaths occurred in Washington county last year.  Of this number 51 died from pulmonary tuberculosis, 43 from pneumonia, 20 from infantile diarrheas, 18 from accident, 14 from cancer, 12 from typhoid and 12 from diphtheria.

The remaining deaths occurred from various other causes.  Seventy-four infants under one year old died during the year.  The number of births recorded is 857 for the year.  The death rate per 1,000 population was 15.5, while the birth rate was nearly 26 per 1,000.”

“While Jonesboro has the reputation of being a ‘quite town,’” the H&T story began, “it furnishes opportunity to keep its police force very busy, especially on first Mondays.  Last Monday, horse traders from a neighboring county, became involved in a drunken quarrel and a fight occurred.

Chief Boyd was soon on the scene and three offenders were arrested, taken before Recorder A. L. Shipley and fined…”

“SEEKS TO ENFORCE THE COUNTY COURT” read a headline with a dateline “Knoxville, Nov. 5 –A mandamus, seeking to compel the Washington County court to ratify the issuance of $750,000 in road bonds was asked for in the Supreme Court here last week.  The bond issue was authorized by a vote of the people some time ago, but the court thus far has failed to ratify same.  One company agrees to purchase $250,000 of the bonds when ratified.”

Volume 49, no. 31 of the Herald and Tribune was published on Thursday, Nov. 22, 1917.  “SHIELDS FARM WAS SOLD LAST WEEK” was front page news containing the following information: “The Shields Farm on Chuckey river was bid off last Thursday by L. E. Broyles, Jno., G’Fellers and Jno. L. Broyles at $12,000.  According to law this bid may be raised in 30 days.”

Other news items read: “Lonesome Valley, Nov. 20 – Mr. Tilley and niece Miss Elsie Nave , both of Johnson county, and Mrs. Lem Tilley of Rabbit Valley, took dinner at the home of Robert Archer Monday; There was a box supper at Keebler’s Institute Friday night.” The Honor Roll for Chestnut Grove School was announced: “All pupils averaging 90 and above are placed on the Honor Roll.  The honor pupils this month are: 8th grade – Howard E. Keys; 7th grade – Fannie E. Keene, Fred Stover; 5th grade – Mary Keys, William Saylor; 4th grade – Doll Saylor, Jeanette Keane.  Maze Murkey, Teacher.  There will be a box supper held at Philadelphia school in the First District Wednesday night, Nov., 28. Proceeds will go to the benefit of the school.”