Today In Johnson City History: May 15 | Living

May 15, 1868: The East Tennessee Union Flag reported, “We have now had nearly a month of incessant rain and “still it rains.’ We fear many of our farmers will be late in getting in their crops.”

The East Tennessee Union Flag was a newspaper published in Jonesborough, which was spelled that way at the time.

May 15, 1901: The Knoxville Sentinel, with a dateline from Johnson City, reported,

“The Banking & Trust company (sic) of the city will reorganize June 4, and will be known after that date as the Unaka National bank (sic) with a capital of $50,000. The application to organize as a national bank has been approved by the comptroller of the currency. The same officers will be in charge of the bank: John D. Cox, president; S.C. Williams, vice-president; Tate L. Earnest, cashier.”

Fifty thousand dollars in 1901 is now worth about $1,558,100, according to

The Knoxville Sentinel is now published as the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

May 15, 1907: With a dateline of Johnson City, The Shreveport Journal reported, “The annual encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Tennessee, convenes at the Soldier’s Home here today with a considerable attendance of veterans from all parts of the state. During the forenoon, there were meetings of the council of administration and of the Woman’s Relief Corps. The encampment proper began its session in the auditorium early this afternoon. It is understood that resolutions will be adopted endorsing Gen. John T. Wilder, the present department commander for Tennessee, for the office of commander in chief, subject to the action of the coming national convention at Saratoga Springs.”

The Soldier’s Home referred to is now known as the James H. Quillen VA Medical Center.

There was not a daily newspaper in Johnson City in 1907. The Comet was a weekly publication.

The Shreveport Journal was a newspaper published in Shreveport, Louisiana. It ceased publication in 1991.

May 15, 1918: The Johnson City Daily Staff reported information about a traffic accident. “Mrs. George Searle, visiting her son A.O. Searle, and family, is rapidly recovering from the hurt she received in the accident Saturday in which she suffered a severe scalp wound when the automobile in which she was riding passed under a low telephone wire blown down by the storm that afternoon. Her escape from serious injury is considered marvelous, and it is thought that had it not been for the protection accorded by her hat which broke the force of the cutting wire, she would have been dangerously wounded.”

May 15, 1920: The Nashville Banner reported with a Johnson City dateline, “Stephen Carter, aged 27, only son of Newton Carter, a prosperous Green county (sic) farmer, met death, and his two companions, Jesse Kits and J.J. Featherstone, were seriously injured in an automobile accident that occurred twelve miles north of Greeneville, Tenn., Thursday night.”

The Nashville Banner ceased publication in 1998.

If there were any newspapers printed in Johnson City in 1920, we do not have them in our files.

May 15, 1921: One hundred years ago today, The Bristol Herald Courier reported, “J.A. Carr, R.A. King and Rob Allison spent Wednesday in Johnson City.”

The Bristol Herald Courier is still being published.

May 15, 1929: In a follow-up to a story from yesterday’s column, and with a dateline from Johnson City, the Nashville Banner reported on Gov. Taylor’s condition.

“Gov. Alfred L. Taylor, who was stricken ill Monday night, while attending dedication service at the First Methodist church (sic), insisted Wednesday morning on being lifted into his favorite rocking chair at his bedside.”

“The improvement in Mr. Taylor’s condition came after a night of anxiety that followed a third chill and a relapse, but the strong constitution of the ‘Sage of Happy Valley’ apparently was successfully resisting threatened pneumonia.”

“Attending physicians said that unless complications developed they believed the former governor would be restored to normal health within a few days.”

Governor Taylor lived until the fall of 1931.

The Nashville Banner ceased being published in 1998.

May 15, 1939: The Bristol News Bulletin, with a dateline from Johnson City, reported, “Johnson City’s new reform council will be inducted into office tonight at eight o’clock, and selection of a mayor, city attorney, city judge and juvenile judge probably will be made at its first session.”

“Councilmen taking office will be: Sam R. Sells, Welsford P. Artz, Sam S. Fain, J.R. Zimmerman and J.A. Denton, all of whom had the support of a taxpayer association group in the city election held last Tuesday.”

“Members of the new council are restricted to $300 per year annun, the exception the mayor, who will receive $400, and no city councilman can hold a job to which the city manager or the council makes the appointment.”

Three hundred dollars in 1939 is now worth about $5,716. Four hundred dollars in 1939 currently has the purchasing power of approximately $7,622, according to

The Bristol News Bulletin is now known as the Bristol Herald Courier.

May 15, 1947: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle reported, “Mrs. J.W. Lewis of Watauga is reported to be ill in Budd Hospital here.”

The Budd Hospital was a private hospital.

May 15, 1957: In an article with the byline of Ken Morrell, the Johnson City Press-Chronicle informed readers of the municipal election held the day prior. “Handing strongly organized opposition an emphatic defeat, Mrs. May Ross McDowell and Ross H. Spears, Jr., won seats on the City Commission here yesterday.”

“Mrs. McDowell, widely known throughout the city as a business and civic leader is the first woman to be elected to the city’s governing body. She is the second woman to seek the post in the history of this city.”

“Voters also gave incumbent Viola Mathes a second six-year term on the Board of Education and elected R.T. Haemack, Jr., to a similar term.”

May 15, 1968: “The 1968 graduating class of Jonesboro High School recently enjoyed their Senior Banquet held in the glamorous atmosphere of the Johnson City Country Club Ballroom,” according to the Johnson City Press-Chronicle.Jonesboro was spelled that way in 1968.

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