Today in Johnson City History: February 13 | Life

February 13, 1897: One hundred and twenty-five years ago today, the Chattanooga Daily Times reported several reports dated from Johnson City and dated February 12. Readers are told that “Robert Burrow, attorney for JE Crandall, president of the defunct First National bank (sic) of this place, returned last night from the city of Washington (sic), where he went to ask President Cleveland to pardon Mr. Crandall. The prisoner was sentenced to eight years in federal court in Knoxville a year ago for making false entries in his book to prevent the bank from being closed by the examiner. Mr. Burrow has presented a strong petition to the President, bearing the signatures of the judge and jury who tried Crandall and the names of nearly all of the depositors of the bank.Nearly the entire Tennessee delegation to congress (sic), including the Hon. WP Brownlow, accompanied Mr. Burrow on his mission to the White House (sic) All urged Mr. Cleveland to show mercy to the prisoner Ms. Crandall was also in town en route to see her husband in Brooklyn, NY »

Another newspaper article reported that ‘Lawyer JB Cox filed a bill in chancery (court) this morning for John Webb against the Magnetic Building and Loan Association (sic), of that place, accusing usury. The plaintiff claims to have settled with the association (sic) and paid it $152 more than it could have collected at the legal rate of 6 percent.

A supplemental news article reported that “TR Randolph, representing Star Accident Insurance (sic), of Chicago, is about to get in trouble here. Yesterday MF Hickey, clerk of the Piedmont Hotel (sic), swore a warrant accusing Randolph of trying to beat his consulting bill, which was $70.

“Randolph heard this and set off on foot, in the direction of Watson, Ga. The warrant was placed in the hands of an officer, and Mr. Hickey went to Bristol to remove the fugitive, but he has until ‘now escaped arrest.’

“Referring to Star Accident Insurance Company (sic), for which Randolph was an attorney, EB Graiz, state insurance commissioner, wrote that it is not licensed to do business in this state, and that anyone soliciting for it is liable to arrest, fine and imprisonment”.

“Randolph has been here a while and was arrested last summer by the Grainer County Sheriff (sic) for defeating a council bill there, but he settled it and was released. He insured himself, it is claimed, throughout the county at all sorts of prices, and gave only receipts for the money paid to him. Many people are still waiting for their policies.

The same newspaper published several news items with an Allentown deadline, but also a February 12 date. “Miss Lu Holley has returned from a visit to Elizabethton.”

“The remains of Dr. John K. Donnelly arrived from Texas yesterday, he died of heart failure. The body was accompanied by Hugh Donnelly, brother of the deceased. The funeral will take place tomorrow in Mountain City.

“Tour. Lessly is holding an extended meeting at ME Church.

Washington, DC was previously known as Washington City.

One hundred fifty-two dollars in 1897 is worth about $5,100 today, which makes $70 in the same year with an approximate purchasing power of $2,355, according to

Retired Judge Lynn Brown reports that what was Allentown is now part of present-day Hampton, located on the River Doe in Carter County.

The Chattanooga Daily Times is now published as the Chattanooga Times Free Press. In 1897, Johnson City had no daily newspaper. The Comet was published weekly.

February 13, 1922: A century ago today, The Evansville Press reported: “Mrs. George Cunningham, 1011 S. First-st. (sic) entertained at one o’clock lunch Monday in honor of Mrs. Allen Harris of Johnson City, Tennessee, the guest of Mrs. JR Stanley. Later, a theatrical evening was enjoyed.

The Evansville Press was a newspaper published in Evansville, Indiana. It is now published as Evansville Courier & Press. We do not have access to any newspaper that may have been published in Johnson City on February 13, 1922.

February 13, 1947: Seventy-five years ago today, as a follow-up to a story that appeared earlier in this column, readers of the Johnson City Press-Chronicle were told that “the court will be busy tomorrow with the completion of the case against Oscar Crowe and Fred Lytton, charged with attempting to break into and rob the Smith-Chamber grocery store last September, and hearing a murder charge against naturopath Dr. W. Gano Compere.

“Dr. Compere is charged with the death of Johnson City businessman John Kovach (sic) on November 14. The warrant served on the naturopath charges him with treating Kovach in such a way as to cause his death.

“The preliminary hearing was held in Johnson City on November 24 before Magistrate Ira D. Shoun, who tied Compere to the Carter County (sic) grand jury action. The latter made a real invoice at the opening of the court on Monday. The doctor was released on $3,000 bail.

Three thousand dollars in 1947 currently has a purchasing power of about $37,400, according to

February 13, 1972: Fifty years ago today, with Paul Smith byline, the Johnson City Press-Chronicle reported, “Preliminary work on a segment of the Appalachian Highway here is underway…”

“Dozer grading has started just off Lakeview and Mountcastle Drive and a concrete culvert section has been constructed. … Work to be performed by this company will be on State Rt. 137 from North Roan Street to East Unaka Avenue.

“The 4-lane limited-access freeway will connect a similar limited-access freeway section under construction from North Roan Street to Boones Creek.”

“A section of the same highway is nearly complete, between Boones Creek and Kingsport.”

“Right-of-way clearing work has begun and signs have been erected in the affected residential areas at Unaka and Holston (sic) Avenues. Seven houses have been sold and 15 remain for sale.

“One of the structures sold a few days ago and being demolished is the original Brethren First Church building here. It was erected in 1927 at East Chilhowie Avenue and Elm Street.

“A brick residence on the adjoining lot, built for the late Mattie Smith, a lay church worker, has already been sold and razed.”

“Miss Smith was the Literature and Publications Officer for the Church. The house was intended for the presbytery of the church.

“The church, whose congregation was restored to the community of Boones Creek, was dedicated in January 1928. At a fellowship service, the late DA Vines, Circuit Court Judge, delivered the keynote address.”

“During the 3-day series of dedicatory services, speakers included the late Dr. Charles C. Sherrod, president of the then East Tennessee State Teachers College…Dr. Warner DuBose, pastor of First Presbyterian Church; Teacher. CE Rogers, superintendent of city schools … Dr. LM Roper, pastor of Central Baptist Church; … Roy E. Gentry, pastor of the Second Christian Church; the Reverend Ralph E. White, the first pastor; and WH Swadley, Superintendent of Sunday School.

East Tennessee State Teachers College is now known as East Tennessee State University.

February 13, 1998: The Johnson City Press published an advertisement for the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra. The Orchestra will perform “Adventures in Love: A Valentine Journey” on Valentine’s Day at 8:00 p.m. in Seeger Hall, on the campus of Milligan College. Edith Dowd, a contralto, would be the guest soloist.

Seeger Hall is better known as Seeger Chapel. Milligan College is now known as Milligan University.

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