A Union County Perspective on the Civil War

Civil War Map of East Tennessee

East Tennessee geographically is situated almost in the center of the late rebellious states; Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and the Middle and Western Divisions of the state on the west. The question arises why it should stand out almost alone in its devotion to the Union. When the state cast its fortunes with the Confederacy through the dominating influence of the civil and military authorities, a large majority of the people of East Tennessee adhered to the Union cause.


James Heiskell Celebrates 51 Years in Business

Keith, James and Jason Heiskell

A lot of traffic has gone past the intersection of Highway 33 and Ailor Gap Road since 1968, a lot of cars and a lot of people with stories to tell, but one business has been there through it all. Heiskell's Service Center has used a lot of names over the years. It's been a Boron, an Exxon, a Gulf and a BP. But one thing has remained constant, and that's the dedication of owner James Heiskell to making this Union County landmark a success.

Fifty-eight Years of Giving

Patricia McKelvey

Union County native Patricia McKelvey has spent most of her life sharing her knowledge and aiding the students of Union County. A college graduate at the young age of nineteen, McKelvey viewed her future as a chance to give back. Raised in Union County by a widowed mother of three who was also a teacher, McKelvey is no stranger to hard work.

“I started working right out of high school at American Clothing Company making $20 a week,” said McKelvey. “Once all of us kids were out of the house, my mother went back to school and got her degree in Education.”

Paint the Town

Cadie Chappel Painting Li'l Jo's for Paint the Town

The Union County Art Council has sponsored a project called “Paint the Town” and several local businesses have jumped on board to participate. Union County Property Assessor Randy Turner was the first to have UCHS Senior Cadie Chappel to paint the windows of his office at the UC Court House. After telling the Art Council what he hired Cadie to do with the windows in his office, the Art Council came up with the “Paint the Town” Project. He said “he gets compliments all day” on his windows.

What Do You Really Think?

Ronnie Mincey

Two weeks ago I shared an instance in which I let the preconceived notions of others affect the way I felt about my work study supervisor. Last week I shared instances in which I have incorrectly judged a person to be kind. This week I will relate instances where impressions have come into play for (and against) me.
Sometimes I am around those who give their honest opinions about various things and people. I have myself said of some, “If s/he was standing on a stack of Bibles shaking hands with Jesus himself I wouldn’t believe a word s/he said.” I always find it amusing if someone then asks me, “What’s your real opinion?”

Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips

Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips

Has there ever been an Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips place around here? I consider their fish the best ever. I read on Facebook that there is one located somewhere in Ohio. That won't help my yearning for their fish triangles. But I do have the recipe that I will share with you.

You know, copy-cat recipes are published for popular restaurant dishes from time to time. Usually, they only taste somewhat like the desired item. There are even cookbooks published that claim to have prized recipes. This is the only recipe I have ever found to be as good as the original.

Lunch at Kresge's

Kresge's Menu

When you lived in the country, shopping in town was an all day affair. You would plan to eat lunch there. For me, it was the highlight of the trip. I planned my route and time to take me to my favorite spot for lunch. Isn't that a deliciously sounding word - “lunch”? I made a list of my shopping needs. I knew which store sold what at the price I could afford. I always planned to afford lunch.

The Spring Green Light

Sun Face

For all you warm weather people out there, your time has come. The vernal (spring) equinox is upon us, which is the official beginning of Spring, arriving this year on March 20.

The event is not only a promise of warmer weather, it also plays a key role in determining what date Easter occurs, which can move around quite a bit year to year.


A Faithful Witness Will Not Lie

Wash Smith Monument

"Tonight perhaps a happy mother sits on the threshold of her humble cabin and sings a lullaby to her babe or perchance has the children at her side and tells them stories about father’s return. Anxiously she listens for the clashing of the horse’s hoofs upon the road, she awaits the ring of the chains upon the front gate heralding her husband's approach-she listens in vain. The shadows of night veils that home in darkness, a flickering candle is placed in the window to guide his footsteps when he returns: the mountains cast their gloom over the place.

Runt And The Luttrell Fox Hunters

Runt Kits 1984

My Papaw Kitts, known as “Runt,” was a fox hunter. He was my mom’s dad and the oldest of ten kids. His real name was Samuel Ernest Kitts, otherwise known as “S.E.” or just “Runt” Kitts. He had a brother, William Cloyd Kitts, known as “Poss” Kitts, who also shared this love of fox hunting – east Tennessee style.


My Dad, the Lineman

My Dad, the Lineman

Glenn Campbell had a song a while back called, “A Lineman for the County.” My dad was a lineman during the twenties and, again, just before World War ll. Dad worked out of an AFL union hall in Grand Rapids, Michigan. That was how you got that job in those days. Dad worked at various sites in the Midwest. He didn't work for any county.

California Here We Come

California Here We Come

Back in 1960 there were three ways to get to California, the same as now: automobile, train or plane. My stepfather's son lived in a suburb of Sacramento. He hadn't seen his son since Jimmy discharged from the Navy. Jimmy had married and was the father of a five year old daughter. My stepfather was anxious to visit them.

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Remembering Clifford Steiner

Clifford Steiner Mini House

It was a dark and stormy night, as Snoopy would say, when a young Terry Miller first tried his hand at driving, thanks to his uncle Clifford Steiner.

Twelve-year-old Miller was out for a ride-along from Maynardville to Caryville and back with Steiner when the older man became too sleepy to continue the drive. In a heartbeat, Steiner decided Miller was old enough to transition from passenger to driver. This began a lifetime of adventures for Miller with his uncle Clifford and he has never looked back.

Appalachian Quilt Trail

Appalachian Quilt Trail

The sponsor of the Appalachian Quilt Trail is Clinch-Powell Resource Conservation and Development Council (RC & D), whose mission is to promote conservation and development by demonstrating regional leadership, securing resources and delivering programs and services that build strong, vibrant communities. During the past year, I have had many questions and pleasing comments about the Historic Quilt squares painted on East Tennessee barns. I am happy that I can now at least provide some information and guide people to someone who can provide the rest of the answers.

Shirley Temple and Me

Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple was born April 23, 1928. I was born January 11, 1928. That makes me older than that pint-sized movie star. Hold onto that thought and backtrack a bit. Popular names come and go. Shirley was a popular name for girls and boys, too, at the time. I went to school in Joliet, Illinois with four other Shirley's in my class. I even dated a guy named Shirley. He preferred to be called Bill.

Aliens in Your Neighborhood

Aliens in Your Neighborhood

If you know what to look for, you will discover aliens nearby, brutal ones bent on world domination. Some walk around, some fly, but the really dangerous ones blend into the landscape and slowly increase in numbers undetected until it’s too late and they take over. This isn’t science fiction, but a nasty reality show called exotic invasive pests, and many are out to get our forests.