Do It Yourself!

Evelyn Monroe Johnson

There is really something to be said for the instruction, “Do it yourself.” It’s the best way to learn, and it’s the best way to excel at whatever you do. This is the title of the cook book Evelyn Monroe Johnson wrote for her family–her children and grandchildren. Evelyn was employed many years at the Registration Office of The University of Tennessee; but, like many of the rest of us, learned that if you will cook, “they” will come. Eventually, I’m sure she got so many requests for recipes and how to do this or that it was just easier to sit down and write them a book.



Why write about screws and nails, you ask? Why not? They are a necessary part of life. I remember growing up during the Great Depression and during WW ll when good ones were hard to find.

Let's look back at screws, first. Phillips screws were unheard of. If they were around, we never saw any. All we had were the slotted ones and it seemed we seldom had new ones. A box full of assorted screws, nails and small fittings was a joy to sort through.

Pineapple Pie

Pineapple Pie

I think most everybody likes pineapple. There's Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Pineapple Casserole and last but not least, Pineapple Pie. I like pineapple any way you fix it. Of course, fresh pineapple is the best, but that is only available part of the year.

Tree of Life


I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

Above is the beginning line of the 1914 poem by Joyce Kilmer about trees. Those of you following these articles about "rightly dividing the word of truth", might ask: What in the world could a poem about trees have to do with interpreting the Bible. Well the short answer is, EVERYTHING!

Set Free

Set Free

Everyone needs to be set free.

Romans 3:10, 23 states, “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one”, and “For ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

When we think of “sinners”, our minds take us to the criminals that law-enforcement officers put behind bars every day. Unfortunately, even the law abiding, honest people are sinners and need to be set free from the bondage of sin.


New Self-Storage Owner Glad to do Business in Union County

Knox Union Storage owners Jay and Erika Gulledge at Spruce Flats in the Smokies

Two Union County self-storage facilities have a new owner, Jay Gulledge, and he’s delighted to be doing business in Union County.

“I’ve found that the people here in Union County are responsible, hard-working, nice people,” he said. “It’s rewarding to serve a population that is mostly hard-working folks that are doing their best to take care of their families every day. Union County is a friendly, straightforward place do to business.”

Work Underway for Sharps Chapel Book Station Grand Re-opening

Sharps Chapel Book Station attendant Sherry Medina meets with Maynardville Public Library director Chantay Collins for a workshop on new library technology.

In just a little more than a month, years of volunteer work and planning will bear fruit as the Sharps Chapel Book Station opens in its new location, the restored Historic Oak Grove School at 412 Oak Grove Road, Sharps Chapel. The school has been painstakingly restored by Preservation Union County volunteers. The book station will move into half the space, with the remaining space available for event rental through the Union County Mayor's Office.

Little Building - Big History

Big Ridge Welcome Center

Not too long ago, I was honored to get to serve as hostess at the first Big Ridge Park Welcome Center. Many people stopped in during the Big Ridge Park Annual Blue Grass Festival. Some people stopped in just to see inside the building or to talk Union County history. One of the things I learned, or was reminded of, is that this little building was the first building in Union County to have electric lights switched on as a result of establishment of the Tennessee Valley Authority and the construction of Norris Dam. I did say “lights”–the building has two overhead lights.

Grocery Shopping During the Great Depression

Grocery Shopping During the Great Depression

There are jigsaw puzzles that depict a general store with goods displayed on shelves as well as placed around the store. A few steps into the door and you were at the counter. That's the way it used to be. “Well, hello there, Mrs. Stimer. How are you today?” The grocer knew all his customers.

Mother only shopped once a month. That was the way Dad was paid by the farmer he worked for milking cows twice a day and doing field work. Forty dollars a month and a tenant house to live in. We had it better than most in those dreary days of the Great Depression.

Comforting Cat

Comforting Cat

Mincey’s Musings
Year One, Week Six

Comforting Cat

An old country song goes, “I remember the year that Clayton Delaney died”. I remember not only the year, but the date and month that Frank Mincey died.

Tell Us A Tale Maw

Tell Us A Tale Maw

Before the internet, before television, before telephones and radio, even before newspapers came to be, storytelling was one of the best forms of entertainment. Folks would huddle together on the front porch, around the fire place, near the pot belly stove in grocery stores, at the grist mill, or anywhere a few could conger to hear someone tell a tale. Story telling has been recorded throughout the world, but nowhere does it have a more colorful and entertaining history than here in the Appalachian Mountains.

Our Ole Cook Stove

Our Ole Cook Stove

Adapted by Shirley McMurtrie

I look back to the days what are gone
When living was simple and plain.
We rushed to the ole stove to be warmed
When chilled by the frost and the rain.

To the end of our days, we'll never forget
Our regular Saturday scrub.
Needed or not, the water not hot,
By the ole cook stove, in the tub.

We loved that ole stove for the things that it made:
The puddings, the pies and the cake,
The jelly and jam and savory ham,
Roast chicken and tasty Swiss steak.

Easy Fondant

Easy Fondant

Mother's favorite candy was a vanilla fondant cone dipped in chocolate, but making it was beyond her expertise. No matter, she could buy a small bag of it whenever she went to town. Other than the infamous Hersey Bar, it was the only candy I knew in those years. I can still see her at the counter in Woolworth's pointing to her favorite candy and saying, “I'll take ten cents worth of those, please.” The clerk would hand her five or six in a small brown paper sack. On the way home, one piece for each of us was a special treat.

Williams Reflects on a Life of Public Service

Union County Mayor Mike Williams

If you're feeling disillusioned with party-line politics, sometimes it's refreshing to look at the politicians right here at home, the people who talk to the folks they represent every day, the politicians who don't see themselves as answerable to a party, but to the people who voted them into office.

Whether you agree with him on all decisions or not, Union County Mayor Mike Williams is one of those hometown politicians. Born and raised in Union County, he went on to serve in the state legislature for 18 years and is in his second term as mayor.

4-H Friends and Family Campaign

First 4H Club

Union County 4-H greatly thanks the community for tremendous response to the 4-H Friends and Family Campaign. The campaign was launched by the Tennessee 4-H Foundation to provide county 4-H clubs with an opportunity to grow funds, gain new support, and increase awareness of 4-H. Union County joined the movement, and with overwhelming donations from patrons in the county, raised funds towards a goal to grow the county’s established endowment fund.

UT Extension Internship

Allison Baugh

Allison Baugh, Knoxville, Tennessee native, is a senior at the University of Tennessee, majoring in Agriculture, Leadership, Education, and Communications (ALEC) and minoring in Plant Sciences. She is a graduate of Knoxville Catholic High School and the youngest coming from a family with much experience at the University. Her older brother was a Forestry graduate in 2016. Also, her mother, from Spring City, and father, from Chattanooga, are both UT Alums. Allison anticipates graduating as a part of the May 2018 class.

President Trump’s First State of the Union Address

President Trump's First 100 Days

Tuesday, January 29, 2018 at 9:00pm President Trump will deliver his first State of the Union Address. The State of the Union Address is given to fulfill rules in Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution for the president to “give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient”. President Trump will have the unique opportunity to speak, in the House Chamber, before Congress, the Supreme Court Justices, members of the Diplomatic Corps, Joint Chiefs and extinguished guests.


Doctor Claudius Meade Capps of Hogskin

Dr. Claudius Meade Capps

Claudius Meade Capps was born April 9, 1863 two miles below Walkers Ford on the Clinch River in Union County, Tennessee. He moved with the family in 1869 to the Maynardville Valley (Nave Hill area) seven miles east of Maynardville, the County seat of Union County. Here he spent his boyhood and young manhood. At that time, there were no educational opportunities in this county, and he educated himself as best he could by studying at home–often at night by a dipwick light or a blazing pine knot by the kitchen fire.