The Tennessee North Rural Planning Organization (RPO) meets on Thursday the 13th of December to prioritize TDOT funded road projects in the RPOs seven county region. Union County does not have any TDOT projects under construction, although the SR-33 project from the Knox County Line to South of SR-144 was recently moved to the Construction Phase.
An Appalachian Ulster Scot’s St. Patrick’s Day reflections
Did you remember to wear something green on St. Patrick’s Day? If not, quite likely you were pinched. Among the mountain youth of the 1970s, St. Patrick’s Day was mostly an excuse for pinching those who forgot to wear green. Teachers would make scissors and green construction paper available so that pupils, who forgot to don the green, could cut out shamrocks and attach them to their clothing.
As a word of caution, I would warn against pinching transplants to the Mountain South, not attired in green, on St. Patrick’s Day. Several years ago, I learned that a female security guard at the East Tennessee History Center, unfamiliar with Appalachian customs, was unaware of the practice. I am glad that I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to pinch her first. Obviously, pinching those who do not wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, is not as a widespread practice as I would have assumed.
That St. Patrick’s Day is not an important holiday in East Tennessee is not surprising. The Scotch Irish Protestants, who settled the Southern Highlands, were a distinct ethnic group apart from the Roman Catholic Irish. Descendants of Vikings who settled on the outcroppings of Scotland hundreds of years ago, they resettled in Northern Ireland, before making the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World. Here in the mountains of Southern Appalachia we have remained a unique tribe forged in Ulster.
Mostly isolated from other Roman Catholics throughout much of their history, Coastal Georgia’s Irish have also remained a unique tribe. Living through, observing, and somewhat participating in their St. Patrick’s Day festivities at Savannah was both educational and exciting for me.
Spring itself, of course, comes earlier in Savannah. After a much shorter dormant season than we are accustomed to here in East Tennessee, spring is definitely in the air when St. Patrick’s Day arrives at the oldest city in Georgia.
The festivities, including a major parade, turn automobile traffic into gridlock. The only practical way to move about town for several days is on foot.
The trek from my Reconstruction Era apartment to the souvenir shop, where I worked along the old wharf on River Street in the year 2000, was adventurous in itself as I crisscrossed grass carpeted city squares that had seemingly become a healthy bright green overnight. Water that flowed through decorative public fountains was dyed green and the dome atop city hall was spotlighted in green.
An organization called the Jasper Greens holds an observance at Savannah’s Catholic Cemetery in Savannah around St. Patrick's Day each year. I didn’t attend the event but read about it in the Savannah Morning News.
After I left the East Tennessee History Center on what was a markedly lowkey St. Patrick’s Day, compared to Savannah’s celebratory occasion, I drove east in hope of recapturing the experience at Knoxville's Catholic Cemetery. I was expecting, or at least I had hoped, to find shamrocks and greenery. Instead, I found faded Christmas decorations.
In the mid-nineteenth century, Roman Catholic Irishmen came to East Tennessee to build the railroad. With so many Irish names inscribed in stone, one could easily imagine for a moment that he was in Ireland.
Adjacent to the Potter’s Field and the Confederate Cemetery, the Catholic Cemetery on Martin Luther King Avenue (formerly East Vine Avenue) was established in 1869 at what was then some distance from town. Most likely, the rear entrance, now closed to traffic on the old road to Rutledge (presently Bethel Avenue), was the original entrance.
Before the Catholic Cemetery was established, Irish Catholics buried their dead in the northwest section of Gray Cemetery (presently Old Gray Cemetery) in a section that continues to be known as Little Ireland. The residential area where the Irish lived east of Crozier Street (presently South Central Street) was once known as Irish Town.
Immaculate Conception Church, East Tennessee’s first Roman Catholic Church, was built in 1855 on the crown of nearby Reservoir Hill overlooking the railway below. The present building was completed in 1886. Confederate Army Chaplain, Father Abraham Ryan, author of The Conquered Banner that became the requiem for the Lost Cause, pastored Immaculate Conception Church in the early years of reconstruction. Father Ryan High School in Nashville is named for him.
Perhaps Ryan inadvertently gave inspiration to the post-war political slogan Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion affixing blame for the American Civil War on the Democratic Party.
What a wonderful time of the year! Celebrating Christmas and the New Year with family and friends, good food, memories of Christmas’ past and creating new memories. The New Year is a time for making resolutions and planning for changes we would like to experience in our lives in the coming year. With only four weeks remaining in 2018, we are running out of opportunities to take advantage of tax planning.
Most of us probably do not even recognize the name of Arthur Ernest Morgan; yet for those of us living in the the rural communities of the Tennessee Valley, Morgan should be remembered every time we switch on our lights or plug in our computers. Arthur Morgan was the first Director of the Tennessee Valley Authority, but he was much more than just a political appointee or bureaucratic figurehead. Morgan, a civil engineer, was an expert in water flow and water control. He was a hands on director who busied himself with the most intimate parts of the TVA: the inner workings of the dams and the communities they served. As an engineer, he designed the dams, made the earth move, mined the rock, and poured the concrete. As a visionary, he designed communities with energy efficient housing and environmental consideration. As an educator, Morgan saw the need to teach the people to use better farming practices and to train people to use electricity to make their daily chores easier.
Almost everyone recognizes the late Thomas Kinkade (1958 - 2012) as the "Painter of Light". His paintings feature glowing highlights in pastel colors of gardens, streams, stone cottages, light houses, and mainstreets most likely inspired by his hometown of Placerville, CA. It is said that 1 of every 20 Americans own a copy of one of his beautiful light filled paintings. Kinkade protected the phrase "Painter of Light" through Trademark. Though the phrase was originally used to describe English painter J. M. W. Turner (1775 - 1851), a child prodigy described as an artistic genius.
My aunt, Bonnie Heiskell Peters, is the family genealogist. In fact, she has published three books celebrating the history and people of Union County, Tennessee. When I first became interested in exploring family history, she warned me that misspellings could be roadblocks to research.
Here’s one story:
Timmy throws his legs over the back of the couch as he gazes at the Christmas tree upside down. Sigh. He just isn’t into Christmas this year.
It all started a couple of weeks ago during lunch at school. All of his friends talked about not believing in Santa Claus anymore. That was for little kids. Timmy agreed with them. Third graders were too big for silly stuff like that.
It seems the greatest and happiest moments of our lives are tinged with a bit of sadness at the realization that they can’t last forever.
Every year on Christmas Eve, all of my sister Anna Mae’s family would gather at her house to eat, but mainly to exchange gifts. Mother and I were always invited, and Anna Mae always gave me most enjoyable gifts. I remember so many of them.
One was a candle lamp with a hurricane globe. I still have that lamp, though I broke the hurricane globe long ago and had to find a slightly differently shaped globe for replacement. Anna Mae also once gave me a wind-up carousel with many mirrors to reflect light. I still have it on a library shelf, though one of the three horses has broken off and been lost.
“There he is Momma!” My hearted pounded. Could it be? I pressed my nose against the back car window and pointed toward the night sky. “I see Rudolph’s red blinking nose!”
My mother gazed out of her side window. “Sorry honey. That’s a blinking light from an airplane.”
“You sure momma?”
She paused for a second. “Yes, I am.”
Anticonvulsant drugs are increasingly being used to treat low back pain, but a new study in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) finds they are ineffective and can have adverse effects.
Clinically, the prescription of anticonvulsants for back and neck pain, including radicular
pain in primary care, has increased by 535% in the last 10 years.
Goneau Gentry Heath was born August 20, 1921 and went to her heavenly home on December 13, 2018 at the age of 97. Goneau was a longtime member of North Knoxville Baptist Church. She was preceded in death by her father, Cleve Gentry and her mother, Bonnie Stooksbury Gentry; Aunt who raised her, Cora Stooksbury; husband of 51 years, K.C. Heath; Brothers, Ray and Carson Gentry; Sister, Jessie Beeler; Granddaughter, Julie Hourigan; Son-in-law, James "Jim" Bean.
Wanda Faye Henry, age 81, of Corryton joined her husband in heaven on December 12, 2018 at Tennova Powell. Member of Clear Springs Baptist Church. Preceded in death by husband Harvey Henry; parents Luke and Elizabeth Everett; sisters Juanita Boling, Iola Chandler, Lelia Davis; and brother David Everett.
Rev. Gains Harrell Lewis, Sr.-age 86 of Maynardville went to his Heavenly Home Friday morning, December 14, 2018. Harrell, above everything else, loved the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour and preached and witnessed so others would do the same. He was saved and was a member of Hubbs Grove Baptist Church and attended Fellowship Christian Church. He had pastored Leatherwood Baptist Church and Head of Barren Baptist Church. He was proud to be a lifetime citizen of Maynardville, Tennessee and was well-known and had many friends and family.
Betty Sue Baumgardner – age 77 of Washburn, passed away on Tuesday, December 11, 2018. She was a member of Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Knoxville. Betty was a loving wife and enjoyed crocheting and quilting.
She is preceded in death by parents, Edgar and Dorothy Glover; sisters, Mary Ann Glover and Nell Harper. Betty is survived by loving husband of 60 years, Reverend Albert “Dick” Baumgardner; sister, Jenntte; brother, Edward Glover; and several nieces and nephews.
Nicole “Nicky” Tyson, age 42, passed away on December 11, 2018. She was an outgoing woman who never met a stranger. She was the happiest when surrounded by family, friends, and her fur babies, whom she was very passionate about. Nicky could light up any room she walked in and will be missed by many. She is survived by fiancé Kenny Thomas, daughter April Tyson (Boo), sons Nicholas Gene Beaver and Hunter Dylan Leon Foster, parents Janice and Jim Shipley, granddaughter Payton McKenzie Abshire, close cousin/sister Kelly Williams, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Campbell, Charles "Charlie" Winton, age 68 of Corryton, adored daddy and the most treasured grandpa, was welcomed into the arms of his Lord and Savior on, Wednesday, December 12, 2018. Awaiting this great reunion day was Charlie's sweetheart and the love of his life, Glenda Kay Campbell, his beloved wife. Also preceding his death are; parents Henderson & Ruth Campbell and sister Katherine Ann Campbell.
Sonja Denise Brown-age 53 of Luttrell passed away Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at her home. She was a member of Mynatt Road Baptist Church in Halls. Preceded in death by father, Leonard Allen Ridenour.
Survivors: husband, David Lee Brown; mother, Reba Evelyn Ridenour; brother, Ronnie Lynn Ridenour and wife, Donna; sister, Donna Michelle Gordon and husband, Gerald. Several nieces, nephews and a host of friends.
Graveside service and interment 12 Noon Saturday, December 15, 2018, Dyer Cemetery, Powder Springs. Arrangements by Cooke-Campbell Mortuary, Maynardville.
Tommy Ray Bray, age 59, passed away on December 11, 2018. He was a member of the Elks Lodge 160, and was an avid fisherman.
Preceded in death by mother AnnaLou Bray, father John Bray, sisters; Kathy West and Robin Burress, brothers; Harold Bray, Larry Bray, and Randall Bray.
Survived by loving wife of 35 years Pamela Bray, brothers; Danny (Judy) Bray of Briceville, Patrick Bray of Rocky Top, Kirk (Tina) Bray of Rocky Top, Clifford (Marika) Bray of Briceville, and special brother-in-law Jerry and Dennis Parton and many nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews.
Regena Kaye Keller – age 65 of Knoxville, went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday, December 11, 2018. She was a member of River of Hope Church.
She is preceded in death by father, Richard Lee Miller; sister, Beverly Faye Murphy; and brother-in-law, Charles E. Keller. Regena is survived by her husband of 33 years, Larry “Joe” Keller; mother, Barbara Jean Pellegrino; sister, Sharon Hess; sister-in-law, Renee´ (Chris) Branum; nieces, Kristina Hess, Kirsten Keller Pruitt and Zoe Branum; nephews, Nate and Christian Branum.