Do You Believe You Have a Destiny or a Calling?

East Tennessee Hospital for the Insane

Do you believe that you have a destiny or a calling? One of the greatest reformers in U.S. History, left a legacy in word and action that continues to inspire me today. Of her motivation, she explained “In a world where there is so much to be done, I felt strongly impressed that there must be something for me to do.”

Dorothea Dix was born on April 2, 1802 in Hampden, Maine. As a young woman, she established and operated a school for girls and wrote several books. As significant as those accomplishments were she did not find her destiny until she was thirty-nine years old. Having volunteered to teach a Sunday School class for female inmates at the East Cambridge, Massachusetts Jail, she was horrified to discover the mentally ill huddled together with criminals and drunks on the straw covered floor of an unheated, unfurnished, room. Appalled, she began to ask questions. She was told that the insane do not feel heat or cold. Propelled by outrage and compassion, she pursued action through the courts. After a series of battles, she won. She began to visit jails and almshouses in other parts of Boston and throughout Massachusetts. She took careful notes, compiled her data, and prepared a report for the state legislature. Impressed by her powerful conviction, the legislature voted to expand Worcester State Hospital.

Next, she traveled to other states on fact finding trips, reporting her findings, and advocating for the humane treatment of the mentally ill. In October of 1847, her travels brought her to Tennessee to lobby for improvements at the Lunatic Asylum of Tennessee. By the end of February 1848, the state legislature had not only agreed to build a new facility, but had passed a resolution in her honor. Opening in 1852, the new asylum burned during the Civil War, on March 13, 1863. The cause of the blaze was never established, but eight “inmates” burned to death. More buildings were constructed over the years. Known today as Middle Tennessee State Mental Health Institute, the facility relocated to much smaller quarters in 1995.

East Tennessee Asylum for the Insane opened, west of Knoxville, on Lyon’s View Pike, in 1886. Known for many years as Eastern State Psychiatric Hospital, and more recently as Lakeshore Mental Health Institute, this facility closed in July of 2012. With an executive fiat from Nashville, we have come full circle since the days of Dorothea Dix, with the insane back in correctional facilities.

Over 500 patients were admitted and discharged the last six months that that Lakeshore was open. The need has not gone away. We are not saving any money by housing the mentally ill in penitentiaries and local jails, as claimed by proponents of the closure, but have simply, in the case of local jails, transferred the role of tax collector, from state to local government, and in doing so have exposed local government to liability. Law enforcement officers generally are not qualified to care for the mentally ill. A psychotic young man was allegedly beaten to death, by those of who had been entrusted with his care, at the Washington County Jail last year. His family has filed a $20 million dollar plus lawsuit against the Washington County Sherriff's Department. The human cost is incalculable.

I was witness to the beginning of deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill in the early 1970s. My father’s oldest brothers, Olaf and Hubert, had spinal meningitis. Hubert died. Olaf suffered damage to his central nervous system. My grandparents could not take care of him at home. By the time my father was born in 1925; Olaf was already a patient at Eastern State. I don’t think my father ever questioned the wisdom of taking his children with him to visit Olaf. I am very grateful. It was a family experience and an educational experience for me.

The main building at Eastern State, resembling a medieval castle, had two wings extending on each side of the administration. One was for men. One was for women. Both wings were demolished, almost as quickly, as they were emptied during the first mass discharges. I recall that the walls, built of solid brick, fell in one piece. Obviously, the purpose of destroying such majestic edifices was to eliminate the option of reusing them once more to house patients.

Like Dorothea Dix I believe that “In a world where there is so much to be done.... there must be something for me to do”. It is my hope that I, like Dorothea Dix, might inspire others to join me in addressing the social ills of our time. As Catherine Booth, Mother of the Salvation Army, said “If we are to better the future, we must disturb the present.”

It is unacceptable that in an affluent society, such as ours, that many who are unable to fend for themselves, wander the streets and sleep outdoors in subfreezing temperatures while others are incarcerated with and victimized by hardened criminals.




Meet Diane Black

Gubernatorial candidate Diane Black

U. S. Representative Diane Black says that hard work and accountability are Tennessee values she learned from her parents. Black, a registered nurse, small businesswoman, and former educator, is a candidate in the 2018 gubernatorial election.

Black recently took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for Historic Union County. Below are our questions with her direct and unedited responses.

Book Signing

Book Signing

Sheri Hensley, my daughter, and I had a great book signing Saturday at Okie’s in Maynardville.

Sheri did the cover illustration for More Tales. Look for us next Saturday, May 19, 2018 at the Plainview Spring Festival. The festival is being held at the Plainview Community Center from 9 am until 6 pm. We’ll plan to be there signing from 10 am until 1pm. We’ll be at the west end of the building near the deserts. If the deserts are anything like last year you won’t want to miss the opportunity to sample more than one.

Shag Rugs

Shag Rugs

Name the hardest rug to clean. Did you say shag? If you did, you are right. Shag rugs are a bugger to clean. Eating supper in the living room while watching TV on your portable TV tray? Did some baked beans roll off your plate and onto the rug? Sorry. The pile will instantly snap them up. Watch where you step. Smashed baked beans are hard to find and hard to remove.

Can We Get There From Here?

Can We Get There From Here?

Since Mother’s Day was Sunday, I want to pay tribute to my feisty mom who tries to get a laugh whenever she can. It’s part of her charm.

Before GPS, Google Maps, and cell phones, if you were lost, you stopped and asked a stranger for directions. My mom had her own unique and humorous (in her mind) way of doing that: “Can we get there from here?”

Let There Be Light

Sun Beams

Light is something we don’t think about much, but almost everything that’s alive on the planet needs light for sight and energy. Human eats cow, cow eats grass, grass grows on light… you get the picture. Scientists have studied light for centuries, but still don’t fully understand it.


31 Million Americans Experience Low-Back Pain at Any Given Time

31 million americanS experience low-back pain at any given time.

A few interesting facts about back pain: low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the global Burden of disease 2010. Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections. One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year. Experts estimate that as much as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in their lives.



We have been studying God’s Covenant with mankind, in particular the “Terms and Conditions.” In the previous two editions of this subject we first examined the “Verbal Agreement” between God and man. Next, we examined the “Terms and Conditions” of the “Written Agreement”. This written agreement is commonly known as the “Ten Commandments.” Nearly every Christian is familiar with the Ten Commandments; however, most don’t know or have conveniently forgotten that there are “Terms and Conditions” attached to God’s Law.

Deep Fried Catfish

Deep Fried Catfish

Catfish? That's not a panfish. I grew up eating sunfish, bluegills and such, really whatever Dad could catch. The closest we came to catfish were bullheads and suckers. There would be sucker runs in the spring near where we lived. As a fish, they left a lot to be desired with tiny barbed bones throughout the flesh making them difficult to eat. I didn't much care for bullheads, either. They looked like small catfish, same whiskers and skin. Yeah, skin. They had to be skinned. Dad had a flare for doing that. I never did get the hang of it. I preferred bluegills.


May 10th Several Pastors, Deacons, & Members of area Churches came together at the Luttrell Ball field to pray for the Community Worship and Revival scheduled to begin July 30th, Jeff Leach, Pastor of Cedar Ford Baptist Church Began the meeting making sure everyone understood this Revival is not about any one Church but this is a Revival with one goal “Preaching Jesus” and reaching out to the entire community.


Need A Ride To Church

Need A Ride To Church

Fellowship Christian Church located at 746 Tazewell Pike Luttrell TN 37779 will pickup anyone in the local area needing a ride to church. Call Sam at 865-607-3741 to schedule a ride.

Worship Services

Sunday School 10:00 AM
Sunday Worship Service 11:00 A.M
Sunday Evening Service 6:30 P.M
Wednesday Service 7:00 P.M


Please join us as we celebrate "Older Americans Month" at Union County Senior Center. Live music, lunch & door prizes will be provided. We will recognize ALL of our Union County Senior Center volunteers and elect a new Senior King & Queen! This is for ALL senior citizens!....... 10:00-1:00 .........Call Melanie at 992-3292 for more info!

Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

"We invite all area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders to come together on the last Thursday of each month at Hardee's at 7:30 am. This is to be a time of fellowship, prayer, and discussion about how we as a community of Faith can work together to have a positive impact on our county. All are welcome!" Margaret Chesney


Robert Wilson Johnson

Robert Wilson Johnson – was born on August 12, 1930 and passed away on May 16, 2018. He was a member of Church Street United Methodist Church of Knoxville and a graduate of Central High School. Robert was a veteran of the United States Air Force. He received a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Agriculture Economics from the University of Tennessee and was retired from the United States Department of Agriculture after 29 years of service.

Edna Kidwell Keen

Edna Kidwell Keen-age 81 of Maynardville passed away Thursday, May 17, 2018 at her home. She was a member of Milan Baptist Church and was a very active member of the Union County Senior Citizens. Preceded in death by husband, Dewey Keen; parents, Ervon and Opal Kidwell; brothers, Tom and John Kidwell; sisters, Marie, Mae, Lillia and Twila Kidwell.

Survivors: brother and sister-in-law, Jim and Rosemary Kidwell of Knoxville; sisters, Ineal Kidwell of Knoxville, Doris Abbott of Sevierville. Several nieces, nephews and a host of friends.

John J. Ridenour

John J. Ridenour, Sr.-age 73 of Knoxville went to be with the Lord Wednesday, May 16, 2018. Preceded in death by wife, Charlotte Alana Ridenour; son, Randy; parents, Elzie and Tishie Ridenour.

Elizabeth Ann Vitatoe

Elizabeth Ann Vitatoe-age 76 of Maynardville passed away Thursday evening, May 10, 2018 at North Knoxville Medical Center.
Graveside service and interment were held 6 P.M. Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at the Narrow Ridge Cemetery, Washburn. Arrangements by Cooke-Campbell Mortuary, Maynardville.

Lawrence Bruner

Lawrence Monroe Bruner – age 86 of Maynardville, went home to be with his Heavenly Father on Friday, May 11, 2018. He was a member of Free Fellowship Pentecostal Church. Lawrence was a United States Marine Veteran and was retired from the United Iron Workers Local #384.

Douglas Lee Hensley

Douglas Lee Hensley-age 37 of Knoxville passed away Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at U.T. Medical Center. He was of the Baptist faith and attended Fairview Baptist Church, Corryton. Preceded in death by grandparents, Verlin and Ruth Hensley; Geneva Powell Dyer; aunt, Rhonda Kay Powell Leeper.

Virgie Asher

Virgie Asher-age 75 of Sharps Chapel, formerly of Hazard, Kentucky went home to be with her Heavenly Father Monday afternoon, May 7, 2018 at Physicians Regional Medical Center. She was retired employee of Clayton Homes of Maynardville. Preceded in death by father, Thomas Stacey; mother, Pauline Stacey.

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