More About Tattooing

Maynardville Elementary School Group 1945

I knew it! I just knew when I wrote about tattooing that some of that had taken place in Union County and that I would get some feedback. Sure enough, John Brown, an elementary school classmate and much decorated Vietnam War veteran who had lived on Monroe Road, called to say he had participated in a few episodes that, in Maynardville at the time, was called Tic-tacking. Since I didn’t find that in the dictionary and since it is the exact same description as I mentioned earlier–they were tattooing houses.

John says and Joe McDonald agreed that a horseshoe nail works best. He said they used regular grocery-store twine [string]. They only rubbed the rosin on the string where one of them stroked the string with their fingers. Both told me that the noise sounded as if a crowbar was ripping the weather board off a house. I asked whose homes were the recipients of the tattooing. Joe recalled the Garland Bridges home and Max and Joanna Beeler’s (my brother in law and sister Joanna's) home. He said Max came out and shot up in the air with a pistol to try to scare them off. I had to laugh. Don said when Max shot up in the air it scared him so bad he ran down the hill so fast he tripped and fell. Don recalled that they had tattooed the Roy Monroe home.

There were different participants at different times–just whoever showed up for the evening.

John said one evening they went down to the Toby Palmer cabin behind his house, and while his renters were gone stretched a log chain along the loft of the cabin and anchored it with fishing line. Pulling the fishing line made the chains rattle. They waited for the family to come home then would pull the fishing line. John said the whole family ran out.

These clandestine activities took place from the mid-1940s to the early 1950s. Joe recalled that the neighborhood boys would gather about dark and make plans for the evening. On one occasion, someone had unloaded some timbers in the vicinity of Monroe Road . So, they decided this would be a good time to re-route the traffic on State Highway 33 from Walt Baker’s store at the intersection of Academy St. and down Spring Street then barricade both ends with the timbers. These streets are not very wide now, so you can imagine how narrow the little gravel roads were then. A trailer truck or two got re-routed and this created quite a traffic jam.

There was a Greyhound bus that came through Maynardville on its way to Cincinnati and made a midnight stop across from Butcher’s Store. A favorite prank was to get a bucket of fine chat [gravel]; and, while the bus was stopped, throw it against the side of the bus. Joe said it sounded like buckshot, and the passengers would scream. As soon as the gravel was thrown the boys would take off down the hill behind the Stiner buildings getting under the old post office building or anywhere they could hide.

Joe said Lee Turner was sheriff at the time. After the re-routing incident, Mr. Turner called a meeting of the neighborhood boys. The conversation went something like this: Now, boys, I know there’s not much to do around here after dark, but I’m getting complaints. If this stuff keeps up, I’m going to have to do something about it. You need to stop it! Joe said they liked Mr. Turner, and he thinks that pretty well ended the tattooing and other night-time pranks at Maynardville.

While we were reminiscing about the school days and the fun we all had, Don recalled that Taylor Nicely, who had lived in the Palmer cabin about the time of the tattooing, built himself a house. Mr. Nicely, who like many of our ancestors, had not had access to an education and had never learned to read and write. When Don asked Mr. Nicely, since he didn’t read or write, how he measured for the house, he said, “Just so many broomsticks long, so many broomsticks wide and so many broomsticks high.” He showed Don the broomstick. What about the materials; what if the lumber was too long or too short? “Well, if I couldn’t use it one place, I’d just use it another.” Now this was Mountain Wisdom at its best!

Picture Caption: Maynardville Elementary School Group - 1945
Row 1, L to R: Laura Kathryn Monroe, Hope Grizzell, Virginia Satterfield, Eleanor Barnes, Kate Lee, Carolyn Keck, Jack Heiskell, Mattie Jones, Betty Palmer, Terry Wayne Miller.
Row 2: Franklin Bridges, Bonnie Heiskell, Roberta Bridges, Doyle Bowman, Eugene Monroe, John “Johnny” Brown, Don Keith Bridges, Yvonne Bridges, Leo Hartgrove.
Row 3: Donald Monroe, Jimmy Haynes (also identified as Edgar Joe Lovell), H. C. Hartgrove, Thelma Munsey, Joann Wallace, Nancy Fields, Dana Cooke, Joe Lovell, Philip Hensley, Buddy Browning, Elwood Hill.
Row 4: Willa Sue Monroe, Johnnie Heiskell, Evelyn Leinart, Loretta Graves, Mildred Irick, Elvin Campbell, Jack Monroe, Jake Chesney.
Row 5: Robert Woods, Polly Ann Hartgrove, Anna Mae Adams, Evelyn Miller, Dorothy Mitchell, Floyd “Topsy” Rutherford, Mary Alice Jessie Howard Hendrix, __Adams?, Bobby Fields, Joe Sexton, Rush Hendrix.
Row 6: unidentified, Ruby Nell Chesney, Charles H. Lynch-Principal; Marie McPhetridge Lynch-Fifth and Sixth Grade; Teacher Frank Munsey, Roy Satterfield, Horace Haynes, Voyd Keck, Harold Lewis, Marshall Monroe, Junior Leinart. [Page 174 Union County Schoolday Memories]


Help Needed for Under the Tree

Krista Cooke and Marvin Jeffries with the toys collected at American Business Services

Since 1985, there has been a grassroots effort to make sure that every child in Union County has gifts from Santa on Christmas morning. That effort started out under the name Union County Toys for Tots and operated under the Union County Business and Professional Association. Now, it's called Union County Children's Charities Under the Tree, and this year it will serve 427 children right here at home.

Teacher of the Month Mrs Hayley Sexton

Hayley Sexton

Teacher of the month is quite the honor to win. Who wouldn’t want the special recognition, especially out of the many wonderful teachers here? Our very own Mrs. Hayley Sexton accomplished just this. She started teaching biology at Union County High School about two years ago. During her interview, Mrs. Sexton explained how one wins teacher of the month, as well as what brought her to become a teacher. What really caught my eye about her interview was how humble she was about the accomplishment. Anyone can tell she genuinely cares about the children she teaches.

Next Generation Fiber Optic Broadband – Now, It’s All Up to YOU

Next Generation Fiber Optic Broadband – Now, It’s All Up to YOU

A $3.5M grant to bring next generation fiber optic broadband to the Sharps Chapel Community of Union County was submitted by Sunset Digital Communications to the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Grant Program. The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) will announce the grant recipients in March 2019. A public comment period on all grants submitted begins on 28 November and ends on 20 December. YOU can help!

Extension Gives Back

Extension Gives Back

The true spirit of the season is giving and doing for others with no expectation of return. The simple act of kindness can work magic on a person’s heart. Gifts are not always in the form of an item but more so in the love that it takes to make or volunteer to do something. Being oriented in service learning, this season UT Extension Union County groups are in a giving spirit.

Preserving Union County's History and Honoring Our Veterans

Preserving Union County's History and Honoring Our Veterans

A community shows its strength when it works together to do good things. That's what Union Countians are doing. When the new bridge opened over Clinch River/Norris Lake on State Highway 33 between Maynardville and Tazewell and the old continuous truss bridge was being taken down, Preservation Union County worked with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to salvage pieces of the old structure. On May 24, 2016, we met with TDOT District 18 Specialist and the contractor that was removing the steel and acquired several pieces of wind bracing beams and bridge railing.

Local Author Jim Hartsell Book Signing

Jim Hartsell

Knoxville TN: Local author Jim Hartsell will hold a book sale and signing at the Ijams Holiday Market Sunday December 9 for his Boone series of novels, Pushing Back, Matching Scars and Keeping Secrets. The books will be rereleased with new covers through a new distributor December 1. The genre is coming of age Appalachian Fiction.


Union County Election Commission Meeting

Thursday, December 13, 2018 - 14:30
Union County Election Commission

Union County Election Commission meets on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 2:30pm in room 101 of the Union County Courthouse to conduct election business which comes before the commission pursuant to its duties listed in, but not limited to TCA $2-12-116, and to conduct any other business that may come before the election commission at that time. Union County Election Commission, 901 Main Street, Suite 108, Maynardville, TN 37807, (865) 992-3471


William Ralph Mink

William Ralph Mink went home to be with the Lord on December 8, 2018. He passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by his loving wife Peggy of 58 years and his children after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Ralph was born on October 23, 1938 to Buford and Addie Mink from New Tazewell, Tennessee. He attended Hiwassee College where he met Peggy and later attended the University of Tennessee where he received a degree in Pharmacy. His 46-year career as a pharmacist included 36 years at Appalachian Regional Hospital in Middlesboro, Kentucky.

oy L. Southers, Sr. (R.L)

Roy L. Southers, Sr. (R.L), age 86, passed peacefully on Tuesday, December 4, 2018. He was preceded by parents, Worley and Gracie Southers; brothers, Gene, John and Frank Southers; and sister, Anna Ruth Chapman. He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Christa Sparre’ Southers; children, Daniela Pinkerton, Roy Jr. and wife Kathy, Rickie and wife Rhonda Southers and Randy Southers; grandchildren, Jesse Pinkerton, Justin and Austin Southers, Morgan Southers and Remington Brown; and many family and friends. Roy was a loving, humble and honest husband, father and friend.

Leona J. Lankford

Leona J. Lankford, age 88, of Corryton, passed away on December 6, 2018. She was a member of Friendly Chapel Baptist Church. She was a loving and devoted mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Her family and her faith were the most important things in her life.

Leona was preceded in death by husband Grant Lankford; and son Stanley Lankford.

She is survived by children Diane Baxter, Tracey Rucker, Mark Lankford, and Terry Lankford; sisters Betty Hancock and Connie Beja; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Joseph Lance Morton

Joseph Lance Morton, age 48, of Knoxville passed away Monday, December 3, 2018. He enjoyed being a chef and was previously employed for many years by the Chop House. He was a loving husband, father, son, brother, nephew, cousin, and friend. He will be remembered as a kind and caring man with a big heart. He will be sorely missed.

Mary Belle Wilkerson

Mary Belle Wilkerson – of Halls, passed away peacefully Tuesday, December 4, 2018. A lifelong resident of the Halls Community, “Mimi”, as she was lovingly known, was a member of The United Methodist Church of Halls, and beforehand, for many years, was an active member of The Church of the Good Shepard. She was involved in many organizations which included the DAR, Halls Women’s Club, and was a Worthy Matron in the Fountain City Eastern Star. For the past three years she was a happy, active resident of Elm Croft Assisted Living in Halls.

Wanda Lee Key Wright

Wanda Lee Key Wright. She was 75 years old of Knoxville, Tennessee entered the Heavenly gates to be with her lord and Saviour on Dec. 4th 2018 of natural causes. Proceeding in death by Parents Frank and Nena Key of Harriman, Tennessee and brothers Rodger, Earl, Blaine, James, Donald, Ferrell, Steve Key. Also proceeding in death Daughter Pamela. Survived by sister Shelia Alcorn and husband Darrell Self. Survived by Harry Phillips of a 12 year relationship. Children: Melissa Evans, Crystal Hughes, Robert Wright (Bobby) and Gary Wright.

Thelma Ramaglia

Thelma Elizabeth Ramaglia – age 90 of Washburn, passed away on December 4, 2018. Thelma was a member of Saint Teresa of Kolkata Catholic Church.

She is preceded in death by husband, John Ramaglia. Thelma is survived by daughters, Susan Ramaglia and Judy Ramaglia; sons, John (Denise) Ramaglia and Richard Ramaglia; five grandchildren and nine great grandchildren with one expected in July.

Edward Leo Oliver

Edward Leo Oliver, age 82, of Corryton, went to be with The Lord on December 1, 2018. He was a member of Emory Valley Baptist Church. He was a 50 year member of Corryton Masonic Lodge #321, P.M. twice and held many positions during his time there. Leo proudly served our country in the U.S. Army during a two year tour of duty overseas and was honorably discharged in 1958. Leo fully retired in 2002 from Plasti-Line, Inc. after 14 years and more than 23 years at Tucker Steel Company. He enjoyed gardening, college and professional football and Nascar racing.

Wendy Turner

On Saturday, December 1, 2018, Wendy Turner, wife, mother, daughter and sister passed away at the age of 51. Wendy will be forever remembered by her loving husband and best friend of 28 years Johnny Turner; their wonderful son, Brandon Turner (Sage); father, David Cooper (Brenda); siblings, John Cooper (Elizabeth), Darrell Cooper (Jennifer), Nina Goode (Roger) and Amanda Shaffer; she will forever be remembered by her numerous nieces (4), nephews (5), and extended family and dear friends.

Marie (Rutherford) Kidwell

Marie (Rutherford) Kidwell, age 91, passed away on December 2, 2018. She was a member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
Preceded in death by husband Swan Kidwell; parents Tom & Rova Rutherford; sister Edith Flatford and infant brother Arthur Rutherford.
Survived by sister Bernice Flatford; special friends Lawrence & Ethel Weaver and Karen Hawks; many nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.
Family will receive friends 6-8pm Thursday at Mynatt Funeral Home Halls Chapel, with funeral service to follow at 8pm, Rev. Mike Keck officiating.

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