The Murder of John Salas
This time of year, we never know what we will find when we venture outdoors, even if we go no further than our own yards. I know what to expect from the heirloom plants that grow around my house, but still feel a sense of anticipation, sudden wonder, and enchantment with each approaching spring. I look for the first small blue bloom in a bed of creeping myrtle, my mother planted years ago, next to one place where I “hang out the wash”. Within days, the entire bed of myrtle will be dotted with blue spots.
Underneath the canopy of a majestic black maple, where I have an additional clothesline, daffodils that I planted as a child, catch the morning sun and announce the coming of spring. Once, several years ago, I happened to be under that tree, “hanging out the wash”, when a surprisingly loud creaking sound caught my ear. Puzzled at first, I soon realized it was the sound of sap rising. No doubt this was a familiar sound for our forebears, who tapped the maples for sap, to be boiled down in to maple syrup.
Old growth groves or “stands” of maples were common in our area until much of the land was cleared for cultivation. A close relative of the sugar maple, the black maple can also be tapped for sap to make maple syrup. In the local vernacular, both were historically categorized together as sugar trees. Sugar Hollow was named for its abundance of sugar trees.
For Kelly Maupin, the spring of 1919 must have been one that he never forgot. On the last day of March of that year, a variety of flowering plants were likely in bloom in Maupin’s West LaFollette neighborhood. Early that morning, Maupin was walking along the L&N railroad tracks near his West Ash Street residence, picking up coal that had fallen off of passing trains, when he happened upon a startling discovery. A day later and Maupin might have had a difficult time convincing authorities that he was not playing some sort of April fool’s joke. In a pine thicket, about fifty feet from the tracks, Maupin spotted the mutilated body of a man lying in a pool of his own blood.
It didn't take LaFollette Police Chief J.F. Russell long to come up with a suspect. The victim, John Salas, a Greek restaurateur, was known to take long walks with twenty-one year old Charlie Paul. Salas and Paul had been seen together late the night before. Clothing and shoes, found in Paul's boarding house room, were covered in blood. Paul was arrested where he worked at Harvey LaFollette's Rex #1 mine.
If Salas was in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong person on March 31, 1919, Paul was at the right place at the right time with the right person on August 31, 1919. Paul, the only person, ever sentenced by a Campbell County court to die in Tennessee's electric chair, escaped to freedom when a mob stormed the Knox County Jail in search of accused killer Maurice Mays. Knox County Sheriff W.T. Cate, sensing a brewing storm, had already loaded Mays on a train for Chattanooga. Paul was reported to have been seen near LaFollette, the next day, before vanishing never to be seen or heard from again –at least publicly.
If Paul is still living, he is now one-hundred-sixteen years old. Of course, that is unlikely. Far more likely it is that he has relatives still in the area who know of his whereabouts in the years following his escape. Two of my own relatives, unrelated to each other, a generation apart, facing imminent arrest and prosecution in unrelated cases, fled the area, but continued to communicate and slip in occasionally to visit with family. Neither was ever apprehended, but one was brought back for burial in the cemetery at Fincastle Methodist Church in 1944.
A pair of Salas’ Greek friends, Vasiles Apostolis and Crist Batsis, came to LaFollette from Knoxville to take care of his burial. A Greek cross, with nearly equal arms, above his name, adorns his grave at a Campbell County cemetery not far from where his body was found on the last day of March in 1919.
Historians will record 2018 as the second year in a row of a balanced budget for Union County; likely the most significant legislative accomplishment of the County Commission in a generation. Union County’s budget is one of the most important pieces of public policy the Commission enacts every year.
My husband's widowed mother married her former brother-in-law in our living room. Uncle Charlie had hurt his leg putting down our well on the property of what was to be our new home, closer to my husband's work. The minister said it wasn't written anywhere that you had to stand to be married. We were all seated.
Back to the well. The water table was high at the new place. We didn't need to drill a well, Uncle Charlie said. He would help us pound down a well. It was cheaper to do than drilling a well. The three of us could do it.
Some spices I am privileged to experience from the side line.
That spring evening, my daughter Sara’s softball team was playing the number one, undefeated team in their league. The other team were all 12 years old whereas Sara’s teammates were barely 10. We went in with no illusions of victory. If we were lucky, we may get one run.
At the top of the third inning, Sara went up to bat. At this point, none of ours girls had made it to first base, which was no surprise. At least they looked cute in their red, white, and blue outfits.
The pitcher threw. Sara swung.
I remember when I worked full time in a sewing factory. My mind would wander while sewing. After you do the same stitching over and over, it doesn't take all your attention to do the job. My mind would wander to wondering what I would fix for supper that evening. My kids were in the lower grades in school and came home about the same time I did. They had a long bus ride.
When you run across a snake, their normal reaction is to get away. But if they feel threatened enough all snakes will bite defensibly. If you are bitten, here are some recommended first aide treatments.
Try to determine if it’s venomous or not. If you’re confident it’s not you can treat the bite like you would a puncture wound. Check with your doctor to see if you might need a tetanus shot booster.
Narrow Ridge invites our friends and neighbors to join us for our open music jam on Saturday, July 21 at our outdoor stage just up the road from our Mac Smith Resource Center at 1936 Liberty Hill Rd. We are happy to announce that local artists, Dixie Nicely and Wendal Sturgill, will kick off the festivities from 6:30 to 7:00 pm. 7:00 will begin the open mic/jam portion of the evening when we invite guests to share their talents in a forum that provides equal time to all who wish to participate.
"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
The next regular workshop and meeting of the Union County Board of Education will be held on Thursday, July 26, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. at Union County High School. The workshop will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the meeting immediately to follow.
REGULAR WORKSHOP UNION COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION THURSDAY, JULY 26, 2018 6:00 p.m. Union County High School
1. Discuss School Trips
· None at Time of Publication
2. Budget Amendments and Transfers/Director’s Monthly Report—Ann Dyer
On February 22, 2018, A Call To Prayer was made in the Luttrell Community. Several community pastor agreed to go back to their respective churches and call on their members to pray for the Lord to guide in an effort to unite our churches with a common goal of a Community Worship & Revival leading folks to Jesus the only begotten son of God.
Benny went to sit on the lap of his LORD and SAVIOR Saturday July 14, 2018 at children's hospital.
Benny our sweet angel is the son of April King. Grandson to Sherri and Matt Bridges. Benny was also a brother to Kyle King and Jesse Perry. Great Grandchild of Barbara Brown along with Ronnie and Tina Bridges. Benny was the nephew of Alley King, Jacob King, Ethan Muehliesen, Leah Bridges, Isaiah Bridges, Faith Bridges and Noah Bridges.
Proceeded in death by great grandfather W.L. Carmon Our love for our sweet Benny will forever be. Always our sweet Angel!!
Donald H. Norris-age 64 of Maynardville passed away Monday morning, July 16, 2018 at his home. He was a member of Cedar Grove Baptist Church. Preceded in death by parents, Roy and Maude E. Norris; brother, David Norris.
Barbara Kay “Momma” Burkhert, age 72, went to be with the Lord on July 15, 2018. She had 3 kids, John J. Viglasky, Liesa Canupp, and Greg Viglasky. She also had 3 grandkids Ashley Taylor, Stacey Canupp, Taylor Viglasky, as well as, 4 great-grandkids. Family will receive friends 5:00-7:00pm Thursday July 19, 2018 at Mynatt Funeral Home Halls Chapel with service to follow. Family and friends will meet 10:45am Friday July 20, 2018 at Fort Sumter Cemetery for and 11:00am interment. Please leave online condolences at www.mynattfh.com
LaVerne McLain Cummings, of Knoxville, suddenly went to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Wednesday, July 11th, 2018 at Parkwest Hospital. Preceded in death by parents Ed and Mildred McLain, grandson Chad Breeden, and sister Sandra Leach. Survived by loving husband Harlan J. Cummings, daughter Angelia (Bob) Love, son Brent Cox, grandson whom she raised Matthew (Amber) Cox, granddaughters Amanda Dykes and Brittney Russell, sisters Faye (Roger) Neff and Burlene Tolman, as well as 6 great grandkids. She was looking forward to seeing her great grandson Grantley expected in August.
Michael Ernest Smith – age 53 of Maynardville, passed away suddenly Saturday, July 8, 2018.
Michael is preceded in death by his parents, Ernest and Mary Smith; and sister, Barbara Smith. He is survived by his son, Daniel; sister, Debra (Stacy) Lynn; special niece, Emily; special nephews, Derrick and Aaron Lynn; several aunts, uncles and other nieces and nephews.
Jackie Owen Carpenter, age 83, passed away at home on July 9, 2018. Jack was born October 28, 1934 in Claiborne County and graduated from Claiborne County High School in 1952. He served in the U.S. Army from 1957-1960. He earned his BA from University of California, Northridge in 1972. Jack accepted Christ at an early age and was a member of Salem Baptist Church, where he taught Sunday School for many years. He retired in 1998 from Harrison-Chihowee Baptist Academy (The Kings Academy) after 22 years of working as Business Manager.
Carolyn Lee Underwood-age 52 of Maynardville went to be with the Lord, Monday, July 9, 2018 at her home. She was a member of Grace Full Gospel Baptist Church. Preceded in death by husband, Richard Williams; grandson, Richard Dylangaddy.
Survivors: daughters, Alicia Williams, Chassitty Williams; son, Cory Underwood; husband, Randy Underwood; sisters, Charlene Gouldie, Sandra Bryant, parents, Alice and Robert England; two granddaughters, Mackenzie Mixon and Alyssa Gaddy; many nieces, nephews and a host of friends.
Steven James See, age 35 of Knoxville, went to be with the Lord July 6, 2018. He was a member of Bethlehem Baptist Church. Steven was always a friendly, outgoing young man and always had a smile on his face. He loved going to church and enjoyed fishing with his friends. He was a great uncle to his niece and nephews, as well as, a wonderful step-dad to Courtney and Austin. Preceded in death by father Steve See; grandmother, Bobbie Franklin; uncle Jack McClain.