The Murder of John Salas

John Sallas Monument

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.

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Events

Luttrell neighborhood watch

Thursday, September 20, 2018 - 19:00
Luttrell neighbourhood watch

Luttrell neighbourhood watch meeting every 3rd Tuesday at 7:00pm It takes place in the community building behind the library with speakers each month this can be a great tool for our community to assist one another in brotherly love by watching out for each other. If you need more information contact Jim Bailey at 865-809-4472

Thank you so much
Union County Sheriff's Office
130 veteran’s street suite B Maynardville Tennessee 37807
Phone 865-992-5212
Fax 865-992-2349

Free Eye Exams and Glasses!

Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 08:00

FREE EYE EXAM AND GLASSES AVAILABLE FOR UNION COUNTY RESIDENTS
(South Claiborne County, Washburn, Powder Springs, and Corryton also welcome)
Sponsored by the Union County Lions Club
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2018
8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
150 Main Street, Maynardville, TN 37807 (Union County High School)
BY APPOINTMENT ONLY!
Call Kathy Chesney at (865) 566-3289
Glasses will be distributed 2-3 weeks after this event.
Sponsored by the Union County Lions Club,
In conjunction with the Smokey Mountains Lions Charities.

Hogskin Festival

Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 11:00
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On Saturday, September 29th, Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center will hold its 19th annual Hogskin History Day Celebration from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This event is family friendly and provides a fun way to celebrate the rich culture and history of our Hogskin Valley community in Grainger County. Event attractions include local musicians, artists, artisans, and historians; children’s activities; exhibits of alternative technology; tours of Narrow Ridge’s eco-friendly facilities and Natural Burial Preserve; a silent auction; good food; and a variety of local vendor and display booths.

Obituary

Melvin Corum

Melvin Corum – age 78 of Maynardville, passed away peacefully at his home with his loving wife of 60 years by his side on Saturday, September 15, 2018. He was a member of Fellowship Christian Church in Luttrell. He especially loved the yearly fall festival and The Life of Christ drive thru exhibit. Melvin was a dirt track race car driver and won many championship races during his career. His latest hobby was restoring vintage cars and trucks.

Glen C. Carmon, Sr.

Glen C. Carmon, Sr.-age 72 of Maynardville passed away Monday morning, September 17, 2018 at Willow Ridge Center. Glen was a member of Fairview Baptist Church and a U. S. Army Veteran. Preceded in death by parents, Thurman and Hester Carmon; brother, Ed Carmon; sister, Ina Carmon.

Survivors: son, Carroll Carmon of Maynardville; daughter, Jennifer Buckner and husband, Tony of Luttrell; three grandchildren, Kali Buckner, Caleb Carmon and Christian Carmon; sisters, Mary Campbell, Marie Johnson and Betty Williams, all of Maynardville. Several nieces and nephews.

George David "Dave" Murphy

George “Dave” David Murphy, Sr., age 63, of Powell went to be with the Lord on September 16, 2018. He was a member of Central View Baptist Church. He enjoyed farming, raising pigs, and working. He adored his grandchildren. He loved helping people, as he would give you his last of anything. He was a selfless man of God. Preceded in death by parents Hobert and Christine Murphy; and brother Phillip Murphy. Survived by his wife of 45 years Kathy Murphy; children David Murphy, Jr.

Ermon T. Bullen, Jr.

Ermon T. Bullen, Jr.-May 2, 1932-Sept 14, 2018 of Corryton, known by everyone as Junior Bullen originally from Washburn, born to the late Ermon T. Bullen, Sr and Hila Johnson Bullen. Preceded in death by the love of his life of 58 years, Mildred Marsee Bullen. Junior was an Army Veteran and retired maintenance man from Claiborne County Hospital. He also loved traveling with Mamaw, watching grandkids and great grandkids at sporting events, plays and such and faithfully attended church where he was a member at Union Missionary Baptist Church.

Carl Edward Fielden

Carl Edward Fielden, age 84 of Halls Crossroads, peacefully entered into his eternal rest in the presence of his Lord Jesus Christ on September 15, 2018. Saved by God's merciful grace as a young man, Carl was a faithful member of Emory Valley Baptist Church. He served his country in the United States Air Force, honorably. He retired from Fairmont Supply located in Nashville, Tennessee. Preceded in death by parents Hobert and Amy Fielden, son Greg Fielden, all of Heiskell, sister Ann Tudor of Manchester, sister Geneieve Humphrey and brother Rev. Glen Fielden, all of Knoxville.

Raymond Eugene Clark

Raymond Eugene Clark age 71, of Knoxville went to be with with his Heavenly Father on Thursday, September 13, 2018 at his home surrounded by family. He was a member of Texas Valley Baptist Church. Raymond lived most of his life in the Halls Community and was an avid sports fan of all Halls community and school sports teams. He was often thought of as the Honorary “Mayor” and Cheerleader of the Halls Community. Preceded in death by parents; Jack Raymond and Allene Wooten Clark. Survivors; sisters, Rosalee Clark Highland and Diane Clark Woods. Brother; Phillip David Clark.

James Warren "J.W." Hughes

James Warren "J.W." Hughes, age 82, of Halls Crossroads went to his heavenly home, Thursday morning, surrounded by his family. He was a member of Fairview Freewill Baptist Church. He served in the U.S. Army and retired from Jefferson Smurfit Corp. J.W. loved the outdoors; hunting, fishing and camping.

He is preceded in death by parents, C.M and Mary Hughes; and brother-in-law, Leon Spangler.

Mitchell Elvis Kitts

Mitchell Elvis Kitts-age 62 of Luttrell passed away suddenly Saturday, September 8, 2018 while away in Florida for work.

Mitchell was a Journeyman painter who took pride in his craft. He was employed by Larry Mitchell Painting Company. Over the years he coached his son’s youth baseball teams in the Knoxville Area. He was an avid fisherman and loved spending time with his boys on the lake.

Myrtle Anne Covington

Myrtle Anne Covington-age 59 of Sevierville passed away Sunday, September 9, 2018 at Physicians Regional Medical Center with her husband by her side. Those who knew Ann will remember her kindness and sense of humor. She was a member of Walnut Hill Baptist Church.

Velma Lozena Dyer Davis

Velma Lozena Dyer Davis, age 87, born at home on April 9, 1931 in Luttrell, TN and passed away on September 8, 2018 after losing her battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She retired from Standard Knitting Mill. Velma was a member of Greenway Baptist Church for over 60 years and a member of the Golden Circle Sunday School Class. She loved her garden, especially picking and canning her green beans. Her life was spent caring for other people, especially her family who she loved with all her heart.

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