A Tree Connection to the Declaration of Independence

When holidays roll around, I like to poke around for a connection with the natural world, and I found some interesting stuff about The Declaration of Independence. This most revered American document kicked off our nation’s quest to rule itself, which we celebrate on the 4th of July, Independence Day.

Were I to ask what tree derived material was used to create this famous document, a lot of folks would think it’s the paper, which is a good guess but wrong. Early drafts of the document were likely written on paper made of hemp or flax fiber mixed with recycled cotton cloth fibers, which was the standard paper of the day. For important documents like the Declaration, they used the more expensive parchment paper, which is specially treated animal skin, sheep most likely. It’s very durable and had been in use for centuries.

So, the only thing left is the ink, and that’s it. The ink used to write the Declaration was called Oak Gall Ink, made with an acid obtained from oak galls. These are ball-like structures growing on oak leaves, and you may have seen them on oak leaves or other tree species. They are caused by an insect called the gall wasp. The female wasp lays an egg in leaf buds in the spring, which hatches a worm-like larvae. It feeds on the leaf bud and injects a secretion that causes the bud to modify its growth and grow a ball of spongy material around the larvae. The resulting gall protects the larvae until it metamorphs into an adult. The gall is very high is tannic acid, which was collected from the forest and processed into a liquid that was mixed with iron sulfate to create a dark purplish-black ink. A binder called gum arabic was added to the ink, which is also a tree derived product from the sap of acacia trees growing in northeast Africa. This ink goes way back in time and was used during the early Roman Empire, and many drawings by Leonardo da Vinci were done using oak gall ink.

The combination of oak gall ink on parchment created a very durable document. The parchment was tough and holds up well over time. The ink was water resistant and would adhere to the parchment so well that it could not be erased except by scraping a thin layer off the writing surface. This durability turned out to be crucial or we wouldn’t have the original document on display in Washington DC, where it is now protected in a titanium case filled with argon gas to reduce deterioration. But back in the day the original document was simply rolled up and carried around in a saddlebag by the Continental Congress and shown to whoever wanted to see it. Later it ended up on the wall of the patent office and hung there for 30 years near a bright window. It faded but endured until somebody recognized it was an important document and started protecting it. The original Bill of Rights and Constitution were also written using parchment and gall ink.

One other piece of trivia I picked up is that there is something written on the back of the Declaration of Independence: "Original Declaration of Independence, dated 4th July 1776" written at the bottom of the document, upside down. Have a great 4th and remember your freedom’s not free.




Children's Center Looking for Community Support

In many cases, children who have been sexually or physically abused must visit several agencies at multiple locations in order to get the support they need. Children’s Centers were created to assist in providing a safe haven for then youths. They provide a place where the children can, instead of visiting multiple agencies, come to one location where specially trained professionals collaborate to facilitate a child friendly environment where the child knows he or she will be safe.

Explore Fresh at the Farmers Market

Farmers Market Fresh Program Assistant, Allison Campbell, sharing a weekly recipe sample with Emmagayle and Jennagrace Maloe at Union County Farmers Market

The pantry is empty and the refrigerator is bare, time to shop for groceries. As you drive to your favorite grocery store, you know the routine. Enter the store, grab a buggy, and browse aisles upon aisles of products. After your cart is full and all items are checked off your list, you will head for the front to pay, hoping of course, to find the shortest and fastest checkout.

Big Ridge State Park 35th Annual Music Festival

Stone Creek Band

Stone Creek Band at Big Ridge 35th Annual Music Festival

Big Ridge State Park’s 35th Annual Music Festival was held on August 16, 2019 from 4pm-9:30 pm.

If you ask me, Big Ridge State Park is an excellent place to host a Bluegrass Music Festival. It lies somewhere between Rocky Top and the Great Smoky Mountains inside of Union County, Tennessee.

Wood Dale, Wood-Dale, Wood-dale, or Wooddale?

Our Union County Heritage: A Historical and Biographical Album of Union County—People, Places, Events by Kathleen George Graves and Winnie Palmer McDonald (© 1978 Josten’s) relates the following information pertaining to the establishment for Wood Dale School:

WOOD DALE—June 16, 1898, (P-350). Jackson Boruff and wife to the School Directors of District 3, for love and affection, a lot for a public school, so long as it is used for a school—if abandoned, it falls back to the Boruff heirs. (p. 180)

The Whistler

My father was a whistler. You seldom hear a man whistle these days. Maybe to call a dog or to get someone's attention, but not to whistle a melody. There was a time when cell phones, CDs and DVDs were not available. Whistling was a way to amuse or comfort yourself with a familiar song or hymn.

How do you whistle? It takes some practice and can be either harsh or harmonious. Just put your lips together and say “two.” Now blow. It will take some practice but eventually you will get it right. It will take a while to make enough variety of sounds to whistle a tune.

More on Kids With Back Pain

A major contributor to kids’ back pain is the backpacks they use to tote their stuff, researchers in a new study said. Those who used one strap to carry their packs reported significantly more back pain than did those who used both straps. Those who used rolling backpacks reported back pain the most often. It wasn’t clear whether pain prompted their use of the rolling packs or whether the rolling packs contributed to their pain.

Who Sees the Best Rainbow

Humans are apparently hard-wired to love seeing rainbows, as proven by all the Facebook photo postings that pop up whenever one appears in our area. But have you ever wondered if, say your dog sitting beside you, sees the same rainbow you do? Or how about other animals? Let us delve into color vision by various residents of our planet.

Wrong Trip

Maybe I should have been a stunt woman. Since I have tripped and fallen most of my life, I have become an expert at it. Especially on stairs.

When I was 12 years old, I sang in the seventh grade choir. Let me make one thing perfectly clear: I can’t sing. At all. I basically was in it for my mom’s sake. She loves music and studied it in school, so she was always excited when I joined a choir. Also, it was a good excuse to drag my dad to a concert.

Raspberries, Dewberries, and Blackberries

Dewberries, free clipart

When my father retired and moved to Paradise, Utah, he wanted to grow anything and everything. And he was pretty much successful in most of what he planted. The man had a green thumb! I especially remember the delicious fruit: cherries, apples, sand cherries, strawberries, peaches….


Luttrell neighborhood watch

Tuesday, August 20, 2019 - 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

Got Questions about Homeschooling?

Thursday, August 22, 2019 - 18:00

The local chapter of the TN Home Education Association (known as SMHEA.org) will be having a parent's informational meeting on "Homeschooling in TN” at Hardees in Maynardville on Thursday, August 22, 6:00 to 7:30 pm. . The meeting will be held in Maynardville and is titled "Homeschooling 101". If you are interesting in obtaining more information about educating your child at home, Contact Connie Dickey regarding the place, date and time for the informational meeting. (865-888-4383).

Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

Thursday, August 29, 2019 - 07:30
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!" For more information please contact Kathy Chesney at 865-566-3289.

Thunder in the park cruise in

Saturday, August 31, 2019 - 17:00

August 31, 2019 5pm to ? at Wilson Park, Hwy 33, Maynardville TN (next to Union County High School)

Lots of door prizes for cruise in participants Food vendors in the park Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy an evening of fun and fellowship with family and friends.
This is a free event open to all makes/models vehicles Tractors and motorcycles are welcome
For more info call Gary England 865-705-9147 or Diane England 865-705-5501


Walter Michael Darden

Walter Michael Darden, age 76, passed away August 18, 2019. Mike was a plumber by trade for over 50 years. He loved fishing and his time on the lake. Preceded in death by parents; father Walter James Darden and mother Florida Mae Darden, sister Judy Darden. He is survived by daughter Sherri Darden, sons; Mike Darden (Peggy), Jody Darden and Tommy Darden (Cindy) brother; Jim Darden (Evelyn), several grandchildren and great grandchildren, honorary daughter Missy Beeler, special friends; Gene McMillian, Hubert Weaver, Johnny Stafford, Larry Greenlee, Dennis Drinnon and Mary Mease.

Goldie Langley

Goldie Langley – age 79 of Maynardville, went to meet her Heavenly Father on Saturday, August 17, 2019. She was a member of Oaks Chapel American Christian Church. Goldie enjoyed the outdoors doing her yard work and cherished her time with her family.

Jake Lee Nicely

Jake Lee Nicely-age 63 of Luttrell, born February 27, 1956 passed away Friday, August 16, 2019 at Willow Ridge. He was a member of Emory Road Baptist Church. Preceded in death by wife, Betty Nicley; mothers, Maude Nicely and Hazel Strevel; father, Neil Brown; brothers, Jim Nicely, Reo Strevel, Tom Strevel; niece, Samantha Chamberlain; nephews, Chucky Roach and Johnny Strevel.

Guy William Merritt

Guy William Merritt, age 67 of Knoxville, passed away Thursday, August 15, 2019. He was an accomplished athlete throughout his entire life. He attended West High School and graduated from Farragut High School in 1970. He later attended Roane State Community College. He served his country with distinction in the United States Army for 28 years, starting with a tour in Vietnam in 1970. He proudly served as a member of the 11th Armored Calvary, 101st Airborne, and Pukin’ Dragons.

Georgia J. Moore Cole

Georgia J. Moore Cole-age 89 of Sharps Chapel passed away Thursday morning, August 15, 2019 at Beverly Park Place. She was born February 23, 1930 in Union County, Tennessee the daughter of the late Ebb and Belle Shoffner Moore. On May 3, 1950, she married the love of her life, Beecher Cole. She retired from Delco in Kokomo, Indiana in 1985. She was a lifelong member of Oak Grove Primitive Baptist Church and attended Amana Baptist Church in Kokomo, Indiana where she had lived until moving back to Sharps Chapel, Tennessee three years ago.

L. D. Monroe

L. D. Monroe – age 87 of Maynardville, passed away August 12, 2019 at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. He was a longtime member and former deacon of First Baptist Church of Maynardville. L. D. was retired from South Central Bell and from Union County Schools as a school bus driver.

Opal A. Cooper

Opal A. Cooper-age 79 of Maynardville passed away Saturday, August 10, 2019. She was a member of Alder Springs Baptist Church. Preceded in death by parents, Johnny and Ruth Raley; brother, John Harvey Raley; Sons, Mark and Tony Cooper.

Survived by daughter and son-in-law, Thelma (Clyde) Beeler, Velma Nease, Cynthia (Bill) Hensley; sons and daughters-in-law, Jack (Kathy) Cooper, Richard Cooper. Five grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren. Brother and sister-in-law, James (Diane) Raley; sister and brother-in-law, Linda (Joe) McCoy.

Pauline "Polly" Dyer

E. Pauline “Polly” Dyer-age 93 of Maynardville passed away Saturday, August 10, 2019 at her home. She was the oldest living member of Hubbs Grove Baptist Church and a retired Union County School Teacher having taught at Paulette, Burkhart and Maynardville Elementary Schools. She spent her many years of retirement caring for her flower gardens. She was preceded in death by parents, H. I., Sr. and Dena (Koch) Raley; sisters, Dorothy Raley, Evelyn Raley, Edith Kitts and Geneva Lay; brother, Raymond Lewis Raley.

Lovite Louise Dalton

Lovite “Louise” Dalton – age 40 of Blaine, passed away on August 4, 2019. She is preceded in death by her father, John Bernard and son, Dustin Dalton. Louise is survived by her daughters, Katie Bernard and Emily Dalton; mother, Brenda Bernard; brothers, William Bernard, Jimmy Bernard, Robert Bernard and John Bernard, Jr.

Vontella Louise (Lay) Cole

Vontella Louise (Lay) Cole-age 75 of Maynardville went home to be with the Lord Wednesday, August 7, 2019 at her home. She was a member of Community Baptist Church. She was the daughter of the late Patrick and Virgie Lay; also preceded in death by daughter, Barbara Baker; son, Keith Baker; brothers, A. J. Lay, Elvin “Preach” Lay, Junior Lay, Ralph Lay and sister, Amy Lynch.

The opinions expressed by columnists and those providing comments are theirs alone, and may not reflect the opinions of Russell Computer Systems, Inc or any employee thereof.