During the War Between the States, many letters, diaries and journals were kept by those brave men who were fighting for the North and South. Many of these manuscripts have been lost over time, but some have survived. One such letter is from William G. Allen to his wife, Mary E. Thomison, wr…

Harry T. Morgan, ninth child of George Washington Morgan and Mary Alice Boyd Morgan, was born on January 17, 1922 at his family’s farm in Rhea County. When Harry was only ten years old, his father, a farmer and Deputy Sheriff, passed away and Harry’s mother sold areas of the family farm as c…

Since we are preparing to celebrate Veteran’s Day, it is appropriate to read a letter written by a veteran of the War Between the States. This letter is one hundred and fifty-five years old, and was written by William Perry Darwin to his wife, Adelia Gillespie Darwin in 1864. William Perry a…

Many people have heard the riddle, “What is black and white and read all over?” The answer is the newspaper, and Rhea County has had some type of newspaper since its beginning. I happened to find a number of articles from the 1933 Dayton Herald in some of the Bettye Broyles files, and though…

If you have ever traveled to the western part of the state of Tennessee, you may have seen fields white with the growth of cotton, or even watched the harvesting of the plant. Even though we do not see cotton grown in Rhea County today, it was an important crop before and during the War Betw…

H. A. Crawford wrote the following in one of his newspaper articles, “The rough, unpretentious old house at Gum Spring has long since ceased to occupy the small space on which it stood. It answered a good purpose in its day. It was used in wartimes by Col. Cline, of German extraction, and hi…

I became interested in finding out about Gum Spring some time ago, when I came across a note to Bettye Broyles from Virginia Knight Nelson. The late Mrs. Nelson had sent information about one of her relatives, along with a sentence naming Gum Spring Church and School. As I began to research …

Since all families are interconnected with many genealogical lines, finding and learning about ancestors can get very complicated and puzzling. Perhaps the best way to untangle the past is to find all the information you can about each person, and then put the family members together. Someti…

The world of “yesterday” did not have a convenience store on every corner, nor a super grocery store, or even a fast food restaurant! Today, most people take these places for granted and only shop for the present, whereas our ancestors had to obtain supplies to last until their next trip to …

This week I want to remember my late cousin, Guy Denton, as I am writing some family history. During the Washington Bicentennial, Guy wrote an article pertaining to his great-great grandfather, Richard Green Waterhouse. In the narrative, Guy stated that Richard G. Waterhouse moved to Rhea Co…

The month of September is beginning, and all of us are wondering where the year has gone! We see the stores with Halloween and Christmas wares on their shelves, and yet the weather is still hot, and the fall season a few weeks away. Even though schools in this area begin during the first wee…

There could not be a complete record of Rhea Springs without the inclusion of Colonel John R. Neal, Congressman from the Third District of Tennessee. According to the History of Rhea County, Reminiscences of Amanda Neal Wheelock and Goodspeed’s History of Tennessee, there is much information…

William Gibbs Allen (October 21, 1836---November 28, 1924), the son of Valentine Allen III and Ann Frazier Allen, was born in Jackson County, Alabama, but moved to the Washington (Rhea County) area during 1843. He was elected Trustee of Rhea County in August of 1859; in December of that same…

While looking for information relating to Rhea County, I came across some hand-written notes which are significant to the history of Spring City. These statements were written by a Historical Society member who is no longer living, but who cared enough about history to preserve the informati…

It seems that summer has just really begun, and the start of school is upon us! Teacher In-service began July 29, and the first full day for students is Monday, August 5. Naturally, the weather is hot as a firecracker, and the humidity high, but life goes on. A number of years ago, students …

In times past people wrote letters to their kinfolk and friends. This method of communication was used because people lived great distances from each other, and there was no other way to transmit information unless you visited. When visits were made, people usually stayed several days or wee…

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Even though it has been ninety-four years since the Scopes Trial was held, memories of it still “linger in the air” around Rhea County! One could hope that people no longer think of us as barefoot and uneducated, but that we have risen to a higher order of thought in the minds of the public.…

Our history holds many tragic events, but perhaps one of the saddest is being put to death for a crime one did not commit. A story about one of these occurrences was recorded in the WPA book on Rhea County tombstones, published in 1938. According to WPA records, the Hughes Cemetery is locate…

“I’m gonna buy a Paper Doll that I can call my own”

The Fourth of July celebrations of today are somewhat different from those in the early days after this date was declared a federal holiday. However, no matter how it is celebrated, the Fourth of July is a day to fly our flag and remember our Declaration of Independence. From a diary entry d…

This past weekend was spent at my Darwin family reunion, where cousins from all over the United States met to learn more about our family history. We looked over family lineage charts and old Bible records, heard ancestral stories, and saw items from past generations. It’s always great to se…

We find that it was not uncommon for our ancestors to have large families many years ago due to many reasons. The lifestyle was very different in the early days of settling Rhea and other counties; farming was the primary occupation of the time, mainly to feed one’s family and for selling cr…

Old newspaper articles are always interesting to read, and the following crime information came from The Dayton Star dated October 5 and 12 of 1911. These two items were copied from those newspapers without any of the original paper showing. This was done by Bettye Broyles, our former County…

Lately the Rhea County Courthouse has been in the forefront of our local news because it has needed some tender loving care called “restoration.” A building which is used every day by many people has to be given proper attention in order for it to continue in “good health” on the National Re…

Country singer Craig Morgan is given credit for having the following message on his Facebook page: “Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.” That is a beautiful thought to keep in our minds each time we see the fl…

This is the time of year when many of us in Rhea County remember Watts Bar Resort, especially if we have grown up in this area or lived here for many years. The resort was located at the West end of Watts Bar Dam on a bluff, and was considered to be one of the most scenic areas in Tennessee.…

Everyone knows that a rose is a rose, but what about a strawberry? Believe it or not, the strawberry is a member of the rose family, and goes with Rhea County like a hand in a glove! Since strawberries are a fast growing crop, and produce runners, which make the next generation of plants, it…

Located north of Dayton, and east of U.S. Highway 27, Buttram Cemetery is the final resting place of many people from all walks of life. According to research, the cemetery was originally begun before 1811 as the burial site for John Howard’s wife. Then, in April of 1811, when Howard deeded …

As we pass by cemeteries in Rhea County and other areas around Tennessee, we can see flowers and flags on graves of those buried in these places. This is because of a tradition we call “Decoration Day,” which is usually celebrated in May and June, and has its beginnings during the War Betwee…

Easter, the time which celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, is not on a set date every year as most other holidays are. Instead, it is always celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the Paschal (Passover) Full Moon date of the year. According to the Ecclesiastical tab…

A newspaper article which appeared in the Chattanooga Sunday Times in October of 1936, talks about the legend of Sulphur/Rhea Springs. This article was written by Sarah Ruth Frazier, and gives a detailed account of life in that settlement. According to this story, “Legend has it that in prim…

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In looking back to the days of “glory” in the town of Washington, we see that it was a thriving metropolis, and worthy of remembering during its heyday. According to research, Washington boasted four inns or taverns, two blacksmith shops, two cotton gins, a large tan yard (for tanning hides)…

The Mynatt or Washington Cemetery is located approximately six miles northeast of Dayton and about one mile south of the Town of Washington. It was originally stated by a W.P.A. researcher that the cemetery originated during the lifetime of Dr. Samuel Mynatt and was on Dr. Mynatt’s property.…

There is a saying that states, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and finding out about a picture can speak volumes when it comes to family history. This happened when a picture of the J.W. Gillespie Camp was found among some things belonging to a late cousin of mine. The picture shows a…

An old slogan states that nothing beats a great pair of legs, and no company attested to that more than Kayser-Roth Corporation of Dayton! According to the Charter of Incorporation, dated July 24, 1913, A. P. Haggard, A. B. Andrews, T. W. Caudle, J. F. Morgan, and W. C. Godsey constituted a …

As one views the Kayser-Roth building today, it is hard to imagine the hustle and bustle of a progressive manufacturing business of yesterday. The once humming machines are not only idle, but are gone from the structure, having been shipped back to corporate headquarters in North Carolina. W…

Much has been written about the war experiences of Major William Gibbs Allen of Rhea County, but perhaps a most notable account can be obtained from an article he wrote after the War Between the States. During the war, Allen was a member of the Fifth Tennessee Confederate Cavalry, and was on…

Anyone who has ever witnessed a fire knows that it can be a destructive force which can destroy life and property, putting everything and everyone at risk. Rhea County has had many devastating fires which date back to its early history, and those times provide an understanding of what hardsh…

Very few people are willing to give up salt in their diet; yet, during the War Between the States, many people found themselves doing just that. During this time of war, the South found that one of its greatest needs became salt. Before the war, salt sold for as little as fifty cents a sack.…

What would a diary entry, a Bible verse, and a food preservation book have in common? All of these have one thing in common; they relate to the compound we know as salt. Salt is a substance which is composed of sodium chloride, and is known as halite or rock salt in its natural form. It is d…

In the days of “yesteryear” the church was the focal point of life in a community. Since people lived so far apart, and the only mode of travel was by horse and buggy or just horseback, early settlers had to make every minute count; so the church meeting or church social were the only times …

When thinking about going on a vacation, or “getting away from it all” a person in today’s world considers a camping trip or a stay at a nice motel in a region where there are places of interest. However, in the past, one of the finest places for a vacation was Rhea Springs, which was locate…

The following article is another of the gems from William Gibbs Allen’s scrapbook, and recounts the type of Christmas he and his family celebrated. Since the news story was written in 1916, it would be one hundred and two years old this year! W.G. Allen married Mary Elizabeth Thomison in Dec…

As we are approaching the Christmas season, it is always important to gain some historical significance of how our ancestors celebrated this time of year. To do so gives us a new perspective on making our own traditions and we can find out how our ancestors observed this holiday.

As our nation sits down to a table filled with food on Thanksgiving Day, each of us should thank God for our blessings and give to those less fortunate. (By the time you are reading this newspaper you will have begun on leftovers, or become very tired of turkey!) I am always thankful for our…

As our nation sits down to a table filled with food on Thanksgiving Day, each of us should thank God for our blessings and give to those less fortunate. I am always thankful for our military, serving both here and abroad, so that we can have freedom, not only to serve God, but to live a life…