As we are now experiencing the long hot days of July, we can gain a perspective relating to the period involved with the Scopes Trial in 1925. People who attended the trial have told me that Dayton had a true “carnival” atmosphere during that time, and that the town was overflowing with repo…

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 which provide an understanding of what life was lif…

Many movies and television shows have been made relating to the role of a father in the lives of his family. Perhaps one of the best loved shows was “Father Knows Best,” which actually began as a radio program. According to research, the series began in August of 1949 on NBC Radio, and starr…

In past articles, I have shared letters and memories from William Gibbs Allen, who wrote a great deal of history relating to Rhea County. However, the newspaper articles about his experiences during the War Between the States are probably some of Allen’s most colorful work. Even though there…

A letter which was written by Hanibal Paine to his sister, Mary Louisa (Mollie) Paine in 1863 can be found in the Rhea County Historical Society publication, A Personal Look at the Civil War in Rhea and Meigs Counties, Tennessee. According to research, Hanibal Paine (1839-1867) joined Captai…

This year’s theme for the Strawberry Festival is “Destination Strawberry Station-All Aboard!” With that in mind, it is always fun to remember past years pertaining to the Strawberry Festival in Rhea County and to recall those events and people which made some years more memorable than others…

During the months of May and June many cemeteries will see the addition of flowers and flags on the graves of those who are buried in those places. This is because of a tradition we call “Decoration Day,” which is said to have roots in the War Between the States.

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 …

“Here Comes Peter Cottontail” is known as one of the most popular Easter songs of all time, and is used a great deal for TV commercials during the Easter period. This song was composed in 1949 by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins; it was first recorded by Mervin Shiner in 1950 on the Decca recor…

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 distant cousin of mine. Helen Thomison M…

There’s a wee bit of Irish in each of us, and we all like to show that Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17. Since my name is Patricia, I have always been interested in the origin of this name, along with the history of Saint Patrick’s Day.

Another article written by H.A. Crawford gives additional information relating to the Hiwassee Garrison. This narrative was found in the Crawford papers which have a wealth of information about the Crawford family. In this document Crawford tells that Hiwassee Garrison was built sometime bet…

Historical information is found in many places, often at times when one is not searching for such things. This was the case with the following news article found while researching another topic at the Chattanooga Public Library. The narrative was listed as being written for the “Dayton Leade…

If you are a person who enjoys puzzles and likes being a detective, then finding your “roots” is probably a hobby you would enjoy. Many people want to know more about their ancestors, but do not know where to begin, or how to go about searching. The first, and easiest place to start, is with…

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)…

In today’s world of technology our society believes itself to be the smartest and most educated of any on the planet. We pride ourselves in not having to speak to each other, but rather “talk” via electronic devices, and even our vehicles are operated by computers! Also, textbooks can be fou…

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The town of Washington was the first organized settlement in Rhea County, and became the county seat for a time. It has much history to give us, if we will only “dig” for it. I found an interesting item which dates back to the early 1800’s and seems to have no authors name associated with it…

Most of us are familiar with the antibiotic, Penicillin, but one woman in the Rhea County area knew about it in a very personal way. Mrs. S. E. Paul, from Spring City, was given the “new” drug in 1943 at Thomison Hospital in Dayton. She had contracted a staphylococcus blood stream infection …

During the beginning of each new year, many a bride-to-be is busy making preparations for her wedding to be held during the next few months. Naturally, she is thinking about an expensive dress and all the exciting elements which go with a splendid wedding. Even though a wedding is costly tod…

During the holidays I begin to think back to the time when my family made fruitcakes for the Christmas season. My great-grandmother, Ella Darwin Thomison (mistress of Magnolia House) and my grandmother, Clara Thomison Brown were the principal fruitcake makers in our house. They always began …

Ruth Purser was not only a very talented floral designer, but she could also see that a wedding and reception were carried out perfectly, and in a gracious manner. She proved herself to be an excellent business woman and a talented writer. The following is quoted verbatim from several untitl…

Anyone who knew Ruth Nicholson Purser had to be aware of the fact that she was a very gracious and talented lady. She was born on September 1, 1908 to William Robert and Martha Emmaline Riggs Nicholson in Morristown, Tennessee. Her death was on March 25, 2008 at the home of her niece, Sue Bo…

In case you have not noticed, there is a restoration process in progress on First Avenue in Dayton. John and Lindsey (Swafford) Bamber are the new owners of Trinity United Methodist Church, and are restoring the building as close to its original appearance as possible. It is truly a labor of…

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…

Anyone who has served, or is presently serving in our armed forces, should be called a person of courage. These service men and women have placed and are continuing to place their lives in danger every day so that each of us can live in a free country. However, we are losing our past heroes …

As we think about the celebration of Veterans Day, it is important to understand the history behind events, people, places, and organizations. One local organization obtained its roots from a Rhea County native who fought and died during World War I. Fred W. Brady (1889-1918), was the third …

When researching family history, one of the very important components is cemetery records. These accounts, whether on tombstones, recorded in funeral records, newspaper accounts (if applicable), or other evidence, serve as indicators of history when doing research. Therefore, when a person i…

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 Coun…

The book signing for Suzanne Prigohzy’s book relating to life in Rhea Springs has happened, and many people are settling in to read “When Forever Isn’t.” It is always interesting to meet someone who has family ties to Rhea County, and who will share their stories with those of us living here…

Since Suzanne Prigohzy has written her book relating to Rhea Springs, it is interesting to see just how large of an area this settlement covered. I’m sure many of us will be looking forward to meeting this author and reading her book.

On October 6, 2017, our own Dayton Library has a special treat in store for the citizens of Rhea County and its surrounding area. A book signing will take place that day from 3 to 4 p.m. in the library, and will feature Suzanne Prigohzy and her book, “When Forever Isn’t.” This book features …

Located at the cross roads of State Route 302 and the Yellow Creek-Texas Grove roads, just northeast of Old Washington and south of Highway 68 was the community called Carp. According to research, a Mr. Thomas H. McPherson lived on the Old Stage Road leading from Washington to Rhea Springs (…

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

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…

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…

“Ice Cream” or “I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream” is a popular song, first published in 1927; words and music were by Howard Johnson, Billy Moll, and Robert King. The song was successful in the late 1920’s as a novelty song, and then became a traditional jazz standard. Howev…

From a diary entry dated Sunday, July 2, 1876, written by William Perry Darwin, we are told about plans his son had for the Fourth of July Celebration that year. W.P. Darwin wrote that his son, William Peyton Darwin went home with a friend so that they could go to Chattanooga the next day to…

An entry from the Morgan Company ledger was made during 1915, with the customer being R.L. Thomison. The notation shows that he bought a mattress for $9.50 on November seventeenth; he also purchased two yards Hemp pieces for $1.00 and paper for $1.80 on February sixteenth. Payment was made o…

Most children meet their fathers while they are still babies. They feel strong arms around them or hear a masculine voice. A father’s influence and guidance is a wonderful and beautiful thing for a child. It is also Biblical. And, for a daughter, there is something special about being “daddy…

Sometimes it is not easy to remember history the way it happened, or people the way they were during historical events. However, it is necessary to keep historical events in perspective so that our history can be portrayed the exact way it happened. It is sad to think that some of our so-cal…

Country singer Craig Morgan has been given credit for having the following message on his Face book 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…

A Christmas song begins with the words, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere you go,” and those words could be used for Rhea County, with substitution of the word “Strawberry.” However, the 70th birthday party for the Strawberry Festival is now history, and planning is jus…

Rhea County is having a birthday party during the month of May! The celebration is in honor of the strawberry—that is, the Strawberry Festival, which has been a part of the Rhea County/Dayton scene since its beginning in 1947. This year marks the seventieth year of the festival’s existence, …

Since our minds today are focused on the restoration needed for the Rhea County Courthouse, it is interesting to find bits and pieces of history relating to that particular building. A “Chattanooga News-Free Press” article dated August 11, 1968, gives a history lesson about these topics.

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…

From my research on Washington, I have found many unexplained events and superstitious occurrences which may or may not have any truth to them. However, these legends and even tragedies have been passed from family members down through the years so that they have become accepted stories. Eve…