This year the Fourth of July holiday will be celebrated somewhat differently than in the past because of the present situation in our country. Even though our plans may have to be modified, we can still observe this holiday and be thankful for the freedom we have. We need to consider our ind…

In the beginning of each of our early settlements the first item of business was a governing body in order for life to run as smoothly as possible. Therefore, the earliest forms of government were a sheriff, jail and Courthouse. The sheriff was to see that citizens lived in harmony, the jail…

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 my research, the series began in August of 1949 on NBC Radio, and star…

I had picked another topic to write about this week, but when I thought about all the turmoil in our world of today, I decided to go with something which would give my readers some pleasing thoughts and images to dream on. During this time of the pandemic, hurricane season, protests and who …

In today’s world where everyone needs to feel pride or just simply acknowledge something that is good, we can all be proud of our Tennessee heritage. This state has had the sacrifices of our ancestors in order to make it what it is today, and we, as its citizens, need to take time to remembe…

“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. Howeve…

Since many cemeteries are celebrating Decoration Day during the months of May and June, we find that Memorial Day is a direct result of that particular event. When most people think about Memorial Day, they assume it is just another holiday which is thought to begin summer with all it has to…

It’s strawberry time in Tennessee! During this time of year all of Rhea County would be getting ready for the Strawberry Festival, if times were normal. However, this year is not normal since the Coronavirus has invaded our lives and disrupted our livelihood. Since that event has happened, w…

During the unusual circumstances of the Coronavirus Pandemic this year, many events have been cancelled in order to protect the citizens of our nation, with one such occurrence being Rhea County’s Strawberry Festival. This is a celebration which most people look forward to and enjoy because …

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. It is a time to remember and…

As we continue to live through more of the Coronavirus Pandemic, we begin to realize just how important cemeteries are becoming. Graveyards are not only burial sites for people, but they retain historical records which can help in locating a family’s ancestors. This information can be in the…

In today’s world we have greater knowledge and more sophisticated equipment than in the early days of medicine, but there are still mysteries which need to be solved. As the health care professionals wind their way through this Coronavirus, there are more unanswered than answered questions a…

This year Easter celebrations will be somewhat different from those in the past due to the Coronaviris Pandemic. Life today is very unusual and strange from what people are used to, and all of America is struggling with a sudden new lifestyle. Travel is restricted and gatherings are a thing …

While trying to find more information relating to some of the earlier crimes in Rhea County, I happened to find more information relating to one of the crimes I wrote about last week. The newspaper articles are as follows just as they appeared during November 29 and December 6 of 1934 in “Th…

Early life in Rhea County was marked with many different types of crime and punishment. Some of the early accounts of these particular events give us a good idea of what life was like in those formative years of our county, and tell us that anywhere there are people, there is crime. I came a…

It has been said that “crime doesn’t pay,” and I am sure that any number of people who had broken the law during the early days of Washington would be quick to agree if they were alive today! As we know, crime has always been with us, but the method of punishment has changed over time.

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As we focus on the history of Washington, the first county seat of Rhea County, we find a school which is lovingly remembered by many people of today. Washington School had modest beginnings, but later became a brick building which was modern for its time.

It’s that time of year again when those of us who have either grown up in the Rhea County area or lived here for many years, will remember Watts Bar Resort. Even though I have written about this “landmark” in the past, I do not think many of you will mind going down this nostalgic trail agai…

Catherine Brown was one person who made Black History Month come alive with her memories of growing up in Dayton. She would tell anyone that life was very different when she was a child than it is for the youth of today. Catherine was the only daughter of Will and Annie Jane Swafford Jones. …

As we reflect on Black History during the month of February, we can find many citizens of Rhea County who deserve to be mentioned for their lifestyles and accomplishments. One of these persons happens to be a man by the name of Nathan Caldwell. According to a 1994 article written in The Knox…

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…

If you have ever looked for family records you know how important census information can be to someone who is “into” genealogy. A wealth of information can be found in these records; however, one has to understand that the census is confidential, and is not released for seventy-two years aft…

If one stands on the banks of the Tennessee River, or in the middle of Mynatt Cemetery, a person is surrounded with history and the people who lived it. Washington, Tennessee in Rhea County is one of those places where one can actually “feel” the impact of events which happened more than two…

Many of us have a favorite Christmas carol which we like to hear and sing throughout the season. The song, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” is not only beautiful but a favorite of many people. I happen to know that it is Senator Ken Yager’s best liked Christmas song; therefore, today’s a…

As we begin to make preparations for Christmas this year, we not only need to realize why we celebrate this holiday, but we should think of those who are defending our homeland in order to keep us safe. Undoubtedly, our men and women serving in the military will be able to observe the Christ…

As the holidays approach, 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 …

As our nation sat down to a table filled with food on Thanksgiving Day, hopefully each of us offered thanks to God for our blessings and gave to those less fortunate. (By the time you are reading this newspaper you will have been eating leftovers, or have become very tired of turkey!) I am a…

Most of us have experienced being with family and friends at Thanksgiving, but have we really thought about how thankful we should be during this time of year? As we think back to the beginnings of this holiday, we are able to see just how blessed we are today.

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…

Homes

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…

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”