This & That
Historical knowledge advanced through column and historical society books
By Jack SwiftThis is my 463rd column since I began writing “This ‘N’ That” the first week of August 2003. “This ‘N’ That,” has been an apt title since I have been able to deal with many subjects. But, one of my main objectives, especially since being named Johnson County Historian, was to highlight the history of East Tennessee and in particular Johnson County. Therefore many of my columns have featured some aspects of the history of our great county.
I consider it an honor to be Johnson County Historian and I have tried to be a good ambassador for my county everywhere I go and with anyone I meet. It has been my pleasure to receive and answer many telephone calls from folks inquiring about Johnson County, its distinct history and its fine people. I set up a home office mainly to help in my work as County Historian. I have also been involved in a number of other projects in which our county’s history was an important feature.
I have researched the history of our county and East Tennessee but I know I have much to learn. But keeping what I do know to myself is not an option for me. My desire is to share it with others. Too, I welcome factual information from anyone. I have tried to get historical information to the public through my column and also by being a member of the Johnson County Historical Society. The Society has published several books of Johnson County history that are both informative and entertaining.
It was a distinct honor to serve as president of the society for the year 1995. The Society’s slogan is “Bringing the Past to the Present.” Pictures of all the presidents to date are being placed on the wall of the Society’s museum in the Johnson County Welcome Center located on South Shady Street (Hwy. 421 South) While pictures of some of the presidents were already on the wall, the Society recently started the project of including all the presidents through 2012.
There have been 17 presidents up to and including 2012. They are: (not in order served) John Butler, Mac Wright, Freddie Morley, Dave Cantrell, Jack Swift, Sue Howard, Emily Millsaps, Jessie DeProspero, Tom Gentry, Haynes Wright, Bob Frei, Kathy Terrill, Bill Terrill, Bob Morrison, Roger Ramsey, Eva Grace Davis and Malcolm Howard. The current officers are Eva Grace Davis, president; Malcolm Howard, vice president; Mary J. Swift, Secretary and Sue Howard, treasurer.
If you are interested in the history of East Tennessee and Johnson County in particular, I, along with the officers and members of the Society, invite you to come and be a part of our group.
The Johnson County Historical Society was chartered by the state on December 15, 1977. Leading up to that important event was earlier meetings and discussions. On September 22, 1977 fifteen people met at First United Methodist Church under the leadership of Walter W. Wilson. Wilson proposed the formation of a historical society for Johnson County. That meeting and subsequent meetings led to the organization of the Society. Membership has fluctuated over the years. New members are needed. If you desire to roll up your sleeves and get involved in a great organization that is dedicated to advancing the historical knowledge of our great county and East Tennessee, come to our next regular scheduled meeting the third Sunday in September. The meetings begin at 2:00 p.m. and they are held in the lower level of the Welcome Center.
The Society has published three books of local history. Each of them is available at the Johnson County Welcome Center. The most recent one is titled Pictorial History of Johnson County. In it are many pictures of people and sites. Who knows, you may be in it. Pick up a copy at the welcome Center today.