This & That

Story published: 01-08-2014 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Johnson County History book available at the Welcome Center

By Jack Swift

Iíve never lived anywhere but good old Johnson County, Tennessee except for two years in the military. There are a number of Johnson Counties in the United States and I wrote about them several months ago. I donít know much about the other Johnson Counties, but having lived my whole life here Iím willing to predict that beautiful though they be, I wouldnít like any of them as much as here where my roots are. My Swift ancestors came over from London and settled in or near Baltimore, Maryland. From there they moved to the Yadkin River Valley. After about a generation there they came to what was then Ashe County North Carolina. The portion of Ashe County my ancestors settled later became Watauga County North Carolina. From there my great grandfather moved to the headwaters of Doe Creek, now called Swift Hollow, where I was raised.

My motherís ancestors too came out of North Carolina to settle on several acres of land that is now on the right of Highway 67 about two and a half miles out of Mountain City. So my roots are here. Iíve lived here through 75 years and have enjoyed it for the most part. Of course there are sad times as well as happy times in a lifetime.

Johnson County, Tennessee has a rich history. Its creation out of a portion of Carter County to relieve the hardship of travel to Elizabethton which was then the County Seat, its and other counties in East Tennesseeís leaning toward the Union in the American Civil War, its history of timber cutting and its iron, and manganese mining shows the willingness for folks in Johnson County to engage in hard work.

Perhaps it is in the business of farming that Johnson Countyís work ethic shows forth best. Iím told that even during the Great Depression folks here raised or made about everything they needed to survive during a very bad time.

Johnson Countyís terrain, its history, its friendly and helpful people are good reasons to live here. Our county is attracting many from other areas who buy or build houses, shop in our stores and conduct business here. There is much interest in Johnson County and the surrounding area and proof of that is the number of folks that visit the Welcome Center and Museum located on South Shady Street (Highway 421). The welcome center houses the Johnson County Historical Societyís museum, the Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Committee. There is much information available there in the form of maps, Johnson County history books, old Tomahawk Newspapers and more. The Historical Society has published three books of Johnson County history. The first two were History of Johnson County Volumes I and II. More recently, the Society published a Pictorial History of Johnson County. It is a very interesting book with many pictures of people, places and things. You may pick up a book at the Welcome Center for $22.00 or send a check for $23.50 to Johnson County Historical Society, Box 123, Mountain City, TN 37683. The History of Johnson County Volume I or II is $70.95 at the Welcome Center or $71.00 if mailed.

Welcome Center director Karen Anderson and her staff are ready to provide information you may need about Johnson County.