This & That

Story published: 08-05-2014 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Old newspaper features election news, death of beloved physician and other news of the day

By Jack Swift

While looking through some of my old newspapers the other day, I ran across an October 31, 1946 edition of The Johnson County News. I thought finding it from a random search to be somewhat ironic because that particular issue was just prior to the election then and the one you are reading is too.

A top headline all across the front page proclaims: “Next Tuesday Is Time To Prove Your Americanism . . . Vote!” Casting a vote is one of the most important freedoms that we as Americans possess. I’ve never understood how some folks feel it is so unimportant that they don’t take advantage of that great opportunity. There are some in the world who are ruled by a dictator who would sacrifice a lot to have the privilege to vote in an honest election. Many have sacrificed life or health so that we might have the freedom to vote.

A subhead reads: “Every Voter Is Urged To Vote.” To quote an excerpt: “And yet there are literally millions of Americans who are so careless of this sacred heritage, who think so little of the value of a free nation’s birthright, that they fail to vote.”

The paper included the sad announcement that in the late evening of September 28, beloved doctor James R. Butler had passed away. Dr. Butler was known as a kind and compassionate physician who traveled over hill and dale, in storm and calm to attend to the sick and afflicted.

The Tomahawk I found was owned and edited by Mr. D. M. Spurgeon, who also wrote a column called “Up and Down the Street.” The name of the Tomahawk was originally The Taylorsville Reporter (Mountain City was once Taylorsville). It was changed to The Tennessee Tomahawk in 1885. It was under the editorship of E. E. Barry and later D. M. Spurgeon the paper was named The Johnson County News. McQuown Wright bought the newspaper and changed the name to The Johnson County News – Bulletin in 1950. In 1956 Spurgeon bought the paper back and changed the name back to The Tomahawk.

There were two movie theaters in Mountain City when The Johnson County News I found was printed: the Strand and the Taylor. The Strand was located on the right side of Main Street facing west and the Taylor was located on the left of Main Street facing west. The Taylor was about where the Johnson County Bank parking lot is now located. The Strand had a one- column advertisement touting their showings. Featured on Monday and Tuesday was “Breakfast In Hollywood.” Featured on Wednesday and Thursday was “Bad Bascomb.” Featured on Friday and Saturday was “Alias Billy The Kid.” Featured on the late show Saturday was “Truth About Murder.” Admission was 10 cents and 25 cents.

The Taylor had a two-column ad. The ad touted “Steam Heated for Your Comfort.” Featured on Monday and Tuesday was “So Goes My Love”. On Wednesday and Thursday its offering was “Night in Paradise.” On Friday and Saturday “The Plainsman” was featured. It was billed as “One of the Best Westerns Ever Filmed.” The Taylor offering for the late show Saturday was “Rolling Home.”

The old newspaper was very interesting. I was eight years old when the paper was printed. I hope my references to it were interesting to you as well.