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A 1939 newspaper clipping provides insight to local history

It had been many years since they had seen each other but my wife Mary talked recently with Janice Reid one of her classmates. Mrs. Reid gave her a quarter page clipping of a 1939 newspaper titled the Johnson County News and asked if I might use it in one of my columns. Although the clipping was small, I found it to be quite interesting. On one page, there was an ad from the Johnson County Trustee, Mr. W. S. Wilson. In the ad was a notice to the taxpayer to pay their taxes for 1937 and 1938 to avoid paying penalty and interest. A large part of the ad was devoted to a list of districts, locations, dates and times the citizens could pay their taxes. Twenty-two locations were listed including the courthouse that was listed twice. Nineteen stores were listed as tax paying locations. One residence was listed. At the bottom of the advertisement were the words “This will be our last call for these taxes.” I believe Mr. E. E. Barry was editor of the Jonson County News in 1939. If that is wrong, perhaps someone can advise me.

The year 1939 was a time when there were a number of stores of various sizes in Johnson County. Today there are only a few in the county. In that day getting around the county was difficult due to poor roads and probably few cars and so it was a service to the citizens. Having been raised in the Seventh District, I noted two of the stores I used to visit: the Doe Valley Union Store and Morley Brothers Store.
Adjacent ads included one from the Strand Theatre. On Wednesday and Thursday the motion picture was “Off The Record.” Starring Pat O’Brien with Joan Blondell. A Walt Disney Cartoon was featured each night. As I talk with the folks, I sometimes mention the Strand and many remember it. It was located on West Main Street, Mountain City. I saw my first movie there. For a lad of about eight, it was a very exciting experience. Western Hero Johnny Mack Brown starred in the film.
On the flip side of the clipping were some small ads. One announced “Eyes Examined, Glasses Fitted.” The optometrist was Dr. L. E. Wellman. The O. K. Barber Shop was the subject of another ad. According to the ad, haircuts were 25 cents and shower facilities were available. There were three barbers: W. A. Gentry, Ottis Gentry and Shine Crow. Those gentlemen cut my hair many times and always did a good job. In the shop there was usually a good amount of discussion on the state of the country, state and county along with other news. Another small ad read: Smythe & Butler Physicians and Surgeons.

I enjoyed reading the clipping and I appreciate Mrs. Reid sharing it with my wife and me.