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Old Tomahawk Yields Interesting Information

It is a delight for me to browse through some of the old newspapers that I have in my home office. That is especially true when the newspaper is a predecessor of The Tomahawk. That was the case when recently I pulled a September 15, 1904 edition of the Tennessee Tomahawk from my files. I began reading it and soon was able to get an inkling of that era in Johnson County as well as some affairs of state and national interest from seeing the advertizing and news articles that were offered at that time.
Having worked at The Tomahawk newspaper for over 30 years, it is always interesting for me to consider that paper’s history. It operated as the Taylorsville, Reporter from 1874 until 1885. W. R. Keyes was the publisher. In 1885 the name was changed to Tennessee Tomahawk with E. E. Barry publisher. Three more name changes followed: Johnson County News in 1915, Johnson County News-Bulletin in 1950 and it became The Tomahawk in 1956 and continues so named today.
But, let us get back to the issue I have that is dated September 15, 1904. A front-page story was about a change in Tennessee school textbooks that would cause them to cost 30 cents each due to the change. Apparently there had been some grumblings by some concerning the new textbook Policy. James Beriah Frazier was governor at the time.
There was a front-page announcement that the Johnson County Teachers’ Association would meet at Brownlow Academy Saturday September 17 at 9 a.m. Taking part in the program were R. P. Donnelly, H. H. Brookshire, Miss Clark, S. W. Tindell, Cora Dougherty, H. Stout, J. B. Sander, Frank Dougherty, Miss Jones, and Baxter Wilson.
Another article touts rail fare to the Saint Louis Exhibition that took place in 1904. Round trip tickets could be bought for $29.85. Oh for a deal like that these days. A one-column announcement said the Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry Association was scheduled to meet in Elizabethton on September 21 and 22 for its ninth annual reunion.
A number of one-column ads were on the front page as well. Five law firms were listed in separate ads: “Donnelly, Butler and Donnelly,” “Wilson and Butler,” “A. T. Donnelly,” “Jenkins and Cole,” and E. E. Parry.” Also listed were five doctor practices: “J. G. Butler,” “Butler & Treadaway,” “T. E. P. Larimer,” “D. A. Swift,” and E. M. Loyd. I would like to know more about Dr. Swift. One dentist was also listed in an ad. He was T. R. Donnelly.
The Tomahawk of 1904 endorsed Theodore Roosevelt for President, Chas. W. Fairbanks for Vice President, W. P. Brownlow for Congress, Jesse M. Littleton for Governor, and Joseph A. Wilson for State Senator. Roosevelt won but The Tomahawk’s pick for governor was beaten by John I. Cox.
There also were ads for Merchants & Traders Bank, McDade’s Drug Store, and Mountain City Pharmacy. A. R. Donnelly had Hagy Wagons for sale according to one advertisement. R. W. Seehorn & Company touted Babcock and Jewel buggies for sale. Those two advertisements give us an impression of the times. It was 1903 before Henry Ford offered a car for sale, so there were probably no cars in Johnson County in 1904. Wagons and buggies were ways to get around in those days.