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Tester speaks to local historicial society

Johnson County native Herman Tester gave an interesting talk about old Butler to the Johnson County Historical Society in a special meeting of the society last Sunday, October 24. While the emphasis was on Old Butler he also mentioned several interesting facts concerning the history of Johnson County of which Old Butler was an important part. Tester, who was raised near Butler and his wife Nancy who is from the Neva area of Johnson County now live in the Jonesborough area of Washington County, Tennessee. They were special guests for Sunday’s meeting. Both were long time teachers. He rounded out his career in education as principal of Daniel Boone High School. Tester has compiled a 1930 census book of all of Johnson County as well as separate census books of Mountain City and Butler. He also wrote a history of Butler titled “Butler, Old, New and Carterview.”
In his book, “Butler, Old, New and Carterview,” he traced the history of Butler from pre-historic inhabitants to the recent past. In his speech and in the book, he covered the events leading up to the flooding of Butler, when the floodgates were closed and water slowly began to inundate the Watauga Valley, and what anguish families endured as they had to relocate and leave their homes forever. Those folks who were forced out of the water’s way moved to various locations. A number of them settled in a development called Carterview (Later renamed Butler), which was named for its principal developer, M. H. Carter, a Baptist Preacher, who was then ministering to Cobb Creek Baptist Church.
I have Tester’s census books as well as his history of Butler. The census books are valuable to those who are tracing their family history. “Butler, Old, New and Carterview, is one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a long time. I recommend it wholeheartedly. For information about the books or to order books, you may contact Tester at 147 Earl Light Circle, Jonesborough, Tennessee 37659. His phone number is 423-753-6961.
The Johnson County Historical Society was delighted to have the Testers as guests and his speech was very interesting and informative. The Society was formed September 22, 1977 in a meeting at First United Methodist Church in Mountain City. By January of 1978 the Society had 80 members and by August of 1978 the membership had grown to 100. At present the Society is in a rebuilding mode. My wife and I have been members for several years. We meet the third Sunday of the month in the lower level of the Welcome Center. The meetings start at 2:00 p. m.
We welcome visitors and hope to increase our membership to what it was in the early days of the Society’s existence. The Society has been active over the years. It has published two histories of Johnson County: one in 1986 and another in 2000. Those books are not only filled with history of the area, but they contain many family histories and are valuable to those who are tracing their roots. These and other books are available at the Welcome Center on South Shady Street (Highway 421) The Johnson County Historical Society’s museum is located to the left as you enter the Welcome Center. The museum contains many artifacts that are representative of a former time. It was funded in large measure by the Society. Malcolm Howard is president of the Society.