William Gannaway “Parson” Brownlow’s Report on Jonesborough from 1844

Parson Brownlow was the twice Governor of the State of Tennessee and a State Senator. He was also a Methodist circuit rider and a newspaper editor. He was a strong proponent of the Whig party, and he was never one to shy away from his opinions.

Here is his report entitled “Jonesborough—Its Prospects: Advantages and Disadvantages” published on February 7, 1844 in his paper the Jonesborough Whig.

 

“Jonesborough is not Baltimore, nor is it the seat of the Federal Government, yet, it is all sorts of a place, take it by and large-having some things to boast of, some to regret, and others to be ashamed of. Jonesboroughs Institutions of Learning, consisting of a Male and a Female Academy, at which, collectively there are now about 200 students, tend in on small degree to promote the prosperity of the town. Then, as a Church-going place, Jonesboro’ aspires to pre-eminence, there being the Factories of three sects in “full blast!”-New School Presbyterians, Methodists, and Baptists-among all of whom, it is fair to presume, there are some noble hearted fellows, and pious souls, and some dirty Locofoco [a name for the opposing political party] dogs, cloaking their villainy with hypocritical pretentious to much godliness.

Our town is located in a SINK HOLE, surrounded by hills, … and until recently, we have exhibited more mud and filth in our streets, than any little town could boast of in this end of the state-wintering our cows under our porches, and empting our slop buckets into our front streets! At one time in December, there were but about 3 FORDS, or CROSSING PLACES on Main Street; but our citizens have nobly commenced the work of cleaning our streets, and upon a scale worthy of their just importance. They have much of the FILTH in PILES on main street, which seem destined to stand as a lasting ornament to the place, -a blessing to the community, and a monument of the liberality and enlightened views of the town authorities!

Jonesborough contains no less than six Black smith shops. There are, three Tan-yards in operation, with the promise of one or two more, soon to be started, which shows that these branches of business are carried on with much energy.

There is one DOGGERY, beside a great deal of the corn-burnt is drank in private families, and kept concealed from the church and the world. There is also a respectable business doing in all the other ordinary crimes of towns and villages.

There are now two large Sunday Schools, each having the rise of 100 scholars, and which meet regularly every Sabbath; one at the Methodist-the other at the Presbyterian Church-where they are taught Methodism and New Schoolism. There is also a large Temperance Society-one-third of the members of which, mostly of the Locofoco stripe, have gone back to their vomiting again, and their wallowing in the mire!

And it is not to be disguised, that there is likewise a Masonic Lodge in Jonesborough, which is composed of a mixture of the best citizens of the town and county, and of the most depraved rascals in the place.

In the Mercantile line, there is an extensive business doing in Jonesborough, and Goods are commanding cash readily, at from 50 to 150 per centum. Further particulars relative to our Mercantile operations, the closeness of the Merchants will not permit us to give through our advertising columns. It is, perhaps, however, just for us to state that of the SEVEN STORES now in blast, five and a half of them are owned and conducted by Whigs; the Anti-Bank, and Anti-Credit party having suspended operations, rather than call on gentlemen in the Eastern cities for further indulgence, till they shall have paid up the “old score!”

Then, again, there is what is termed the Professional line of business-Law, Medicine, and Divinity-in all of these “departments” our town goes it! Some how, or some how else, in the mysterious ways of Providence, it turns out that no Lawyer capable of business, in all this country, is to be found in the Locofoco ranks-but here, we have T. A. R. Nelson, John A. Aiken, and William Henry Maxwell, strong Whigs, who will promptly and efficiently attend to all business entrusted to their care. In the Medical line, we have Doctors Vance, Cossen, Cunningham, Outlaw, and Embree, and next week we expect to have Hunt among us-in all six, five Whigs, and the one in italics a Democrat. Upon the whole, our Medical Faculty will compare with any town in this end of the State. In the way of Preachers we have a resident Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist-each seeking to build up his own sect, and managing like politicians, while all pretend to be perfectly disinterested. Beside these, there are two Ex parsons who regularly visit the town, but for the want of them papers, they are rendered powerless!

It must not be forgotten, that we have 2 TAVERNS-the one kept by a very accommodating Whig-the other by a very surly Locofoco. The long Bell Tavern, with a BASEMENT STORY, somewhat after the fashion & taste of a Pennsylvania Dutch Barn, is kept by DOCT. CHESTER, and is Locofoco head quarters. The Hotel, in the large brick building, covered with tin, is kept by THOMAS B. EMMERSON, and is Whig head quarters-a good house, with accommodating inmates.

As to the Girls, there are a caution of them, and we honestly believe they are all candidates for matrimony. Some of them are pretty-others are just middlin, and others of them are as ugly as the butt-cut of original sin! And further this Deponent saith not.

 

Want to know what a Locofoco is? Learn about that fun word and the fight Parson Brownlow had with fellow newspaper editor and politician Landon Carter Haynes on Main Street, Jonesborough in this edition of “At Home Amateur Museum Theatre Presents: Parson Brownlow vs. Landon Carter Haynes.”

Link to video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8Zs1ipYtJw

 

Heritage Alliance Will Host Virtual Fieldtrip Day on May 18

The Heritage Alliance will host its first Virtual Fieldtrip Day on Monday, May 18. Throughout the day, the Alliance will offer tours and activities online for students learning from home. The day will include a look at their one room schoolhouse Oak Hill School, an interactive tour of Main Street Jonesborough, a tour of the third-floor bedroom of the Chester Inn Museum, an interactive artifact exploration, and much more. The Heritage Alliance will be streaming and posting content for students from 10:00 a.m. that morning to 2:00 p.m. that afternoon.

 

“Normally we welcome students in person to our historic sites, but it’s not safe right now to have a large group exploring together, so we wanted to offer an alternative for students who are learning from home,” Executive Director Anne Mason explains. “We also wanted to offer this experience to students who were supposed to come with their schools this spring and weren’t able to. This is a way for students, parents, and educators to engage with local history. Hopefully this will encourage them to visit the physical sites in the future when it’s safer to do so.” The tours and activities on May 18 will be streamed from and posted to the Heritage Alliance’s Facebook page, as well as the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum’s Facebook page. In the coming week, the Heritage Alliance will post a packet to their website that outlines what students and educators can expect to see and do on May 18.

 

“We’ve been posting a lot of educational activities to our website, including explorations of historic photos from our collection, and a primary source activity with the cholera epidemic of 1873. Our Virtual Field Trip Day is a new, educational activity for us, and we’re really excited to share the historic buildings with the students,” Mason adds. “We encourage students to log on with their families and ask questions. We want this to be as interactive as possible.”

 

 

The day will also include visits to the Christopher Taylor House, the Chuckey Depot Museum, and the Old Jonesborough Cemetery, with some surprises thrown in. To help cover expenses, the Heritage Alliance suggests a donation of $5.00-$7.00, which covers the normal fee for a student during a fieldtrip. Donations can be made online at www.heritageall.org.

Historical Photo Exploration #5 – What’s Going On Here?

The archival collections of the Jonesborough/Washington County History Museum are full of historical photos from all over Washington County. When the photos are donated to the museum, sometimes the donor knows all kinds of information about the picture, sometimes the person who took the picture left a whole lot of information on the back for future generations. Usually, though, the pictures come with no information at all. As historians, we have to look at several context clues within the picture to help us date when the photo was taken and where the photo was taken. What was going on in that particular moment in time when the photo was taken? Early photographic technology was not as instant as it is today. It took time to take a good photo, so photos were usually reserved for special occasions.

Each week, we’ll be posting a photo from our archives with some questions to help you explore the photo. We’ll also include some writing prompts if you feel like going a step further and turning this into a creative writing exercise as well.

If you are doing this activity with your student(s), the answer key is provided at the end of the post.

To view a large version of the image, click HERE.

 

Questions to Answer:

  1. What do you think is happening in this photo?
  2. Why do you think all these people are gathered together?
  3. What are some clues that can help you date when this photo was taken?
  4. Do you recognize any of the buildings in this picture? (Hint: This photo was taken on Main Street, Jonesborough.)
  5. Why are the two people at the edge of the photo blurred?
  6. Who is included in this picture? (Look for clues to gender, age, and race.)
  7. Who is not included in this picture? (Look for clues to gender, age, and race.)
  8. Who do you think took this picture?
  9. Why do you think this picture was taken?
  10. What is the most surprising or shocking thing about this photo?

 

Creative Writing Exercise – Pick a person in the photo and write a paragraph from their point of view. What were they feeling and thinking in this moment? Do your best to write like you’re from that time period. Go a step further and write a letter as the person in the photo describing the event you saw today.

 

Answer Key:

1. Open answer, but the people are actually gathered because Shipley’s Hardware, the business they’re standing in front of, was giving away a brand new sewing machine. If you zoom in on the picture, can you find the sewing machine?

2. Open answer, but they are gathered together to see who will win the new sewing machine from Shipley’s Hardware. We believe these are all the people who entered the contest.

3. Poles with wires, fashion worn by the people, the model of the sewing machine. This picture was actually taken in 1912.

4. All of these buildings are still standing on Main Street. The antique shop is there now. The wall was knocked down between the two businesses and now the buildings are one.

5. The people at the edge of the photo are blurred because they were moving. Any movement made during a photo would blur it, so people had to remain very still when a picture was being taken.

6. There’s a mix of genders and ages in this photo.

7. There seem to be very few African Americans in this photo. Why might that be?

8. Possibly the owner of Shipley’s Hardware or someone from the newspaper.

9. To document the sewing machine give away and all the people who came out to enter the contest. Do you think Shipley’s Hardware did good business that day?

10. Open answer, but we always enjoy seeing the men hanging out the open window up top.

 

Additional Study Questions – Why was a sewing machine such a great giveaway in 1912? Answer, sewing machines greatly changed the life of the average American. They made repairs to clothes and creating new clothes much easier. They were also expensive, so winning one was a great prize. Some people would rent sewing machines because they couldn’t own one outright.

 

To read more, check out these newspaper articles from the Herald and Tribune about the giveaway.

 

 

To see the articles enlarged, click Here, Here, and Here.

Social Media RoundUp 4/20/2020 – 4/26/2020

We hope you all are doing well. The Heritage Alliance is posting a lot of content online right now, both on our website and our social media pages. We decided to do a weekly round up so you all can find what you’re looking for in a more expedient manner. This will also help you know what posts to be on the lookout for.

 

Website (heritageall.org)

Historic Photo Exploration #4

 

Facebook – Heritage Alliance

Weekly posts about local businesses in Jonesborough, the history of the buildings, and what the businesses are offering now in the midst of Covid 19.

An interesting article on the Chiles Motor Company in Jonesborough and their prize winning car in 1926.

Posts with archival photos celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and Volunteer Appreciation Week.

Our announcement that the Heritage Alliance will be participating in #GivingTuesdayNow on May 5!

 

Facebook – Chester Inn Museum

Weekly posts reflecting back on the Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918 with primary sources from Washington County.

Reminder that we have a virtual exhibit. Check out Historic Preservation in Jonesborough, 1970-2020. 

 

YouTube – Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum

Social Distancing with the Victorians – Video series examining how the Victorians would have practiced social distancing.

Historic Marker Stabilization video filmed in the Old Jonesborough Cemetery with Board President and graveyard volunteer Gordon Edwards.

Homecooked History – This video series features our programming coordinator Megan Tewell as she cooks historic recipes in her home. This first edition features Abraham Lincoln’s Apple Bread Pudding.

 

Instagram – Heritage Alliance

We’re sharing historic images from our archives that make us think of Spring!

 

 

 

Historical Photo Exploration #4 – What’s Going On Here?

The archival collections of the Jonesborough/Washington County History Museum are full of historical photos from all over Washington County. When the photos are donated to the museum, sometimes the donor knows all kinds of information about the picture, sometimes the person who took the picture left a whole lot of information on the back for future generations. Usually, though, the pictures come with no information at all. As historians, we have to look at several context clues within the picture to help us date when the photo was taken and where the photo was taken. What was going on in that particular moment in time when the photo was taken? Early photographic technology was not as instant as it is today. It took time to take a good photo, so photos were usually reserved for special occasions.

Each week, we’ll be posting a photo from our archives with some questions to help you explore the photo. We’ll also include some writing prompts if you feel like going a step further and turning this into a creative writing exercise as well.

If you are doing this activity with your student(s), the answer key is provided at the end of the post.

 

To view a larger version of the image, click HERE.

 

Questions to Answer:

1) What is the first thing that stands out to you in this photo?

2) What do you think happened here?

3) What evidence do you see that helps explain what happened?

4) When did this event take place?

5) What do you think all those people are doing out in the street?

6) Who is included in the photo? (Look for clues to gender, age, and race.)

7) Who is not included in this picture? (Look for clues to gender, age, and race.)

8) What is a bucket brigade and what does it have to do with this photo?

9) Who do you think took this picture?

10) Why do you think this picture was taken?

11) What is the most surprising or shocking thing about this photo?

 

Additional Study Question – Can you identify where this photo was taken on Main Street, Jonesborough? Hint, Lampson Hall was located at 107 E Main Street. If you go to that location and face Southwest, what are you looking at? Remember to use safe distancing and caution when outside.

 

Creative Writing Exercise – Pick a person in the photo and write a paragraph from their point of view. What were they feeling and thinking in this moment? Do your best to write like you’re from that time period. Go a step further and write a letter as the person in the photo describing the event you saw today.

 

For a more involved lesson on the fire of 1873, you can read all about the “Fire Fiend” in this article from The Herald & Tribune that was printed after the disaster occurred. This makes for a great vocabulary lesson. Click HERE to access the full story.

 

Answer Key:

1) Open ended answer, but one of the most striking elements is the destroyed building in the foreground.

2) A fire. If you cover the information at the bottom of the photo, a common answer is war or bombing.

3) In this case, the information is given at the bottom of the photo. The burned out and destroyed buildings are also a clue. You can see the smoke damage on the buildings.

4) The fire took place during the night of December 31, 1873. The photo was taken on January 1, 1874. In this case, the information is at the bottom of the photo. – This leads to another question, Do you think New Year’s celebrations caused this fire?

5) Open ended answer, but they’re most likely surveying the damage.

6) It’s hard to make out exactly, but it looks like mostly men. There do seem to be a couple of children standing outside the big building. There are also some dogs in this photo. Why do you think it would be mostly men?

7) Again, it’s hard to make out exactly, but there don’t seem to be many women in this photo.

8) A bucket brigade was a method used to combat fire. A group of people, mostly men, would line up and pass buckets full of water from the nearest water source down the line and the last person tossed it on the fire. This was not a very effective way to combat fires, especially large ones. Jonesborough employed this method until 1888 when the town purchased firefighting equipment. Maybe the men in this photo had been part of the bucket brigade from the night before?

9) In this case, we know who took the photo. L.W. Keen, the unofficial town photographer, captured this image. A common answer would be someone from the newspaper.

10) To capture the devastation of the fire. We know that Keen actually made several copies of this photo and sold it as souvenirs.

11) Open ended answer, but the amount of devastation is striking.

 

Additional Study Question – If you go and stand at 107 East Main Street and face Southwest, you’d be looking at Mauk’s at 101 West Main Street. The burned out building in the forefront of the photo is where Mauk’s stands today.

 

 

 

 

Social Media Round Up 4/13/2020-4/19/2020

We hope you all are doing well. The Heritage Alliance is posting a lot of content online right now, both on our website and our social media pages. We decided to do a weekly round up so you all can find what you’re looking for in a more expedient manner. This will also help you know what posts to be on the lookout for.

 

Website – heritageall.org

Chester Inn Museum Virtual Exhibit – This week we launched a virtual exhibit that takes you inside two cases in the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum. Check out Historic Preservation in Jonesborough, 1970-2020 now!

Historic Photo Exploration #3

 

Facebook – Heritage Alliance

Weekly posts about local businesses in Jonesborough, the history of the buildings, and what the businesses are offering now in the midst of Covid 19.

Information on local, Smallpox outbreaks in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

One of our tour guides submitted an At Home Amateur Museum Theatre video of her own that talks about early Jonesborough history and Jesse Walton.

A look at the Civilian Conversation Corps (CCC) and their impact on Northeast Tennessee.

Updates on marker cleaning in the Old Jonesborough Cemetery.

 

Facebook – Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum

Weekly posts reflecting back on the Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918 with primary sources from Washington County.

We also launched our virtual exhibit this week! Check out Historic Preservation in Jonesborough, 1970-2020. 

 

YouTube – Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum

Social Distancing with the Victorians – Video series examining how the Victorians would have practiced social distancing.

Make A May Basket – This instructional video talks about the history of May Day and the May Basket. It also includes a step by step guide on how to make your own May Basket. The McKinney Center in Jonesborough, located at 103 Franklin Avenue, has a make and take option for the May Basket. Swing by the Center and pick up the items you need to make your own May Basket. Craft materials are located in the green box outside the Center.

Historical Photo Exploration #3 – What’s Going On Here?

The archival collections of the Jonesborough/Washington County History Museum are full of historical photos from all over Washington County. When the photos are donated to the museum, sometimes the donor knows all kinds of information about the picture, sometimes the person who took the picture left a whole lot of information on the back for future generations. Usually, though, the pictures come with no information at all. As historians, we have to look at several context clues within the picture to help us date when the photo was taken and where the photo was taken. What was going on in that particular moment in time when the photo was taken? Early photographic technology was not as instant as it is today. It took time to take a good photo, so photos were usually reserved for special occasions.

Each week, we’ll be posting a photo from our archives with some questions to help you explore the photo. We’ll also include some writing prompts if you feel like going a step further and turning this into a creative writing exercise as well.

If you are doing this activity with your student(s), the answer key is provided at the end of the post.

 

To see a larger version of the image, click HERE.

 

Questions to Answer:

1) What is happening in this photo?

2) What are some of the items you can identify in this photo?

3) What do you think the man is making?

4) What is written on the back wall of the shop?

5) What are some clues that can help you date when this photo was taken?

6) What does the word credit mean in this situation?

7) Why would he have suspended credit to his customers during the time this photo was taken?

8) Who do you think took this picture?

9) Why do you think this picture was taken?

9) What is the most surprising or shocking thing about this photo?

 

Creative Writing Exercise – What do you think this man was feeling in this moment when this photo was taken? Do your best to write like you’re from that time period. Go a step further and write an advertisement for this business based on what you’ve learned from this photo.

 

Answer Key:

1) This is a cobbler engaged in making shoes.

2) Hammer, leather, work bench, hat, glasses, apron, diagrams, etc.

3) Open ended answer, but he is actually making shoes.

4) “New Way No Credit for 1898-99”

5) The year is written on the wall behind him. This photo was most likely taken in early 1898.

6) “The ability of a customer to obtain goods or services before payment, based on the trust that payment will be made in the future.”

7) Maybe his customers weren’t actually paying him like they were supposed to? Also, the United States went through several depressions and panics in the 1890s that destroyed the economy. Many people didn’t have enough money to live on.

8) Might have been someone who knew the store owner. Might have been some one from the newspaper who was helping him advertise his new rules.

9) Lots of possible answers, but what we like best about this photo is the amount of detail.

Social Media Round Up 4/06/2020 – 4/12/2020

We hope you all are doing well. The Heritage Alliance is posting a lot of content online right now, both on our website and our social media pages. We decided to do a weekly round up so you all can find what you’re looking for in a more expedient manner. This will also help you know what posts to be on the lookout for.

 

Website – heritageall.org

Historians at Home – This week we launched our new crowdsourcing, archival project in response to the Covid_19 Pandemic. Own your history and submit to the program today.

Historic Photo Exploration #2

 

Facebook – Heritage Alliance

Weekly posts about local businesses in Jonesborough, the history of the buildings, and what the businesses are offering now in the midst of Covid 19.

Weekly posts about recreation through time, including gardening and Victory Gardens.

Photos and posts from our archival collection.

 

Facebook – Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum

Weekly posts reflecting back on the Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918 with primary sources from Washington County.

 

YouTube – Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum

Social Distancing with the Victorians – Video series examining how the Victorians would have practiced social distancing.

At Home Amateur Museum Theatre Presents: Andrew Jackson vs. Waightstill Avery – Video series examining interesting stories from Jonesborough’s past.

 

Instagram – Heritage Alliance

Featuring Spring inspired pictures from our archival collection.

Historical Photo Exploration #2 – What’s Going On Here?

The archival collections of the Jonesborough/Washington County History Museum are full of historical photos from all over Washington County. When the photos are donated to the museum, sometimes the donor knows all kinds of information about the picture, sometimes the person who took the picture left a whole lot of information on the back for future generations. Usually, though, the pictures come with no information at all. As historians, we have to look at several context clues within the picture to help us date when the photo was taken and where the photo was taken. What was going on in that particular moment in time when the photo was taken? Early photographic technology was not as instant as it is today. It took time to take a good photo, so photos were usually reserved for special occasions.

Each week, we’ll be posting a photo from our archives with some questions to help you explore the photo. We’ll also include some writing prompts if you feel like going a step further and turning this into a creative writing exercise as well.

If you are doing this activity with your student(s), the answer key is provided at the end of the post.

 

To see a larger version of the image, click HERE.

 

Questions to Answer

1) What is happening in this photo?

2) What is a cornerstone?

3) Where is the Courthouse in this photo?

4) What are some clues that can help you date when this photo was taken?

5) Who is included in this picture? (Look for clues to gender, age, and race.)

6) Who is not included in this picture? (Look for clues to gender, age, and race.)

7) Who do you think took this picture?

8) Why do you think this picture was taken?

9) What is the most surprising or shocking thing about this photo?

10) Would you be able to walk across an open construction site in the United States today? Why or why not?

Additional Study Question – Why was the Courthouse so important to Jonesborough?

 

Creative Writing Exercise – Pick a person in the photo and write a paragraph from their point of view. What were they feeling and thinking in this moment? Do your best to write like you’re from that time period. Go a step further and write a letter as the person in the photo describing the event you saw today.

 

Answer Key:

1) Placing of the cornerstone for the new Washington County Courthouse on Main Street, Jonesborough.

2) The cornerstone is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation. All other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.

3) The Courthouse is currently just a hole in the ground in this photo. The old Courthouse had been torn down and a new one was being built.

4) This photo is actually dated, but other points of reference are the electric and telephone poles and the clothes being worn by the people in the photo.

5) There is a mixture of men, women, and children. People in the photo appear to be predominantly Caucasian. There are not many African Americans in the photo.

6) There are a few African Americans in the photo. Where are they located in relation to everyone else in the photo? (Not in the foreground) Why do you think this is? (Answers could touch on segregation and that African Americans were a minority within Washington County’s population.)

7) Possibly someone from the newspaper or a town official.

8) To commemorate the placement of the cornerstone for the new Courthouse.

9) Open ended answer, but one big surprise is the people walking over the hole in their finest attire across stacked boards.

10) Mostly no, and that has everything to do with changes in law and safety standards.

Additional Study Question – You can find the answer to this question under local history on our website, or by conducting a Google search on Jonesborough’s history.

Historians at Home: Crowd Sourcing History

The COVID-19 pandemic has created numerous uncertainties and challenges, but the Heritage Alliance is working hard to make the current “safer at home” order an opportunity to create a new type of historical record. This week, The Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia launched a crowd-sourcing collection project entitled “Historians At Home.”

 

Historians At Home is a letter-collecting campaign that gathers, saves, and shares first-person accounts of the COVID-19 pandemic from local residents. It allows The Heritage Alliance, a local history non-profit, to engage with the public remotely, and collect original, first person materials from this highly irregular historical moment. Contributors are asked to write a letter or email detailing their experience and perspective, and are provided with a series of starter questions to consider. Historians At Home is a great activity for all ages, and also fits well into a home-school curriculum.

 

In 2019, The Heritage Alliance served over 36,000 people, including local residents and out-of-town visitors. Despite museum and office closures, Historians At Home allows The Heritage Alliance to continue facilitating a relationship between history and the public from afar. So consider submitting a letter via email, including a completed Written Release, to historiansathome@gmail.com. You can also mail your letter and release to The Heritage Alliance at 212 E. Sabine Drive, Jonesborough, TN 37659. The Heritage Alliance would love to hear from you, and all of the other Historians At Home.

 

To access the packet, questionnaire, and release form, click HERE.