Stories & Stitches: A Historical Quilt Exhibit

‘Stories & Stitches’ will open Friday, July 17th, at 7 pm with a virtual exhibit tour lead by Merikay Waldvogel on Facebook Live via the McKinney Center Facebook page and will then share it to the Heritage Alliance Facebook page. This exhibit will largely take place virtually, offering activities for children and adults in education and craft. ‘Stories & Stitches’ will also offer a way for all to participate by allowing submissions for online gallery of quilts on the McKinney Center’s Facebook page.



The exhibit will be open for appointment only visits at the McKinney Center, July 20th– August 7th, Monday through Friday, 9am-4pm. To schedule your private viewing of this exhibit please call 423-753-0562. Scheduled viewings will be 30 minutes at a time, but if larger groups or longer times are needed, please let us know when you call. Groups can be up to ten people at a time and admission is free, but a donation is appreciated.


The McKinney Center and Heritage Alliance invite you to experience Stories & Stitches: A Historical Quilt Exhibit that will feature 15 local and regional quilts from the Heritage Alliance historical collection. These quilts each come with their own stories. This exhibit will include a variety of quilt styles, including Crazy, Friendship, Irish Chain, and Floral Pattern. One Friendship quilt even includes a personal poem on the quilt, created for a local businessman in 1860. You will not want to miss the history, stories, and beautiful stitches of these historic quilts from right around here in Historic Jonesborough, Tennessee.


The McKinney Center and Heritage Alliance welcome Merikay Waldvogel as the guest expert on July 17th, on the McKinney Center’s Facebook Live, at 7pm. Waldvogel is an author, curator, and quilt researcher. Co-directing the Quilts of Tennessee survey with Bets Ramsey in the 1980s sparked a keen love for Southern quilts and quiltmakers. Her writings include: Quilts of Tennessee (1986), Soft Covers for Hard Times (1990), and Southern Quilts of the Civil War (1998). She has served on the Board of Directors of American Quilt Study Group and the Alliance for American Quilts. In 2009, she was inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame. Waldvogel says, “Quilts documented for the Quilts of Tennessee survey in Jonesborough in the 1980s were some of the most interesting due to the diversity of their stories and styles. I am excited to delve into the stories of these quilts from the Heritage Alliance collection.”



Between July 17th and August 7th be sure to pay close attention to both the McKinney Center and the Heritage Alliance’s social media as they release educational resources in companionship with this exhibit. A children’s resources packet will be available on July 20th, a Crazy Quilt craft challenge July 22nd, an online quilt puzzle, July 29th, ways to submit your own quilt photographs, July 17th, and a “How to Care for your Quilts” video August 1st, offered by the Heritage Alliance.



The Heritage Alliance and McKinney Center have continued to provide free educational content throughout the pandemic. If you would like to make a donation to the McKinney Center, please go to, scroll down, and click “Partner.” If you would like to make a donation to the Heritage Alliance, please go to and click “Donate Now” at the top of the page. You can also send a check to either the McKinney Center or the Heritage Alliance. To find out more about either organization visit and

Historic Jonesborough Main Street Strolling Tours Resume on July 4th

The Heritage Alliance’s Main Street Strolling Tours will resume on Saturday, July 4th. The Tours were stopped in March while the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum was closed. During this time, the Heritage Alliance hosted virtual tours online. Now the in person tours of Tennessee’s Oldest Town are back.

Guests can enjoy a Town Tour with a costumed guide on Saturdays at 1:00 p.m. The Mythbusting Tour, which puts guests’ history detective skills to the test, will be available the second Saturday of the month at 1:00 p.m. The Old Jonesborough Cemetery Tour will also return on July 4th. The Cemetery Tour will be available the first and third Saturdays of the month at 2:30 p.m. Tickets for the Town Tour and Mythbusting Tour are $5 per person. Tickets for the Cemetery Tour are $3 per person. Combo tickets for both tours are available for $7 per person. During the month of July, tours will be limited to groups of ten. All tour tickets are available at the Chester Inn Museum. Guests can call ahead of time to reserve their space for a tour.

Jonesborough TN Town Tour – photo by Whitney S Williams

The Chester Inn Museum is open on the following schedule: Friday, Saturday, and Monday 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sunday 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and Tuesday-Thursday closed. If you or a small group would like to visit the Museum during an off day contact the Heritage Alliance directly and we will try to schedule a time that works. Here are some tips for visitors to the Museum. Currently, 25 people are allowed in the Chester Inn Museum at one time. Anyone entering the museum is suggested to wear a mask. Visitors are asked to follow social distancing guidelines. This plan is subject to changes. If you have any questions please call us at (423) 753-4580 or (423) 753-9580. You can also email us at or message us here on Facebook.

History Happy Hour Online June 25th with “Printing in the Victorian Period” Program

There are a couple of schedule changes for the June History Happy Hour at the Chester Inn Museum.

The June program, originally scheduled to be held at the museum on June 18th, has been rescheduled as an online presentation on June 25th at 6:30 pm. It will be offered through the Zoom platform and will also be streamed live on the Chester Inn Museum’s Facebook page. Go to the Chester Inn Museum’s Facebook page for the link to the meeting room and for the password to login. We are excited to offer this online option as we transition into our phased reopening plan at the Museum.



The speaker and topic have changed due to travel cancellations related to the pandemic. The updated presentation is “Printing in the Victorian Period” with speaker Jacob Simpson, Assistant Director of the Cincinnati Type & Print Museum. Jacob is the former Exhibits Coordinator for the Heritage Alliance and will be joining us from his location in Cincinnati, OH. The program will begin online at 6:30 pm and participants can join the Zoom meeting or stream live on Facebook at that time. Participants who use Zoom are encouraged to keep their microphones muted and relay any questions during the presentation to the chat. The program is free and open to the public!


This project is funded under an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee Historical Commission.


Topic: History Happy Hour
Time: June 25, 2020 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 874 1056 0423
Password: History

Heritage Alliance Awarded Humanities Tennessee CARES Act Grant

The Heritage Alliance is excited to announce that we have recently been awarded a Humanities Tennessee CARES Act Grant. In the first installment of their CARES Act grant imitative, Humanities Tennessee was able to award more than $30,000 to non-profits from across Tennessee’s nine Congressional districts. Like many organizations, the Heritage Alliance’s offices and museums were closed for most of the spring. During this time, we had to cancel and postpone scheduled programming and fundraisers.


During our closure to the public, Heritage Alliance staff was hard at work transforming our historic materials into virtual exhibits, including a digital exhibit on the flu pandemic of 1918, educational videos such as “Social Distancing with the Victorians” and “Homecooked History,” and more, including our first ever Virtual Fieldtrip Day. With the assistance from Humanities Tennessee CARES Act Grant, we plan to continue creating educational content that can be enjoyed both in our museums and online. The Heritage Alliance knows that even though our spaces have reopened to the public, we will need to continue to adapt our programming in order to ensure the safety and comfort of our audiences.


Funding has been provided by Humanities Tennessee and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act economic stabilization plan of 2020. The Heritage Alliance is dedicated to the preservation of the architectural, historical, and cultural heritage of our region and to providing educational experiences related to history and heritage for a wide range of audiences.



Heritage Alliance and Chester Inn Museum Open

The Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia’s office in Jonesborough has reopened to the public. Our archives located in the Visitor’s Center remain closed. Interested researchers should contact the Heritage Alliance directly at (423) 753-9580 for assistance. The Architectural Salvage Warehouse will resume regular operations on Saturday, June 6. The Warehouse will be open from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm on the first and third Saturdays of the month through the end of September.

We are excited to announce that the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum has also reopened to the public. This is the first stage of the Museum’s reopening and some changes have been made. The Chester Inn values the safety of our visitors, staff, and volunteers above all, so we are following an increased cleaning routine and have set up two hand sanitizer stations. We have temporarily removed any interactive and hands-on features. Kids coloring sheets are available on our website, The month of June the Museum will be open on the following schedule: Friday, Saturday, and Monday 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sunday 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and Tuesday-Thursday closed. If you or a small group would like to visit the Museum during an off day contact the Heritage Alliance directly and we will try to schedule a time that works.

Our staff has worked to compile some tips for our museum visitors. We will try to limit visitors to 10 people in the Chester Inn Museum at a time. We will close the door until the visitor count decreases allowing for new visitors to come in. Anyone entering the museum is suggested to wear a mask. Visitors are asked to follow social distancing guidelines. The upstairs tour is temporarily unavailable, but we have a video tour that visitors can view upon request. This plan is subject to changes. If you have any questions please call us at (423) 753-4580 or (423) 753-9580. You can also email us at or message us here on Facebook.

We will be making decisions regarding History Happy Hour and all other programs on a case by case basis. Follow the Heritage Alliance and Chester Inn Museum on Facebook to receive up to date information.

History Happy Hour Online Event May 28th: How Anti-Slavery Politics Won

History Happy Hour is making its online debut next week!

History Happy Hour was set to launch for a fourth season in March. Due to public closures related to the coronavirus, the first two meetings were cancelled. The May program, originally scheduled for May 21st, has been pushed back to May 28th and is going to be offered online. It will be offered through the Zoom platform. Go to the Chester Inn Museum Facebook page for the link to the meeting room and for the password to login. You can also access this information via the Heritage Alliance’s website, We are excited to offer this online option and for the opportunity to gauge how this program might work virtually.

The topic this month covers history around the Civil War. Join Dr. Kyle Osborn as he presents “How Anti-Slavery Politics Won.” Dr. Osborn is an Assistant Professor of History at King University, and worked as a graduate assistant for the Heritage Alliance’s Teaching American History grant several years ago. The program will begin online at 6:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public!


Topic: History Happy Hour

Time: May 28, 2020 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 874 1056 0423

Password: History


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 –


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

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.

Volunteer Spotlight: Daniel Nelson

The Heritage Alliance could not do half of the programs we do without our wonderful volunteers! This volunteer spotlight is on Daniel Nelson. Daniel has been volunteering this spring in our archives scanning photographs. Daniel began as a computer engineering student at Northeast State, and is now a second semester junior at ETSU where he changed his major to IT with a computing concentration. We want to thank Daniel for all of his hard work!



Q: How did you find out about volunteer opportunities with the Heritage Alliance?

A: I saw the Heritage Alliance on a list of service organizations. I chose to volunteer here because of your work on history and preservation, and because you seemed to have an impact on the community.


Q: What do you plan to do with your IT degree, and how will your volunteer work help with that?

A: I am interested in enlisting in the Air Force with a plan to focus on cyber security. This position has been helpful because I have been able to learn the Past Perfect system, see how small organizations function and how volunteers help, and this is my first time using this type of scanner.


Q: You’ve scanned hundreds of photographs. Do you have a favorite?

A: I really enjoyed the Civic Trust photograph collection that showed recent events and town celebrations. I also enjoyed any pictures that captured what daily life was like in the 80s and 90s around and before when I was born. My favorite photograph that I have scanned is the Ostrich Farm in Jacksonville [around 1900]. It was interesting to see how ostriches were used and how people handled them.


Q: Do you have anything that you want to add?

A: I hope to see these photographs online, and possibly made more accessible to the public in the future. I have enjoyed my time working with the Heritage Alliance staff.