Heritage Alliance to Participate in Freedom Stories on September 5

The International Storytelling Center (ISC), home to the world-renowned National Storytelling Festival and Storytelling Live! Teller-in-Residence series, will host a free virtual event titled What You Don’t Know (But Should) About Appalachian Slavery on Saturday, September 5th, from 1-2:30 pm as part of the Freedom Stories project.


Freedom Stories is an ongoing series that illuminates the underappreciated and neglected stories of African Americans in Appalachian history and highlights the role that face-to-face storytelling has played in both African and Appalachian cultures. Through Freedom Stories virtual events, the project marries performance and discussion, connecting prominent African American storytellers, artists, humanities scholars, and community experts to trace the rich history of African Americans in Appalachia—from the first African arrivals in Appalachia, to the shaping of a distinct culture, to the struggles for freedom and equality. The project will also produce multi-media resources that will be made accessible to a national audience.

As the nation learns to grapple with difficult truths, this free public event will serve as a model for how to engage in productive discussions around complex topics. The distinguished panel will feature Frank X. Walker, a self-identified “Affrilachian” poet and author; author and historian, Anne Mason of the Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee & Southwest Virginia; West Virginia storyteller and humanities scholar, Ilene Evans of Voices from the Earth; and Dr. Dinah Mayo-Bobee from East Tennessee State University Department of History. The panel will be moderated by ISC Freedom Stories Project Director, Dr. Alicestyne Turley.


The live panel discussion will take place on September 5th, from 1-2:30 pm EST on the International Storytelling Center’s Facebook timeline and will be followed by a public Q & A. The event will be recorded and made available to watch with closed-captioning post-event.


Alicestyne Turley, Director of the Freedom Stories Project states of the September Freedom Story, “Today’s audiences have very limited, generalized knowledge of American slavery, a knowledge informed primarily by American entertainment media. Which of course means many audiences have even less information about Appalachia or its history of slavery. Slavery in Appalachia was like the region itself, unique in its form and application. The September public discussion will be a brief look at this overlooked aspect of American and regional history.”


Kiran Singh Sirah, President of ISC, says these Freedom Stories discussions are important to the region in the context of the national movement of storytelling. “For example, how many of us know that in Appalachia, more people identify as African American than Scots-Irish?” asks Sirah. “The project is not meant to neglect or subdue the stories we do know, but rather to bring forward, in public conversation, the untold stories that contribute to the uniqueness and rich traditions of Appalachia. These stories are integral to the history of the region, and Appalachia (while often othered) is integral to the story of our entire nation.”


The project is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Discussions Grant, an award based on projects that bring the ideas and insights of the humanities to life for general audiences. ISC would like to thank the following organizations for their support of the Freedom Stories Project: Appalachian African American Cultural Center, Black in Appalachia, Black/White Dialogue, Green McAdoo Cultural Center, Heritage Alliance, Langston Centre, Leadership and Civic Engagement at East Tennessee State University, McKinney Center, Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association, and the Town of Jonesborough.


To learn more about the International Storytelling Center and upcoming Freedom Stories programming, please visit www.storytellingcenter.net.

Jonesborough & Washington County History Museum Presents ‘To Make Our Voices Heard: Tennessee Women’s Fight for the Vote

Exhibition showcases events leading up to Tennessee’s ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

JONESBOROUGH, TN, AUGUST 24, 2020 – The Heritage Alliance presents To Make Our Voices Heard: Tennessee Women’s Fight for the Vote, a new traveling exhibition, on display now. The exhibition, created in partnership with the Tennessee State Museum and the Tennessee State Library and Archives, explores the history of the woman’s suffrage movement, Tennessee’s dramatic vote to ratify the 19th Amendment in 1920, and the years that followed. The exhibit is currently on display in the Jonesborough & Washington County History Museum located inside the Jonesborough Visitor’s Center.

“We are very excited and honored to host this traveling exhibit in Tennessee’s Oldest Town,” says Heritage Alliance Executive Director Anne Mason. “We have been researching the role of local suffragettes, and we’ll be creating a Washington County companion exhibit that will only add to this wonderful exhibit from the State Museum and Archives.”

The exhibition is constructed of multiple dynamic panels, offering guests a touch-free experience of archival images, engaging stories and introductions to the leaders of the fight for and against the cause of woman’s suffrage. The stories begin by detailing the early challenges of racial and gender discrimination and continuing to the organization of African American and white women’s associations to encourage political engagement.

Visitors will also learn about Febb Burn of McMinn County, whose letter to her son, Harry T. Burn, resulted in a last-minute vote that helped change women’s history in the United States forever.

The exhibit includes a Tennessee map, highlighting suffragist activities across the state, including in Washington County.

“Tennessee’s role in becoming the 36th and final state to ratify the 19th Amendment not only solidified women’s right to vote but propelled women across the country to opportunities and futures they never thought possible,” said Chuck Sherrill, State Librarian and Archivist with the Tennessee State Library & Archives. “The hope of the committee is this centennial celebration will do the same all across our state.”

In coordination with this traveling exhibit, the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville will soon open Ratified! Tennessee Women and the Right to Vote, an extensive 8,000 square foot exhibition exploring the Women’s Suffrage movement in Tennessee through archival images and documents, artifacts, films, interactive elements, and programming.

An online component of the exhibition, Ratified! Statewide! highlighting the suffrage movement in every Tennessee county is available now at tnmuseum.org.

“As we commemorate the historic vote that took place at Tennessee’s State Capitol in August of 1920, we want to honor those individuals who played key roles in the journey to gain voting rights for women,” said Ashley Howell, Executive Director of the Tennessee State Museum.  “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to share these stories across the state.”

To Make Our Voices Heard: Tennessee Women’s Fight for the Vote is organized by the Tennessee State Museum and the Tennessee State Library and Archives with funding provided by The Official Committee of the State of Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial. The project is also funded in part by a grant from Humanities Tennessee, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

About Jonesborough & Washington County History Museum

The Jonesborough & Washington County History Museum is located inside the Historic Jonesborough Visitor’s Center at 117 Boone Street. They can be contacted directly by calling 423-753-1010. The museum and its archival collections are managed by the Heritage Alliance. 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.

About Tennessee State Museum

The Tennessee State Museum, on the corner of Rosa L Parks Blvd. and Jefferson Street at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, is home to 13,000 years of Tennessee art and history. Through six permanent exhibitions titled Natural History, First Peoples, Forging a Nation, The Civil War and Reconstruction, Change and Challenge and Tennessee Transforms, the Museum takes visitors on a journey – through artifacts, films, interactive displays, events, and educational programming – from the state’s geological beginnings to the present day. Additional temporary exhibitions explore significant periods and individuals in history, along with art and cultural movements. Additional temporary exhibitions explore Tennessee history including the current exhibition, Ratified! Tennessee Women and the Right to Vote. For more information on exhibitions, events and digital programming, please visit tnmuseum.org.

About Tennessee State Library and Archives

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is located next to the State Capitol building in Nashville. Established in 1854, it houses a vast collection of books, documents, maps and photographs about the State of Tennessee. These materials are open to the public for research use, and staff are on hand to assist researchers. Suffrage-related collections include legislative records, oral histories, historical newspapers and manuscript collections. For more information about the collections of the Library & Archives and how to access them, please visit www.sos.tn.gov/tsla

The Official Committee of the State of Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial

The Official Committee of the State of Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial was created by the appointment of the TN House Speaker and Lt. Governor and began work in February 2019. Governor Bill Lee declared August 2019 to August 2020 as the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Centennial Year. Under leadership from the Tennessee General Assembly, the Committee members include the Tennessee State Library and Archives, the Tennessee State Museum, the Tennessee Department of Education, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, the Tennessee Historical Commission, the State Historian, and the Tennessee Historical Society. Learn more at TNWoman100.com.

Taste of Tennessee Official Program

Our program for the inaugural Taste of Tennessee includes Timber! restaurant in Johnson City, Serenity Knolls Farm, River Creek Farm, the North Carolina Craft and Beverage Museum in Asheville, Boone Street Market, the Exchange Place in Kingsport, the Pakalachian Food Truck in Abingdon, and the Chester Inn Museum! The day will be full of virtual events from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm.


Click HERE to access the full program.


Don’t forget to purchase tickets to the Farm to Table Tour and Food at River Creek Farm, the Use of Smoke as an Ingredient in Appalachian Cooking with Nathan Brand of Timber!, and the Seasonal Cooking: Tomato Pie Class with Serenity Knoll.

Taste of Tennessee: Virtual Appalachian Food Celebration

What’s cooking at the Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia? The organization is serving local residents a new event that highlights the history and culture of Appalachian foodways. “Taste of Tennessee” is a new virtual program that promises to bring people together to explore and celebrate Appalachian cuisine from the comfort of their homes. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, the event is completely online and is scheduled for Saturday, August 22nd from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. This day-long digital celebration is full of education and entertainment, and also serves as a fundraiser for The Heritage Alliance. As part of the event, The Heritage Alliance will present a variety of offerings via Facebook and Zoom, including lectures, demonstrations, cooking classes, and more.




“When we first conceived of the idea of Taste of Tennessee, it was envisioned as an in-person Appalachian food fair,” says Executive Director Anne Mason. “Unfortunately, COVID-19 has forced us to re-conceptualize the event, but we still wanted to keep the intended spirit of the event alive.”

“Our goal is to get people excited about Appalachian cuisine, past and present,” adds Programming Coordinator Megan Tewell. “That’s our main objective with this event—to connect people to food and to each other.”

A complete program for “Taste of Tennessee” will be released shortly, although confirmed speakers include prominent chefs, “foodies,” farmers, historians, interpreters, to name a few. Tickets for special Zoom events are available on the Town of Jonesborough’s website. Featuring historic recipes, techniques, and ingredients, as well as modern spins on Appalachian classics, the Heritage Alliance hopes that “Taste of Tennessee” helps the public to come together around a virtual “table” and enjoy a sense of community once more.

The Heritage Alliance is also continuing to collect recipes for their community-curated cookbook, as part of “Taste of Tennessee.” Do you have a favorite recipe that you would like to contribute? Please contact programming coordinator Megan Cullen Tewell at mtewell@heritageall.org in order to share. And don’t miss this exciting opportunity to learn more about our local food heritage on August 22nd— bring your appetite for Appalachia!

Historic Quilt Care Video and Resources

Do you have a historic, family quilt that you think needs to be cleaned? Before you go any further, we suggest you watch this instructional video prepared by the McKinney Center. Watch as Programming Coordinator Megan Tewell takes us through proper ways to clean and store your historic and antique quilts! In the video, Megan is posing in front of historic quilts from our collection. These pieces are currently on display at the McKinney Center through August 7 as part of the Stories & Stitches exhibit.

Historic Quilt Care Video – https://youtu.be/-ePZnWM_2Vk

For additional information, we suggest you download our Historic Quilt Care best practices.



Calling All Cooks, The Heritage Alliance Seeks Contributions for New Cookbook

The Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia is asking local residents to submit their favorite recipes for a new project! The request comes as part of an initiative to create the organization’s first-ever community cookbook.

To access the form in PDF format, click here.

The cookbook represents an effort to celebrate Appalachian foodways by collecting, preserving, and sharing local recipes. The Heritage Alliance is accepting submissions for the following categories from July 16 to August 16, 2020. Contributors can submit as many entries as they like, and their names will appear in the cookbook alongside their dishes. The final product will be published and available for sale by the end of 2020, and will feature various recipes, as well as information about the history and culture of Appalachian food. This community-based project is part of the programming for The Heritage Alliance’s inaugural “Taste of Tennessee” event, an online Appalachian food festival that launches on Saturday, August 22.

Please send your entries by mail to the Heritage Alliance at 212 E. Sabin Drive, Jonesborough, TN 37659 or submit by email to Megan Cullen Tewell (Programming Coordinator) at mtewell@heritageall.org.

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 mckinneycenter.com, scroll down, and click “Partner.” If you would like to make a donation to the Heritage Alliance, please go to heritageall.org 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 mckinneycenter.com and heritageall.org.

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 chesterinn@heritageall.org or message us here on Facebook.

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.



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