Original Play “Nancy” to be performed at Washington College Academy on November 13th

– In 1820, Elihu Embree published his newspaper The Emancipator on Main Street, Jonesborough. The seven edition paper is the first publication dedicated solely to the cause of abolitionism. Embree passed away in December of 1820, and the paper died with him. Even though it was short-lived, The Emancipator had over 2,000 subscribers and its reach went all the way to Boston and Philadelphia. In spite of his abolitionist beliefs, Embree himself was an enslaver. Nancy was an enslaved woman owned by Elihu Embree, and her story will be shared at Washington College Academy on November 13th in an original play entitled “Nancy.”


Written by Anne G’Fellers-Mason, Executive Director of the Heritage Alliance, “Nancy” follows a year in the woman’s life, from January 1820 when Elihu Embree wrote his will to January 1821 when his will was read before the Washington County court. In his will, Embree tried to free Nancy and her five children, but were his wishes carried out? What was Nancy feeling and thinking during this time? The play is based on primary research relying heavily on documents from the Washington County Archives. The role of Nancy will be performed by local actress Ubunibi-Afia Short. “Nancy” premiered on June 19th at the Embree House Historic Farm to three, sold out audiences.


“It is an honor to bring the show to Washington College Academy, the oldest college in the state,” Mason says. “We are very excited to partner with them.” The performance at 6:00 pm on November 13th will be a fundraiser for the Washington College Academy Alumni and the Heritage Alliance. The show will be performed in the historic Girls’ Dormitory on the campus. Tickets are $20.00 and can be purchased directly through Washington College Academy by calling 423-257-5151 or by emailing their office at washingtoncollegeacademy@gmail.com.  Seating is limited to only 50 people, so make sure you purchase your tickets in advance. Tickets can also be purchased by visiting Washington College Academy’s website at www.wca1780.com.


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. For more information, visit our website at heritageall.org or call our office at 423-753-9580.


Washington College Academy is now home to the Washington College Academy School of Arts and Crafts. It is becoming known as a center for the arts where the forms of artistic talents are as diverse as the mountain leaves. It is a diverse heritage that draws students and friends to campus. Washington College is on the National Register of Historic Places. Take a class at Washington College Academy School of Arts and Crafts and be a part of their ongoing history. For more information call their office at 423-257-5151 or visit their website at www.wca1780.com.

History Happy Hour Gets Macabre In-Person on October 21st

What better time of year to explore the history of death and mourning than October?


Join us as we welcome Roberta Pipitone for her presentation, ““19th Century American Mourning Rules, Customs, and Symbolism.” Ms. Pipitone was a theatre teacher for 30 years, but she has been a collector and researcher of all things mourning for forty years. She also plans to bring items to accompany her presentation, including jewelry, post-mortem photos, and mourning pieces displayed in American Victorian homes. This presentation will start at 6:30 pm, and it will be in-person at the International Storytelling Center, located next door to the Chester Inn Museum. This presentation will also be available via livestream on the Chester Inn’s Facebook page. It is presented by the Heritage Alliance and produced independently of the International Storytelling Center. It is also free and open to the public!


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

True and Chilling Tales Tours in Jonesborough this October

Come and learn some truly chilling history in Jonesborough this October. Have you ever wondered what happened to horse thieves in the late 1700s, or wanted to know why Andrew Jackson fought a duel in Jonesborough? What about a body discovered in a rain barrel in town? What’s the story behind that? Hear these very true tales and more during this unique tour that’s perfect for an October evening.


The True and Chilling Tales Tour will take place at 7:00 pm on October 18th, 20th, 27th, 28th, 31st, and November 1st. Your guide will lead you down Main Street with her “book of poor souls.” Mind your step, lest you end up in that book, too. Tickets are $10.00 and can be purchased through the Town of Jonesborough’s ticketing system at jonesborough.com/tickets. The tour will last an hour. Groups are limited to only 16 people, so make sure you buy your tickets in advance. The tours will depart from the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum on Main Street. The tours will go on rain or shine.

A Spot on the Hill Returns to the Old Jonesborough Cemetery in October

A Spot on the Hill, the original, research-based play returns this October to the Old Jonesborough Cemetery. Now celebrating its seventh season, this edition features new characters. New stories include members of the Panhorst family, John Simpson who owned the Mansion House, Spanish American War veteran William Armstrong, and Lucy Stuart who has a secret she’s been keeping.  You’ll meet them and many more! Guests are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs to sit on. Come and listen to real stories of real lives among real tombstones.

Performances for A Spot on the Hill will take place at 6:30 p.m. on October 15th, 16th, 22nd, and 23rd. There will be 2:00 p.m. matinee performances on October 16th and 23rd. We have made some changes this year in light of the ongoing Covid19 pandemic, and there will be no indoor performances. Tickets are limited, and sell out fast, so make sure you buy yours today. Tickets are $8.00 and proceeds benefit the Heritage Alliance’s educational programs and initiatives, including ongoing programming in Jonesborough’s historic cemeteries.



Audience members should arrive 15 minutes prior to show time. Parking is available at the First Baptist Church and downtown. It is a short walk up East Main Street to the cemetery from the First Baptist Church lot. A golf cart courtesy shuttle will be available for guests who need it. This program is not suggested for children less than 10 years of age. In case of inclement weather, the show will be canceled and audience members will be notified in advance.

To purchase tickets, please call the Jonesborough Visitor’s Center at 423.753.1010. Tickets can also be purchased online at jonesborough.com/tickets.

Heritage Alliance Trivia Night Gets Spooky This October

The Heritage Alliance, or should we say Scare-itage Alliance is bringing its riotously fun trivia night back in October with questions to test your knowledge of all things spooky and historical!


Join us at the Eureka Inn in Jonesborough on Friday, October 8th at 7:00 pm for general history-based trivia questions, friendly competition, and a ton of fun! The Eureka Inn will host both events in their outside courtyard and feature a “light bites” menu.


Not a “history buff?” Don’t worry! These questions cover a wide range of topics and categories and include something for everyone. We will have questions about Halloween, witches, movies, and more!


Teams (of up to six people) can register up until the evening of the event, which will kick off at 7:00 PM and last about an hour and a half. We request that teams check in with the hosts prior to the event. Joe Spiker, Head Docent of the Chester Inn State Historic Site and Museum, and Megan Cullen Tewell, Programming Coordinator at the Heritage Alliance, will host the event, tallying points and administering prizes to the winners. The event is family-friendly and open to all ages. Cost is $5 per team, although additional donations are appreciated. This is an outdoor event (weather permitting), but we ask that you wear a mask until seated at your table, and we ask that anyone who enters the Eureka wears a mask. Costumes are encouraged.


You can sign your team up for trivia at Heritageall.org. The link to sign up for the event is at the top of the page. Like and follow the Heritage Alliance on Facebook for more information.



History Happy Hour Virtual Program on September 16th at 6:30

This month’s History Happy Hour will help you prepare for the start of autumn with a program about a favorite fall beverage!


Join us as we welcome Kim Floyd and Jeff “Puff” Irvin for their presentation, “The In-Cider’s Scoop.” They will be talking about the history of apples and cider as well as the science behind the delicious beverage. Kim Floyd is the director of the North Carolina Craft Beverage Museum, and Puff Irvin is the Director of the Craft Beverage Institute of the Southeast at Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College. The North Carolina Craft Beverage Museum is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the state’s craft beverage story, and celebrates its role in building and defining a local, state, and national community. The Craft Beverage Institute of the Southeast at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College is designed to support the rapidly growing craft beverage industry in Western North Carolina and the Southeast by providing curriculum and non-credit courses in brewing, distilling, fermentation and related business practices.


This presentation will be online-only, and will be available via Zoom and Facebook live. The Zoom login information is available below. You can connect directly with the program via Zoom or watch the live stream on the Chester Inn’s Facebook page. This program is free and open to the public!


Topic: History Happy Hour

Time: Sep 16, 2021 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Join Zoom Meeting



Meeting ID: 825 0910 2750

Passcode: History


One tap mobile

+13017158592,,82509102750#,,,,*8704513# US (Washington DC)

+13126266799,,82509102750#,,,,*8704513# US (Chicago)


Dial by your location

+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)

+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)

+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)

+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

+1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)

Meeting ID: 825 0910 2750

Passcode: 8704513

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kdVbnWC8XK



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

Eighth Annual Constitution Week Bell Ringing at Oak Hill School

On Sunday, September 12th, the State of Franklin Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), are hosting their Eighth Annual Bell Ringing in honor of Constitution Week. The event will take place at 1:30 p.m. at Oak Hill School, located at 214 East Sabin Drive in Jonesborough across from the Jonesborough Public Library. The program will focus on the history of the First Amendment to the Constitution that reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The program will honor the freedom of religion with Reverend Samuel Doak’s speech at the Battle of Kings Mountain, the freedom of the press, and the freedom of assembly. Several heritage groups will be participating, including the Kings Mountain NSSAR, the Overmountain Victory Trail Association, and participation from other local chapters of the NSDAR.  Another treat of this year is the ringing of a very large locally restored antique bell cast in Ohio, and believed to have rung in church members for worship in upper East Tennessee.


The event will follow CDC guidelines. Social distancing will be observed on the lawn of the schoolhouse, and there is plenty of space for guests to spread out. Please bring your own chair and a bell to ring! Seating will not be provided on site. Oak Hill School is currently undergoing a restoration funded through a preservation grant from the NSDAR. The historic building was a school and a site of assembly, so it’s the perfect location to celebrate the First Amendment and the Constitution.


The Daughters of the American Revolution began the tradition of celebrating the Constitution.  In 1955, the DAR petitioned Congress to set aside September 17-23 annually to be dedicated for the observance of Constitution Week.  The resolution was adopted by Congress and signed into law on August 2, 1956, by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  The State of Franklin Chapter of the NSDAR has been based in Jonesborough since 1929.


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.  For more information, please call our office at 423.753.9580, or contact the organization via email at info@heritageall.org.  Additional information can also be found online at http://www.heritageall.org/.

Book Signing at Oak Hill School on September 3rd

On Friday, September 3rd, the historic Oak Hill School will host author Marsha Honeycutt Marcela from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm. The Appalachian author will be signing copies of her book Mr. Rigney, Rigney, and Me (. . .or is it “I”) about her mentor Mr. George Rigney. Copies of the book will be available for $10.00. Mr. Rigney started his long teaching career in a one room schoolhouse, so it’s only fitting Marcela bring his story to Oak Hill School.


Who was Mr. Rigney, though, and why was his closest companion a domesticated wolf? How does a man who didn’t finish but one year of high school start teaching English in a one-room schoolhouse at the age of 17? These questions and more are answered in her touching biography. Proceeds from the book benefit the George D. Rigney Memorial Scholarship Fund which continues to help students to this day.


The book signing is a part of the Jonesborough Genealogical Society’s Heritage Fair which takes place in Jonesborough on September 3rd and 4th. Oak Hill School will also be open for tours on Saturday, September 4th from 12:30 pm – 4:30 pm, but the book signing will be Friday only. Oak Hill School educated students in the Knob Creek Community from 1886-1952. It was moved to Jonesborough in the 1990s and today it continues to welcome students through the Oak Hill School Heritage Education Program. For more information on Oak Hill School, visit the Heritage Alliance’s website at heritageall.org.

Useable Past: Spotlighting Successful Regional Development

The “Usable Past” workshop series returns August 26 with an in-depth roundtable discussion with directors from the Alex Haley Farm, Green McAdoo Cultural Center, and the Langston Cultural Centre. This conference and workshop for tourism professionals and other interested individuals will help participants develop strategies and increase tourism opportunities with and for untapped or overlooked groups. 

You can register here:  https://bit.ly/3s9plKs

Over 100 million visitors come to Tennessee each year, and the State typically earns over 20 billion dollars in revenue from tourists. It’s important that visitors, whether they are families, couples, or individuals seeking adventure, feel safe and represented in the places they visit and stay. Heritage Tourism is a large part of why people travel, they want to know their history, but this is a field that has struggled to be inclusive and welcoming to folks of all backgrounds. How can we, as leaders in the field of tourism in Northeast Tennessee work to set an example for other areas as an inclusive region?

The Useable Past series tackled this big question in April of 2021 with speakers from the Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association, Black in Appalachia, and East Tennessee State University. Useable Past is back this August with another workshop. This series seeks to showcase efforts and examples in Northeast Tennessee when it comes to inclusive tourism, difficulties faced, as well as action steps we can all take to continue to move forward as a region.

This free workshop will take place online from 9:00 am – 10:30 am on Thursday, August 26. Speakers include Kenneth Libby, Business Manager for the Children’s Defense Fund at the Alex Haley Farm, Adam Velk, Museum Director at Green McAdoo Cultural Center, and Adam Dickson, Langston Centre Director. Dr. Daryl A. Carter, Director of the Black American Studies program at East Tennessee University and Jules Corriere with the McKinney Center will moderate the Q&A session following the presentations. Participants must register in advance to receive the Zoom link.

This workshop series is a collaboration between the McKinney Center, the Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, the Langston Centre, and the Black American Studies program at ETSU. The McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington School provides a comprehensive program through Jonesborough’s Mary B. Martin Program for the Arts which teaches various art skills to all participants through a quality program of instruction open to all segments of Jonesborough’s population. The Heritage Alliance is a non-profit 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. The Langston Centre is a cultural facility that promotes multicultural awareness and workforce development through arts, education, and leadership activities. Black American Studies serves a critical role for the College of Arts & Sciences and ETSU by offering high-quality academic course offerings, superb programming, and opportunities for personal growth through service. 

Birthplace of Country Music Museum at Next History Happy Hour

History Happy Hour is IN-PERSON at the Jonesborough Visitors Center on Thursday, August 19th at 6:30 pm!


Join us as we welcome back one of our favorite History Happy Hour partner organizations, Bristol’s Birthplace of Country Music Museum! Dr. Rene Rodgers and Scotty Almany will be on hand to share the technological story behind a Farm and Fun Time radio transcription disc. The program will be in-person in the auditorium of the Visitors Center, and it will be streamed live on the Chester Inn’s Facebook page as well. The program will begin at 6:30 pm and participants can join in-person or stream live on Facebook at that time. Seating will be spaced out in the auditorium. 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. For more information on the Chester Inn Museum, History Happy Hour, or the Heritage Alliance please call our office at 423.753.9580 or the Chester Inn Museum at 423.753.4580. You can also contact the organization via email at info@heritageall.org. Additional information about the Heritage Alliance and its mission can be found online at http://www.heritageall.org/. Be sure to follow the Chester Inn and Heritage Alliance Facebook pages for updates about events at the Chester Inn and other Heritage Alliance programs.