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Local history highlights were given to Rotary Club members by Judge Williams in 1928

Bob Cox • Nov 3, 2019 at 12:00 PM

On May 23, 1928, interesting sidelights of Johnson City history were presented to the Rotary Club by historian Judge Samuel Cole Williams. The Rotary Luncheon on Tuesday, furnished accurate history data on many events, which were likely hazy in the minds of some of the Rotarians:

Johnson City was incorporated in December 1869 according to reliable records and on the suggestion of Judge Williams, initial steps were taken to celebrate the date the following December.

Among other interesting and little known facts about the city were the statements that two battles were fought here during the Civil War, one lasting only two days.

Another statement that surprised the Rotarians was the news that Johnson City was a great training ground for the Confederate Army, recruits having been sent here for preliminary training before joining the armies of Lee, Johnson and others.

Judge Williams called specific attention to the location of the training camp and stated that he felt that the Daughters of the Confederacy were not acquainted with its location or else it would have been marked.

So interesting were the pertinent facts given by Judge Williams that steps were taken to arrange for the publication of a history of Johnson City.

On behalf of the Mayne Williams Library Fund, the Monday Club sponsored a baseball game at the National Park Sanitarium on Memorial Day, the teams unknown but likely being Johnson City and Bristol.

Mrs. Don Beeson announced the event and called upon the Rotarians to attend so as to help the Library Fund.

The upcoming Redpath Chautauqua event was also announced as was the play at Milligan College that Saturday night.

Another event announced was the upcoming showing of the million dollar picture, "The Equal Chance," which was being bought to Johnson City by the Crippled Children's Committee of the Shrine Club in co-operation with the Committee from the Rotary Club.

The picture was made for free showing with all of the famous stars taking part having donated their services with the strict understanding that no admission would ever be charged for viewing the production.

Consequently, it had to be shown at hours that did not conflict with regular programs. Fred Perryman, whose wife's name was Hassie of the Liberty Theatre arranged to present the picture from twelve to one o'clock on Tuesday, May 28, 1928. This wonderful cooperation on the part of manager Perryman was highly appreciated by the club.

Members arranged to cut the luncheon the following Tuesday to 30 minutes so that they could leave the dining room at 12:25 pm. and go to the Liberty Theatre to view "An Equal Chance," which was the story of saving crippled children.

Several visitors, who were present at the event, acknowledged that they enjoyed the presentation and learned from the unusually interesting program from a man who was a noted judge and history scholar: Judge Samuel Cole Williams.

Reach Bob Cox at boblcox@bcyesteryear.com or go to www.bcyesteryear.com.