Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Day at the Lake

Summer is upon us now and people are enjoying their time out on the water. The warm weather and the sunshine bring about scores of possible activities in which to spend our free time. There is the fast paced sport of water-skiing, the hard work of rowing canoes, a lazy afternoon in a raft just off the shore line, a picnic out on one of the little secluded islands, reeling in a monster bass, swimming across the bay, or jet-skiing down the river. However you choose to spend your summer day on the lake, it will be filled with sun and fun.

Then something will show up on the local news that night or on the front page of the newspaper, pulling us back into reality. A tragedy occurs and reminds us that the lake is not just fun and games, it can be a dangerous place.

But, we also forget that these same types of tragedies happened a century ago, as well.

Duluth News Tribune(MN)  dated 20 May 1906
Dr. Simeon Eldridge Sr. was born in the Friendship community of James County. He was educated at the nearby Savannah Seminary. He then studied medicine under Dr. Roddy in Ooltewah. He enlisted in the Union Army in the summer of 1863 and served until 1865 when his left hand was wounded. This eventually led to 3 amputations. In 1874, he began a medical practice in James County. The following year, he married Mary McGill and the couple went on to have 8 children. The doctor lost a large part of his family that tragic day in 1906. They were rowing across the Tennessee River to take Betty Grace Miles home to meet  her husband when the boat overturned. The only survivor was Jesse Jr., who later became a doctor like his father before him. (1)

The article states that they were from Norman and not Friendship. Actually Norman was the Post Office for the southern part of the Friendship Community. W.C.Norman was the post master.

1 Donnelly, Polly W.; Editor; James County, A Lost County of Tennessee; pg 111

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Way to Go, Birchwood!

I took a trip last weekend down to the Birchwood Celebration at the Birchwood Elementary School. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and the smell of grilled burgers and hot dogs were in the air. The parking lot was full of cars and 2 large buses. One was from Blood Assurance and the other was from Memorial Hospital. While you were socializing with your neighbors, one could give blood or receive a free mammogram.

Inside, there were tables with people sitting around eating and visiting. There was music and singing up on the stage. Awesome!

There were also several tables set up by the Birchwood Historical Society. The tables were covered in large notebooks full of the history of Birchwood. Although there were notebooks that were supplied from various people, most of the notebooks were created by Peggy McCallie, who lives in Birchwood. She has been working on these notebooks for many decades. She had supplied only a few from her very extensive collection.

What surprised me the most concerning the whole event, was the amount of people that were interested in their history. It is very rare to see people viewing and talking about local and family history, unless you are at a genealogy conference. Way to go, Birchwood!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Birchwood Celebration

Come one Come all
This Saturday, June the 9th, the town of Birchwood is having their 10th annual Birchwood Celebration. It is open to the public from 11 - 2 pm free of charge. It will be held in the Birchwood Elementary Gymnasium on Highway 60.

5623 Hwy 60    Birchwood, TN

There will be Free Food, Music and a Historical Exhibit. Also, the Hamilton County Clinic will be on site performing free Mammograms.

Since it is being held indoors, the weather will not be a factor. I look forward to the celebration and hope to see you all there.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Feeder Schools

Below is a map of the feeder schools into Ooltewah High School. This map came from an Ooltewah High School Yearbook, "The Owl",  dated 1924. ( I understand that this is after the dissolution of James County in 1921, but I believe the map to still be relevant.) At the time, the high school would have been named James County High School.

This map has been hand drawn, and it may or may not be geographically correct,but it does give us the names of some of the grammar schools and their approximate location within the boundaries of James County and their relationship to Ooltewah High School. Savannah School was 13 miles from the high school. Howardville School and Prospect School were 9 miles, and West Point School was 8 miles away from the high school.

In 1910, the principal of James County High School, Mr.C.J. Doub, visited every elementary school in the county driving a horse and buggy because he was not the owner of the only automobile in James County.  The roads were not in good condition for the use of an automobile, anyways. I wouldn't be surprised if that was the reason that nobody had invested in the new mode of transportation. He tried to promote the attributes of a higher education to the young students of these schools.

There are a few other schools that are not on this map. They may had already dissolved  by 1921. We know of Fairview School that was located on current day Snow Hill Road.  Honestville School was located near the current day Hunter Road and Birchwood School was located, of course, in Birchwood. There may even be more grammar schools that we are unaware of at this time.

With bad roads and no good means of transportation, one can understand why a person's education would stop before the high school level. Mr Daub had quite an uphill battle to convince parents to allow their children to attend the high school.