Friday, September 28, 2012

A Mystery Solved!

I received a question from a reader that I thought I would share with you. She asked if I knew who the people were that worked at The James County Times. She believed that her ancestor, William Oscar Watts moved to Ooltewah from Floyd County, Georgia to work for the paper. They say he worked for the Atlas Powder Mill  in 1900 per the United States Census for that period. He became a merchant, attended law school, and later became a member of the Hamilton County Court. But where did the newspaper come into play?

As far as I know, there are only 6 dates of the newspaper that are known to exist.
Jan 18, 1912 the Editor was Jno. N. Clements
Dec  2, 1914
Aug13, 1913, The James County Times Booster Edition
Jan 13, 1915
Mar 20, 1916 the Editor was Ellsworth Wilson for this and the above 3 dates
Feb 23, 1917 the Editor was W.B. Cleage

The puzzle pieces are all here, we just have to put them together.

Prior to 1912, W. O. Watts, along with Eli Scoggins had a store which carried various items from dry goods and general merchandise to plows and wire fencing.  In 1912, Scoggins sold his interest in the store to Watts who continued in the mercantile business.  He became one of the leaders of the community.

The James County Times Booster Edition was published in August of 1913 by Editor, Ellsworth Wilson, with the assistance of several county leaders. It was an effort to attract investors to the James County Area.

In 1913, there was an Ooltewah Board of Trade that met every Monday night. The officers were Ed Robinson, President; Samuel Newton, Past President; P. M. Cate, Vice-President; and J.K. Lewis, Secretary and Treasurer. The Executive Committee included: Samuel Newton, Hunter Furches, H.L.  Guille, W.O. Watts and J.D. Thatcher. One activity of the club was to assist in publishing The James County Times Booster Edition that very same year.

Hallelujah!  There it is!  He may not have moved here to work for the paper, but he definitely did help publish the Booster Edition with other county leaders to help promote James County. At this time, James County was struggling to stay afloat. They needed businesses to move to the county to help with the tax base. However, this Booster Edition was not enough. Six short years later, James County dissolved and joined with Hamilton County.

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