This week in local history

Published 10:10 am Monday, July 16, 2018

The following events occurred during the week of July 15-21 in Bell County:

1898: A crew of surveyors began the work of laying out the town of Middlesborough. The first stake was driven at what was to become 30th and Cumberland Avenue.

1891: Hysteria swept Middlesborough as rumor claims that the police force was lured outside the city limits and ambushed. At 3 a.m. the next day, two masked men entered the electric light plant and turned off the generators, plunging the city into darkness. That morning a man, allegedly one of those who shot at the police was found hanging from the 20th street bridge, a victim of “Judge Lynch.”

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1917: Conscription for World War I began. It was expected that 171 men would be drafted from Bell County.

1919: Local business and professional men met at City Hall to organize a local Rotary Club.

1921: Billy Sunday, world famous evangelist was preaching in Bell County. The crowd completely filled the Middlesboro High School auditorium.

1926: Dr. John Braham died. The paper noted that he was “a noted colored man” and that he came to Middlesboro in 1889 and “practiced medicine among the people of his own race for a number of years…(he) was widely known for his honesty and faithfulness. He was greatly loved.”

1927: Work was underway to remodel the Weinstein Building at 20th and Cumberland, which had been occupied for 3 years by Brown Brothers, for a new J. C. Penney’s store.

1930: An effort was being made to erect a marker for J. M. Green, one of the first settlers in the Yellow Creek Valley. He died in 1845 and was buried in the cemetery in Ford’s Woods.

1947: Dr. I. H. Miller, “well known colored physician” in Middlesboro, married Miss Fanny Walker of Knoxville.

1952: The last passenger train passes through Bell County.

1955: Lee Rennebalm was remodeling the Cave Cocktail Lounge to make it into a dining room for the Middlesboro Hotel. (Middlesboro had just gone “dry.”)

To learn more about local history, visit the Bell County Museum, located just north of the Middlesboro Post Office, Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.