1673 Sep 21, James Needham
returned to Virginia after exploring the land to the west, which
would become Tennessee.
1760 Aug 7, Ft. Loudon,
Tennessee, surrendered to Cherokee Indians.
1768 Nov 5, William Johnson,
the northern Indian Commissioner, signed a treaty with the Iroquois
Indians to acquire much of the land between the Tennessee and Ohio
rivers for future settlement.
1784 Aug 23, Eastern Tennessee
settlers declared their area an independent state and named it
Franklin; a year later the Continental Congress rejected it.
1790 Oct 3, John Ross, Chief of
the United Cherokee Nation from 1839 to 1866, was born near Lookout
Mountain, Tennessee. Although his father was Scottish and his mother
only part Cherokee, Ross was named Tsan-Usdi (Little John) and
raised in the Cherokee tradition. A settled people with successful
farms, strong schools, and a representative government, the Cherokee
resided on 43,000 square miles of land they had held for centuries.
1794 Sep 10, America's first
non-denominational college, Blount College (later the University of
Tennessee), was chartered.
1796 Jun 1, Tennessee became
the 16th state of the Union.
1796 Andrew Jackson was elected
as Tennessee’s 1st congressman.
(SSFC, 10/30/05, p.M3)
1797 Jul 7, The US House of
Representatives exercised its constitutional power of impeachment,
and voted to charge Senator William Blount of Tennessee with "a high
misdemeanor, entirely inconsistent with his public duty and trust as
a Senator." Blount had financial problems which led him to enter
into a conspiracy with British officers to enlist frontiersmen and
Cherokee Indians to assist the British in conquering parts of
Spanish Florida and Louisiana.
1798 Dec 17, The 1st
impeachment trial against a US senator, William Blount of Ten.,
1801 Jul 5, David G. Farragut
(d.1870), American naval hero, was born in Knoxville, Tenn.
1802 Andrew Jackson was elected
to command the Tennessee militia.
(SSFC, 10/30/05, p.M3)
1809 Meriwether Lewis died of
gunshot wounds near present-day Hohenwald, Tenn. It was uncertain
whether he was killed or committed suicide.
1817 Oct 20, The 1st
Mississippi "Showboat," left Nashville on maiden voyage.
1817 Nov 10, The Tennessee
legislature enacted laws that defined the common boundary with
Georgia and created a boundary commission to jointly survey and mark
the state border.
1818 Jun 1, Mathematician James
Camak demarcated the border between Georgia and Tennessee. Due to a
faulty sextant and bad astronomical charts he drew the line a mile
south of the intended boundary, the 35th parallel.
1820 An iron forge was
established by settler Isaac Love on the Little Pigeon River at the
foot of the Great Smokey Mountains.
(SFC, 6/9/97, p.A3)
1821 Jul 13, Confederate
cavalry commander Nathan Bedford Forrest was born in Tennessee's
1824 Oct 22, The Tennessee
Legislature adjourned ending Davy Crockett's state political career.
Crockett died at the legendary siege of the Alamo in 1836.
1828 John Overlord, Andrew
Jackson and James Winchester, the founders of Memphis, Tenn.,
bestowed an easement to the Mississippi riverfront for a promenade.
(Econ, 4/10/04, p.24)
1837 Mar 17, Upon his return to
his home in Tennessee, Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the
U.S., proclaimed that he left office "with barely $90 in my pocket."
The old soldier and war hero who had served as president for eight
years, spoke those words when he returned to his home in Tennessee.
1838 Jan 26, Tennessee became
the 1st state to prohibit alcohol.
1838 Feb 24, Thomas Benton
Smith, Brig. General (Confederate Army), was born in Mechanicsville,
Tennessee. He was wounded at Stone’s River/Murfreesboro and again at
Chickamauga. He was captured at the Battle of Nashville (1864) where
he was beaten over the head with a sword by Col. William Linn
McMillen of the 95th Ohio Infantry. His brain was exposed and it was
believed he would die. He recovered partially and spent the last 47
years of his life in the State Asylum in Nashville, Tennessee, where
he died on May 21, 1923. He’s buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery,
Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee.
1838 A law banning the carrying
of concealed weapons was passed in Tennessee and Virginia.
1845 Jun 8, Andrew Jackson, 7th
president of the US, died in Nashville, Tenn. His health had
deteriorated over the last 30 years and in 1999 scientists cited
lead poisoning from an 1813 wound as the primary cause of his health
problems. In 1945 Arthur Schlesinger Jr. authored “The Age of
Jackson,” for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. Dr. Robert Remini later
authored a 3-volume biography. In 2005 H.W. Brands authored “Andrew
Jackson: A Life and Times.” In 2008 Jon Meacham authored “American
Lion: Andrew Jackson in the white House.”
(AP, 6/8/97)(SFC, 8/11/99, p.A2)(SSFC, 10/30/05,
p.M3)(Econ, 3/10/07, p.85)(SSFC, 12/7/08, Books p.1)
1849 Jun 15, James Polk
(b.1845), the 11th president of the United States, died in
Nashville, Tenn. In 2008 Walter R. Borneman authored “Polk: The Man
Who Transformed the Presidency and America.”
(AP, 6/15/97)(HN, 6/15/98)(WSJ, 5/16/08, p.W8)
c1849 Numerous Tennesseans went
to California for the gold rush. In 1998 Tennessee historian Walter
T. Durham wrote "Volunteer Forty-Niners," an account of the
Tennesseans experiences in California.
(SFC, 4/14/98, p.E5)
1850 Jack Daniel, founder of
the Jack Daniel distillery, was born.
(SFEC, 10/22/00, p.T3)
1861 May 6, Arkansas and
Tennessee becomes 9th & 10th state to secede from US. [see Jun
(AP, 5/6/97)(HN, 5/6/98)(MC, 5/6/02)
1861 Jun 8, Tennessee voted to
secede from the Union and joined the Confederacy. [see May 6]
(AP, 6/8/97)(HN, 6/8/98)
1861 Jun 24, Tennessee became
the 11th and last state to secede from US.
1861 Jul 1, The US War
Department decreed that Kansas and Tennessee were to be canvassed
1862 Feb 6, The Battle of Fort
Henry, Tenn., began the Mississippi Valley campaign.
1862 Feb 13, Four-day Battle of
Fort Donelson, Tenn., began. General Grant said, "What determined my
attack on Donelson was as much the knowledge I had gained of its
commanders in Mexico as anything else."
1862 Feb 15, Grant launched a
major assault on Fort Donelson, Tenn.
1862 Feb 25, Confederate troops
abandoned Nashville, Tenn., in the face of Grant's advance.
1862 Mar 15, General John Hunt
Morgan began four days of raids near the city of Gallatin, Tenn.
"The Yankees will never take me a prisoner again," vowed Confederate
General John Hunt Morgan.
1862 Apr 6, The Civil War
battle of Shiloh began as the Confederates attacked Union forces in
Tennessee. The battle left some 24,000 casualties and secured the
West for the Union
(SFC, 6/19/96, p.E5)(HT, 4/97, p.13)(AP,
4/6/97)(AM, May/Jun 97 p.27)
1862 Apr 7, Union forces led by
Gen. Ulysses S. Grant defeated the Confederates at the battle of
Shiloh in Tennessee. Gen. Ulysses Grant after the Battle of Shiloh
said: "I saw an open field... so covered with dead that it would
have been possible to walk across... in any direction, stepping on
dead bodies without a foot touching the ground." More than 9,000
(SFC, 6/19/96, p.E5)(HT, 4/97, p.13)(AP, 4/7/97)
1862 May 10, Battle of Plum Run
Bend, TN (Plum Point Bend).
1862 Jun 4, Confederates
evacuated Ft. Pillow, Tenn.
1862 Jun 6, The city of Memphis
surrendered to the Union Navy after an intense naval engagement on
the Mississippi River.
1862 Jul 13, Confederate
General Nathan Bedford Forrest defeated a Union army at
Murfreesboro, Tennessee. [see Aug 13]
1862 Jun, Confederate Gen.
Braxton Bragg was appointed to succeed Gen. Beauregard as commander
of the Army of Tennessee.
1862 Aug 13, Confederate
General Nathan Bedford Forrest defeated a Union army under Thomas
Crittenden at Murfreesboro, Tennessee. [see Jul 13]
1862 Aug 30, In the Battle of
Altamont, Tennessee, Confederates beat Union forces.
1862 Sep 17, Battle of
Cumberland Gap, Tenn., was evacuated by Federals.
1862 Oct 22, Confederate troops
reconquered the Cumberland Gap in Tennessee.
1862 Dec 3, Confederate rebels
attacked a Federal forage train on the Hardin Pike near Nashville,
1862 Dec 13, Confederate forces
dealt Union troops a major defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg,
Va. The Battle of Fredericksburg ended at Marye’s Heights with the
bloody slaughter of Union troops, while Confederate President Davis
reviewed Braxton Bragg’s troops at Murfreesboro, Tenn.
(WUD, 1994, p.565)(AP, 12/13/97)(HN, 12/13/98)
1862 Dec 19, Skirmish at
Jackson-Salem Church, Tenn., left 80 casualties.
1862 Dec 27, Rosecrans’ army
moved slowly toward Bragg at Murfreesboro.
1862 Dec 31, Union General
William Rosecrans' army repelled two Confederate attacks at the
Battle of Murfreesboro (Stone's River).
1862 Pres. Lincoln made Andrew
Johnson the military governor of Tennessee after Federal forces
(SFC, 12/21/98, p.A3)
1862 The Rhea County Spartans,
an all-girl cavalry company in Tennessee, began as a lark during the
American Civil War, but soon attracted the attention of unamused
Union officers. The Rhea County Girls` Company was created through a
combination of boredom and the desire to be a part of the war for
Southern independence. Almost all of the "sidesaddle soldiers" had
fathers or brothers in the Confederate military, and the young
ladies evidently felt frustrated because their gender prevented them
from enlisting. Since they could not actually join the Confederate
Army, they did the next best thing: They created an army of their
1863 Jan 1, Confederate General
Braxton Bragg and Union General William Rosecrans readjusted their
troops as the Battle of Murfreesboro continued.
1863 Jan 2, In the second day
of hard fighting at Stone's River, near Murfreesboro, Tenn., Union
troops defeated the Confederates. The battle, which began Dec 31,
involved 80,000 troops and left 24,000 casualties.
(HN, 1/2/99)(AM, 11/04, p.28)
1863 Feb 24, Confederate Gen.
Nathan Bedford Forrest made a raid on Brentwood, Tennessee.
1863 Mar 25, There was a
skirmish at Brentwood, Tennessee.
1863 Apr 10, Rebel Gen. Earl
Van Dorn attacked at Franklin, Tenn.
1863 May 25, Federal
authorities in Tennessee turned over former Ohio congressman Clement
L. Vallandigham to the Confederates. President Abraham Lincoln had
changed his sentence to banishment from the United States after his
conviction of expressing alleged pro-Confederate sentiments.
1863 Jul 4, Skirmish at
1863 Aug 16, Union General
William S. Rosecrans moved his army south from Tullahoma, Tennessee
to attack Confederate forces in Chattanooga.
1863 Sep 8, Federal troops
reconquered the Cumberland Gap, Tennessee.
1863 Sep 8, Battle of Telford's
1863 Sep 9, The Union Army of
the Cumberland passed through Chattanooga as they chased after the
retreating Confederates following the Battle of Cumberland Gap.
(HN, 9/9/98)(MC, 9/9/01)
1863 Sep 21, Union troops under
Major Gen’l. William S. Rosecrans defeated at Chickamauga sought
refuge in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which was then besieged by
Confederate troops. There they lost 10,000 horses and mules to
(HT, 4/97, p.52)(HN, 9/21/98)
1863 Sep 23, The Confederate
siege of Chattanooga began.
1863 Oct 10, The Skirmish at
Blue Springs, Tennessee, resulted in 166 casualties.
1863 Oct 11, Skirmish at
Rheatown, Henderson's Mill, Tennessee.
1863 Oct 23, Gen’l. Grant
arrived at Chattanooga. [see Oct 24]
(HT, 4/97, p.56)
1863 Oct 24, General Ulysses S.
Grant arrived in Chattanooga, Tennessee to find the Union Army there
starving. [see Oct 23]
1863 Oct 28-29, In a
rare night attack, Confederates under Gen. James Longstreet attacked
a Federal force near Chattanooga in the Battle of Wauhatchie,
Tennessee. Longstreet hoped to cut the Federal supply line, the
“cracker line,” but failed. The principal commanders were: Maj. Gen.
Joseph Hooker [US] and Brig. Gen. Micah Jenkins [CS]. Estimated
causalities: 828 total (US 420; CS 408).
1863 Nov 4, From the main
Confederate Army at Chattanooga, Tenn., Lt. Gen. James Longstreet's
troops were sent northeast to besiege Knoxville
Nov 6, The Battle of Rogersville took place at Big Creek in Hawkins
County, Tennessee. Union troops, under the command of Col. Israel
Garrard, faced Confederates under the overall command of Brig. Gen.
William E. Jones. Confederates won and sent prisoners sent to Libby
Prison in Richmond, Virginia.
1863 Nov 12, Confederate
General James Longstreet arrived at Loudon, Tennessee to assist the
attack on Union General Ambrose Burnside’s troops at Knoxville.
1863 Nov 14, Gen Nathan Bedford
Forrest was assigned to command of West Tennessee.
1863 Nov 16, At the Battle of
Campbell's Station, Ten., there were 492 causalities.
1863 Nov 17-Dec 4th, Battle of
1863 Nov 23, At Chattanooga
Gen’l. Thomas’ men drove the Confederates from Orchard Knob. Union
forces won the Battle of Orchard Knob, Tenn. The Battle of
Chattanooga, one of the most decisive battles of the American Civil
War, also began in Tennessee.
1863 Nov 24, In the Battle
Above the Clouds, Union Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker's forces took
Lookout Mountain, near Chattanooga, Tenn. The battle for Lookout
Mountain was fought in a layer of fog whose lower level began at the
Cravens House, used as Rebel headquarters. Gen’l. Hooker later
commissioned painter James Walker to render a picture of the battle
(HFA, ‘96, p.42)(HT, 4/97, p.56)(HN, 11/24/98)
1863 Nov 25, The Union ended
the siege of Chattanooga, Tenn., with the Battle of Missionary
1863 Nov 29, The Battle of Fort
Sanders, Knoxville, Tenn., ended in Confederate withdrawal. There
were 8-900 casualties.
(HN, 11/29/98)(MC, 11/29/01)
1863 Dec 2, General Braxton
Bragg turned over command of the Army of Tennessee to General
William Hardee at Dalton, Ga.
1863 Dec 3, Confederate General
Longstreet abandoned his siege at Knoxville, Ten., and moved his
army east and north toward Greeneville. This withdrawal marked the
end of the Fall Campaign in Tennessee.
(HN, 12/3/98)(MC, 12/3/01)
1863 Dec 14, Longstreet
attacked Union troops at Bean’s Station, Tenn.
1864 Apr 12, Confederate forces
under Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest captured Fort Pillow, Tennessee,
and killed many black Union troops there. Charged with ruthless
killing, Forrest argued that the soldiers had been killed trying to
escape; however, racial animosity on the part of his troops was
undoubtedly a factor.
1864 Jul 18, Confederate Brig.
Gen. John Bell Hood (33), commanding a corps under Gen. Johnston,
was promoted to the temporary rank of full general, and given
command of the Army of Tennessee just outside the gates of Atlanta.
1864 Sep 16, Confederate
General Nathan Bedford Forrest led 4,500 men out of Verona, Miss. to
harass Union outposts in northern Alabama and Tennessee.
1864 Sep 26, General Nathan
Bedford Forrest and his men assaulted a Federal garrison near
1864 Nov 4, There was a
Confederate assault on the Union depot and headquarters at
Reynoldsburg Island, near Johnsonville, Tennessee. Paddle-wheelers
USS Key West, Acting Lt. King; USS Tawah, Acting Lt. Goudy; and
small steamer U.S.S. Elfin, Acting Master Augustus F. Thompson; were
destroyed after an engagement with Confederate batteries off
Johnsonville, Ten., along with several transport steamers and a
large quantity of supplies.
1864 Nov 21, Confederate
General John Bell Hood launched the Franklin-Nashville Campaign into
Tennessee from northern Alabama. Hood led the Confederate Army of
Tennessee in its offensive into Tennessee, which was decisively
broken in the battles of Franklin and Nashville. Hood, a graduate of
West Point, had been in the U.S. Cavalry until the Civil War broke
out. He was seriously wounded attacking Little Round Top during the
Battle of Gettysburg and later lost a leg at Chickamauga in
September of that year. In 1864, he was appointed a Lieutenant
General under Joseph E. Johnston‘s command in defense of Atlanta. In
July, Confederate president Jefferson Davis put Hood in command who
promptly attacked Sherman‘s Union army and was repulsed. Hood then
attempted a long march to the north and west to assault Sherman‘s
rear and ran into Union Army of the Cumberland. The November Battle
of Franklin and December Battle of Nashville decisively defeated
Hood‘s Army which was harassed and almost destroyed in its retreat.
Hood‘s own request to end his command was granted the following
month. After the war he lived in New Orleans.
1864 Nov 29, The Battle of
Spring Hill, Ten., a prelude to the Battle of Franklin (aka
Thomason's Station), was fought. General John Bell Hood’s Army of
Tennessee marched from Columbia toward Spring Hill to isolate major
portions of Union forces from each other, hoping to defeat each in
turn before they could unite and overwhelm him.
1864 Nov 30, The Union won the
Battle of Franklin, Tenn., where John B. Hood ordered a disastrous
assault on Union earthworks. There were 7,700 casualties. Maj.
Gen’l. Patrick R. Cleburne, division commander in the Army of
Tennessee, was killed at the battle of Franklin. In early 1864 he
had advocated the abolition of slavery and the formal opening of the
Confederate Army of the Freedmen. In 2005 Robert Hicks authored the
novel “The Widow of the South,” set around the Battle of Franklin.
(HN, 11/30/98)(SFC, 11/29/02, p.A23)(AM, 11/04,
p.28)(SSFC, 9/4/05, p.F1)
1864 Dec 1, Franklin-Nashville
1864 Dec 1, Raid at Stoneman:
Knoxville, Ten., to Saltville, Va.
1864 Dec 5, Confederate General
Hood sent Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry and a division of
infantry towards Murfreesboro, Tenn.
1864 Dec 15, The battle at
1864 Dec 16, Union forces under
General George H. Thomas routed Confederate forces under Gen. Hood
at the battle at Nashville, Tenn. There were some 4,400 casualties.
(HFA, ‘96, p.20)(HN, 12/16/98)(AH, 10/02, p.43)
1865 Jan 23, General John Bell
Hood was relieved of his command of the Army of Tennessee.
(AH, 10/02, p.38)
1865 Feb 22, Tennessee adopted
a new constitution abolishing slavery.
(HN, 2/22/98)(AP, 2/22/99)
1865 Apr 27, The steamer
Sultana caught fire and burned after one of its boilers exploded on
the Mississippi River near Memphis, Tenn., killing more than 1,400
paroled Union prisoners on their way home. One account reported
1,547 people dead. At least 1,238 of the 2,031 passengers, mostly
former Union POWs, were killed.
(AP, 4/27/97)(SFC, 3/13/99, p.E6)(HN,
1865 Dec 24, Several veterans
of the Confederate Army formed a private social club in Pulaski,
Tenn., called the Ku Klux Klan.
1866 Apr 2, Pres. ended war in
Ala, Ark, Fla, Ga, Miss, La, NC, SC, Ten & Va.
1866 Jul 24, Tennessee became
the first state to be readmitted to the Union after the Civil War.
1866 The Ku Klux Klan is
generally acknowledged to have started in Pulaski, Tenn., in this
year. [see Dec 24, 1865]
(WSJ, 7/15/96, p.A1)
1866 Jasper Daniel (Jack
Daniel) started distilling whiskey in Lynchburg, Tenn.
(SFC, 2/04/04, p.D2)
1868 The Ku Klux Klan was
imported to South Carolina from Tennessee, where it had originated.
During South Carolina’s election campaign this year the Klan
murdered 8 blacks, two of them state congressmen.
(AH, 6/03, p.27)
1869 Feb 20, Tenn. Gov. W.C.
Brownlow declared martial law in Ku Klux Klan crisis.
1870 Aug 6, White conservatives
suppressed the black vote and captured Tenn. Legislature.
1870 George Dickel (d.1894),
purchased a site in Cascade Hollow, Tenn., and soon began producing
Cascade Tennessee Whisky.
(SFC, 2/04/04, p.D2)
1875 Jul 31, The 17th president
of the United States, Andrew Johnson, died in Carter Station, Tenn.,
at age 66. He succeeded Abraham Lincoln and was the only president
to face impeachment proceedings.
(AP, 7/31/97)(HN, 7/31/98)
1877 Oct 29, Nathan Bedford
Forrest (b.1821), former Confederate cavalry general, died in
Memphis, Tenn. He amassed a fortune as a plantation owner and slave
trader, importing Africans long after the practice had been made
illegal. At 40 he enlisted as a private in the Confederate army at
the outset of the Civil War, rising to a cavalry general in a year.
In 1867 the newly formed Ku Klux Klan elected Forrest its honorary
Grand Wizard or national leader, but he publicly denied being
involved. In 1869, he ordered the Klan to disband because of the
members' increasing violence. Two years later, a congressional
investigation concluded his involvement had been limited to his
attempt to disband it.
1877 Apr, the 1st issue of the
Chattanooga Daily Dispatch was produced with Adolph Ochs as business
(SFEM, 1/16/00, p.10)
1878 Jul 2, The Chattanooga
Times was first published under the ownership of Adolph Ochs. The
9-year-old paper at Eighth and Cherry Streets had plummeted under
S.A. Cunningham to a circulation of 250. Ochs acquired the New York
Times 18 years later. The Chattanooga Times merged with the
Chattanooga Free Press in 1998.
(SFC, 1/4/99, p.A19)(SFEM, 1/16/00, p.10)
1878 The Nashville Banner began
(SFC, 2/17/98, p.A3)
1880 Jan 21, 1st US sewage
disposal system, separate from storm drains, was established in
1881 The Tennessee Coal and
Railroad Co. was renamed to the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad
(WSJ, 5/28/96, R45)
1884 Feb 19, A series of
tornadoes left an estimated 800 people dead in 7 US states (Miss,
Ala, NC, SC, Tenn., Ky & In).
(WSJ, 9/13/01, p.B11)(MC, 2/19/02)
1884 The colony of Rugby had
350 residents. Thomas Hughes (1822-96), English novelist, reformer,
jurist, and author of "John Brown’s School Days," purchased 75,000
acres in rural Tennessee and founded the colony of Rugby. It was a
school for the younger children of England’s wealthy families who
were not eligible to inherit family estates. It was meant to teach
farming and other useful skills.
(WUD, 1994, p.691)
1886 Sep 14, George K. Anderson
of Memphis, Tennessee, patented typewriter ribbon.
1887 Dec 13, Corporal Alvin C.
York of Wolf River Valley, Tennessee, was born. York was awarded the
Congressional Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross for
heroism during World War I's Argonne Offensive. York was a reluctant
soldier, but his frontier upbringing had made him an outstanding
marksman. [see Oct 8, 1918]
1892 Thomas Green Ryman, saloon
and riverboat owner, built the Union Gospel Tabernacle in Nashville
for revivalist Sam Jones. It later became the original home of the
Grand Ole Opry.
(SFCM, 3/11/01, p.43)
1894 George Dickel, producer of
Cascade Tennessee Whisky, died. His widow and relatives renamed the
whiskey after him.
(SFC, 2/04/04, p.D2)
1897 The city of Nashville
built a full-size temporary replica of the Greek Parthenon for the
Tennessee Centennial Exposition. The lath and plaster building stood
for 23 years until it was razed in 1920 to make way for a permanent
version, completed in 1931.
1900-1935 The Knoxville Table Co. operated in
downtown Knoxville, Tenn., during this period.
(SFC, 4/12/06, p.G4)
1903 May 26, Estes Kefauver,
senator from Tennessee, was born. He wanted the Democratic
nomination for president against John Kennedy.
1903 Former outlaws Cole
Younger and Frank James teamed up to tour Tennessee in their own
Wild West Show.
(SFC, 12/29/96, zone 1 p.2)
1904 Sep 24, Sixty-two died and
120 were injured in head-on train collision in Tennessee.
1907 Oct 22, President Theodore
Roosevelt visited The Hermitage, the Nashville, Tenn., home of the
late President Andrew Jackson. Years later, Maxwell House claimed
that Roosevelt had praised a cup of its coffee during this visit by
saying it was "good to the last drop."
1907 Dec 26, Albert Gore Sr.,
later US Representative and Senator, was born in Granville.
(SFEC, 12/6/98, p.C14)
1908 In Owl Holler Rev. George
Went Hensley initiated the practice of handling serpents at the
Holiness Church dedication after some former cohorts emptied a mass
of snakes before him.
(WSJ, 5/26/00, p.W15)
1910 Tennessee passed a
Prohibition law that gave distillers one year to dismantle their
operations. George Dickel's operations moved to Kentucky and Jack
Daniel's to Missouri and Alabama. Prohibition knocked both out of
business in 1920.
(SFC, 2/04/04, p.D2)
1916 Feb 29, Dinah Shore,
actress and singer, was born. [see Mar 1, 1917]
(SFC, 2/29/00, p.A1)
1916 Sep 6, Clarence Saunders
opened his first Piggly Wiggly grocery store in Memphis, Tenn. He
pioneered self-service in the US and obtained a patent. He later
franchised over a 1,000 stores.
(WSJ, 11/16/98, p.A12)(Econ, 10/2/04, p.18)(AP,
1916 Oct 7, In the most
lopsided victory in college football history, Georgia Tech defeated
Cumberland University of Lebanon, Tennessee, 222-0 in Atlanta.
1917 Mar 1, Dinah Shore, singer
(See the USA in a Chevrolet), was born in Winchester, Ten. [see Feb
1918 Jul 9, 101 people were
killed as an inbound local train collided with an outbound express
in Nashville, Tenn.
Aug 18, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment
to the Constitution, which guaranteed the right of all American
women to vote. This completed the three-quarters necessary to put
the amendment into effect. Aaron Sargent, who wrote the 19th
amendment, also built Grandmere's Inn in Nevada City. Carrie Chapman
Catt, founder of the League of Women Voters, played a crucial role
in its passage. She also held some very racist views: she called the
ballots of proletarian voters "undesirable" and referred to Indians
as "savages." [see Aug 26, 1920]
(SFC, 4/14/96, T-3)(SFC, 6/9/96, p.B-11)(AP,
1920 Eastman Chemical Co. was
founded in Kingsport as a unit of Eastman Kodak Co. It was spun off
in 1994. In 1998 the company agreed to pay an $11 million fine for
price-fixing on sorbates, a chemical used to keep food and beverages
(SFC, 10/2/98, p.B6)
1925 Mar 13, The Tennessee
legislature passed the Butler Bill which prohibited the teaching of
evolution in the public schools. [see Mar 21,23]
(Nat. Hist., 4/96, p.74-76)(AP, 3/13/97)
1925 Mar 21, Tennessee passed
an anti-evolution law, which prohibited the teaching of evolution.
[see Mar 13,23]
1925 Mar 23, Tennessee became
the 1st state to outlaw teaching the theory of evolution.
Tennessee’s Governor Austin Peay said, "the very integrity of the
Bible in its statement of man’s divine creation is denied by any
theory that man descended or has ascended from any lower order of
animals." [see Mar 13,21]
(SS, 3/23/02)(MC, 3/23/02)
1925 May 25, John Scopes was
indicted for teaching Darwinian theory in school.
1925 Jun 10, Tennessee adopted
a new biology text book denying the theory of evolution.
1925 Jul 10, The Scopes "Monkey
Trial," started. It was the result of a conspiracy hatched at
Robinson's Drug Store in Dayton, Tenn. John Scopes, a young
high-school teacher, was to become the test case on the legality of
Tennessee's anti-evolution law. An aging William Jennings Bryan,
Nebraska fundamentalist and politician, was the prosecutor and
Clarence Darrow was Scopes' defense attorney. Earlier in 1925, the
Tennessee State legislature had passed a law making it illegal to
teach the theory of evolution in schools. Many people believed that
Darwin's theory contradicted the idea of biblical creation. The
trial, complete with the spectacle of a cynical Darrow interrogating
Bryan on the witness stand as "an expert on the Bible," aroused
national interest and caused heated controversy over Darwin's
evolution theory. Scopes was judged guilty and fined $100, but later
let off on a technicality. The trial coverage dealt a blow to
American anti-evolution forces. It was the first trial to be
broadcast by radio. Bryan died six days later.
(Nat. Hist., 4/96, p.74-76)(TMC, 1994,
1925 Jul 21, The so-called
"Monkey Trial" ended in Dayton, Tenn., with John T. Scopes convicted
of violating state law for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution.
Scopes was found guilty and was fined $100. The conviction was later
overturned on a technicality.
(HN, 7/21/99)(AP, 7/21/08)
1925 Aug 11, Carl Rowan
(d.2000) was born in Ravenscroft. He was later appointed by Pres.
Kennedy as Deputy sec. of State, became a prize winning journalist
and authored 8 books. [see Sep 23, 2000]
(SFEC, 9/24/00, p.D15)
1925 Nov 28, The "WSM Barn
Dance", later known as "The Grand Ole Opry" (1927), Nashville’s
famed home of country music, made its radio debut on station WSM.
The call letters came from the slogan "We Shield Millions" of
sponsor National Life and Accident Insurance Co. Edwin Craig, a
wireless buff with a stake in the insurance company, had recently
sold the radio idea to the insurance board. In 1999 Charles K. Wolfe
published "A Good Natured Riot: The Birth of the Grand Ole Opry." In
2007 Craig Havighurst authored “Air Castle of the South.”
(SFC, 7/20/96, p.E4)(AP, 11/28/97)(WSJ, 7/23/99,
p.W7)(WSJ, 10/17/07, p.D9)
1927 May 24, The final levee
breach of the 1927 flood occurred at McCrea, Louisiana, on the east
bank of the Atchafalaya levee. The flood along the Mississippi
killed some 500 people and displaced thousands. The levee system
broke in 145 places and caused 27,000 square miles of flooding in
Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.
In 1997 the book "Rising Tide" by John M. Barry described the
catastrophe. It was also the subject of the Randy Newman song
p.A12)(SFC, 11/28/03, p.C7)(SSFC, 9/4/05, p.A7)(WSJ, 11/2/05,
p.A2)(Econ, 5/21/11, p.30)
1927 Aug 1, The Bristol
Sessions, a series of historic recording sessions, took place in in
Bristol, a small town on the Tennessee-Virginia state line, and
helped spread what was then known as "hillbilly music" to the rest
of the country. The Carter Family (A.P., wife Sara, and cousin
Maybelle) came down from the mountains of Virginia and began
recording their country style "hillbilly" music for Ralph Peel of
the Victor Talking Machine Co. Peel had set up a makeshift studio in
the Taylor-Christian Hat Co. warehouse on State Street, recording 76
songs in 10 days. Jimmy Rogers (1898-1933) came from
Mississippi to record. In 2002 Mark Zwonitzer and Charles Hirshberg
authored "Will You Miss me When I’m Gone: The Carter Family and
Their Legacy in American Music."
(WSJ, 8/1/02, p.A1)(SSFC, 8/4/02, p.M3)(AP,
1927 Dec, In Nashville, Ten.,
after harmonica wizard DeFord Bailey played his "Pan American
Blues," WSM Announcer Judge Hay got the idea to change the name of
the show from the "Barn Dance" to the "Grand Ole Opry."
1927 The fundamentalist
Christian Bob Jones University in Cleveland, Tenn., was founded by
1928 The John H. Daniel Co. was
founded in Knoxville, Tennessee, for producing men’s suits. By 2004
global competition led the company to import tailors from Turkey.
(WSJ, 4/12/05, p.A1)
1929 Jan 29, The first
seeing-eye Dog Guide School in the United States received their
charter. Seeing Eye, Inc., was founded in Morris Township, New
Jersey, by Dorothy Harrison Eustus. In February Morris Frank and
Jack Humphrey began operating the 1st Seeing Eye school in the US in
Nashville, Tenn. Frank had trained under Humphrey in Switzerland at
a kennel owned by Dorothy Eustis. Buddy was Frank's 1st dog and in
1936 became the 1st seeing-eye dog to ride as a passenger on an
American commercial airline.
3/10/01)(www.seeingeye.org/aboutus/?M_ID=472)(ON, 12/03, p.5)
Mar 18, Jackie Mitchell became the 2nd female in professional
baseball as she signed with the Chattanooga Lookouts, a Tennessee
Class AA minor league team. In 1898, Lizzie Arlington played one
game, pitching for Reading (PA) against Allentown.
1931 Apr 2, Virne "Jackie"
Mitchell became the 2nd woman to play for an all-male pro baseball
team. In an exhibition game against the New York Yankees, she struck
out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game in
1933 May 18, The Tennessee
Valley Authority Act was signed by President Roosevelt. The TVA
proceed to build damns in the Tennessee Valley.
(AP, 5/18/97)(HN, 5/18/99)
1937 Jan 27, The Ohio River
crested at 57.1 feet, almost thirty feet above flood stage. The
flood of 1937 took place in late January and February. Damage
stretching from Pittsburgh to Cairo, Illinois. One million persons
were left homeless, with 385 dead and property losses reaching $500
million. The Mississippi River crested at 14.8 meters. Flooding left
37 people dead in Arkansas. In 2010 Patrick O’Daniel authored
“Memphis and the Superflood of 1937: High Water
1937 Nov 15, Eighteen lawsuits
were bought against the Tennessee Valley Authority, calling for its
1938 Aug, Prentice Cooper
(1895-1969) received the Democratic nomination for governor of
Tennessee. He was elected and served as governor from 1939-1945.
1939 May 25, Dixie [Virginia]
Carter, actress (Designing Women, Edge of Night), was born in
1939 Aug 12, George Hamilton,
actor (Love at 1st Bite, Where the Boys Are), was born in Memphis,
1939 Financier William R.
Lovett bought the Piggly Wiggly business and later moved the
headquarters to Jacksonville, Fla.
(WSJ, 11/16/98, p.A12)
1939-1952 Albert Gore Sr. served as a US
(SFEC, 12/6/98, p.C14)
1940 The Great Smokey Mountains
National Park was dedicated.
(SFC, 6/9/97, p.A3)
1940 The Mountain Dew beverage,
a lemon-lime mixer, was trademarked by Barney and Ally Hartman of
Knoxville, Tenn. In 1948 a cartoon drawing of Willy the Hillbilly
was trademarked and used on bottles until the early 1970s. Pepsi
bought Mountain Dew in 1964.
(SFC, 6/25/08, p.G3)
1941 Mar 1, W47NV, the 1st US
FM radio station to broadcast with a commercial license, went on the
air in Nashville, TN.
1942 Mar 25, Aretha Franklin,
American singer, the "Queen of Soul," was born in Memphis, Tenn.
(HN, 3/25/01)(SSFC, 6/30/02, Par p.30)
1942 Aug 20, Isaac Hayes,
composer (Shaft), was born in Covington, TN.
1943 Roy Acuff, country music
superstar, invited the governor of Tennessee to a party. Gov.
Prentice Cooper snubbed him saying that he and his awful musicians
were making Tennessee “the hillbilly capital of the United States.”
1945 The Arrowmont School of
Arts and Crafts was founded in Gatlinburg, Ten.
(WSJ, 12/24/03, p.D7)
1945-1947 A nutrition study at Vanderbilt Univ.
gave a radioactive iron tracer to 829 women. Four of their children
later died of childhood cancers. In 1998 a $10.3 million settlement
was awarded to the women.
(SFC, 7/28/98, p.A2)
1946 Jan 19, Dolly Rebecca
Parton, country singer (Dolly, 9 to 5), was born in Sevierville,
1946 Feb 26, A race riot in
Columbia, TN, killed 2 people and 10 wounded.
1947 May 28, Sondra Locke,
actress (Heart Is a Lonely Hunter), was born in Shelbyville, Tenn.
1948 Redd Stewart (d.2003)
co-wrote "Tennessee Waltz" with Pee Wee King to the melody of King's
"No Name Waltz," while on a road trip from Nashville to Texarkana. A
1950 recording by Patti Page sold a reported 3 million copies.
(SFC, 8/6/03, p.A18)
1949 Mar 19, The 1st museum
devoted exclusively to atomic energy opened at Oak Ridge, Ten.
1949 Georgia O’Keeffe gave an
art collection, that included the work of her late husband, Alfred
Steiglitz, to Fisk Univ. in Tennessee. In 2012 a judge approved a
deal for Fisk to sell a 50% stake to the Crystal Bridges Museum of
Art in Arkansas created by Walmart heiress Alice Walton.
(SFC, 11/9/13, p.A10)
1950 Dec 4, University of
Tennessee defied court rulings by rejecting five Negro applicants.
1950 Sam Phillips formed Sun
Records in Memphis, Ten. In 1954 Elvis Presley, who walked into his
studio to record a present for his mother.
(WSJ, 6/16/00, p.W2)
1951 Feb 28, The Senate
committee headed by Estes Kefauver, D-Ten., issued a preliminary
report saying at least two major crime syndicates were operating in
the United States.
1952 Feb 22, Bill Frist,
surgeon and US Senator (1994-), was born in Nashville, Tenn.
(WSJ, 6/27/05, p.A10)
1952 Aug 1, Kemmons Wilson
(d.2003) opened the first Holiday Inn just outside Memphis, Tenn.
(WSJ, 6/19/96, Adv. Supl)
1952 Sam Phillips (d.2003)
founded Sun Records in Memphis, Ten. Phillips produced Elvis
Presley's 1st record in 1954.
(SFC, 8/1/03, p.A19)
1953-1970 Albert Gore Sr. (d.1998 at 90) served as
US Senator. He opposed the war in Vietnam while his son served there
as an Army journalist.
(SFEC, 12/6/98, p.C14)
1954 Jan 4, Elvis Presley
recorded a 10 minute demo in Nashville.
1954 Jul 5, Elvis Presley's
first commercial recording session took place at Sun Records in
Memphis, Tenn. The song he recorded was "That's All Right (Mama)."
1954 Jul 7, Elvis Presley made
his radio debut as Memphis, Tennessee, station WHBQ played his first
recording for Sun Records, "That’s All Right (Mama)."
1954 A major flood along the
Tennessee River took away a third of Pittsburg Landing, held by
Union troops during the 1862 Confederate attack at Shiloh.
(AM, May/Jun 97 p.27)
1955 Sam Phillips launched
WHER, the nation’s 1st all-woman radio station, in Memphis.
(WSJ, 6/16/00, p.W2)
1956 Feb 10, Elvis Presley
recorded "Heartbreak Hotel" for RCA. Truckdriver, Elvis Presley,
began Rock-n-Roll with his song "Don’t Be Cruel," written by Otis
Blackwell (d.2002 at 70). He also appeared for the first time on the
Ed Sullivan TV Show. He also recorded the Lieber and Stoller song
"Hound Dog" and "Heartbreak Hotel," the first of his 45 records to
sell over a million copies.
(TMC, 1994, p.1956)(SFC,1/22/97, p.A20)(SFEC,
4/6/97, DB p.65)(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R34)(SFC, 5/10/02, p.A31)(MC,
1956 Jan 20, Buddy Holly
recorded "Blue Days Black Night" in Nashville. [see Jan 26]
1956 Jan 26, Buddy Holly had
his 1st formal recording session. [see Jan 20]
1956 Sep 2, Tennessee National
Guardsmen halted rioters protesting the admission of 12
African-Americans to schools in Clinton.
1956 Sep 3, Tanks were deployed
against racist demonstrators in Clinton, Tennessee.
1957 Sep 9, Nashville's new
Hattie Cotton Elementary School was dynamited.
1957 Oct 17, The movie
"Jailhouse Rock," starring Elvis Presley, had its world premiere in
1958 Mar 24, Rock 'n' roll
singer Elvis Presley was inducted into the Army in Memphis, Tenn.
After nearly six months of basic training at Fort Hood, Texas,
Presley was posted to Friedberg, West Germany; he was honorably
discharged in 1960.
1958 Aug 14, Gladys Love Smith
Presley (48), Elvis Presley's mother, died in Memphis, Tenn.
1958 Oct 5, Racially
desegregated Clinton High School in Clinton, Tenn., was mostly
leveled by an early morning bombing.
1961 Jimmy Rogers was the first
inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tenn. A
new facility was scheduled to open in 200.
(WSJ, 9/26/97, p.A20)(WSJ, 8/12/99, p.A18)
1962 Mar 26, The U.S. Supreme
Court in Baker vs. Carr gave federal courts the power to order
reapportionment of seats in a state legislature, a decision that
eventually led to the doctrine of "one man, one vote." It arose from
a Tennessee case in which Carr was the state attorney general.
(AP, 3/26/02)(SFC, 8/1/03, p.A27)
1962 Danny Thomas founded the
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
(SSFC, 4/20/03, Par p.5)
1963 Mar 5, A private plane
crash near Camden, Tenn., claimed the lives of country music
performers Patsy Cline (30), "Cowboy" Copas and "Hawkshaw" Hawkins,
as well as pilot Randy Hughes, Cline's manager.
1966 Aug 20, The Beatles were
pelted with rotten fruit during a Memphis concert.
1967 May 18, Tennessee Gov.
Buford Ellington signed a measure repealing the "Monkey Law" against
teaching evolution that was used to prosecute John T. Scopes in
(AP, 5/18/07)(SC, 5/18/02)
1967 Jul 20, Race riots took
place in Memphis, Tenn.
1968 Mar 28, In Memphis a riot
erupted during a protest march in support of striking sanitation
workers led by Martin Luther King. One African-American marcher was
killed and King urged calm as National Guard troops are called to
Memphis to restore order. King subsequently departed Memphis, but
vowed to return on April 4 to attend another march.
(SFC, 12/1/97, p.A3)(http://tinyurl.com/atrl3z)
1968 Apr 3, Less than 24 hours
before he was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., civil rights leader
Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "mountaintop" speech to a rally
of striking sanitation workers, "It really doesn't matter with me
now, because I've been to the mountain top, and I don't mind."
1968 Apr 4, Civil rights leader
Martin Luther King, 39, was assassinated while standing on the
balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. James Earl Ray
(d.1998) confessed and pleaded guilty in Mar, 1969, but later tried
to recant and said he was a fall guy. In 1993 Lloyd Jowers (d.2000),
a Memphis businessman, said on ABC-TV that he had hired King's
killer as a favor to an underworld figure who was a friend. Jowers
said he received $100,000 from Memphis produce merchant Frank
Liberto to arrange King’s murder. In 1997 Ray identified an arms
smuggler named "Raoul" as the real killer. In 1998 a former FBI
agent produced documents from Ray’s car with the name Raul. In 1999
a civil trial jury in Memphis ruled that the 1968 killing of Rev.
Martin Luther King was a conspiracy. The jury concluded that Lloyd
Jowers, a former café owner, had conspired with elements of the
Memphis Police Dept., the federal government and organized crime to
kill King. In 2000 a Justice Dept. report rejected allegations of
conspiracy. In 2002 Rev. Ronald Denton Wilson (61) said that his
father, Henry Clay Wilson (d.1990), had shot King.
(SF E&C, 1/15/1995, A-15)(WUD, 1994,
p.1687)(SFC, 12/26/96, p.A3)(AP, 4/4/97)(SFC, 4/7/97, p.A10)(SFC,
3/25/98, p.A3)(SFC, 4/24/98, p.A1)(SFEC, 11/21/99, p.A12)(SFC,
11/23/99, p.A9)(SFC, 12/9/99, p.A1)(SFC, 12/10/99, p.A15)(SFC,
5/24/00, p.C5)(SFC, 6/10/00, p.A3)(SFC, 4/4/02, p.A2)
1969 Mar 10, James Earl Ray
pleaded guilty to the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King in Memphis,
Tenn., and was sentenced to 99 years in jail. Ray later repudiated
(AP, 3/10/98)(HN, 3/10/98)
1969 The Young America’s
Foundation was founded at Vanderbilt University to teach patriotism,
limited, government and other values espoused by later Pres. Ronald
Reagan. In 1998 the foundation purchased the 680-acre Reagan ranch
north of Santa Barbara.
1971 May 3, James Earl Ray
(1928-1998), Martin Luther King's assassin (1968), was caught in a
jail break attempt in Tennessee.
1971 Stephen Gaskin (b.1935)
and some 300 hundred San Francisco hippies started the Tennessee
rural commune called The Farm. It was located on a 1,750 acre
property in Lewis County and based not on rules but on agreements.
1971 Ina May Gaskin founded the
Farm Midwifery Center in Summertown, Tennessee.
1971 The Country Music Wax
Museum opened in Nashville. It closed down in 1997.
(SFEC, 11/21/99, p.A4)
1972 In Knoxville the sale of
liquor by the glass was banned until this year.
(SFC, 8/26/97, p.A4)
1972 The Nashville Banner,
owned for over nine decades by the Stahlman family, was sold to
(SFC, 2/17/98, p.A3)
1972 Occidental Minerals under
Armand Hammer bought zing-bearing property on the Caney Fork River
in Carthage. The property was sold to the Gore family a year later
with a $20,000 per year mineral royalty.
(WSJ, 6/29/00, p.A26)
1973 Feb 15, Friendsville
Academy in Tenn. ended a 138-game basketball losing streak.
1973 In Tennessee construction
began on a nuclear reactor at Watts Bar. Completion of the project
was expected in 2012.
(Econ, 12/4/10, p.83)
1974 Apr 3, A series of 148
deadly tornadoes struck wide parts of the South and Midwest before
jumping across the border into Canada; some 330 people were killed
in 13 states: Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky,
Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina,
Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Total property damage was
estimated at $600 million. In 2007 Mark Levine authored “F5:
Devastation, Survival, and the Most Violent Tornado Outbreak of the
(AP, 4/3/99)(WSJ, 9/13/01, p.B11)(SSFC, 9/4/05,
p.A7)(WSJ, 6/16/07, p.P10)
1975 Feb 25, In Tennessee
Marcia Trimble (9) disappeared while delivering Girl Scout cookies
in her Nashville neighborhood. Her body was discovered on Easter
Sunday and evidence led police to believe that she had been sexually
assaulted and strangled to death. In 2009 Jerome Barrett (62) was
convicted of 2nd-degree murder based on DNA testing. He was already
serving a life sentence for the 1975 rape and murder of a Vanderbilt
1977 Jun 10, James Earl Ray,
the convicted assassin of civil rights leader Martin Luther King
Jr., escaped from Brushy Mountain State Prison in Tennessee with six
others; he was recaptured June 13.
1977 Jun 13, James Earl Ray,
the convicted assassin of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King
Junior, was recaptured following his escape three days earlier from
a Tennessee prison.
1977 Jun 26, 42 people were
killed when a fire sent toxic smoke pouring through the Maury County
Jail in Columbia, Tenn.
1977 Aug 16, Elvis Presley
(b.1935), The "King" of rock-n-roll, died in the upstairs bedroom
suite at Graceland Mansion in Memphis, Tenn. of a drug overdose at
42. Elvis died of heart failure after years of substance abuse. In
1994 Peter Guralnick published "Last Train to Memphis," the first of
a 2-part biography on Elvis. In 1998 Guralnick published "Careless
Love." More than 150 books were in print on Elvis in 1997. In 1998
Ernest Jorgensen published "Elvis Presley: A Life in Music. The
Complete Recording sessions."
(SFEC, 2/9/97, Par p.7)(SFEC, 8/3/97, DB
p.33)(AP, 8/16/97)(SFEC, 8/16/98, p.D7)(WSJ, 1/7/98, p.W1)
Jul 4, Memphis fire fighters halted 3-day strike
under a court order. At least 350 fires were reported during the
strike. The city police director charged that the strikers set
almost all of the fires, which broke out mostly in abandoned
1978 Oct 23, Maybelle Carter
(b.1909), Virginia-born country singer, died in Nashville, Tenn. She
was a member of the original Carter Family, which was formed in 1927
by her brother-in-law, A. P. Carter, who was married to her cousin,
Sara, also a part of the trio.
1978 Dec 15, Aides of Tennessee
Gov. Ray Blanton (1930-1996) were charged with accepting money in
exchange for approving paroles. Two were convicted and sent to
prison. The scandal inspired a book, ''Marie: A True Story'' (1983)
by Peter Maas.
1979 The Nashville Banner was
sold by Gannett to 3 local businessmen after Gannett bought the
Tennessean. Irby C. Simpkins Jr. and Brownlee O. Currey bought out
the 3rd partner 2 years later.
(SFC, 2/17/98, p.A3)
1979 Cary Ann Medlin (8) was
raped, sodomized and killed. Robert Glen Coe admitted the murder but
recanted before his 1981 trial. He was convicted and sentenced to
death. In 1999 and 2000 the state Supreme Court and a federal judge
issued a stay of execution. Coe was executed by injection on April
(SFC, 10/12/99, p.A3)(SFC, 3/24/00, p.A5)(SFC,
1980 The state’s wine industry
began with the opening of Highland Manor.
(WSJ, 6/2/00, p.W1)
1981 Jun, Former Tennessee Gov.
Ray Blanton (1930-1996) was convicted of mail fraud, conspiracy, and
extortion for selling liquor licenses and served twenty-two months
in a federal penitentiary.
1981 Nov 5, Dr. George
Nichopoulas of Tennessee was acquitted of over prescribing addictive
drugs for Elvis Presley.
1982 Apr 23, The Unabomber
mailed a pipe bomb from Provo, Utah, to Penn state Univ. It was
forwarded to Vanderbilt Univ. scientist Patrick C. Fisher. It was
later attributed to the Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski [see May 5].
(WP, 6/29/96, p.A3)(SFEC,11/9/97, Z1 p.4)
1982 May 1, The 1982 World's
Fair opened in Knoxville, Tenn.
(SFC, 6/9/97, p.A3)(AP, 5/1/07)
1982 May 5, Janet Smith, a
secretary, was injured when a bomb package was opened at Vanderbilt
(WP, 6/29/96, p.A3)(SFEC,11/9/97, Z1p.4)
1982 Jul 2, DeFord Bailey
(b.1899), harmonica wizard and star of the Grand Ole Opry, died. He
was the first black musician to join the Opry’s regular cast.
1983 Feb 24, Tennessee
Williams, US playwright born as Thomas Lanier Williams (1911), died
in NYC. He left a $10 million estate to support his sister and
directed that anything left go to support aspiring writers at the
Univ. of the South of Sewanee. His plays included “Cat on a Hot Tin
Roof” and “The Rose Tattoo” originally titled "The Eclipse of May
29, 1919." In 1995 Lyle Leverich (d.1999 at 79) published "Tom: The
Unknown Tennessee Williams," a definitive work on the playwright's
1983 A Columbia Dam project
along the Duck River was scrapped over environmental concerns. In
2001 a 13,000-acre parcel was donated by the TVA to the state for
(SFC, 8/15/01, p.A4)
1985 Feb 17, In Tennessee
Sidney Porterfield beat Ron Owens to death at his Shelby County
home. On January 14, 1986, Gaile Owens (33), the wife of Ron Owens,
was sentenced to death for hiring a stranger to kill her abusive
husband. In 2010 her sentenced was commuted to life. In 2011 she won
(http://tinyurl.com/3dpr6cy)(SFC, 10/8/11, p.A5)
1985 Jul 12, Lance Cpl. Suzanne
Marie Collins (b.1966) was raped, murdered and mutilated near the
Naval Air Station base at Millington, Tenn. Sedley Alley was
convicted for the murder in 1987 and sentenced to death. In 2006
Alley was executed by lethal injected for the murder.
1985 Jul 14, Carolyn Muncey’s
badly beaten body was found near her home in eastern Tennessee. Paul
House was convicted in 1986 and sentenced to die for the murder. In
2008 DNA evidence indicated he was not responsible for her sexual
assault and a federal judge ordered that he be quickly retried or
1985 Johnny Russell (d.2001 at
61), songwriter, joined the Grand Ole Opry.
(SFC, 7/4/01, p.D4)
1986 Dollywood, a theme park
owned by country singer Dolly Parton, opened in Pigeon Forge.
(SFC, 6/9/97, p.A3)
1987 Aug 15, Thousands of
people marched past the grave of Elvis Presley in Memphis, Tenn., as
they began an all-night vigil marking the 10th anniversary of his
1988 Apr 21, Tennessee Sen. Al
Gore gave up his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination,
assuring supporters that "there will be other days for me and for
the causes that matter to us."
1988 Dec 6, Rock-and-roll
pioneer Roy Orbison died near Nashville, Tenn., at age 52.
1990 Jul 30, GM’s first Saturn
car rolled off the line at Spring Hill, Tennessee. In the fall, GM
introduced its all-new Saturn cars to compete against the imports in
the small car market. Roger Smith, GM’s CEO, announced the secret
Saturn project in 1985 in order to "leap-frog" the Japanese car
1990 Dec 11, In Chattanooga,
Ten., 12 died in a 99 vehicle accident on I-75 due to fog.
1991 Mar 23, In Tennessee 20
tornadoes killed 5 people.
1991 Dec 4, The Judds’ final
concert took place in Nashville.
1992 Nov 23, Roy Acuff
(b.1903), country music star, died in Nashville, Tenn., at age 89.
1992 Judge David Lanier was
convicted of violating the civil rights of 5 women at his courthouse
in Dyersburg. He began his prison sentence in 1993 but was set free
by an appeals court in 1995. In 1997 he fled to Mexico and was
arrested after two months in Mexico.
(SFC, 10/15/97, p.A6)
1992 Hospital Corporation of
America (HCA), founded by the Frist family and taken private in the
late 1980s, launched a public offering.
(WSJ, 6/27/05, p.A10)
1993 Jun 5, Country star Conway
Twitty (born as Harold Lloyd Jenkins) died in Springfield, Mo., at
age 59. He was entombed in Gallatin, Tenn.
(AP, 6/5/98)(SSFC, 12/15/02, Par p.2)
1994 Nov 8, Bill Frist
(b.1952), M.D., was elected Senator from Tennessee. His family
founded the HCA hospital chain. In 1989 Frist authored “Transplant,
A Heart Surgeon's Account of the Life-And-Death Dramas of the New
(Econ, 4/30/05, p.32)(http://frist.senate.gov/)
1994 Nov 12, Wilma Rudolph,
Olympic gold medalist in track and field, died in Nashville, Tenn.,
at age 54.
1994 The US federal government
tried to seize over $500,000 from the operators of illegal bingo
games in Tennessee. A federal appeals court ruled that the seizure
was too late because government agents had known about the
law-breaking more than 5 years earlier.
(SSFC, 10/14/12, p.C5)
1994 Tennessee, facing a $250
million deficit in Medicaid administration, gave several
managed-care organizations the job of administering the program,
TennCare. By the end of 2004 costs rose to $8 billion.
(Econ, 1/22/05, p.33)
1995 Jan 8, The Inner City
Church in Knoxville, Tenn., burned down. Arson was suspected and
investigations by the FBI and ATF were later begun.
(SFC, 6/11/96, p.A16)
1995 Don Sundquist was
inaugurated as governor of Tennessee. He was re-elected in 1998.
1995 Compass Records was
founded by banjo master Alison Brown and husband bassist Garry West.
They established a name recording contemporary folk artists.
(WSJ, 12/2/98, p.A20)
1995 Carol Buckley and Scott
Blais founded the Elephant Sanctuary on a 800-acre farm in
(SSFC, 2/24/02, Par p.14)
1996 Jan 29, A Navy F-14
fighter jet crashed in Nashville, Tennessee, demolishing three
houses and killing five people.
1996 In Tennessee Unit 1 of the
Watts Bar nuclear power plant came on line after 23 years of
construction and a cost of $6.9 billion.
(SFC, 5/5/07, p.A6)(Econ, 9/8/07, p.71)
1996 In Tennessee the US Dept.
of Energy began converting the K-25 building at Oak Ridge, which
anchored the world’s first full-scale uranium enrichment factory,
into an industrial park. By 2008 it was estimated that K-25 would be
leveled by late 2010, and the rest of the site finished by 2016 at a
cost of $3 billion.
(WSJ, 6/2/08, p.A2)
1996 Dolly Parton, American
country singer, founded her “Imagination Library.” It provided free
books to children in her home county of East Tennessee up to age 5.
In 2000 she announced that she would make the program available for
replication to any community that was willing to partner with her to
support it locally.
1997 Mar 1, Severe storms hit
Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi, and spawned tornadoes in
Arkansas blamed for two dozen deaths.
1997 Aug 10, In Nashville a
riot erupted when a police officer killed a black murder suspect.
(WSJ, 8/11/97, p.A1)
1997 Dec 1, In Shelbyville
Daryl Keith Holton shot and killed his 3 sons and his ex-wife’s
daughter (ages 4-13), because he could not get custody. He turned
himself in to police.
(SFC, 12/2/97, p.A8)
xxxx "Marie, A True Story" by
Peter Maas told how Marie Ragghianti exposed the widespread sale of
pardons and paroles by the Tennessee office of the governor where
(SFEC, 4/20/97, Par p.4)
1998 Feb 3, In Savannah a
helicopter used to install power lines struck a worker on a utility
pole and crashed. Three people were killed and 2 injured.
(SFC, 2/4/98, p.A3)
1998 Feb 20, The last edition
of the 122-year-old Nashville Banner was published due to dropping
(SFC, 2/17/98, p.A3)
1998 Mar 29, The Lady Vols of
Tennessee won a third straight NCAA basketball championship,
defeating Louisiana Tech.
1998 Apr 6, Tammy Wynette (55),
country singer, died at her Nashville, Tenn., home. Her songs
included the 1968 hit "Stand by Your Man." In 2000 Jackie Daly
authored the biography "Tammy Wynette."
(SFC, 4/798, p.A7)(AP, 4/6/99)(WSJ, 6/2/00,
1998 Apr 16, Tornadoes claimed
11 lives in Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky.
(SFC, 4/17/98, p.A1)(AP, 4/16/08)
1998 Apr 24, A 13-foot bronze
statue of Alex Haley (d.1992), the author of the 1976 Pulitzer Prize
book "Roots," was unveiled in Knoxville.
(SFC, 4/25/98, p.A3)
1998 May 19, In Fayetteville,
Tenn., an honor student (18) killed a classmate, who was dating his
ex-girlfriend. Jacob Davis was convicted in 1999 for the murder of
Nicholas Creson (18) and sentenced to life in prison.
(SFC, 4/21/99, p.A6)(SFC, 7/30/99, p.A9)
1998 Jul 14, Flash floods hit
Tennessee and Alabama and 2 people were reported killed. Meanwhile
hot weather in Texas was responsible for some 23 deaths where
temperatures hit over 100 for the last 26 days.
(SFC, 7/15/98, p.A3)
1998 Jul 19, Workers for Saturn
Corp., a division of GM in Tennessee, authorized union leaders to
call their first-ever strike.
(SFEC, 7/20/98, p.A1)
1998 Oct 19, Tommy Burks, the
state incumbent Democrat Senator, was shot and killed at his 1,000
acre hog farm near Monterey. His rival, Byron (Low Tax) Looper, was
arrested a week later for the killing. In 2000 Looper was found
guilty and sentenced to life in prison.
(SFC, 10/24/98, p.A1)(SFC, 8/24/00, p.A10)
1998 Oct 30, Four abortion
clinics in 3 states, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee, received
letters claiming to contain deadly anthrax bacteria. The letters
were tested and found to be free of anthrax.
(SFC, 10/31/98, p.A3)(SFEC, 11/1/98, p.A11)
1998 Nov 12, In McMinnville
Warren County High School was closed due to a gasoline-like smell
that caused some people to experience headaches. Over the next 2
days some 171 people went to the emergency room. In 2000 a medical
report diagnosed the event as a mass psychogenic illness.
(SFEC, 5/7/00, p.A30)
1998 Dec 5, Former Senator
Albert Gore Senior (90), father of the vice president, died at his
home in Carthage, Tenn.
1998 The Jugg Sisters, Sheri
Lynn Nichols and Brenda Kay Wilkins, began a Nashville tour bus
operation that focused on the underbelly of the city.
(SFEC, 1/2/00, p.T8)
1999 Jan 17, In Tennessee
tornadoes left 9 people dead and 100 injured with extensive damage
in 28 counties.
(SFC, 1/18/99, p.A5)(WSJ, 1/19/99, p.A1)
1999 Jan 22, More twisters hit
the South and 8 people were killed. The 100 year-old Quapaw district
of Little Rock was hit hard as was the historic district of
(SFC, 1/23/99, p.A3)
1999 May 6, The storm in
Oklahoma that killed 41 people moved on to Tennessee and took killed
(SFC, 5/7/99, p.A3)
1999 Popcorn Sutton
(1946-2009), Tennessee moonshiner, authored his autobigraphy “Me and
(WSJ, 3/20/09, p.A12)
2000 Jan 30, In Atlanta the St.
Louis Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans 23-16 in Super Bowl XXXIV.
(SFC, 1/31/00, p.A1)
2000 Feb 4, Lynette Cole, Miss
Tennessee, won the Miss USA pageant.
(SFEC, 2/6/00, p.A4)
2000 Mar 8, In Memphis, Tenn.,
an off-duty firefighter, Frederick Williams (41), shot and killed 2
firefighters and a sheriff's deputy. Letter carrier Stacey Williams
(32), Williams’ wife, was also found dead at the site where a fire
(SFC, 3/9/00, p.A3)(SFC, 3/10/00, p.D3)
2000 Apr 19, Robert Glen Coe,
convicted for the 1979 murder and rape of Cary Ann Medlin (8), was
executed by injection. This was the state’s first execution in 40
(SFC, 10/12/99, p.A3)(SFC, 3/24/00, p.A5)(SFC,
2000 Apr 28, The Rock’n’Soul
Museum opened at the new Gibson Guitar plant in Memphis.
(SFC, 4/28/00, p.C10)
2001 Jun 30, Chet Atkins, a
guitarist who helped create the Nashville sound, died at age 77.
(WSJ, 7/2/01, p.A1)(SSFC, 7/1/01, p.A25)
2001 Aug 14, A 13,000-acre
parcel along the Duck River was donated by the TVA to the state for
public use. The Columbia Dam project on the land was scrapped in
1983 due to environmental concerns.
(SFC, 8/15/01, p.A4)
2001 Aug 19, A Greyhound bus
enroute to Nashville flipped on I-24. One man was killed and 45
people were injured.
(SFC, 8/20/01, p.A4)
2001 Oct 3, Near Manchester,
Tennessee, Damir Igric (29), a Croatian passenger on a Greyhound
bus, slit the throat of the bus driver and caused a roll over that
killed 7 people including Igric.
(SFC, 10/4/01, p.C16)(AP, 10/4/06)
2001 The new $37 million,
130,000-sq.-foot Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum opened in
(WSJ, 7/13/01, p.W10)
2002 Mar 18, Flooding hit
Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia following a 2nd day of heavy rains.
(SFC, 3/19/02, p.A3)
2002 Apr 4, A driver and 4
children were killed when a day-care van veered from I-240 and
struck a utility pole.
(WSJ, 4/5/02, p.A1)
2002 Apr 28, Storms hit the
Ohio and Tennessee valleys with tornadoes in Missouri and Maryland.
At least 6 people were killed.
(SFC, 4/29/02, p.A3)(WSJ, 4/30/02, p.A1)(AP,
2002 Jun, The Bonnaroo music
festival began in Manchester, Tennessee.
(Econ, 7/25/09, p.31)
2002 Jul 1, Tennesseans found
their government in a partial shutdown after lawmakers failed to
pass a balanced budget over the weekend in a stalemate over how to
cover an $800 million deficit.
2002 Jul 3, The Tennessee
Legislature passed a 1-cent sales tax increase, the highest in state
history, and ended a partial government shutdown.
(SFC, 7/4/02, p.A4)
2002 Sep 15, In Knoxville,
Tennessee, a Norfolk Southern train derailed near and one car with
93,000 pounds of sulfuric acid ruptured. The liquid acid vaporized
creating a toxic cloud.
(SFC, 9/16/02, p.A7)
2002 Nov 10, A series of
pulverizing storms barreled through more than a half-dozen US states
including Tennessee, Ohio, Alabama, Mississippi and Pennsylvania,
killing at least 36 people. More than 100 were injured.
(SFC, 11/12/02, p.A4)(AP, 11/10/07)
2002 Dec 20, Trent Lott (61) of
Mississippi stepped down as Senate Majority Leader and Sen. Bill
Frist (50), a Tennessee heart surgeon, was expected to replace
(SFC, 12/20/02, p.A3)(SFC, 12/21/02, p.A1)
2003 Jan 17, Gertrude Janeway
(93), the last known widow of a Union veteran from the Civil War,
died in Blaine, Tenn. She had married John Janeway in 1927 when he
was 81 and she was barely 18.
2003 Feb 12, Kemmons Wilson
(90), founder of the Holiday Inn chain, died in Memphis, Tenn.
(WSJ, 2/13/03, p.A1)
2003 Apr 22, Felice Bryant
(77), bluegrass song writer, died in Gatlinburg, Tenn. She and her
late husband wrote such tunes as "Bye Bye Love" and other Everly
Brothers hits and "Rocky Top" (1968).
(SFC, 4/23/03, A21)(AP, 4/22/08)
2003 May 5, Tornadoes across
Missouri, Kansas and Tennessee left at least 40 people dead.
(SFC, 5/6/03, p.A3)
2003 Jul 30, Sam Phillips
(b.1923), founder of Sun Records (1952), died in Memphis. Phillips
produced Elvis Presley's 1st record.
(SFC, 8/1/03, p.A19)
2003 Sep 25, In Nashville,
Tenn., 8 people died in a nursing home fire.
(SFC, 9/27/03, p.A3)
2004 Jan 15, Tennessee Gov.
Bredesen told an economic development conference that he wants the
change the way workers' compensation is paid.
(USAT, 1/16/04, p.10A)
2004 Jan 20, Tennessee began
its state lottery, more than a year following voter approval.
(USAT, 1/20/04, p.3A)
2004 Dec 30, In Tennessee 2
couples were charged with defrauding Wal-Mart of $1.5 million in 19
states by switching UPC bar codes.
(SFC, 12/31/04, p.C3)
2004 Tennessee State Sen. John
Ford testified in a juvenile court hearing that he keeps two homes,
living with two different women whose children he fathered.
2005 Jan 7, In Cleveland,
Tenn., Ray Marsh, former crematory operator, pleaded guilty to
dumping 334 bodies and passing cement dust off as their remains. He
was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
(SFC, 1/8/05, p.A3)
2005 Mar 2, In Tennessee a
school bus driver was shot and killed by a 14-year old student, who
was recently disciplined by the driver for using snuff.
(WSJ, 3/3/05, p.A1)
2005 May 26, In Tennessee 4
lawmakers and a member of a powerful political family were indicted
on charges of taking bribes in a FBI sting dubbed “Tennessee Waltz.”
State Sen. John Ford had received payments totalling $55,000 and
boasted to undercover agents: “You are talking to the guy that makes
(SFC, 5/27/05, p.A12)(Econ, 6/4/05, p.32)
2005 Aug 10, Tennessee prison
inmate George Hyatte and his wife, Jennifer, surrendered in
Columbus, Ohio, a day after she'd allegedly ambushed two prison
guards at a courthouse, killing one of them, to help her husband
escape. Jennifer Hyatte was later sentenced to life in prison by
agreeing to testify against her husband. George Hyatte, already
facing 41 years of incarceration, awaited trial in the murder of
Wayne Morgan and escaping jail.
2005 Nov 8, In Jacksboro,
Tennessee, Ken Bartley Jr. (15) shot to death assistant principal
Ken Bruce and wounded 2 other school officials with a handgun at
Campbell County Comprehensive High School. On April 10, 2007,
Bartley pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder and two
counts of attempted second-degree murder, and was sentenced to 45
years in prison.
2005 Nov 15, Nearly 3 dozen
tornadoes hit Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee destroying dozens of
homes and killing 2 people.
(SFC, 11/17/05, p.A14)
2005 Nov 18, A federal jury in
Tennessee held that Nicolas Carranza (72), a former Salvadoran
colonel, was responsible for murder and torture during the 1980s
civil war in El Salvador and ordered him to pay $6 million in
damages to his accusers.
(SFC, 11/19/05, p.A5)
2006 Feb 24, Tennessee stopped
issuing driving certificates to illegal immigrants after finding the
program invited fraud and bribes.
(WSJ, 2/25/06, p.A1)
2006 Mar 11, Rural house fires
in Tennessee and Indiana killed 15 members of two families, and most
of the victims were children.
2006 Mar 22, In Tennessee,
Matthew Winkler (31), a minister at Selmer's Church of Christ, was
found dead in the parsonage after he missed an evening service and
church members went searching for him. On March 24 Tennessee
authorities said they would charge Mary Winkler, the minister's wife
with first-degree murder. In 2007 Mary Winkler was sentenced to 3
years in prison. She had testified that her husband abused her
physically and emotionally.
(AP, 3/24/06)(AP, 6/9/07)
2006 Mar 24, In Selmer, Tenn.,
Mary Winkler was charged with shooting to death her minister
husband, Matthew Winkler, in the parsonage of their church. In
2007 Mary Winkler was convicted of voluntary manslaughter.
2006 Apr 2, Thunderstorms
packing tornadoes and hail as big as softballs ripped through eight
US states, killing at least 27 people. Tennessee was hit hardest,
with tornadoes striking five western counties and killing 23 people,
including an infant. Severe thunderstorms, many producing tornadoes,
also struck parts of Iowa, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio,
Illinois and Indiana. Strong wind was blamed or at least three
deaths in Missouri.
2006 Apr 7, In Tennessee 10
people were killed as tornadoes hit the area for the 2nd time in a
2006 Apr 13, In Tennessee’s
Cherokee National Forest a black bear killed a 6-year-old girl and
critically injured her mother and 2-year-old brother.
2006 May 11, In Kingston,
Tenn., deputy Bill Jones and a friend were shot and killed as they
served felony warrants alleging aggravated assault. Jones was shot
33 times by two brothers at a rural farmhouse. Leon Houston (47) and
his brother, Rocky Houston (46), were accused of shooting Jones and
Mike Brown. Court records show the brothers had filed at least 15
federal lawsuits since 1991 against federal and state judges, police
officers, clerks, attorneys and companies. Each petition claimed
their civil rights were violated while trying to expose government
fraud. All were dismissed.
2006 Jun 8, A jury in Memphis,
Tenn., convicted former state Sen. Roscoe Dixon for his role in the
Tennessee Waltz bribery sting. He was convicted on all five counts,
which centered on accepting $9,500 in bribe money to influence
legislation that would have been beneficial to E-Cycle Management
Inc., a fake company the FBI created to orchestrate the Waltz sting.
(http://tinyurl.com/kt8od)(WSJ, 6/9/06, p.A1)
2006 Jul 24, HCA Inc., the
largest US for-profit hospital operator, has agreed to be purchased
by a group of investors for about $21.3 billion plus the assumption
of $11.7 billion in debt. Shareholders of the Nashville-based
company, which was founded by the family of Senate Majority Leader
Bill Frist, will receive $51 in cash for each share of common stock.
2006 Nov 2, In Tennessee 81% of
voters approved a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage
in the state.
(SFC, 6/27/15, p.A13)
2007 Jan 6, The body of Calvin
Jenks (24), a Tennessee state trooper, was found beside his patrol
car near the intersection of state highways 14 and 54. He was shot
during a traffic stop. The next day police arrested two people they
believed were responsible for the killing.
2007 Jan 6, In Knoxville,
Tenn., Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom were last seen as
they left a friend’s apartment. Newsom’s shot and burned body was
found the next day along some railroad tracks. Christian’s body was
discovered 2 days later in a trash can at a house rented by one of
the suspects. Both had been sexually assaulted. 4 black suspects and
an accessory faced murder trials.
(SFC, 5/19/07, p.A4)
2007 Mar 23, Rachel Smith of
Tennessee bested 50 other aspiring beauty queens to win the title of
2007 Apr 3, After a nine-year
title drought, Tennessee's Lady Vols basketball team captured a
seventh national title, beating Rutgers 59-46.
2007 Apr 19, A jury in Selmer,
Tenn., convicted Mary Winkler of voluntary manslaughter in the
shooting death of her preacher-husband, Matthew. Winkler spent seven
months in custody, with two months served in a mental facility.
2007 Jun 8, Mary Winkler, who'd
killed her preacher husband with a shotgun blast to the back as he
lay in bed, was sentenced in Selmer, Tenn., to three years in
prison. She ended up serving 67 days in custody, 12 in jail and the
rest in a mental health facility.
2007 Jun 16, In Selmer, Tenn.,
a drag-racing car lost control during a parade and careened into a
crowd, killing 6 people and injuring up to 15 others. In 2008 an
indictment was unsealed charging Troy Critchley (38) with 6 counts
of vehicular homicide and 22 counts of reckless aggravated assault.
(AP, 6/17/07)(SFC, 3/21/08, p.A4)
2007 Jul 10, It was reported
that more than 500 Tennessee streams are polluted with E. coli
bacteria, according to information from the Tennessee Department of
Environment and Conservation.
2007 Sep 1, In eastern
Tennessee a small plane carrying 5 Jehovah’s Witness ministers
crashed in the Cherokee National Forest killing all 5 aboard.
(SFC, 9/3/07, p.A3)
2007 Sep 5, Fred Thompson
(b.1942), former Tennessee Senator (1994-2002) as well as film and
TV character actor, announced himself as a formal Republican
candidate for the US presidency on the Jay Leno show. Thompson quit
the race on Jan 22, 2008.
2007 Sep 30, Taylor Bradford
(21), a University of Memphis football player, was fatally shot on
campus in what was believed to be a targeted attack. Classes for the
next day were canceled as a precaution.
2007 Nov 7, Kenny Chesney won
as entertainer of the year and Carrie Underwood won as best female
vocalist at the annual Country Music Association Awards in
(SFC, 11/8/07, p.A2)
2008 Feb 5, Storms swept across
southeast US as Super Tuesday primaries were ending. At least 31
people were killed in Tennessee, 13 in Arkansas, 7 in Kentucky and
four in Alabama. It was one of the 15 worst tornado death tolls
since 1950, and the nation's deadliest barrage of tornadoes since 76
people were killed in Pennsylvania and Ohio on May 31, 1985. The
death toll rose to 59.
(AP, 2/6/08)(AP, 2/7/08)(WSJ, 2/8/08, p.A1)
2008 Mar 3, In Memphis,
Tennessee, police found 6 bodies, including 2 men, 2 women and 2
boys, and 3 seriously wounded children, aged 1-12, in the
Binghampton neighborhood. Jessie L. Dotson (33), the brother of one
of the dead men and a convicted killer recently released from
prison, was arrested March 7. In 2010 Dotson was convicted for the 6
murders and faced the death penalty.
(SFC, 3/5/08, p.A5)(AP, 3/9/08)(SFC, 10/12/10,
2008 Jul 27, In Knoxville,
Tennessee, Jim D. Adkisson (58) entered the Tennessee Valley
Unitarian Universalist Church during a children's performance and
killed 2 people. In 2009 Adkisson pleaded guilty to killing 2 people
and wounding 6 others because he hated the church’s liberal
(AP, 7/28/08)(SFC, 7/28/08, p.A2)(SFC, 2/10/09,
2008 Oct 22, Sheriffs' deputies
in Crockett County, Tenn., arrested two suspects, Daniel Cowart (20)
of Bells, Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman (18) of Helena-West Helena,
Ark., on unspecified charges. On Oct 27 federal authorities charged
the 2 white supremacists for allegedly plotting to go on a national
killing spree, shooting and decapitating black people and ultimately
targeting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. On March
29, 2010, Cowart pleaded guilty to eight of 10 counts in an
indictment accusing him of conspiracy, threatening a presidential
candidate and various federal firearms violations. Co-defendant
Schlesselman pleaded guilty in January.
(AP, 10/28/08)(AP, 3/29/10)
2008 Oct 24, In Tennessee a
sport utility vehicle carrying 4 cheerleaders collided with an
oncoming car on a wet, foggy highway in Scott County, northwest of
Knoxville. 3 cheerleaders were killed and a 4th died the next day. A
passenger in the car also was killed.
2008 Nov 4, In Tennessee John
McCain beat Barack Obama by 15 points. Republicans held their 4 US
House seats and took control of both chambers of the state
legislature for the first time since Reconstruction.
(WSJ, 11/22/08, p.A2)
2008 Dec 22, In Tennessee a dam
broke at the Kingston Fossil Plant spilling some 5.4 million cubic
yards of toxic coal ash sludge near the Emory River. TVA officials
later said the spill does not threaten water in the Tennessee River,
which is fed in part by the Emory River. On Jan 2 federal data
showed arsenic levels over 100 times the acceptable amount in the
Emory River. In February the TVA estimated cleanup costs of up to
$825 million. In May the estimate for cleanup was raised to $975
million. In 2010 state regulators hit the TVA with penalties
totaling $11.5 million for the coal ash spill. The sludge was
shipped to a landfill outside Uniontown, Alabama.
(SFC, 12/25/08, p.A6)(WSJ, 12/26/08, p.A2)(SFC,
12/27/08, p.A2)(SFC, 1/3/09, p.A3)(WSJ, 2/13/09, p.A1)(SFC, 5/2/09,
p.A4)(SFC, 6/15/10, p.A4)(Econ, 12/4/10, p.44)
2009 Feb 4, Dr. Randeep Mann
allegedly bombed the car of Dr. Trent Pierce, the chairman of the
Tennessee state medical board, in revenge for punishment after 10 of
Mann’s patients fatally overdosed on drugs he had prescribed. Pierce
lost an eye and was severely burned.
2009 Jan 9, Jon Hager (67), who
performed in the musical comedy duo The Hager Twins on "Hee-Haw,"
died in Nashville. His brother Jim died in May, 2008. The syndicated
TV show, which debuted in 1969, satirized country life with a
mixture of music and comedy.
2009 Apr 10, Areas of Tennessee
were hit by a savage line of storms that wrecked homes, killed a
mother and her baby and injured dozens of others.
2009 Jun 4, In Tennessee
handguns will soon be allowed in bars and restaurants under a new
law passed by state legislators who voted to override Democratic
Gov. Phil Bredesen's veto. The legislation takes effect July 14 and
retains an existing ban on consuming alcohol while carrying a
handgun. Restaurant owners can still opt to ban weapons from their
2009 Jul 4, In Tennessee Steve
McNair (36), a four-time Pro Bowl selection, was found dead with
multiple gunshot wounds on a sofa in his Nashville condominium
living room. Sahel Kazemi, (20), discovered near him, was killed by
a single gunshot wound. McNair was married with four children.
2009 Jul 18, In southern
Tennessee 5 people were found dead in two neighboring rural homes
near Fayetteville, and a sixth body was discovered at a business
about 30 miles away in Huntsville, Ala. Jacob Shaffer (30) of
Fayetteville was charged later that day with homicide.
2009 Jul 28, Tennessee state
Sen. Paul Stanley (47) resigned in Nashville after his extramarital
affair with an intern (22) was revealed by an investigation into an
extortion case. McKensie Morrison’s boyfriend was charged with
trying to extort $10,000 from the GOP lawmaker.
(SFC, 7/29/09, p.A6)
2009 Sep 7, In Tennessee 3
people were shot to death at a mobile home near Lafayette.
(SFC, 9/8/09, p.A6)
2009 Nov 20, A US judge blocked
a Tennessee law that allowed people to bring handguns into
restaurants and bars.
2010 Feb 4, The US “Tea Party
Nation,” a decentralized grassroots movement, began its first
national convention in Nashville, Tenn. The event’s grand finale was
a tirade against Pres. Obama by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
(Econ, 2/13/10, p.31)
2010 Mar 25, In western
Tennessee a medical helicopter crashed ion stormy weather killing
its crew of three.
(SFC, 3/26/10, p.A6)
2010 Mar 29, US Federal
officials awarded Tennessee and Delaware $600 million in grants to
improve failing schools as part of Pres. Obama’s $4 billion fund for
education innovation and reform. Delaware won as much as $107
million. Tennessee could get $502 million.
(AP, 3/29/10)(SFC, 3/30/10, p.A9)
2010 Mar, US and Chilean
engineers extracted Chile's last batch of highly enriched uranium
(HEU), 18 kg (40 pounds), from reactors near Santiago and shipped it
to the US. It was then driven to the Savannah River Site in SC and
the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Ten., where much of
it would be converted to safer fuel and resold for nuclear power.
2010 Apr 15, Russia’s Foreign
Ministry said Russia has suspended all adoptions to US families
until the two countries can agree on procedures, a week after Torry
Hansen, an American woman in Tennessee, sent her adopted son, Artyom
Saveliev (7), back to Russia on a plane by himself.
(AP, 4/15/10)(SFC, 5/19/12, p.A5)
2010 Apr 19, In Tennessee a man
opened fire outside the Parkwest Medical Center in Knoxville killing
a woman and injuring 2 others before committing suicide.
(SFC, 4/20/10, p.A6)
2010 May 2, In Tennessee more
rain and storms loomed as emergency officials coped with evacuations
and closed roads from heavy flooding that claimed five lives.
Weekend thunderstorms killed at least 31 people with 19 dead in
Tennessee, 6 in Mississippi and 6 in Kentucky. More than 13 inches
of rain fell in Nashville over two days, nearly doubling the
previous record of 6.68 inches that fell in the wake of Hurricane
Fredrick in 1979.
(AP, 5/2/10)(AP, 5/3/10)(AP, 5/4/10)(SFC, 5/8/10,
p.A5)(SSFC, 5/9/10, p.A8)
2010 May 14, In Tennessee truck
driver Bruce Mendenhall (59) was convicted in the June 2007 death of
a woman at a Nashville truck stop. Authorities said he preyed on
prostitutes at truck stops. Mendenhall has also been charged with
killing women in Lebanon, Ten., Indianapolis and Birmingham, Ala.
(SFC, 5/15/10, p.A4)
2010 Jul 19, In Tennessee
Lorenzen Wright, a 13-year former NBA player, went missing. His body
was found on July 28 in a wooded area of southeast Memphis.
2010 Oct 18, In Tennessee
workers Judy Spray (58), a rural carrier associate, and Paula
Robinson (33), a retail clerk, were gunned down at a rural post
office that doubles as a community center in Henning.
2010 Nov 2, Iowa (Terry
Branstad), Kansas (Sam Brownback), Maine (Paul LePage), Michigan
(Rick Snyder), New Mexico (Susana Martinez), Ohio (John Kasich),
Oklahoma (Mary Fallin), Pennsylvania (Tom Corbett), Tennessee (Bill
Haslam), Wisconsin (Scott Walker), Wyoming (Matt Mead) all replaced
the Democratic governors with Republicans. Snyder (R) defeated
Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) by bragging about his managerial
(Econ, 11/6/10, p.45)
2010 Nov 8, An indictment was
unsealed that charged 29 people in a sex trafficking ring in which
Somali gangs in Minneapolis and St. Paul allegedly forced girls
under age 14 into prostitution. 17 people were arrested in
Minnesota, 9 in Tennessee and 3 remained at large.
(SFC, 11/9/10, p.A6)
2011 Jan 5, In Oakland,
Tennessee, explosions and a fire at the Kinematics Research
ammunition plant killed one worker.
(SFC, 1/6/11, p.A11)
2011 Jan 14, In Tennessee an
8,000-pound elephant named Edie (26) backed Knoxville zoo trainer
Stephanie James (33) into a wall and crushed her to death.
2011 Jan 15, Republican Bill
Haslam (52), former executive for the Pilot chain of truck stops and
former mayor of Knoxville, was sworn in as governor of Tennessee. He
replaced Democrat Phil Bredeson, who could not run for re-election
due to term limits.
(SSFC, 1/16/11, p.A9)
2011 Apr 5, In Tennessee crews
recovered the bodies of two workers from the rubble of a
wastewater-treatment plant wall that collapsed earlier in the day.
Officials continued to investigate what caused the breach that
released sewage into a rain-swollen river at Great Smoky Mountains
2011 Apr 5, Storms pummeled the
US South with tornadoes. At least 8 people were reported killed in
the Carolinas, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee.
(SFC, 4/6/11, p.A11)
2011 Apr 13, In Tennessee
nursing student Holly Bobo (20) was last seen as she prepared to
leave for college classes. Her partial remains were found on Sep 7,
2014, near where she was last seen.
(SFC, 4/15/11, p.A8)(Reuters, 9/9/14)
2011 Apr 15, Storms marched
into Tennessee, Louisiana and later into Georgia. At least three
twisters touched down in Mississippi, where a state of emergency was
declared in 14 counties, causing widespread damage.
2011 Apr 27, Dozens of
tornadoes spawned by a powerful storm system wiped out neighborhoods
across a wide swath of the South, killing at least 350 people in the
deadliest outbreak in nearly 40 years. Alabama had 254 deaths, 34 in
Mississippi, 34 in Tennessee, 15 in Georgia, 8 in Arkansas, 5 in
Virginia and one in Kentucky.
(AP, 4/28/11)(AP, 4/29/11)(AFP, 4/30/11)
2011 Apr 28, Pres. Obama
declared a major disaster in Alabama. Declarations for Mississippi
followed on Apr 29, Georgia on Apr 30, and soon followed for
Tennessee and Arkansas.
(Econ, 5/7/11, p.28)
2011 May 4, President Barack
Obama declared parts of Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee as
disaster areas due to flooding, freeing up federal aid to help those
2011 May 10, The Mississippi
River crested at Memphis, Tenn., at nearly 48 feet, just inches
short of the 48.7 feet record set in 1937. Vicksburg was forecast to
see its highest river level ever, slightly above the 56.2-feet mark
set in 1927. Farther south in Natchez, forecasters said the 1937
record could be shattered by 4 feet on May 14.
2011 Aug 10, Tennessee school
principal Suzette York (49) was shot and killed by a 17-year-old
student at a private school in Memphis.
(SFC, 8/11/11, p.A6)
2011 Sep 18, In Tennessee 5
bikers were found dead in a recreational vehicle at the Clarksville
Speedway. An organizer for the motorcycle festival blamed the deaths
on fumes from a generator.
2011 Oct 28, In Tennessee 29
Occupy Nashville protesters were arrested in a pre-dawn raid. Many
returned to the Legislative Plaza the same evening and remained
through a 10 p.m. curfew. Troopers arrested 26 people this time. All
were charged with trespassing. Magistrate Tom Nelson told troopers
delivering the protesters to jail that he could "find no authority
anywhere for anyone to authorize a curfew anywhere on Legislative
2012 Jan 14, Dan Evins (76),
the founder of the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store chain, died in
Lebanon, Tenn. He opened his first restaurant in Lebanon in 1969.
The restaurant catered to highway travelers and focused on offering
Southern hospitality, country-style cooking and an associated gift
2012 Feb 26, In West Tennessee
one man was killed and 19 other people were injured early today when
gunmen opened fire at the Karma Lounge in downtown Jackson.
2012 Feb 29, At least 16
tornadoes ravaged the Midwest and South. 13 people were killed
including 6 in Harrisburg, Illinois, 3 in Missouri, 3 in Tennessee
and one in Kansas.
(SFC, 3/1/12, p.A6)(SFC, 3/2/12,
2012 Mar 6, Ten US states voted
in the Super Tuesday Republican primaries. Republican presidential
frontrunner Mitt Romney edged out conservative rival Rick Santorum
in the vital battleground of Ohio and won five of the night's other
contests. Romney also notched victories in Alaska, Idaho, Vermont,
Virginia and his home-state of Massachusetts, while Santorum won
North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee, and Newt Gingrich carried his
home state of Georgia.
(SFC, 3/7/12, p.A6)(Econ, 3/10/12, p.18)
2012 Apr 10, Tennessee Gov.
Bill Haslam signed into law a bill requiring the state’s education
system to in part “explore scientific questions.” Some felt it would
allow teachers to introduce creationism and intelligent design into
(Econ, 4/21/12, p.44)
2012 May 4, A federal jury in
Nashville split its verdict against 9 people accused of operating a
sex trafficking ring run mostly by Somali refugee gang members. 3
men were convicted of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of
children. 6 men were acquitted.
(SFC, 5/5/12, p.A5)
2012 May 7, In Guntown,
Mississippi, the FBI identified two bodies found in a home
associated with Adam Mayes (35), as Jo Ann Bain and her 14-year-old
daughter, Adrienne Bain. Mayes has been charged in Tennessee with
abducting Bain and her 3 daughters (8,12,14), last seen on Aril 27.
2012 May 11, Tennessee Governor
Bill Haslam's office confirmed that he had signed the controversial
"gateway sexual activity" bill, which stirred up controversy
nationwide and even was lampooned by comedian Stephen Colbert.
2012 May 18, A Tennessee judge
said Torry Hansen must pay $150,000 and $1000 per month to support
Artyom Saveliev (10) until he turns 18. She had sent the adopted boy
back to Russia by himself in 2010 saying she did not want him
(SFC, 5/19/12, p.A5)(AP, 7/13/12)
2012 Apr, A new DNA study in
the Journal of Genetic Genealogy found that genetic evidence shows
that Tennessee families historically called Melungeons are the
offspring of sub-Saharan African men and white women of northern or
central European origin. Beginning in the early 1800s, or possibly
before, the term Melungeon (meh-LUN'-jun) was applied as a slur to a
group of about 40 families along the Tennessee-Virginia border.
2012 Jun 7, Bob Welch (65), a
former member of Fleetwood Mac who also had a solo career, died of a
self-inflicted gunshot wound in Tennessee.
(SFC, 6/8/12, p.A8)
2012 Jul 16, Kitty Wells,
American country singer, died in Madison, Tenn. Her songs included
“It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” (1952).
(SFC, 7/18/12, p.C4)
2012 Sep 16, It was reported
that a $300,000 project by the Nature Conservancy has created an
artificial bat cave deep in the Tennessee woods. Conservationists
hoped to help save bats dying from a fungus that causes white-nose
(SSFC, 9/16/12, p.A22)
2013 Mar 27, Tennessee Gov.
Bill Haslam said he would not expand Medicaid in his state joining
18 other Republican governors who have rejected expansion for now.
(SFC, 3/28/13, p.A9)
2013 Apr 15, FBI and IRS agents
locked down the Knoxville, Tenn., headquarters of the Pilot Flying J
truck stop business owned by the family of Gov. Bill Haslam and his
brother Jimmy, owner of the Cleveland Browns.
(SFC, 4/16/13, p.A5)
2013 Apr 16, A letter was
intercepted in Washington DC, postmarked from Memphis and mailed to
Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker's office. It contained the
toxic substance ricin, forcing the temporary closure of a Senate
post office and prompting a federal investigation. The next day FBI
agents detained Paul Kevin Curtis at his home in Corinth, Miss.
(The Ticket, 4/17/13)
2013 Apr 17, FBI agents in
Corinth, Ten., arrested Paul Kevin Curtis (45). He was accused of
mailing letters containing ricin to Pres. Obama and Sen. Roger
Wicker (R-Mis). Curtis had claimed to have uncovered a conspiracy
while working at a local hospital from 1998-2000, when he discovered
a refrigerator full of dismembered body parts and organs in a
(SFC, 4/18/13, p.A9)
2013 May 8, In Tennessee Sister
Megan Rice (83) and fellow protesters Michael Walli and Greg
Boertje-Obed were convicted of interfering with national security
when they broke into a nuclear weapons facility in Oak Ridge. On May
15, 2015, an appeals court ordered all three to be released.
(SFC, 5/9/13, p.A6)(SFC, 5/16/15, p.A5)
2013 May 13, Memphis, Tenn.,
educator Clarence Mumford Sr. was sentenced to 7 years in prison
after pleading guilty to leading a 15-year scheme that helped
teachers cheat on qualification exams.
(SFC, 5/14/13, p.A4)
2013 May 29, The Linchpins of
Liberty in Franklin, Tenn., and 24 other Tea Party groups sued the
IRS over claims the agency violated their constitutional rights by
delaying action on applications for tax-exempt status beginning in
(SFC, 5/30/13, p.A5)
2013 Jun 29, In Tennessee
Vanderbilt University said it has dismissed four football players
from the team and suspended them from the university as the result
of a sex crimes investigation.
2013 Sep 12, In Tennessee the bodies of a
young woman and 3 teenagers were found in a car some 50 miles west
of Knoxville. Suspect Jacob Allen Bennett (26) was soon arrested on
a parole violation.
(SFC, 9/14/13, p.A5)
2013 Oct 22, In Tennessee a
medical helicopter crashed killing 2 hospital workers and a pilot.
(SFC, 10/22/12, p.A5)
2013 Oct 24, Tennessee Nat’l.
Guardsman Sgt. 1st Class Amos Patton shot and wounded three fellow
Guard members at an armory in Millington just after he was relieved
of duty because of alleged misconduct.
(SFC, 10/26/13, p.A7)
2014 Feb 18, In Chicago an
elderly nun who broke into what was supposed to be one of the most
carefully guarded nuclear facilities in the US was sentenced to 35
months in prison. Sister Megan Rice (84) cut through fences and
several layers of security at the Y-12 National Security Complex in
Tennessee along with two other members of Transform Now Plowshares
-- a pacifist group -- in July 2012. Fellow anti-nuclear activists
Michael Walli (64) and Greg Boertje-Obed (58) were sentenced to five
years and two months in prison because of their criminal histories.
2014 Mar 3, The US Supreme
Court refused to hear a final appeal against the expulsion of Uwe
Romeike, his wife and their seven children, from Morristown, Tenn.
They had lived their since fleeing Baden-Wurttemberg in 2008, where
it was against the law to home-school their children.
(Econ, 4/5/14, p.29)
2014 May 22, Tennessee Rep.
Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill into law allowing the state to
electrocute Death Row inmates in the event the state is unable to
obtain drugs used for lethal injections.
(SFC, 5/23/14, p.A6)
2014 Jul 10, In Tennessee
Christopher Farrar (15) fatally shot Sgt. 1st Class Michael W.
Braden (45), a member of the National Guard, at an armory in
(SFC, 7/11/14, p.A7)(http://tinyurl.com/q74un5j)
2014 Sep 7, In Tennessee the
partial remains of missing student Holly Bobo, a cousin of country
music singer Whitney Duncan, were found. Bobo (20), a nursing
student, was last seen in April 2011 by her brother.
2014 Nov 4, Tennessee voters
approved a measure that will give state legislators more power to
(SFC, 11/5/14, p.A10)
2014 Nov 6, The Sixth US
Circuit Court of Appeals upheld antigay marriage laws in Kentucky,
Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.
(SFC, 11/7/14, p.A7)
2015 Jan 2, Little Jimmy
Dickens (b.1920), former singer with the Grand Ole Opry, died in
Nashville. His hit songs included ”Take an Old Cold Tater” (1949),
“Out Behind the Barn” (1954) and “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up
Your Nose” (1965).
(SSFC, 1/4/15, p.A10)
2015 Feb 23, An ice storm hit
wide parts of Texas and neighboring states knocking out power to
thousands of people and leading to hundreds of traffic accidents and
caused more than 1,300 flight cancellations nationwide. In Tennessee
at least 22 people have been killed in the past few days due to icy,
winter conditions. Officials said 11 people have died in Kentucky
due to the snow and ice that began pummeling the state on Feb. 16.
2015 May 19, US federal
officials alleged that a Tennessee man and his family used much of
the $187 million it collected for cancer patients to buy themselves
cars, gym memberships, luxury cruise vacation, college tuition and
employment at six figure salaries for family members. The FCC and
Tennessee said James T. Reynolds Sr., his ex-wife and son riased the
money through various their charities.
(SFC, 5/20/15, p.A8)