Is Martha Whaley, 104, Sevier County’s most senior citizen?
On Sept. 14, 1929, Ella Mae Wiggins and other labor supporters drove to a union meeting in Gastonia, N.C. When they arrived, they were met by an armed mob and turned back. After driving about five miles they were stopped by a car, and armed men jumped out and began shooting. Wiggins, a single mother of five, was shot in the chest and killed.
Dr. William Wayne "W.W." Cope served as pastor of Pigeon Forge First Baptist Church for 28 years. He is the longest serving pastor in its 100-year history. Dr. Cope began his long tenure at the church June 4, 1964.
Some banjo innovators are world-famous. Carroll Best just liked to play. The music of the Haywood County, N.C., farmer and factory worker is featured on “Carroll Best and the White Oak String Band,” a new CD released by Gatlinburg’s Great Smoky Mountains Association.
Peppered throughout Gatlinburg are reminders of Mayor William L. Mills. Known as a selfless and honest man of unquestionable integrity, he was a well respected Gatlinburg leader for three decades. The W.L. Mills Conference Center and Mills Park are among the testaments to the appreciation the citizens of Gatlinburg had for him.
Now in its third year, the Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival is introducing something new: a major headlining act. Legendary country star Bill Anderson will perform Saturday, Aug. 23, in the Quality Inn Creekside’s conference center.
Barbara Fairchild’s smash 1973 hit “The Teddy Bear Song” is a gem of a country tune – gentle, funny, sad and, when you think about, kind of unsettling.
The first time Melvin Lonas lived in Sevierville, he was a student at the Church of God Bible Training School. Before he graduated, the school swapped campuses with the Church of God Home for Children, which was then located in Cleveland, Tenn. He continued his studies at the Bible institute in Cleveland on the campus of what is now Lee University.
As the premiere episode of “Fat Guys in the Woods” begins, a camera swoops over a rugged, wooded landscape.
On June 7, 1911, the Montgomery Vindicator reported, “A big shakeup among business firms of Sevierville is scheduled to take place in the near future. Walker Mize, who has been the efficient deputy trustee under John F. Ingle during two administrations, takes the place of W.S. Murphy as cashier of Sevier County Bank.”
In Sevier County’s robust entertainment scene, there is no shortage of live revues featuring singing and dancing, comedy, even animal acts.
“I was just stunned,” said local author Ron Rader, of learning that his book had been honored in the Independent Publisher Book Awards.
Recently, members of a construction crew were excavating behind French Broad Valley Baptist Church when they discovered a large, rusty object buried in the ground. After some careful digging, the workers uncovered a large bell. Longtime church members identified the bell as the one that once rang at Douglas Schoolhouse, which was located on the same spot.
The visits aren’t announced. “We just walk in and say, ‘May we speak to the manager?’” said Carolyn Wells, president of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 104. “A lot of them are surprised.”
Like most of the able-bodied males of East Tennessee, hundreds of Sevier County volunteers enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War. Most of them journeyed to Kentucky to sign up, or found a recruiting officer who wasn’t too scared of retribution, in order to join the Union cause locally.
An oft-repeated legend about the vote on the question of secession in Sevier County suggests only one solitary man voted to secede from the Union when the issue was put to a vote. Although not far from the truth, the account has been somewhat exaggerated over the past century and a half. In fact, the issue was put before the voters on two occasions.
Some of the best singers in the area turned out for the Tuesday opening Seven Islands State Birding Park, and, though they were talented too, it wasn't the musicians tasked with entertaining the crowd.
Some people have a special gift. Al Gliniecki’s relates to cherry stems.
When Raymond Patterson was in the fourth grade, his teacher told his father that there was no use in sending the boy to school, since he didn’t do anything but sit in the classroom and draw all day. So Raymond quit school. Although he had no formal training, by the time he was grown, Raymond used his artistic talent to earn a living.
Last summer, at a lively event in a Dollywood theater, Dolly Parton for the first time described the resort planned to open in 2015 at her thriving entertainment complex.
In 1931, Sanders Atchley returned home following a family vacation to discover that he had been elected mayor of Sevierville by a write-in vote. Although Atchley had served as an alderman for six years, he had campaigned for the position.
What does Sevier County High School student Paul Trentham have in common with singers Norah Jones, Josh Groban, Rufus Wainwright and Jessye Norman?
Age and overcrowding of the Sevier County courthouse became a hot issue in the 1960s, with some voicing a desire to tear it down and build a new, modern building. County Historian Joe Sharp spearheaded the effort to preserve the current structure and won by a narrow vote of 13-11.
"When we first heard it, we thought it was a hit song," said Oak Ridge Boys bass singer Richard Sterban of "Elvira," the group's signature hit. "But I don't think we realized how big it was going to be."
As a prelude to a centennial celebration planned for October, members of Pigeon Forge First Baptist Church have been collecting and sharing stories about ministers and laymen who have contributed to the growth of the church and community.