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Biodiversity remains a big deal in ecology circles these days. The dictionary defines it simply as the variety of living things in a particular area or region. Opinions on the importance of biodiversity vary, but to me the loss of any plant or animal species means something’s wrong, and righ…

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Last year I suffered what is referred to as a heart attack. I got to the hospital in time, so there was no major damage. I had one artery known as the “Widow Maker” that was 90% blocked, which seemed to be a very serious thing.

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This week I am sharing information about an article that I ran 31 years ago! Yes, I have been ‘digging’ and sharing historical records with my readers for more than 31 years. So, for this week as I was searching for information on the history of Oakdale and the time when there was a school t…

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Apparently, readers really enjoy the Mark Twain quotes and stories I frequently share. I must say that ever since I wrote a term paper on Mark Twain in high school, I have had an affinity for the man who proclaimed such things as, “Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.”

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Mountains seem to be a universal attraction to people no matter where they come from. To those who were born and raised in them, they are especially endearing because they were the constant backdrops of our lives: their beauty, their challenges, and their molding of the culture of our ancest…

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Everybody is concerned about details in various aspects of life. I like overseeing the details of my life to make sure I’m going in the right direction.

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Just a few weeks ago we here at the Genealogy Room had a lot of records and pictures of the Lee family who were from Morgan County. These records were shared by Juanita Adams and from time to time we shared some of these with our readers. This week I want to share a picture of William Claren…

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In 2021, 2-year old colt Rich Strike finished last in his first race. His disappointed Calumet Farm owners ran him in a low-level “claiming” race, meaning the horse could be sold to anyone who wanted to claim him. Oklahoma-based Rick Dawson, about ready to quit the racing business, decided t…

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Paulownia is most often noticed when it blooms in the Spring, right now in fact. Its large tubular purple blooms are quite showy along roadsides.

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In getting older, I have discovered, I pay a little more attention to my dietary habits. Or, maybe I should say, The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage pays more attention to my dietary habits.

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This week I want to share some information on two of the old schools in Morgan County. We have the picture of one, Lower Flat Fork, and information on the year Crab Orchard was built. You may be interested in learning that we have found records of more than 130 of these little schools that w…

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As I watched the finish of the most recent NASCAR race at Darlington, I saw Joey Logano put the bumper to the back of William Byron to get him out of the way so Logano could win the race. While all of this unfolded, a foreign thought crossed my mind... could Joey Logano be NASCAR’s new “Inti…

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Moses became so angry with the people of Israel that he smashed the two original stone tablets containing the 10 Commandments and they had to be replaced by God. The indignation of Jesus was stirred so intensely that he took a whip to the money traders in the temple and ran them out. It wasn…

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Three years ago, I wrote an article about religious intolerance. My premise was that America had actually never been that religiously tolerant, that today religion, Christianity in particular, was the one area where intolerance was still acceptable, and that those who often cried for the mos…

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It’s time to be on the lookout for Pink Ladyslippers, which normally bloom in late April to mid-May. They are one of the more striking flowers of the woods, but for all their beauty have a bit of a sinister side, especially if you’re a bumblebee.

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I must admit that communication is an essential part of my life today. The longer I live, the more sophisticated those communications become, and it’s challenging to me.

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If social media has taught us anything, it’s that we should all be mindful of what we post online. Denny Hamlin apparently didn’t get that memo when he posted a racially insensitive meme from the popular TV show “Family Guy” about Asian drivers following the carnage of Talladega last week di…

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Prior to watching very little TV news now, Jean and I had our morning routines. While she surfed TV with her morning coffee, I checked my emails and Internet home page news links. She watched various news shows, surfing away when commercials intervened or when certain liberal politicians or …

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Violets are very abundant this time of year, and are probably the most common and the easiest to identify family of spring wildflowers in our area. You can find them about anywhere, especially even in your yard right now unless you’re a grass purist that use herbicides.

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A few weeks ago Libbie Adams gave me a document about a couple who had come to Oakdale to spend their honeymoon back in 1904. The document was incomplete and I had planned to do some research about it.

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Nowhere else on the NASCAR schedule is one place more synonymous to Earnhardt fans than Talladega is. In the glory days of NASCAR, it was Dale Sr. leading the charge. Dale Jr. would take the family Talladega mantle after his father’s tragic death. When Dale Jr. retired to the commentary boot…

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Whether you are a high school senior or a senior adult, or somewhere in between or before, always consider the “compensations.” Many years have passed and I have experienced much since my high school days. However, through college, graduate school and several career paths, I have kept in min…

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Clifton Branham ran away from home when he was 12 years old and stayed with his brother’s family in Johnson County, Kentucky. He returned to the area near Pound, Virgina. four years later. His father had bought a piece of land and built a house on the top of Cumberland Mountain.

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After Clifton Branham shot Rant Smallwood he soon learned the law was looking for him so he went to Tazewell County, Virginia where no one knew him. He began living there under the name George Jones.

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Clifton Branham and his daughter Lizzie went to Dickenson County, Virginia and to the top of the mountain to visit the grave of one of his dead children.

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My story ‘Love blossoms in Claiborne County’ has an unhappy ending so I want to preface this conclusion with the following remarks.

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Andrew Jackson was born in 1767 near the state line separating North and South Carolina. It was before the line was surveyed. He became a courier during the Revolutionary War at a young age. He was captured by the British. One of the officers slashed Jackson with his sword when he refused an…

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On April 16, NASCAR raced at Bristol on the dirt surface for the second year in a row to return to the roots of the series. But the very roots of the series are set to be resurrected later this year when North Wilkesboro Speedway is set to reopen for a weekend of asphalt short track racing i…

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I like looking over topographic maps, and I got to pondering all the different forms of water flow that show on a map. We have rivers, creeks, streams (also called brooks), and springs. found myself asking what makes a creek a creek and a river a river? I assumed there was some size classifi…

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I like to have an organized life. I must confess that my idea of organization is not The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage’s idea. We may share many things, but not planning and organization.

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This week I wanted to ask my readers to help us with information on some of the small, one-room schoolhouses around the early 1900’s. We are diligently working on the next book for our Morgan County Genealogical and Historical Society. This will be about the Churches and Schools of Morgan Co…

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Good Friday and Easter represent the reversal of a legendary sports phrase, “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat,” turning it into “the agony of defeat and the thrill of victory.” Some saw that horrid Friday as the defeat of Jesus, while others knew it was the culmination of God’s …

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When Rick Hendrick signed William Byron to replace a NASCAR legend in Jeff Gordon, many in the sport questioned whether Byron could live up to the lofty expectations set by Gordon. Despite some early ups and downs, it finally seems as if we are starting to see the true potential of William B…

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You may not be familiar with Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea), but I know you’ve seen it. It’s the earliest native tree to bloom in the woods (late March to early April) and is very striking on a hillside forest still barren and brown from winter. There is another unfortunate early bloomin…

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I would like for all my readers who also knew Hazel Judkins to take a few minutes and let’s recall what a wonderful lady she was. I first became acquainted with Hazel when I was hired to work at Morgan County News. That was back in April 1986. I had no idea of all that was required in doing …

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We all have our ups and downs. Sometimes we seem to feel great about almost everything. At other times, not so much. I recall a period when I’d been in some situations that sort of took the air out of me. I wasn’t my usual self. Ideas for writing and speaking were not flowing as freely as th…

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Those of my readers know that I have a very deep love for Morgan County. Hardly a day goes by that I fail to meet someone who knows me or recognizes me for the 30 years I have been writing my articles about Morgan County. I have lived here for more than 44 years and have never regretted comi…

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The smoke has cleared, and the trophies have been handed out for yet another weekend of NASCAR racing at Richmond, and one of those trophies went to Ty Gibbs, the grandson of Super Bowl winning coach and NASCAR mega-team magnate Joe Gibbs. But the big story coming out of that race was the wa…

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“Miracles still happen.” That’s what wife Jean said when I told her three morning glories were in full bloom and two more were close to blooming when I walked up our Gatlinburg driveway. There, of course, is a story behind this “miracle.”

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It seems as if over the past several weeks the main questions my students have is about the Ukraine. This nation has a rich in history even if, unfortunately, much of it has been conflict. Writing about history is trivial compared to what is going on in Ukraine, but I think it can help us pr…

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This week I have information from an old newspaper, The Plateau Observer, that was printed Wednesday, April 21, 1976. At present I do not have information about this paper but that is something I plan to do. The headline simply stated, “Jailbreak Unsuccessful, Sheriff Wins Shootout”. May I r…

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The NASCAR landscape is chock full of journeymen who at one time or another have bounced around from ride-to-ride chasing glory and fame. Many who race in NASCAR are never able to get beyond a certain level in the sport despite whatever talent they may or may not have.

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