Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Morrill Acts and Education

The University of Tennessee

The First Morrill Act of 1862 provided federal funds from the sale of public land to establish an endowment fund for land-grant colleges of agriculture and mechanical arts. It established at least one college in every state “accessible to all, but especially to the sons of toil.”

1866: Education [Statute]
Separate schools required for white and black children
1869: Barred school segregation [Statute]
While no citizen of Tennessee could be excluded from attending the University of Tennessee on account of his race or color, "the accommodation and instruction of persons of color shall be separate from those for white persons."
- See more at:
1866: Education [Statute]
Separate schools required for white and black children
1869: Barred school segregation [Statute]
While no citizen of Tennessee could be excluded from attending the University of Tennessee on account of his race or color, "the accommodation and instruction of persons of color shall be separate from those for white persons."
- See more at:
1866: Education [Statute]
Separate schools required for white and black children
1869: Barred school segregation [Statute]
While no citizen of Tennessee could be excluded from attending the University of Tennessee on account of his race or color, "the accommodation and instruction of persons of color shall be separate from those for white persons."
- See more at:
The Second Morrill Act  was signed on August 30, 1890, and included the stipulation that African Americans were to be included in the United States Land-Grant University Higher Education System without discrimination. It further made provision that required states with separate colleges for Black and White citizens, to designate or establish a college to train Black students in agriculture, mechanical arts, and architecture as well

To comply with the 1890 Morrill act, the University of Tennessee established an Industrial Department at Knoxville College.

Clearly, the schools were separate, but they were not equal.
Knoxville College

1866: Education [Statute]
Separate schools required for white and black children
1869: Barred school segregation [Statute]
While no citizen of Tennessee could be excluded from attending the University of Tennessee on account of his race or color, "the accommodation and instruction of persons of color shall be separate from those for white persons."
1870: Education [Statute]
Schools for white and colored children to be kept separate.
1873: Education [Statute]
"White and colored persons shall not be taught in the same school, but in separate schools under the same general regulations as to management, usefulness and efficiency."
1901: Education [Statute] Unlawful for any school or college to permit white and colored persons to attend the same school. Penalty: $50 fine, or imprisonment from 30 days to six months, or both.

1925: Education [Statute]
Separate elementary and high schools to be maintained for white and Negro children.
1932: Race classification [State Code]
Classified "Negro" as any person with any Negro blood.
1932: Miscegenation [State Code]
Miscegenation declared a felony.
1932: Education [State Code]
Required racially segregated high schools.
(Source: Jim Crow Laws in Tennessee  Link)

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Keeping house with 274,000 boarders: Feeding the troops in the Spanish- American War

Photo credit: Pictorial Atlas Illustrating the Spanish-American War: Comprising a History, Le Roy Armstrong, John W. Iliff & Company, 1899, p. 80

Feeding the troops

You remember where you bivouacked in the Dyer Field at the close of the first day's fight after twenty seven hours marching and fighting without a meal- bivouacked without fires when a white frost was settling down and with only a few crackers and scraps of bacon and pork which could not be cooked because the enemy's lines were too close to admit of fires. Well, in the days which tried the souls of the sensational journals in the Spanish War, just back of where you bivouacked the commissary department had a bakery with a capacity of 66,000 eighteen ounce loaves and every soldier and civilian employ in that army got a loaf of it every day if he wanted it, and it was as good bread as I ever care to see on my own table. If they preferred hardtack they got that. 

As to fresh meat seven days out of ten there were issued full rations of as good beef as ever came in refrigerator cars to the cities and towns of the North. Every quarter carried the tag of government inspection. There were 5,100,000 pounds of it issued there without the loss of a pound, except where some of it fell into the hands of regiments whose men did not know how to take care of fresh meat in hot weather, and whose officers did not know how to tell them. And let me say to you here, that in spite of all the sensational charges with which the humane and honest people of the country were driven wild, there never was a pound of embalmed beef issued to a single soldier of the Spanish War- not a pound for the good reason that the government never purchased a pound of beef that had been embalmed. I state this on my personal responsibility to substantiate the truth of what I say against anybody, of any rank.
For the other three days, the troops had bacon. If you suppose it was the "old sides" which we used to receive, sent down in freight cars stacked up like cord wood, you will make a mistake. It was family bacon in sealed tin cans such as you at the first class family groceries. Then there were three vegetable rations, extra potatoes, onions, and canned tomatoes. Each regiment could choose which it would have. It required eighteen car-loads of for each ten days' issue, and for hauling each issue of to the camp required 750 six-mule teams, and every of the ration was better than we ever saw in our soldier days. These are all facts. Yet the country was made to believe its soldiers were given spoiled food, and short rations even that.

As to canned beef and canned roast beef, the brand was same, and from the same firms as was used by the navy throughout the war, and as is being used now both by the army and in all our operations the world around. The English used this beef in Egypt, and is using it in South Africa. Of there were some spoiled cans, but the percentage was too small to express in appreciable figures. I doubt whether there is person here who has not known of spoiled canned goods in own house. It must be remembered that the War Department was keeping house with 274,000 boarders.

(Source: The Spanish-American War, Russell Alexander Alger,Harper & Bros., 1901)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Granny's Story

Photo Credtit: olle svensson, altered by Cyndy Cox Some rights reserved


There was an old Quaker woman who lived on the outskirts of town. Everyone knew her and everyone who knew her also loved her. She had touched the hearts of all the villagers. For over forty years, she had helped bring babies into this world, worked tirelessly to heal the sick and when nothing else could be done, she would sit beside the dying and try to give them comfort.

One day, a bank robber was hiding out in the woods near her house. The police were searching for him because he had killed a bank guard just the day before. He was desperate because he knew that a posse was on on his trail.

It was too risky to approach the house in the day, so he climbed a tree, where he could hide from the the posse and still keep an eye on the house. When evening came, and he was sure that Granny was alone, he approached the door. When Granny heard the knock, she did not hesitate to answer because it might be a friend or neighbor in need of her help, but when she saw the young man, she knew immediately who he was. He pushed his way in and demanded food and bandages for his injured arm. Even through she was frightened, the old lady did not hesitate. She put some food on the old stove to heat, picked up her doctoring bag and walked straight to the the young man.

After the robber man was fed and his arm was bandaged, he began to worry that someone else might stop by in need of help. Granny would be able to give them details of his injury and she would put him in danger of being caught. He began to think that it might be best to kill her. He could easily strangle her and not even waste a bullet. The more he thought about it, the better it sounded. He had already shot one man, who was most likely dead by now, so one more wouldn't make much difference. All this time, Granny sat quietly at the table. He looked at her face and she showed no fear. As he got up from the table, Granny started to speak quietly, "You have been in my house for several hours. I have bandaged your arm and you have eaten the food that I prepared for me. If you try to choke me, you will breathe in my last breath. My soul will reside in you. You cannot escape that." The man stopped, stunned by both her words and her unseemly calm demeanor. He looked straight at her for more than a minute, then he turned and bolted out the door-not even closing it behind him.

What the young man did not realize was that he had left part of his spirit in Granny as well. A couple of days later, Granny became very ill. She was confined to bed and could not seem to catch her breath. My Momma and I had stopped by to take her some apples and when she did not answer the door, we went in to leave the apples on the table, thinking that Granny must be out caring for one of our neighbors. This is how we found her, lying on the bed, unable to get up or catch her breath. Momma went straight to the kitchen to make some hot tea with honey and a poultice for her chest. When Momma came back, she did what she could and then she told me to stay with Granny while she went for the doctor.

When Momma left, I was scared and did not know what to do. Please don't let Granny die, please don't let Granny die while I am alone with her. As if she could read my thoughts, the old lady turned to me and said, "This will pass shortly." I sat quietly beside her until Momma came back with the doctor and his wife, then Momma and I went on home.

When Momma sent me back to check on Granny, I found that she was much improved. This is when she told me the story about the robber. Granny said that the robber was dead and that she knew he was because he was the reason that she became sick. Because his spirit was in her, she could feel him struggling to breathe and when his struggle subsided, Granny knew that the young man was dead. The next week, there was a story in the paper that the said the robber had drown trying to swim across the river in the next county.

She never told another soul and neither did I. —


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Rheatown Stamp

Yours of the 29th inst is at hand, As I happen to have the stamp alluded to, I inclose one for your benefit. It was used by me expressly for the Rheatown office, from about August, 1861, to midsummer 1862, until Confederate stamps were distributed for general use.

These stamps were used merely as a convenience during the absence of Government stamps, and of course were only received at the Rheatown office in payment of postage. All letters bearing it were billed "paid in money, 5 cents." The inconvenience of country people sending money by servants and children to pay postage, and the remarkable scarcity of small change at that time, were the principal objects for procuring this stamp                                Yours truly,
Rheatown, Tenn                                                          D. PENCE 

(Source: Confederate Veteran: Published Monthly in the Interest of Confederate Veterans and Kindred Topics, Volume 2, Broadfoot Publishing Company, 1894, p. 78)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Amis Mill Needs Your Help!

                             Recent Rains have endangered the Amis Mill Dam                                 
Photo credit: Jake, used with his permission

The dam, which was constructed in 1780, is being threatened by the wear and tear of more than 200 hundred years.  If steps are not taken to stabilize the dam, eventually it will fail.  This will be a loss for everyone who loves Tennessee history.

                                           Recent Rains have endangered the Amis Mill Dam                                                                   Photo credit: Jake, used with his permission                            

   Article about the Save the Dam Project in the Kingsport Paper: Link

Flooding at Amis Mill Dam on Big Creek in Hawkins County   Photo credit: Jake, used with permisson                                                                                                            

Find out how you can support this project: Link


History of the Amis House

Amis Mill Restaurant and Park


Photos of Amis Mill Dam in late Spring.

Picnic Table above the dam

Remains of the mill

Thursday, February 4, 2016

On Birthdays and Deaths, Lessons Learned

Me with my Grandmother, my Mother and my Great Grandmother

Southern women are often portrayed as frail women drinking tea in fancy dresses, they are seen helpless women who seem to need the assistance from men at every turn. Nestled in the Tennessee, we are not exactly Southern and not exactly mountain folk, but we have some common traits. Don't be fooled by the exterior, we are tough as nails and we are devoted to family.

At this point, I had to take a break from writing this story because when I looked up the dates, I realized that I was only four years old when this happened. For some reason, it seemed to me that I was a little older.

The winter that is four was one that I will always remember because it had such a powerful influence on me.

For Christmas, my Grandmother gave me an electric train and she gave me bunkbeds for my room. These were lavish gifts, not the sort of gifts that most children received. The train was a Gilbert Silver Bullet and the track was laid out on the floor in a small circle. It had an engine, a coal car, and two passenger cars.

The bunkbeds were maple and you could have bunkbeds or two single beds. They also had a ladder that you could use to climb to the top bunk and a rail to keep you from falling. My Mother made matching bedspreads from a mattress protector (think of an all white quilt) on which she appliqued puppies and kittens that she cut from a yard of patterned fabric. All was well in my world.

Just after Christmas, everything changed. Both my Grandmother and my Great Grandmother were sick and in the hospital. My Mother was gone a lot and I spent time with other family members and even stayed with a neighbor. I had never stayed with anyone who not part of my family before.

A few weeks later, my Mother told me that my Great Grandmother had died. But when she died, we did not go to her funeral. I was puzzled by this because I could not understand why we did not go. I was angry at my Mother for not going because I knew that when someone in your family died, you go to the funeral. Specially, you go to the visitation at Rose Funeral Home, you go to the survive, then you go to the cemetery. After you have done all of these, the family sits down to a meal consisting food brought by your friends and neighbors.

When my Grandmother died two weeks later, I understood that Mother could not leave her Mother. Well, maybe I didn't actually understand this at the time.

My birthday was just a couple of weeks after this happened. Mother baked a birthday cake for me and I had presents that were wrapped and on the coffee table. At the time, I didn't realize how difficult this must have been for her. It was my birthday and I was five years old!

I don't know if there is a word for this, but I call it doing what is in front of you. If you lived on a farm, you still had to milk the cows, no matter how sad you were. Your family's life depended on your being able to raise food that would feed you family. When people moved to the city, they brought these values and this work ethic with them.

I am not sure if Mother realized the lessons that I learned from her that year. I certainly did not realize how difficult this must have been for her to have a party so soon after her Mother's death, but I do now. They have guided me through some of the most difficult times of life. I hope that I have passed them on to my children.

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Murder of Hugh J Moore

Hugh Moore was born on June 28, 1839 to Thomas Moore and Frances Stallard in Scott County, Virginia.

He enlisted in Company C, Virginia 25th Cavalry Regiment on 16 Aug 1862.

After the war, he married Malissa Cocke (or Cox) on September 18, 1871. They lived in the Floyd District. The closest town was Dungannon.

On November 13, 1899, Hugh More was killed by Dack Ramey. The Alexandria Gazette carried the following story on November 16th:
"Wednesday night, at Osborne's Ford,Scott county, Captain Hugh Moore, a wealthy citizen, was shot dead by Dack Ramey. It is supposed the purpose was robbery. Six years ago Ramey-then seventeen years old was sent to the penitentiary for twelve years for the murder of John Lee. On account of the evidence being circumstantial Governor Lee pardoned Ramey.
(Source: Alexandria gazette. (Alexandria, D.C.), 16 Nov. 1889. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. Link)

Family history said the Malissa Moore was walking toward the house with her younger children, the youngest, Della, was only six moths old, when she heard the shot. She looked up and saw Ramey riding away from the house on his horse. The story also continues that Ramey saw Moore sitting in the front room and shot him through the window. The family believed there was a dispute over a horse.

An Officer Shoots a Murderer —
A dispatch from Estillville, Va., says that on
Saturday about noon S. W. Wax and John
E. Mass met Dock (Dack) Ramey, the murderer of
H. J. Moore, near Osborn's ford, accompanied by
his brother Bill and father, John Ramey.
The officers ordered the Rameys
to halt and surrender. Dock (Dack) and Bill drew
their Winchesters, and four shots were fired simultaneously.
The Rameys shot too soon, and the officers' fire was fatal.
Dock (dack)fell to the ground, and was in the act of firing
when another load of buckshot quieted him forever.
(Source: Staunton spectator. (Staunton, Va.), 15 Jan. 1890. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. Link)

Murder on the Clinch: Killing of Dack Ramey was written by Omer C. Addington to tell the other side of the story. Dack's father maintained that Dack shot Hugh Moore in self defence and that the men who shot him were part of a vigilante group that led Dack into a trap and shot him in cold blood.

We will never know what actually happened. We do know that this was a tragedy that eventually let to the death of three people: Hugh More, Dack Ramey and his brother Bill.