This week in local history
The following events occurred during the week of Sept. 9-15 in Bell County:
1840: A political rally for the Sothern Whig party drew a crowd estimated at 8000. Many camped in the Yellow Creek Valley. Opening ceremonies featured Senator John J. Crittenden.
1861: General Zollicoffer ordered his regiments, which were stationed at the Cumberland Gap, into Kentucky after receiving a wire from Confederate President Jefferson Davis that the neutrality of Kentucky had been breached in the west by General U. S. Grant. His troops were met by John C. Colson, Sr. and his Home Guards. Although the skirmish was brief, it is remembered as one of the first actions of the Civil War in Kentucky.
1863: Surrounded by Union troops, General Frazier surrendered 2000 Confederate troops at the Gap without testing the strength of the enemy in battle.
1888: The first land sale in the new city of Middlesborough was held. A. C. Snyder bought a lot in block 15 SE and also lot 14 in block 10 SE (once the site of Woolworth’s and now where Levitt music series is held) for a total of $200.
1899: General Turner, a bartender at the Quarterhouse, shot and wounded General Sowders. According to the newspaper, “Owing to the fact that the men we on opposite sides of the old Sowders- Turner feud it was feared this might again break out, but it is hoped that better minds will prevail.”
1906: H. Weinstein & Brothers moved a new three story building on the southeast corner of 20th and Cumberland. For the previous 10 years, the store had occupied Union Hall (now East End Pawn Shop).
1926: All the stores in downtown Middlesboro closed for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
1927: The L & N Cumberland Valley Division shipped the largest number of coal cars — 1467 — ever shipped from one division in one day.
1947: Coal operators at Pruden and Fonde were threatening to dispossess striking miners from company houses.
1965: Fire destroyed Smith Electric and Dixie Dollar Store (approximate current location of Community Trust Bank) Fire departments from Pineville, Tazewell and Knoxville responded to a call for help.
To learn more about local history, visit the Bell County Museum, located just north of the Middlesboro Post Office, Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.