FIRST HAPPENINGS IN MORGAN COUNTY



 A FLYING MACHINE

    For the first time, perhaps in its history, Wartburg was favored with a visit by an aeroplane Tuesday
Morning. The plane landed in Mr. Edd Heidel's.  The gasoline gave out and it had to come to earth.
    The owner of the machine left Lexington, Ky. early Tuesday morning and passed over Wartburg
about 10:45 a.m. It was a great sight for the people of Wartburg and surrounding Country.
[Morgan County News dated January 20, 1920]



FIRST OIL WELL

"First Well Brought in Oct. 6 At Sunbright, Another Last Week. "
 
     "The first well was brought in October 6th 1924 at a depth of 1441 feet.  This
well is a fine gas producer and it is estimated to produce according to the test
of 6 hours pumping of 42 barrels, at this rate would produce 168 barrels in 24 hours.
     This well is piped to Huffman Switch, the first siding north of Sunbright
for loading.  The pipe line is laid and in the next few days will be in operation.
Development is being done by Russell Producing Company."
     [An excerpt from MORGAN COUNTY PRESS, March 13, 1925]
 


*FROM THE MORGAN COUNTY PRESS DATED AUGUST 1926*

   "The Petersen family of Chicago passed thru Wartburg Friday on their way out
to visit the Ritters near Annadale."
   " It will be remembered that Mr. Petersen was the first to bring a car into Morgan
County.  It was used out at the Fair at Deer Lodge one year to carry passengers for
their first ride.  Charges was 25 cents for about a mile.  Down the road and back.
This caused as much excitement at the Fair as any other thing.  Now we have hundreds
of them out there and very little excitement that they cause to-day, unless they wreck."
     [Excerpt from  MORGAN COUNTY PRESS, dated, August 16, 1926]
  



 

FIRST DEATH VERDICT IN MORGAN'S HISTORY
 

Paul Rockford, negro inmate of Brushy mountain penitentiary, was convicted this week for the murder of a fellow prisoner by the name of Otis Peters, also a negro.  Rockford was sentenced to death.
     The negros had been at outs for some time.  The evidence showed that a near fight ensued over the possession of a pillow the night before the murder and that the defendant, who claimed that he stabbed Peters in self-defense, laid in wait for the murdered negro at the opening of the mines and killed him with a dirk about fourteen inches long, confessed to have been made from a file.  The jury returned a verdict Wednesday morning of murder in the first degree, the penalty being fixed as death in the electric chair.  The defence asked for a new trial, which was over ruled and August 23rd was the date set for the execution.
     This is the first time in the history of Morgan County that a jury has returned a verdict of death.  The defening lawyers were D. W. Byrge, of Oakdale, and S.H. Justice of Wartburg, while the state is represented by States Atty, Jesse L. Rogers and J. M. Davis.
      [Excerpt from Morgan County Press - dated June, 1926]


Oakdale, Tenn., Jan 15.--
Pictures that talk like living people will be the feature attraction at the
Lyric Theatre at Oakdale on Saturday, Jan. 26th, one day only, which will
be shown in connection with the regular silent picture.  The Talking Picture
-that miracle of the movies, and yesterday only a dream, has been crystallized
into reality in the new movietone to be shown here.
The program will consist of six all talking vaudeville acts, on the screen, featuring
Helen Harrell, for three years with Al Jolsons stage successes; Arthur Nealy,
the night-in-gale tenor, featured as a soloist and master of ceremonies in the
Public Houses; Marguerite Brandon, of the famous singing Brandon Vaudeville
team, chosen by Edison for the nationwide tone test comparisons and Jerry
Krone, staff night club entertainer at "The Tenth" with his famous guitar in
an interesting "Bum Song" number.
The admission is twenty and forty cents.
     (From THE MORGAN COUNTY NEWS, dated, Jan. 17. 1929)
 



FIRST AIR TRAGEDY IN MORGAN COUNTY
The Morgan County News
Wartburg, Tennessee, Thursday, December 27, 1934

Mail Plane Crashes and Pilot dies in Crash on Peak of Pilot Mountain
          --------------------
American Airways Mail and Express Ship
Crashes on Morgan County Mountainside
           --------------------
Lost in the Cumberlands, Curley Riggs Hits Lofty Sumit and Burns
          ---------------------
Written by Leason Waters
          ---------------------
     "Morgan County's first air tragedy was told early Sunday Morning
by the rugged mountainside of Pond Knob, on Pilot Mountain, with the
finding of the wreckage of the ill fated American Airways Mail and Express
No., 12-286 and its pilot Russel (Cirley) Riggs horribly burned and mangled
where he had crashed in a dense fog about 3:30 a.m. Saturday Morning.
     Two Morgan County men, Kermit Freels and Theodore Freels, discovered
the wreckage and the body of the pilot on Sunday Morning almost atop the
lofty Pond Knob, next in altitude to Big Pilot Mountain, the highest in that
section.
     The Freels brothers and other residents of the section at the foot of the
mountains had remembered hearing a plane roaring toward the mountains
early Saturday morning and remembered having remarked that "it would
have to go higher or he wouldn't get get over that mountain ahead."  Later
they heard a noise back in the mountains and saw a fire light, but thought
that it was probably a flare the pilot had dropped to determine the height
of the moutain under him.  Reading a newspaper report of a mail plane
supposedly lost in Tennessee Mountains, the Freels brothers set search in
the direction in which the low flying plane went Saturday morning.
     They discovered the object of their search about eight o'clock Sunday
morning.
     Pilot Riggs had evidently become lost in the Cumberland Mountains and was
approximately 150 miles off course, which is a direct line from Louisville
to Nashville and was flying in a dense fog.
    The wings and body of the plane were scattered  in smashed bits along the course
of the plane after it hit the tops of the trees.  The cargo of damaged mail included,
Christmas gifts of watches, jewelry, greeting cards, money and other valuables.
Very little was written in the pilot's log. It indicated the mail had left Cleveland
at 12:46, Columbus, 1:50, Cincinnati, 1:50, Louisville, 2:40.  Riggs was last heard
from shortly after he left Louisville airport, 2:52 a.m.  Also stated, after leaving
Louisville, "landing gear in bad condition, wheels shimmies on concrete."
     Sheriff Byrge and his deputies held vigil over the corpse and guraded the mail
until officials arrived late Sunday night.  Coroner M. M. Goad of Warrtburg
held inquest over the body.  Otto Schubert, Wartburg Funeral director took charge of the
body and after preparing it, drove to Nashville from where it was shipped to Texas. "
    [An Excerpt from Morgan County News, Dec. 27, 1934]
 



DISTINGUISHED TRIO VISITS WARTBURG

McAlister, McKellar and Bachman Greeted by Large Crowd

     "For the first time in political history
a Govenor and two United States Senators visited
Wartburg and they were greeted by an enthusiastic
and responsive crowd.  Arriving in Wartbirg at 1:39 p.m.
last Wednesday over 900 people crowded the court yard
and street to greet the visitors who were accompanied
bya number of friends.  Among which were Burgin Dossett,
Campaign Manager for Pope and now Assistant campaign
manager for McAlister, Harold Wimberly, Judge Bob
Williams, Alex Shell, Dave Quinn, R.B. Cassell, Chas
Donagy and many others.
They were accompanied to Scott Co. by C. W. Wright
and Carlisle Coe of Oneida.  The Govenor and Senators
were delighted at the reception given them in Morgan
County."
      {An excerpt Morgan County News, Nov. 1, 1934}
 



FIRST APPLICATION FOR OLD AGE ASSISTANCE RECEIVED THIS WEEK
    Applications for Old Age Assistance, Aid to the Blind and Aid to Dependent Children are
being taken now at the Wartburg Office of the Department of Institutions and Public Welfare,
from those people that are on the relief rolls. The first application was taken Monday.
     Those desiring to make application that are not on the relief rolls will be allowed to do
so after August 1st.  Anyone not able to come to the office is advised to notify the office
and a worker will call at the home.
Monday and Friday of each week have been set as days to take applications at the office.
     [Excerpt from Morgan County News dated July 1, 1937]

Additions, corrections or comments  are more than welcome about this page.
If you know of a 'first event' in Morgan County, e-mail me and I will be glad to add to this page!


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