Today in Johnson City History: October 8

Oct. 8, 1859: The name of the local post office was changed from Johnson’s Tank to Haynesville. This name change was to honor Landon Carter Haynes, later a Confederate senator, who lived south of the town.

Oct. 8, 1901: The Tri-County Fair opened for a four-day run.

Oct. 8, 1909: The Barnum and Bailey Circus came to Johnson City.

Oct. 8, 1939: Authorities were investigating the death of 30-year-old Johnson City resident Bessie Oxendine, whose body was found off the Jonesborough Highway. Washington County Sheriff Earl Sell reported she had been beaten to death before her body was tied to the back of an automobile and dragged a considerable distance to give the appearance she had been struck by a car. Several people had been detained for questioning.

Oct. 8, 1959: Johnson City Junior High lost to Kingsport’s John Sevier Junior High by the narrowest of margins. Johnson City’s sole score resulted from a 90-yard drive in the fourth period. Quarterback Joe Burke capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown. The extra point was stopped short, giving John Sevier a 7-6 win. Future Dobyns-Bennett head football coach Fred Walton had scored Sevier’s touchdown in the first quarter.

Oct. 8, 2007: The Johnson City Press reported the death of longtime Juvenile Court Judge Shirley Underwood. She had served as the city’s judge for young offenders for 40 years, having been appointed to the bench in 1961 by Gov. Buford Ellington. She was re-elected to five eight-year terms before retiring from the bench in 2002.

Sources: Bob Cox; The Comet; Kingsport Times; Johnson City Press-Chronicle; Johnson City Press.

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