Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cocke County Children Treated for Rabies

Rabies has been a known disease for more than 5,000 years. In the 1800s especially, canine rabies was particularly prevalent, especially in Europe. In truth, though, the fear of rabies was much worse than the actual chances of contracting it; people were known to commit suicide upon being bitten by a dog to avoid the possibility of rabies. It was in that climate of almost irrational fear that Louis Pasteur introduced the first vaccine in 1885.

In 1909, eight children from Cocke County were bitten by a rabid dog. Just a year earlier, a Pasteur Institute had opened in Atlanta, and the community pitched in and sent the children there for treatment. Pasteur himself had died more than a decade earlier, but institutes named in his honor were opened in a number of U.S. cities that focused primarily on rabies treatment and sometimes research.

The article below is from The Atlanta Constitution, page 9, on February 12, 1909. The identities of the children are not given.

Citizens of Newport, Tenn., Raise Funds by Public Subscription.

Eight children from Newport Tenn. who were bitten by a dog suffering from rabies have arrived in Atlanta for treatment at Pasteur institute. A dog of W. F. Stanberry, of Newport, disappeared last Saturday after having bitten Mr. Stanberry’s child. Several other children were also bitten. The dog was finally killed and his head sent to a specialist in Atlanta who, after examination, pronounced the canine was afflicted with rabies. Immediately a public subscription was raised and the children sent to Atlanta for treatment in the hope of saving their lives. They are all doing splendidly.

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Newport to Atlanta, about 219 miles by modern roads

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Legless George Samples

In keeping with the George Samples theme from yesterday, there was another George W. Samples, a nephew of the policeman, who lost both legs in World War 1 -- and became a taxi driver in Newport. George was a son of James Alexander Samples (also known as Felix Alexander Samples and Alexander P. Samples) and Elizabeth Watts.

Newport Plain Talk, 5 July 1938, page 1:

Death Comes to City’s Legless World War Hero

Geo. Samples passes away at home at noon Sunday after an illness of several months

Was wounded while Allies were breaking Hindenburg Line – Left on battlefield as dead but later picked up by members of home company – Funeral this morning

Newport’s best known ex-soldier is dead. George Samples, legless World war veteran, passed into the Great Beyond at his home shortly after noon Sunday after an illness of eight weeks. Mr. Samples’ health began failing last September, but he was able to be about until approximately two months ago. Growing weaker Mr. Sample was taken to a Greeneville hospital, where he took treatment for two weeks. Seeing no chance for the stricken man, attending physicians had him removed to his home here last Wednesday where he remained until the end came Sunday.

George volunteered his services to his country along with scores of other Cocke county boys in May, 1917, joining Capt. Thurman Ailor’s company of volunteers which was formed here. For weeks the company drilled at the fairgrounds before being called to camp. After entering the regular army camp, the local compann [sic] became a part of Headquarters Company, 120th Infantry, and was sent to Europe. The group saw action in Belgium and France. During an attack on the Hindenburg Line on September 29, 1918, George fell with what was thought to be fatal injuries. Mike Crino, well known local musician, who was with an ambulanee [sic] crew, went to the scene of action shortly after the charge, and looking over the site where he thought the Cocke countians had been he found Samples with both legs badly mangled. He picked Samples up and rushed him to a base hospital, where the injured limbs were removed by an operation.

Returning to the States afterwards, Samples underwent numerous operations on his legs, and at the time of his death he had undergone 17 major operations, and both legs had been removed almost at the hips.

Handicapped as he was, George was able to drive a care expertly. He devised equipment to attach to an automobile, making it possible for him to start the machine, feed the fuel, change gears and stop the call, all with his hands. Samples applied for a patent for his “contraption,” but someone in another part of the country had patented a similar device shortly before.

For a number of years, George drove a taxi, mostly just to have something to do. Being a great baseball fan he attended practically every game the Newport Canners played last year, including both home stands and road games. He and Mrs. Samples opened their home to the players and a number of the baseball boys roomed there last year and thus far this year. George only witnessed a few of this year’s games, his failing health prohibiting him from attending.

Due to inactivity by the loss of his leg, Mrs. Samples’ kidneys and other organs became lax and a kidney ailment caused his death. He seemed to be in the best of health until within the past few months. He was well known and loved by all. He was very jovial, and oftimes [sic] kidded about his shoes hurting his feet, his toes itching, or some other joke about his feet or legs of which he had neither.

George attended practically every state convention of the American Legion, and several of the national meetings. He always received a big hand when he appeared in public at all of the gatherings. During the state convention in Knoxville on Labor Day, 1933, George took part in the parade, being pushed by two local boys. The thousands gathered in that city for the meeting gave George a greater ovation than anyone else. At that time the NRA was new and every place advertised, “We do our part.” Over each of the wheels of George’s chair signed reading “I did my part” were placed and these attracted much attention.

Mr. Samples was married to Miss Edwin [sic] Robeson several years ago. They have one daughter, Carol. Mr. Samples’ mother, Mrs. Alex Samples, made her home with them. George was very devoted to his mother, wife and daughter, always doing something for their pleasure. Surviving are also four brothers and four sisters.

Military services were conducted at ten o’clock this morning in the Cocke County Memorial building with Revs. J.L Chaney, S.C. Amick and Will Weaver officiating. Burial was in the Union cemetery. The American Legion was in charge of the services.

For detailed family information and all genealogical evidence, visit my family file entry for George W. Samples.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Policeman Samples Killed

There were two men named George W. Samples in Cocke County of nearly the same age, and they can be hard to tell apart in old records; they were first cousins. I believe, though, that the George Washington Samples (24 August 1859-15 October 1914) who is the subject of the articles here was the son of Reuben S. Samples and Elizabeth W. Hatley, making him a first cousin to my great great grandmother, Amanda (Samples) Allen. As such, he was brother or half brother to four other men, including at least two, James Wiley Samples and Felix Alexander (aka Alexander P. and James Alexader) Samples, who stayed and left family in the Newport area.

George, then, was the son of one of the several Samples brothers who died in the Civil War. His father, Reuben, actually survived the campaigns along the Mississippi only to succumb to dysentery in Nashville just weeks before his unit was dismissed after the war.

George married Paulina Starnes in Cocke County in 1877 and soon set off for Texas. Paulina died sometime before 1900, and as was common in the era, George seems to have left his children with various relatives in Texas. He returned to Tennessee and married Elizabeth Moss in Cocke County in 1903. They had several children who were raised in Cocke County. George became a policeman and was killed in the line of duty in 1914. His family from that point is difficult to trace, but at least some of his children from his second family ended up in an orphanage out west.

The articles below, from the Newport Plain Talk, cover the shooting and George's death. Although George was a policeman killed in the line of duty, the articles suggest a different mentality in that era, where the difference in social standing between the shooter and the policeman caused the incident to be dismissed as "one of those accidents that come up."

October 14, 1914, page 1:


Policeman Samples Shoots Mel Rutherford and in Turn is Shot by Rutherford

Mel Rutherford of near English, and Policeman Samples are perhaps fatally wounded as a result of a pistol fight today at noon.

The Policeman had arrested a son of Rutherford and had taken him to jail and was followed by Rutherford. In the jail the father and son engaged in a fight with Policeman Cureton and Samples. Samples shot Rutherford as they clinched and Rutherford then took Samples’ pistol away from him and fired. One shot was by each and the balls entered the stomach of each and passed through the bodies. Rutherford’s wound is perhaps the most dangerous as it is an inch or two lower down. Cureton drew his revolver and prevented Rutherford from firing a second time. Rutherford walked out of the jail and into the court house year and their awaited medical attention. The policeman was able to walk down stairs and into the sheriff’s office. Both men are about fifty-five years of age and have families. Rutherford is the father of three living children, two daughters and a son. Samples has been married twice and has three grown children and six small ones.

October 21, 1914, page 1:

Policeman Samples Dead – Mel Rutherford Getting Well

As a result of the shooting of Wednesday, October 14th, Policeman George Samples is dead and Mel Rutherford, the man shot by him, is getting better and it is believed he will soon recover. Both men were shot in the stomach with a 38-calibre Smith & Wesson revolver.

The trouble was in the jail and came up over the arrest of Rutherford’s son, who came to town to attend the fair and became intoxicated and was placed under arrest. The boy had not been accustomed to coming to town and when arrested pulled back and tried to keep the officer from taking him to jail. Extra Policeman Joe Cureton assisted the chief and the young man was taken to jail, but not without difficulty. He was struck several times with the policeman’s billy. Friends of Rutherford reported this to him and he at once hurried to the jail where an attempt was being made to place the boy in a cell. The lower door of the jail was open and Mr. Rutherford had no difficulty in getting in, and as he approached the officers told them it was his son they had under arrest and that he would give bond for him or put up the price of a fine and take him home. As [he] reached the top of the stairway he shoved Mr. Samples back and was at once shot, the ball ranging downward and passing through his liver. He then grabbed Sample’s pistol and fired, the ball passing through the stomach. The shooting occurred about the noon hour and both men were rushed to a Knoxville hospital, when an operation was performed on Rutherford. It was not thought necessary to operate on the policeman, as his wound was not considered very dangerous.

Mel Rutherford has been an officer of the law in Cocke county for many years and it has always been a custom that when a drunk man’s friends offered to take care of him to give him up to his friends, especially if this be the first offense. Mr. Rutherford knew this custom and anticipated no trouble in getting his son, but the policeman had worried some with the boy and was in a bad humor. In fact, both men were mad and trouble started easily. Mel Rutherford was not drinking and is considered one of the best citizens in the English community He had the interest in his son that any father would have and while the tragedy is deplorable, sentiment places little blame on Rutherford. It was one of those accidents that come up even after it is over it is hard to blame either side.

George W. Samples.

George W. Sample[s] died at the Lincoln Memorial hospital in Knoxville last Thursday night about eight o’clock from a wound which he received on Wednesday, the 14th. Mr. Samples had at all time as he saw the right. He was about sixty years of age and leaves four grown children by his first wife, two sons and two daughters. They are: Miss Ila Samples, Chilloco, Okla.; Mrs. Frank Henson, Tulsa, Okla.; J.R. and G.C. Samples, Amorilla [sic], Tex. By his last wife, who is living, he leaves seven small children. He was born in Cocke county but went west when a young man and their spent twenty years, coming back to Newport after the death of his wife. For more than twenty years, he was a Baptist preacher. He was an uneducated man and struggled in a simple way to walk in the straight and narrow path. He was a very strong man physically and a man of strong passions. As policeman he had only to be convinced that it was right to do a thing and the thing was done.

The body was sent to Newport on Friday and held until the following Monday in order to give his son, Robert, a change to get here from Texas. The funeral services were held Monday afternoon in the Baptist church. Rev. J.W. O’Hara conducted the services and interment was made in the family cemetery near the poor farm.

For detailed family information and all genealogical evidence, visit my family file entry for George Washington Samples.

Correction to James Harvey Walker Photo

James Harvey Walker, a 4th great half uncle of mine, was the apparent subject of a recent article I posted about an accident on the way to a funeral. I included in the article a photo, not from the newspaper, but one which I received from a granddaughter of his, Adelia Knight, several years ago.

Tim Walker wrote me questioning whether the photo was, as I noted, of Jim and his family or of his brother Milton Green Walker, who was a member of the state legislature from Cocke County and principal there.

The photo here includes, without a doubt, Jim on the left and Green on the right, although the photo was taken many years after the earlier picture.

Although the photo in question was passed down through Jim's family and not Green's, when compared with another known photo of Green and his family from a few years later, I too believe that the photo I posted earlier is more likely to be Green's family, not Jim's.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Body Hurled from Coffin

My Walker line is not from Cocke County and is documented on a different Web site. However, two brothers, James Harvey Walker and Milton Green Walker, sons of my 3rd great grandfather, Edward Walker, Jr., and his second wife, lived in Cocke County for a number of years, where both were principals and teachers, among other things. Green served in the Tennessee State Legislature from Cocke County.

Jim, the older of the two, owned a grocery store, a hotel, and two livery stables and perhaps other properties. He married Mary Adelia Phillips in Grainger County and moved to Cocke County in the very early 1890s. I am reasonably certain that he is the undertaker mentioned in the following article. For more information about him, see my Biography of James Harvey Walker.

This article was published on page 1 in the Atlanta Constitution on June 16, 1902. The photo here, including Jim, his wife, and probably their two oldest children, was probably taken about a dozen years before the events in the article. The photo was not in the paper but was provided by Adelia (Guthry) Knight, his granddaughter. Despite the dire description, Jim died at age 85 in 1939. Correction: The photo here is probably of his brother's family; see the full correction.


Funeral Car Breaks While Descending Steep Hill.


Another Casket and Hearse Had To Be Obtained – Undertaker is Hurt.

Newport, Tenn., June 15. – (Special.) – Today while bringing the body of the small son of Hunley LaRue from Parrottsville where he had died while visiting his relatives, Undertaker J. H. Walker suffered a painful and peculiar accident.

He had started down a long hill, with the coffin containing the body inside the hearse, when some part of the hearse suddenly broke and it toppled over, throwing the casket out and spilling the remains on the ground. The undertaker was caught under the wreck and dragged to the bottom of the hill by horses that at once ran.

The funeral procession following was compelled to view the horrible sight without being able to furnish aid. Undertaker Walker was seriously injured about the head and body and is in a very precarious condition.

Another casket and hearse were obtained and the funeral continued.

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Parrottsville to Newport (about 7 miles)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Former Mayor Involved in Shooting

This is another in a series of postings of articles of local interest, although the parties are not known to be related to my family. Originally published by The Washington Post on May 18, 1908, on page 1.


Prominent Asheville Citizen Fatally Wounded in Row.


Haywood County Representative Wanted Street Combatants to “Fight It Out,” and Resented Efforts of Waynesville’s Former Chief of Police to Separate Them – My Be Hiding in Mountains.

Special to The Washington Post.

Asheville, N.C., May 17. – Henry Abell, a prominent citizen of Waynesville, N.C., was shown down in Main street at Waynesville by David L. Boyd, representative of Haywood County in the North Carolina legislature. Boyd fired two shots into Abell’s body.

Abell is reported to be dying, and Boyd is said to have fled the State and is believed to be hiding in the East Tennessee mountains. The sheriff of the county and a posse are searching for Boyd. Tried to Stop Fight.

Tried to Stop Fight.

The shooting was the result of a fight between a man named Leatherwood, of Waynesville, and a nephew of Boyd. Abell attempted to part the fighters and Boyd became enraged at him. He tried to force Abell to let them “fight it out.” Abell persisted in his efforts to separate the combatants.

Several blows were struck and Boyd drew a gun and began firing at Abell. There were several eyewitnesses, though when the shooting began the crowd rapidly dispersed and gave Boyd a clear field to escape.

Boyd is fifty years old, and was formerly mayor of Newport, Tenn. Abell is a brother of Dr. J.F. Abell, and was formerly chief of police of Waynesville.

Haywood County, North Carolina, about 40 miles from Newport

Friday, April 3, 2009

Bigamist Minister

As far as I know, the subject of the following article is not related to me. However, from time to time, I will be posting interesting articles like this one from Cocke County and the surrounding area. This article was published on page 1 of The Washington Post on March 8, 1905.

Sentenced to the Penitentiary for Violation of Pension Laws.

Knoxville, Tenn., March 7. – Rev. Benjamin W. Ashley, a minister of the Christian church, residing near Newport, Tenn., was given a sentence of fifteen months in the penitentiary in the Federal Court today for violating the pension laws. In investigating his case a pension examiner discovered that he was a bigamist. After Ashley had been placed on the pension rolls a North Carolina woman claiming to be his wife made application for a division of the pension. Ashley swore she was not his legal wife, but that his wife was a Tennessee woman. Investigation proved that Ashley married his first wife in 1865, and had never obtained a divorce, but had abandoned her thirty years ago, marrying a second time after coming to Tennessee to reside. He pleaded guilty of perjury, and may be prosecuted for bigamy when he has served his Federal sentence.