Senator McKellar’s Homecoming, 1946

By Ray Hill Senator Kenneth D. McKellar turned seventy-seven years old in January of 1946.  He had been in Congress since 1911 and in the Senate since 1917.  It was clear McKellar was aging and there had been some thought the old Tennessean would retire.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt had summoned E. H. Crump, leader […]

Davy Crockett

  By Ray Hill   The first real media marketing campaign began in December of 1954 when Walt Disney aired Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter.  It was the first of three episodes planned by Disney based on the life of the Tennessee frontiersman.  The Disney movie starring Fess Parker inspired a genuine craze with youngsters demanding […]

Eleanor ‘Cissy’ Patterson, Publisher & Personality

By Ray Hill Eleanor Medill Patterson was the first woman to successfully run a major metropolitan newspaper.  Known as “Cissy” due to the nickname given to her in childhood by her brother, she was volatile, unpredictable, frequently gleefully malevolent and unquestionably gifted. Eleanor Patterson was born into a wealthy and prominent family on November 7, […]

Andrew Jackson & the National Bank

By Ray Hill   If Senator K. D. McKellar was an accomplished feudist, another son of Tennessee was at the very least as accomplished in that art: General Andrew Jackson.  President Andrew Jackson carried the bullet in his body from a duel he fought until he died; the other fellow didn’t emerge from that encounter […]

The Great Smoky Mountain Park Feud: Senator K. D. McKellar and the National Park Service

The Great Smoky Mountain Park Feud: Senator K. D. McKellar and the National Park Service

By Ray Hill   As with most everything in Tennessee, Senator Kenneth D. McKellar felt a proprietary interest in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. McKellar had been instrumental in helping along the park, sponsoring legislation with Senator Claude A. Swanson of Virginia to acquire land for the park. The full history of the Great […]

‘Mr. Hub’ – Senator Herbert S. Walters

By Ray Hill Herbert Sanford Walters was a successful businessman and by the appointment of Governor Frank Clement, United States senator from Tennessee. A reminder of Herbert Walters to many East Tennesseans is Walters State Community College. Born November 17, 1891 in Jefferson County, Walters attended both Carson-Newman College and the University of Tennessee. UT […]

The Colonel: Luke Lea, Part V

By Ray Hill By 1929, Luke Lea had reached the apex of his political influence in Tennessee.  Lea was the undisputed power behind the throne and no one had more influence in the administration of Governor Henry Horton.  When Tennessee’s junior United States senator, Lawrence D. Tyson, died unexpectedly in August of 1929, Horton immediately […]

The Colonel: Luke Lea, Part IV

By Ray Hill   Once again happily married, doting on his newborn daughter, former United States Senator Luke Lea concentrated upon reducing his indebtedness after his return from the World War.  Frequently discussed as a potential candidate for high office, Lea made no move to seek election, but he was becoming more and more influential […]

The Colonel: Luke Lea, Part III

By Ray Hill Senator Luke Lea had lost his reelection bid in November of 1915, running third behind Congressman Kenneth D. McKellar and former governor Malcolm Patterson.  Lea’s defeat occurred for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was his affiliation with the “fusionist” movement in Tennessee.  Having benefited from his alliance with […]

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