Dayton Coal and Iron Works Dismantled by Blast

School Children gather to watch the stacks come crashing down

On Friday, November 15, 1935, the old Dayton Coal and Iron Works facility was dismantled. Several   Dayton City School children considered it a treat to be let out of school to witness the blasting of the 200-foot stack of the old iron works. But it was a bittersweet emotional event to many of the older citizens.

Constructed more than fifty years prior to its destruction, the Dayton Coal and Iron works was a huge part of what allowed Smith’s Crossroads to develop into the successful town of Dayton.

Back in the 1870’s, Sir Titus Salt and Peter Donaldson, leaders from the Clyde Iron Works and Clyde Steamship Lines of Glasgow, Scotland took an interest in Smith’s Crossroads. Finding out that the land was rich in iron ore, coal, timber and other stones, they began to be up large regions of land.

By 1884, while the two begun construction of the plant, the railroads had already started it plans of running the rail lines through the area and Smith’s Crossroads changed their name to Dayton.

In the days of its prosperity, the Iron Works pay roll ran close to $50K per month. It consisted of having various successful interest including running 700 coke ovens, rock quarries, coal and iron mines, along with a large company store.

The Iron Works was able to maintain its business and survive through the unstable economic of the period. There had been a few depressions and the money panic of 1907. But then in 1912, after the death of Sir Titus Salt, Peter Donaldson inherited the company and had ran into financial issues in the money markets, that led to him taking desperate action of jumping off the bridge over the Clyde River, with a bar of iron around his neck to end his life.  This led the plant to be operated by the courts for a time before it was ordered closed in 1913. It was never reopened.

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Dayton City School Destroyed By Fire

dayton city School Forced To Close For A week Following Fire

February 16th was on a Friday in 1951. During that night, a fire of undetermined causes burned through the Dayton City School building that had been erected in 1907. The first classes that were held in the building were during the 1908 school year.  The fire had a considerable amount of headway before it had been noticed and called into Dayton’s Volunteer Fire Department. The firefighters had barely gotten the fire hose laid when the fire had broken through the roof of the main two-story section causing the interior of the structure to become a blazing inferno.

Dayton had just gotten a new fire truck. Due to insufficient water pressure, a decision was made to let the new truck serve as a pumper to help boost the water pressure so that three hose lines could be used in battling the blaze. The Spring City Fire Department was called on to assist, and upon their arrival they positioned their fire pumper on Market Street adding yet another hose to tax the flow and pressure of the water.

The origin or cause of the fire had not been determined, however during the investigating of the fire, it was learned that the janitor was able to make his way into the furnace room to retrieve his personal belonging before the fire had burned it’s way through the roof of that section. According reports of that time, Jim Mansfield had said it was believed that the origin of the fire was somewhere near the third-grade classroom. The wings in both the north and south regions were not as seriously damaged as the main two-story section had been, but both had received considerable amounts of damaged from smoke and water. At the time of the fire, the cafeteria was in the north wing with the auditorium being located in the south wing. The two wings were added to the building in 1923.

In the aftermath of the fire, the damaged to the building was estimated to be at one hundred thousand dollars. However, the school was only insured for fifty thousand dollars. Unfortunately, a clause in the policy required the insurance to be totaling 80% of the value of the building to be in force in order to be fully covered, causing the city to have to assume part of the loss. Within a few weeks after the fire, City officials received a settlement in the amount of $36,717.00 from the insurance company.

The school was forced to close for a week long vacation following the fire. Classes resumed the following week. The 8th grade was provided a room on the stage of the auditorium, which with the stage curtain it formed a fourth wall. The other five classes were provided at First United Methodist Church on Market Street, and classes for the lower grades were conducted in the undamaged rooms of the north wing in the two cafeteria rooms. Out behind the church, an outdoor restroom with city sewer connections was provided for the boys, while the girls used the restrooms inside the church.

According to a statement by C. Wesley Hicks, principal of the school, “Everything is going splendid and the students and teachers are adjusting well with minimum inconvenience.”. The students were not required to purchase new text books but were given the option if they wanted to do so.

Recesses were eliminated, and the time that was saved allowed the students to be released from school at 3:00 pm rather than the usual dismissal time of 3:45 pm. This also allowed the students to spend their relaxation time at home.

Eventually the school was rebuilt and has never suffered another fire of this magnitude to date.

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Rhea County Registrar of Deeds Gladys Best Retires

longest serving elected official in Tennessee

August 31, 2018

Gladys Best was just out of Rhea Central High School when she went to work for the Register of Deeds office as a typist. Gladys became the interim Register of Deeds in 1962. Later, she won the election to the office. Little did she know at the time that she would hold claim to the office through a total of 14 elections.

Gladys has always been devoted to the people of Rhea County. She has always made everyone who came into the office feel welcomed. There were no political party lines in her office. Just the good old folk from Rhea County whom she called her friends.

Earlier this year, Gladys made the decision not to seek re-election and choose to retire at the end of this term. Once it was learned that her seat would be open the following persons Teresa Hulgan -The current Deputy Registrar, Dicey Brown, Adam Hurst, and James Nevans submitted qualifying petitions seeking the office: Deputy Register Teresa Hulgan went on to win the primary election in early 2018 and later claimed an un-opposed General Election victory.

Gladys Best
Gladys Best Registrar of Deeds. (Photo by Dean Wilson)

On Friday August 31, 2018, the last official day in office, Gladys was honored with a “Gladys Best Day” celebration on the courthouse lawn. Rhea County Executive George Thacker welcomed everyone and announced that there were refreshments for everyone to enjoy. Tennessee State Senator Ken Yager spoke briefly and presented Gladys with a certificate signed by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam proclaiming her to be the longest serving elected official in Tennessee. Rhea County officials also unveiled a large plaque that will hang in honor of Gladys near her office in the Phil Swafford annex building. A similar one will also hang in the courthouse where Gladys had her office for many years before it was moved into the courthouse annex.

A line quickly formed and stretched across the courthouse lawn as people waited their turn to speak to Gladys to wish her well and express their thanks for all she has done. The newly elected Registrar, Teresa Hulgan spoke briefly thanking the voters for electing her to fill Gladys’ position and also thanked Gladys for hiring her some 35 years ago right out of high school. “I have to thank her for all that she has taught me. She is leaving behind some mighty big shoes for me to fill”, stated Hulgan.

Teresa officially took command as the new Rhea County Registrar of Deeds, today, September 1st, 2018.

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Nelson Mine Explosion Dayton Tennessee

Mine Explosion Claims 29 Lives in Dayton

December 20, 1895

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The morning dawn, clear and beautiful and the bright rays of the sun shed their refulgent influence over the community.  But while the whole face of nature wore a smiling aspect this thriving little city was about to be shrouded in a pall of the deepest gloom. The most appalling catastrophe that ever darkened the history of East Tennessee was that at the Nelson mine, two mile west of here on the morning of, December 20, 1895. Twenty-nine persons were known to have been killed in an explosion in the mine.

The whole town and surrounding community were convulsed in horror and grief.  The tragic event came so suddenly and was so horrible in its details that the people were dazed and wander aimlessly about like madmen, crying and moaning and wringing their hands. Scarcely an eye was closed in sleep that night. The grief of the relative and friends of the unfortunate victims was heartrending in the extreme, and moves to tear the most callous and indifferent hearts.

Engineer Gibson was lying in a precarious condition at the home of Cashier Perry Johnson. Mr. Gibson led the first force of rescuers into the mine and was overcome by the deadly gas and was carried from the mine unconscious.

The heroism displayed by the rescuing force is noteworthy. The men worked in relays all day, and as soon as a party was driven back by the suffocating gas others were prompt to take their places and risk their lives in the work of rescuing the bodies of the unfortunates.

Vincent Ferguson, general superintendent of the Dayton Coal and Iron Company, in who’s mine the horrible explosion occurred, was in Bronco, Ga. at the time of the accident. He returned on the 8:45 Cincinnati Southern train, having been apprised by telegraph of the terrible affair. Mr. Ferguson of course knew nothing of the deplorable occurrence, and when he arrived here, he was overcome with emotion and wept like a child when the story was recounted to him by Mr. Johnson. Both Johnson and Mr. Ferguson left about 10 o’clock on an engine for the mine.

The point where the explosion occurred was in entry K, No.10, about two miles from the mouth of the mine.  This entry is about 1 ¼ miles long, and the explosion swept the whole length of it.

There were two theories as to the cause of it. One is that someone of the miners crossed the “danger line” with an open lamp and the accumulation of stagnated air formed a dangerous gas, exploded immediately, enveloping the whole entry in a mass of flames. The other is that a leak was sprung in a vein of natural gas, which soon spread and filled the whole entry.

A witness J.T. McIntyre, a colored miner had just entered mine #7, within 300 feet of the fatal spot, when the explosion occurred. His attention was first drawn to a hissing sound like escaping steam. Glancing toward the scene, he saw the flames burst forth enveloping the whole entry. Almost instantly a deep rumble ensued, and a heavy concussion shook the mountain to its very foundation. The concussion from the explosion was so terrible; it snapped the roof of the mine like straws. The force of the explosion threw McIntyre down. Being slightly dazed he quickly recovered to his feet and rushed toward entry K. Other miners who had hastily left their rooms met him. They attempted to reach the victims of the explosion but could advance only a few feet before they were driven back by the heat and suffocating gas. McIntyre stated that he had no idea what caused the explosion, but it all happened so quickly.

Elder Morgan

During the recovering of the bodies it was learned that the concussion from the explosion caused several tons of slate to fall and cover part of the victims. It required several hours to remove the slate. Rescuers worked in shifts throughout the night, and by noon the next day all twenty-nine bodies of those killed were recovered. The condition of those killed were burned, bruised, and mangled.

As the whole community tried in their own mind to decide what had happened to cause this terrible tragedy, it was learned that the night shift inspector Sam Umbarger, had made the rounds of the mine and pronounced it safe at 5 o’clock, just two and a half hours before the explosion occurred. F.P. Clute state mine inspector was here and inspected the mine just three weeks prior and reported it to be in a safe condition.

As the evening of this second day approached, a force a strong men were busy digging graves, while one by one all the bodies were being laid out at Bailey’s, Pearcy’s, and Donaldson’s the undertaking establishments in town. Mayor James F. Johnson issued an appeal to the businessmen of the city to close their places of business for the day. In nearly every instance the request was complied. The sole, all-prevailing topic that is engrossing every mind, engaging every tongue and appalling every heart, is the fearful calamity that has befallen this little city. The next day would prove to be the saddest day of all here. Friends and relatives will look for the last time upon the remains of those dear to them, after which their bodies will be laid to rest.

The events of this week, in December of 1895, which brought such heartache to the community proved to fade away in time, and the true reason for this awful tragedy remains a mystery buried deep within the Nelson Mine.

Nelson Mine as it looks today.
The Nelson Mine as it appears today. The entrance was caved in years ago to prevent people from entering the dangerous environment. (Photo by Dean Wilson)

A list of those miners killed in the  Nelson Mine Explosion

The Author of this blog post means no disrespect in listing the victims race information.

The information listed was obtained from public sources and listed as found.


Lannie Walker

August 27,1874—December 20, 1895

Abel Cemetery, Dayton, Tennessee

White, age about 22 years old. He was a driver in the mine and was unmarried and worked for the company for several years.



Henry Elder Morgan

January 29, 1883—December 20, 1895

Buttram Cemetery, Dayton, Tennessee

Was about 14 years old and worked as a trapper in the mine. He was the son of Ex-Postmaster John D. Morgan.  He was a bright intelligent and respected boy. His parents and sisters Misses Della and Lena, both of who are employed in Chattanooga are almost overcome with grief at the sad fate of the son and brother.


Willie Roddy

September 9, 1877—December 20, 1895

City Cemetery, Dayton, Tennessee

Colored, age about 18. He was a laborer for J.A. Ivester, who was also killed in the mine. He had only been working a short time in the mine.



John Abel

December 9, 1875—December 20, 1895

Abel Cemetery, Dayton, Tennessee

Age about 20, single, and was a driver. He was the son of J.P. Abel, a well-known citizen of Dayton. The right leg being broken in two places, the left leg broken in one place, and his neck broken.


Charles Washburn

December 29, 1874—December 20, 1895

French Cemetery, Dayton, Tennessee

 Age about 21, was a single man. He was a driver and was one of the company’s most trusted employees. Young Washburn was quite popular in the community. Washburn had a brother that worked in the mine also; he was overcome in the work of rescue. His body was taken to Pearcy’s Undertaking, in Dayton.



William M. Henderson

January 5, 1856—December 20, 1895

Cranmore Cove Cemetery, Dayton, Tennessee

White, age about 40, he was an old and trusted employee. He leaves a wife and seven small children, the youngest but 4 years old. His sister Martha Houths, who lives at Whiteside, was telegraphed about his death.


John Leach

Polk County, Tennessee

Colored, he was a miner and had been in the company’s employee for several years. He was married with five children but separated from his wife. Leach and Sam Wilson worked together. His body was removed by way of the connecting shaft from the Dixon mine. His body was taken to Pearcy’s Undertaking, in Dayton.


John J. Manass

May 13, 1859—December 20,1895

Abel Cemetery, Dayton, Tennessee

White, age about 40, he leaves a wife and seven children. He had been employed in the mine for several years. His body was taken to Pearcy’s Undertaking, in Dayton.


John Westfield

Colored, age about 30, he leaves a wife and two children. He was a very faithful employee. His body was removed by way of the connecting shaft from the Dixon mine entry. His body was taken to Pearcy’s Undertaking, in Dayton.


William J. Alexander

January 18, 1871—December 20, 1895

French Cemetery, Dayton, Tennessee

Age 24, he was the most prominent of those killed. He held the position of extra foreman and was very popular and highly esteemed. He leaves a wife and two children.


Thomas E. Lane

June 10, 1855—December 20, 1895

French Cemetery, Dayton, Tennessee

White, age about 40, leaves a wife and four children. Lane was a highly respected citizen and was a member of the Vine Grove Lodge, I.O.O.F. of Dayton.



William H. Lane

August 16, 1876—December 20, 1895

French Cemetery, Dayton, Tennessee

Age about 20, son of Thomas Lane, worked in the room with his father. Lane was married. He was a member of the Vine Grove Lodge #20, I.O.O.F. of Dayton.



Joshua W. Bennett

November 2, 1864—December 20, 1895

College Hill Cemetery, Dayton, Tennessee

Aged about 30, he was a native of Whales, having been born at Cardiff. About five years ago he returned to his native land to choose a wife. He leaves a wife and three children, the youngest of who is but 4 months old. Bennett possessed many of the sturdy traits of Welsh character. He was a member of Hope Lodge, #57 Knights of Pythias, of Dayton.



Irvin Arthur McMillen

 July 26, 1880—December 20, 1895

French Cemetery, Dayton, Tennessee

Age about 15, he was a highly esteemed young man and had many friends. He was a laborer for Lon. T. Ferguson.



 Cyrus Alexander

December 6, 1877—December 20, 1895

Lone Mountain Cemetery, Graysville, Tennessee

White, was about 18 years old, and single. He was employed as a driver. His parents live at Dayton, Tennessee. He was a sober, steady, and industrious young man, and had worked in the mine for some period.



Floyd Jewell

August 30, 1873—December 20, 1895

Buttram Cemetery, Dayton, Tennessee

Age about 22, he was the son of Samuel Jewell and cousin of Robert Jewell, also killed in the mine. He was a laborer for Robert Hamilton, who was also killed. He leaves behind a wife.



A. Ivester

December 25, 1856—December 20, 1895

French Cemetery, Dayton, Tennessee

Age about 40, he had worked in the mine for several years. He leaves a wife and two children behind.



Norris Small

Savannah, Georgia

He was a colored laborer employed with John Westfield. He came here from Whiteside, Tennessee just a few weeks before his death. His home is in Savannah, Georgia



Thomas Hawkins

Rockwood Tennessee

White, age about 30, He was married. He was an old employee and an Odd Fellow.



William H. Davis

Rockwood, Tennessee

 White, age about 40 was an old employee. His body was not mutilated, and the gas probably suffocated him. His body was taken to Pearcy’s Undertaking in Dayton.



Lon T. Ferguson

White, age about 30, he was one of the best-known miners employed by the company. He leaves a wife and two children. Ferguson’s father was killed in a similar explosion in the same mine about two years ago.


James Johnson

White, age about 22, unmarried, and was a driver and had been with the company for several years.



Sam Wilson

Colored, age about 22, he was a miner and unmarried. He came to Dayton from Chattanooga, Tennessee about ten days before his death here. His home is at Boyce. His body was removed by way of the connecting shaft of the Dixon mine entry



G.W. Brotherton

Age about 23, recently came to Dayton and began work for the company. His mother and brother came up from Soddy last night to take charge of the remains. Brotherton was unmarried.



W.J. Miller

White, was a laborer for W.J. Alexander. He came to Dayton from Kentucky a short time ago.


H.B. Williams

He was recently married. He was a member of the Dayton Lodge #2 I.O.O.F. and was a highly respected man. His sister, Laura Williams living in Denning, Ark. And his brother A.J. Williams of Coal Creek Tennessee, sent telegraphs inquiring about the fate of their brother.




B. Hamilton

White, age about 30, came to Dayton about a year before his death from Yellow Creek, Georgia. Hamilton was an Odd Fellow and a Mason. He was unmarried.



Robert Jewell

Age about 18, He was a laborer for Thomas Riddle, who was not at work when the accident occurred. Mr. Riddle was at home with an attack of rheumatism. He was the son of James Jewell.


1 Unknown Colored Miner Killed-No Information



Air Force Donates Jet to City of Dayton

(L-R) Walter Cheers-City Attorney, Sam Morgan-Chairman of the Dayton Lions Club, Bill Voigt-Public Relations Director for the City of Dayton, Mayor Charlie Walters, Colonel Joseph Sullivan-Commander of Stewart Air Force Base, Evert Bean-Minister Church of Christ, Kelso Ballard-City Commissioner and Jerry Bivens-President of the Lions Club.

(Seated Atop The Plane L-R) Unknown, Unknown, Bill Sims, Whitney Mac Morgan, Kenny Barnes, Unknown, Steve Norris, Unknown, and Unknown.

(Photos Courtesy Of the Glass Family)

Air Force T-33 Jet placed on Historical display in Dayton

Looking back to December of 1965 when the United States Airforce presented to Dayton a fighter jet for display in our town. The jet airplane was a T-33 and would be placed on a historical display in the park in downtown.

Col. Joseph L. Sullivan, Commander of Stewart Air Force Base at Smyrna, Tennessee made the official transfer of ownership to Charles Walters, Mayor of Dayton, as a crowd of youngsters climbed all over the plane. Those present were Walter Cheers-City Attorney, Sam Morgan-Chairman of the Dayton Lions Club, Bill Voigt-Public Relations Director for the city, Everett Beene-Minister of the Church of Christ who gave the invocation at the ceremony, Kelso Ballard-City Commissioner, and Jerry Bivins-President of the Dayton Lions Club.

Throughout the years, town’s folk enjoyed the aircraft, children played on it, and many Rhea High School students used the plane for a prop and had yearbook photos made on the plane.In the late 70’s, the Dayton City Council voted to move the aircraft out to the Mark Anton Airport, to allow for addition park space which was needed. Suburban of Dayton made a steel pedestal and City workers move the aircraft and mounted it on the pedestal at the entrance to the airport where it remains today.

Aircraft History

The T-33 Jet is the trainer version of the F-80, the first U.S. Jet fighter Plane used in combat during the Korean War.History of the Aircraft shows that on December 23, 1965 be it known now and forever after, that the United States Air Force has given full title and ownership of the Lockheed T-33 number 51-6861 described hereafter in an Historical outline, to the City of Dayton, Tennessee.Background Data: The T-33 T Bird made its first flight in 1948. It is the trainer version of the F-80, the first United States Jet Fighter used in combat during the Korean War. The T-33 has dual controls and ejection seats and was originally designed to give future Air Force pilots the feel of handling larger and faster aircraft. It is currently being replaced in the Air Force’s Pilot training program by the T-38 Talon.

Specific Primary Function: Administrative aircraft and proficiency pilot trainer.

Prime Contractor: Lockheed Aircraft Corporation

Owner/Plant-Manufacturing: Allison J33-A-35 (Turbo Jet)

Thrust: 5,200 pounds

Dimensions: Span 37 feet 6 inches—Length 37 Feet—Height 11 Feet

Speed: 600 MPH

Ceiling: Above 45,000

Range: Over 1,000 miles

Seating: 2 (Student & Instructor)
This aircraft was turned over to the Airforce by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation on the 10th day of October in 1952. At that time, it was assigned to the 3550th training wing, Moody Air Force Base in Georgia.On the 22nd of March in 1954, it was Transferred for Air Force Liaison duties to the Oakland Airport in Oakland, California.On the 25th of May in 1954 The T-33 returned to the south and was assigned to the 5th combat crew training wing at Tyndall Air Force base in Florida. It trained with the 3625th until the first of May 1956, when it again crossed the United States and returned to Oakland Airport for Air Force Liaison duties.On the 16th of June in 1956, it returned to the 3625th combat training wing and remained with that unit until the fifth of February 1959.On that day February 1959, it was transferred to the 3625th Technical Training group also stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.

The commander of the 3625th Technical Training Group flew the aircraft to Craig Air Force Base in Alabama, to preform temporary duty with the 3615th flying training wing. He returned with the aircraft on the 20th day of February 1959.On the 2nd of October 1959, control of the aircraft was assumed by the 3631st Support Squadron, also Based at Tyndall Air Force Base. It remained with the 3631st until the 8th of April 1960, when it returned to its old unit, the 3625th Technical Training Group.On the first of April 1964, the aircraft was assigned to the 4756th Air Defense Wing at Tyndall Air Force Base as an Administrative Support Aircraft. Here it remained until it was declared excess to the Air Defense Commands inventory of Aircraft and flew its last mission to Stewart Air Force Base in Tennessee, for demilitarization in preparation for presentation to the City of Dayton. In 13 years, service to the United States Air Force Number 51-6861 flew a total number of 6, 711 Hours.


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Ten Commandments Monument in Dayton

Dayton – THE first stop on national tour of 5,300-pound monument removed from Alabama judicial building

July 31, 2004


About 75 people turned out at the Rhea County Courthouse to see the Ten Commandments monument that cost Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore his job.The monument was to travel on to Dunlap, Tenn. later in the day.Judge Moore was removed from office when he defied a federal court order to remove the monument from the lobby of Alabama’s judicial building in November 2003. One lady present stated that she stood in line at the courthouse to show her grandson the Ten Commandments monument. County commissioners passed a resolution in 1997 supporting Judge Moore’s stand on the Ten Commandments being displayed in public buildings. Moore who is now running for Senate, stated in a Facebook post that he hopes to bring the monument back home to Alabama’s capital.

. Alabama Ten Commandments in Dayton

Larry Darby, Attorney for the Atheist Law Center is pictured aboveFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Doctor Albert C. Broyles

Dr. Albert C. Broyles delivers 4,643 Babies

In the age we are living in, we find Doctor's Offices, Clinics, Urgent Care Facilities, and off campus satellite emergency rooms from larger hospitals on nearly every corner. However, it was not always like this. Looking back, we dig into Dayton's past and find one extraordinary doctor who dedicated his life to caring for the town's citizens. That man was Dr. Albert C. Broyles. Just two years prior to his death in 1963, he was recognized for some 50 years of medical service to the community.

It was on a Friday night June 9, 1961, that some 300 Rhea Countians paid tribute here to a beloved Doctor who brought most of them into the world as infants.

Dr. Albert C. Broyles was the guest of honor at an appreciation night banquet at Bryan College in observance of his 50 years of medicine. During these years, Dr. Broyles delivered 4,643 babies, more than 4000 of them in Rhea County. He had operated Broyles Hospital here for more than a quarter of a century and had nursed most of the county’s population back to health on more than one occasion.

The 72-year-old white haired physician had just gone into semi-retirement and the town’s citizens led by the Chamber of Commerce seized upon the occasion to express their gratitude.

Semi-retirement for Dr. Broyles meant the elimination of all major surgery, except in an emergency, and all obstetrics practice. He, however continued to maintain an office and treat common illnesses for a while.

Dr. Albert Broyles

Dr. Broyles was born in Chattanooga on July 22, 1888, prior to receiving his M.D. degree from the University of Tennessee in 1911, he was educated in the public schools in Hamilton County.

On April 17, 1912, Dr. Broyles married Katherine Rose Schulgen of Daisy, Tennessee. They had one daughter together, Kathryn Elizabeth Broyles born April 13, 1913.

He moved to Rhea County in 1914 as a physician for the coal miners at Graysville, where he also served as Mayor for a short period of time.  He traveled in a horse and buggy then and remembers one fee for delivering a baby was 12 bundles of fodder.

In 1923, Dr. Broyles moved to Dayton where he was quickly recognized as an able physician and surgeon. Before long he established a private hospital of 18 rooms that was equipped for the most modern forms of medical and surgical practice in the early 1930's. His new hospital was located over the new Robinson Drug Store on Market Street in a building jointly owned by Dr. Broyles, John Godsey, and Earle Robinson.

Telegrams congratulating Dr. Broyles on his long service were read at Friday night’s program from former President Eisenhower, Governor Ellington, Senator Kefauver and Rep. J.B. Frazier Jr.

Dr. William J. Sheridan of Chattanooga, president-elect of the Tennessee Medical Association, was principal speaker at the banquet and presented Dr. Broyles with a 50-year pin for the state medical association.

The druggists of the county gave him an electric watch, the Dayton Lions Club presented him with a pen and pencil set, and the Dayton Chamber of Commerce gave him an engraved plaque.

Bob Norris was President of the Chamber of Commerce and presided over the banquet. Kyle Green made the presentation for the Lions Club and Richard Rogers represented the druggists in making the presentation.

Honoring Dr. Broyles at the 50-year celebration of practice in Rhea County were the first and last of the 4,643 babies delivered by him. The last was Karen Renee Smith the daughter of Mr & Mrs. Clayton Smith of Mountain View community in Dayton born October 6, 1960 and Mrs. Nell Barger Hicks of Graysville, TN was the first baby delivered by Dr. Broyles in approx. 1913.

After the death of W.C.Godsey, Dr. Broyles bought his home on North Market Street where he lived until his death in 1963. His wife Kate as she was referred to continue to live there until her death in 1977. Both are buried in Buttram Cemetery.


Dr. Broyles Died December 2, 1963 and is buried in Buttram Cemetery.







Rhea Circuit Court Judge says Rhea Courthouse must be cleaned up.

November 1967

Circuit Court Judge Sam Polk Raulston of Jasper said Saturday he would refuse to hold the November term of court here unless the historic old Dayton courthouse was cleaned up.

Judge Raulston, here to set the docket for the term that is scheduled to open November 27, 1967 said: ‘There will be no court unless the court room is cleaned up. I have the right to refuse to hold court in a pig pen, and that’s what I’m doing.”

The jurist complained of poor janitor service in the 77-year-old building, specifically dust dirty Windows and Windows with missing panes of glass.

“There’s dust on these windows that have been here during the scopes trial,” Judge Raulston said.  He referred to the famed “monkey trial” of Dayton schoolteacher John scopes, in 1925. The judge added that “you can write your name in the dust on the furniture in this room”.

Called to the courthouse Saturday by Judge Raulston was Lee Taylor, Sec. of the Rhea County purchasing and Finance Commission. Raulston voiced his complaints about poor housekeeping in the courthouse to Taylor and asked that the commission take steps to see the building was cleaned up.

Taylor asked the judge to submit a letter outlining his request to the commission, headed by Jim Able, chairman. Other members of the commission are Dwight Swafford, whose term has expired but his successor has not yet been named by the quarterly court, and Grover Aikman.

Judge Raulston also ordered that all funds coming from the general sessions and circuit courts be withheld until the necessary repairs and cleanup were made at the courthouse.He directed bathroom facilities be installed in the present witness room and ordered the county welfare office to vacate premises they now occupy to the left of courtrooms. He said he wanted the welfare office space for a witness room and complained that the room being used allowed witnesses to “hear everything that was being said in the courtroom”.

Raulston concluded his denunciation of the Rhea courthouse by noting that “this courtroom is not conductive or proper to the administration of justice and I will not stand for it.”


Plane Crash Claims Two Lives in Rhea County

Big Orange Trailer Park-Evensville Tennessee

October 28, 1978

Richard Gornik and Jane Powell

Around 4:19 pm on the afternoon of Saturday, October 23, 1978, a single engine Cessna 150 plane clipped a power line and crashed killing both the pilot and the lone passenger on board.

Killed in the crash was the pilot 28-year-old Richard Gornik of Dayton and a passenger 24-year-old Jane Powell of Graysville. Gornik was an employee of Sawyers Funeral Service and attended the Kentucky School of Mortuary Science. Miss Powell was an employee of Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The plane clipped a static line of T.V.A. transmission line and crashed just south of the Rhea County High School in the Big Orange Mobile Home Park. The wreckage landed just inches from an occupied trailer home. The trailer belonged to Donnie McMillian and his family.

The Sale Creek Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad responded to the scene.

Both victims were pronounced DOA upon arrival at the hospital.

William S. Whitmore, a flight standards inspector for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the accident occurred as a result of “Failure to clear an obstacle”.



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In Memory of Jim Rankin Rhea County Educator

Jim Rankin of Rhea County High School

Anyone who attended the Rhea County High School during Mr. Jim Rankin’s days are sure to hold some special memories in their hearts of him. Mr.Rankin, who was long-time Rhea County educator, died Saturday, August 27, 2000, after a lengthy battle with liver disease.

The rare, genetic form of cirrhosis affected Rankin his whole life, but apparently had just recently flared up to hospitalize him. Jim passed away at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville at the age of 56.

The Spring City native began his 29-year teaching career in Rhea County after graduating from Spring City High School and Tennessee Technological University.

After teaching at Spring City High School for three years in the early ’70s, Rankin took the associate principal position at Rhea County High School where he stayed for 25 years-three of those years were spent teaching.

Pat Conner, principal at RCHS, worked with Rankin for 10 years. At the time of Rankin’s death Conner stated that  “He was a dear and loyal friend, He will surely be missed.”  In 1975, Rankin was named coach of RCHS’s first varsity baseball team. The baseball field at the school was named after him during a dedication ceremony in 1998.

The beloved educator had returned to his home town to become principal of Spring City Elementary School in the fall of 1999 and was looking to begin his second year there when he became ill. The children loved and respected him as well as the parents.





Rankin also served in the United States Air Force. The funeral procession traveled slowly from Spring City United Methodist Church to Oak Grove Cemetery in Rockwood, Tennessee. It stretched out for about a mile and a half, according to officers who escorted the column, a testimony to the esteem in which Jim was held. Fittingly, two yellow school buses full of his fellow educators and students were a part of the procession.

Ask any former Rhea County High School student who graduated within the last 25 years, and they will have a Jim Rankin story for you.  Probably the predominant response we received from former students was that he was a quiet man who let his actions speak louder than words.

Although he had a gruff exterior, his heart was made of gold. Others remember him as a strict disciplinarian whose word was law in the halls of Rhea County High School. When Jim Rankin gave an order, they complied immediately or awaited their punishment with fear and trembling.

To a select group he was fun-loving and familiar, talking and joking with the students. Rhea County lost an able administrator who could run a school efficiently and in good order. He may be gone, but Jim will not be forgotten.

Jim’s wife Marquetia Fisher Rankin passed away on Saturday, April 21, 2018 and is buried next to him in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Rockwood, Tennessee.


Jim Rankin Tomb Stone

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