Today in Johnson City History: May 7 | Alive
May 7, 1922: A century ago today, The Sunday Chronicle informed readers of a tragedy that had happened the day before. “Committed to marriage and happy that the next day he would be wheeled by her side, William G. Byrd, lineman for the Tennessee Eastern Electric Company (sic), was hurled into eternity yesterday , while completing his last task in Johnson City, being killed instantly when he accidentally clamped a high voltage wire. Death occurred hours after he was due to catch the train to Maryville where he was to to marry today. Instead, the same train carried her fiancé the lifeless clay of the one who was to be her husband.
“William Byrd performed his task yesterday morning with willing hands and a light heart. He had just informed the executives of the Tennessee Eastern Electric Company that he had obtained a job in Maryville, in an aluminum company and that he would finish his work here on Saturday afternoon and return to his old home.
“He was a young man of twenty-five, and he readily confessed to his work companions that he received a letter from his fiancée every day; that they had to get married “immediately,” and that his return home—his and hers—after the end of the working day, was that the wedding could take place. The position which he had obtained there, so to speak, was that which he had occupied before, and there he and his wife were to establish themselves.
“His job here yesterday morning, the last day he was hooked up with the local business before he started claiming his fiancée and starting his new job, was running a wire from the ‘lead’ wire over the poles, in a building theatre. He was on the pole, the job was almost done. His foot touched a thick wire, as he clutched a telephone cable overhead – that invisible flash of a pent-up thunderbolt snapped the thread of his life in the blink of an eye, his soul rushed to the shores of eternity, to wait through the years those who then awaited her, and only the silent clay in the form of this morning’s bridegroom, made the journey home – and home .
“The accident happened at the rear of the Liberty Theater building between Roan Street (sic) and the railway tracks while Byrd and Sam Johnson were running a cable through the theater to run a motor.”
“Byrd had climbed the pole with the steel clinchers used by linemen attached to his legs, and it is said that with one leg thrown over the crossbeam he caught a telephone cable running just above the pole, but not attached to it, and at the same time touched one of the 2300 volt lead wires with his foot, completing the circuit, since the telephone cable is grounded with holding wires.
“The metal climber on his foot is believed to have touched the high voltage wire. He was brought to the ground by other linemen, who scaled the pole and lowered the body with ropes, after power was cut at the power station.
“Witnesses say that after receiving the shock, Byrd held on arm crossed with his legs until he was lowered, which took about four or five minutes. Ambulances arrived at the scene quickly and the pulmotor was applied, to no effect.Drs. Randall, Wallace and Matthews arrived within moments and Byrd was pronounced dead.
“The body was picked up by local undertakers and shipped to Maryville on the #25 South train yesterday afternoon.”
The Sunday Chronicle was published as the Johnson City Chronicle on other weekdays.
May 7, 1947: Seventy-five years ago today, the Johnson City Press-Chronicle reported: “Plans for the Jersey Heifer Show to be held here June 20 will be discussed at a meeting of the agricultural committee and Jersey stockmen of the upstate region, scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday at the Chamber of Commerce office at the Johnson (sic) Sevier Hotel, RR Jackson, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, announced yesterday.
“More than 50 animals from some of the best Jersey herds in the state will be on display, a spokesperson said.”
“The show was originally scheduled for Chattanooga, but due to the buying power of that end of the state, it was changed to Johnson City.”
May 7, 1956: The Johnson City Press-Chronicle aimed to start its readers’ day with a laugh. Under “Today’s Chuckle”, readers read: “Young steno to boss: ‘Well, if you can’t give me a raise, why not give me the same pay more often?’ »
May 7, 1961: In masthead headlines, the Johnson City Press-Chronicle reminded readers: “Municipal election set for Tuesday; Your vote counts.
May 7, 1972: Fifty years ago today, in an article with an Elizabethton deadline, the Johnson City Press-Chronicle informed readers that “A variety of spring wildflowers must bloom and be ready for the county wildflower tour of Carter on Friday and Saturday”.
“The Carter County Chamber of Commerce urges that reservations for the Traditional Dinner at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the American Legion Building be made without delay. The deadline for accepting reservations is Thursday at 5 p.m. .
“Ralph Steadman and William H. Wallace, Kingsport, will present a selection of color slides at the dinner.”
“Participants on the Saturday morning tour of Roan Mountain Forests near the Twin-Springs Recreation Area are asked to meet at the Lynnwood Hotel on Elk Avenue at 8 a.m.”
May 7, 1997: Twenty-five years ago today, the Johnson City Press reported news with a Deadline from Elizabethton. “A book sale scheduled for today at Sycamore Shoals Hospital has been postponed.”
“According to a hospital announcement, a truck transporting the books to Elizabethton had an accident.”
“The sale will be postponed to a later date.”