Today in Milligan History (12/4)

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Today in Milligan History

an ongoing project of Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society

Good day, Milligan!

Proverbs 4:11-12 – “I [Wisdom] instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.”

This is Tuesday, December 4, 2012,  and on this day in Milligan history . . .

1820    Elihu Embry died. Embry was the Jonesboro, TN, Quaker editor and publisher in 1819 of the Manumission Intelligencer, which he later re-named The Emancipator. This was the first newspaper in the United States devoted to the abolition of slavery. The journal had 1,800 paid subscribers when Embry died. Upon Embry’s death Benjamin Lundy took over the paper and published it under the title The Genius of Universal Emancipation in Greeneville from 1822 to 1824. Ray Stahl, Greater Johnson City: A Pictorial History (Norfolk/Virginia Beach: The Donning Company, 1983), p. 27; and

1794    Evan Shelby died and was subsequently buried in East Hill Cemetery, Bristol, TN.  Born in Wales, Shelby served in the British army, and then as colonel of the militia of newly-created Washington, NC (now East Tennessee) As such he led an expedition against the Chickamauga Indian towns on the lower Tennessee River. He was one of the military leaders, along with John Sevier, who led the fight against British Colonel Patrick Ferguson at Kings Mountain, SC. He was a North Carolina State Senator and Brigadier General of the North Carolina Militia. In March 1787, North Carolina Commissioner Evan Shelby negotiated a temporary truce with Col. John Sevier, governor of the short-lived State of Franklin. Shelby himself was elected governor of Franklin in 1787, but declined to serve. Cathy Tudor Forester, ed., Tennessee Historical Markers Erected by the Tennessee Historical Commission, eighth edition (Nashville? 1996, p. 101.

1956    Milligan basketball was victorious over Union College in an away game, 83-79. From B. Harold Stout, A History of Intercollegiate Athletics at Milligan College, 1887-1973 , Master’s Thesis, 1974; submitted by ΦAΘ Craig Emmert (2005).

1983    Throughout December Milligan College students could drive out to see the emptied Watauga Reservoir, which had been drained so that the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) could do repair work to the dam that had held back the Watauga River since 1947. Of particular interest was that on the bottom of the dried reservoir bed lay the abandoned town of Butler, TN, which had been completely covered over by the rising waters. Gawkers could still see, after 35 years of submersion, complete buildings, highway bridges, and creek beds.

2006    Professors Richard Major (1978; Milligan since 1985) and Rick Simerly (Milligan since 2001) received official notification that Milligan College’s recent original musical, The Gospel According to Jazz, was to perform at the 39th annual Regional Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Americus, Ga., on Feb. 10.

Birthdays: In 1795 Thomas Carlyle in Ecclefechan, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland . . . in 1866 Vassily Kandinsky in Moscow, Russia . . . in 1875 Rainer Maria Rilke in Prague, Czech Republic . . . and in 1990 Milligan College senior Bradley Ryan Hughes.


In 1674 Jesuit missionary explorer Jacques Marquette established a mission on the shores of Lake Michigan, the beginning of a community that would grow to become Chicago, IL.

In 1809 The International Bible Society was founded in New York City.

In 1958 Dahomey (Benin) and Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) became autonomous.

In 1985 Les Misérables opened at the Palace Theatre in London, England.

In 1990, in the midst of the Persian Gulf crisis, gasoline prices in the United States climbed to as high as $1.60/gallon.

Do you know of a nugget of Milligan College’s history and heritage that has not yet appeared here? Does a friend have a birthday or anniversary? Drop a note to