Today in Milligan History (9/10)

Today in Milligan History

an ongoing project of Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society

Good day, Milligan!

Proverbs 10:13 – Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning, but a rod is for the back of one who has no sense.

This is Tuesday, September 10, 2013, and today in Milligan history . . . 


1785    The first authentic document attesting to the presence of Sinking Creek Baptist Church (Elizabethton Highway, Johnson City) is dated September 10, 1785. It is a letter of recommendation on behalf of “our beloved sister Agnes Tolbot, this time a member in full fellowship with us . . . .” On the basis of this document and other anecdotal evidence, Sinking Creek Baptist holds claim to being the oldest church in Carter County. Mildred Kozsuch, Historical Reminiscences of Carter County, Tennessee (Johnson City, TN:  The Overmountain Press, 1985), pp. 55-56.


1956    Students went to their first classes in Milligan College’s seventy-sixth year. At 375, the enrollment was substantially higher than the 1955-56 school year figure of 306 because of the opening of the new Sutton Hall. Milligan’s 1956-57 students haled from fifteen states, led by Tennessee, followed by Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Meeting classes for the first time were professors Beauford H. Bryant  (at Milligan 1956-1973), Bible; Quentin Gobble, biology; Charlotte Glickfield, English; Nathan Hale (1952), physical education; Betty Jean Lawson, music; Cyril C. Simkins, psychology; and Hughes Thompson (at Milligan 1927-1967), chemistry, returning after an absence. The Stampede, September 21, 1956, p. 3; Mill-Agenda, Vol. 6, No. 3, July-August, 1956; Mill-Agenda, Vol. 6, No. 4, September-October 1956.


1960    Marshall Hayden (1963) set out on his bicycle from Cincinnati, OH, to return to classes at Milligan for his sophomore year. The Stampede September 30, 1960


1964    An expected 185 freshmen, the vanguard of the Class of 1968, began arriving on campus for Freshman Week. Vice President of the Student Council Jim Young (1966) was responsible for introducing the fish to college life.  Also new on the Milligan College campus as faculty members were Dr. William Gwaltney, Old Testament and history; Dr. Cameron Sinclair, Old Testament and Hebrew; Dr. Robert Botkin, Bible and philosophy; Dr. John McConnell, biology; and Dr. Samuel Thompson, government and law. The Stampede, July 17, [1964]


1983    Milligan College music area secretary Rita Myers got married on her birthday! Rita and Lynn exchanged vows at Cedar Grove Baptist Church in Johnson City.


1985    Milligan College Executive Vice President and Special Counsel Shelburne Ferguson wrote John W. Neth to “work out the details of transferring the cemetery back to the Association.”  The cemetery in question is the one that lies behind the Baker Faculty Office Center.  Letter in the archives of Welshimer Memorial Library, folder labeled “Milligan Cemetery (Williams Cemetery)”


2009    Bible and Humanities professor Lee Blackburn (2000, ΦΑΘ, Milligan since 2008) successfully defended his thesis at Notre Dame University.


Birthdays:  In 1907 King Kong’s girlfriend Fay Wray in Alberta, Canada . . . in 1929 golfer Arnold Palmer in Latrobe, PA . . . in 1934 newscaster Charles Kuralt in Wilmington, NC . . . Milligan College faculty wife Jane-Anne Thomas in Washington, DC . . . Music Area Secretary Rita Myers (see above) . . . in 1993 Milligan sophomore Stephanie Jane Wernimont in Oshkosh, Wisconsin . . . and in 1994 sophomore Deshon Jalen Bridwell in Kingsport, TN.


Elsewhere . . .

In 1718 the Collegiate School in New Haven, CT, became Yale University.

In 1794 Blount College — the first American nondenominational institution of higher learning — was established in Knoxville, TN. Named for Tennessee’s first territorial governor William Blount (for whom Blountville, TN, is also named) it later became the University of Tennessee.

In 1846 Elias Howe patented the sewing machine.

In 1955 Gunsmoke premiered on CBS-TV.


Do you know something that happened on this day in Milligan history?  Is this the birthday of a Milligan personality?  The anniversary of a Milligan event?  If so, send it to Phi Alpha Theta at