State birthday celebration kicks off in Jonesborough

The Oak Ridge Boys sing the National Anthem prior to an event on Jonesborough’s Main Street last Tuesday night. The event was held to kickoff the celebration of Tennessee’s 225th birthday. Photos by Dave Ongie

By Dave Ongie, News Editor

A father and his daughter wave to Gov. Bill Lee as he makes his way to the stage in front of Jonesborough’s historic courthouse.

Gov. Bill Lee was in Jonesborough last Tuesday evening along with U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, the Oak Ridge Boys and other dignitaries to launch the yearlong celebration of Tennessee’s 225thbirthday. 

A large crowd gathered on Main Street of Tennessee’s oldest town to hear Lee speak and to see Deed Book A returned to its home in Washington County. Deed Book A was sent to Nashville in 1897 by Washington County officials to be included in the state’s centennial celebration. The book includes pages of valuable history that starts with an agreement between early white settlers in our region and the Cherokee Indians. 

Earlier this year, county officials and a local delegation of state lawmakers were able to successfully lobby for its return. On Tuesday, Hargettand Lee presented the book to Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy, who promised not to charge any late fees.

Lee focused on the rich history of Tennessee during his speech to those who filled Jonesborough’s Main Street. He talked about the theme of the yearlong celebration – Untold Tennessee – and his hopes that folks around the state will spend the next year showcasing the stories of hard-working Tennesseans down through history who have made Tennessee what it is today.

It seemed fitting for the celebration to start in Jonesborough, and not just because it is the oldest town in the state. Jonesborough is also famous for storytelling, and if you want an untold story told right, there’s no better place to go.

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett (left) and Gov. Bill Lee (right) return Deed Book A to Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy.

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