published Saturday, May 28th, 2011

New Bledsoe pictorial history book expands on first


Pre-order a copy of “Bledsoe County, Tennessee, A Pictorial History, Volume II” by mailing a check or money order to the Bledsoe County Historical and Genealogical Society at P.O. Box 963, Pikeville, TN 37367. Or stop by the Dr. Ross House at 222 Frazier St., behind the courthouse, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. CDT seven days a week. The price will increase after the book is released in June.

If a photograph is worth 1,000 words, the second volume of a pictorial history of Bledsoe County could be worth millions.

Three years in the making, the Bledsoe County Historical and Genealogical Society’s “Bledsoe County, Tennessee, A Pictorial History, Volume II,” a collection of thousands of historic photos from the county’s past, will be released in June, society member Joan Patton said.

“The second book just flowed from the first,” Patton said. There were countless photos left over from the first volume’s printing, and that was just a start, she said.

Since 2007, current Bledsoe residents, former residents, family members and friends have contributed boxes of photos, making this book almost one-fourth larger than its predecessor, Patton said.

“We were very lucky in the people that we had that did the bulk of the work on it,” she said. “I’m a graduate librarian, and Carolyn Knight is the county librarian. The library here has a really excellent genealogy and local history collection.”

The people who brought the pictures didn’t always know who was pictured, so society members had to verify or find information about the people and places in the photos, she said.

“We did a lot more research on what went into the book this time than we did last time,” Patton said. “I think people will find that the book is pretty accurate.”

The first volume, “Bledsoe County, Tennessee, A Pictorial History,” did well enough that society officials had it reprinted a few times to meet demand. The society has been working on the second volume since 2007.

The second volume adds to the first’s 1,400 photos, and society members have collected thousands more to choose from, said Norma Jean Hobbs, who helped place the photos on pages for the printer after other society members sorted through them to create sections.

“There are 467 pages of pictures,” Hobbs said, “and, including the index, there’s 510 pages.”

The photos came from all over Bledsoe, surrounding counties and from people in states nationwide, officials said.

Hobbs said that as the collection of donated photos grew, officials decided to add sections, such as one for “Bledsoe’s beauties” and photographs from weddings. The research was tedious but rewarding, she said.

“It was just hard work, countless hours,” she said. “I think it’s going to be a great book. It’ll be, I think, as good as the first one, or better.”

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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