published Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Family ties: Scopes Trial Festival to record memories

The 25th annual Scope's Trial Play and Festival scheduled for Friday and Saturday will be held in this historic courtroom on the second floor of the Rhea County Courthouse.
The 25th annual Scope's Trial Play and Festival scheduled for Friday and Saturday will be held in this historic courtroom on the second floor of the Rhea County Courthouse.
Photo by Tim Barber.

For more on the Scopes Festival, see ChattanoogaNow, Page 18.

IF YOU GO

* What: Scopes Trial Festival

* When: 4 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday

* Where: Rhea County Courthouse, 1475 Market St., Dayton, Tenn.

* Admission: Plays $10; other activities free

* Phone: 423-775-9847

* Website: scopesfestival.com

SCHEDULE

Friday

4 p.m. Music and other entertainment begins

4-6 p.m. Bus tours

5 p.m. "And on the Eighth Day"

8 p.m. "Front Page News"

Saturday

10 a.m. "The History Within Us," plus music and other entertainment

11 a.m.-3 p.m. Bus tours

Noon. "And on the Eighth Day"

1:30 p.m. Norman and Nancy Blake perform

3 p.m. "Front Page News"

5 p.m. "And on the Eighth Day"

8 p.m. "Front Page News"

The oral history program that opens Saturday's portion of the Scopes Festival will feature several Rhea County residents with ties to the 1925 trial. "The History Within Us" will begin at 10 a.m. in the General Sessions Courtroom on the first floor of the Rhea County Courthouse.

"Family stories are a wonderful way to keep alive firsthand accounts of the trial," said Rebecca Tucker, coordinator of the event.

The free session is set up so that descendants of those directly involved with the trial will participate in a question-and-answer session, with younger family members engaging them in conversation about their ancestors' stories.

The festival committee will film the event. Entry will be possible after each family segment. A printed schedule and an usher at the door will assist festival guests moving into or out of the courtroom.

PARTICIPANTS

Chancellor Jeffery Stewart: He is the grandson of Tom Stewart, the district attorney who brought legal charges against John T. Scopes. Stewart works in the same courthouse where his grandfather prosecuted Scopes for breaking the law by teaching evolution at Rhea Central High School. "I have some of my grandfather's original documents from the trial," Stewart said.

Judge James McKenzie: The grandfather and uncle of the Rhea County General Sessions Court jurist were members of the prosecution team. He will recount stories to daughter Brittany West and granddaughter Ally West.

Rhea County historian Pat Guffey: Her great-grandfather, Dr. Walter Thomison, attended William Jennings Bryan on the day he died in Dayton. Guffey has her great-aunt's letters from a continuing friendship with a reporter sent to Dayton to cover the trial.

Donna Taylor: The Rhea county native learned about Dayton in the 1920s from her mother, a longtime spokeswoman for those seeking trial information. She will pass along stories to her grandson.

Cecil Smith: His grandfather served as a member of the all-male jury of 1925. The Spring City resident will share family stories with his daughter.

Judy Barth: The Bryan College graduate will tell stories about her grandfather's experiences as a law student of John R. Neal, defense attorney during the trial.

Anna Tromanhauser: Barth's daughter will focus on her mother's meeting with Neal and visiting in his Rhea County home.

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