Comments by utmargarita

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Written on Life at Summit Towers :

Great writing and great photographs, too!

Written on What's 'Historic'—And Who Says? Nine Practical Reasons To Save Old Buildings:

Thanks, Jack. This wonderful story really explains the dollars-and-cents value of preserving old structures.

Written on The Too-Logical Result of Our Property-Rights Totems:

in response to JPZiller:

There is already a park nearby that commemorates Farragut. What is the significance of an engraved rock bought by a private organization and dedicated by a man who many in Knox County, when asked, would not know or would confuse with the creator of the library cataloging system? If this one rock really matters, get together and make another marker, put it in the county park, and let the inscription give the exact location of the Admiral's birthplace relative to the rock's position. Or just lie and say that the new position is the birthplace.

The truth of the matter is that "the park that commemorates Farragut" wraps around the cove and surrounds the land where the "rock" was. That park's boundary is only about 25 feet away from where the monument was. This "rock," by the way, was actually a carved monument that stood about 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide, and was made of Tennessee pink marble mined at the Bond Quarry on nearby Keller Bend. For the past year Knox County has made various offers to preserve the monument, and even offered to move it over about 25 feet so that it would be within the boundaries of the existing park, but the owner of the private property said no. She did not want it anywhere close to her land. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that she was tired of the hassle and didn't want trespassers. Trouble is, the section of Farragut park immediately next to where the monument stood is public land, so folks who might like to stroll down the beautiful, tree-lined path along the water's edge--which was the old Lowe's Ferry Pike--are not trespassers. True, the old road had been closed off to the public for a few years in order to prevent fishermen from putting their boats in at an old ramp that was no longer safe. There seems to be some confusion that this section will remain closed, but it CAN'T... unless Knox County wants to violate a federal deed restriction. The closure of this section of Farragut Park has been justified for the short term, because there was also concern about keeping folks from further trampling any important archaeology artifacts that were close to the monument. But now that the monument is no longer there, the county, by federal law, is going to have to open up the old road and make it available again for public recreation or else risk some legal troubles. With or without the old monument being there, the path to Farragut's birthplace will still be public once again soon. But I like your idea of creating a new monument there! It could be placed just a few feet away from where the old one was. If the original ever shows up again, it could be put on in the East Tennessee History Center or wherever its rightful owners--the Bonny Kate Chapter of the DAR--want to display it.

Written on Investigating the Drugs-Related Death of Henry Granju:

The question I think we need to be asking is what's wrong with a system that fills our jails with drug users but doesn't go after the drug peddlers?

To me, justice for Henry will be achieved if Knox County law enforcement shuts down the pipeline of opiates that are getting into the hands of our young people. They could start by more aggressively prosecuting the adult addicts and career criminals who are selling these drugs to teens.

This article quotes Katie Granju as saying that more teens and young adults are now dying of drug overdoses than in car wrecks... I don't doubt that. I'd like to see the actual numbers and age breakdown of those in Knox County who have died of accidental opiate overdose in the past few years--I have looked for it on the Knox County Health Dept website and on the Knox County Sheriff's office website, without success.

I personally know of five people between the ages of 18 and 23 who recently died of unintended opiate overdose. And I know of one Webb grad and two recent Powell grads who are currently in rehab and taking Methadone--they are not out of the woods yet.

I have never been in jail, never been addicted, and don't hang out with criminals, so if this many drug overdose deaths have touched my life in the past 5 years I have to believe that the addiction epidemic is an even bigger problem than most of us imagine, and that Henry was just one more unfortunate victim.

Opiate addiction affects people in all areas of town, but I can only speak for people I know who have kids at West, Bearden High, Farragut High, Catholic, Karnes High, Powell High, Halls, CAK, Episcopal School, Webb, and Hardin Valley. They tell me that a shocklingly large number of kids at these schools are buying and using opiates. They buy them from each other in small quantities, but the real source is a network of pushers who prey on kids from "rich families."

We're talking about average kids who at age 13-17 are naive, or willing to try something because it seems cool, or think that they are bullet-proof because it's the nature of immature minds to think that way. The problem is, opiates on the market today are highly addictive, so kids who start out dumbly "experimenting" are quickly turned into junkies.

The system to deal with drugs IS NOT WORKING, and the result is what happened to Henry.

Written on Maritime Gone By:

Great stuff, Jack! I went to the unveiling of the new Farragut statue but didn't notice that one of the inscriptions said Jorge/George Farragut moved to the Knoxville area in 1792-- I think he actually arrived a couple of years before that. He was commissioned a Major of Cavalry by Governor William Blount on November 3, 1790. I found some really interesting information about his pre-Knoxville years in this volume:

This is the most amazing bit: In June, 1786, Jorge Farragut was living in Edisto, South Carolina, and was visited by a friend named Thomas Powell..."Farragut revealed the conspiracy in which he was already associated. A number of gentlemen of property and military talent in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia had subscribed a hundred thousand pounds sterling to purchase uniforms and ammunition in Europe for equipping five thousand men. They were to infiltrate the Spanish settlements under the pretext of colonizing and ultimately combine with a force from Kentucky to overthrow Spanish rule. This whole process might take several years to accomplish, of course."

Jorge Farragut was quite a significant person in his own right, but I have to wonder if his "foreign-ness" is the reason he doesn't appear more often in the history books alongside Sevier, Blount, McClung, and Ramsey.

The more I read about Jorge Farragut, the more it becomes obvious he was a trusted friend to this area's earliest leaders and was considered highly valuable partly because he was bilingual. This is from the James Winchester papers (
"The other aspect of the War well represented is that of intelligence activities on the Gulf Coast by agents James L. Armstrong, George Farragut, Capt. S.H. Garrard, Lt. P.H. Hobart, Maj. I.P. Kennedy, Benjamin Lanier, Capt. M. McKinsey, Thomas Powell, John Pritchard, and Maj. Russell. The reports of these men concern British troop and naval movements in the vicinities of Mobile, New Orleans, Pascagoula, Pensacola, and Savannah."

Most accounts say Farragut left Knox County to take a position as a sailing master in the New Orleans area because he "longed for the sea." I doubt that was his real motive. He was appointed to the sailing position by Governor Claiborn of the Louisiana Territory, and he remained in close contact with Claiborn during the time when the U.S. took possession of Spanish land on the northern gulf coast.

"1811, January 25, George Farragut was appointed Justice of the Peace for the area at the mouth of the Pascagoula River." Quote from Dr. Wm. Flood’s letter to Gov. Claiborne: “Finding no persons able to read or write, in and around Pascagoula, and the inhabitants expressing great confidence in, and attachment for Geo. Farragut,**** (sailing master U.S. N.) I prevailed on him to accept for the time being, the commission of Justice for the parish of Pascagoula."

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