Bob Jarnagin Receives Historic Preservation Recognition Award


MDW Treasurer Wendy Randolph presented a certificate and lapel pin to Jefferson County Historian Bob Jarnagin who was awarded the NSDAR Historic Preservation Recognition Award.

Robert “Bob” Jarnagin in his role as Jefferson County Historian and Dandridge Archivist is often referred to as a “treasure” because of his extensive knowledge of the history of the county and his eagerness to share that history through fascinating presentations for civic and educational groups, lively narrations on walking tours, and tireless research to promote preservation of historic sites. On June 12, he was presented with the Historic Preservation Recognition Award from the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR).

Jarnagin was given the honor as the result of being nominated and having that nomination supported by documents prepared and submitted by Martha Dandridge Washington (MDW) Chapter, NSDAR, Treasurer Wendy Randolph as her Capstone Project for the DAR New Horizons Course. Letters of recommendation, reports of achievements, and five photographs made up an impressive portfolio. National Vice Chair of the NSDAR Historic Preservation Committee Sally Patterson complimented his dedication to uncovering history and preserving historic buildings in downtown Dandridge. She wrote that it seemed to her “that he has had a deep love of history for most of his life, given how he restored an overgrown cemetery at the age of 16. I wish more young people would feel that desire, as it is hard work for those of us who may still be 16 at heart, but not in our knees and back!”

The award gives national recognition to Jarnagin’s indefatigable effort to bring the history of Jefferson County and the State of Tennessee to light and preserve it for future generations. Jarnagin himself is a seventh generation Jefferson County resident, so his roots run very deep in East Tennessee soil.

True to his goal of making local history known, Jarnagin’s program at the MDW meeting was titled, “How Do You Lose a State? Facts and Legends from the State of Franklin,” which chronicled the many incarnations of the State of Franklin that encompassed eight counties in East Tennessee circa 1786. At that time what is now Jefferson and Hamblen counties was Caswell County.

Called the “Lost State of Franklin,” the region declared independence from North Carolina in 1784. In 1785 when a delegation petitioned Congress to become the 14th state in the Union, the petition failed by two votes. Within four more years, the territory had rejoined North Carolina and the State of Franklin was “lost.” In 1796, when Tennessee became the 16th state in the Union, the territory that had been the former State of Franklin made up a large portion of the area now known as East Tennessee.

The MDW Chapter members were fascinated by Jarnagin’s presentation, and when his award was announced and he was given a certificate and lapel pin, the audience gave him a standing ovation.

MDW Regent Jane Chambers (U.S. Army), First Vice Regent Janet Guyett (U.S. Navy) and MDW Member Becky Anderson (U.S. Army) received roses from DAR Service for Veterans Chairman Carolyn Mitchell for Women’s Veterans Day, June 12.

A second presentation was also made at the monthly meeting. Acknowledging June 12 as Women’s Veterans Day, DAR Service for Veterans and Commemorative Events Committee Chairman Carolyn Mitchell presented Regent Jane Chambers (U.S. Army), Janet Guyett (U.S. Navy), and Becky Anderson (U.S. Army) with a bouquet of red roses and white Peruvian Lilies.

On June 4, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee proclaimed June 12, 2021, to be Women’s Veterans Day. The third reason to honor our women veterans states that “women have also served honorably and with valor, specifically from the time of the American Revolutionary War, the Civil War, both World Wars, the Vietnam and Korean Wars and in more modern times Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and through this year are still participating in current worldwide conflicts.” Governor Lee noted that currently there are more than 40,000 women veterans in the State of Tennessee.

For information about the DAR, contact Registrar Karen McFarland at (865) 258-8670 or Regent Jane Chambers at (865) 591-3857.

Submitted by Jane Busdeker, Corresponding Secretary, MDW Chapter, NSDAR