Tag Archives: Dante’s Inferno

Roane County’s Ugliest Man

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

The person who was given that title was Wesley M. Featherly. In Walter Pulliam’s, “Harriman, Tennessee, The Town That Temperance Built,” the late Judge Elmer Eblen was quoted as saying Featherly “was not exactly the handsomest person you ever saw. Matter of fact, some thought he was the ugliest man they ever saw.” Originally from Michigan, he came to Harriman from Florida and purchased what became “The Harriman Record” newspaper in 1900. He ran the newspaper until 1919 when he moved to California. In 1923, he appeared as the King’s Chancellor in the movie Robin Hood with Douglas Fairbanks and also appeared in about a dozen other movies. It is said that he capitalized on his ugliness to get his roles in Hollywood. In 1923, he was severely injured while playing the role of a traveling salesman in the film version of Dante’s Inferno. He never fully recovered from his injury and died in 1925.

Originally written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, March 2015.