Tag Archives: Register of Deeds

Is the Old Roane County Courthouse Haunted?

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

We may never know if the building is indeed haunted, but several people employed in the Old Roane County Courthouse have reported unusual activities. The first part of the courthouse was built between 1853 and 1855, and the East side of the building was added in 1938. Apparently, the 2nd floor of the addition is the most popular place for our ghosts. The ground floor vault of the addition was used for the Register of Deeds to store valuable Roane County documents, photographs, and other historical artifacts. The vault contains documents which date back to the year our county was created in 1801, and thousands of photographs of Roane County, including the T.C. Farnham collection. When in the vault (usually by yourself), there is a noise that comes from the second floor that sounds like a marble dropping and rolling on the floor. Though Jere Hall, Darleen Trent, Jamey McLoughlin, and I have likely spent the most time in the building, several others besides us have also heard the noise. Each time the marble drops the second floor is empty. If the ghosts are playing marbles on the second floor, they have not invited humans to play. One report of a banging noise coming from the second floor could be heard from the back of the hallway of the first floor. The banging would migrate to the third floor when witnesses said the banging moved to the third floor. Another report of loud noises coming from the second floor and the ceiling of the first floor could be heard while sitting in the library at the desk on the other side of the building. The noises would come and go, though the addition’s concrete, steel, and tiles, though there was nothing corporeal on that side of the building, nothing that could make that noise. The sounds started about the time Darleen Trent’s brother, Butch, died. Darleen and her sister Mary believed that it was Butch making those noises, probably letting Darleen know he was o.k. since they were very close. Then as sudden as the noises started, they quit and haven’t been heard since. While most report hearing noises, there have been a couple of visual sightings in our building. One involved seeing a lady walking down the hall in a long white dress. Another involved seeing an older man who appeared to check the doors to make sure they were locked. If there are ghosts in the Old Roane County Courthouse, they are friendly and have never caused harm. Ghost-Hunters have been allowed once in the building. See their video at YouTube.com.

Originally written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, October 2018.

Which County Official Had 18 Children

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

May is the month in which mothers are honored on the second Sunday. Although it would require much research to find the mother in Roane County who had the most children, there is one who definitely would be up there, and that was Clara Fulks, who also happened to have been a county official. Mrs. Clara Fulks, the Roane County Circuit Court Clerk from 1947 to 1962, had 18 children, 15 who lived to adulthood. There were nine boys and nine girls in all. Her husband, Josh Fulks had been the Circuit Court clerk from 1930 to 1947 when he passed away. Among her children, Madge (Maggie) Fulks Sneed served from 1962 to 1966 as the Roane County Circuit Court clerk like her parents. Maggie was also Register of Deeds from 1972 to 1982. Josh and Clara’s last surviving child, Betty Lou Fulks Jenkins, passed away on July 4, 2011. Clara died on Nov 19, 1974, at the age of 80 years. At that time all fifteen of her adult children were living. She also had at that time, 31 grandchildren. Both she and her husband are buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Rockwood.

In the photo which is from 1955, Clara Fulks is the third from the left in the second row. Her daughter Edith Sitzler is next to her. Her daughter, Maggie Sneed is in the first row the first from the left.

Originally written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, May 2017.

Women’s History Month

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

Women’s History Month, recognized in March, is to honor those ladies who have made great contributions to our history. In the 1800s and early 1900s, all of the Roane County officials were male. The first female to hold an elected office was Dora C. Blye who became the Register of Deeds in 1922. Next was Mrs. Pearl Billings who became the trustee in 1945. Clara (Mrs. Josh) Fulks became the Circuit/Criminal Clerk in 1947. Mrs. Aetna Davis became the Election Registrar in 1950. Betty Till was first Property Assessor in 1976. The first female Clerk and Master were Marietta Roberts who started in 1977. Miss Lucy Smith was appointed Roane County school superintendent in 1891. Among the cities, Ruby Luckey became the first female mayor when she became mayor of Kingston in the 1980s. The first female county commissioner was Una Coffman who was elected in 1990 and retired in 2006. She was the Chairman of the County Commission from 1996 to her retirement. She has also officiated 506 marriages to this date. Since then Nadine Jackson and Carolyn Granger have served on the commission. We are so fortunate to have so many women pioneers who have served and continue to serve Roane County. “Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure. You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, imaginatively; unless you can choose a challenge instead of competence.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Originally Written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, April 2014.