Tag Archives: The Harriman Record

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.

Burt’s Hair Reviver

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

There are two bottles in the collection of The Roane County Heritage Commission that are embossed “Burt’s Hair Reviver, Harriman, Tenn.” An advertisement in the Harriman Industrial Supplement of “The Harriman Record” in 1902, states that the product “Invigorates the Hair, Restores its Natural Color, Cures Dandruff, Prevents Falling Out, Cures Eczema and all diseases of the scalp.” On the box, it also says that it “contains no poison, not a dye” and “the only non-poisonous, clean, healthy preparation for restoring Gray or Faded Hair to its life-like original color and beauty and promoting the growth of young hair.” The product was sold by Friend H. (F.H.) Burt who had come to Harriman from West Virginia before 1900. He was born in New York, and the 1900 Roane Census lists him as a real estate agent living on Cumberland Street. Like most products of those days, it probably contained alcohol. It is interesting to note that about 10 years earlier, Emma Burt, the wife of F.H. Burt, sent letters to the saloons in stating that they are “not to sell, give, furnish or procure for my said husband, who is a habitual drunkard, any intoxicating liquors, whether spirituous, vinous, malt or mixed liquor or liquors.” So, did F.H. Burt stop drinking or did he find a different way to get alcohol by drinking his hair reviver?

Burt’s Hair Reviver, Harriman, Tenn, U.S.A.

Originally Written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, February 2015.