Tag Archives: The Roane County Heritage Commission

First Official Roane County Historian

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

Marilyn McCluen, age 98, passed away on August 8, 2016. She was appointed the first official Roane County Historian in 1969 when the Tennessee State Legislature authorized counties to appoint county historians. In 1965, she, along with Mrs. Willis Hutcherson, began organizing the County’s loose papers, books, and all kinds of records dating back to 1801, the date Roane County was established. These records had been stored for decades in the attic of the Old Roane County Courthouse and were scattered among dead birds and whiskey bottles. She was involved at the beginning of The Roane County Historical Society and with others was involved in the saving of the Old Courthouse which had been slated to be torn down in 1974. This led to the creation of “The Roane County Heritage Commission” which was given the responsibility of preserving one of the seven antebellum courthouses still standing in Tennessee. Among many other things, she was also involved in the first historical sites survey in Roane County. Roane County was very fortunate to have had Marilyn as she worked tirelessly to help preserve Roane County’s history. Her legacy of work will ensure that future generations will know about their history.

Marilyn McCluen Center

Originally written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, October 2016.

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.