JGS Hall of Fame

Inductees into the Jonesborough Genealogical Society’s Hall of Fame have gone above and beyond in their contributions in the preservation and research of the historical documents of Jonesborough and Washington County.

 Mary Hardin McCown (22 April 1891- November 1985)



 Charles Marion Bennett(3 December 1896-11 October 1974)
 Anne Elizabeth Cosgrove Shaw (2 July 1921-4 November 2012)
 Loraine Bennett Rae (6 April 1930- 4 July 2011) published in 1971, The Washington County, Tennessee Tombstone Inscriptions which her father, Charles Marion Bennett, is widely known for this publication. This publication remains the basis of cemetery records of Washington County. Loraine Bennett Rae was one of the founding officers of the Jonesborough Genealogical Society serving as editor of the JGS newsletter, The Jonesborough Record.
 Mildred S. Kozsuch (1928- June 8, 2017) served as Washington County historian. She has worked to develop an outstanding genealogical and historical research center at the Washington County- Jonesborough Library, and helped visitors with their genealogical research at the library. She is a member of the Washington County Historical Association having served as President.
  Rosa Russell
   Bess Caraway Twaddle (18 January 1920 – 6 January 2013)
   Elaine Scott Cantrell (May 20, 1928 – September 18, 2021) is a very knowledgeable historian as well as genealogist in the Washington County community. She serves as a founding member and supporter of both the Washington County, Tennessee Obituary Project and the Cemetery Survey Team of   Northeast Tennessee. She has extensive volumes of work on several of the area families as well as the history of the area, among these are a 24 volume set of pictures of historic Washington County, Tennessee. She, also, has done extensive work on Oak Hill Cemetery. Mary Hardin McCown, former Johnson City historian, wrote in the minutes of Oak Hill Cemetery that “Only the Lord knew how many unmarked graves are in Oak Hill Cemetery.” Elaine makes it her mission to find each and every grave. She is a member of the Washington County Historical Association, Watauga Association of Genealogists, Friends of the Washington County, Tennessee Archives and the Jonesborough Genealogical Society.
  Jan Teinert is a very knowledgeable historian and genealogist in the Boones Creek area of Washington County. She has done extensive research into the Bean Family, including William Bean, the first permanent white settler in Tennessee, and his cabin and fort. She, also, has researched several other families in the Washington County area. She is a strong supporter and the first secretary and genealogical service chairman of the Jonesborough Genealogical Society, as one of the founding members in 1990 and to this day she has been an advocate of the importance of the JGS and Washington County- Jonesborough Library’s Historical and Genealogical Section. She is a member of the Boones Creek Historical Trust, Washington County Historical Association, Watauga Association of Genealogists, Garden Club of Jonesborough, and Woman’s Club of Johnson City.
  Julia Loyd (February 6, 1927 – April 9, 2018) is a very knowledgeable historian as well as genealogist in the Washington County community. She served as a trustee of the Washington County Historical Association until 2012. Julia is a very active member of the Jonesborough Genealogical Society, working along side other Hall of Fame members as well as Margaret, to produce a genealogy and history center in the Washington County- Jonesborough Library where members worked for over 1000 hours in organizing and updating the vertical files section as well as a variety of books for the public to use. Julia comes from some of the most prodigious families in Washington County history. She is a descendant of Jacob Brown, the Wagon Maker, Samuel Bayless (1751-1825).  Samuel in his will left his farm to his daughter, Hannah Bayless Hoss (1784-1859), who deeded “a certain tract of land out of which is excepted one and one-fourth acres more or less for the (Cherokee) meeting house and burial ground.” In 1840, Hannah deeded this land” (TNGENWEB) to the Cherokee Baptist Church. Hannah married Henry Hoss, among the founding members of Hossville, who was Methodist Minister. She has researched several other families in Washington County. Her father, Byrd Loyd, was the county farm’s manager from 1938/39 to 1945.
  Margaret Sherfey Holley (May 5, 1928 – August 25, 2018) is a very knowledgeable historian and genealogist in the Knob Creek area of Washington County. She has done extensive research into the Krouse and Sherfey Families. She, also, has researched several other families in the Washington County area. She had served 25 years on the board of the Washington County Historical Association where she has served a president as well as a founding member of today’s Association. George and Margaret are both Samuel Cole Williams Award recipients. She has been active in the Boones Creek Historical Trust where she has serve in an officer’s position. George and Margaret Holley both own and operate the Pioneer Homestead founded in 1770s, is a century farm which includes the Knob Creek Museum. The Knob Creek Museum holds “the Sherfey cabin, a part of the museum complex [which was] built sometime before 1777.The cabin and 17 acres were purchased by farm founder David Preston Sherfey around 1885…The Holleys opened the main museum building, which houses artifacts of the Sherfey and Krouse families, in 1986.On the museum grounds is also a caboose purchased from CSX which displays photographs and memorabilia; four generations of the Holley family worked for the railroad”, (Century Farm). Margaret Holley also has worked with the Jonesborough Genealogical Society to produce a genealogy and history center in the Washington County- Jonesborough Library where members worked for over 1000 hours in organizing and updating the vertical files section as well as a variety of books for the public to use.
  Chad Fred Bailey is a historian at heart and a very avid genealogist. He serves as a founding member, project leader, and webmaster of the Washington County, Tennessee Obituary Project. He is, also, a founding member, 1st secretary, and webmaster of the Friends of the Washington  County, Tennessee Archives. He is a senior at East Tennessee State University majoring in Accounting and History, with hopes of becoming an archivist. He is a 2009 graduate of David Crockett High School. He is the 1st vice president, project coordinator, and the webmaster of the Jonesborough Genealogical Society. He is the webmaster and 2012 president of the Washington County Historical Association. He, also, served on the Washington County, TN Courthouse Centennial Planning Committee. He is the digitizer of the Antioch Baptist Church Records dating from 1875-1999.  He is a member of the Watauga Association of Genealogists, Sons of the Confederate Veterans, Gen. Alfred Eugene Jackson Camp #2159, the National Genealogical Society, the Cemetery Survey Team of Northeast Tennessee, Heritage Alliance, Tipton-Haynes Historical Association, and the Boones Creek Historical Trust.
 Shirley A. Hinds is a native of West Virginia who developed a keen interest in the History of East Tennessee after settling in Jonesborough in 1998.  She is a long time member of the Washington County Historical Association having served on the Board as Secretary for three terms. She also has served as a Secretary and now is serving as the Assistant Secretary with the Jonesborough Genealogical Society.  Shirley has been active in a number of projects with the Genealogical Society and Historical Association which include the vertical file system to classify and organize family and historic information of citizens, places, and locations of WashingtonCounty.  This includes assisting with current research for the Early Settlers of Washington County, Tennessee: (pre) 1768-1777publication.  In addition Shirley has supplied the photography support and needs to document group activities throughout the years.
  Judge John L. Kiener is the Washington County Historian. He has been researching Washington County’s history and genealogy for at least twenty-five years. John has served as president of both the Jonesborough Genealogical Society and the Washington County Historical Association. He has,  also, served in a number of other roles including the Editor of the Jonesborough Genealogical Society’s newspaper column in the Jonesborough Herald and Tribune, “Digging For Your Roots,” for twenty-two years. He currently serves as the President of the Washington County Historical Association, advisory board member of the Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, board member of the Friends of the Washington County, Tennessee Archives representing the Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, member of the Washington County Public Records Commission.
 Charlene Zimmermann McLeod is an avid genealogist and treasurer of the Jonesborough Genealogical Society since 2010. Charlene began her genealogy research in her twenties by collecting family information from relatives, some who where originally reluctant about sharing family information. Charlene and Dan, her husband, had four children, and being a mother and wife, left very little time for      genealogy. Now in retirement, Charlene and Dan enjoy traveling the paths of their ancestors including visiting Scotland, where Dan’s ancestors originated, as well as visiting her 12 grandchildren and great grandchild. Charlene remains a very hard working member of the JGS board and always participates in everything she can, which allows her to help guide the society into the future. Charlene, also, serves as a board member of the Friends of the Washington County, Tennessee Archives representing the Jonesborough Genealogical Society. She is a member of the Central Christian Church, the Friends of the Washington County, Tennessee Archives, Jonesborough Genealogical Society, Boones Creek Historical Trust, Mountain Empire Model Railroaders Club, George L.Carter Chapter – NRHS,  Holston Stamp Club and a Consultant for Close To My Heart (Scrapbooking Products).
 Gene Hurdt has served as JGS president for 20 years, during which time he fulfilled the mission of the Jonesborough Genealogical Society, “to promote, study, and document the families of Jonesborough, Washington County and East Tennessee.” Through his leadership, the JGS established “Genealogical Day” at the Washington County Library. As he would always say, “Genealogical Day is the 4th Saturday.” With the start of “Genealogical Day,” the JGS began the move from the courthouse to the library. At first, the Washington County Library invited the group to update the vertical files in the genealogy collection. Over time, the JGS added a “Genealogy Help Night,” which is every second Thursday evening at the library. In 2008, Hurdt suggested the creation of the JGS Hall of Fame. In 2009, the first inductions into the JGS Hall of Fame were made. In 2010, the JGS board of directors changed, with several new board members and officers. This board took an ongoing early settlers project and published the society’s first book, titled, “Early Settlers of Washington County: (pre) 1768-1777.” The Washington County Historical Association in November 2009 awarded Hurdt the Samuel Cole Williams award. In May 2010, the East Tennessee Historical Society awarded him the Leadership in Community History Award. After attending the Tennessee Archives Institute, Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett certified Hurdt as an archival manager in 2012. In 2013, the Washington County Library and Friends of the Washington County Library presented him the Ann de Normandie Volunteer Award winner for 2012.
Doloros Britton Horne has been a member of the society since 2005, when she moved back to Jonesborough. She supports the society’s Genealogy Days, held on the fourth Saturday of each month at the Washington County-Jonesborough Library. She has also been a director of the JGS since 2012. While working with members and researching local history, she has been able to make connections with early settlers in Washington County, including Jacob Brown, the wagon maker, who is her fifth great-grandfather
Jewell Deyton Williams Susong has been a member of the Jonesborough Genealogical Society. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Jewell became interested in the genealogy of her family.  She supports the society’s Genealogy Days, held on the 4th Saturday of each month, at the Washington County- Jonesborough Library, as well as helps with the Genealogy Help Nights held on the 2nd Thursday of each month. She has also been the 2nd Vice President of the JGS, since 2012. While working with members and researching local history, she has become one of the most memorable smiling faces, always willing to help with anything. Currently, Jewell is working on several JGS projects including the scanning of the Vertical Files and the Surname Project. Jewell also helped with typing of stories for the society’s Early Settlers of Washington County, Tennessee: (pre) 1768-1777.

George W. Holley (28 Nov. 1927 – 27 Dec. 2020) was born in Stiman, VA, November 28, 1927, to George W. Holley, Sr. and Elizabeth Steffey Holley. They lived in Trammel and St. Paul, VA, where he entered first grade. He completed 2nd through 7th grades in Elkhorn, KY, where his father worked for the Clinchfield Railroad. He loved music and played trombone in the band at Elkhorn. In 1941, the family moved to Tennessee, where his father was section foreman at the Indian Ridge Station. He attended Boones Creek School until graduation. His first teacher Olivia Bowman took one look at his beady eyes and said, “There’s trouble for sure.” He sure fooled her by becoming one of her best students. He is a 1946 graduate of Boones Creek High School. At Boones Creek, he also met the girl who would become his wife of 72 years, Margaret Sherfey Holley. They have two children, Deanna Carey and David Holley, as well as four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.


Holley began working summers on the railroad, following his father’s footsteps, on the welding gang making 43 cents an hour at the age of 15. At age 17, he was promoted to welder at 72 cents an hour. He then became a fireman on the railroad until diesel engines made the job obsolete, and then he got the opportunity to change careers. This time he chose artificial breeding of cattle. He went to breeders school at UT in 1945 and developed his business on the north end of Washington County until 1970, when he changed careers again. He worked for the big producers of International Grand Champion Angus and many dairy farmers in the area. As dairy cattle production waned, he reinvented himself yet again.

In 1970-71, Daniel Boone and David Crockett High Schools were constructed. During this time, Holley was asked to teach welding at one of them, relying on his former railroad experience. He chose Daniel Boone and taught welding from 1971-1993. He received his degree from UT at the age of 48, after attending mostly night classes while teaching, farming, and a bit of cattle work on the side. He affected the lives of many young boys, now men, who are gainfully employed in the area today. It is not unusual to see them dropping by to ask advice, reminisce about shop days at DBHS, and bring their wives and children to see the man that set them on a path to success with skills and a good work ethic. He was designated as Tennessee Vocational Teacher of the Year in 1983.


Holley also served 14 years in the Tennessee State Guard, attaining the rank of captain. He has been and continues to active in many clubs and organizations including the Farm Bureau, Railroad Trainmen, Washington County Historical Association, Boones Creek Historical Trust, Washington County Cattlemen’s Association (in which he was named 2018 Senior Producer), the American Welding Society, Watauga Valley Historical Railroad Society, Iota Lambda Sigma Honor Fraternity (where he is a life member), and the Heritage Alliance. Holley is also the oldest member of the Jonesborough Genealogical Society and Snow Chapel Baptist Church, where he served as deacon for over 50 years. George and Margaret were also past co-chairmen of the Watauga Association of Genealogists (WAGS) in Johnson City. They were also a recipient of the Samuel Cole Williams Award for Lifetime Achievement in Washington County History from the Washington County Historical Association. He is a lifetime member of the Washington County Educational Association, Tennessee Education Association, and the National Educational Association.


George and Margaret’s love of local, regional, and community history led to the establishment of the Knob Creek Museum and Pioneer Homestead in 1985 as an outgrowth of the 1986 Tennessee Homecoming. The Knob Creek Museum contains mostly family heirlooms and donations from 34 community entities, yet welcomes visitors on weekends during the summer and other times by appointment to get a glimpse of life as it was from pioneer times to the present.


Near the museum is the home George and Margaret built in 1956, you will find him doing what he loves best – working the land and visiting with his many friends.

Patricia “Pat” A. Sabin credits her love of history to her parents, Donald G. and Dorothy Davis Sabin, who incorporated historic sites into every summer vacation. Pat’s father, Donald G. Sabin was born and raised in Jonesborough, but his father traveled quite a lot in the lumber business. Dorothy Davis Sabin was raised in Mosheim, Tennessee. Dorothy and Don Sabin married while attending East Tennessee State University, had their first child, and graduated together in 1947.


Pat grew up with history books, and is avidly interested in the personal stories of earlier generations. She is extremely to grateful to those who maintained diaries and letters, bringing the ancestors to life. A descendant of Captain Robert Sevier, who died from wounds sustained at the Battle of Kings Mountain, Nannie Leila Sevier was the only daughter of Dr. William R. Sevier of Jonesborough. Her husband, Jonesborough’s first fire chief Guy Ellis Sabin, died tragically while battling a fire. Knowing this information, Pat became a contributor to the USGenWeb Project in 1996, and later, adopted and developed several county sites. Pat also became webmaster of the Jonesborough Genealogical Society and severed in this capacity until 2010. Since this time, Pat has continued to make trips back to Jonesborough from her home in Georgia, as well as contribute to efforts of the JGS.

Allen Dale Jackson is an avid military historian in East Tennessee. Jackson, born in Johnson City, was raised in Jonesborough, and attended Lamar School and graduated from David Crockett High School before entering the United States Air Force in 1981, where he served for 26 years in a variety of positions in Security Forces (Police). During his service, he visited over 100 countries/territories and served in 6 campaigns, which include: Panama (Operation Just Cause), Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Bosnia (Operation Constant Guard), Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, and others. Jackson holds two associate degrees and one bachelor’s degree in Industrial Security, Education (teaching), and Criminal Justice.
Jackson, currently, serves as Historian for the Johnson City/Washington County, TN Veterans Memorial Foundation; Historian/Researcher, East TN Veterans Memorial Association; Historian, Tri-Cities Military Affairs Council; Historian, American Legion King’s Mountain Post #24. Active in the Davy Crockett Ruritan District and is a Past Governor having served two terms (2012 & 13). He is also currently a director of the Jonesborough Genealogical Society, serving since 2018. He is currently enjoying retired life in Jonesborough with his wife, Susan Jane Blair, and their son, an English Bull Terrier, named “Bossley.”
Gordon M. Edwards is a very avid researcher in genealogy and local history. Edwards work includes resurveying many cemeteries that Charles M. Bennett surveyed. He also has spent much time researching cemeteries in the Washington County deeds and found some that have been lost for years. Edwards also has spent much time on deeds of Historic Jonesborough as well as other sites and sounds throughout the region. He is President of the Heritage Alliance of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia Board of Trustees and has worked as a volunteer and docent for town tours and cemetery tours as well as play in the play “A Spot on the Hill”. Edwards is a member of the Heritage Alliance, Jonesborough Genealogical Society, and the Kings Mountain Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.
Janice Carol Redmond, was born in Crossville, Tennessee, and moved to Kingsport, Tennessee, in 1967. Carol, as she has gone by for so many years, is the mother of two children: Kathleen (now deceased) and Wes, who lives in Germany with his wife Rafaella, and grandmother to two wonderful grandsons, Nico and Alex. Carol, currently, resides in Bristol, Tennessee, with her husband of 18 years, Robert Scales, and their cat, Shadow, and other wildlife. Carol has a diverse educational background with her BS in Journalism and Business as well as a BSN in Nursing, MSN in Family Nurse Practitioner. She is also a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. She retired in 2014. Carol’s work in local history comes in many forms. She credits her Aunt Mary, a member of the State of Franklin Chapter of the Tennessee Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, for her love of genealogy and history. Carol’s Aunt supported finding the truth and would not put it in her family book until it was absolutely proven. Carol tries to follow this approach as well. Carol is a member of the Jonesborough Genealogical Society, Colonial Dames of the 17th Century, Descendants of Washington’s Army at Valley Forge, First Families of Tennessee, the East Tennessee Historical Society, and the Maritime Radio Historical Society. Carol has served for many years with the State of Franklin Chapter of the Tennessee Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, where she has served as Pas Regent and is the current Registrar. She is also an associate member of the Mary Patton Chapter of the Tennessee Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Through her work with the Daughters of the American Revolution, Carol has worked on many historical projects including the establishment of the Annual Constitution Bell Ringing at Oak Hill School with Virginia Maden, where she developed the following programs: Tennessee and the 19th Amendment and Memorial Roll Call of the Early NETN Militia – Frontier Battalion – that fought and most likely died at the Battle of the Wabash. She also worked with Virginia Made on designing and implementing an architectural survey of homes in Jonesborough outside the historic district, which established an expansion of the historic district. This project was sponsored by the Tennessee Historical Commission. Carol and the State of Franklin DAR have often provided new materials for the Historical and Genealogical Collection at the Washington County-Jonesborough Library.
Marion Louise Birdwell McKinney (Sept. 10, 1929 -June 18, 2023) was born at 301 East Main Street (now 277 E. Main), Jonesborough, TN, to John Westley & Hattie T. Taylor Birdwell. She attended elementary school in Jonesborough and graduate of Booker T. Washington Elementary. She spent her freshman through junior year in Brooklyn, NY at the Girls High School. Her senior year was spent at Swift High School in Rogersville, TN. She, then, spent two years in Junior College at Swift, and went on to attend Tennessee State University in Nashville, TN. In the summer of 1947, she met Ernest McKinney, Sr., and on April 8, 1950, married him. Shortly after relocating to Florence, AL., where Ernest taught in Rogersville, AL. After spending three years in Alabama, they returned to Jonesborough, where Ernest became the principal at Booker T. Washington Elementary School. On March 2, 1959, Marion graduated from Johnson City Vocational School with an emphasis in Practical Nursing Education and went on to work at Johnson City Memorial Hospital for thirteen years. During those years of working, she attended East Tennessee State University, and in June 1971, graduated with a degree in Social Work. In 1974, she began work as a social worker and guidance counselor for Washington County Board of Education, where she retired in 1995. Ernest and Marion were blessed with two boys.: Ernest McKinney Jr. and Kevin Birdwell McKinney. They also have four grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. Marion and Ernest were very influential in the desegregation movement in Jonesborough, including her work in desegregating Washington County Schools. Ernest served the community as the first African American Alderman of Jonesborough, while their son, Kevin, served the community as the first African American Mayor of Jonesborough, among many other accomplishments. From 1991 to 1995, Marion Birdwell McKinney and A. Z. (Zeno) Howard led the Black Families Histories Project of the Jonesborough Genealogical Society and produced an article in the society’s newsletter, The Jonesborough Record, during those years.
Gilbert Gray “Gil” Rosenberger, Jr. (July 7, 1940 – January 24, 2021) served as secretary and assistant secretary for the JGS from 2010 to 2018, and did not seek another term due to health issues. Gil also served as Surname Project chair for the society and had gotten many books into a surname database. He led this project until his death through the building of the database with ETSU’s Department of Computing student Michael Pressley. Gil, known by many of his friends, passed away on Sunday, January 24th. Gil was still a member of the society, even though he was not as active. He always helped when needed, bringing his truck to haul books, or decorate our tree at the Jonesborough Visitors Center. Even though genealogy was not his only passion, Gil loved talking about his Bean Family. He was also interested in his church, First Presbyterian Church of Johnson City, serving as a deacon and elder. He also loved guns and working with children. Gil led groups with Sequoyah Council, Boy Scouts of America and the Unaka Rod and Gun Club. He served on the Buffalo Mountain District Committee of the Sequoyah Council. Even through all of this volunteer work, Gil was more than a servant, he was a brilliant man. Working a a physicist for Nuclear Fuel Services in Erwin as well as serving his country in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves.
Maggie Rowe grew up in Maryland close to Washington DC, the youngest of 7 cousins. As a child she often accompanied her mother and aunts on their genealogical hunts to graveyards, churches and libraries, where the genealogical bug bite her early. At the National Archives downtown, she would sit for hours scrolling through miles of microfilm looking for ancestors. She remembers visits to Gettysburg to find their German ancestors, which even eventually led to her traveling to Germany to visit living ancestors still there and visit her great great grandfather’s house.
Maggie moved to Greeneville in 1986, and with children of her own, it was many years before she could take up the search again. With the advent of computers, the internet, Ancestry and DNA and now time on her hands, the search for family history began anew. In 2002, she began researching her father’s side of the family, which is Irish. Maggie is married to Robert Rowe and has two sons. Through her research, she has discovered connections through her first husband’s family to Robert Young, and even Charles Duncan, who’s cabin is part of the Knob Creek Museum in Johnson City, and her husband’s family to Mary McKeehan Patton.
In 2014, Maggie was able to join the Jonesborough Genealogical Society, as the ancestors of my two sons were interwoven with Washington County history. Maggie has served on the Board of Directors since 2016 as a director before transferring to her current role as 1st Vice President, where she has enthusiastically served the society through engaging ideas that have led to programs and events such as the Washington County Heritage Fair and research trips for the society.