The Jonesborough Genealogical Society (JGS) will be celebrating its 31st anniversary and induct the “Hall of Fame” Class of 2021, the late Gilbert “Gil” Gray Rosenberger, Marion Birdwell McKinney, and Carol Redmond, into the Jonesborough Genealogical Society “Hall of Fame” on Saturday, April 24, at 9:30 a.m. at the Jonesborough Visitors Center, 117 Boone Street, Jonesborough, Tennessee. The public is invited, but are requested to wear a mask and social distance. Chad Bailey, president of the society, will present a program entitled, “Grow. Engage. Preserve.: JGS Efforts and Mission.”
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 as a physicist for Nuclear Fuel Services in Erwin as well as serving his country in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves.
Marion Louise Birdwell McKinney 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 is a 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.
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.
The Jonesborough Genealogical Society was formed in 1990, when a group of local genealogists came together to create a genealogy collection at the Washington County-Jonesborough Library. On Wednesday, August 22, 1990, the Jonesborough Genealogical Society column, “Digging For Your Roots,” first appeared in the Jonesborough Herald & Tribune with Editor Elaine Scott Cantrell and first article written by Loraine Bennett Rae. the “Digging For Your Roots” column was written by Judge John Kiener. Today, the “Digging for Your Roots” Column has been revived and is in the Jonesborough Herald & Tribune each week. Today, the Jonesborough Genealogical Society meets on the 4th Saturday, January through October as we have our “Genealogical Day” at the Washington County- Jonesborough Library. The Jonesborough Genealogical Society also conducts Genealogy Help Nights on the second Saturday of each month from January-December at the Washington County- Jonesborough Library from 6 pm to 8 pm. We invite you to visit our web page at jgstn.org or join our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/tnjgs/.
For more information on this event or any other event of the JGS please contact, Chad Bailey, President, at (423) 791-8295 or by e-mail at [email protected]