Two members to be inducted into the “Hall of Fame”

     The Jonesborough Genealogical Society (JGS) will be celebrating its 33rd anniversary and induct the “Hall of Fame” Class of 2023, Nancy Kavanaugh and Gladys Cole, into the Jonesborough Genealogical Society “Hall of Fame” on Saturday, April 22, at 10 a.m. at the Washington County-Jonesborough Library, 200 Sabin Drive, Jonesborough, Tennessee. The public is invited. Arthur M. Bohanan as speaker with a program on his book, “Who Are You Walking On? Graveyard Forensics.”

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Born in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, (Montgomery County), a small industrial town on the Schuylkill River, 15 miles outside Philadelphia to two educators. Nancy attended at college at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, as a chemistry major. She also studied the German language and spent a year in Germany as Kindermaedchen with her professor and his family. She met and married a US Army officer while there. She also has a son and a daughter. After their divorce in 1980, Nancy and her children lived in Atlanta, GA. From 1975-2000, she was employed by in manufacturing production management at General Motors and Lockheed Martin. After retirement, she moved to Jonesborough to become the director of the National Storytelling Network. She became interest in her ancestry in the mid-1980s. The interest was awakened through the art of folk tales and storytelling. Through research of various folklore, Nancy discovered a few stories of strong girls, which were rare. As she pursued the search for more heroines, she realized that she knew very little about her mother’s ancestry. After many visits to Pennsylvania and Maryland areas, she has compiled a seven-generation list of the matrilineal ancestry as well as other pieces of not only family story, but also historical information that filled in the bones of names and dates. After moving to Jonesborough, she became interested in the property where her home stands, which is on property once owned by T. H. Reeves. Nancy has been a member of the Jonesborough Genealogical Society, joining in 2017. She has great ideas and experiences that will help us through the transition process. 

“What began my interest was the first of eight day -long trips through Washington County,” says Kavanaugh. “My birthplace was far from here and these trips were an opportunity to learn about this region’s history.” Since that beginning, association with a diverse group of family historians, Nancy has enjoyed working with the society’s numerous undertakings including Heritage Fair and monthly speaker presentations. Nancy has served on the JGS Board of Directors since 2018, serving as Secretary and a Director. One of her goals has been to make JGS more visible in the county. JGS has participated in a variety of community events including Halloween Haunts and Happenings and Christmas with Santa. Finding ways to engage people of all ages has been important to Nancy. She enjoys seeing young people learning their family stories through oral interviews and help teachers find resources through educational programming for teachers and educators of all ages through workshops and one-on-one experiences.

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Gladys Cole is a very smiling face in the Jonesborough Genealogical Society. She graduated from the University School and became certified as a general dentistry and oral surgeon assistant working for the next 50 years in a dental office. She married Robert “Bob” Cole and had two children. Today, Gladys enjoys time with her grandchildren and great grandchild. Gladys along with her sister, Babs Manning, have continued to research and preserve the history of their own families through tombstone cleanings and writing of family stories. She enjoys crafting, writing, and learning about just about anything – including genealogy and history. She is a member of Lone Oak Christian Church, where she is involved. Cole has been a member of the society since 2019, and is a new director on the Jonesborough Genealogical Society Board of Directors, beginning in 2022. Since joining the society, she has managed our Celebration of Trees entry at the Jonesborough Visitors Center each year, and has accomplished a tree each year with ancestors and historical figures’ names with vintage and unique ornaments each year. The Society has taken home first place three out of the four years that Gladys has perfected the Christmas Tree.

Cole began attending JGS events with the Tours of Historic Washington County beginning in 2015. She is also a member of the Lamar Ruritan and is highly involved in her circle of friends and community. She has helped identify old photographs lost within the community as well as a source of information on several families including the Walters and Boring Families. She is also a board member for the Speedwell Cemetery Association, where her late husband’s ancestor, William Washington Walters, is buried.

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This year meeting will feature Arthur M. Bohanan as speaker with a program on his book, “Who Are You Walking On? Graveyard Forensics.”

This presentation will take forensic science into the cemeteries, old and new, with amazing forensic discoveries. The use of simple methods to read the inscriptions on old grave stones will be discussed. New forensics will be demonstrated on ways to locate and gender of the long dead. The research database covered 500 marked graves by blind testing, including buried cremations (human ashes) and graves dating back 1200 years.

Bohanan’s team has located over 4,000 unmarked graves and determined the gender and age. The City of Sevierville asked his team to scan the Riverside/McMahan Cemetery between the new fire station and Sevier County High on Dolly Parton Parkway. This cemetery revealed 410 unmarked graves. Three graves revealed infant males buried with adult females. They verified an adult female is in the Beloved Nancy Ward’s grave and located the grave of her grandson (Chief Jack Walker) who betrayed his people during the Trail of Tears. They also located the grave of Sarah Hawkins Sevier, wife of Captain John Sevier. A lost mass grave was located in Bean Station indicating 15 adult males killed during the Battle of Bean Station in December 1863. The possible location of The Battle of Boyd’s Creek was located with the imprint of 18 adult males in a semi-circle in the Boyd’s Creek Community. They recently identified a lost Native American Mound near Sevierville with 12 adult males with their backs toward the center as they were guarding something important. Bohanan just finished one where TVA moved 11 graves in 1942 for Douglas Lake, the owner wanted to know if they were moved or TVA just said they were moved to a new location near Dandridge. Work continues at the Hall-Arnold Cemetery near Bull Run in Anderson County with 785 lost graves reported so far. The list goes on and on of the lost graves we have located all over East Tennessee.

NOTE: Human remains will be shown to demonstrate the rate of decay in the summer. Bible quotations will be discussed and much more from over 60 years in the forensic field.

His team was also requested in a missing person investigation and was able to pinpoint his location for recovery. Another was a missing child who disappeared 36 year ago. We located evidence and the Human Imprint in only ten minutes. This is an ongoing active criminal investigation. We have requests in two more missing person cases one dating back over twenty years.

Arthur M. Bohanan is an internationally award-winning patented inventor, researcher, lecturer and author, a Certified Latent Print Examiner (one of 960 in the world-19 in TN (ret) and a certified police instructor with 60 years in the study and practical application of forensics in thousands of violent crime scenes. He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from East Tennessee State University (Legacy Award 2017) with further studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Art created the first ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) task force in Tennessee in 1998 and worked in an online undercover capacity until he retired in May 2001, as a Police Specialist III, former AFIS Manager and Senior Forensic Examiner with the Knoxville Police Department (26 years).

Art received the Knoxville Police Officer of the year award (twice), over thirty letters of commendation, Mayor’s Merit Award (twice) and the Legacy Award (2018) for his dedicated leadership and inspiring the future. He was awarded Walters State Community College’s first “Distinguished Alumnus Award” in March 2000 for his contribution as a researcher, consultant and lecturer in the field of forensics.

Bohanan was inducted into the International Hall of Fame in Atlanta (sponsored by the Inventors Clubs of America) with two distinguished awards plus a doctorate in science and technology for pioneering research involving children’s fingerprints. He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 by the East Tennessee CPIT Advocacy Counsel and the National Children’s Advocacy Center’s (Huntsville, AL) Outstanding Service for Law Enforcement in 2011. Art was honored and placed on the Wall of Fame at Sevier County High School in 2016.

Art received the Citation of Excellence Award from the Dept of Justice and the Amber Alert when he retired May 2012. He has completed research at the University of Tennessee’s “Body Farm”, with the F.B.I., and Oak Ridge National Lab. He was a senior forensic consultant and instructor for the Fox Valley/Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention/National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the national Amber Alert Program. Co-author of “Child Fatality Investigations”, “Investigative Strategies for Missing and Abducted Children” and “Forensic Response to Missing and Abducted Children” that he taught nationwide. Also retired as Communications /Environmental Officer with the U.S. Public Health’s DMORT WMD (disaster response) Team.

Bohanan was a deputy corner in Knox County for 5 years and a founding father of the National Forensic Academy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, a founding board member and past President of Safe Harbor Child Advocacy Center and a founding father of the DMORT WMD team. Currently researching and inventing instruments for locating missing and lost graves and determine the gender of the long dead.

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 or join our facebook page at

     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