Things to do in Knoxville and surrounding area this summer.
Things to do in Knoxville and surrounding area this summer.
Things to do in Knoxville and surrounding area this summer.
James Trenton Jones was born August 28, 1898 to John Dowell Jones and Estelle Virginia LaPrade Jones. He was one of two sons born to J.D. and Estelle, and was the brother of Clyde Wallace Jones.
James volunteered for military duty on April 24, 1917–three weeks after President Woodrow Wilson asked for Congress’ declaration of war on Germany, he certainly possessed the “Volunteer Spirit” of his home state–and he would become a member of Company C, 117th Infantry Regiment, part of the 30th (“Old Hickory”) Division formed of Tennesseans , South Carolinians and North Carolinians.
The troops of C Company were largely drawn from Knox County. In reviewing the makeup of C Company, commandred by Captrain George A. Blair, the unit included farm boys, mechanics, salesmen and clerks (like James Jones would later become) and students–a fairly broad section of the male population of Knoxville in the early 1900s. James and his buddies trained hard at Camp Sevier in South Carolina, beginning in the fall of 1917; by May 1918, these East Tennessee “doughboys” were en route to Europe on troopships.
But, nothing could have prepared 19-year-old James Jones and his buddies for what they would face on the Western Front in midsummer 1918.
The 30th Division was one of two US divisions selected to serve alongside British forces in the Flanders region of Belgium. With Britain’s forces hard-hit by a series of massive German offensives in spring 1918, the Old Hickory Division was sent to reinforce British troops around the ancient city of Ypres. Called “Wipers” by the hard-pressed British Tommies, this city was the scene of three separate battles and savage fighting in 1914, 1915 and 1917. In fact, Ypres was where in spring 1915, Germany intoduced poison gas against the Allies. The city and its surrounding villages were a sceneof utter devastation by summer 1918. (When one sees photos from World War I of soldiers, horses and mules half-buried in mud, those photos are often depictions of Ypres and its environs.) The moon-like and mud-churned landscape of the Ypres salient was where James Jones and C Company first experienced their first taste of frontline combat–and, it was almost his last.
The 117th was assigned to a British forward training camp, where it was given its final training in trench warfare and in attacking strong points. After a few days of this work, the regiment was ordered into the battle line to face real-life trench warfare before all units were prepared for their first major offensive. During this time, C Company was caught in a massive German bombardment on its front-line positions, and in an outpost, detached from the main trench positons, was Corporal Jones and a group of light machine gunners, on July 24, 1918. Five of them became casualties–two died–and Jones himself was seriously injured by the shelling, but he kept his wits and, despite his own injuries, he did as any good non-commissioned officer would do: he took care of his men first, applying first aid to his wounded troops, until rescue came for them all.
For his actions, he was decorated with the Army‘s second highest medal, presented for extreme gallantry and risk of life in combat, the Distinguished Service Cross.
Jones’ DSC citation reads as follows:
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Corporal James T. Jones (ASN: 1307409), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with Company C, 117th Infantry Regiment, 30th Division, A.E.F., near Ypres, Belgium, 24 July 1918. Corporal Jones was in charge of a detached automatic rifle post, heavily bombarded by the enemy. Two of his men were killed by shell fire, two others and he himself seriously wounded. Though it was his first experience under fire, Corporal Jones exhibited unhesitating devotion to duty by remaining at his post. Sending for assistance, he reorganized his position, and gave aid and comfort to the wounded.
While his wounds were described in his DSC citation as serious, he nevertheless recovered enough to return to C Company and the 117th. After two months of action near Ypres, the 30th Division was transferred south to northern France, where Jones caught up again with his unit.
He fought alongside them next at the 30th Division’s most famous battle: the cracking of the Germans’ vaunted Hindenburg Line near the northern French town of Bellicourt in fall 1918. On September 29, 1918, alongside British and Australian troops, the 117th and the rest of the 30th Division stormed this supposedly impregnable defensive line of the Germans at one of its most highly defended points: the three-mile long tunnel of the Saint-Quentin Canal. 45 feet wide and in places 30 feet deep, the canal was studded with machine-gun nests, barbed wire, interlocking trenches and secret passages into the safety of the bombproof canal tunnel. The tunnel’s entrances were even more heavily fortified.
In vicious, often hand-to-hand combat among the barbed wire belts and machine guns, all companies of the 117th lost 26 officers and 366 men on September 29. Days of hard fighting followed, to consolidate the Allies’ gains and to fight back frantic German counterattacks to recapture Bellicourt and the canal. The bravery and fortitude of Jones, C Company and the rest of the 117th at bloody Bellicourt was, however, one of the battles that swung the course of the war decisively in the Allies’ favor. As one author has written: “Their combined efforts helped turn the tide of the war, smashing through the German defenses, making it possible to defeat the Kaiser’s army.”
Just over a month later, Imperial Germany would sue for peace, and Armistice Day followed on November 11, 1918.
In spring 1919, Corporal Jones and the men of C Company returned home to Knoxville. Undoubtedly, Jones and his fellow veterans who marched down Gay Street to crowds and applause on April 5, 1919 were very different men from the ones who had gone forth to war in summer 1917. In the words of two popular songs of the period, Jones’ and his fellow doughboys’ outlooks might have been less in keeping with the jaunty high spirits of “How You Gonna Keep Them Down on the Farm, After They’ve See Paree?“ and more the somber sentiments of “There’s A Long, Long Trail A-Winding, Into the Land of My Dreams.”
In addition to the Distinguished Service Cross, Jones was also decorated with the Belgian Croix de Guerre ( in Flemish, Oorlogskruis), with palm, Belgium’s highest award for bravery and military virtue on the battlefield, as well as the Victory Medal awarded to all the AEF’s doughboys .
James T. Jones died December 11, 1930; at the time of his death, he was only 32, still, a young age even 85 years ago. His apparent cause of death was a heart attack. One has to wonder, though, how much of his postwar life and health had been shaped by the wounds, sights, sounds, and experiences he had faced twelve years earlier in the muddy and gas-clouded trenches of the Western Front. As we know, not all injuries of war are physical, and we can only speculate how much of these experiences of war followed Jones in his relatively short post-war life. He left behind a widow, Lucia Gilmore Jones, and two children.
So, today, over 86 years after his death, let us recall James Trenton Jones, and remember the service and sacrifice of him and a host of young men from across Knox County and East Tennessee, who comprised, in the words of Ernest Hemingway, the “Lost Generation”: the veterans and survivors of the First World War.
by Ryan Cox on Feb 14, 2017
Knoxville, Tennessee, was first settled in 1786 and quickly became Tennessee’s capital city. After the Civil War, Knoxville grew into a booming manufacturing and distribution center. In the early 1900s, the Tennessee Valley Authority was headquartered there and is still one of the area’s largest employers. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory, built in the mid-1900s, is another leading employer in the area. Today, Knoxville is the third-largest city in the state and a cultural center of the Appalachian Mountains. It offers one of the gateways to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The city is known for its beautiful views, the expansive campus of the University of Tennessee and a wide variety of annual events. As you settle into your new home and get ready to explore your new surroundings, you might wonder which places you should visit. This list of fun and interactive attractions will help you to get to know your new community.
The University of Tennessee
The University of Tennessee is a public research institution and the first land grant university in Tennessee. The university was founded in 1794 with the goal to educate citizens of the state. The students are known for their collegiate sports achievements as well as their academics. Students can earn a bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate or other professional degree at the university. The University of Tennessee at Knoxville also offers workshops, lectures and other special events that anyone can attend. The expansive campus features a veterinary teaching hospital where you can bring your pet for care. While touring the campus of the University of Tennessee, be sure to stop and see the South & East Stadium where the Volunteers play football. The University of Tennessee is also known for its Thompson-Boling Assembly Center and Arena where men’s basketball is played and special events, such as concerts, take place.
East Tennessee Historical Society
If you enjoy history or if you simply want to learn more about this area of Tennessee, visit the East Tennessee Historical Society. The museum features permanent and rotating exhibits such as “Rock of Ages: East Tennessee’s Marble Industry” and “Voices of the Land: The People of East Tennessee.” The museum has art collections of pieces made by Tennessee residents. These works of art include sculptures, quilts, wood art, paintings and drawings. The East Tennessee Historical Society is also home to more than 13,000 artifacts and pieces of material culture representing Tennessee. The museum hosts regular guest lectures and special events with a focus on preserving Appalachian culture and remembering Eastern Tennessee’s history.
Old City Knoxville
When you are ready to get out and walk around historic Knoxville, come into Old City Knoxville and do some exploring. The historic district features an eclectic collection of bars, restaurants, art galleries and boutique shops. During the summertime, you can often catch a live performance of music in the evenings as you relax at one of the bistro tables. The neighborhood is buzzing from morning until midnight; coffee houses, artist galleries and shops are open during the day, and clubs and bars are open well into the night. Old City Knoxville is also the home of the Green Line Trolley. You can park for free along Willow Avenue or under the interstate overpass next to Barleys. There are also a number of convenient paid parking lots available.
Those who enjoy exotic animals and conservation may wish to check out Zoo Knoxville. The zoo is home to several red pandas and is ranked as the number one zoo in the United States for red panda conservation. African elephants, African lions, chimpanzees, giraffes, giant tortoises, Malayan tigers, meerkats, western lowland gorillas and southern white rhinoceroses are just some of the species on display here. Zoo Knoxville also features many educational and interactive animal experiences. You can attend special animal demonstrations or lectures from conservation experts or participate in one of the fundraising dinners, concerts or other events to help support the zoo’s conservation efforts.
Knoxville Museum of Art
Take in the arts of Eastern Tennessee at the Knoxville Museum of Art. The museum offers temporary exhibits such as “Higher Ground: A Century of the Visual Arts in East Tennessee” and the artwork of students throughout the eastern half of the state. Knoxville Museum of Art also houses many permanent exhibits, including “Facets of Modern and Contemporary Glass” and Richard Jolley’s “Cycle of Life” installation. The museum has all types of art, including hand-carved furniture, sculptures, quilts, paintings and more. The Knoxville Museum of Art also provides you with the opportunity to attend special events throughout the year, such as the Sunday art days for kids or the cocktail and guest lecture hours. (Photo Credit: http://www.knoxart.org/)
Clarence Brown Theatre
The Clarence Brown Theatre is a community theater and playhouse where you can see a wide variety of performances. The theater is located in the middle of the University of Tennessee’s campus. It seats up to 564 guests and features two pits and an expansive stage. Some of the past performances at the theater have included “Around the World in 80 Days” and “Top Girls.” Visiting the Clarence Brown Theatre also provides you with the opportunity to watch film screenings. The theater frequently shows indie films as well as some American classics. The theater is available for rent for special events. The theater’s actors and managers often hold special events, such as acting workshops and summer camps for kids and teenagers.
McClung Museum of Natural History & Culture
At the McClung Museum of Natural History & Culture, you can view permanent exhibitions of ancient Egypt, Tennessee’s rivers, the origins of the human species and the Civil War’s battles in and around Knoxville. The museum also has temporary exhibits that have included “Dinosaur Discoveries: Ancient Fossils,” “New Ideas and Maya: Lords of Time.” The McClung Museum of Natural History & Culture has displays of archeological discoveries from the Appalachian region of Tennessee. You can also attend special lectures and educational events for people of all ages. Admission to the museum and parking is free for all guests.
The Bijou Theatre
The Bijou Theatre is a performance venue for all types of art. You can visit the Bijou Theatre to enjoy a comedy show, a musical performance, a theatrical play or a screening of a movie. The theater also hosts special guest lectures and holiday events, such as the annual St. Patrick’s Day festivities. The Banff Mountain Film Festival takes place at the theater each year in March, featuring films produced by artists from Knoxville and the surrounding area. The Bijou Theatre also features a bistro where you can enjoy a cocktail or an appetizer before, between or after a theatrical performance.
World’s Fair Park
In 1982, Knoxville hosted the World’s Fair. The World’s Fair Park was built on the site after the completion of that event. The attractions at World’s Fair Park include a riverfront boardwalk where you can boat, swim and fish. There is a play fountain with interactive geysers for splashing in on hot summer days. The park is also home to many historical markers and statues that explain the area’s history. Gardens line the paths, along with benches where you can sit and read or enjoy a leisurely lunch. The World’s Fair Park also provides you with the opportunity to get tickets for boat rides on the Tennessee River, visit the Knoxville welcome center, listen to a concert in the amphitheater or attend one of the many special events that take place throughout the year.
East Tennessee Veterans Memorial
East Tennessee Veterans Memorial is a public plaza with granite columns dedicated to soldiers who gave their lives for freedom in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm and other military conflicts. Each soldier’s name is inscribed on the pillars. You can take photos or do chalk rubbings of the names. More than 6,000 names of veterans from Tennessee are memorialized at the plaza. The East Tennessee Veterans Memorial also provides you with the opportunity to learn more about each of the armed conflicts. The memorial is surrounded by plenty of green space with benches so that you can sit and reflect on the veterans who have been honored by the memorial. Special events take place at the memorial on Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day each year.
First Lieutenant Saunders, United States Marine Corps, made the ultimate sacrifice on June 17, 1970 when his plane crashed in inclement weather during a routine mission near Yakota Air Base, Japan. The bridge dedicated in his honor is the one spanning State Route 162 on Dutchtown Road in Knoxville. Knoxville Senators Becky Duncan Massed and Richard Briggs dedicated the bridge September 21, 2016.
The L&N STEM School 9/11 held a Remembrance event and ceremony at the Memorial and then placed patriotic “pinwheels” they had created during class on the Lawn just south of the Memorial.
Born 15 September 1892, Knoxville, Tennessee
Richard F. Kirkpatrick volunteered his services to the U.S. Army May 29, 1917. First assigned to Company F, 138th Infantry, 35th Division, and later transferred to Company L, 306th Infantry, 77th Division. Embarked for France in May 1918. Saw service on the Swiss border and in the Vosges Mountains. Attended an Officers Training School for three months and received a commission as second lieutenant. Killed in action October 1, 1918, in the battle of the Argonne.
His remains were returned under Special Order #64 of 1 September 1921. They departed Hoboken, New Jersey by train to Washington D.C. and then to Knoxville, Tennessee. He was buried at Old Gray Cemetery in Knoxville, Tennessee.