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Concord-Farragut history captured
By Kim Johnson   - 04/09/2009

Farragut Press

More than a year’s worth of hard work and effort on the part of Doris Woods Owens, right, and Kate Clabough, former farragutpress writer, culminated Saturday, April 4, and Tuesday, April 7, when the two held a book signing at Farragut Town Hall for their Images of America project, “Concord-Farragut.”

The book, a history of Concord and Farragut in photographs, was published by Arcadia Publishing and released Monday, March 23.

The book begins telling the history of the area as early as 1787 and the latest date is found in the caption of a wedding in 1960.

“The thing to remember is that it is not a chronological history; it is just that every caption is history,” Owens said.

Although both Owens and Clabough said they are proud of the finished project, “We are glad it is over,” Owens added.

Owens got the idea to do he book after seeing one of the “Images of America” books done on her husband’s, Charlie Owens, hometown in Kentucky.

She said she knew right away who to ask for help with the project.

“We met because I came and wrote a story about the museum when I worked at farragutpress. That was 10 years ago,” Clabough said.

“She came and brought her baby and I fell for them right off. There was just something about them,” Owens said.

“She kept writing different stories and would borrow a picture here and there, and I knew she could do the scanning,” she added.

“I have to say it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done because I so enjoyed spending time with Doris and Charlie,” Clabough said.

“I loved going to Doris’. I would bring her peach butter and she would feed me chicken salad,” she added.

The book has been well received within the community, especially among those with ties to Concord.

Mona Isbill Smith, who grew up in Concord, said she thinks the book is wonderful.

“When I looked through it, it brought back a lot of memories. There are a lot of pictures of people that I knew from times gone by,” she said.

Not only did the pictures spark memories for Smith, she also found she was related to a lifelong friend, Barbara Beeler.

“Barbara and I found out through looking at the pictures that we are [related]. Her grandfather and my grandfather must have been brothers because there is a picture in there of “Uncle Willy’s Reunion,” and that is my great grandfather and her great grandfather,” Smith said.

“I can remember my grandfather saying, ‘The only relative I have in Concord is Red John Smith,” and her grandfather is Red John … that is what they called him,” Beeler said.

Beeler, who still lives in Concord, has a special tie to the book.

“My grandfather made most of the pictures that are in it, so of course I think it is wonderful,” Beeler said.

Beeler’s grandfather was Henry Smith.

“He was a stone cutter, but back in 1890 he got really interested in photography. He and Jim Thompson, from Thompson Photo, were really good friends and when he got interested in photography, Jim said, “Well I’ll come out and set you up a darkroom.” And he did. So he started making pictures of everything,” Beeler said.

Finding out she is distantly related to Smith is not the only thing Beeler has learned from the book.

“My granddaddy made so many pictures and they were at the house and there was nothing written on them. I always wondered who they were, and now, because of the book, I know,” she said.

Smith so enjoyed the book she has a request for Owens and Clabough.

“It is a very interesting book and apparently there were a lot of pictures that she didn’t use, so I am saying, ‘Okay Doris … volume two.’”

According to Owens and Clabough, a second book is not out of the question.

“It wouldn’t go through this same process but we have enough left over to do one on our own. I already have the captions written I made the mistake of trying to write a caption for every photo that came in,” Owens said.

Clabough agreed.

“For this project I scanned more than 700 photos and we could only use 230. So if we ever wanted to do something else, that is all done,” she said.

The book is available at Farragut Folklife Museum Gift Shop and at Borders Books.

Owens and Clabough are donating the proceeds of all book sales to the museum.

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