News & Events



Summer came in the midst of winter to the archives’ Mildred Spaulding Kozsuch Memorial Reading Room. It came in the form of a painting by Jonesborough artist Peggy Root recently hung there. The painting is the second in a series of four seasonal paintings that Root was commissioned by the Friends of the Archives to paint for permanent display in the reading room.

Titled “Summer: Queen Anne’s Lace Looking North Toward Leesburg,” the expansive landscape (4’ x 6’) is a view of one of the most beautiful parts of Washington County. It is a view overlooking the late Bert Wolfe’s farm with Bays Mountain and Clinch Mountain in the visible distance.

“Root is a regional artist with a national reputation,” said Ned Irwin, county archivist, “So we feel fortunate to have these paintings for public view in the archives.” Root’s two remaining landscapes of Washington County scenes should be completed and installed in the reading room later this year.




The Washington County Archives has lost a most valued friend, Lucy Kennerly Gump. She passed away on Saturday, January 4th, 2020 in Johnson City. The archives exists in part due to her efforts.

Lucy was one of a group of local residents who worked for probably 20 years or more to see that Washington County developed an archive center worthy of housing Tennessee’s oldest and most valuable public records. This finally reached fruition when the archives opened its’ doors to the public in April of 2017.

But long before that, Lucy was engaged in studying and preserving the history of our region. She became a particular expert on the frontier era. Her 1989 history thesis completed at ETSU titled “Possessions and Patterns of Living in Washington County: The 20 Years before Tennessee Statehood, 1777-1796” used the actual county records of the period to document the cultural and domestic life of the East Tennessee frontier. A later work based on research of the Thomas Amis’ store ledgers of Hawkins County was a ground-breaking study of early Tennessee business and mercantile history. Her greatest historical research project (largely unseen by the public) documented the land holdings and settlement patterns of early upper East Tennessee in the pre-statehood period. Such research allowed her to correct a misinterpretation of one of the foundation stories of the Rocky Mount State Historic Site.

Lucy’s support of the archives continued in recent years with the donation of a copy of her master’s thesis and the microfilm and microfilm reader she had used in her years of historical research. An earlier article was written about this September 2019 donation.

In addition to being an early member of the Friends of the Washington County Archives, Lucy was active in many local civic and historical organizations. As such, she was a great “cheerleader”, encouraging and promoting their efforts. She was also a great cheerleader to any individual interested in the history of our region. She kept up with the research interests of others and always had helpful advice. Lucy was a great support to me personally. She suggested sources that might be used to explore a historical topic, made introductions to individuals who might have a knowledge you needed, and she always had a kind word and a warm smile to give just when you needed it.

Lucy Gump will truly be missed. She is survived by her husband Louis “Louie” Gump, four children, and several grandchildren. For her published obituary, see the following link:

— Ned Irwin, County Archivist and Records Manager


Archived News Articles

November 11, 2019      Two Projects Set to Improve Archive Annex

September 20, 2019     Touching the French Revolution

September 16, 2019     Lucy Gump Donates Microfilm Collection

August 30, 2019            Missing Historical Records Returned to Washington County

August 14, 2019            18th Century Wills are now a Digital Collection 

July 17, 2019                 Early County Court Judicial Court Cases Now Available

July 1, 2019                   Significant Book Collection Donated to County Archives

April 9, 2019                 Annex Work Completed in 2019

February 22, 2019      “Passport to History” Brochure Published

February 21, 2019      Friends of the Archives Receive Donation

February 19, 2019      Genealogy Society Funds Purchase of Supreme Court Cases

January 22, 2019        Friends of the Archives Receive Kozsuch Donation

January 11, 2019        Watauga Association Records are now Digital

2018 News & Events Archive

2017 News & Events Archive