The New Jersey Record

Sam Johnson House
Sam Johnson House. L to R: Mr. and Mrs. Looney, Mrs. Clark, Mr. and Mrs. Jess McCamey and their son.

An NPS Photo


On July 28, 1947, Fred R. Clark, President of The New Jersey Record, and his wife B.M. Clark, Vice-President and Treasurer sent a letter to Mr. and Mrs. Jess McCamey of Greeneville, TN:

"Dear friends:-

this will inform you that we arrived back home safe. We had a good time visiting in your state and especially with you and family at the homestead of my wife. And may I say, words are inaduate (sic) for me to use in expressing our thanks to you for the kind way you treated us while we were there.

I am enclosing a picture of the you and my folks and the house and I am sure you will like it. If so, we would appreciate receiving a line from you at any time it is convenient for you to write, as we will return there again next year.

Again thanking you for your hospitable attitude I am, very truly yours,

Mr. and Mrs. Fred R. Clark."

Mrs. Clark was formerly Beatrice M. Johnson, Sam Johnson's youngest daughter. Following is the Saturday, August 2, 1947 newspaper article from the New Jersey Record about the Clark's trip:

"Mr. and Mrs. Fred R. Clark of the New Jersey Record returned last week from their auto trip to Knoxville, Tenn., where they spent several days with Mrs. Clark's relatives; Mrs. Adrain MaGee, and Mrs. Willie Looney, her nieces, and Mr. Looney, at 315 Douglas Street, that city. They reported getting a good rest in the home of Mrs. MaGee who is retired school teacher.

Mr. and Mrs. Clark, Mrs. MaGee and Mr. and Mrs. Looney on Saturday, motored to Greenville, Tenn., 75 miles from Knoxville, to the birth place of Mrs. Clark and Mrs. MaGee, also the home of the late President Andrew Johnson, whose business and political career started when he established his tailor shop and was soon afterwards elected to his first political office as Town Squire.

Mrs. Clark is the daughter of the late Samuel Johnson, ex-slave of President Johnson, and the uncle of the late Will Johnson who several years ago was special White House Guest of the late President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who sent his special White House representatives to Greenville, Tenn., to accompany Mr. Johnson to the White House. The reason for this move on President Roosevelt's part was never made public, but he presented Mr. Johnson with a white-gold-headed cane.

The house shown above is the homestead of Mrs. Clark, the place where she was born. She didn't know much about her mother for she died while Mrs. Clark, then Beatrice M. Johnson, was too young to remember her mother. She was the baby of several children; 1 brother and 8 sisters who have passed. Her father Mr. Samuel Johnson was a musician of note. He played a violin he made himself that could be heard for a mile around.

The ground on which the house stands was given to Mrs. Clark's father by President Johnson's son, and was built by Mr. Samuel Johnson. The grape vines running long beneath the window afforded a 'hoppy' for Mrs. Clark when she was a little girl. She used to hang out of the window and pluck her father's grapes for which she said she received many switchings for not asking her father, could she pull the grapes.

The picture was taken by Editor Clark, the Record photographer. From left to right: Mr. and Mrs. Looney, Mrs. Clark, Mr. and Mrs. Jess McCamey and their son, who now occupy the premises as owners, and who were very nice and obliging to the visitors when they arrived at the home and asked to be shown through and around the house where Mrs. Clark was born. Mr. McCamey has his arm in a sling due to an accident in which he lost the tip ends of two of his fingers.

Leaving the Johnson's homestead they stopped at the home of Marion Laughter, ex-chief of Police and former playmate of Mrs. Clark who then was living near the Johnson home. He invited us in and gave us plenty of fresh country milk. Before we left he loaded Mrs. Clark's arms with preserves and country-cured meat and said, 'if my people who are away on vacation were here I would have them prepare a meal for you and set you down at the table with my family.'

The motor party before leaving Greenville, visited President Johnson's home on Main Street, also his tailor shop on Cottage (College) street, which is known as Andrew Johnson National Monument. The shop is now preserved within a brick building. His work table, sewinb (sic) machine and all his tools are still there, his scissors lying on the table just as if they were left there last week.

The monument is in the custody of the President's grand-daughter who took pride in showing the party around and explaining many things to them about the birth and rise to fame of her grand-father. Mrs. Clark's father, Samuel Johnson worked for Andrew Johnson in the tailor shop."

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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Greeneville, TN 37743


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