Tennessee’s oldest town kicks off the state’s 225th year of statehood


JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) – Celebrations were held across the state, first in Nashville, then in Knoxville and ending the evening in Northeast Tennessee in Tennessee’s oldest town: Jonesborough.

“I felt very privileged to be here tonight amongst those that spoke was like the icing on the cupcake for the people,” said attendee Sharon Boreing.

The event was one of the largest public events in more than a year. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee rolled into downtown Jonesborough on a carriage for the kick-off event.

“God was with us on June 1st in 1796 and he has put his great favor on this state for 225 years,” said Lee during his speech. “My prayer is that his favor continue on Tennessee for the next 225.”

Local political leaders, state lawmakers, and Senator Marsha Blackburn joined the governor.

“This is a remarkable day…just a special time not only for the community but for the state,” said Blackburn.

During the ceremony, a special delivery: the county’s deed book.

“We are so very grateful to have this historic document returned to its home in Washington county,” said Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy.

It’s been in Nashville for 125 years and was returned after state lawmakers pressed for its return.

And the special guests of the night: The Oak Ridge Boys.

“It’s an honor to be asked to do something by the state of Tennessee that’s where we all live I’ve lived here 55 years and the Oak Ridge Boys have our history rooted in Tennessee in fact we get our name from Oak Ridge Tennessee so we have lots of history in this state,” said one of the members, Duane Allen.

They were personally invited by the governor several weeks ago.

“Even though our schedule is starting to pick up again we had tonight where we could come to Jonesborough,” said Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys. “This wonderful, beautiful, historic city and in honor our great state tonight with our governor. I don’t know how it could get any more patriotic for us a bunch of guys that live in Tennessee and love Tennessee.”

Those who came say Tuesday night in Jonesborough was the best way to celebrate being a Tennessean especially coming off the pandemic.

“It’s so great to see everybody out. It made me feel special to be here and honored to know everyone here,” said attendee, Susan Nicoletti. “It’s happy and enjoying life…and healthy and to be in Tennessee in this beautiful environment.”

Don’t worry if you missed out on Tuesday’s festivities in Jonesborough…the celebration will stay statewide for a whole year! There will be events and activities scheduled in all 95 of Tennessee’s counties throughout the year.

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