PHS  "SPOTLIGHT"




[ This section allows for the posting of a paragraph or two about Penlands,  or their relatives who have attained great responsibility, and or personal accomplishment!   Such achievements in their lives are surely of interest to the rest of us. ]

         THOMAS CLAYTON WOLFE
                                      (3 Oct 1900 - 15 Sep 1938)

The following excerpt is from Elizabeth Newell's Biography: "Thomas Wolfe".
"Thomas Clayton Wolfe was born on 3 October 1900 at 92 Woodfin Street, Asheville, North Carolina.   The son of Oliver and Julia Elizabeth (Westall ) Wolfe, he was of mixed Pennsylvania - German, English and Scotch-Irish stock.   Through his mother he was descended from several of the oldest and best known Scotch-Irish families, notably the Penlands and the Pattons, who had settled in western North Carolina before the Revolution.    One of his ancestors, Peter Penland was a Captain in the Colonial Army under General George Washington in the French and Indian War.   Two others, Robert & Aaron Patton served under General Charles McDowell in the Revolution and took part in the campaigns culminating in the Battle of Kings Mountain in October 1780.  His Great-Great-Grandfather and Great-Great-Grandmother, George and Nancy Patton, the children respectively of Robert & Aaron Patton and hence cousins, as well as husband and wife, were prominent landowners on the Swannanoa River, nine miles from what would become Asheville.    His Great Great GrandAunt, Elizabeth Patton, the sister of George Patton, was the second wife of David Crockett."               

Thomas grew up to be the most famous Author from North Carolina.  He spent four years at "Carolina" and three years at "Harvard" getting his education.   He wrote memorable Novelettes, stories and essays

in addition to five primary novels, "Look Homeward Angel,"  "of Time and the River,"  "The Web and the Rock,"  "You Can't Go Home Again,"  and "The Hills Beyond."   He wrote about the things he knew most about, the times and tribulations of the home crowd including relatives.   In fact, he stood many of his hometown friends and his relatives on their heads, with the publication of his book, "Look Homeward Angel."    His burial site gravestone reads, in part,  "The Last Voyage, The Longest, The Best..."
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James was elected to the State Senate for the 46th, 47th, and 48th general Assemblies,  1889 - 1895; representing Cocke, Jefferson, Hamblen, and Seiver Counties in 46th and 47th Assemblies; Counties of Cocke, Knox, Jefferson, and Sevier in the 48th.  He was a Republican, born on July 6, 1854 at Del Rio in Cocke County, Tennessee.  James was the son of John Jackson Penland and his wife,  Ellen Justus.  He was educated in the public schools of Cocke County, attended Weaverville College, Weaverville, North Carolina.  He graduated in 1880 from Grant University, Athens, McMinn County, Tennessee.  He was admitted to the Bar to practice law and began doing that in Sevierville  Tennessee.  He served as the Chairman of the state Republican Committee, as a Presidential elector from the 2nd  Congressional District for the 1900 and 1904 elections.  He was Assistant U.S. District Attorney for the Eastern Direct in 1904.  He was appointed U.S.  District Attorney in 1906 and moved to Knoxville.  He was the Elected  Representative  of the State Board of Elections in 1913.   He was a member of the Methodist Church and when he died on 17 July  1918,  he was buried in the Greenwood Cemetery, Knoxville, Tennessee.   (Sources:  Goodspeed, History of Sevier County,  Sevierville, Montgomery's Vindicator, 17 Jul 1918,  Hale and Merritt, Tennessee and Tennesseans, 2011;  O'dell, Cocke County History, 286;  Knox County Tombstone Records, 50;  Nashville  Banner,   17 Jan 1893.

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         James  Royal  Penland
                   (6 July 1854 - 17 July 1918)
Theodore  Augustus  Penland
   [ 23 January 1849 - 13 September 1950 ]
Theodore Augustus Penland was born in New Paris, Indiana (Elkhart County) and was a resident of Portland, Oregon at the time of his death in nearby Vancouver, Washington at the age of 101.  He was the last Commander of the "Grand Army of the Republic, (GAR)".   At the time of his death, there were only eight other surviving Union Army Veterans.   With two wives, both named Elizabeth, he had ten children, and at the time of his death had almost fifty living descendants.

Theodore enlisted in the Union Army in early 1865 and served in Company A of the 152nd Indiana Infantry.   He served guard duty along the Potomac River and was discharged later that same year.  While his service was fairly short, his family's contribution to the war was extreme.   His father, John  died on 4 January 1863 at age 45,  as a result of wounds received in the Battle of Stone's River Campaign, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. [He is buried
in Stones River National Cemetery, Section: D, Grave Number: 1444]   Two of Theodore's brothers were imprisoned at Andersonville Prison and died shortly after the end of the war.

After the War, Theodore was involved in farming and railroad work, but the lure of adventure drew him repeatedly to the Ametrican West.  In 1868 he walked from Indiana to California.   He lived briefly in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Sacremento, California  and Nevada.   He was working on the Union Pacific Railroad in the Sierra Nevada Mountains through 1869 when the Golden Spike completed the transcontinental line at Promontory Point.  He is buried in the GAR Cemetery in Portland, Oregon.   One note of interest:  His image was used on both Civil War Commemerative Postage Stamps -- one for the Union and one for The Confederate States.



    James Penland
        ( April 11, 1888 - December 17, 1965 )

James was the son of Harvey Monroe Penland & his wife Margaret Jane McClure.  James was blind because, as a youth of 11, while hunting he was hit in the eye by a chip.  Within a year he was blind in both eyes.  He met his wife Iola Phillips (who was visually handicapped) while attending the N.C. School for the blind in Raleigh.  They settled in the Elf Community, Clay County where he operated a small country store.  He was appointed  Postmaster of the Elf Post Office on December 12, 1908 and served until 14 September, 1909 making him the first and was the only blind U.S.
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Postmaster.   When a postal inspector discovered he was blind, Iola was appointed Postmaster and served until December 31, 1911, when the Post Office was discontinued.  In 1916 (only 41 years after its' invention), James organized the Clay County Telephone Company.  He was the President, lineman, repairman and operator.  Using tiny bells he could distinguish each line.  By 1925 he had over 400 telephones in Clay County.  He organized a similar system in Graham County.  These two systems eventually became a part of Westco Telephone Company.  In 1919 - 1920 he represented Clay County in the State Legislature and was elected Mayor of Hayesville, N. C.  He served on the Clay County School Board;  helped organize a P.T.A. and became its first President;  assisted in getting a Sunday School program in the churches;  and was a member of the Welfare and Health Boards.  In 1936 he was appointed Rehabilitation Counselor for the N. C. State Commission for the Blind, a position he held until his retirement on August  31, 1960.  In 1938 he moved his family to Asheville to be nearer his work with the State Commission for the Blind.   In 1945 Janes was named to the Board of Directors of the Morehead School for the Blind, becoming the first blind person to serve on this board. In 1959 the people of North Carolina, through the Clay County Lion's Club, honored their "Native Son" with a "This is Your Life" Program held in Hayesville, North Carolina.  In 1965, Morehead named a new dormitory ln his honor.   Although very active in work and civic affairs he gave his seven children college educations;  a sense of humor, a sense of patriotism, responsibility, honesty,  and integrity, leaving with them a rich Christian Heritage.

                     JAMES PENLAND,  AN EXCEPTIONAL LIFE,  WELL LIVED!!!

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           John Thomas Penland
                     (  ?   -  6 June 2013)

John Thomas Penland was born in Guntersville, Alabama to the late Kathleen Bolding Penland of Guntersville, and James Penland of Penland, North Carolina.   His elementary and high school years were spent in Guntersville and Charleston, SC.   Mr. Penland joined the United States Army and taught basic training at Fort Jackson, SC.   He served in Fort Monmouth, NJ and Fort Gordon, GA before being shipped to Europe where he was in a counter intelligence unit for four years.   Mr. Penland attended George Washington University majoring in accounting.   After graduation, he was recruited by a Washington DC stock brokerage firm becoming a director and senior partner.   Mr. Penland spent four years in enforcement and as a branch chief witn the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C.   From there, he was recruited by the Insurance Company of North America in Philadelphia to create a national securities sales organization.   Mr. Penland hired, trained and licensed salesmen and obtained a seat in his name on the Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington Stock Exchange for INA.   In the ensuing national press coverage relating to the membership, he was recruited by a major company in Los Angeles, involved in international asset management, executive search and national real estate development.   Mr. Penland was chairman and CEO of HMO International, the largest publicy owned HMO in the US.   He and his family moved to Social Circle, from Brentwood, in west Los Angeles in 1976.   By 1977, he began to acquire, or create, companies from New York to New Mexico to Georgia.   His targets were manufacturing, real estate development and export/import companies.   His real estate companies were active in Georgia, New Mexico, Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida and Virginia.   Mr Penland served on the Newton County planning and zoning board for several years, and on a number of committees in both Newton County and Covington relating to zoning, planning and development.   He was selected to the 'who's who in America,' 'who's who in finance' and 'who's who in the world.'    Mr. Penland is survived by his wife, Carolyn of Donaldsonville, GA;  sons:  Jeffery, Mark and Michael;  granddaughters:  Emily, Laura, and Christine;  Great grandsons:  Cameron, Andrew and Austin.
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