Connections: Martin Luther and Morgan County, Tennessee

A few weeks ago, Morgan County, Tennessee celebrated a milestone, the 200th anniversary of its founding.  Even after 200 years of existence, the entire county has a population of only about 21,700.  The county sits in the amazingly beautiful Cumberland Plateau.  What most people out of state would call mountains, the people there refer to as the Tennessee hills.  From the time of its founding, most people relied upon farming, coal mining, lumber milling, various retail and wholesale businesses to support families.  With the building of the state penitentiary at Brushy Mountain, more jobs were brought about.  The advent of the railroad added more jobs, and brought tourism.    Thanks to the Federal government developing the atomic bomb in World War II, Oak Ridge provided jobs during that era.  And, even later, the Tennessee Valley Authority employed many more for the production of electricity.  The original county seat was Montgomery, but in 1870, the county seat was moved to Wartburg.  The city of Wartburg was settled by German and Swiss immigrants who had purchased land hoping to build a new life in the United States while fleeing an overcrowded Europe.  The city was given its name from the Wartburg Castle in Thuringia, Germany.

Morgan County Courthouse, Wartburg, Tennessee. 200th Anniversary.

American Legion Honor Guard displaying the Stars and Stripes during 200th Anniversary Celebration

But we have to go back even further to make the connection referred to in the title.  On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther, who had been a Roman Catholic monk and now was in charge of the University of Wittenburg, Germany made public his 95 theses.  In the next few years, Luther made many enemies in the Catholic Church with his beliefs.  In his theses, he proclaimed that righteousness was attainable only by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  He further believed that justification is not through works, but through faith in God.  He was completely opposed to the idea of selling indulgences for the eradication of sins.  As a result of Luther’s offenses, Pope Leo X excommunicated Martin Luther on January 3, 1521.  To escape persecution, he sought refuge in Wartburg Castle in Eisenach, Thuringia, Germany.  While there he translated the Bible into the language of his people.  These combined events brought about what is now referred to as The Protestant Reformation.  The Lutheran Church was an outgrowth of the movement.

Martin Luther

Martin Luther

Our great country was founded on the principles of Christianity and owes a significant amount to the pioneering of Martin Luther and others like him who felt that the Holy Bible is the Word of God and should be available to all people.

So as you celebrate Halloween, just be aware that this day is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

Be looking for another ramble from Uncle Thereisno on Veterans Day.  Until then, I’ll see you on down the road.

Uncle Thereisno Justice



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