Br. Burk Priddy








Esquire Burk Priddy representative of the Seventh civil district of the county court, died yesterday of smallpox at his home in Sale Creek.  He was about 70 years of age and had been active as a physician and a politician in this county for a long time.


Dr. Priddy was a victim of his own opinion in relation to the vaccination theory in prevention of smallpox, having always adhered to the belief that vaccination was of no moment and depending upon other preventive measures both as to himself and for recommendation to others.  Recently he was in the midst of a fight in his hometown on this subject and while the disease was becoming epidemic in his community he himself was stricken.  From the beginning his was a serious case, having what doctors called hemorrhageous smallpox.  Last week the county health authorities visited his town and pronounced Dr. Priddy's case hopeless.  Death was delayed much beyond the time predicted.


Surviving the deceased esquire are his wife Miss Tolley (sic), Dr. John Priddy of California, James B. Priddy, Daniel W. Priddy, Mrs. John Shelton, and Mrs. Thomas Roark of Sale Creek; Jesse Priddy, of Chattanooga, Mrs. Mack Roark and Mrs. John Clinghan, of Meigs County.  No definite announcement was made last night regarding the funeral, it is possibly taking place this morning from the residence.  Because of the nature of the malady that took away this well-known citizen of the northern end of the county, there will be no public service, it was announced.


Esquire Priddy has been a resident of Hamilton County most of the time since he was born.  Years ago he was an active practitioner of medicine, enjoying a wide spread patronage in the region of Sale Creek, Coulterville, and Retro.  It is said he was an unusually successful physician until e practically abandoned the profession following an unpleasant experience as a pension examiner during the period when Judge Key was on the federal bench.  In 1900 he was elected to the county court from the old Eleventh district, which in the days of the large county court comprised but a small territory surrounding Sale Creek.  His colleague was Esquire A. H. Morgan, but recently deceased.  During his six years that ended in 1906, Esquire Priddy was generally aligned with the late Esquire H. J. Springfield and was frequently engaged in the hottest of the fights of that period.  He was always diligent of speech and his gift was employed to advantage on numerous occasions when factionalism in the court waxed hot.  He was regarded as always loyal to his district and secured every public improvement possible at the hands of the court.  Throughout his career he was popular with his neighbors, nearly all of whom believed in him and had respect for his ability to secure practical results. 


When the county was redistricted by the legislature of 1905 the old Eleventh district was eliminated and the territory thrown into the new Third.  He and Esquire Morgan were succeeded by Esquires H. R. Caulkins and Henry Seybert.  The legislature of 1911 again divided the territory, creating the new Seventh district.  Elected to represent the new district until the next regular election to select magistrates were Esquires List and McGill.  They served until the election of 1912 when Esquire Priddy again became a candidate and was elected over a field of five candidates.  With him was elected Esquire Vandergriff.  This district comprises the precincts of Retro and Sale Creek.  He had served less than two years of his new term when he died.  He was a republican to politics.


W. J. Springfield, county register, who was doubtless Esq. Priddy's closest personal friend made this comment on the life and characteristics of the deceased last night:


"Squire Priddy was a most sincere and true friend at all times to the common people and a man who loved the people of his community.  His last effort, which was successful, was to secure an appropriation to rebuild the New Providence school in his district.  Only recently he secured a workhouse camp for Sale Creek, after trying for more than a year.  He died before the forces, which will be at work there Monday had reached the camp.  In my judgment no man of all that territory would be missed more that Dr. Priddy will be both as a physician and a public official."

May 4, 1914   Chattanooga Times

Submitted by Denise DeBerry