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As our city finishes her 100th birthday, it is significant to look back to 1917 when our first Kingsport mayor, Mayor J.W. Dobyns, was appointed.

On Saturday, please join us at the Kingsport Chamber in the Tennessee Room at 10:30 a.m. for the Dobyns Family video debut, along with a special Q&A with members of the Dobyns family. Vince Staten from the Kingsport Times News will also be in attendance, sharing stories of the family.

After the video event, attendees are invited to lunch to continue discussion and fellowship at Macado’s, a local downtown Kingsport restaurant.

In 1917, Tennessee Governor Tom Rye appointed James Wiley Dobyns as Kingsport’s first mayor. Dobyns, a successful Virginia farmer, had moved to Kingsport in 1906 to manage the newly established Kingsport Farms, which surrounded the current Rotherwood mansion.

When his two-year appointment as Kingsport’s first mayor ended, he was elected for three more consecutive terms. Under the new mayor’s leadership, Kingsport became the well-planned model city initially proposed by financiers John B. Dennis and J. Fred Johnson.

 Always enterprising and hard-working, Mayor Dobyns became president of the Kingsport Building and Loan Association, the manager of Kingsport Stores, and the first president of the Dobyns – Taylor Hardware Incorporated. During his last term as mayor, shortly before his death in 1923, he was elected director and vice president of the Organization of Kingsport Tobacco Market, Incorporated.

Today, the Dobyns name is woven throughout Kingsport’s first 100 years. The family’s legacy of tireless dedication to their fledgling community is the source and embodiment of what we know today as the ‘Kingsport Spirit.’