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PROPHET OF OAK RIDGE EXHIBIT AT AMSE

The family life, the farm life, the mystery and the vision are revealed in "The Story of John Hendrix: Prophet of Oak Ridge" exhibition opening November 9, the 145th anniversary of the birthday of John Hendrix, at the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge.

Utilizing family records, oral stories passed down through generations, and artifacts related to John Hendrix, Jack and Myra Mansfield of Oak Ridge collaborated with AMSE to develop the exhibition "John Hendrix: Prophet of Oak Ridge" on view Nov. 9 - Jan. 30, 2011 in the AMSE lobby.

While the Mansfields were cleaning up property for an easy one-half mile historic nature trail along Hendrix Creek to develop the John Hendrix Memorial Prayer Walk, they found some early 20th century gates, a saw, canning jar, and washboard which will be in the Hendrix display at AMSE. There will also be two sketches of what John may have looked like based on his son's photo and one of him building his house included.

John Hendrix, born in to Luke and Jane Hendrix, on November 9, 1865, was the eighth child in the family and was named after Jane's father John. Prior to John's birth in Robertsville, the family moved in 1862 from Morgan County, where Union soldiers and bands of militia harrassed the community for food, clothing, horses and weapons anywhere they could get it. At risk of the family farm being pillaged, they traveled by wagon as their older children walked beside it for two or three days on the old road from Morgan County to Anderson County. The family settled in Robertsville (a community in today's Oak Ridge) and found a tenant house to rent in Bear Creek Valley, where today's Y-12 Plant is located.

During the next few years, the older Hendrix children left home to work for families in the community as housekeepers, marry and farm, and "young" Luke moved to Oliver Springs to operate a store. With the departure of the six older siblings, John and his sister Sarah remained at home with their parents. During his childhood, he trapped a red fox and took its pelt and redeemed if for $1.00 at the Anderson County Courthouse. This was an important kill as wolves and foxes carried off the farmers' calves, pigs and chickens. John's mother died when he was a young teenager.

Eight years after his mother's death, John married Julia Ann Griffith, a former Morgan County resident. John obtained 35 acres off Emery Road in Robertsville, near a ferry crossing. John gathered supplies from around the property to build a primitive one-room oblong-shaped cabin made of rough-hewn logs. He would become a partner in a logging and construction buisiness, where he was paid 50 cents a day. He and his wife had four children and it was said that John was a good husband and father, a hard-working man, who never missed a day of work.

With the death of his youngest daughter due to diptheria, the departure of his wife and three remaining children to Arkansas, and his inability to maintain his farm, John became very religious and to search for understanding, he began taking long walks in the woods.

According to George Robinson in his 1950's book The Oak Ridge Story an astounding thing happened. He says: On one occasion, John emerged from his beloved woods with a strange and wondrous story. "In the woods," he said, "as I lay on the ground and looked up into the sky, there came to me a voice as loud and as sharp as thunder. The voice told me to sleep with my head on the ground for forty nights and I would be shown visions of what the future holds for this land."

Although John Hendrix's birth and death are recorded, there is no documentation by John Hendrix to document his vision about the building of Oak Ridge to end a great war. The legendary description of John Hendrix's vision of the foretelling of Oak Ridge:

Bear Creek Valley some day will be filled with great buildings and factories and they will help toward winning one of the greatest wars that will ever be. There will be a city on Black Oak Ridge and the center of authority will be on a spot middle-way between Sevier Tadlock's farm and Joe Pyatt's place. A railroad spur will branch off the main L&N line, run down toward Robertsville and then branch off and turn toward Scarbrough. Big engines will dig big ditches and thousand of people will be running to and fro. They will be building things and there will be great noise and confusion and the earth will shake. I've seen it. It's coming."

John Hendrix died in 1915 at age 49 and is buried in Hendrix Creek, a subdivision in Oak Ridge.

The American Museum of Science and Energy, located at 300 South Tulane Avenue in Oak Ridge, is open Monday through Saturday 9 am - 5 pm and Sunday 1 - 5 pm. Admission is Adults $5, Seniors (65+) $4, Students (6-17) $3 and Children (5 and under) free. AMSE members are free and have unlimited museum visits. Group rates are available for 20 or more with advance reservations. AMSE memberships, good for 12 months from date of purchase, are Family $35, Grandparents $30, Individuals $25, and Family & Friends $75. For more information on AMSE memberships, exhibits, programs and events, go to www.amse.org To schedule a group visit, call AMSE at (865) 576-3200.