Monday, September 13, 2010

Amanuensis Monday: Phil Sawyer Obituary

Thanks to John at Transylvanian Dutch for providing a framework (and nudge) for transcribing family records, news clippings and other treasures.

This undated news clipping was part of the papers of my great-aunts Selma Sawyer and Mary Kathryn McKenzie.  It was likely published in Marion County, TN on 10 April 1931.  Their brother, James Phillip Sawyer was born 26 Aug 1901 in Warrensburg and died on 9 April 1931 in Marion County, TN. An aside, Phil is most likely the baseball player pictured in my Summer Frolics posting.


Whitwell Coach, former Baseball Pitcher, Fatally Hurt in Head-On Crash.

Phil Sawyer, 28-year-old coach of the Whitwell High school athletic teams, died early yesterday morning from injuries sustained Wednesday afternoon in a head-on auto collision near Whitwell. When first treated at Erlanger hospital his injuries were thought to be not fatal, but shock and loss of blood caused his death.
The body was prepared for burial by Chapman's and sent to Pikeville, where it was viewed by hundreds of Whitwell and Pikeville citizens and students of the Whitwell school, where he was very popular and where Mrs. Sawyer taught.
Charles Seward, 43, of Hixson pike, driver of the car that struck Sawyer's machine, remains in a serious condition. Newell sanitarium attaches said his condition showed some improvement, but that he was still in a critical condition. He sustained a broken hip, fractured jawbone, severe lacerations and four teeth were knocked out.
The Sawyer and Seward autos collided head-on about three and one-half miles north of Whitwell. Seward was alone, but Mrs. Sawyer sat beside her husband. She was only slightly injured.
Sawyer was well known in baseball circles. He played professionally for several years, making good records with clubs in the Applachian and the South Atlantic leagues, both of which now are disbanded. Sawyer pitched for Greeneville (Tenn.) in the Appalachian league, and aided that team in winning a pennant. He pitched for Knoxville when that town was in the Sally league.  He was a right-hander of amazing speed and control and while with Knoxville had many chances to try out for major league teams. However, his interest in professional baseball declined and he began a coaching career.
He took over the Whitwell position more than a year ago and the teams coached by him made good records. He was a young man of retiring disposition, modest to an extreme degree and insistent that credit for any of his many achievements be given those who "gave me a break."
The body will be sent from Pikeville this morning to Greeneville, Tenn., his former home, where funeral services will be held Sunday.
He is survived by his wife; parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. S. Sawyer, of Greeneville; three brothers, Robert, of Morristown; Conway and Winston, of Warrensburg, Tenn; five sisters, Mrs. L. H. Luttrell, of Greeneville; Mrs. Herbert Haun, of Mohawk, Tenn.; Misses Selma, Emma and Mary Catherine Sawyer, of Warrensburg.


  1. His minor league baseball record can be found here:

    Jack Morris

  2. Jack, you've made my day! Thank you. I was able to find my grandfather's stats as well: Great stuff for the maniacal baseball fans that we are.

  3. This is my Grandmother's first husband.


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