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Carson Brewer (1920-)

Carson Brewer, journalist and conservationist, was born in Hancock County, the son of a rural postmaster. Brewer attended Maryville College (1939-41) before entering military service during World War II. He served in the European Theater and returned to college at the University of Tennessee (1945-46); illness interrupted his studies and he never received a degree. Brewer joined the Knoxville News-Sentinel staff in 1945 and covered the federal beat, city hall, and the courthouse among other assignments during his forty years with the paper.

In 1948 Brewer met Alberta Trulock, who had arrived in Knoxville to open the city's United Press Bureau. A respected journalist in her own right, Alberta Trulock blazed new trails for women in journalism, becoming, among other things, the first female journalist admitted to the Vanderbilt University press box. In 1949 Carson and Alberta married and moved to Norris, where they still live in their "honeymoon" house. They are the parents of one son, Carson T. "Kit" Brewer Jr.

In the 1950s Brewer began writing a weekly column; it soon expanded to three columns per week. A self-described meanderer, Brewer wrote on a variety of regional subjects, including columns on sourwood honey, Appalachian autumns, and folklore. Brewer soon built a reputation as a conservationist, an everyman's guide to an appreciation of the beauty and fragility of the region's natural resources. He proved to be a tireless supporter of Knoxville's annual Dogwood Arts Festival.

Brewer is the author of Hiking in the Great Smokies, A Wonderment of Mountains, and Valley So Wild: A Folk History, coauthored with his wife. Brewer has received numerous awards for his work, including the 1974 Golden Press Card award from the East Tennessee Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi; the 1978 best local column award from United Press International for a column on sourwood honey; and the 1984 Z. Cartter Patten Award of the Tennessee Conservation League for his contributions to conservation. In the Knoxville News-Sentinel of February 3, 1985, Tennessee Valley Authority Chairman Charles H. Dean Jr. called Brewer's 1981 News-Sentinel series "TVA, a Child of Controversy" "one of the most valuable sources for future historians who want to understand the events of TVA's first half-century." The University of Tennessee College of Communications awards a scholarship in Brewer's name. Retired from the News-Sentinel in 1985, Brewer continues his writing and interest in conservation.

Published » December 25, 2009 | Last Updated » January 01, 2010