Tag Archives: Polk

Trivia Question: Name 5 Tennesseans who became president

News release from Secretary of State’s office:
Here’s a quick trivia question: Can you name five Tennesseans who became president?
If you’re a good student of the state’s history, you probably won’t have any trouble naming former U.S. presidents Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson or James K. Polk. But a fourth or fifth?
It’s a trick question, because there were also Tennesseans who later became presidents of foreign countries, such as Sam Houston, who led the briefly-independent Republic of Texas, and William Walker, who was inaugurated as president of Nicaragua on this date in 1856.
Walker’s life is highlighted in one of the Tennessee State Library and Archives’ online exhibits. The exhibit can be found at http://tn.gov/tsla/exhibits/walker/index.htm.
Walker isn’t as famous as some Tennesseans chronicled at the State Library and Archives, but in his day, he was quite infamous for his efforts to colonize Central America.
Three years before he became president of Nicaragua, the Nashvillian led a group of 45 men who landed in Baja California, Mexico. Walker declared the land to be the Republic of Lower California and proclaimed himself to be the new country’s president. Mexican forces soon threw him and his troops out of the country and he was tried (but acquitted) for violating U.S. neutrality laws when he returned.
Walker then led a group of 57 soldiers into Nicaragua. After fighting a number of battles and eventually becoming president, he launched a plan to “Americanize” the country by declaring English the official language and encouraging U.S. residents to immigrate there. He was later ousted by the combined forces of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. After unsuccessfully attempting to regain the presidency of Nicaragua, he was eventually captured and turned over to the Honduran government, which executed him for piracy.
“The story of William Walker is one of thousands that can be found at the Tennessee State Library and Archives,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “Because his life is chronicled in one of our online exhibits, it is accessible to Tennesseans free of charge, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. I encourage people to visit our web site and learn more about the resources that are just a few mouse clicks away.”

Audit Finds Fault With Polk County Practices

News release from Comptroller’s Office:
Polk County has numerous flaws in its accounting and record-keeping practices that need to be addressed, a report by the Comptroller’s Division of County Audit has revealed.
The annual audit, which was released today, has 19 findings and recommendations for improvement. Some involve basic safeguards needed to protect against fraud, waste and abuse.
The Offices of County Executive and Director of Accounts and Budgets had the highest number of findings, with a total of 14.
For example, the offices spent more money than the Polk County Commission had approved. Also, accrued vacation leave balances for employees of the offices exceeded the maximum amount of leave allowed under the county’s personnel policy.
The Office of Director of Schools also spent more than approved by the county commission.
In eight different offices within Polk County government, responsibilities for money collection, handling and record-keeping were not properly separated. Best practices dictate that those responsibilities should be assigned to different employees so no single employee controls all aspects of financial transactions and has unrestricted access to public funds.
In four different offices, multiple employees operated out of the same cash drawers. Failure to assign each employee a separate cash drawer reduces accountability if money is lost or stolen.
“As is the case in medicine, preventative practices in accounting can head off serious problems,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “When basic accounting principles are ignored or improperly applied, then it creates an environment where waste, fraud or abuse of public funds can occur. I strongly encourage Polk County officials to follow the recommendations contained in our audit so they aren’t confronted with a situation down the road where they’re unable to explain why taxpayer dollars have come up missing.”
To view the report online, go to: http://www.comptroller1.state.tn.us/ca/CountyAudits.asp?C=70

Fire Destroys Kitchen Where James K. Polk Had His Last Meal

The charred brick remains of a former kitchen has revealed a glimpse into how James K. Polk spent his final hours. reports the Columbia Daily Herald..
Detached from the main residence, the two-story kitchen was ravaged by two fires that started within 14 hours of each other. The Columbia Fire Department responded to the West 8th Street residence first at 3 p.m. on Aug. 16 and again about 5 a.m. on Aug. 17.
“It’s quite a tragedy for me to have lost that,” said homeowner Rubin Lombardini. The main residence was not damaged by the fires.
The kitchen was part of the Rally Hill property that dates to the 1840s, said Maury County Archives director Bob Duncan. It was one of the last places Polk, the 11th U.S. President, visited before dying of cholera on June 15, 1849, three months after his presidential term.
Duncan said Polk stopped in Columbia to visit his sister, who lived at Rally Hill, while on his way to Nashville.
“He didn’t realize it was his last visit, because he was coming down with cholera, but he had his last meal in that house,” Duncan said. “Of course, it would have been cooked in that kitchen.”
More recently, Lombardini used the detached kitchen to store his book collection as he built libraries to permanently house them in the main residence.
….Fire department officials said electrical wiring sparked the Aug. 16 fire, but the cause of the second fire was undetermined.
“The case has been closed,” deputy fire chief Steven Cross said. “Based on the resources available to us and the amount of damage (to the structure), it just wasn’t possible to determine the cause.”
Lombardini said he has been restoring the entire property for the past four and a half years and plans to rebuild the detached kitchen to its original condition.