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Alderman, Pat



  • Existence: 1901 - 1984


John Biggs "Pat" Alderman was born in Dunn, North Carolina on October 31, 1901, the son of A. E. and Sara E. (Williford) Alderman. He had two sisters and a brother. As a youngster Alderman developed a love and appreciation for music, as his whole family somehow was involved in music, either by playing an instrument or singing. Religious music was the preferred genre of the Alderman family. At age 14, the young Alderman toured eastern North Carolina performing evangelistic music.

Alderman attended high school at Buies Creek Academy (now Campbell University), Buies Creek, North Carolina, and undergraduate school for two years at Wake Forest College (now Wake Forest University), Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He left Wake Forest to further his music education at the Baptist Bible Institute, New Orleans, Louisiana. From New Orleans, Alderman moved to Troy, Alabama, to assume the position of director for a local church. After a short stay in Troy, he moved to Birmingham, Alabama to attend Howard College and to direct the college glee clubs (1923-27). From 1927 to 1930 Alderman attended the Chicago Conservatory of Music where he earned a master's degree in music.

By the time Alderman received his master's degree, the Great Depression had begun and as a consequence, budget cuts in education eliminated many music positions. Alderman thus returned to Dunn where he organized a number of community sings. In 1932 he was able to secure a position teaching music at the Kennedy Home, a Baptist orphanage in Kinston, North Carolina. It was in Kinston that Alderman met and in 1939 married, Verna Retha Blow, a Kinston native. They had one child, Verna Patricia, born on February 2, 1940.

More change was to characterize Alderman's life. He left the Kennedy Home in 1942, one year after the United States' entrance into World War II. In 1943, Alderman began working for the shipyards at Wilmington, North Carolina. He remained there until the war's end in 1945, when he returned to Dunn for a year. During that time Alderman's father died. Pat--as he had been called since his Buies Creek Academy days--and Verna decided to move away from Dunn, in part for reasons of health. The eastern North Carolina climate aggravated Pat's asthma condition. A former pupil of Alderman's then living in Shouns, near Mountain City, Johnson County, Tennessee asked him to take charge of music at a church in Shouns. Alderman accepted the offer, and he and Verna moved to East Tennessee. Three years later in 1950 Pat and Verna moved again, this time to Erwin, Unicoi County, Tennessee, where Pat became the director of the choral music department at Unicoi County High School. Alderman remained employed there until his retirement in 1967.

Beginning in the 1950s Alderman developed a keen interest in Appalachian, especially East Tennessee, history. (In subsequent years he became the historian of Unicoi County). As a result of this interest, he not only wrote and directed historical plays and pageants but also wrote books on Appalachian history. Among the plays he wrote and directed are Echoes of the Blue Ridge, Boone, North Carolina (1953), The Overmountain Men (1952) and The Hermit of the Big Bald (1955). Historical books written by Alderman include The Overmountain Men (1958), One Heroic Hour at King's Mountain (1968), Greasy Cove in Unicoi County (1975), and Nancy Ward/Dragging Canoe (1978). The Overmountain Men. Early Tennessee History, 1760-1780 (1970) incorporates as sections "The Overmountain Men," and "One Heroic Hour at King's Mountain."

After moving to Unicoi County, Alderman became very interested in natural history and conservation. The beauty of rural Unicoi County dominated by the Unaka Mountains, inspired Alderman. He wrote two books on natural history and conservation, In the Shadow of Big Bald (1972) and Wonders of the Unakas in Unicoi County (1964). He also took part in activities related to natural history and conservation. For eight years after his retirement, Alderman served as naturalist for the United States Forest Service in the Watauga District, Cherokee National Forest. He also played an important part in the establishment of the Unaka Naturalists Rally sponsored by the Erwin Civitan Club.

Alderman was a member of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, the East Tennessee Vocal Association, and Rotary International. His political affiliation was as an independent, while his religious affiliation was Baptist. He died on September 9, 1984 at Indian Path Hospital, Kingsport, Tennessee. He was survived by his wife, Verna Blow Alderman, his daughter, Verna Patricia Alderman Tittle, son-in-law, Larry Kenneth Tittle, and two grandchildren, Scotti Lea and Jon Mark Tittle.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

John Biggs "Pat" Alderman Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: AppMs-0149
Scope and Contents The Pat Alderman papers contain many different types of materials. Included are books, plays, articles and music written by Alderman, as well as typed drafts and handwritten notes for his historical works. The music dates from the late 1920s through the 1960s, while the plays and books date from the late 1940s through the 1970s. Incoming correspondence (1920s-1980s), church programs, play programs, autobiographical notes, clippings on music, history, natural history and conservation also are...
Dates: 1918 - 1983

WSJK-TV Programs

Identifier: AppMs-0089
Scope and Contents

The WSJK-TV Collection consists of fifteen (15) videotapes of television programs that focus on the history and culture of East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and western North Carolina. Most were produced for Outlook which, acccording to the introduction to the panel with Jesse Stuart, was a "special program designed to bring you happenings in and around East Tennessee."

Dates: 1971-1980, undated

Additional filters:

Bald Mountains (N.C. and Tenn.) 1
Big Bald Mountain (N.C. and Tenn.) 1
Big Mary (Elephant) 1
Botany -- Tennessee 1
Church music 1