Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Before Brown, there was Red:

If you wanted to ship a package during the 1880's from Thornburgh,Gap Creek or other shipping points, in Knox County, you took your package to the Thornburgh or other Post Office to be shipped by Adams Express, which was one of the country's largest express companies.


Alvin Adams was 50 years old when he presided over the meeting in New York City where the Adams Express Company was formally incorporated on July 1, 1854.  It was the start of a small company that would struggle at times, but it would continue to grow.

Read the Adams Express Company's pdf produced for their 150th Anniversary



Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A French Fort on the Tennessee and the search for the mysterious Fort Caroline

A couple of things to keep in mind: Before the French and Indian War, Tennessee was in the territory claimed by France. The French were interested in developing trade routes with the Indians and were not trying to establish settlements in all of their territory. (1700)

The result of the French and Indian War was the France ceded its territory east of the Mississippi to Great Britain and also it ceded French Louisiana, west of the Mississippi River (including New Orleans), to its ally Spain.

French and English traders were found along the Indian trails after 1673. (Source: Tennesseans and Their History,Paul H. Bergeron, Stephen V. Ash, Jeanette Keith,Univ. of Tennessee Press, 1999, p. 9)

Early 1700's - The French begin to establish trading posts along the Tennessee river. Old French Store on Williams Island, this island was the site of an Indian village and probably of an 18th Century French trading post.

1701- The Tennessee River is found on a French map, described as a route by which French hunters and traders return to Carolina. The French were most likely the first white navigators of this river.

Some writer's claim that Fort Caroline was on Bussell Island. This 1715 map by John Beresford does show a fort on the Tennessee River. It does say that it is French fort, but it is not named. The section of the Tennessee River is somewhat misleading, but this this clearly a large island. Some possibilities would be Bussell, Williams Island (near Chattanooga) or an island near Muscle Shoals.

The best argument for the Bussell Island site would be that the later excavations of mounds on Bussell Island showed no evidence of these mounds being used for burial.

Williams Island would be a possibility because it was below The Suck, which was a place in the river ablove Chattanooga that was known to be difficult to navigate.

The islands near Muscle Shoals seem to be the most logical place because they are below The Suck and below the shoals. However, there is no indication that there was a fort in this area, although it is known that there were French explorers in this area.

Chacchumas (more commonly spelled Chicasa) may be Lawrenceburg. See DeSoto's Trail

More controversy: Darien, Georgia, Jacksonville or St May's Florida: Link or here

You can look at the map and see if you agree. John Beresford 1715 map: Link

Henry Timberlake 1762 map: Link

Clearly the 1715 map shows a French fort on an island in the Tennessee River, however there doesn't seem to be any evidence that this fort is the mysterious Fort Caroline.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Milburn apple

Originated on the farm of John K Beale of Greene County, sent to the Agricultural Experiment Station by Eli Marshall, Rheatown, Greene County, Tenn. Fruit large, oblong, flattened at ends; surface moderately smooth, containing numerous fungous spots, color bright yellow; cavity medium in size and depth, abrupt slope, regular in form; stem medium length, rather slender; basin regular, depth medium. Skin thin; flesh white, fine, tender, juicy; flavor mild subacid: quality very good. Season late winter.
Mr Marshall, proprietor of the Rheatown Nursery, writes, "Quite a number of trees over the county bore fruit last year and it is giving general satisfaction. Many say that it is the best keeper they ever saw and a profuse bearer. I have one of the apples in a good state of preservation at this date (April 21), although it has been handled a great deal, and treated rather roughly during the winter.

(Source: Bulletin - University of Tennessee, Agricultural Experiment ..., Volumes 7-11, Agricultural Experiment Station., 1894, p. 21-22)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Sugar and Coffee needed at Knoxville

Dec 12, 1798
Sugar and coffee and other merchandise are costly to the purchaser in Knoxville. Therefore, Wright asks that a small quantity of these articles be sent with Colonel Henley's wagoner. He will pay for them, including freight, upon their arrival.

Some things don't change.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Knoxville School that was used as a prison

Every Fall, as we returned to school, a classmate, who had probably never seen the inside of a jail, much less a prison, would remark that being back in school felt like being in prison. I don't think I would go that far, but I understand the sentiment. Here we were, stuck inside a classroom and only able to enjoy the beautiful Fall weather though the classroom windows.

However, some Knoxville students actually did go to school in a building that was used as a prison during the Civil War. The Bell House School, which was the Bell House Hotel at the time, was one of the more prominent establishments in Knoxville housed a number of Unionist prisoners. (Source: A Unionist in East Tennessee: Captain William K. Byrd and the Mysterious Raid of 1861, Marvin Byrd,The History Press, 2011, p. 71) This is mentioned in other sources as well.

Friday, October 2, 2015

A Worthy Standard set by the school board in 1874

Peabody School

In his report to the board of mayor and aldermen submitted August 15, 1874, he presented the following paragraph on the character of the schools
"From the first day that the schools went into operation, it has been an inflexible rule with those having them in charge and fully endorsed by the people, that no teacher shall be allowed to teach sectarian views in religion, or partisan or sectional views in politics. If any violation of this rule has occurred it has not been with the knowledge or consent of the board of education. On the other hand while thoroughly in sympathy with the idea that all children should be fully instructed in moral and religious truth, yet the main idea in public free schools is to give to every child the opportunity of getting a good practical secular education leaving to the parents and the churches the duty of training up their children in the principles of our holy religion and especially of teaching the peculiar tenets of their denomination. With such teaching, the schools can have nothing to do and it is the sense of every friend of popular education that they should not attempt it. But educate white and black, rich and poor, Catholic and Protestant, exactly alike giving no advantage to the one that you do not give to the other and making all conform to exactly the same rules." JA Rayl, Chairman

(Source:Standard History of Knoxville, Tennessee, William Rule, Lewis Publishing Company,1900, p. 407)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

White Caps and Blue Bills part 3

Violence in the area continued for sometime and many citizens of Sevier County were afraid.  The White Caps made good on their promise to lash of kill any member who mentioned anything about the group.

The brutality exhibited in the Whaley murder appealed to the sympathy of every law abiding citizen and to the manhood of every officer of the law who witnessed the ghastly spectacle or were acquainted with the horrible details.

It was the brutal manner in which the Whaley murder* was committed which inspired so much terror, and drove from the county citizens who could furnish convincing evidences of guilt, but who fearing the same fate as the Whaley's, felt all the terrors and tortures of criminals from justice. Many of these witnesses had located in Knoxville. A plan of work was agreed upon and the result was not only a conviction of Pleas Wynn and Catlett for this murder, but other convictions have preceded and others will follow this one. CA Reeder is now the efficient chief of the Police force of Knoxville, Tenn, while CW McCall is making a reputation as US Deputy Marshal. 

*William and Laura Whaley were murdered in their cabin and in front of their child.

(Source: The White-caps: A History of the Organization in Sevier County, E. W. Crozier, Bean, Warters & Gaut, 1899)