Archive for May, 2018

The 1940 TVA Removal of the Hollis H. Dewitt Family

May 23, 2018

Hollis and his family, along with his parents who lived next door, were part of the TVA removal when the Ft. Loudoun Dam was being built.


Mrs. R. B. Mashburn and Mrs. Oscar Wilson are listed as daughters. I believe this is a clerical error, since Mr. and Mrs. DeWitt are listed as a young couple with two young children who are too young to go to school. I suspect that Mrs. Mashburn and Mrs. Wilson are the sisters of Mr. DeWitt, but further research is needed. (Later confirmed that they are indeed the older sisters of Hollis. Mrs. Mashburn is Edna “Leota” DeWitt who married Raymond Mashburn, and Mrs. Wilson is Reba DeWitt who married Oscar Wilson.)








Leave Lenoir City toward Bussell’s Ferry. After crossing the Southern Railroad tracks at the C. H. Bacon Hosiery Mill, continue to the dirt road just before reaching the river to the left. This road leads up a steep, clay road along the west banks of the Tennessee River. The first house on the right is the home of Mr. DeWitt.


A few families living just below the dam site on small tracts, supplementing their farm incomes by industrial employment, make up this community. This particular family lives on less than two acres of land and supplements its income from the farm by industrial employment. The land under cultivation in this community as a whole is rather fertile.


This is a non-farming family consisting of a young couple and two children. Mr. DeWitt was not at home, but the worker met Mrs. DeWitt and the two children and also the parents of Mr. DeWitt. The entire family is healthy. The two children are too young to attend school, and Mr. and Mrs. DeWitt have only a fair education.


Mr. DeWitt quit school after reaching the seventh grade due to the illness of his father. He went to work at the C. H. Bacon Hosiery Mill and has been employed there since he was 16 years of age. He makes 32 1/2 cents per hour and works 44 hours per week. Mrs. DeWitt said that work was fairly regular and estimated that Mr. DeWitt was employed at least 40 weeks during 1939. However, at this particular time he is idle due to the shortage of orders.


The house is a well made, two room weatherboard structure which sits on the cliff over-looking the River. The house is small, but in excellent condition; it is comparatively new. There are 1.3 acres leading down to to the river, 0.3 of an acre of which Mr. DeWitt has in a garden for his own use. There is a beautiful view of the river at the rear of the house.


At the time the worker called, Mrs. DeWitt stated that their check had not been received for their property and that they were waiting for it before looking for a new home. This should not be a difficult relocation problem as Mr. DeWitt’s job will continue as formerly. It merely means a change in residence.


This property was acquired by purchase on May 22, 1940. The worker called to see Mr. DeWitt, and although he was away, terms of the contract were discussed with Mrs. DeWitt and Mr. DeWitt’s parents. They understood that the property was to remain in their possession until June 22, 1940, and that they were not permitted to remove any buildings from the property. In the meantime, they were to have use of the buildings. This family will be contacted again as they claim at this time not to have received the check for their property. However, the office said that the check had been mailed.


REMOVAL INFORMATION 6-27-40 Ketchen lib

This family moved to a house in Lenoir City but Mrs. DeWitt was not pleased with the location. Plans are being made to start building a home of their own at once.

FURTHER INFORMATION 9-10-40 Ketchen lib

This familoy has purchased  lot and built a very comfortable home in the edge of Lenoir City on the highway to Concord. They have a larger house than formerly, are more conveniently located to Mr. DeWitt’s work, and are closer to schools and churches. They are in the same general community–Lenoir City, and Mr. DeWitt’s work is not to be affected by the construction of the dam. Everything considered, they are as well, if not better, off than formerly. No further follow-up is necessary.

The 1940 TVA Removal of the Charles H. Dewitt Family

May 21, 2018

My father worked for TVA as an iron worker. One of the projects he worked on was building the dam and bridge over the Tennessee River near Lenoir City.

Yes, Dad worked on a dam bridge. We had a lot of fun saying that when we were kids. Dad was a dam worker.


My mother’s mother’s mother was Henrietta Collins Webb. She went by Etta. A school buddy from my growing-up years told me a few years ago that her grandmother was also Etta Webb, but that was her maiden name. I didn’t think much about it.


Recently, I found the wedding announcement of my aunt Etta Packett who married Gordon McConkey. I realized that I didn’t know much about Gordon’s family except that his father was named Wesley, according to the announcement.

Gordon’s mother was a Webb, too! And when I traced her Webb line as far as I could, there is a distinct possibility that Gordon and Etta were distant cousins.

Then when I traced Gordon’s family outward, I found Etta Webb who married a Dewitt. So it looked like I was related to my friend from school, since all those Webbs were related.

I was poking around the Webb part of the tree to see if something might fall out.

And it did.

The TVA removal of the family of Charles H. and Etta Webb Dewitt.

Families were removed from their homes, if the homes were to be impacted by the waters of the proposed dam.







Leave Lenoir City at A Street, go north on Broadway 0.3 mile, turn right past the C. H. Bacon Hosiery Mill, continue 0.5 mile to dirt road over the hill to the left; take dirt road and go to the second house on the right, which is the home of Mr. Charles H. DeWitt.


A few families living just below the dam site on small tracts, supplementing their farm incomes by industrial employment, make up this community. This is one of the two families living on less than two acres of land while the other tracts are less than 30 acres. The land in cultivation is apparently in good condition.


Mr. DeWitt is unable to accept employment but puts in what time he can on his little 1.7 acres of land which is on the bluff over-looking the River. He claims that one acre is in cultivation. Aside from the chickens which he raises primarily for his own use, he has a tobacco patch and some truck crops. He owns no farm tools other than those used b hand; nor has he any work stock. He has one cow and one calf at this particular time.


Mr. DeWitt is in apparent good health, yet his heart will not permit him to work at any job which his education would allow him to perform. He is very sociable, but he expressed disappointment in finding it necessary to move from his present location. Mrs. DeWitt is also very agreeable. Their two children, Juanita and Mildred, have both stopped school. One is employed at the Hosiery Mill while the other is doing nothing at the present time. However, she is very anxious to get a job. With the exception of Mr. DeWitt, the family is in excellent health.


Mr. Charles DeWitt is only 54 years, but he claims that a bad heart prevents him from ding any strenuous work. He does cultivate one acre of land on which he raises tobacco and a few vegetables. He reported an income of $135 from this acre in 1939. the oldest daughter,Juanita, aged 22, is the chief source of income. She is employed by the Bacon Hosiery Mill from which she reports an income of $636 for 1939.


The residence is a five roomed, weatherboarded, ceiled house, which is in good condition. It is comparatively new and was built by Mr. DeWitt himself. It overlooks the River at the rear and offers a view of which the entire family is quite proud. They have a lovely basement, and he had great plans for what he was going to do until he was bought out by the TVA. The house is well kept, and the furniture shows that Mrs. DeWitt is a good housekeeper with refined tastes.


Aside from the cash received for his home, the furniture which he owns, and one cow, Mr. DeWitt has no other relocation resources. The money received, howevere, should be ample for a fair location. His daughter, Juanita, will continue working in the Hosiery Mill, and that is the guiding feature in his wanting to relocate near


Lenoir City. Every effort is being made to help Mr. DeWitt, and Mr. Woods is reporting to Lenoir City on June 7 to cooperate with Mr. DeWitt in finding a suitable place of relocation.


This property was acquired by purchase on May 27, 1940. The worker called to see Mr. DeWitt, and the terms of the contract were discussed. The entire family was present. They stated that they understood that the property was to remain in their possession until June 24 and that they were not permitted to remove any of the fences or buildings. The removal date was discussed very thoroughly and Mr. DeWitt assure the worker that he would move before the expiration of his allotted time.

VISIT WITH MR. WOOD 6-7-40 Ketchen

The worker visited Mr. DeWitt accompanied by Mr. Wood concerning relocation. Mr. DeWitt explained to the worker and to Mr. Wood that he had located a place two miles east of Niota in McMinn County, six miles from Athens and six miles from Sweetwater. The new residence will be on Bill Mason’s farm. He does not have the farm leased, but the residence is leased. It is a six roomed weatherboard structure. Mr. DeWitt explained that each of the towns mentioned had knitting mills and that he expected his two daughters to get employment in one of these.

Mr. Wood stated that he would probably look him up again in a few days and he visited that area quite often. There will probably be no need for further visits from this office.

REMOVAL 6-12-40 Ketchen

Mr. DeWitt called at the office on this date to leave the key to his home. His furniture is moved and the property has been turned over to the Authority. Mr. DeWitt moved to the property location given above.

Some people gained jobs.

Some people lost homes and property.

TVA was a beast that gobbled and gave. My people were not property owners until my father worked for TVA.

I am sad for the loss of the Dewitt family property, especially when I consider that their home was down river from the dam and wouldn’t be covered by the lake.

I suspect a field trip might be in order.

3/23/1892: The Contract Signed

May 20, 2018

From GenealogyBank; Daily Journal and Journal and Tribune: 3/23/1892, Knoxville, Tennessee, Volume VIII, Issue 27, Page 1.




Big Lenoir City Enterprise Now as Assured Fact.


Col. Sanford Attaches His Name to the Paper Which Assures Its Erection–The Details.

The contract was yesterday officially signed by Col. E. J. Sanford, by which fifty acres of valuable land at Lenoir city was conveyed to the Crosby manufacturing company, composed of Michigan capitalists.

The contract stipulates that the company shall erect a saw mill plant which shall be able to cut 40,000,000 feet of lumber per year and during each year for the next five cut 35,000,000 feet at least. The land upon which the plant is to built lies along the river bank and during the erection of the big mill, a smaller saw mill now at Lenoir City will be used by the new company.

Mr. J. S. Crosby is a gentleman whose fame is well known in the lumber districts of Michigan, his home being at Greeneville in that state. Not only as a lumber man is he known but he enjoys a good reputation also as a stock man.

The following taken from a JOURNAL of recent date gives more of the company’s plans:

“Mr. Crosby recently purchased at a cost of a half million dollars from the Belden Land company forty-seven thousand acres of timber land in Graham county, North Carolina. Down the tributaries to and on the Little Tennessee to Lenoir City, logs from these immense forests will be floated, and there converted into the desired shapes.

Mr. C. H. Stanton who has been connected in business with Mr. Crosby for some time, will in all probability, be the general manager of the business. The syndicate will also have an office in Knoxville. The plant will employ at least two hundred workmen.

Mr. F. J. Hall, who is also from Greenville, Mich., Mr. Crosby’s home, will within a month’s time commence the erection of an immense structure in which to manufacture steam engines and sawmill apparatus and supplies. With him as an individual Mr. Crosby will be associated in this venture.

Mr. Stanton also, individually, has the control of the timber supply of 3,700 acres of timber land owned by the Lenoir City company, which he will convert into furniture and dispose of.”

The construction of booms at Lenoir City has already been commenced.

2/24/1892: The Deal Now Closed; Saw Mill & Furniture Factory Planned

May 20, 2018

From GenealogyBank: Daily Journal and Journal and Tribune, 2/24/1892, Knoxville, Tennessee, Volume VII, Issue 364, Page 1.




Lenoir City’s Big Strides in Industrial Progress.


The Michigan Syndicate Purchase Fifty Acres of Valuable Land–Big Saw Mill–Furniture Factory, Etc.,


East Tennessee and especially Lenoir City is in the swim of industrial progress and material growth and advancement.

Mr. J. S. Crosby, a noted Michigan capitalist and manufacturer, yesterday closed a deal with the Lenoir City company for the purchase of fifty acres of land.

The price paid could not be ascertained. It is known, however, that the original price asked was one thousand dollars per acre, but that the price paid was something under this figure.

The syndicate, of which Mr. Crosby is the principal, purchasing the property, is composed chiefly of Michigan capitalists. On this property they will, within a few weeks, begin the erection of an immense saw mill.

The mill will have a capacity of from fifty to seventy-five thousand feet of lumber per day. In addition to the mill, the syndicate will also erect large building for the manufacture of furniture. Three hundred thousand dollars will be expended on buildings, machinery, etc.

Mr. Crosby recently purchased from the Belden Land company forty-seven thousand acres of timber land in Graham county, North Carolina. Down the tributaries to Lenoir City, logs from these immense forests will be floated, and there converted into the desired shapes.

Mr. C. H. Stanton who has been connected in business with Mr. Crosby for some time, will, in all probability, be the general manager of the business. The syndicate will also have an office in Knoxville. The plant will employ at least two hundred workmen.

Mr. F. J. Hall, who is also from Greenville, Mich., Mr. Crosby’s home, will within a month’s time commence the erection of an immense structure in which to manufacture steam engines and sawmill apparatus and supplies. With him as an individual Mr. Crosby will be associated in this venture.

Mr. Crosby is no visionary schemer. He has been for a number of years, the largest lumber dealer in Michigan, having an immense plant at Greenville. His supply of timber is about exhausted, however, and it became necessary to seek a new territory and quite naturally he selected East Tennessee.

Mr. Stanton also, individually, has the control of the timber supply of 3,700 acres of timber land owned by the Lenoir City company, which he will convert into furniture and dispose of.


7/31/1891: A Correspondent’s News of Lenoir City

May 20, 2018

From GenealogyBank: the Journal and Journal and Tribune, 7/31/1891, Knoxville, Tennessee, Volume VII, Issue 156, Page 3.




An Interesting Letter From the Journal’s Correspondent.

LENOIR CITY, TENN., July 30–Mrs. Major Reagan and son Frank left on No. 2 today for a six weeks visit with friends and relatives in Ashland and Richmond, Va.

The “persimmen club” opened the season with a checker contest. They propose a variety of amusements. Among the many will be a moonlight picnic on the river; a trip to the mountain on horseback will figure in the fall amusements.

C. H. Stanton is having plans drawn for an elegant residence to be located on South Second avenue. Stanton is our popular lumber man and will work his choice boards into his dwelling.

It is given out upon good authority that Lenoir City is to have a Masonic Hall. There are at least, in our midst, about fifteen wearers of the square and compass. Our worthy citizen, Dr. B. B. Lenoir, is a knight templar and one of the oldest masons in the state. Among other who have attained a high degree in the order are Dr. Geo. M. Burdette, Hodge Steinfield, W. J. Cooper, A. M. Hugh, James Biddle, Samuel Marsfield and E. Marston.

It is also talked that the knights of pythias will take steps to have a lodge of that growing and popular fraternity started here. There are several members already located here and plenty of good timber to draw from. Among the members of that order permanently located here are C. H. Stanton, J. H. Watlee and J. W. Grissell.

The first flour, of wheat of the new mill of Dempster & Plummer was put upon the market this morning. It was of the old brands formerly made by the Lenoir Manufacturing company. “Straight” and “Town Creek,” and it is hope will again, attain the popularity these brands once had throughout East Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina. The mill has been equipped throughout with new machinery and the proprietors are both practical millers. A marked activity is already noticed here. A flour mill with the capacity of this one adds more to the commerce of a city than any industry of the same capital invested.

I grew up in an area called Nichols Park. There was no one named Nichols living there, and there was no park. It was later changed to Town Creek, because the Town Creek ran alongside our road. My godparents, Irma and Will Jaques, had a summer cottage on the banks of Town Creek. The property was originally part of a large tract that belonged to Irma’s mother’s brother, Mr. Z. B. Wilson and his wife, Willie Rice Browder Wilson. I suspect that the area was named Nichols after a young man that I read about in our church anniversary book. I’ll fish my copy out and elaborate later.

At any rate, a flour mill on the banks of Town Creek sounds picturesque. I like the notion that they were feeding the people.

7/26/1891: Many Signs of Activity in Lenoir City

May 19, 2018

From GenealogyBank: Daily Journal and Journal and Tribune, 7/26/1891, Knoxville, Tennessee, Volume 7, Issue 151, Page 10.



Many Signs of Activity in the Busy Little City.

LENOIR CITY, TENN.,  July 25–J. W. Grisell received this morning by express from Cleveland a pair of very fine Angora goats.

Miss May E. Wetzel, after a pleasant visit of (???) Harkberry Lodge, the guest of Mrs. Gloria Marfield returned to her home in Knoxville today.

Sidewalks are the order of the day. (Illegible), and will add much to the convenience of our citizens.

Manager Manfield and assistants have been quite busy this week showing property and surveying lots. Building is progressing rapidly yet the cry is more houses.

Martin & Co. of Knoxville arrived this morning with their steam well drilling outfit. They have the contract of putting down several water wells in the city and vicinity.

The soldier boys passed through here this morning on a special (?) for Chattanooga. They looked a heap braver and wore a broader smile than when on their up trip last Tuesday.

The steamer Fouche is plying between here and Morganton, on the Little Tennessee, delivering here the grain from that section. The Tallassie has been doing quite a good deal of business from this point. The house boats containing the government surveying party who have been anchored at our wharf for the past week have gone.

The East Tennessee Boom company are busily engaged in building their boom on the river a short distance below the city, with the building boom and the double boom of the Lenoir City.

Lumber and manufacturing company, we will be in shape to hold a large uantity of logs.

Arrangements are being perfected to establish a public graded school. Lenoir will not be backward in educational facilities. The fast increasing population demands this step. There will also be a private school opened here in September.

The chalebeate spring here on Town Creek, that for years has bubbled up its health giving water, is to receive attention. A spring house is to be erected over it, supplied with seats and a drinking fountain. This move will be greatly appreciated by our citizens. The water from this spring has been analyzed and its medicinal properties are as beneficial as that of the springs which have become famous in the cure of some diseases.


1891: Cornerstone of New Bank Building is Laid in Lenoir City

May 18, 2018

From GenealogyBank, 7/10/1891, Knoxville Journal and Journal and Tribune, Knoxville, Tennessee, Volume VII, Issue 135, Page 2.




Corner Stone of the New Bank Building Laid Yesterday.

LENOIR CITY, TENN., July 9.–Mr. J. S. Snyder, of Springfield, Ohio, is in our city. He has been all over Tennessee, admiring the beauties and advantages found here. He is one of Springfield’s influential business men. He is well posted on all business topics and as fine conversationalist as one will meet in a years travel. Lenoir’s invirons have captivated him, especially Chestnut Hill, where he had the pleasure of eating his fourth of July dinner.

Appropriate ceremonies were observed here to-day in honor of the laying of the corner stone of the Lenoir City bank building. The bank has been organized one year, and withal the financial crises of the past eight months, they have always been able to accommodate their customers with money and also to declare a nice dividend to its stockholders. Within the brass lined receptical in the center of the corner stone were placed a $5. gold piece bearing the date that the bank was organized, a neatly written history of Lenoir City, a list of the officers and the names of the contractors, Thompson Brothers.

Steps are being taken to have a brass band organized here. We have plenty of talen in that line and there is no reason why Lenoir City should not have a band that she should be proud of.

Contractor Abrams of Knoxville has just completed four houses here and has five more under good headway. He is what the boys call a hustler.

Mr. W. Caswell and daughter Miss Helen Page, have gone to Tate Springs to spend two or three weeks.

Mrs. C. H. Stanton, visited two days of this week in Knoxville, the guest of Mrs. Will and Sam Cooper, in North Knoxville.

December 7, 1890: Lenoir City, Rich Placer of Mineral

May 13, 2018

From GenealogyBank: the Daily Journal and Journal and Tribune, 12/7/1890, Knoxville, Tennessee, Volume VI, Issue 284, Page 13.

Rich Placer of Mineral, 1890



Rich Placer of Mineral.


New Hotel Plans–Large Brick Business Block–Northern Capitalist Making Investments.


The agricultural editor of the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette, in a recent article on the subject of fine estates in this country, wrote as follows

“There are farms in the west as worthy of notice as that of Col. Young, of Pennsylvania. But the finest farm we ever saw on this continent was that of the Lenoirs, in Eastern Tennessee, near the crossing of the Holston by the E. T., V. & railway, of which the following story is told:

When Gen. Burnside, of Rhode Island, was making, in 1863, his memorable march through East Tennessee, with the union army, he camped at Lenoir several days. So great was the abundance of provisions he found there, so productive the soil, so attractive the locality, so picturesque the scenery, so superb the climate, that he decided to make an effort to purchase the estate.On inquiry of Mr. Israel P. Lenoir, the venerable head of the family, what the would take for the entire Lenoir estate, Mr. Lenoir replied: “General it would take considerable boot to get us to swap it for the stte of Rhode Island.”

There are nearly 4,000 acres in the farm, of unexcelled productiveness. A wealthy syndicate purchased it recently, and have laid out a city there, locating a railroad westwardly to the Cincinnati Southern, near Harriman.

This is the splendid estate where are now being laid the foundations for one of the most promising manufacturing cities in the south. It lies in the lap of the rich Tennessee river valley, where the Little Tennessee with its abundant waters will pour into the great river and railway arteries the riches of lumber and iron which as yet rest undisturbed on the hillsides and valleys for hundreds of miles along the main stream and its tributaries and lie hidden in the bowels of the mountains, a placer of mineral more valuable than gold. The site of this city of Lenoir cannot be surpassed for manufacturing purposes, having such vast richness of wood and mineral at its doors and the favor of the greatest railway system in the country back of it and determined to make it go.

Quite a number of capitalists from the north have been here this week prospecting for future enterprises. A large party from Upper Sandusky, Delaware and Marion, O., are now here and are greatly pleased with what they see and propose to invest.

The plans for the new hotel are out and Mr. R. Z. Gill, the architect, is to be congratulated on one of the prettiest inns that has been planned in the south. Contracts will be let immediately and work to begin at once.

Hon. G. W. Webber, ex-member of congress, from Michigan is here and arranging for extensive investments, and the establishment of a big lumber plant. Mr. Webber is one of the heavy weights of the Wolverine state and his identification with this city is another evidence of the strength of its position. It is a place where capital sees it safe to take hold.

The company’s new office building will soon be erected, probably at the intersection of Kingston and Broadway.

The contractors were this week given the detail drawings of the handsome new brick block which Sanford, Chamberlain & Albers are to build on Broadway.

Negotiations are pending which, if consummated, will give Lenoir’s a send off such as no city in all the list of new places has ever witnessed.

The Lenoir Company’s former office is now the Lenoir City Museum. I was there last September. Remember?


Lenoir City: New Enterprises, July 13, 1890

May 13, 2018

From GenealogyBank: Daily Journal and Journal and Tribune, July 13, 1890, Volume VI, Issue 138, Page 6.



New Enterprises–Bank, Lumber Mill.

LENOIR CITY, TENN., July 12.–Lenoir city has started in earnest on her career of progress.

Judge Rodgers and Mr. J. B. Hall, of Loudon, will open a bank here at once.

Messrs. Gorham, Hall and Stanton, of Ionia, Mich., were here yesterday. They will locate a large saw and planing mill. Some idea of the size of their plant may be gained when it is known that their freight bill or its transportation is $1,200.

Col. E. J. Sanford, president and managing director of the Lenoir City company, is having his office painted and nicely furnished.

One hundred hands will commence work on the streets next week.

The prospectus of Lenoir City is in the hands of the printer, and the map is in the hands of the lithographer.

The flour mil is running night and day.

Quite a party of prospectors were here from North Carolina yesterday.

Lenoir City will get there in great shape before the ides of November.


So much news, so little time.

Easter, 2018 Style

May 13, 2018

Y’all, it has been a rough year.

Personal drama. Work drama. Animal drama. Financial drama. I am a drama mama this year.

I have an on-line friend, although I have met her in person once when she gave a talk on her research at the Beaufort library.

Most recently, she perceived that I needed some attention, although she didn’t know the half of it.

She made an Easter basket for me.

Y’all, she spent a lot of time, money, and effort to concoct this and bring it to me. I don’t know how I am worthy to receive this basket of goodness, but I am honored.

There are little plastic eggs with treats inside, all tucked into the basket. A novel. Coloring books and colored pencils. A pencil case with pencils and erasers. Oranges. Chocolates. Crackers. Chewing gum. Juice boxes. It’s like a survival kit in a basket.

A real diamond ring!

And the best pair of socks that you have ever seen…

Because sometimes, in order to get through the day, you have to pick and choose what you care about.