Posts Tagged ‘Lenoir City’

The Church of the United Brethren, 1895

April 24, 2018

I grew up in the Methodist Church.

Ruth Baby Methodist0001

Last year at the 150th anniversary of the church, there were nice memorial books given out. Didn’t go and didn’t get yours? Call the church. They might have more.

Trinity Church 150th anniversary0002Trinity Church 150th anniversary0003

In October 1866 the Holston Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South appointed Rev. S. K. Haynes as pastor of the Maryville and Lenoir Circuit. Because there was no church building in Lenoir City, known then as Lenoir’s Station, the congregation held services in the Lenoir Carpenter Shop. Earlier services had been held in the river warehouse which belonged to the Lenoirs and still stands today.

In 1870 Lenoir brothers Waighstill Avery, Benjamin Ballard, William, and Israel Pickens built a small frame church near the present corner of Broadway and A Street in downtown Lenoir City.

When the Lenoir family sold their estate in 1890 to the Lenoir City Company, an agreement was reached to relocate the building. The last surviving brother, Benjamin Ballard, agreed to move the church to a site adjacent to the family cemetery near the present site of Calvary Baptist Church. The building remained Lenoir property since it was located on the cemetery property which had been designated as the “Lenoir

Trinity Church 150th anniversary0004

Reservation” in the sale of the estate. By 1893, the church had become a part of the Concord Circuit and the conference appointed S. S. Catron and J. M. Carter as co-pastors so that services could be held each Sunday. The church eventually became a station in 1895 with the Rev. Catron as pastor.

When the Lenoir property was sold to a developer, the company mapped out streets, sold lots, and encouraged and solicited businesses and some industry. People began to move into the area and many of the people began to attend the Lenoir Church. The congregation grew and other denominations established congregations and buildings. The United Brethren organized and began a building program on the corner of C Street and Second Avenue. Being a small group, they realized they could not complete the building program they had begun.

Between 1890 and 1898, the Lenoir Church had outgrown its physical facilities and was considering expansion and building. They entered negotiations with the United Brethren to purchase their partially completed building. Dr. B. B. Lenoir deeded the old church building to the Trustees of the Methodist Episcopal church, South. The trustees were J. R. Browder, S. G. Eldridge, T. C. Foster, G. M. Burdett, and J. W. Harris. The trustees immediately sold their building to the Southern Presbyterian Church and made final purchase of the present site. The deed was recorded December 13, 1898. The building was completed, and the congregation moved in 1899. The church was finished in typical Victorian style with beautiful stained glass windows as its most outstanding feature.

 

 

From GenealogyBank, 8/22/1895, Knoxville, Tennessee, Volume XI, Issue 178, Page 5.

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THEIR FIRST CHURCH.

*****

Laying of the Cornerstone of the U.B.

Edifice at Lenoir City.

*****

Notable Occasion in the History of the

Plucky Young city –Large Number

of People Present.

*****

The laying of the corner stone of the United Brethren church, at Lenoir City, yesterday was a notable event in that city. The rain failed to mar the attendance and the exercises in the public school building filled it to overflowing.

The Lenoir City band furnished excellent music and so also did a special choir. The pastor, Dr. W. L. Richardson, presided as master of ceremonies. After reading of scripture, prayer was offered by the Rev. Dwight Marfield, of Dayton, O.

The address of welcome was delivered by Mr. Samuel Marfield. It was full of beautiful sentiment, and was as follows:

The event which we have assembled together to celebrate is one of special significance–which none can better understand and appreciate than we who have stood as guardians at the cradle of this new city, watching with jealous care the early stages of its growth and development. We have had an interesting experience.

The infancy of a city is subject to many of the ills and trials and tribulations which hover about the life of the babe in its nurses’ arms–there are eyeteeth to be cut–into the body politic there is often fed the ingredients of pain and colic, which have to be cast out–as the only relief. The mumps of inordinate expectation have to be reduced with the oil of patience.

The measels of discontent inflamed and visitated by the heat of undue restlessness have to be soothed with the balm of hope–and so I might take you through a very long catalogue of ailments which accompany not only our infant days but those of all newly born towns.

But Lenoir city was one of those phenominal twelve pound babes which are born to health and vigor and growth, and has passed safely beyond the petty ills of its infancy and now–rejoicing in the robust vigor of precocious youth, strong, healthful, buoyant, with hope–proud of its early attainments and confident of its future, greets you all with uncovered head, reverent of teh solemnity of the occasion which as called us together.

In its behalf it is my privilege and great pleasure to address you.

I have spoken of the significance of this event, and had in mind the fact that there is to be laid here to-day the corner stone of the first temple, erected to the glory and service of God since the town was planned and organized. The good men who provided for the religious needs of their families and neighbors and plantation have give us theretofore the only accommodations we have had for churchly purposes.

To-day we witness the beginning of a changed situation and welcome new friends with helping hands and Godly purpose, who have come to plant here in our midst a new vineyard where they may labor for the glory of the master, and to erect a new temple wherein to worship him–and not they only, as I understand it, but you and I and all the people hereabouts.

Good friends, in behalf of my townsmen and neighbors I greet you youfully and welcome you heartily.

“In the name of the Lord we wish you good luck.”

We ask no shibboleth from your lips, but trust of the sacredness of the work you begin, for the loyalty of your efforts to the up-building of the best interests of our community in its spiritual and moral life. I shall be glad if the example you set in planting your church so confidently on a generous and permanent basis may be followed by other branches of the church, Catholic and that this beautiful town with its industrious, intelligent and worthy citizenship may be adorned with many more temples erected to God, where freedom of worship may be enjoyed and which shall be to our people, true resting places for weary hearts, houses of refuge for wayfaring strangers, homes for all, even as pictured by the psalmist, whose soul longing–yes even fainting for the courts of the Lord in a rhapsody described his temple as a place where even the sparrow hath found a home and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, exclaiming joyfully, “Blessed are they that dwell therein.”

Mr. John Dodd, a prominent citizen of Dayton, O., made an address in which he spoke of the value of churches as a home for all Christians, and of its civilizing influence. Dr. Wm. McKee, also of Dayton, made a delightful talk, referring to the building of the tabernacle and the obligations of all taking part in its support.

Dr. Carter, of Chattanooga, made a happy speech, remarking on the beauty of the little city; the wisdom displayed in selecting the church site; the necessity of the church fighting scepticism, especially as it comes to us from foreign immigration.

The pastor made an impressive talk upon the laying of the corner stone. A box containing copies of the Knoxville Journal and Tribune and the Harriman papers, record of the church membership, etc., were placed in a box which was sealed and placed in behind the corner stone, and the exercises closed with benediction by the pastor.

So. Many. Questions. (Sigh)

August 22, 1895, would have been a Thursday. The laying of the cornerstone would have been the day before.

What happened to the United Brethren? I don’t know of a church in Lenoir City that goes by this name. Did they change their name? They seem to have melted away. Was building this church just an unsuccessful venture? Were they a smaller congregation of a larger entity?

Where was the public school building?

And a band? We had our own band in 1890?

But the burning question (insert drum roll):

Where is the box that was sealed and placed behind the cornerstone?

Ah, Lenoir City, you outfox me with your secret mysteries.

 

 

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Lenoir City: A Town of the Future

April 15, 2018

I always wondered how we came to live in Lenoir City. How did my family choose to live here? Out of all the places in the world, why Lenoir City? Why Tennessee? Why the South?

When I started poking around the family tree about 20 years ago, I found that both my mother’s and father’s families were here before the United States became the United States. We’ve always been in the South, most particularly in Tennessee and from the feeder states of Virginia and North Carolina, and before that from when those states were Colonies. We’ve been here so long that I don’t have a paper trail that leads back to Europe. I have no clue under what circumstances we got to North America.

And why Lenoir City? I know that my father came to this area looking for work with TVA, and met my mother on a blind date. But how did Mom’s family get to Lenoir City? My best guess is that her parents were textile workers and could find work in the textile mill in Lenoir City. But why did they leave Knoxville? Was it unsafe? Was there no opportunity? Was there not adequate housing?

I suppose I’ll never have answers. I found, however, that I could set the stage in my mind if I knew more about how Lenoir City came to be.

It was a planned city. The old Lenoir Plantation was purchased by a group of investors, and they planned a town complete with town lots, stores, and factories. Fortunately for me, these events were recorded in the Knoxville newspapers. For most towns, their earliest existence was recorded in court records. But Lenoir City was different. It was not the county seat, plus it is one of the youngest counties, so earlier history of the land and people might be found in the parent counties.

In 1890, things started to happen that created Lenoir City.

From GenealogyBank, the Daily Journal and Journal and Tribune, 8/3/1890, Knoxville, Tennessee, Volume VI, Issue 159, Page 9.

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LENOIR CITY.

*****

Comprehensive Scheme for Building a

New Town.

Elsewhere will be found the prospectus of Lenoir City, the new city that is to be build on the line of the East Tennessee road, twenty-three miles west of Knoxville. The place is well situated, being on the great railroad mentioned, and also on the Tennessee river. A railroad is being surveyed from that point to a junction with the Walden’s Ridge road, and it will be built just as soon as the survey is complete, thus adding to the advantages already possessed at Lenoir City.

With this road in operation, it will be in effect, a double track road from Knoxville to Clinton. It is just the same distance from Lenoir’s to Clinton by the new road and by way of Knoxville, so that in hauling coal from the coal fields north of us to southern markets, forty-five miles is saved. The empty cars can be hauled by way of Knoxville and the loaded ones to Lenoir, making the Knoxville and Ohio, as above stated, a double-track road to Clinton.

The scheme for organizing and building up the new town is peculiar in that every stockholder becomes also a holder of real estate and a particpiant (sic) in the profits. Every man who purchases stock becomes a partner in the company building the town, and a portion of the money paid in goes to the improvement of his real estate holdings. It is something new in the organization of southern town companies, and is so perfectly clear on the face that everyone understands perfectly when he takes stock just what he is doing. It can not possibly fail of success.

From GenealogyBank, the Daily Journal and Journal and Tribune, 8/3/1890, Knoxville, Tennessee, Volume VI, Issue 159, Page 11.

PLANS AND POLICY

*****

Of the Lenoir City Company and

Their Method

*****

Of Selling Stock With Lots, as De-

scribed in their Forthcoming

Prospectus.

*****

Lenoir City is not a “boom town”; it is not the effort of speculators to build upon some old, worn out fields, a mushroom city that cannot withstand future financial storms, and by taking advantage of popular excitement to sell out the lots to outsiders at unreal and fancy prices, and then silently retire from the field, leaving the investors, so to speak, to “hold the bag,” the poorer from their investment in everything except experience.

Not only is Lenoir City situated upon a princely estate, famed throughout the south for its richness and vast expanse, but the founders careful for the success of the enterprise into which they have embarked, have determined to build up a permanent city, established upon sure and staple foundations. They have invested here for time, not for a day, merely.

Having stated out with this determination, they realize the fact, pointed out by reason, that the way to permanently utalize the unexcelled natural advantages of Lenoir City, is to offer this property to the public in such a manner that investments shall be profitable to the investors, and that every investor shall become directly itereated with them in the enterprise, and a zelous and co-operating agent in the up-building of the city.

With this and in view, and with a firm faith in the future of Lenoir City, that makes them willing to depend for their profits upon the future prosperity, they have determined to offer the property to the public upon a mutual plan, and share the profits with all stockholders who now join with them in the enterprise.

The Mutual plan has best solved the problems of insurance companies; it has been the principle that has brought the wonderful success of the building and loan associations, and enable so many of our people now to own houses instead of renting them. It is believed by the founders of Lenoir city that a Mutual plan can work yet greater wonders in the building of a city, and they therefore offer the following plan to the public in the confident belief that it is the most advantageous plan yet offered to those investing in city property, and, therefore, most conducive to the permanent growth of Lenoir City, from which alone they are to receive the reward for their labor and expenditures. They do not claim to have adopted this plan as a matter of philanthropy; it is with them a  matter of business. They wish the purchasers of the property to make money because they know that they will thereby ultimately make more money themselves.

The capital stock of the Lenoir City company has been fixed at eight hundred thousand dollars, ($800,000) in 8,000 shares of $100 each, which is almost precisely three hundred dollars ($300) per acre for the company’s estate, which lies north of the Tennessee river, and on which are the extensive improvements that formerly belonged to the Lenoir Manufacturing company.

One-half of this capital stock (that is $400,000), is to be issued and offered to the public upon the following terms:

A large tract of the land belonging to the company, lying in the center of the locality where the city is to be built has been already laid off in streets and lots, and an accurate map has been made of the entire property showing in detail these streets and lots. These lots have been estimated in value, the valuations being as nearly uniform as possible, after making allowances for the different locations and sizes of the various lots and the uses to which they can be put; the valuations put upon the lots  having been in all cases made as low as possible, and not, it is believed, over one-half of what these same lots would bring at public auction, as the average price per lot will be less that $250 each. The estimated value of each lot offered for sale under this plan has been plainly indicated upon the map itself, copies of which are distributed with this prospectus.

These lots, whose value has been thus estimated, are to be disposed of by the company in connection with the $400,000 of stock. In the following manner: This $400,000 of stock will be sold to the public at par. Every purchaser of this stock will, however, receive not only paid-up stock to the account of his subscription but also a lot (or lots) whose estimated value is equal to the amount of his subscription.

One-half of the amount received for this $400,000 of stock will be placed in the treasury of the company, the other half being used to pay for the original purchase of the property and the debt contracted in the formation of the company. (The founders of the company, it is thus seen, rely for their profits solely upon the value of the remaining stock after this $400,000 has been sold, and after the original purchasers have receive their bonus in lots.) This sum of $200,000 is to be used by the directors of the company for the common benefit of all stockholders as they shall deem for the best interest of the company, either in developing the property by encouraging and aiding manufactures and street improvements, or in dividends to the stockholders.

After the sale of the $400,000 of stock, the stock-books of the company will be closed, and the state of things will then be as follows: The company will have a fully paid up stock of $800,000, will have over 2000 acres of its tract still unsold, consisting of lots and manufacturing sites; and will have $200,000 in its treasury, or in improvements on the property.

It is a simple matter of calculation to ascertain the profit to the purchasers of the above mentioned $400,000 of stock. He then owns a lot (or lots) whose estimated value was $1,000 and which has probably risen in value by that time to $2,000; he furthermore owns $1,000 of paid-up, non-assessable stock in this company, which owns over 2000 acres of the princliest estate in the south, and upon which are extensive improvements, and which, furthermore, has either the sum of $200,000 in its treasury, or the result of its expenditure in the development of the property. If the directors do not use this sum in further developing the remaining property of the company in order to obtain an increased return therefrom, they can, at once, declare a cash-dividend of 25 per cent, on the capital stock. The owner of this $1,000 of stock would then own his $1,000 lot; would have received back $250 of the $1,000 which he spent, leaving his net outlay only $750;and would also own $1,000 of stock in a company owning over 2000 acres lying in and immediately surrounding the most prosperous manufacturing city of the South.

The disposal of this remaining 2,000 acres will be a matter entirely controlled by the wishes of the majority of all the stock-holders. It may be sold at public or private sale, at auction or otherwise, as their judgment may deem best and most profitable. (It will be remembered that the whole estate has been stocked at only about $300 per acre.)

The distinguished feature of this plan is thus seen to be its mutuality and co-operative basis. The founders intend to build up this city upon the principle of the old refrain: “A long, long pull, and a strong, strong pull, and a pull together.” All who aid them in building up this magnificent industrial city will share both in the glory and in the profits of the achievement.

The public which buys the $40,000 of stock to be put on the market will then own one-half of this magnificent estate which is to-day, not to speak of its future as a manufacturing city, worth, for its present intrinsic value alone, at least the entire capital stock of the company.

Details of the Method of Sale.

The books of the company will be opened for the sale and issuance of the $400,00 of stock at 11 o’clock a. m., on Wednesday, September 3, 1890, at Lenoir City. (The company reserve the right to reject all bids in excess of $400,000, as only that amount of stock is to be sold.)

Subscriptions are invited before the above mentioned day, but if made in advance must be accompanied by 10 per cent of the amount of stock subscribed, either in cash or a certified check payable to the order of C. M. McClung, secretary and treasurer of the company. All the subscriptions will be registered in the precise chronological order in which they are received, and in that order will the subscribers be allowed to select their lots.

Stock will be sold at par, and upon the following terms; One-half cash; one-fourth payable in six months; and the remainder in twelve months, with interest from date. Upon making the first cash payment of one-half (of which in case of subscriptions made in advance, the 10 per cent payment already made will be credited as a part), the subscriber of stock will receive a receipt for the amount paid, and after selecting the lot or lots whose estimated value is equal to the amount of his stock subscribed, will receive a written agreement binding the company on the payment of the balance of his subscription, to execute to him a certificate of stock to the full amount thereof and a warranty deed in fee simple, free from all incumbrances, to the lot or lots selected, subject, however, to the liquor forteiture clause herein before stated. The payment of the balance may, of course, if the purchaser desires, be made at anytime before the end of the twelve months, thus enabling him, at once, to receive his certificate of stock and deed to his lot. On the other hand, however, if a subscriber to stock, after paying one half of his subscription, does not wish to continue his payments in order to obtain the lot or lots he has selected, or for any reason ceases making payments when due, the company will issue to him, in full satisfaction of his contract, paid up shares of capital stock of the company to the full amount of the money has has already paid in, fractions of shares not being included.

To Summarize:

This is, in fact, not a sale of lots, but of stock in the company. The founders of the Lenoir City company are not seeking victims; they are inviting associates. The company is not now trying to sell out its property, but rather to increase the numbers of parties interested with the founders in the building up of the city. The efforts of many men are required to build up a city; the founders are, therefore, inviting good citizens to stand with them in the enterprise, to partake of their labors, and share in their profits.

For this purpose they have, put half of the capital stock of the company on the market. In so doing they offer to the purchasing stockholders not only their stock but also lots in the city at opening valuations, which are merely nominal compared with the prices at which such lots are usually sold in new towns. The lots will be offered at these valuations to stockholders only; being, it fact, given to stockholders. Until all this $400,000 of stock is sold and issued no lots can be obtained from the company on any terms except as a bonus with this stock.

The subscribers to this stock will not only obtain this bonus, (thus receiving the full value of their investments), but together with the founders will become owners of the vast tract of land lying in and around these lots, which comprises the great bulk of the property of the company. On the other hand the founders expect them, by the aid of their voices and influence and improvements on the lots, in buildings and manufactures, to give valuable assistance in developing and increasing the value of this remaining property. It is from the sale of this remaining tract of over 2,000 acres, or such part of it as the stockholders may wish to put upon the market, comprising the far greater portion of this “princely estate,” which will probably be sold at public auction late in the fall or early next spring, at greatly advanced prices, that the founders of Lenoir City, by the help o the new stockholders and sharing with them, expect to realize their profits.

Remember than an interest in this Company upon these liberal terms can only be obtained by becoming a purchaser of a porrtion of this $400,000 of stock now offered to the public.

Notice.–Persons desiring further information as to the properties, plans of sale, or other matters concerning the Company, are requested to address the

LENOIR CITY COMPANY,

Lenoir, E. Tenn.

 

*****

From GenealogyBank, Daily Journal and Journal and Tribune, 8/28/1890, Knoxville, Tennessee, Volume VI, Issue 184, Page 8.

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LENOIR CITY.

*****

A Building Boom in the New Industrial Town.

****

New Your Stockholder Will Build Cottages — Brick Factory to be Started.

*****

Lenoir, Tenn., August 27, — Quite a stir in financial circles was created here yesterday afternoon, when Mr. Smalley, of the Lenoir City company, received the following instructions from the New York magnates of the concern: “Prospectus and maps received; well pleased with the outlook. We authorize you to sue your own judgment in selecting us each a lot; also assume authority to erect upon each a house, the cost of which will e about $2,000, something attractive and substantial, a good renting property. This instruction from the New York gentlemen namely, Hon. Calvin S. Brice, Col. C. M. McGhee, E. R. Chapman, Esq., John G. Moore, Esq., and Hon. O. H. Payne, adds great weight to the enterprise.True they are all stockholders in the company and have  controlling interest, yet it also indicates positively that this is no paper scheme, an enterprise to work upon outside capital. This knowledge has had its effect; people here who have held aloof, desirous of investing, yet waiting for their neighbor to make the advance, have come to the conclusion that now is the appointed time. It is man’s nature to want the best in everything, that proclivity is demonstrated here, when, after subscribing stock, they hurry to the town site to make the choice of their lots. But here they are puzzled; there is no choice; they sare all desirable. The man blindfolded who shoots an arrow into that beautiful park and then takes up his abode where it falls is as well off and as well-situated as the man who devotes a day in making his selection.

There is one feature that is embarrassing at present; there is no building brick to  be had nearer than Knoxville. A company will immediately go to work here and manufacture three or four hundred yet this fall, but that does not supply the present demand. Mr. Cass Hall of the Lenoir City bank, was compelled to set his house on blocks, leaving the foundation until brick could be procured. It will not take advertising or whole page displays to make this enterprise a success, aside from the advantageous plans upon which the company work, the mutual plan, making the investment profitable to the investors, by every investor becoming directly interested with them in the enterprise, there are mutual advantages that will enhance the value of the property, simply for the reason of its location.

People want comforts in this life, the rich, the poor like. The laboring man wants to live where he can enjoy with his family health and prosperity. What is lacking here to make this one of the greatest manufacturing places in the south: Besides all the mineral wealth beneath the surface and the timber above, nature has been liberal with her gifts in making this one of the richest agricultural regions in Tennessee. The capitalist wants to place his means where the greatest gain can be obtained. Here with the iron, the coal, the timber and marble at our very door, with both river and railroad facilities that cannot be excelled, name the industry that cannot succeed.

Strong men have seen thy face,

And looked thy beauty o’er.

Were dazzled with thine every grace,

They loved thee much LENOIR.

They purchased with a price,

A sum unheard before,

Thy vales and hills and alls that’s nice,

And now they own LENOIR.

And they will see thee grow,

Yes, they will see thee soar,

Beyond the limits now marked out,

Will grow our proud LENOIR.

Then some will come and stand,

And loud their lost deplore;

For not investing in thy land,

When thou wert cheap, LENOIR.

 

From GenealogyBank, Daily Journal and Journal and Tribune, 9/5/1890, Knoxville, Tennessee, Volume VI, Issue 192, Page 5.

Big Day at Lenoir City.

The managers of the Lenoir City Company are rejoicing over their well earned success. By the close of the first day of the public sale $60,000 of stock had been subscribed and cash payment made on more than $50,000. Several large blocks will be taken this week.

The work of selling lots with stock will continue, without glaring advertisements, until the remaining $300,000 of stock is sold, after which the company proposes to advertise extensively for the big auction sale next spring.

Plans are now being drawn and contracts made for various handsome buildings, both store and residence, to be erected at once by different stockholders.

Remember that purchasers of this “ground floor” not only get their lots but also share in the future profits of the company. The sooner you buy the better selection of lots you can make.

*****

 

From GenealogyBank, Daily Journal and Journal and Tribune, 9/7/1890, Knoxville, Tennessee, Volume VI, Issue 194, Page 5.

LENOIR CITY.

*****

Things Moving Lively at the New Town.

SPECIAL TO THE JOURNAL

LENOIR TENN., September 6.–Mr. James Thompson, from Ohio, arrived in this city last evening. Mr. Thompson is a contractor and architect of state reputation. He will locate at Lenoir. He will submit plans and specifications for the construction of the  five houses that will be immediately built by the New York gentlemen. Every train brings in mechanics of the different trades. The eastern and western building season will soon be over. They are coming to a country where they build the year round.

Mr. Grant B. Chley, of New York, has telegraphed the managers to select him a lot and build thereon a house, something similar to those that will be erected by the New York stockholders.

B. B. Hall of Iona, Mich., arrived this afternoon. Mr. Hall is one of the stock-holders in the large saw milling plant that will locate here at once. They have selected the site, five acres along the banks of the Tennessee river. They have purchased all the timber on the Lenoir City Companies possessions. But their main dependence will be upon the exhaustless supply of timber in the mountains which is tributary to this point.

The E. T. Va., & Ga., railroad have completed the excavation for the new depot also for two miles of side track. The new depot, it is said, will be the finest along the line of road. The estimated cost is $3,000, it will be of the latest designs and a model for convenience.

The collection of minerals, marble and wood being gathered from the Lenoir plantation is assuming respectable proportions under the guidance of Dr. Benson. An interesting cabinet will soon be on exhibition at the office of the company.

*****

Now, I ask you: Who wouldn’t want to live in Lenoir City?

Meet Joe Webb

March 20, 2018

I met Joe Webb when I was a little girl. I have a few vague, shadowy recollections of him. He was my grandmother’s brother.

Grandma had another brother named Tom, and a brother named Charlie that I never met. Charlie died about 1936, and my aunt had told me once that Charlie had gotten ill with what they called “Brain Fever” when he was a child. He stayed childlike, even as an adult, and always lived with his mother Henrietta.

Joe and Tom lived out of state. I suppose that they came to visit my grandmother when the weather was nice in the summer. I remember when we went to her house to see them that we sat out under the maples in her yard.

My shadowy memory of Joe is that he had wavy, light-colored hair and faded tattoos on his forearms. Did his wife come with him? I’m not sure. Did he drink? It seems like he might have.

Grandma rarely talked about her family. I have found out some things that made me wonder if that was the reason. I know that she seemed fond of her parents, and I got the idea that they were good people.

*****

A few weeks ago I got a new cousin match on ancestry. A second cousin! I sent her a message, and she answered. It seemed that my grandmother Ruth and her grandfather Joe were siblings. She didn’t know anything about Joe. He had divorced her grandmother a few years after their daughter was born. Joe saw the daughter maybe once after that, and called her perhaps a half-dozen times. She grew up and raised 6 children who never met their grandfather Joe.

This makes me very sad. What went wrong? I poked around a little.

I asked one of my older cousins if she remembered Joe. She did have a few vague memories; he was married to Ethel who was the boss and got him to stop drinking. She didn’t know about the first family.

And the first family didn’t know about the second marriage. They thought Joe never remarried.

*****

I found a photo of Joe in my mother’s things.

I would guess that this was most probably made in Tucker, Georgia.

On the back of the photo…

Your brother

Joe Webb

8/3/1980

Joe died in 1985.

He married Gladys Nelle McNew in 1924, and they lived in Knoxville. The Knoxville City Directory shows that he was a meat cutter.

In 1930, he was living with his brother Tom, still in Knoxville at 104 Hickey Place. It is my best guess that the information for the 1930 Directory was gathered in 1929 to be published and distributed in 1930. So I’m guessing by 1929, Joe had left his wife and daughter.

Tom is listed at Kenneth T. Webb. There is also a wife Mildred listed for Tom. I didn’t know that Tom had been married, but he also had a drinking problem, and things like divorce and alcoholism just weren’t discussed.

In the 1930 census Joe was listed as living with his mother Henrietta, so perhaps he stayed with different family members while looking for a safe place to land.

*****

My new cousin wondered if I could offer an opinion about what kind of man her grandfather was. I offered that he might have had some personal issues that kept him away from his wife and children, but that I really didn’t know him. We discussed that he might have been a drinker. She had a photo of her grandfather when he was a young man. She thought that he gave the impression of someone who might drink.

I think the vintage of the photo is Roaring Twenties, before everything crashed in the Depression.

He looks so much like my grandmother.

His wife Nell McNew Webb had to get a job. She worked as a clerk in a dry cleaners, and then married Thomas Buckley about 1930.

*****

I poked around a little more on ancestry and made a discovery.

In 1940 on the federal census, my grandparents and all four of their children, along with Joe Webb and Vivian O’Dell (Grandma’s niece whose parents had died young), were living at 306 Kingston Street in Lenoir City, Tennessee. Y’all, I grew up in this town. It is my hometown, and Kingston Street was a main street. I had never known this. And everyone had lived in the same house in 1935. So when my mother was in high school, she lived in this house. We drove by this house hundreds of times, and that never prompted her to say, “Oh, I used to live there. For YEARS.”

I cropped the image to show their names.

Now if I only had a photo of the house, which Zillow says was built in 1920.

I remember that I have a boots-on-the-ground researcher in place.

BigBroSteve delivers a photo.

Right now I am so nostalgic for a home I’ve never seen that I could cry a little.

All because of Joe Webb.

The Lacy

September 17, 2017

I went to the Lacy Hotel last week. Only it’s not a hotel any more. It’s a gift, antique, and home furnishing shop. 

I wasn’t shopping. I have a #CousinNotCousin whose grandmother and aunt worked at the Lacy, back in the day when it was an actual hotel. They cooked there for many years, and their cooking was legendary. One friend said she could still taste the rolls, warm from the oven, even though the Lacy as a hotel has been out of business for many years. 

It opened during the 1920s. It was a place where you could get a meal, book a room, or attend a meeting. Ladies’ society clubs met there. Men’s business groups met there. Families went for a meal. 

My family went the same places over and over, and the Lacy wasn’t one of them. I don’t know why. 

So that made my visit extra-interesting. My goal was to snap a few shots for my #CousinNotCousin Beth in Illinois. The Lacy was so beautiful that I got carried away. 





Walk straight through the front door to the room behind, turn around, and you see this room…


Then across the room at a diagonal to the doorway beyond which is the old dining room. 


I made myself stop taking photos of the stairs. It was an unusual layout. 



There are 6 rooms upstairs. Nooks and crannies are full of wonderful things. 

T

I’m rather astonished that a gift shop is alive and well in my hometown. 

I bought some mulling spices and also a heritage book “Windows to the Past”, which was published in 1982 as part of Lenoir City’s Diamond Jubilee. 

I got the book with the thought that I would send it to Beth in Illinois as a token of remembrance from the Lacy. Much later, I was looking through it, and I saw a photo of the graduating class of 1938. Y’all? There was my mother. 

I hope Beth enjoys her mulling spices. 


Pete Packett’s Papers: A Letter from Eston P. Packett, 1966

April 19, 2014

Packett Eston 1966 001

                                                                                November 16, 1966

Mr. Pete Packett

% Fort Myers News-Press

Fort Myers, Fla.

Dear Mr. Packett:

Received your letter and hope I can be of some help.

I knew your father and mother; they lived across the street from

my family when their first child was born.  They were living

with your Grandmother Webb.

Your dad came to see me in Knoxville about 1940.  Some of you

were in the service then.  He was pastor of a church in Lenoir

City at that time.

My father was Issac Henry Packett and my grandfather was Vinsent Packett.

Alvis Lee Packett’s father was Harbison Packett.  All

of this family was born and raised in Union County, Tenn.

My sister, Mrs. Della Morrell, who lives in Sevierville, Tenn.

has the old family bible with the records in it.  You can write

her:  Route 3 Sevierville, Tenn. 37862.

I have three children, all living in Lakeland, Fla.  My son Jack

Packett is with Publix – buyer for Gourmet Food and candy.  He

lives at 510 Lone Palm Drive.  My two daughters are Mrs. Roy Essary,

(Betty) and Mrs. Stephen Stith, (Barbara).

I hope this helps you in your search.  My sister probably can

give you additional information.

PS  My father, Issac Packett had only one brother, who was

Harbison Packett – A.L.Packett’s father.  Issac Packett

died in Knoxville, Tenn. in 1938.  I do not know who

John and Gaines Packett were.

Sincerely,

Eston P. Packett

2180 Colonial Ave.

Lakeland, Fla. 33801

And the first child that was born to my grandparents James and Ruth Packett?  That was my mother, Uncle Pete’s sister.

Photos From A Christmas Card

January 3, 2013
Who are these people?  Is that you, BigSis?  And you, Uncle Pete?

Who are these people? Is that you, BigSis? And you, Uncle Pete?

I didn’t send any Christmas cards this year.  None.  At all.  Y’all know where to find me.

I did, however, receive two cards, which is just fine with me.

One of them was from my cousin.  She included four photos in the card.  One of them I had seen before, but these three I had not.

Thank you, Cousin, for the photos from the past!

Here's my mom in a rare snowy setting.  This is perhaps at the house on Hill Street, next door to Miss Willie's house.

Here’s my mom in a rare snowy setting. This is perhaps at the house on Hill Street, next door to Miss Willie’s house.

This looks like my mother and my BigBroBob at the house on Wilson Street.  I'm guessing this photo was taken about 1946.

This looks like my mother and my BigBroBob at the house on Wilson Street. I’m guessing this photo was taken about 1946.

And if you don’t have a scanner, get one now and start sharing your photos before they are lost.  Sugar is pretty sure when his kids come to clean out his house someday in the far, far future, they are just going to have a construction dumpster pulled into the yard.

Willie May Pierce Packett And Her Baby Lucile

October 16, 2012

Once, back in the day, BigBroBob went to see Mom when she was in the nursing home.  His visits weren’t just visits, they were events.  He knew all the residents, and they loved his visits.

On his last visit with Mom, which he didn’t know would be his last, he had his notebook and did an interview.

Mom told him some stuff that, when he shared with me, I had never heard before.

It seems that her mother had been engaged before she married James Packett.  She broke off the engagement when she learned that her fiance had gotten another woman with child.

But that wasn’t all.  It seems that James Packett was married before, but his wife and baby had died.  I thought that meant that his first wife died in childbirth.

*****

I’ve been browsing the death records of Loudon County in 1908.  There were many deaths from tuberculosis, heart problems, accidents, cancer.  One of the more bizarre causes of death was pellegra.  I couldn’t remember what that meant, but I did remember in health class many, many years ago, we were learning about diseases caused from nutritional issues, like scurvy, rickets, and pellegra.  Sugar looked it up after I told him about it, and he said it was caused by a niacin deficiency.  I looked it up, too, and the photos I saw looked like a horrible way to go.  Here’s a quote from the article I read:

In the early 1900s, pellagra reached epidemic proportions in the American South. Pellagra deaths in South Carolina numbered 1,306 during the first ten months of 1915; 100,000 Southerners were affected in 1916.

*****

All this made me curious to know more about the causes of death during this time frame.  While randomly scrolling through the death records of Loudon County, I found a death certificate for Lucile Packett whose father was James Packett and mother was Willie Pierce Packett.  I didn’t connect that he was my grandfather.  At first glance, I thought that it was his grandfather James and grandmother Millie.

When I enlarged the certificate, I found that Lucile was the baby, and she died from “hermorrhage from the lungs following pertussis”.

Little Lucile.

And this made me curious to find out what happened to her mother, who clearly did not die in childbirth, at least not with this child.

Willie May Pierce Packett.

Tuberculosis.

*****

Willie May and Lucile are buried at Pleasant Hill Church Cemetery.  I went there once maybe ten years ago to see if I could find their gravestones, and of course, I could not, because I have that issue about not being able to see things that are right there in front of me.

James went on to marry my grandmother, and if not for that, and some other factors, I wouldn’t be here today, and BigBroBob wouldn’t have been able to interview Mom.

And as grateful as I am to be here today, I still feel bad that Willie May and Lucile are buried in a different graveyard than my grandfather.

Good night, and sleep well.

In Which I Make A Plan

October 12, 2012

So I’m still looking for some Rogers folks.  I went to high school with a particular girl that I wasn’t friends with, but only because I didn’t know her.  We didn’t travel in the same circles, which was neither good nor bad, it’s just the way it was.

Anyway, we are friends now, albeit virtual ones, and we might even be related.  She is looking for her Rogers family, and I am looking for Lillie Rogers and where she came from.  It would seem that, in a town the size of Lenoir City, that we must surely be related.  We just can’t prove it.  YET.

Her particular Rogers is one Samuel Ro(d)gers.  On his death certificate, the informant was his wife Lona, and she did not know the name of his father, and she only knew that his mother was named Martha Rodgers.  I thought this meant that Lona knew her as Martha Rodgers, even though the maiden name was supposed to be given.

So hold up a minute.  What if Lona knew what she was doing, and Martha Rodgers WAS the correct maiden name, which would mean that Martha married a Rodgers.  Martha Rodgers Rodgers.  It would certainly make it easy to sign her correct name, but, oh so confusing for researchers.

I can’t find a death certificate that I am certain is correct for Martha Rogers Rogers.  I DID find a marriage certificate where Martha Rogers married John Rogers, but I can’t be certain that they are Samuel’s parents.

So why don’t I just look through all the death certificates online?  They start in 1908.  I started with Loudon County.  There were only 56.

Near the end, I found two brothers.  They were the children of the very first headstone photo that I took back in July at the Lenoir City Cemetery, that of Fred P. Derieux.

Fred P. Derieux

And in the 1910 census, his wife Mollie went on record that she had given birth to 8 children, but only 6 were living.  I found the two babies, or at least I found their death certificates.

Richard Derieux, age two.

 

Halbert Derieux, aged nine months.

 

The two-year-old died first, then about two weeks later, the baby died.  The father, Fred, had lost his father the year prior to this.

So much death, so much sadness.

I forget now what my plan was.

Lillie Packett, Provided By Tim

October 4, 2012

Here’s a family sketch regarding Lillie Rogers Packett and her husband John William.  This is a scan of a copy of an email that Tim Packett sent me on March 20, 2000.  The world had not ended because of Y2K, fortunately, and we had found each other, so to speak, through the magic of email.

 

I’ve extracted my favorite part of the email.  It’s about Lillie Rogers.

*****

Lillie, who went by Lila in the later census reports was a widow in 1910, and living with her son and daughter-in-law Joseph ad Bessie in 1920.  I do not have the death date or info on John William.  Do you?  He is not buried with Lillie in the City Cemetery and records just state “Lillie w/o J.W.”.  None of my family contacts know what happened to him or where he ended up.  Some seem to think he went to Alabama or Georgia.

Family legend has it that during one of their many legendary fights, John threatened to leave and never come back.  Lillie supposedly replied, “You’ve got diamonds on your back.  The farther you go, the better they shine!”  He supposedly left that day and they didn’t hear from him again.  How much of this is true or just embellishments I can’t say.  Perhaps you know the true story?

Also Lillie is listed as a Rogers until later in funeral home records of some of her children, and she is listed as Lillie Simpson.  Do you know anything about that or is it just misreported?

She was living with my father’s family when she died, and he and his siblings have all kinds of memories of her, none of which seem to be very good.  They all say she was a very hard woman who could curse like a sailor and had all the children very afraid of her.  She did fascinate them when they had catfish for dinner.  She could put fish in her mouth, chew on one side while working bones out the other, talk, and drink without ever getting choked!  Isn’t it weird what small children remember?  They also said that she would sit on the porch and if someone came walking down Bon Street she would holler into the house to my grandfather, who was a Primitive Baptist Minister, and ask, “Hey, Pug, who th’ hell is that bastard walking down th’ road?”  My father, who was only four, remembers his older siblings grabbing him and running for cover!  They say as she grew older she had a large goiter on the side of her neck that had hairs growing out of it, which made her even scarier.  My father said that after she died there was one of her trunks in the attic full of old clothes and mementos, and the kids were afraid of it, too.  He said that they would scare him by saying Granny Packett is waiting for you in there!  It must have been awful being the youngest in the family.

*****

So choose your email words with care, because you just might end up someday on someone’s blog…

Zola Packett O’Neal’s Death Cert

October 1, 2012

Zola Packett O’Neal, died in 1924.

We looked at this death certificate a few days ago.  Most of the Packett people have heart-related deaths.  In this one for Zola, the cause of death is “Result of anesthetic”, then on the next line in different ink, “operation to relieve ankalosed knees”.

Sugar and I finally deciphered the hand-writing to come up with the cause of death.  Unlike me, Sugar needed to know what ankylosis meant.

You can read more about it here.

I almost wish he hadn’t told me.